How to Request an Unemployment Appeal

The unemployment insurance (UI) program enables eligible residents to obtain financial assistance after losing their jobs. One of the major components of UI eligibility is the reason for work separation. Unemployed applicants who are accepted into the program can feel less overwhelmed by the financial burden of job loss as they will be able to receive regular monetary benefits. 

If you are determined to be ineligible for the program, you will be denied and receive such notice in the mail. Additionally, it is important to be aware that is possible to receive more in benefits than you are entitled to. This is regarded as overpayment. In the case of either denial or overpayment, you have the right file an appeal. Read below to learn more about how to do so.

What is the unemployment insurance program?

The unemployment insurance program is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). However, individual states administer benefits and manage eligibility requirements. As a result, UI programs differ slightly among states.

While state governments have slightly different criteria, they still must follow federal UI guidelines. Each state program will differ in the amount that beneficiaries can receive from the program as well as the length of they can receive it for. 

Learn About UI Requirements

While qualifying criteria varies by state program, there are basic federal guidelines that you must meet when applying for UI benefits. For example, the reason that you became unemployed or underemployed cannot be caused by you. Moreover, you must have worked a certain amount and earned a set minimum income during that time. 

Additionally, you must have been working for a company rather than as self-employed or per contract. To find out the specific requirements in your state, contact your local unemployment insurance office.  

How to Apply 

To obtain an application, you must contact the unemployment compensation agency in your state once you are unemployed or become underemployed. Then, a representative will inform you of your application options such as:

  • Online.
  • In person.
  • By mail.
  • By telephone.

Depending on your state’s program, you may not be able to use all of these methods. However, you must make sure to apply for unemployment compensation in the state that you work in. You must do this even if you do not reside in that state.

The application will ask for your personal information including your name and residential address. Additionally, you will have to provide your Social Security Number (SSN). The UI application also has sections about your past employment. There, you will be asked to submit the names and addresses of each of your previous employers. The dates you worked for each employer and the reasons you left must also be included. 

When filling out your application form, you must make sure to do so as accurately as possible. Invalid or dishonest information may result in a delay of benefits. Even worse, you may be denied.  On the other hand, you may be awarded more benefits than you qualify for, which will result in overpayment. If you are given more than you are owed, you will have to repay your UI agency. 

What are UI Benefits?

Unemployment insurance benefits are administered by state unemployment offices but managed by the Department of Labor. Through this program, qualifying residents receive financial assistance for a period of time as long as they remain eligible for the duration they qualify for.

The monetary benefits are available temporarily to ease the burden of job loss. With financial assistance, beneficiaries can purchase food or use it toward housing or utility costs. However, recipients must be actively seeking work while they are receiving UI benefits. 

Moreover, it is important to understand that the payments for the UI program come from the taxes that employers are required to pay. It is not lawful for employers to charge their employees these taxes. 


In certain cases, UI beneficiaries are overpaid. Overpayment means that recipients received more benefits than they were entitled to. This can happen for numerous reasons. 

Often, overpayment occurs when residents make erroneous claims on their applications such as working longer than they really did. Other reasons for an overpayment include:

  • Failing to inform your UI office of changes in employment.
  • Receiving benefits while you are undergoing the appeal process then being denied.
  • A UI representative making a clerical error.

No matter the reason for overpayment, you will be responsible for returning the extra benefits that you received. You are still responsible even if the overpayment was not your fault. 

Reasons for Denial of UI Benefits

Many UI applicants are not granted benefits. Instead, they receive a notice of denial in the mail. The reason for the denial will be included in the notice. 

You can be denied unemployment compensation for a number of reasons. A common reason that applicants are denied is that they left their jobs voluntarily and without an acceptable cause. 

Additionally, unemployed applicants who are not able to work, such as when they are injured, are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Furthermore, refusing suitable work or making false claims on the application will also disqualify you from the program.

Learn About Requesting an Appeal 

If you are denied UI benefits but disagree with the decision, you have the right to file an appeal. Although an appeal does not guarantee that you will receive benefits, it can still allow you to plead your case. 

Instructions for beginning the appeals process are included in your notice of denial of benefits. The letter will also include a deadline for when you must submit your request. Because the process can vary between states, make sure to file your request in the same state you applied for benefits in.

Many states allow you to submit your appeal in one of several ways. For instance, you may be able to mail in your request or do it online. Some states only permit one method of submission so make sure that you follow your state’s guidelines.

After your UI office receives your appeal, it will schedule a hearing at which you can plead your case. You will be permitted to present evidence and reasons why you should be approved for the program. The decision of the hearing will be delivered to you by mail.