Missouri Appeals Process – What Happens When you’re Denied Benefits?
You have the right to appeal any determination or decision made by the Missouri Department of Labor’s Employment Security Division (DES). Your issue will be addressed by an administrative hearing conducted by the Appeal’s Tribunal. You will have 30 days to file your appeal. If you fail to file a timely appeal, you may lose your right to appeal. You may request to reopen your appeal upon a showing of a good cause for missing the deadline.
You may file your appeal online using the Uinteract system or in writing using the appeal form, also available online to download. You will have to include the following information:
- Your name and Social Security Number
- The name of the employer
- The date and subject matter of the determination
- A brief statement of your reasons for disagreeing with the determination
- Your signature.
You can mail or fax the appeal if using the form. The address will be included on the Notice of the Deputy’s Determination that you receive, or use the following:
Division of Employment Security
P.O. Box 59
Jefferson City, MO 65104-0059
Or fax to: 573-751-1321
You cannot file an appeal by Email or by using the telephone.
Preparing for Your Unemployment Appeal in MO
The appeal will be an administrative hearing, similar to a courtroom trial, but with less formal rules. A DES official, called a Referee, will conduct the hearing. You will have the right to be represented at the hearing, have witnesses testify on your behalf and present evidence. Your employer will receive notice of your hearing and will have the right to appear and present their side of the case.
In Missouri, the hearings are primarily held over the telephone in a conference call. However, you may request to have an in person hearing. Also, the Referee may determine that it is necessary to have an in person hearing.
You will receive a Notice of Telephone Hearing when you request an unemployment appeal hearing (or simply a Notice of Hearing). The Notice will inform you of the date, time and place of the hearing, or the toll-free telephone number to call.
You should gather evidence, and secure witnesses (and a representative if you choose to have one) well in advance of your hearing date.
You may hire an attorney or have a friend represent you at the hearing. Attorneys have specific rules to follow for these administrative hearings and must present an “Entry of Appearance” letter to the Appeals Tribunal before the hearing date. A friend or other agent will also have to sign a form agreeing to represent you. If your friend acts as your representative, know that they may not offer testimony as well.
Many people represent themselves at an unemployment appeal without problems.
You may have witnesses at the hearing. They have to call in on a different telephone line; they cannot be in the same room with you. It is your responsibility to make sure they are available when the hearing begins, and they must have agreed to testify.
Your witness should have first-hand knowledge about the events surrounding your separation from work. It is not enough that they merely “heard about” what happened, with some exceptions. Character witnesses are usually not helpful in these hearings.
If there is a witness who you believe may be reluctant to testify at the hearing, you may request a subpoena from the Referee. The subpoena will compel the witness to appear. The Referee will decide whether to issue the subpoena. If the Referee refuses your request, you may note this during the hearing on the record; it may become an issue at appeal.
You may also request a subpoena to compel someone to produce evidence you believe will be necessary to present at the hearing, but cannot get by simply asking. To request a subpoena, mail the following to the Referee for your hearing:
- Claimant’s Social Security Number and the Appeal Number
- Witness names or a list of documents needed
- Address where the subpoena will be delivered
- Statement of what the witness’ testimony or documents will prove
- Statement that you have asked for testimony or documents and have been refused
You can find the address on your Notice, or use the address for the Appeals Tribunal.
You can present documents at the hearing. Some documents, like written statements from witnesses, must be verified at the hearing, which means the person who created the document must be present. Otherwise, the Referee may not allow the document to be entered as evidence.
Documents that are produced in the normal course of business, like time sheets or disciplinary notices, don’t have to be verified. You may still dispute the accuracy of those documents, however.
You may present audio or video evidence; however, you will have to request an in person hearing. Missouri does not allow such evidence to be presented in a telephone hearing.
Any evidence you present should be relevant to the issue regarding your separation. Your witness testimony and evidence should all be relevant and reflect the facts about what actually happened.
If you are having a telephone hearing, you will have to present copies of your evidence to the Appeals Tribunal and to the opposing party prior to the day of the hearing. If you do not, the Referee may refuse to allow you to enter the evidence into the record.
When you receive the Notice of Hearing, look carefully at the date and time. If you note that there may be a scheduling conflict, contact the Appeals Tribunal immediately to request a rescheduling. You should be able to show a substantial and compelling reason to reschedule. The Referee may refuse your request.
If you need assistance for the hearing impaired or you need a translator, the Appeals Tribunal will secure that assistance. However, you must notify them in advance.
At the Unemployment Appeal Hearing
You will call in to the hearing at the scheduled time. If you cannot call in at that time, you should notify the Appeals Tribunal as soon as you are able. If you are significantly late, the Referee may conduct the hearing without you or let the original decision stand depending on whether you filed the appeal.
The Referee will swear in both parties and then explain the rules and procedures. Listen carefully, and try not to speak when others are speaking, especially the Referee.
The order of testimony is determined by the issue. If the issue is whether you quit for good cause, the claimant will go first, since you will have to prove you had a good cause to quit. If the issue is whether you were fired for misconduct, the employer will go first as they will have to prove whether you were fired for misconduct.
Both sides will present their testimony, evidence and witnesses. Both sides will have the opportunity to ask the other side about the testimony they present (“cross examination”). The Referee may ask questions of either party at any time. You will have a chance to make a closing statement at the end of the hearing.
The Referee will issue a decision based on the facts and application of the law. The Appeals Tribunal will mail this decision to you. If you disagree with the decision, you will have the opportunity to file an appeal with the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. The Referee’s decision will include instructions on how to file that appeal.
Learn the lingo used at the hearing to be fully prepared. Read this list of legal terminology.
Read past case outcomes to see how the Appeals Tribunal, Commission and Courts have held on cases like yours.