Unemployment Compensation (UC)
Filing an Appeal
Through the Unemployment Compensation Project, a program sponsored by law students at the University of Pennsylvania, individuals denied unemployment compensation can get help with their appeals. The students discuss and prepare their cases, and represent them at their referee hearings.
The unemployment compensation system is designed to ease the transition period from one job to another when a worker loses a job through "no fault of his/her own." Workers and their employers pay taxes into the unemployment compensation system to support unemployment benefits.
If you are denied UC benefits by the Office of Employment Security (OES), and you disagree with the decision, you may file an appeal. YOU HAVE 15 DAYS FROM THE DATE ON THE NOTICE OF DETERMINATION TO FILE AN APPEAL. Either the claimant or the employer may appeal the decision. If you file an appeal after the 15 day time period, the referee will only hear the reasons for the late appeal. The only excuses that are generally accepted by the referee are fraud or negligence on the part of the OES or another unrelated party (not you or the employer). If your appeal is late and you do not have a good reason for it being late, such as a sudden emergency, the referee will not listen to the merits of your claim.
If you wish to appeal a decision you should fill out the "Petition for Appeal" which will be mailed to you along with the Notice of Financial Determination. All you have to put down as the reason for appealing is that you disagree with the decision of the OES. While waiting for a decision on your appeal, you still must continue to call PAT to register for benefits. If you are found to be eligible after the appeal process is completed, you will receive those checks for the weeks that you registered with PAT.
When you file an appeal your case is assigned to a referee who will conduct a hearing to determine the merits of the appeal.
About two weeks after you file an appeal you should receive a "Notice of Hearing on Original Appeal". The name of the referee and the time and location of the hearing will be included in this Notice. When you receive this notice you or your representative should go to the referee's office and examine your case file before the hearing. The file will contain all the documents the referee plans to use, including the statement your employer made concerning your reasons for leaving work. It is critical that you attend the hearing regardless of who files the appeal. If you do not appear for the hearing, you risk losing without getting an opportunity to present your side of the story. You have to be present to explain to the referee the circumstances under which you lost your job since this is the only stage where you will be given an opportunity to present your case. At the referee hearing, you have the right to be represented by an attorney or other counsel. Representation may greatly improve your chances of winning and is suggested.
After several weeks, all parties are notified by mail of the referee's decision. If you decide to appeal a negative response from the referee hearing, your appeal will go to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in Harrisburg. Instructions for filing an appeal to the Board should be included with your notice of the Referee's Decision. The Board of Review will make a determination based on testimony given at the referee hearing. No new evidence or testimony will be considered by the Board. Therefore, it is extremely important that you appear at the referee hearing to present your case.
Unemployment Compensation Project
The Unemployment Compensation Project (UCP), a public service program of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, offers representation for UC hearings at no charge. Students from the University of Pennsylvania Law School review cases and offer advice and representation at referee hearings and occasionally, appeals to the Board of Review. In order to obtain representation from the UCP or a counselor from UIC, a sufficient amount of time is required to give the representative adequate opportunity to prepare for your case. If you think you might want representation, please call (215) 557-0822 as soon as you receive the Notice of Hearing for your referee hearing. This service is free of charge. We encourage you to be represented when you go to a referee hearing.
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