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Connecticut Unemployment Appeal


Connecticut Unemployment Benefits

If you are denied Connecticut unemployment insurance and believe that the Connecticut Department of Labor made a mistake, you have the right to appeal the decision and request a hearing before the appeals division.

How to appeal Connecticut unemployment benefit denial

When appealing your denial of benefits, it is important to file within 21 calendar days from the date you received the letter stating your benefits were denied.

There are four ways you can file your appeal:

  1. Complete the appeal form online.
  2. Visit an American Job Center office to receive assistance in filing your appeal.
  3. Fill out an appeal form in person at one of the following appeals division offices:
    645 South Main St, Middletown, CT 06457
    249 Thomaston Av, Waterbury, CT 06702
  4. Write a letter explaining why you are appealing and send it to the following address:

      Appeals Division
      CT Department of Labor
      200 Folly Brook Blvd
      Wethersfield, CT 06109

      Information to include

      When composing your appeal letter, it is important to include the following details:

      • Decision letter mailing date
      • Your Social Security number
      • Your name
      • Your contact information (address, phone number)
      • Whether you need an interpreter
      • Employer information
        • Employer registration number
        • Business name
        • Address
      • Why you disagree with the department’s decision

      What if I file a late appeal?

      If you miss the 21-day deadline, the appeals referee cannot legally consider your case unless you have a valid reason for filing late.

      A valid reason for filing a late unemployment appeal in Connecticut could be a significant and unavoidable circumstance that prevented you from submitting the appeal within the designated time frame. This could include situations such as severe illness, hospitalization, the death of a close family member, or any other genuinely compelling situation that made it impossible to meet the original deadline.

      You must provide supporting documentation or evidence to prove the reason for the delay when filing a late unemployment appeal.

      Connecticut unemployment appeals hearings

      The hearing gives you an opportunity to explain why you believe you should be granted unemployment benefits or receive a higher weekly benefit amount.

      It’s important to come prepared and share all the relevant details with the appeal referee overseeing the hearing, including any evidence or testimonies from witnesses that support your case. Generally, individuals are not granted a second hearing to present additional evidence.

      The referee plays a crucial role in determining whether a decision regarding unemployment compensation benefits should be adjusted. They carefully review and assess the evidence presented, actively engage in questioning, and ultimately make a judgment regarding your eligibility for unemployment benefits or the possibility of receiving a higher amount.

      Hearing process

      You will be sent a Notice of Hearing letter, which will provide you with important information, including the date and time of your hearing, as well as the specific matter that will be discussed. This letter will also be sent to any employers who are involved in the case, as well as the Unemployment Compensation Department.

      During the hearing, the referee will begin by asking everyone to introduce themselves. The referee will then explain the purpose of the hearing and present the evidence they have received.

      Next, it’s your turn to provide your own account of the events, present your evidence, and introduce your witnesses. The referee may ask you and your witnesses questions to gather more information. It’s important to listen attentively to their questions and respond honestly and clearly. Stick to the topic at hand and avoid bringing up unrelated issues.

      During the hearing, the claimant (you), their former employer, and all witnesses are required to testify under oath. It’s essential to maintain respectful behavior throughout the process and refrain from using threatening language or engaging in actions that are disruptive to department staff or other participants in the appeal.

      Before the hearing concludes, the referee will give you an opportunity to add any additional details and make a closing statement.

      Hearing decision

      Once the appeal referee has made a decision regarding your case, they will send a letter in the mail detailing their decision and the reasons behind it. This written decision letter will be distributed to all relevant parties, including yourself, your representative (if applicable), your previous employer, and the Unemployment Compensation Department.

      How do I prepare for my appeals hearing?

      You will want to do the following to prepare for your Connecticut unemployment appeals hearing:

      1. Review the written decision you received to understand why it was made and consider what information could potentially change it. Having solid evidence and credible first-hand witnesses can greatly impact the outcome.
      2. Start gathering useful evidence right away. This may include letters, emails, or texts from your employer (including any warning notices), union contracts, employee handbooks, medical records, Connecticut Human Rights Organization reports, workers’ compensation documents, rehabilitation records, police reports, your job application, and your employment contract. Also, collect timecards, time sheets, and financial records that can support your case. Remember to bring two copies of each item to your hearing.
      3. Reach out to people who witnessed any relevant events connected to your appeal and make sure they can attend the hearing. Eyewitnesses often provide strong evidence. Written statements from a witness may not carry as much weight since they cannot be questioned directly.
      4. Decide if you want to hire a lawyer or another representative. If you do, it’s important to do so as soon as possible to give them ample time to prepare. Inform the appeals division about your representative’s name and contact information so they can be contacted regarding your hearings or any other proceedings.
      5. Follow the instructions attached to the hearing notice when submitting your paperwork to the referee. You can send the referee a copy of your evidence, which will be considered in your case. Remember to include your name and case number, ensuring the items are correctly placed in your file. You should also mail a copy of your evidence to your employer and the unemployment benefits administrator.
      6. Inform your witnesses about the date, time, and location of the hearing as soon as you receive the information. The referee will not provide notice to your witnesses; it is your responsibility to ensure their presence at the hearing.

      Do I need a lawyer for my appeals hearing?

      Hiring a lawyer or other professional is generally not necessary for your appeal hearing. By following the process diligently, a claimant can represent themselves and gather the necessary evidence to support their case.

      During the appeal hearing, the referee will assist you in navigating the meeting and presenting evidence effectively.

      Do I need a subpoena to get my witnesses to attend the hearing?

      If you have a lawyer, they should be able to handle any subpoenas that may be required. However, if you don’t have an attorney and need a subpoena, it’s important to inform the appeals division right away. The referee will assess whether a subpoena is necessary and, if so, make the necessary arrangements for it to be delivered.

      What if I can’t attend the hearing?

      It is crucial to attend your appeal hearing; otherwise, you are likely to lose the case. In the event of an emergency that prevents your attendance, you will need to contact the appeals division as soon as possible to reschedule the hearing. If you can provide evidence of a valid reason, known as “good cause,” such as sudden illness, a car accident, or a personal emergency, you may be allowed to reschedule.

      To prove “good cause,” you can provide supporting documentation, such as a police report, a diagnosis and treatment report from a doctor or medical facility, or similar evidence. Reasons such as oversleeping, being in a job interview, having an unexpected appointment, forgetting, lack of reminder from someone, or misplacing the hearing notice are not considered “good cause” for missing the hearing.

      Collecting Connecticut unemployment benefits during the appeals process

      While your appeal is being reviewed, it’s essential to continue meeting the eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance. This means actively searching for employment, submitting your weekly claims, and reporting any earnings you earned during the week while your appeal is being reviewed. If the appeal is decided in your favor, you will only receive payment for the weeks in which you met these requirements.

      If you received benefits but your unemployment claim is later found to be ineligible, you will be required to repay the benefits you received. This is known as an overpayment. It is your responsibility to repay the overpaid amount. Failure to repay the overpayment can result in penalties, such as fines, and may even be considered CT unemployment fraud.

      Further UI appeals

      If you disagree with the decision made by the referee, you have the option to appeal to the Employment Security Board of Review. If you possess any new or additional information, you can write to the referee and request the case to be reopened.

      Typically, a motion to reopen will only be granted if you can provide a valid reason for not presenting the information during the initial hearing. If you miss the referee’s hearing, the case won’t be reopened unless you can prove to the referee that you had a legitimate reason for not attending. If the case is reopened, another hearing may be held if necessary, and a new decision will be issued, which can also be subject to appeal.

      The referee’s decision will provide instructions on how to further appeal or request a reopening of the case.

      The Board of Review will acknowledge your appeal and offer an opportunity for you to submit a written statement supporting your case. It is crucial to provide the board with all the reasons why you believe the referee’s decision was incorrect. The board will then review all the documents in the case file and listen to a recording of the referee’s hearing. A decision will be issued, either agreeing with, reversing, or modifying the referee’s decision. If the board determines that more information is necessary, the case may be sent back to the referee for a new hearing or to the Unemployment Compensation Department for further investigation and a new determination.

      If you are unsatisfied with the Board of Review’s decision, you have 30 calendar days to file a motion to reopen with the board or make a further appeal to the Connecticut Superior Court. The process for doing this will be explained in the board’s decision.

      Employer appeal rights

      Your previous employer can contest your eligibility for unemployment compensation. If they decide to challenge your request for benefits, you will need to participate in an appeals hearing and present evidence to support your position.

      If your employer’s appeal is successful and it is concluded that you are no longer qualified for benefits, it will be your responsibility to repay any benefits that you have already received.

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