Monday, April 5, 2010

UNEMPLOYMENT HEARINGS - PREPARATION FOR HEARINGS

Here are more comments on some of the statements made on the Appeals Board FAQ website on hearings. The next FAQ is as follows:

"What does the hearing mean to me?

The hearing is an informal trial. The judge decides after the hearing to grant or deny unemployment benefits to a claimant. If the judge decides in the claimant’s favor, any benefits due will be paid. If an employer asked for the hearing and the decision goes against the claimant, the claimant’s benefits will be stopped and it is possible any benefits the claimant has already received may have to be repaid."

In Nassau County, where I practice, the hearings are scheduled for one hour. That means a hearing may last for more than one day and rescheduling may take several weeks to a month. Usually, a decision in favor of a Claimant is issued promptly but it can take several weeks before benefits due will be paid. In any event, Claimants should continue to certify after they have been denied benefits (before, during and after the hearing)so that those unpaid benefits will also be paid if the judge decides in the Claimant's favor. The judge also has the option to expand the issues in a hearing. I was involved in one hearing on the issue of voluntary separation. After the Employer testified, the judge expanded the hearing to include the issue of misconduct. Although the Claimant was successful at the hearing, the Employer appealed and, until the Employer withdrew it's appeal, the whole process took almost 2 years.

In summary, what the hearing means to the Claimant is a decision on the issues raised in the Notice of Adverse Determination (subject to expansion) and, if the hearing is requested by the Employer, a decision on whether the Claimant will be entitled to continue to receive benefits and it is possible any benefits the Claimant has already received may have to be repaid.

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