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Appeals and Petitions

How to Submit an Appeal

If you disagree with a determination made by DWD, you can appeal. To appeal, you must write to DWD stating that you are appealing a determination. You can submit your appeal online, by mail, or by fax.

Submit your appeal:

Screenshot of example determination

DWD may have issued more than one determination that is not favorable to you. If you are appealing more than one determination, you must file a separate appeal of each determination.

Your appeal should be as specific as possible regarding the precise determination(s) you are appealing.

Each determination has its own appeal deadline. To be timely, your appeal must be received or postmarked by the last appeal date shown on the front of the determination. (See the highlighted box in the photo on the left.)

Information to Include in Your Appeal

  • Copy of the determination or the nine-digit determination number located in the upper left-hand corner of the front page of the determination.
  • Your name and Social Security number.
  • Name of business and actual worksite address.
  • Any dates and times when you and your witnesses are not available for a hearing.
  • Any special needs such as an interpreter or other accommodations.

This information may ONLY be used to appeal a UI determination.

This is NOT used for:

  • Computations
  • Tax determinations
  • Appeal Tribunal decisions
  • Labor and Industry Review Commission decisions
  • Court decisions (Circuit Court, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court)
  • Inquiries

Filing a Late Appeal

If the deadline for appealing a determination has passed and you still wish to appeal, you must file a request for a late appeal. An administrative law judge (ALJ) will decide whether you had good cause to file your appeal late. Good cause is generally a reason beyond your control. In your request, you must include the reason you filed your appeal late. The ALJ may issue a decision as to whether your late appeal was for a reason beyond your control based only on the explanation you provide in your request for a late appeal.

The Hearing Office may schedule a hearing to decide whether you had good cause to file your appeal late. The Hearing Office may also schedule a provisional hearing at the same time on the merits of your appeal. If an ALJ decides that you did not have good cause to file your appeal late, your appeal will be dismissed. If the ALJ finds that you did have good cause to file your appeal late, the ALJ may proceed to the merits of your appeal or order a new hearing to take testimony at a later date on the merits of the appeal.

Remaining Eligible During Your Appeal

While your appeal is pending you must continue to maintain your UI eligibility. This means that you must continue to search for work, complete a weekly claim, and report any money you earned during the claimed week while your appeal is pending. If the appeal is decided in your favor, you will only be paid for the weeks you met these requirements. See Maintaining Your UI Eligibility for more information.

The Appeal Process

Information about the appeal process follows. For frequently asked questions about the appeal process, please see the Appeal FAQ.

When to File an Appeal

When a decision is made about your eligibility for UI, DWD will send a determination to the claimant's mailing address on file with DWD. The determination will also be made available to you in the 'Determinations and Appeals' section of your claimant portal.

Screenshot with determinations and appeals highlighted

If you disagree with the determination issued, or any overpayments or penalties associated with the determination, you may request a hearing by filing an appeal.

Your employer can also appeal determinations that impact whether their UI account will be charged for your UI. If your employer appeals, you will receive documentation in the mail notifying you that they have appealed. If the determination your employer appealed allowed payment of UI to you, you will continue to receive UI while your employer's appeal is pending. If the determination that allowed payment of UI is reversed, you may be required to repay UI issued to you. Please see Overpayments for more information.

UI Hearings

A UI hearing is a legal proceeding where testimony is taken under oath by an administrative law judge (ALJ).

The proceeding is open to the public and is conducted to resolve issues about:

  • whether an employee is eligible for UI and/or
  • whether an employer's UI account will be charged for UI paid to the employee.

A hearing is different from the initial interview you may have participated in about your eligibility for UI. It is a more formal process, and the hearing is recorded so that a record of the entire hearing may be preserved.

The hearing will be your only opportunity to present documents and testimony as evidence in this case. Any future review of the case is based on the record made at the hearing.

At the hearing, the ALJ will review the testimony and exhibits they receive at the hearing, decide how the UI law applies to the facts of your case, and issue a written decision about your eligibility for UI.

You may have an attorney or agent represent you at administrative hearings conducted by DWD, but one is not required. Many merits represent themselves at hearings. Of more information, see the section on Legal Help for Appeal below.

Withdrawing a Hearing Request

Only the party who requested the hearing (the appellant) may withdraw their request. The appellant may withdraw their request for a hearing at any time during the appeal process online, by mail, by fax, or by calling the Hearing Office.

After receipt of a request to withdraw an appeal, no hearing will be conducted. The determination (the last decision made by DWD) remains in effect and becomes final, without any further appeal rights.

Scheduling the Hearing

hearings are scheduled by the Hearing Office. Hearing Office hours are from 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. The Hearing Office can be reached by calling 608-266-8010.

The hearing Office will schedule your hearing as soon as possible. This may be as soon as six days after you requested your hearing. However, there are times you will have to wait longer for a hearing.

The Hearing Office will attempt to accommodate your scheduling requests but cannot promise a specific date and time for a hearing. If you are filing the appeal, include any dates and/or times when you, your representatives, and/or your witnesses are not available for a hearing in your appeal letter. If you are the respondent, contact the Hearing Office with any scheduling conflicts immediately upon learning that a hearing will be scheduled. If possible, please do not wait until the hearing is scheduled to notify the Hearing Office of conflicts.

Postponements of scheduled hearings are generally not given unless you can show extraordinary circumstances that justify delaying the hearing. Once a hearing has been scheduled, merits are expected to make the necessary arrangements to attend, including taking time off from work, management duties, school, vacation, doctor's appointments, etc. Requests for postponements cannot be made in writing. You must call the hearing Office as soon as possible to discuss the particular facts that you believe require the postponement of the hearing.

Hearing Notice

The Hearing Office will mail you documents with information about your appeal. Notify the Hearing Office immediately of any changes of address and the identity of any individual you might ask to represent you during the hearing.

The Hearing Office will send you a Hearing Notice telling you:

  • the date and time of the hearing (all hearings are scheduled in Central Time),
  • the hearing location and how you are to participate (i.e., in-person or by telephone),
  • what issue(s) may be addressed at the hearing, and
  • important hearing messages, if needed.

Please read the entire Hearing Notice.

Telephone Hearings

Most hearings are scheduled by telephone for all participants. If your appeal is scheduled for a telephone hearing, you will receive a Telephone Hearing Instructions packet before the hearing. The documents contained in that packet may be used as exhibits at your hearing. Be sure to keep them in a safe place. You will need them at the time of the hearing.

If you have additional documents you want to be considered at the hearing, you must mail or fax one copy to the Hearing Office and to all participants. It is your responsibility to mail or fax your documents to all merits. If your additional documents are not received by the Hearing Office or merits at least 3 days prior to the date of the hearing, they may not be considered at the hearing.

If you need to present any medical evidence as part of your case, you may submit a medical report, UBC-474, rather than having a health care professional appear at the hearing as a witness. You may request the form or DWD may send you the form to have the health care professional complete. This report should be returned by the due date on the form.

You must provide the Hearing Office with the phone number at which you, your representative, and/or your witnesses can be contacted for the hearing. At the time of the hearing, the Hearing Office will place a call to you, your representative, and/or your witnesses at the number(s) you have provided. You and/or your witnesses cannot call in for your telephone hearing. You need to provide a number before the scheduled hearing start time, and you need to be able to be reached at that number.

If you have not heard from the administrative law judge (ALJ) within 10 minutes of the scheduled start of the hearing, call the Hearing Office at the number listed on the Hearing Notice. The Hearing Office will verify the number you can be reached at and do its best to notify you when the hearing can be expected to begin.

If there have been unforeseen delays in the hearing schedule, you are expected to wait up to 1 hour for your hearing to begin. As soon as practical, the ALJ will contact you about the delay.

Depending on the complexity of the issues involved, hearings typically last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes or more. It is rare, but possible, that a hearing will be continued, and require participation by the merits on more than one day. Make sure you and your witnesses are available for the entirety of the hearing.

Failing to Attend

If your appeal is scheduled for an in-person hearing, be sure to be on time. You should allow additional time to find the Hearing Office and to park and walk to the building. For an in-person hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) will wait 10 minutes for the appellant (the party requesting the hearing) to arrive before dismissing the appeal. The ALJ will proceed with the appeal if the respondent does not arrive within 10 minutes of the scheduled time.

Similarly, for a telephone hearing, if the appellant cannot be contacted within 10 minutes of the scheduled time, the appeal will be dismissed. The ALJ will proceed with the hearing if the respondent cannot be contacted within 10 minutes of the scheduled time.

Due to unforeseen delays, merits are expected to wait up to 1 hour from the scheduled time for the ALJ to start the in-person hearing or call for a telephone hearing.

If you do not attend your hearing, you must explain in writing why you did not appear. Your explanation should be mailed to the Hearing Office immediately. Make sure to provide the hearing number in your letter of explanation.

Your explanation for your failure to attend the hearing will be reviewed. A decision may made based on that written explanation only. The Hearing Office may also schedule a hearing to decide if you had good cause to not appear at the original hearing. Good cause is generally considered a reason beyond your control.

If you do not establish you had good cause to fail to attend the hearing, the ALJ will deny your request for another hearing. If you show you had good cause for failing to appear, the ALJ may proceed to a hearing on your eligibility for UI or order a new hearing to take testimony at a later date about your eligibility for UI.

The Hearing

The hearing will begin with the introduction of the administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ will control the hearing. It is the ALJ's job to gather all the information needed to make a complete record and make a decision about your eligibility for UI.

The ALJ will identify the persons at the hearing and will explain how the hearing will work. The ALJ will identify the determination(s) being appealed, define the issue(s) being considered on appeal, and may ask you to state your position.

The ALJ will decide the order of the witnesses who will give their testimony. testimony is taken under oath or affirmation, in order of burden of proof. The ALJ will ask questions of any witnesses who are necessary for purposes of developing a record. Each party has the right to question their own witnesses (direct examination), the other party's witnesses (cross-examination), and any DWD witnesses who might be called to testify. The ALJ will give you the opportunity to ask questions of each of the witnesses at the appropriate time. During the cross-examination, you are NOT permitted to make statements. You will not be allowed to argue or disrupt the hearing. You are only permitted to ask questions.

Each party will also have the opportunity to present documentary evidence. Documents and other evidence may be marked as exhibits, and, if those exhibits are received into evidence, the exhibits may be considered by the ALJ together with the testimony in making a decision.

It is important to present all your evidence at the hearing. After the merits have presented their evidence, the ALJ will close the hearing. Once the hearing is closed, the ALJ can no longer discuss the case with you or receive additional documents from you. The ALJ will issue a written decision based only on the evidence presented at the hearing. Information previously submitted to DWD, including any documents you submitted when you applied or interviews, will not be considered by the ALJ unless you appear and present it. Any further appeals will only involve review of the record made at the hearing. The hearing will be recorded. To make sure the recording is clear, speak loudly and clearly.

After the Hearing

The administrative law judge will review the testimony and the exhibits received at the hearing, decide how the UI law applies to the facts of your case, and issue a written decision about your eligibility for UI. The decision is usually issued within two weeks but may be delayed because of the complexity of the case. A copy of the decision is mailed to you and will be available on your Claimant portal.

If a determination denying benefits is reversed, it may take two to four weeks for UI to be paid. At the same time the outcome of your appeal is delivered to you, a copy of the decision is delivered to the unit that works to issue your payments.

The effect of that decision needs to be entered into the UI system; this may take one to two weeks to implement. You may contact the ccccant Assistance Line at (414) 910-3661 or toll-free (844) 910-3661 if this time period has elapsed and you still have not received payment.

Did you know?

DWD may have issued more than one determination or decision about your eligibility for UI. One determination or decision may be favorable to you, but a determination or decision with respect to a different issue may be unfavorable and result in the denial of benefits.

You will only receive payment of UI for the weeks you maintained your eligibility by continuing to search for work, filing a weekly claim, and reporting any wages you earned during the week claimed while your appeal was pending. If you do not file weekly claims while your appeal was pending and file late Claims after your appeal hearing, your UI may be delayed or denied.

If a determination allowing benefits is reversed, you may be required to repay the UI you have already received. If you were overpaid UI because of DWD's error, and you were not at fault for the overpayment, you may not have to repay the benefits. Please see Overpayments for more information.

Disagreeing with the Appeal Decision

If you disagree with the administrative law judge's decision about your appeal, you have 21 days from the date the decision is mailed to file a petition for review of the appeal outcome by the Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC). Your petition must be postmarked or received by LIRC within those 21 days. LIRC will accept faxed petitions at (608) 267-4409 and petitions filed online.

If your petition is timely, LIRC will review the evidence already presented at your appeal hearing to make a decision. Another hearing will not be held unless LIRC orders one. For further information, consult the LIRC website or contact LIRC at 608-266-9850.

Legal Help for Appeal

You are not required to have an attorney or agent represent you at administrative hearings conducted by DWD. Many merits represent themselves at hearings.

It is up to you to decide if you need an attorney. Generally, your hearing cannot be adjourned so you can get an attorney. You are expected to make arrangements for representation prior to your hearing date and to inform the Hearing Office of your attorney's contact information.

The factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to engage an attorney include the complexity of the case, number of witnesses, and costs.

If you choose to have a representative, you should know the following:

  • DWD will not provide or arrange for legal representation of the merits at the hearing.
  • No attorney or agent may charge a claimant more than 10% of the UI at issue in the administrative proceeding without prior approval by DWD.
  • No attorney whose license is suspended or who has been otherwise disbarred and prohibited from practicing law by the courts or bar association of any state may be allowed to act as a representative at the hearing.

If you choose to be represented by an attorney, please ask them to notify the Hearing Office as soon as possible. The Hearing Office will not allow your representative to examine your case file prior to the hearing unless it receives a written letter of representation (retainer letter).

Free legal help is available to assist you with your appeal. For more information, please visit the Legal Help for Appeal page or the flyer.