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

Last Verified: January 2017

If your claim for benefits was denied, you have an opportunity to appeal the decision. Your letter of denial will state the reason why you were denied. If you feel the reasoning was unfair or incorrect here are the steps you need to take.

You can request a redetermination within 30 days of receiving your original determination. If after the redetermination you are unsatisfied you can file an appeal to the Michigan Administrative Hearing System.  You can use this form for your appeal: You may mail your appeals form to:

P.O. Box 124
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

You may also fax your appeal to 1-616-356-0739.

If you file an appeal after the 30-day period, the Administrative Law Judge will dismiss the case. If you realize you will be late, withdraw your initial appeal and request that the UIA reconsider the last decision. You will have a chance to show a good cause for the late appeal to the ALJ. If the ALJ finds you had a reason beyond your control for being late, the ALJ will schedule a hearing on the merits of your case.

If you have special needs, you must contact the Hearings Office immediately if:

  • You need a language interpreter
  • You need services for the hearing impaired

Preparing for the Hearing

You will receive a Notice of Hearing, informing you of the date, time and place of the hearing. The hearing may be held via telephone or in person. The notice will also contain important information about the rules, procedure and contact information for the parties who will appear.

Your former employer will have a right to appear at the hearing no matter what the issue since they bear the cost of the unemployment insurance through taxes.

Once you receive the notice, it is important to check for scheduling conflicts. If you have one, call the Hearings Office immediately. You will have to show a good cause to reschedule, and it will be up to the ALJ as to what is a good cause. Legal obligations, work obligations or health emergencies are usually good causes to reschedule. Vacations are not.


You have the right to representation at the hearing by an advocate. This can be an attorney or an independent advocate or even a friend. You may contact the Administrative Hearing Office at 1-800-638-3994 for more information about getting an advocate to represent you.

It is not necessary for anyone to represent you at the hearing. The process is less formal than a court trial and many are able to handle the hearings by themselves. The ALJs understand that the parties to the hearings are often not professional and act accordingly.

Evidence and Testimony

The hearing is your opportunity to submit evidence and testimony to support your case. You may present any relevant business documents, medical documents or audio/video evidence you need to prove your case.

If you plan to present evidence (called “exhibits” at the hearing), you will need to provide copies to the ALJ and the opposing party to the hearing prior to the start time. All parties have the right to see what evidence will be presented. You have that right as well.


You may have a witness or witnesses present. They should have first-hand knowledge of the events at issue. If they only heard about what happened, their testimony may not have influence on the ALJ’s decision.

If you believe a potential witness may be reluctant to testify, you can ask the ALJ to compell the witness to appear at the hearing. The ALJ may, if they believe it necessary, issue an order requiring their appearance. This order is called a subpoena. You must request the subpoena well in advance of the hearing date.

At the Hearing

Call in on time. Arrive early if the hearing is in person. If you are substantially late, the ALJ may not allow you to participate, or even believe that you are not going to appear. The hearing may go on without you, or the ALJ may decide to allow the UIA decision to stand.

The procedure will be similar to a trial you may have seen on television. The ALJ will swear in both parties, then explain the procedure to follow. You, your witnesses and the opposing party will be testifying under oath.

Both parties will present testimony and evidence. Both parties, as well as the ALJ, will have opportunities to ask questions about the other parties testimony.

The ALJ will issue a decision by mail after the hearing date. If you disagree with that decision, you will be able to appeal. You will find instructions on how to appeal included with the ALJ’s decision.


Learn about the Appeals process

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