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

Last Verified: January 2017

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance law includes a provision that allows anyone denied benefits to appeal any decision. An Unemployment Hearing Judge will hold an impartial hearing with all affected parties allowed to participate. So your former employer will receive notice of the hearing and have the right to participate.

You may file an appeal online, by fax, mail or telephone.

Fax: 651-205-4007
Mail: P.O. Box 4629, St. Paul, MN 55101-4629

When you file by fax or mail, include the following information in your appeal:

  • Indicate who is filing the appeal.
  • State the reason for the appeal.
  • Include the Issue ID (found on your notice).
  • Include Social Security number.

The judge will hold the hearing over the telephone unless unusual circumstances exist. The judge will determine whether circumstances warrant an in-person hearing. The kinds of things that could trigger an in-person hearing include:

  • A participant requires a sign interpreter or reader and one is not available to be with the participant at the time of the hearing.
  • The number of participants is so large that placing telephone calls to the required locations is not practical.
  • A videotape or other visual medium is significant evidence to be presented at the hearing and all parties to the hearing do not have the equipment necessary to view the evidence prior to the hearing.
  • There is physical evidence that cannot be copied or photographed and provided to the other party.
  • Other factors which would make a telephone hearing impractical.

You may also request an in-person hearing, but must do so within 10 days of the scheduled date of the telephone hearing.

The judge will hold in-person hearings at the office of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in downtown St. Paul

Preparing for the Appeal

You will receive instructions regarding the telephone hearing. You will be able to utilize the Self-Service system online to make preparation for the appeal easier.

You have the right to be represented at the hearing. You can have a friend or hire an attorney, but it is not necessary. The state will not provide a lawyer for you. There are free legal services available.


You have the right to present testimony, including evidence and witnesses at the hearing. Consider the argument you will make at the hearing to show why the state should have approved your claim. Gather supporting evidence that is relevant to making that point alone.

You may present relevant business documents (e.g. time sheets), official medical documents, and audio or video evidence to present. Your former employer will have the right to see your evidence and you will have the right to see theirs, so both parties must provide the other party copies of their evidence in advance. The judge needs to see the evidence as well.

You must fax or mail copies of your evidence to the Appeals Office no later than five days before the hearing date.

You can ask a witness to testify about what happened that led to your discharge. That witness must have first-hand knowledge about the events. A witness who has only heard about what happened will not help your case.

If there are witnesses you believe will be reluctant to testify, you may request that the judge issue a subpoena to require their presence at the hearing. In Minnesota, you will request a subpoena during the hearing. If the judge deems it necessary to hear the witness testimony, the judge will call a recess and reschedule the hearing for a later date.

What Happens During the Hearing

It is important to arrive on time for the hearing, or call in at the exact scheduled start time. If you are significantly late, the judge may determine that you will not appear. If you filed the appeal and don’t show up, the judge may conclude the hearing. If you did not file the appeal and don’t show up, the hearing may continue without your participation.

The judge will swear in both parties to the hearing and provide instructions on how the hearing will proceed. The judge may swear in any witnesses at this point or wait until they provide testimony.

The party with the burden of proof will go first. If the issue is whether you quit with good cause, you will go first. If the issue is whether you were fired for misconduct, your former employer will go first.

Both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence. The judge will ask questions to elicit testimony and allow both parties a chance to speak. Each party will have the opportunity to ask the other party about their testimony and question their witnesses. Both parties will have a chance to make a closing statement at the end of the hearing.

The judge will issue a decision by mail after the hearing. If you disagree with the decision, you will have the opportunity to appeal that decision to another body. The instructions for this appeal will be included in the judge’s decision.

Other Resources

Read the Appeals Guide to learn more about filing an appeal

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