Colorado Appeals Process – What Happens When you’re Denied Benefits?
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If the Colorado Department of Unemployment Insurance (DUI) denies your claim for unemployment insurance in CO, you may get a second chance to make your case. You have the right to appeal the decision to the DUI’s Unemployment Appeals Section (UAS).
When your appeal is processed, you will be able to participate in a fair and impartial hearing. A judge called a Hearing Officer (HO) will administer the hearing. There, you’ll have the right to present evidence and testimony to show why you should receive unemployment benefits.
How to Request an Appeal
When the DUI denies your claim, they will mail a Notice of Determination informing you of the denial and your right to appeal. You’ll have 20 calendar days from the mailing date of the appeal in which to file. You may file online at coworkforce.com or mail or fax a written request.
In your written appeal, you should include current contact information, your SSN, the number of the determination you’re appealing and any documents to support your argument, as well as the reason for the appeal. You must sign and date the written appeal.
Unemployment Appeals Section
PO Box 8988
Denver, CO 80201-8988
Fax to: 303-318-9248
Appeals are held by telephone primarily. However, the UAS may schedule an in-person hearing, or you may request one.
If you file your appeal after the 20 day period has expired, you will have to provide a written explanation as to why you filed late. Mail it to the address above. An HO will review your letter and decide whether to reschedule your appeal. You will have to show a “good cause” as to why you filed late. A “good cause” may be a substantial and compelling reason, or circumstances beyond your control.
Preparing for the Appeal
The UAS will mail a Notice of Hearing. This notice will inform you of the date and time (and place, if in-person) of the hearing. You’ll also receive a hearing packet with instructions and other important information that you should read carefully. The packet and notice will inform you of your rights.
When you receive the notice, you should note the date immediately and check for any scheduling problems. You can request a rescheduling; however, you will have to show a good cause to reschedule.
Your former employer will receive notice of the hearing if the hearing regards your separation from work. They will have the same rights as you do regarding the hearing.
You will have the right to have someone represent you at the hearing. You may hire a lawyer, ask a friend or ask a coworker. If you ask a friend or coworker, please note that they may not testify at the hearing.
Having someone represent you is often unnecessary. Many people represent themselves without problem.
Attorneys must follow certain rules regarding appearing at these administrative hearings, including certifying that they are licensed to practice in the state and having their fee approved. The UAS will neither pay attorney fees nor help you find a lawyer.
You have the right to have a witness testify on your behalf. The witnesses should have first-hand knowledge of the circumstances of your separation from work (or of the issue at the hearing).
You have the right to present physical evidence at the hearing, such as business documents or medical evidence. Certain types of evidence must be verified by the person who created the document. Audio evidence may need to be verified by the person in the recording. The HO may accept unverified evidence but may give it less weight, or the HO may not allow unverified evidence to be entered into the record.
Some witnesses may not want to appear at the hearing. Someone may be reluctant to provide you with a copy of evidence you need to prove your case. If this is the case, you may ask the HO to issue a subpoena. This order will compel a witness to appear or produce evidence. You must request the subpoena in writing, and include:
- The contact information for the person you wish to subpoena
- Why you believe the person or documents are important or relevant or both
Make your request as soon as possible so that the HO has enough time to issue the subpoena and the target of the order has enough time to respond.
If you need assistance, like a language translator, TTY assistance or other accommodations, the UAS will provide it for you. You should make your request as soon as possible. You may not provide your own language translator.
Collect all your evidence, witness testimony and plan your argument. Use logic and facts to build your case and give thought to what you want to say at the hearing.
At the Hearing
Call in at the time specified on the notice if you have a telephone hearing. Arrive at least 15 minutes early if you have an in-person hearing.
If you are going to be late, notify the UAS or the HO immediately. If you are going to be significantly late, you may want to request to reschedule the hearing. Making such a request on the day of the hearing will require a substantial showing of good cause to reschedule.
If you miss the hearing entirely, and you filed the appeal, the HO will dismiss the appeal. You will have to request a reopening (a new hearing) and show a substantial and compelling reason why you missed the original hearing.
The HO will take sworn testimony from both parties (you and your former employer). Both parties will have the opportunity to present testimony, including presenting witnesses and evidence. Both parties will have the opportunity to question the other party about the testimony presented.
The HO may question either party at any time during the hearings.
Both parties will have the opportunity to present a closing statement at the end.
The HO will issue a decision on the hearing several days after the hearing date. If you disagree with the HO’s decision, you may appeal the decision to the Industrial Claims Appeals Office. The HO will include instructions on how to file this appeal with their decision.
Colorado Division of Unemployment Insurance Appeals | 303-318-9299 | 1-800-405-2338 | Fax 303-318-9248
A dated, yet thorough, guide on the appeals process
A reference library that includes decisions from the Industrial Claims Appeals Office