Denied Unemployment? 4 Tips for Unemployment Appeals

Losing a job consistently ranks as one of life’s most stressful experiences. Even if you have some money saved, it’s going to run out eventually. Then how will you pay your bills and make the rent or mortgage payments?

As an employee, you can apply for unemployment compensation benefits, which are intended to sustain those who lost their job through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, a lot of deserving claimants receive denials of benefits. If being denied unemployment payments happens to you, don’t give up. Below is a list of four tips for unemployment appeals that can help you receive the benefits you need to keep your family going until you find work again. We are ready to help you learn how to win an unemployment appeal in TX.

Tip #1: Understand Why Your Claim Was Denied

There are several reasons why your Texas unemployment claim may be denied. For example:

  • You failed to meet the earnings requirements. In Texas, you must have earned wages in at least two of the four calendar quarters during the 12-month base period before you applied. In addition, your earnings during this base period must be at least 37 times your weekly benefit amount.
  • You were fired for misconduct. This includes intentionally failing to do your job, violating company policy, or breaking the law.
  • You quit your job. In Texas, you cannot receive unemployment benefits if you leave your job voluntarily and without a compelling reason.
  • You refused a suitable job when offered one. One condition of receiving benefits is that you must continue to look for work and rely on benefits only as short-term relief.

The document you receive from the Texas Workforce Commission will state why your claim was denied and provide information on how to appeal the decision.

A successful appeal will depend on the reason for the denial. If you didn’t earn enough during the base period, appealing an unemployment denial probably won’t be worth it. But if you voluntarily left your position because of unsafe working conditions, an appeal may be viable.

Tip #2: File Your Appeal on Time

You have up to 14 days to file an appeal with the Texas Workforce Commission Appeal Tribunal. Make sure that you explain why you believe you are entitled to benefits. For example, if the TWC letter states that your claim was denied because you quit your job, you could clarify that you left the position because a domestic violence situation made you feel unsafe there.

Tip #3: Keep Filing Benefits Claims

As your appeal progresses, keep filing your weekly unemployment benefits claims while you look for work. In other words, act as if your application received approval. If you win your appeal, you will receive benefits retroactively from the date your claim should have been granted, providing you followed the rules in the interim.

Tip #4: Hire an Unemployment Appeal Attorney

Work with a Texas employment law attorney who can help you overcome the objections to your original claim and win the benefits that you deserve. If your employer intends to refute your claim, they will likely have a lawyer at the hearing, so you should also have an experienced legal professional present to protect your rights. Your attorney will:

  • Help you collect, prepare, and present evidence
  • Question witnesses
  • Present a compelling legal argument for why you should receive unemployment benefits, which can increase your chances of approval the second time around.

How to Win an Unemployment Appeal in TX

After learning about the four tips for unemployment appeals listed here, you are ready to apply them and work toward how to win an unemployment appeal in TX. If the Appeal Tribunal decides that a hearing about your unemployment denial should occur, you will receive notice of the hearing. The Appeal Tribunal will set the time and date for the hearing, which typically takes place over the telephone. An officer with the Appeal Tribunal will oversee the telephone hearing.

Presenting Documents

Before the time of the appeal, our unemployment benefits appeal attorney will work with you to prepare your case. We will start by obtaining and preparing documents that show why the company laid you off or fired you. We need to collect documents that give you the best chance of winning your appeal.

If the company is arguing against your opportunity to receive benefits, we may need to present documents that show your work history through performance reviews you had during your time as an employee. These reviews can show that you did not have a history of misconduct, for example.

Presenting Witnesses

We also may choose to have former coworkers testify on your behalf. If the company laid off other people for the same reason at the same time as you, these former coworkers could testify during the appeal hearing to show that the company laid off other people too. It’s important for us to select witnesses who can back up your story and make a positive impression on the appeal hearing officer.

If your former employer also is presenting witnesses during the hearing, you have the right to question those witnesses. When you have our unemployment hearing attorney representing you during the hearing, we will perform the questioning of the witnesses for you.

Presenting the Final Arguments

After both sides present their evidence, the hearing officer will allow us to make a closing argument. This is an important final opportunity to make your case, and your unemployment benefits attorney can present the closing argument on your behalf.

Be Prepared for the Hearing

Importantly, you need to be on time and prepared for the hearing. If you are late for the hearing or if you don’t have your evidence and documents in order, leading to wasted time for the hearing officer, this could affect your ability to win your case. By having an unemployment attorney on your side, you will remain organized and prepared for the hearing.

Challenges in Appealing an Unemployment Denial

Multiple challenges in appealing an unemployment denial exist. Although you can attempt to go through the hearing process alone, having an attorney with experience on your side can remove some of the roadblocks when appealing an unemployment benefits denial.

  • Dispute over firing: Your employer may claim that you quit your job without a valid reason, meaning you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. On the other hand, you may claim the employer fired you before you had a chance to quit. This seems like a simple disagreement, but it can be one of the biggest challenges you need to overcome when appealing your denial of benefits.
  • Be respectful: When going through this hearing, you need to treat the appeals officer just as you would treat a judge. Be respectful, even when the questions are difficult to hear and when you believe the other side is not being truthful.
  • Bring facts: In our experience, too many employees use hearsay and second-hand testimony to try to prove their cases at the appeals hearing. You need first-hand witnesses to strengthen your case.
  • Use a quality phone: When going through an appeals hearing over the telephone, using a crackling cell phone with dogs barking in the background is going to harm your chances. The best idea is to participate in the hearing from your attorney’s offices on high-quality conference phones.
  • Backlog of cases: The appeals officer may have a backlog of cases that slows the appeals process significantly. It sometimes can take a few months to receive a hearing date and another few weeks to receive a judgment. That’s why it is important to continue following the rules for filing for unemployment, as we mentioned earlier, to give you a chance to collect back payments if you win your appeal.

How Often Do Employees Win Unemployment Appeals?

It’s difficult to find exact numbers on how often employees win unemployment appeals. The State of Texas does not publicize these statistics. Additionally, because each case has different circumstances related to it, having a blanket percentage of people who win hearings is not a particularly useful statistic. An employee seeking an unemployment benefit appeal who does not have the proper paperwork to prove the case is going to struggle. Others who can use facts and witness testimony to show why they deserve benefits are going to have a better chance of winning desirable judgments.

Ultimately, in our experience, those who prepare thoroughly will have a better chance of receiving a favorable outcome. Hiring an attorney who has experience dealing with unemployment appeal hearings and who knows what the appeals officer wants to see can go a long way toward giving you a better chance of an outcome in your favor.

Creating a Level Playing Field

If your former employer is strongly contesting your appeal and has a lawyer on hand, you will be at a disadvantage when you do not have your own lawyer. This could give you less of a chance of being an employee who wins an unemployment appeal. This is a serious matter, and if you want the best possible chance of winning your appeal, you need to do whatever it takes to try to win, including hiring your own representative.

We Will Fight for the Unemployment Benefits You Need

When you have worries about making ends meet until you find another job, our skilled and dedicated Texas employment lawyer can help you present a strong and cohesive case for the unemployment benefits you need. At the Amsberry Law Firm, we offer a no-obligation phone consultation to all new clients. If you receive a denial and need to appeal, call us right away at (210) 354-2244. We serve the San Antonio area and the surrounding counties.

Attorney Russell Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry founded the Amsberry Law Firm in 1995 with the goal of providing clients with exceptional, focused representation on their issues. His success as a legal advocate has been reflected in the numerous professional honors he has received, such as speaking engagements and inclusion in Scene in SA magazine’s listing of the best lawyers in San Antonio, a Distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubble, and an amazing rating from Avvo. [ Attorney Bio ]

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Amsberry Law Firm

The Amsberry Law Firm, founded in 1995, has helped thousands of clients overcome their unique legal challenges.

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