Unemployment Benefit Appeals in West Virginia
If the West Virginia Department of Commerce denies your claim for unemployment benefits in WV, you have the right to appeal for virtually any reason. You will be able to argue your case, with or without the help of a representative, in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the offices of Workforce West Virginia’s Board of Review. You’ll be able to present testimony, evidence, and have witnesses testify on your behalf. If your appeal is successful, the ALJ may overturn the Deputy’s Decision that denied your benefit claim.
How to File Unemployment Benefit Appeals in WV
When Workforce WV denies your benefit claim, you’ll receive a Deputy’s Decision, a notice to inform you of the denial. The notice will contain information on how to appeal the decision.
If you plan to appeal, you must act immediately. You will have eight calendar days in which to file your appeal.
You must file your appeal in writing. You can pick up a pre-printed form at your local Workforce WV office, or you can write out your appeal. If you chose a hand-written appeal, you must include the following information:
- Your claimant information or social security number
- The date of the appeal
- A short statement of your intent to appeal the Deputy’s Decision
You must sign your appeal! Don’t forget to continue to certify a claim each week!
The mailing address for the Board:
Unemployment Compensation Board of Review
112 California Avenue
Charleston, WV 25305
304-558-2636 or 800-635-0189
Preparing for the Appeal
The Board of Review will mail a Notice of Hearing when they have processed your appeal. The notice will inform you of the date, time and place of the hearing.
The Board may schedule a telephone hearing for you. The telephone hearing will include you, the ALJ and the opposing party (if there is one) on a conference call.
The Board will notify your former employer of the hearing if the issue involves your separation from work. Your former employer will have the right to appear at the hearing and provide testimony.
Once you receive the notice, read it and any included information carefully. If you realize that you have a scheduling conflict, you should call the Board immediately. You should be able to show a good cause as to why the hearing needs to be rescheduled.
If you file an appeal, but miss the hearing, the ALJ will dismiss your case and the Deputy’s Decision will stand. If your former employer appeals an award of benefits and you miss the hearing, the hearing will go on without you.
The hearing itself will be a quasi-judicial proceeding. That means it will be like a court trial, but less formal. You will still have to conduct yourself as if you were in court before a trial judge. So then, you will need to prepare a solid, fact-based argument and treat the judge and your opponent with respect.
You may exercise various rights to help you make the best case possible.
You may have an attorney represent you at the hearing or a designated agent or friend. Many represent themselves at hearings without difficulty. If you choose to hire a lawyer, there are rules regarding what a lawyer may charge you. So your attorney will have to file some paperwork with the Board prior to the hearing.
If you want to have someone testify at the hearing, they should be prepared to testify as to the facts regarding your separation from work (if that is the issue of your appeal). They should have first-hand knowledge about what happened. Character witnesses do not usually provide helpful testimony unless your character is at issue.
You may present relevant documents that can help prove your case. You can present paperwork regularly produced in the course of business, like time sheets or notices from your supervisor. Other written evidence should be presented if you can have the person who created the document present at the hearing.
There may be a witness you want to testify, but is reluctant to appear. Someone may be holding documents you need to make your case, but won’t give them to you. In these cases, you may ask the ALJ to issue a subpoena. The subpoena will compel the witness to appear or to produce evidence.
You must request the subpoena in writing. You must give the ALJ enough time to properly serve the subpoena by making the request ASAP. You should be able to show why the subject of the request is important to your case.
The ALJ can decide to deny your request. You should note that you requested a subpoena for certain evidence or witnesses during your hearing if this happens. The instance will be on the record if you have to appeal the ALJ’s decision.
At the Hearing
The ALJ will conduct the hearing in a similar fashion to a court trial. The procedure is less formal, however. You will be sworn in and receive instructions. Both parties to the hearing will present their testimony, evidence and witnesses under oath. Both parties will be able to “cross examine” the other party’s testimony and witnesses. Both parties may make closing statements.
The ALJ will make a decision based on the facts as he or she determines them during the trial and the application of the law to those facts. The ALJ will issue a decision by mail after the hearing. If you disagree with the decision, you may appeal to the Board of Review. The instructions on how to file the appeal will be included in the ALJ’s decision.