Delaware Appeals Process – What Happens When you’re Denied Benefits?
If the Division denies your claim for benefits, you have the opportunity to file an appeal. You may appeal the monetary determination or a denial of benefits. To start the process, you will request the appeal in person at a local Division office or by mail. If you file the request by mail, you must do it within 10 calendar days of receiving the denial.
The Appeals Division will send notice of the date, time and place of the hearing. You may request a telephone hearing. Instructions for making this request will be included in the notice. If there is a scheduling conflict, you have three days to notify the Appeals Division. Any party to the hearing – you, the Division of Unemployment Insurance or your former employer – may request a reschedule within that period.
Send your request to:
Department of Labor
Division of Unemployment Insurance
Lower Authority Appeals Unit
P.O. Box 9950 Wilmington, Delaware 19809
Fax: (302) 761-6635
How to Prepare for an Unemployment Appeals Hearing in DE
You will not be participating in a trial, though the process of an unemployment appeals hearing is similar. You will be presenting evidence and giving testimony. You will often be facing another party who disagrees with your position and will also present evidence and testimony. So you need to prepare a fact-based argument on why the Division got it wrong.
Collect any hard evidence like time sheets, disciplinary actions or doctor’s notes. Make copies and provide a copy to the Appeals Unit in advance if you are having a telephone hearing. Take three copies with you if you are having an in-person hearing.
Consider what your argument will be. You may have been discharged for violating the employer’s late arrival policy. Yet, on the last day you were late, you were in an auto accident. Your benefits were denied because you violated policy. Yet the Division may not deny benefits because of a situation beyond your control, like an accident. You need to show evidence that you were in an accident caused by someone else.
If you plan to have witnesses, you need to notify the Appeals Unit ten days in advance. This gives the Appeals Referee time to issue a subpoena if necessary.
Only ask witnesses who have first-hand knowledge of your situation. It is rare that witnesses who can only speak to how nice a person you are will have any relevant information for a hearing.
You may hire an attorney. You may also have a friend represent you. That friend cannot be a witness nor offer testimony. The hearing is something most people will be able to handle.
You may need a translator. Contact the Appeals Unit within seven days of the hearing date and inform them so that one may be provided for you. Translators are to be impartial, so it may not be possible to have a family member translate for you.
What Happens in an Unemployment Appeals Hearing in DE
The Appeals Referee will swear in both parties and give instructions on how things will work. The Appeals Referee is not a judge; the hearing is an administrative procedure. However, you should conduct yourself as if you were in a courtroom.
The issue at the hearing will determine the order of who goes first. If the issue is whether you were quit without good reason or were dismissed for cause, the employer will have the burden to prove that to be true. The employer, or their representative, will go first. If the issue is one that you have to prove, you go first.
The Appeals Referee will ask questions of you and your witnesses. Then the Appeals Referee will give you a chance to speak. The opposing party will have a chance to ask you questions about your testimony. You will have the same opportunity after they have completed their testimony.
The Appeals Referee will close the hearing at this point. They will deliberate and come to a decision within the day. You will be notified of the decision by mail at a later date. The Appeals Referee may award benefits outright, or may ask the Division to revisit their decision. They may also decide that your appeal failed.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you have another appeal opportunity. You may appeal to the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. There will be no hearing. Instead, the Appeals Board will review the entire record of your case, including your initial claim and the appeals hearing.
Beyond this process, there is no administrative recourse. You must file a claim in court.
You should continue to certify each week while you are in the appeals process.