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Arizona Appeals Process – What Happens When you’re Denied Benefits?

Our goal is to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information about your state’s unemployment rules. The date you see here reflects the most recent time we’ve verified this information with your state’s department.

If the Arizona Department of Economic Security finds that you are ineligible to receive benefits, you have the right to appeal their decision. If the state denies your claim, you will receive a letter called a Determination of Deputy to inform you of the reasons why. You will have 15 calendar days from the mailing date on this letter to file your appeal.

At your appeal hearing you will have the right to present evidence and testify as to why you believe the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) should reverse the DES’ decision. You’ll present that evidence in a hearing similar to a court trial. As long as you follow proper procedure and prepare well, filing an unemployment appeal is simpler than it may seem.

How to File an Unemployment Appeal in AZ

You may file an appeal online, in person, by fax or mail. You must file it in writing (making sure you sign the document) or use a form. File your appeal as soon as you are able. You do not need to make your case in the filing, just explain why you wish to appeal the determination briefly.

Once the Office of Appeals (OA) has processed the filing, the office will mail a Notice of Hearing. Appeals are held over the phone or in person. You may request an in-person hearing, useful in certain circumstances. The OA may determine you must have an in-person hearing.

The Notice will contain the date, time and/or place of the hearing. Make note of the date and time. If you have a scheduling conflict, you must notify the ALJ as soon as possible and request a rescheduling. The ALJ will only reschedule hearings for a substantial and compelling reason. Legal obligations, like jury duty or beginning a new job may be acceptable reasons to reschedule.

Your employer will receive notice of the appeal no matter the issue. They will have the right to appear and present testimony.

Preparing for the Unemployment Appeal

You have rights similar to those you have in a court trial. Exercising these rights will help you present the best case to the ALJ.


You have the right to have someone represent you at the hearing. You may hire a lawyer, ask a friend, or represent yourself. Many people are able to represent themselves without difficulty. The ALJ understands that people representing themselves and will at accordingly without sacrificing impartiality.

If you ask a friend to represent you, be aware that they may not offer testimony on your behalf. If they have first-hand knowledge about the issue at the hearing, ask them to be a witness instead.

You can get legal help from Legal Aid offices in your area. The DES or the OA will not help you get legal assistance.


You have the right to have witnesses present to testify on your behalf. These witnesses must have first-hand knowledge of the circumstances of your separation from work. Unless your character is at issue, which is rare in unemployment appeal hearings, character witness testimony is not helpful.

Try to limit the witnesses you call. Three people may not need to give the same testimony about an event.


You have the right to present any properly entered, relevant evidence. You can present business documents, like time sheets or disciplinary warnings. Written evidence, or evidence not generally produced in the course of business, may need to be verified by the person who created the document. So then, that person would need to appear at the hearing. You may also present medical records if necessary.

If the hearing is by phone, the ALJ and the opposing party must have copies of any evidence you will present. It is up to you to provide copies to the opposing party. The ALJ may not allow evidence the opposing party has not seen.


Some witnesses may be reluctant to appear at the hearing if you ask them. Some people may not wish to have certain documents used to prove your case. If you think this situation fits you, you may ask the ALJ to issue a subpoena. The subpoena will compel a witness to appear or to produce a document. The ALJ will determine whether the subpoena is necessary. You must give the ALJ sufficient time to review the matter and issue the subpoena, so contact the OA as soon as possible.

Special Needs

If you need a language translator, disability access or help for the hearing impaired, the OA will provide them for you. However, you must notify them prior to the hearing date.

Gather your evidence and witnesses and make a logical, fact-based argument as to why the ALJ should reverse the decision of the Deputy.

At the Unemployment Appeal

If you have a telephone hearing, you must register your plan to participate with the OA. You may do this online, in person or by telephone. You may register as soon as 24-hours before the start time, but not before, and no later than 15 minutes prior to the hearing.

If you do not register, the ALJ may determine that you do not plan to participate. If you filed the appeal and don’t register or don’t appear, the ALJ will dismiss your case. If your employer filed the appeal, the hearing will go on without your input. You will have to request a reopening of your case and show good cause why you missed the hearing.

You will give testimony under oath. The ALJ will administer the oath and then give instructions. If the issue is whether you quit for good cause, you go first. If the issue is whether you were fired for misconduct, your employer will go first.

Both parties will have the opportunity to present testimony and to question the opposing party about the testimony presented. The ALJ may ask questions at any time, and may help the hearing move along smoothly by asking questions of each party. Both parties will have the opportunity to make a closing statement.

The ALJ will issue a decision several days after the hearing has completed. The ALJ may affirm the Deputy’s determination, modify it, reverse it, or send the case back to the DES for further review.

If you disagree with the decision, you may appeal to the Board of Review. The ALJ’s decision will provide instructions on how to appeal.

Contact Information

Appeals Board

  • Phone: (602) 771-9036
  • Fax:(602) 257-7054
  • Mail: 1951 W. CamelbackRoad
    Suite 465
    Phoenix, AZ 85015

Appellate Services Administration

  • Phone: (602) 771-9019
  • Fax: (602) 257-7053
  • Mail: 1951 W. Camelback Road
    Suite 400
    Mail Drop: 1721
    Phoenix, AZ 85015

Office of Appeals-Phoenix

  • Phone: (602) 771-9019
  • Fax: (602) 257-7056
  • Mail: 1951 W. Camelback Road
    Suite 400
    Phoenix, AZ 85015

Office of Appeals-Tucson

  • Phone: (520) 629-0211
  • Fax: (602) 257-7057
  • Mail: 333 W. Fort Lowell Road
    Suite 220
    Tucson, AZ 85705

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