This site is privately owned and is not affiliated with any government agency.

Wisconsin Unemployment Appeal

Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits

If you have been denied unemployment insurance benefits in Wisconsin and you don’t agree with the Department of Workforce Development’s decision, you have the option to appeal it during a hearing with an administrative law judge.

How to appeal Wisconsin unemployment benefit denial

If you receive a Determination Letter saying that you do not qualify for benefits, you can appeal the decision by asking for a hearing with an administrative law judge.

You must file your appeal in writing. There are three ways to submit it: online, by mail, or by fax.

To appeal online, simply visit and log into the portal using the username and password you created when filing your initial application. Click the “Appeals” tab and then select “More Info.” Follow the prompts on the screen.

If you prefer to mail your appeal, you can do so by sending the written notice to:

UI Hearing Office
P.O. Box 7975
Madison, WI 53707

You can also fax your appeal to (608) 327-6498.

Deadlines for filing an unemployment appeal in Wisconsin vary based on the nature of the claim, so it’s very important to check your Determination Letter and submit the appeal before the last appeal date shown on the front of the letter. If you are appealing more than one determination, you will need to file a separate appeal for each.

Information to include

When writing your appeal letter, you must include the following information:

  • A copy of your determination letter or its nine-digit number (located on the upper left-hand corner of the page)
  • Your name and Social Security number
  • Name of your most-recent employer and worksite address
  • List of dates and times when you and any witnesses or representatives cannot attend a hearing
  • Any accommodations or special needs you may require, such as an interpreter or translator

What if I file a late appeal?

If you miss the deadline to appeal a decision but still want to appeal, you can request a late appeal. An administrative law judge will review your case to determine if you had a valid reason for filing the late appeal. A valid reason is typically something beyond your control, such as a hospitalization or jail sentence. When making the request, you must explain why you filed the appeal late. The judge will base their decision solely on the explanation you provide in your request for a late appeal.

The hearing office may schedule a hearing to assess whether you had a valid reason for the late appeal. They may also arrange a preliminary hearing to discuss the merits of your appeal. If the judge determines that you didn’t have a valid reason for the late appeal, your appeal will be dismissed. However, if the judge finds that you did have a valid reason, they may proceed with your appeal or schedule a new hearing for testimony at a later date.

Wisconsin unemployment appeals hearings

An unemployment appeals hearing is a legal event where an administrative law judge listens to sworn testimony. It is a public proceeding held to address whether an employee qualifies for unemployment insurance and whether an employer’s unemployment insurance account will be charged for the benefits paid to the employee.

The hearing office will schedule your hearing as soon as they can. In some cases, it may be scheduled as early as six days after you requested it. However, there may be times when you have to wait longer.

Hearing process

The hearing will start with the administrative law judge introducing themselves. The judge will be in charge of the hearing, and their role is to gather all the necessary information to make a decision about your eligibility for unemployment insurance.

The judge will identify everyone attending the hearing and explain how the hearing will proceed. They will specify the determination(s) that are being appealed, define the issue(s) being considered, and may ask you to state your position.

The judge will determine the order in which witnesses will give their testimony. Witnesses will be sworn in and asked questions in a specific order based on the burden of proof. The judge may also ask necessary questions to gather information. Each party has the right to question their own witnesses (direct examination), the other party’s witnesses (cross-examination), and any witnesses from the Department of Workforce Development if they are called to testify. You will have the opportunity to question the witnesses, when appropriate. However, during cross-examination, you are not allowed to make statements or disrupt the hearing. You can only ask questions.

Both parties will also have the chance to present documentary evidence. Documents and other evidence may be marked as exhibits, and if accepted as evidence, will be considered by the judge along with the testimony when making a decision.

It is important to present all your evidence during the hearing. Once both sides have presented their evidence, the judge will conclude the hearing. After the hearing is closed, the judge cannot discuss the case with you or accept additional documents.

The duration of hearings can vary depending on how complex the issues are. Usually, hearings last around thirty minutes to an hour, but more complex cases may last longer. While it is uncommon, there may be instances where a hearing needs to be continued and span across multiple days, requiring the parties involved to participate on different occasions.

Hearing decision

The judge will issue a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. Any information previously submitted to the department, including documents you provided during the application or interviews, will not be considered unless you present them during the hearing. Any further appeals will only involve reviewing the record created during the hearing. The hearing will be recorded, so it’s important to speak loudly and clearly to ensure a clear recording.

How do I prepare for my appeals hearing?

Before the hearing, you have the right to examine your case file. This can be done at the hearing office listed on the hearing notice. You can also request a copy of the materials in your file. To make arrangements for this review, you will need to contact the hearing office to schedule an appointment.

Please note that personnel at the hearing office cannot provide you with legal advice. However, they can explain the procedures of the hearing and the relevant laws that will be considered by the judge when making their decision. They are unable to advise you on strategies and tactics.

It might be helpful for you to write down any questions you want to ask the other party and important points you wish to make on your own behalf. For example, you could note down the dates of significant events or create a checklist of documents you intend to present.

Keep in mind that the purpose of your notes is solely to help you remember important information. You are not allowed to read them aloud as part of your testimony.

Preparing evidence

If the hearing is scheduled to take place over the telephone (even if only one party is participating by phone while the other is appearing in person), you will receive instructions on how to send documentary evidence to the appeal tribunal for consideration. These documents should be mailed to both the hearing office and the other party before the hearing.

If the hearing is in person and both parties will be present, it is usually not necessary to send documents in advance. However, there are two exceptions:

  1. Drug test evidence should be submitted in advance using a certified report form provided by the department. This allows the opposing party an opportunity to review and respond to the report.
  2. Medical evidence, prepared by a healthcare practitioner who has treated the employee, should be submitted well before the hearing using Form UCB-474. This allows for the preparation of expert labor market analyst testimony based on the information provided by the physician.

Form UCB-474 will also be sent to the employer before the hearing for review. This gives the employer the chance to either subpoena the treating healthcare practitioner or present their own medical evidence in response.

Do I need a lawyer for my appeals hearing?

You are not required to have a lawyer or representative at your appeal hearing. Many people represent themselves just fine.

It is your decision whether or not to hire an attorney. Generally, your hearing cannot be delayed to give you time to find a lawyer. It’s expected that you will make arrangements before your hearing and provide the hearing office with your attorney’s contact information.

When deciding whether to hire legal help, there are several factors you may want to consider, such as the complexity of your case, the number of witnesses involved, and the associated costs.

If you do decide to hire a representative, there are a few important things to know:

  • The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will not provide or arrange for legal representation for you at the hearing.
  • An attorney or representative cannot charge you more than 10% of the benefit amount in question for the administrative proceeding unless they receive prior approval from DWD.
  • Attorneys whose licenses are suspended or who have been disbarred/prohibited from practicing law are not allowed to act as representatives at the hearing.

If you choose to be represented by an attorney, you will need to ask them to notify the hearing office as soon as possible. Your representative will not be allowed to examine your case file before the hearing unless they provide a written letter of representation (retainer letter) to the hearing office.

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

You have the option to ask someone who has direct knowledge of the situation to appear as a witness at your hearing. If a witness is unwilling to attend, you can request a subpoena to legally require their presence.

Only the appeal tribunal or an attorney who officially represents one of the parties (meaning they have submitted a retainer letter) can issue a subpoena. Subpoenas can be requested for documents that are not in your possession or control.

If you have hired an attorney, you should contact them to discuss subpoenaing witnesses. Your attorney is expected to provide the hearing office with copies of any subpoenas issued for the hearing.

If you don’t have an attorney but want a witness to be subpoenaed, get in touch with the hearing office in charge of scheduling the hearing. When making the subpoena request, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name and address of the person you want to subpoena as a witness.
  • If specific documents are needed, provide a detailed description of the documents and the name and address of the person who has firsthand knowledge of those documents (custodian of records) whom you want to be subpoenaed.
  • Explain why that witness or record is crucial and relevant to your case.

The hearing office will then decide whether to grant your subpoena request.

If your request is not granted, no subpoena will be issued. However, you still have the right to ask the appeal tribunal to reconsider your subpoena request at the time of the hearing.

If your request is granted, the hearing office will prepare the subpoena form for you to serve. You will be responsible for any service costs that may apply. The subpoena fee is $16.00, and there may be additional travel expenses of 20 cents per mile for their journey to and from the hearing location.

An instruction sheet will be provided along with the subpoenas. During the hearing, you can request reimbursement for the subpoena fees from the appeal tribunal. However, please note that service fees are not reimbursable.

The appeal tribunal will consider factors such as the relevance, materiality, and avoidance of unnecessary repetition of the testimony when deciding whether to reimburse you for the subpoena expenses.

What if I can’t attend the hearing?

Staff at the hearing office will try their best to accommodate your scheduling preferences, but they cannot guarantee a specific date and time for the hearing. If you are the one filing the appeal, be sure to include any dates and times when you, your representatives, or your witnesses are unavailable for the hearing in your appeal letter. If you are the respondent (the other party involved), contact the hearing office immediately if you have any conflicts with the scheduled hearing. It is best to notify the hearing office of any conflicts before the hearing is scheduled, if possible.

Generally, postponements of scheduled administrative hearings are not granted unless you can show extraordinary circumstances that justify delaying the hearing. Once a hearing is scheduled, it is expected that you will make the necessary arrangements to attend, such as taking time off from work, school, or other commitments. If you believe there is good cause for a postponement, you must call the hearing office as soon as possible to discuss the specific circumstances and explain why the hearing should be postponed. Written requests for postponements cannot be accepted.

If you fail to attend your hearing, you must provide a written explanation for your absence. This explanation should be sent to the hearing office as soon as possible. You will need to include the hearing number in your letter.

The hearing office will review your written explanation for not attending the hearing. They may make a decision based solely on that written explanation. Alternatively, they may schedule another hearing to determine if you had a valid reason for not appearing at the original hearing. Generally, a valid reason is something that was beyond your control.

If you fail to prove that you had a valid reason for not attending the hearing, the administrative law judge will reject your request for another hearing. However, if you can demonstrate that you had a valid reason, the judge may proceed with a hearing to review your eligibility for unemployment insurance, or they may schedule a new hearing for a later date to gather testimony.

When do I find out the outcome of the hearing?

Once the hearing is complete, the judge and appeal tribunal will carefully assess the testimony and exhibits presented during the hearing. They will then determine how the unemployment insurance law applies to the specific facts of your case and provide a written decision.

Normally, the appeal tribunal decision is released within two weeks of the hearing. However, in more complex cases or situations that require further research, there may be delays. Both you and your representative (if you have one) will receive a copy of the decision.

Collecting Wisconsin unemployment benefits during the appeals process

While your appeal is being reviewed, it is important to keep meeting the eligibility criteria for unemployment insurance. This means you must continue actively searching for employment, submitting your weekly claims, and reporting any earnings you received during the claimed week while your appeal is under review. If the appeal ultimately rules in your favor, you will only receive payment for the weeks in which you fulfilled these requirements.

If you received benefits but your unemployment claim is later determined to be ineligible, you will need to return any benefits you received. This is called an overpayment. It is your responsibility to repay the overpaid amount. Failure to repay the overpayment could lead to penalties, such as fines, and may even be considered unemployment fraud.

Further UI appeals

If you disagree with the decision made by the administrative law judge regarding your appeal, you have 21 days from the date the decision is sent to you to file a petition for review. You can submit your petition to the Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission, either by mail or by fax. The commission also accepts petitions filed online.

If you submit your petition within the 21-day deadline, the Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission will review the evidence that was presented during your appeal hearing to make a decision. Usually, there won’t be another hearing unless the commission specifically requests one.

Employer Rights

Your former employer has the right to dispute your eligibility for unemployment compensation. If they decide to challenge your request for benefits, you will be required to attend a hearing and provide evidence to support your case.

If your employer succeeds in their appeal and it is determined that you are no longer eligible for benefits, you will be responsible for repaying any benefits you have already received.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *