Indiana Appeals Process – What Happens When you’re Denied Benefits?
If the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) denies your claim for unemployment benefits in Indiana, you have the right to appeal to the department’s Appellate Division. If the Division grants your appeal, you will have a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) where you may present evidence and witnesses to support your argument that you should receive benefits. Your hearing will likely be held over the phone; however, you may have a telephone hearing.
How to File an Unemployment Benefits Appeal in IN
If the DWD denies your claim, they will mail a Determination of Eligibility notifying you of the denial and the reasons why. You have 10 calendar days from the mailing date on the determination to file your appeal.
You must file in writing, either by mail, fax or in person. You must include a brief statement noting the reason for the appeal, as well as:
- a copy of the determination
- your current contact information
- you must sign the correspondence
You must place your social security number on all pages of the documents you send.
Mail the appeal to 100 North Senate Avenue, Suite N800, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or fax to (317) 233-6888.
If you want to file in person, complete all steps as noted above and take the information to a WorkOne Center. Ask a clerk about filing an appeal for a denial of benefits.
Preparing for the Unemployment Appeal
Within 10 days, you should receive a Notice of Hearing from the Appellate Division. This notice will inform you of the date, time and place (if your hearing will be in-person) of the hearing. The notice will include an acknowledgement sheet, a form for you to complete. You must complete this form and return it within the specified time to get a hearing.
Check the scheduled date for the hearing. If you have a potential conflict, notify the division as soon as possible to attempt to reschedule. The ALJ will have discretion whether to grant your request. You should provide a substantial and compelling reason to reschedule, or have some preexisting legal obligation on the date. You have three days after you receive the notice to request a reschedule.
Soon after you recieve the notice is a good time to inform the division that you will need a language interpreter or disability assistance. The division will provide these services for you; you may not provide your own language interpreter.
You will be able to present evidence, testimony and witnesses to make your case. You will have the right to representation. The process of the administrative hearing is similar to a court trial, though the format is more relaxed.
Your former employer will also receive a Notice of Hearing. They will have the right to appear or have someone represent them at the hearing. They will also be able to offer testimony on the issues.
You have the right to have someone represent you at the hearing to present your case on your behalf. You may hire an attorney, get your union rep or a friend to represent you. However, many people represent themselves at the appeal with no problem.
If you do ask a friend, be aware that your friend may not also testify on your behalf during the hearing.
You may have witnesses testify on your behalf. They should have first-hand knowledge about the circumstances regarding your separation from work. Their testimony should be relevant to the issue to be discussed at the hearing; character witnesses are usually not helpful.
You have the right to present relevant evidence to support your argument. If you are going to present written or typed documents, you may need to have the person who created the document appear at the hearing. Documents created in the normal course of business, like a time sheet, don’t need to be authenticated. You may also present medical documents and evidence.
Audio and video evidence may present special problems, especially for telephone hearings. If you plan to present such evidence, notify the ALJ as soon as possible.
You must provide copies of the evidence you plan to present in advance of the hearing. The ALJ and your opposing party must have copies. If the opposing party does not have a chance to view the evidence because you haven’t sent it to them, the ALJ may prevent you from presenting the evidence.
If there is a witness who may be reluctant to testify, you can ask the ALJ to issue a subpoena that will compel the witness to appear. You may also request a subpoena for evidence a party is reluctant to release. The ALJ has the discretion to refuse your request if the witness testimony or evidence is not relevant.
At the Hearing
If the hearing is by telephone, you will have provided the ALJ with a contact telephone number. This is the number the ALJ will use to contact you for the hearing. Be prepared to participate in advance, and make sure any witnesses are available. In many states, your witness may not be at the same telephone number as you are or in the same room as you.
If you filed the appeal and you do not appear, the ALJ will dismiss your case. You may request a reinstatement of the hearing. However, you must show a “good cause” as to why you missed the hearing. You will have seven days to do this.
The ALJ will take sworn testimony from both parties to the hearing after providing instructions. Each party will have the opportunity to question the other party regarding the testimony and evidence presented (“cross examine” the witness). The ALJ may ask questions at anytime, and often asks questions to help each party present relevant facts. Each party may make a closing statement at the end of the hearing.
The ALJ will issue a decision several days after the hearing has concluded. The division will mail the decision to both parties. If you disagree with the decision, you may file an appeal with the Unemployment Insurance Review Board. You will find instructions on how to file this appeal in the ALJ’s decision.