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Unemployment Appeal Letter Sample

Updated : August 11th, 2022

Sample Appeal Letter For Unemployment Benefits

Letter Sample


To Whom it May Concern,

I, (insert your name), wish to appeal the claim determination (insert mail date of determination) denying unemployment benefits due to quitting without good cause, or for a discharge for misconduct (insert the actual issue as stated on the determination, to include also the section of law used for the denial).

My reason for my appealing is because I believe the denial referenced above is in error. I did quit with good cause, or the employer fired me for something a reason I do not believe was misconduct.

Please allow this letter to serve as my request for an unemployment appeal hearing, so I may offer additional information to dispute why I think a denial of benefits was incorrect.

Thank You,


Be sure to include:

  • Last four of your SSN, or a # required to help the dept. identify the claim being appealed.
  • Valid phone #
  • Correct address

Side note: Before writing, or sending an appeal letter, make at least heartfelt attempt, to obtain a copy of your state claim file. It’s the file you started when you applied for benefits and was added by the claim adjudicator, who also issued the denial.  A state file can include the claim interview notes, the employer’s initial protest on the notice of claim filed, sent to employers, as well as documents employers should submit with their initial protests, but don’t always manage to do.

How To Write an Appeal Letter

It would be nearly impossible for me to tell you how to write your own unemployment appeal letter, had I not had a job coordinating unemployment appeal hearings for thousands of employers in this country.

Any way you want to look at your unemployment claim file. I know those files helped me to help not just employers, but claimants looking for answers to questions about an “unknown factor” at play, which in turned helped me to know how to help prepare to represent themselves better .. or conversely, when a withdrawal of appeal might be the wise thing to do. It would be difficult for me to tell you how to write your own unemployment appeal letter, had I not had a job coordinating unemployment appeal hearings for thousands of employers in this country.

First, know that it’s the claim section of your state unemployment administrative law agency, that initially determines if you should collect unemployment, or be  denied unemployment benefits, based on the available information it gathered from the moment you applied under penalty of perjury for benefits, until the initial unemployment eligibility interviews with you, and your employer have concluded.

The claim department then issues it’s  initial non-monetary determination about who was at fault for the cause of your separation from an otherwise at-will employment relationship.

Should you, or the employer feel they have been aggrieved by this initial determination, this letter/determination provides a deadline and instruction on where to submit an appeal letter which puts into motion, the second phase of the unemployment process, where you can exercise your rights and reasoning for appealing in front of an ALJ, hearing officer, referee, examiner, or whatever a state may call the hearer of facts at a lower level (tribunal) unemployment appeal hearing.

This first hearing is usually the last hearing, in that it is the proceeding intended to fully develop the record of facts surrounding the cause and reasoning behind a claimant quitting an employer, or an employer firing an employee, which is probably why another name for a first level UI appeal hearing is a FULL FACT FINDER since the available information often falls short of establishing a full record of facts that may make the difference for the aggrieved party.

Now, to be clear, when I coordinated hearings for an unemployment claim management company, most appeal hearing notices that crossed my desk were filed by my employer, on behalf of it’s employer clients.

However, when a claimant was the one to appeal… I scoured those appeal letters for any kind of strategic advantage for the client too, and  not to find a reason for me to feel sorry for an unemployed person who clearly didn’t know what they should, or should not include in that letter .. given they knew little about how an unemployment appeal, or hearing might of been worked to their own advantage.

So here’s the thing I want all claimants reading this to know about writing an appeal letter.

When an unemployment hearing was being held on a claimant’s appeal, they frequently didn’t let me down as someone coordinating things for employers.  Instead, their appeal letter, that could of been written to minimally request their right for the opportunity of a full fact finder hearing, did more that simply disagree with the initial call about benefits in a claim determination letter.   It was not unusual for me to find clues, to how to prepare for the hearing, or if I was lucky, find an outright untenable argument I knew would become part of the hearing record .. before they even opened their mouth at the hearing .. and since any employer I was coordinating things for was also  represented by a professional hearing representative I’d contracted .. would naturally take advantage of that .. people lost hearings, they might of otherwise been able to argue on the actual merits I might of also seen.

Suffice it to say, I have had zero interest since 2009, in a claimant losing a winnable unemployment hearing, before the state unemployment appeal section before a hearing is docketed for somewhere about two, to four weeks down the road from the time the state send an acknowledgment, often with a copy of the appeal letters receipt, that manages to self-disqualify you from benefits .. all by itself.

But I do believe an employer, or employee should use their right to appeal .. because their case has merits, which can  then be used also, to prepare with the intent of winning a hearing, before a hearing.

To this end, I strongly recommend even a claimant be professionally represented, because they win more of those potentially winnable appeal hearings .. even if the unemployment hearing reps I work with now, still have to charge a fee to make a living.

I also understand unemployed people often can’t afford even less expensive coaching from a hearing rep to represent themselves, but  I beg of you .. please know who must meet the burden of proof for why you quit with good cause attributable to the employer, or what you may need to rebut so your employer can’t meet their burden to prove your guilt of misconduct connected to the work.  

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