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Appealing a UC Service Center Determination to a UC Referee

Appealing a Determination

The party who disagrees with the outcome of a determination may appeal a determination issued by a UC service center or the Office of UC Benefits (OUCB) within 15 days of issuance. If an appeal is filed after the 15-day appeal period has expired, the UC referee will rule on the timeliness of the appeal before the merits of the case can be reviewed.
 
If an employer is appealing a determination that ruled a claimant eligible for benefits, the claimant will continue to be paid benefits during the appeal. However, if the employer wins the appeal, the claimant will be liable to repay the money received if he/she is determined to have a fault overpayment.
 
Employers Note: An appeal on an employee's eligibility is not the same as an employer's request for relief from charges. The request for relief from charges must be filed separately from the eligibility appeal. An employer who does not appeal an eligibility determination may not later dispute that determination in relief from charge proceeding.
 
If a claimant is eligible for benefits but he/she or the employer is appealing the amount of the weekly benefit rate, claims will be paid at the original rate. If the appeal is decided in the claimant's favor, he/she will receive supplemental checks for the difference between the two rates. If the employer wins, the claimant will be considered overpaid.
 
Claimants Note: A claimant who was denied UC benefits but files an appeal must continue to file for any weeks of unemployment while the appeal is pending in order to receive unemployment benefits for those weeks should he/she become eligible.

How to File an Appeal to a UC Service Center Determination

Under Section 501(e) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law, a determination becomes final unless an appeal is timely filed. If you disagree with the determination and wish to appeal, your appeal must be filed on or before the last day to appeal, shown on the determination.
 
Whether you are the claimant or the employer, you may file your own appeal, or you may have an attorney or any other advocate file an appeal for you. If you are the claimant and you qualify, free legal assistance may be available from the legal services organization serving your area, your local bar association or a law school clinic. (These instructions pertaining to representation for employers reflect certain provisions of Act 5 of 2005, which was enacted on June 15, 2005.)
 
You may use a Petition for Appeal form, a letter, or email to appeal. Regardless of the format you choose, your appeal must include the name and address of the claimant, the Social Security number of the claimant (if known), the date of the determination being appealed, the reason for the appeal, and the name and address of the individual filing the appeal. If you use a Petition for Appeal form or a letter to appeal, you may file your appeal by mail, common carrier or fax, or by personal delivery to any PA CareerLink® office. Please follow these appeal instructions carefully.
  • If you file your appeal by mail, the appeal is filed on the date of the U.S. Postal Service postmark, certificate of mailing or certified mail receipt. If the appeal contains a postage meter mark, the appeal is filed on the date of the postage meter mark. If there is no Postal Service information or postage meter mark, the appeal is filed on the date recorded by the department when the appeal is received. If you file your appeal by common carrier, the appeal is filed on the date it is delivered to the common carrier as established by the records of the common carrier. If the date of delivery to the common carrier cannot be determined by documents in the record, the appeal is filed on the date it is received by the department. If you wish to appeal by mail, complete Section 1 of the Petition for Appeal form that was enclosed with your determination, or complete a letter of appeal, and send it to the address of the service center listed on the determination.
     
  • If you file your appeal by fax, the appeal is filed on the date of receipt imprinted by the receiving fax machine. If the receiving fax machine does not imprint a legible date, the appeal is filed on the date of transmission imprinted by the sending fax machine. If the faxed appeal does not contain a legible date of transmission, it is filed on the date recorded by the department when it receives the appeal. If you appeal by fax, you are responsible for any delay, disruption, or interruption of electronic signals and the readability of the appeal, and you accept the risk that the appeal may not be properly or timely filed. If you wish to appeal by fax, complete Section 1 of the Petition for Appeal form that was enclosed with your determination, or complete a letter of appeal, and fax it to the fax number listed on the determination.. Warning: information submitted by fax is not secure.
     
  • If you file your appeal by email, the appeal is filed on the date of receipt recorded by the department's electronic transmission system, if the email is in a form capable of being processed by the department's system. If you appeal by email, you are responsible to use the proper format, for any delay, disruption or interruption of electronic signals, and the readability of the appeal; and you accept the risk that the appeal may not be properly or timely filed. If you wish to appeal by email, forward your appeal information to the department at UCAppeals@pa.gov. Upon submitting your appeal request via email, you should receive a confirmation email acknowledging that the Department of Labor and Industry, Office of UC Service Centers has recieved your appeal request. Warning: information submitted by email is not secure.
     
  • If you file your appeal by personal delivery to a PA CareerLink®, your appeal is filed on the date it is delivered to the PA CareerLink® during normal business hours. If you wish to appeal by personal delivery, complete Section 1 of the Petition for Appeal that was enclosed with your determination, or complete a letter of appeal, and take it to the nearest PA CareerLink® office. The PA CareerLink® representative will forward your Petition for Appeal or letter of appeal to the UC service center. NOTE: Appeals cannot be filed in person at UC service centers.

Filing for Benefits when an Appeal is Pending

When a claimant is still totally or partially unemployed, he/she must continue to file his/her biweekly UC claims as instructed by the UC service center in order to protect his/her rights while waiting for a decision on an appeal. If the appeal is decided in the claimant's favor, only the UC benefits for the weeks filed for will be released for payment.

Hearing Process

The appeal is assigned to a referee. The referee will schedule a hearing at which all parties have the right to present testimony under oath as well as other relevant evidence. At the hearing the parties have the right to be represented by an attorney or other advisor. The parties also have the right to present witnesses on their own behalf as well as the right to cross examine the witnesses for the other party.
 
The purpose of the hearing, and the duty of the referee, is to obtain all evidence related to the issues being appealed. After getting all the facts on the record, the referee will then apply the appropriate laws, rules, procedures, and precedent court decisions in order to make a proper decision. The referee is unbiased and has no special or personal interest in the ultimate outcome of the hearing. The outcome will be based on the evidence and testimony provided at the hearing.
 
The hearing is not a "round table" discussion. Testimony and evidence must be limited to the issue(s) before the referee. Each party in attendance has the right to present testimony and evidence.
 
All hearings are recorded. When you report for the hearing, if you wish to review your case file you must provide some form of identification, which may include your hearing notice.

Preparing for a UC Referee's Hearing

Each party should organize the facts and circumstances relating to the appeal. Any documents having to do with the case should be gathered and taken to the hearing.
 
Assistance
 
If a party needs assistance because of a disability with hearing, speech, and/or vision, or for a language other than English, please contact the referee's office listed on the hearing notice as soon as you receive it.
 
Representation at the Hearing
 
Whether you are a claimant or an employer, you may represent yourself or you may have an attorney or any other advocate represent you. If you are the claimant and you qualify, free legal assistance may be available from the legal services organization serving your area, your local bar association, or a law school clinic. (These instructions pertaining to representation for employers reflect certain provisions of Act 5 of 2005, which was enacted on June 15, 2005.)
 
Witnesses
 
It is important for the parties and any other witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the facts or issues on appeal to appear and testify at the hearing. Firsthand knowledge means that witnesses directly observed, heard, or participated in the matters about which they are to testify. What witnesses learned secondhand may not, depending on the circumstances, be considered at the hearing.
 
Subpoenas
 
If a party's witness refuses to appear or provide documentary evidence, the party may submit a request to the referee to issue a subpoena to compel the witness to attend the hearing. If the subpoena is issued by the referee, it is the responsibility of the person requesting the subpoena to serve it upon the witness. Requests for subpoenas may be submitted by telephone, mail, email or fax to the referee office.

Withdrawing an Appeal to the UC Referee

An appellant may request to withdraw an appeal at any time prior to a decision being issued by the referee. The appellant must contact the referee's office responsible for the hearing to withdraw the appeal. Withdrawal requests must be submitted in writing by mail, email or fax to the referee office

Requesting a Continuance of a Hearing

If either party cannot attend a hearing, a request for a continuance (postponement) of the hearing should be made IMMEDIATELY to the referee named on the front of the hearing notice. A continuance will be granted only for "proper cause" and upon terms deemed proper by the referee. If a continuance of the hearing is granted, the hearing will be rescheduled.
 
If a party feels that a conflict of interest would exist if the hearing were to be conducted by the assigned referee, the party must advise the UC Board of Review in writing through the referee office. The party must provide a reason(s) why the party believes that the assigned referee would not be impartial, and a request for a different referee must be included. Requests must be submitted in writing by mail, email or fax to the referee office listed on the hearing notice.

Requesting a Reopening after Scheduled Hearing

If you are prevented from attending the scheduled hearing because of a compelling reason, you may request to have the hearing reopened. You must set forth the specific reasons and circumstances that are alleged to constitute "proper cause" for non-appearance at the scheduled hearing.
 
It is important that you submit the request in writing as promptly as possible. If the referee receives it after the decision is mailed to the parties, it is considered a request for further appeal to the board. The board then rules upon the request for further hearing. The written request may be mailed, emailed, faxed or delivered to the referee office.
 
 
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The information provided on this site does not constitute a determination of eligibility
to receive unemployment compensation.
 
PA Department of Labor and Industry