What Is an Unemployment Insurance Appeal?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 September 2019
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An unemployment insurance appeal is a challenge to the decision of an unemployment agency to not award or suspend unemployment benefits to an individual as well as a challenge on the part of employers who object to a former employee's receiving these benefits. In countries that offer unemployment insurance, including the United States, the right to appeal a decision by an unemployment official is an important protection for those who have lost their jobs as well as employers. The process of filing an unemployment insurance appeal varies by jurisdiction, as does the appeals process. In the United States, each state sets its own unemployment insurance appeals process, and appellants can typically take their case to their state supreme court if necessary.

Unemployment compensation provides income to individuals who are no longer employed. This type of social insurance exists in many countries, and the standards for receiving benefits and filing appeals vary widely. In the United States, the federal government mandates unemployment insurance coverage, which is paid for by employers and, in some states, employees through taxes. State governments are charged with administering these programs in accordance with both state and federal laws and regulations. To qualify for these benefits, people who lost their jobs must be able to show that they are unemployed through no fault of their own and that they earned enough money during the time that they worked to participate in the program.


When an individual in the United States applies for unemployment insurance, his state unemployment office will notify his former employer. If the former employer believes that the employee is not entitled to unemployment insurance, it can file an objection. Employers typically protest the awarding of unemployment benefits in situations where the employee was fired for misconduct or simply quit his job. This is because employers may have to pay a higher tax rate when employees claim unemployment insurance. A state official will review the employer's objection and make a decision regarding the employee's benefits.

After the official informs both the former employer and the claimant of his decision, either party typically has a right to file an unemployment insurance appeal. In many states, the appeal process typically begins with a hearing conducted by an administrative law judge or referee. The hearing may be conducted over the phone or in person. If either party does not like the results of this hearing, they may be able to appeal to a higher authority, such as an unemployment commission. Eventually, the case may go to court, resulting in what may be a protracted legal battle between the parties.


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