Unemployment Appeals – How They Work and Why YOU Need to Participate

Tens of thousands of unemployment appeals are filed by both claimants and employers every year with DEW. The agency follows state and federal laws, regulations and U.S. Department of Labor guidelines to ensure parties are provided with due process during their appeal.

A party has 10 days to appeal a determination granting or denying unemployment insurance benefits. Once it’s appealed, a hearing is scheduled before an administrative hearing officer. Currently, it is taking approximately eight to10 weeks for hearings to be scheduled. Hearings take place in person around the state and via telephone, which provides parties with greater flexibility, especially those operating small businesses. Parties can be represented by an attorney and have witnesses present to testify as well.

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When you come to the hearing, you’ll bring in evidence supporting your position; for telephone hearings, that paperwork should be faxed to the appeals department at least 24 hours before your hearing. All evidence provided to the agency during the appeals process, whether hearings are in person or via telephone, must be given to the opposing party before the hearing.

The hearing officer will take testimony, carefully review the evidence presented and also examine all agency documents used during the fact-finding and adjudication phases. The hearing officer will render a written decision, which is dated and mailed to the addresses of record for both parties. Under state law, parties have 10 days from the date of mailing to appeal the hearing officer’s decision to the agency’s appellate panel, the final level of appellate review within DEW.

 Three appellate panelists, appointed to four-year terms by the General Assembly, will carefully review the audio recording or transcript of the appeal before the hearing officer. The panelists in limited circumstances may also grant parties an oral argument. Once the appellate panel issues a written decision, parties have 30 days under state law to file an appeal to the Administrative Law Court.

It is vital for parties to attend a hearing to present their side of the story in order for hearing officers to render fair decisions. Hearings are generally the only opportunity parties will have to submit sworn evidence, and the hearing serves as the record of the case throughout the appeals process. It is not enough for a business to simply respond to agency inquiries at the fact-finding stage and not follow through during an appeal. Further evidence is usually provided during appeals and firsthand testimony is needed to explain personnel decisions made by the business.

If you ever have questions about an appeal or the DEW appellate process, please contact the Assistant Executive Director of the Appellate Division, Dino Teppara, at (803) 737-2522, dteppara@dew.sc.gov. You may also contact the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer Ms. Romi Robinson, who oversees appeals before hearing officers at (803) 737-3026, ryrobinson@dew.sc.gov, or Paul Famolari, the manager of Higher Authority Appeals, who oversees appeals to the Appellate Panel, at (803) 737-2655, pfamolari@dew.sc.gov.

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