Maine Appeals Process – What Happens When you’re Denied Benefits?
The state may deny benefits based on your inability to meet the monetary eligibility requirements or for separation issues. The state will mail you the decision (“Deputy’s decision”). You have the right to appeal any adverse decision a claims adjudicator makes to the Division of Administrative Hearings.
How to File an Appeal
You can file an appeal online, by telephone, or by using the appeal form (found on the back of the decision) and mailing the form in to the Division. You can also fax the form or deliver it in person.
You have 15 calendar days from the date the unemployment bureau mails the decision, not the date on which you receive it. File the appeal as soon as possible; filing online is the fastest way.
Division of Administrative Hearings
30 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Fax to: Division of Administrative Hearings at (207) 287-5949
You will need to include the decision number, your social security number and your benefit year ending date (BYE).
The Division conducts appeals hearings either by telephone or in person. You will receive a Notice of Hearing. That notice will include the date and time of the hearing. If the hearing is in person, you will receive notice of the place.
Your former employer will also receive notice of the hearing, no matter what the issue is. They will have the right to participate in the hearing.
Preparing for the Hearing
The appeals hearings are less formal than trials; however, there will be rules to follow and the Hearing Officer will expect both parties to behave as if they are in a courtroom.
You have the right to have someone represent you at the hearing. You can hire an attorney or have a friend represent you. Larger businesses often have a representative; however, some bosses represent themselves. You should not have a problem representing yourself at the hearing in most instances.
You have the right to present relevant evidence at the hearing. This includes:
- Witness testimony
- business documents or audio and video evidence
If you have witnesses you think will be reluctant to testify, you may request that the Hearing Officer submit a subpoena to require their presence. You must notify the Division immediately if you need a subpoena. The Hearing Officer decides whether to issue the subpoena.
Both parties have a right to see the other’s evidence. You should submit a copy of your evidence to the Division and to the opposing party as soon as possible. If you don’t provide copies, the Hearing Officer may not allow you to present the evidence.
You should be aware of any scheduling conflicts when you receive notice. You must notify the Division immediately to request a rescheduling. You will need to provide a good reason to reschedule. The reason should be some unavoidable matter, like a court date or incapacitation. The Hearing Officer may grant emergency requests but must receive notice at least 48 hours prior to the hearing if possible.
You must notify the Division in advance if you have other requirements, like an interpreter or accommodations for disabilities.
Prepare Your Thoughts
Prepare your case well in advance of the hearing. Gather relevant evidence directly related to your separation. Your witnesses should have first-hand knowledge of what happened in the case. The Hearing Officer cannot use testimony from those who only “heard about” what happened. Written statements will only be used in the hearing if someone is there to verify them or they were taken during the regular course of business (like a write-up).
Prepare a logical argument using these things you have collected and be ready to present it.
What Happens During the Hearing
Make every effort to show up on time for the hearing. Call in on time or arrive early if the hearing is in person. If you are significantly late, the Hearing Officer may determine that you have failed to appear. The original Deputy’s decision will stand if you are the person who filed the appeal.
If you are not the appealing party, the hearing will go on without you. You will not have a chance to present your side. You may lose your right to appeal.
The Hearing Officer will swear in both parties to the hearing, verify everyone’s identity and provide instructions for the hearing. Then testimony will begin.
The party that goes first is the party that has to prove their case. If the issue in the case is whether you quit, you go first. If the issue is whether you were fired for misconduct, the employer will go first.
Whoever goes first will present their evidence by telling what happened. You’ll use the evidence you collected and you’ll ask questions of your witness. Both the opposing party and the Hearing Officer will have the opportunity to ask you questions about your testimony and ask questions of your witnesses (“cross-examination”). Then, the other party will present their testimony, repeating the process.
You may have a chance to make a closing statement. The Hearing Officer will close the hearing and make a decision within a day. The Division will mail a written decision to both parties.
If you disagree with the outcome of the hearing, you may appeal the decision to the Unemployment Insurance Commission within 15 days. You will receive instructions on how to do this along with the Hearing Officer’s decision.
Get more information about filing an appeal