West Virginia Unemployment Appeal
When an application for WV unemployment benefits gets rejected, claimants have the right to file an appeal and protest the decision in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). However, claimants who left employment voluntarily or were let go because of disciplinary issues might not be eligible for these benefits.
If you feel confident that your separation from your employer was not your fault, yet you’ve been denied West Virginia unemployment benefits, you should file an appeal right away. You only have 8 days to appeal from the date of the Deputy’s Decision notice.
How to file an unemployment appeal in West Virginia
In West Virginia, there are three ways you can appeal an initial determination: By mail, fax, or in person.
- Appeal by mail: Follow the instructions in your determination letter. Mail your appeal request to the address of your nearest Workforce WV office.
- Appeal by fax: Fax your appeal letter to your local Workforce WV office
- Appeal in person: Submit your appeal letter in person at your nearest Workforce WV office.
Please follow the instructions in the Deputy’s Decision letter. It will include the best address and fax number based on where you live.
Keep filing weekly claims
During the entire appeal process, it’s essential that you maintain your ongoing eligibility. Keep filing your weekly claims, actively look for work, and document work search activities. Act as if your original application for benefits was approved. If the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decides in your favor, you can receive your benefits retroactively. However, if you didn’t file weekly claims, you will not be paid for those weeks.
After your appeal has been filed, the case will be forwarded to the Appeal Tribunal, which is the first level of the unemployment appeals process in West Virginia. At this point, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your case. The ALJ is an impartial decision-maker who will hear your side of the story, review any evidence, and then make a decision.
About the hearing
Most appeal hearings typically take place over the phone. However, either party can request an in-person hearing. If you wish for an in-person hearing, you must inform the Board of Review (BOR) at least 48 hours before your scheduled hearing begins.
Keep in mind, if you choose to request an in-person hearing, this could result in additional scheduling delays. Also, be aware that just because you ask to appear in person, it doesn’t mean that the other party is required to do the same.
If you’re the one who requests an in-person hearing, you’ll need to show up at the location you’ve selected for the hearing. Once an in-person hearing is scheduled based on your request, you won’t be able to change your mind and ask to appear by phone, unless there’s an emergency or the hearing gets postponed.
How to prepare for your WV unemployment hearing
Gather as much evidence as you can, including any witnesses who can speak at your hearing.
During this hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will gather testimony and other types of evidence from both you and your witnesses. The ALJ will explain the procedures for presenting your case. If you feel confused at any point during the hearing, don’t hesitate to ask the ALJ for help.
The decision of the ALJ will be based solely on the testimony and evidence provided during the hearing.
Throughout the hearing, each party has specific rights:
- You have the right to testify on your own behalf
- All testimonies are taken under oath and recorded
- You have the right to have relevant witnesses testify
- If a witness won’t voluntarily attend the hearing, they can be subpoenaed
- You have the right to present relevant documents as evidence
- You have the right to question the opposing parties and witnesses
- You have the right to examine all relevant documents submitted as evidence
- You have the right to be represented by an employment attorney or other representative who can provide legal advice
If you prefer, you can be represented by an attorney. Any attorney fees will be your responsibility. If you can’t afford an attorney, you might be able to get free or low-cost legal help from your local Bar Association or Legal Services Organization.
During the appeal hearing, both you, the claimant, and the employer will have an opportunity to present evidence, offer testimony, and question any witnesses. Be sure to bring all important documents that support your case. Examples could include emails that show you were laid off due to a labor dispute, or a lack of work, or even a letter from your employer acknowledging that you were not fired for misconduct.
Once the hearing is concluded, the ALJ will make a decision.
If you disagree with the first appeal
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Appeal Tribunal, you may appeal to the Board of Review. Submit your request within 8 days of the ALJ’s decision.
Mail or fax your request to:
Board of Review
5707 MacCorkle Avenue, SE
Suite 500, Room 104
Charleston, WV 25304
If you disagree with the Board of Review, you can file a third WV unemployment appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. At this point, you will need an attorney with experience in West Virginia law.
Keep filing your weekly claim
If you are ultimately found eligible for unemployment compensation, the UI benefits you are due will be paid retroactively – but only if you have been filing your weekly claim and meeting all other WV unemployment eligibility requirements during the appeals process.
It’s very important to continue your weekly certifications during the entire process so you don’t lose your unemployment insurance benefit.