Claimant FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
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1. Who can file an appeal?
You or any of your former employers who are affected by
a decision of the Administrator can appeal from the denial or the award of
2. What happens once an appeal is filed?
It will be forwarded to the appropriate office of the
Appeals Division so that a hearing before an Appeals Referee may be
3. What happens if one of the parties doesn't attend the hearing?
If the party who appealed does not attend, the appeal
will probably be dismissed and the Administrator's decision will stay the
same. If the employer appealed and you fail to attend the hearing, the
Referee's decision may be based solely on the employer's testimony. If the
Referee rules in favor of the employer, you may have to repay all
unemployment compensation benefits which you received. Therefore, you must
attend the hearing unless a postponement is granted.
4. What should I do if I cannot attend the hearing?
Notify the Appeals Division immediately and request a
postponement. The telephone number of the Appeals Division is printed at the
top of the Notice of Hearing. Postponements are granted only for very good
reasons. Make sure that you notify the Appeals Division as soon as possible
before the hearing if you are unable to attend for any reason.
5. Do I need a lawyer?
Usually not. By carefully following the instructions in
this pamphlet, an unrepresented claimant should be able to gather the
necessary evidence. The Referee will assist you in presenting your case at
the hearing. However, you have the right to be represented by an attorney or
other representative of your choice. Free or reduced cost legal
representation may be available to qualified claimants. A list of free legal
services is provided in A Claimant's Guide to the Appeals Process
under the section "Free Legal
Services". You may also request a list of independent hearing
representatives by completing the web form at
www.ctdol.state.ct.us/appeals/HearingReps.htm If you hire a
representative, you are responsible for paying your representative's fee,
but you may ask the Appeals Division to determine the amount of the fee that
can be charged.
If you have other legal disputes with your
employer, such as arbitration, workers' compensation, or discrimination
cases, and are represented in those disputes, you should tell your attorney
or representative about your unemployment claim. Although an unemployment
compensation decision cannot be used against you in any other case, what
happens in your unemployment appeal may affect other disputes with your
6. How should I prepare for the hearing?
Start immediately to gather any papers that relate to
the issue such as correspondence from your employer, union contracts,
warning notices or medical statements. Also, be certain that any witnesses
who have direct knowledge of the events in question are available to
the hearing. Follow the instructions attached to the hearing notice:
send your paperwork to the Referee and the other parties before the hearing
and check in for the hearing in advance, providing the Referee with correct
phone numbers to call the witnesses.
If you plan to have a lawyer or other
representative, do so as soon as possible, so that your representative will
have time to prepare. Notify the Appeals Division of the name and address of
your representative so that person can be informed of hearings or other
proceedings. You must decide before the hearing whether you need
representation. You will not be given a new hearing just because you later
decide that you should have been represented.
It is your responsibility to present evidence and
testimony to prove your case. The Referee does not investigate or invite
witnesses for you. He or she will act on the basis of information in the
file and evidence and testimony presented at the hearing. The Referee will
not be able to consider evidence provided after the hearing.
The hearing before the Referee is the only chance that you
will have to tell your story. Be prepared to tell the Referee everything you
think is important and to present all witnesses and evidence at the hearing.
You will not be allowed another hearing to present evidence which you failed
to offer the first time unless you had good cause for your failure.
7. How will the hearing be conducted?
Hearings are informal. The Referee explains the
procedure and reads into the record the relevant information already on
file. This may include the fact finding report and all documents from the
first hearing at the American Job Center. You are not bound by the
statements in the fact finding report and will be given an opportunity to
present your version of the facts fully. However, if your testimony differs
from the fact finding statement, you should be prepared to explain why. All
parties and witnesses must testify under oath.
8. How will I know what to tell the Referee?
The Referee will ask questions designed to obtain the necessary information.
Listen carefully, and answer directly and plainly. Give complete and
accurate information, without bringing in unrelated issues. You will be
permitted to question the other parties and witnesses. Before the end of the
hearing, the Referee will give you an opportunity to add anything you feel
is important and to make a closing statement.
9. How will I be informed of the decision?
The Referee will mail a written decision to you, your
representative, and other interested parties and their agents, including the
Unemployment Compensation Department, as soon as possible. The decision will
explain your right of appeal if you are dissatisfied with the decision.
10. What can I do if the decision is not in my favor?
If you disagree with the Referee's decision, you can
appeal to the Employment Security Board of Review. If you have new or
additional information, you can write to the Referee and ask to have the
Usually, a motion to reopen will be granted
only if you have a good reason why you did not present the information the
first time. If you did not attend the Referee's hearing, the case will not
be reopened unless you prove to the Referee that you had a good reason for
not attending. If the case is reopened, another hearing will be held, if
needed. A new decision will be issued, which can also be appealed.
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State of Connecticut