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How to Request an Unemployment Appeal in South Dakota

Last Verified: July 2017

If the South Dakota Department of Labor denies your claim for unemployment benefits, you have the right to appeal any decision to the unemployment appeals division. You will be able to present your case in an administrative hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You’ll have the right to present evidence and witnesses to show why you should receive unemployment.

The Department of Labor will mail a determination notice. This will inform you whether your claim was successful. If the state denies your claim, you can appeal immediately. You will have 15 days from the mailing date on the notice in which to file the appeal.

If you file your appeal late, the state will not allow your appeal to go forward. You may be able to request a hearing to show that the reason you were late filing was due to circumstances beyond your control.

Filing Your Unemployment Appeal

You must file the appeal in writing. You may mail or fax the appeal to the Appeals section.

Appeals Section
Unemployment Insurance Division
SD Department of Labor and Regulation
PO Box 4730
Aberdeen, SD 57402-4730
Fax: 605.626.2322

You must include with your appeal:

  • Your name
  • The reason for the appeal
  • Your Social Security number

You don’t have to give a complete argument when you file. Make a reasonable statement such as, “I would like to appeal the denial of benefits because when I was late to work I was sick.”

Preparing for the Hearing

The Appeals section will mail you a Notice of Hearing or a Notice of Telephone Hearing. Either notice will give you the date and time (and place) of the hearing. Most hearings are held via a telephone conference call. If fairness to one or both parties demands it, the ALJ will hold an in-person hearing.

Check for scheduling conflicts. You may request a change of the time or date, but you must show a compelling reason for the ALJ to agree to your request. It is more likely that you will have to change your schedule.

Receipt of the Notice of Hearing is also a good time to inform the Appeals section about any special needs you may have. The section will provide language translators or disability assistance. You should notify the section as soon as you can.

During the hearing, you will be able to exercise rights similar to those afforded during a court trial. You may present evidence, witness testimony and you may have someone represent you before the ALJ.

Your former employer will receive notice of the hearing if the issue involves your separation from work. They will have the right to appear at the hearing and present their side of the story.


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 plan to hire a lawyer, you should notify the Appeals section as soon as possible. Attorneys have specific rules to follow.


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.

If your witness is suddenly unavailable to appear, you may request a rescheduling. The ALJ will determine whether it will be necessary to do so. A written statement from that witness will not be a good substitute. If the hearing is in-person, ask that the ALJ call the witness. They may decide to allow the witness to testify by telephone.


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.

You must provide copies of the evidence you’ll use to the ALJ and the opposing party at least three days in advance of the hearing. You should have all your evidence ready days before the hearing date. If you can’t provide a copy to the opposing party or the ALJ before the hearing, the ALJ may not allow you to enter the evidence as an exhibit, or be forced to stop the hearing and reschedule.


Someone you want to testify may be reluctant to participate. There may exist evidence that someone like your former employer may not want to give you. In these cases, you may request that the ALJ issue a subpoena. The subpoena will compel the witness to appear or a person to turn over the evidence you need.

You should contact the Appeals section quickly if you want to request a subpoena. You should make your request in writing. The request should contain specific information on the evidence or witness you need so that the ALJ can serve the subpoena. The ALJ has discretion on whether you issue a subpoena.

If the ALJ denies your subpoena request (you may not know until the hearing date), you should attempt to introduce the evidence during the hearing so that it is on the record. If you lose your appeal, you can bring the matter up when appealing the ALJ’s decision later.

Gather all your evidence and testimony. Make sure that it all ties together logically. You will want to make a fact-based, logical argument to the ALJ during the hearing.

At the Hearing

If you have a telephone hearing, you should have already received the number to call for your hearing. Make sure you call on time, and that your witnesses are ready to participate (in some states, witnesses cannot be in the same room as you are during telephone hearings).

If your hearing is in person, try to arrive early. The in-person hearings are usually held at an Unemployment division office near your location.

If you are substantially late or you miss the hearing completely, the ALJ is likely to dismiss your case and let the original determination stand. You would have to request a reopening of your case to show cause why you missed the hearing.

Your former employer may also appeal determinations. You should appear at those hearings. If you did not request the appeal, but you miss the hearing, you won’t be able to present your side of the story.

The ALJ 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 ALJ. 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 ALJ will decide based on the facts presented at the hearing and an application of Rhode Island’s unemployment law to those facts. The ALJ will mail the decision to both parties. The ALJ may reverse the original decision, modify it, allow the original decision to stand, or send it back to the DTL for further review.

If you disagree with the ALJ’s decision, you may file a next-level appeal. You may

  • You can file an appeal of the decision directly to Circuit Court within 30 days after the date of the decision, OR;
  • You can file a request for a Department of Labor and Regulation review by mailing an appeal to:

Secretary of Labor and Regulation
South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation
123 West Missouri Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

The appeal to the Secretary must be made within 15 days of the date of the decision.


The appeals brochure will provide a handy, quick overview of the process.

The appeals page at the SD DLR site may help with any questions.

The laws, rules and regs that govern SD unemployment insurance may help you prepare an argument.


Appeals Section
Unemployment Insurance Division
SD Department of Labor and Regulation
PO Box 4730
Aberdeen, SD 57402-4730
Phone: 605.626.2310
Fax: 605.626.2322