Workers can sometimes be wrongly denied unemployment benefits, so most jurisdictions have an unemployment insurance appeal board. This board is responsible for reviewing the decision of an unemployment agency to see if an error has been committed. The board might do this by interviewing witnesses or reviewing employment records to make a determination. In some cases, a formal hearing might be conducted in front of a panel of judges from the appeal board. Once the process is complete, these judges may be responsible for issuing a statement of their findings, and should it be favorable the applicant is normally granted his or her unemployment benefits.
When a worker becomes unemployed, he or she typically applies for unemployment benefits by contacting the government agency overseeing this program. This normally involves filling out an application and providing documentation concerning the reason for becoming unemployed. Next, a benefits officer will review this information, and then apply local laws to determine an applicant's eligibility. In some cases, payment may be denied, or there may be a disagreement between the applicant and the benefits officer concerning the amount of money or length of eligibility. If this is the case, the matter is normally deferred to an unemployment appeal board to make sure that an individual is not being denied benefits he or she is entitled to.
Once an unemployment insurance appeal board is aware of a case, the members of that board normally review the information that is available to determine a course of action. In some cases, benefits may have been denied because certain information was missing or unavailable, so the board may ask the applicant to provide certain documents to prove their eligibility. Other times, an employer may give a different reason for terminating an employee than what was given on the initial application. This could mean the board might need to talk to other individuals to determine if there were extenuating circumstances that led to the worker's termination.
More complicated cases may require an unemployment insurance appeal board to conduct a hearing so that all parties can present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. If the parties involved are some distance from the agency, this hearing might be conducted by telephone. In the event there are several witnesses or a large amount of documentation to be presented, this hearing may need to be conducted in person. After hearing testimony and reviewing documents, the unemployment insurance appeal board normally renders a decision which is final unless local laws permit the decision to be challenged in a court of law.