If the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) denies your claim for unemployment benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision. You may continue to appeal until you take your case to court; however, first you must engage in several administrative appeals. It is at the administrative level where most cases are decided, so it is important that you understand the process of requesting the appeal and being adequately prepared to prove your point.
Filing an Unemployment Appeal in Ohio
Requesting a Redetermination
If the ODJFS denies benefits, they will mail you a notice of determination stating the reasons for the denial. You will have 21 calendar days from the mailing date of the notice to request a redetermination of your claim. You must request a redetermination in writing or online at www.unemployment.ohio.gov
- You must include the following information:
- The date and ID number for the notice you are appealing
- Your social security number and current contact information
- A statement regarding the reason you believe you should qualify for benefits
- Any evidence to support your claim
You may file your appeal online at www.unemployment.ohio.gov between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., by faxing your appeal to 614-466-8392, or by mail to this address:
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director
Bureau of Unemployment Compensation Benefits
P.O. Box 182863
Columbus, OH 43218-2863
The ODJFS will attempt to determine whether you should be granted benefits based on the information you submitted. Your former employer will receive notice and will have the opportunity to respond. Then, the ODJFS will either affirm the denial, reverse the denial or refer the matter to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC).
Appealing a Denial of Redetermination
If the ODJFS does not reverse its decision upon redetermination, you may file an appeal to the UCRC within 21 days of the mailing date of the notice your redetermination failed. At this level, you will have the right to a hearing in front of an impartial judge called a hearing officer. You will be able to present evidence, witnesses and testimony to help you prove your case.
If the UCRC grants your request for an appeal, you will receive notice of the hearing. These hearings are conducted by telephone or in-person. You may request an in-person hearing if you receive notice of a telephone hearing.
The Unemployment Appeal Hearing in OH
You have the right to representation at the hearing. You have the right to present evidence and witness testimony. Your employer will receive notice and will retain these same rights.
You will receive the date, time and telephone number to call if you are scheduled for a telephone hearing. If you have an in-person hearing, you will receive the location information in your notice.
When you receive the notice of hearing, check for a scheduling conflict. You must resolve this as soon as possible. You may request a rescheduling with the hearing officer. They will generally be granted only for substantial or compelling reasons. If you work during the day, you may request a nighttime telephone hearing.
Call in at least 15-minutes prior to the start time of the hearing. Arrive at least 15-minutes prior to the start time if your hearing is in person.
If you do not call-in or appear at the hearing 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, the hearing officer will dismiss your appeal (if you filed the appeal).
If you have an emergency and you will be unable to attend or will be late, notify the hearing officer as soon as possible. You will receive their phone number in the notice of hearing.
You may have an attorney represent you at the hearing or a designated agent or friend. Many represent themselves at hearings without difficulty.
If you want to have someone testify at the hearing, they should be prepared to testify as to the facts regarding your separation from work (if that is the issue of your appeal). They should have first-hand knowledge about what happened. Character witnesses do not usually provide helpful testimony unless your character is at issue.
You may present relevant documents that can help prove your case. You can present paperwork regularly produced in the course of business, like time sheets or notices from your supervisor. Other written evidence should be presented if you can have the person who created the document present at the hearing.
If your hearing is by telephone, you must submit copies of your evidence to the hearing officer and the opposing party prior to the start of the hearing. The hearing officer may not allow you to present evidence during the hearing that neither the hearing officer or the opposing party has received before the hearing.
The OCRC does not specify procedures regarding audio or visual evidence. However, some states do not allow the presentation of such evidence during telephone hearings. You may have to request an in-person hearing if you have to present such evidence.
The hearing officer may grant a request to issue a subpoena to compel a witness to appear, or some entity to present a document you need to make your case. Call 1-866-833-8272, fax to 614-387-3694 or e-mailing [email protected] to make the request. Give the hearing officer sufficient time to make the decision and to issue the subpoena.
At the Hearing
The hearing officer will conduct the hearing in a similar fashion to a court trial. The procedure is less formal, however. You will be sworn in and receive instructions from the hearing officer. Both parties to the hearing will present their testimony, evidence and witnesses under oath. Both parties will be able to “cross examine” the other party’s testimony and witnesses. Both parties may make closing statements.
The hearing officer will decide based on the facts presented at the hearing and an application of Ohio’s unemployment law to those facts. The hearing officer will mail the decision to both parties. The hearing officer may reverse the ODJFS’ decision, modify it, allow the original decision to stand, or send it back to the ODJFS for further review.
If you disagree with the hearing officer’s decision, you may file an appeal to the Review Commission. The hearing officer’s decision will provide instructions on how to process that appeal.
The UCRC website
A primer on how the UCRC conducts hearings
A reference on terms and rules used in unemployment law in OH