Georgia Appeals Process – What Happens When You’re Denied Benefits?
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) may deny your claim for unemployment benefits because you failed to meet the wage requirement, because you caused the separation from work or you were otherwise ineligible. You may appeal any determination that the Georgia unemployment law allows.
You have 15 days from the date the GDOL mails the determination. If you fail to file a timely appeal, the Appeals Tribunal may dismiss your appeal and allow the original decision to stand. You may be able to show a good cause why your appeal was late.
You must file your appeal in writing to the Appeals Tribunal. You need to include:
- The reason for the appeal in detail
- Your current contact information
- Your social security number
- The date of the determination you are appealing
The contact information for the Appeals Tribunal:
Georgia Department of Labor
148 Andrew Young International Blvd. NE, Suite 525
Atlanta, GA 30303-1734
Preparing for the Unemployment Appeals Hearing in GA
The Appeals Tribunal holds hearings over the telephone. You may request an in-person hearing, or the Appeals Tribunal may schedule one based on various factors.
An Administrative Hearing Officer will act as the judge in the hearing. The hearing will be much like a trial, but with less formalities involved.
The Appeals Tribunal will schedule a hearing within 10 days of receiving the request. They will mail a Hearing Notice which will include the date, time and place of the hearing, as well as the issue of the appeal. The Tribunal will send notice to your former employer, who has a right to appear at the hearing.
If you notice a scheduling conflict, you should make a request IN WRITING to reschedule as soon as possible. You may fax or Email the request. The director of the Appeals Tribunal, the Chief Hearing Officer, makes the decision whether to grant the request. You must have a substantial and compelling reason.
If you need to change your contact information after receiving the hearing notice, notify the Appeals Tribunal prior to your hearing date using this form. http://ga.c2tinc.com/register
You have the right to representation at the hearing. You may hire an attorney or ask a friend to help. Many represent themselves without any problems.
If you need other assistance like a language interpreter or hearing impairment accommodations, the Appeals Tribunal will provide them for you. However, you must notify the Tribunal no later than 48 hours prior to the start time of your hearing.
You have the right to present relevant evidence at your unemployment appeals hearing. The rules of evidence will apply, meaning:
- The evidence must be relevant to the issue at the hearing
- The evidence must be authenticated if in writing or recorded
To authenticate such evidence, the person who wrote the document must appear at the hearing to verify the document. The exception to this rule is that many common business documents used in unemployment appeals hearings fall under the business document exception, like time sheets or inventories, anything regularly.
You must provide a copy of all evidence to the Appeals Tribunal and the opposing party. If you don’t, the Hearing Officer may not allow you to present such evidence during the Hearing.
You have the right to have witnesses testify on your behalf. They should have first-hand knowledge of the issue at hearing. If you were dismissed, for example, they should have first-hand knowledge of the circumstances. It isn’t enough that they “heard about” what happened. Character witnesses are not usually witnesses with relevant information in an unemployment appeal.
If there are witnesses you think are reluctant to testify, you may request that the Hearing Officer issue a subpoena. A subpoena will compel the witness to appear. You must make your request no later than 72 hours prior to the hearing date. The Hearing Officer will determine whether the subpoena is necessary.
Consider the argument you plan to make. Your argument must use the facts and point to the reason the state should have approved your claim. All your evidence and testimony should support your argument.
What Happens at an Unemployment Appeals Hearing in GA
The Hearing Officer will call you and the other parties – and witnesses if necessary — at the appropriate time. You should be ready to answer on time. If the Hearing Officer cannot reach you within 10 minutes, he or she may believe that you do not plan to appear. The hearing may continue without you or the Hearing Officer may allow the original decision to stand if you are the party that filed the appeal.
If you miss the hearing, you may request that the state reopen your appeal. You must show a compelling reason for missing the hearing.
The Hearing Officer will swear in both parties, go over the issue or issues to be discussed, and then proceed with testimony from each party.
The Hearing Officer determines who goes first. Usually, the party with the burden of proof goes first. The employer has the burden of proof when the issue is a dismissal. The claimant goes first when the issue is whether you quit for good cause.
Both parties will present their testimony, evidence and witnesses. Each will have the opportunity to question the other regarding their testimony. The Hearing Officer may ask a question at any time. At the end, each party may present a closing statement.
The Hearing Officer will issue a ruling after the hearing is completed. The Appeals Tribunal will mail both parties the decision. If you disagree with the decision, you may file an appeal to the Board of Review. The decision will include instructions on how to file that appeal.
Learn more about the appeals process by reading the unemployment appeals hearing handbook.