The appeals process starts after the local office issues a determination and one party disagrees with the determination. That party then files a written appeal.

Did you know:
• You can review the file prior to the hearing? If you’re going to appeal, review the file immediately so you know what the issue is going to be. You’ll be able to see the allegations put forth by the other side. Once you know the other side’s position, you can better prepare for the hearing. To see the file, simply contact the local office where you filed the appeal.

• You can have witnesses testify on your behalf at your hearing? All you need to do is provide the names and telephone numbers of the witnesses to the appeals office in advance of the hearing. Make sure any witnesses you provide for a hearing have personal knowledge of the relevant facts. Avoid witnesses whose testimony consists of hearsay. Also, two or more witnesses saying the exact same thing usually is unnecessary in appeals hearings.

• Most appeals hearings are conducted over the telephone? If you participate by telephone, please use a working telephone with a clear connection in a noise-free area. We discourage use of cell phones because of difficulties involving clear connections. If you must use a cell phone for your hearing, please make sure your battery is fully charged. Remember, if you miss the telephone call for the hearing, the case may be decided against you.

• Documents that you want to bring to a hearing must be shared with the other side and Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) before the hearing? Send the documents to the ALJ and the other side so they receive the documents at least 24 hours beforehand. Any documents that help prove an issue should be submitted, such as a speeding ticket, hospital admission form, etc. For example, an employer should submit the employer’s policy if the claimant was discharged for violating the policy. The ALJ needs to know the wording of the policy. If the claimant was warned, submit the written warnings.

• Not all decisions in favor of the claimant affect the employer’s tax rate? For example, if the claimant was discharged because he was incarcerated or because a physician advised the claimant not to work, the employer’s contribution percentage won’t go up for that claim.

• Your case will be heard and decided by an experienced licensed attorney? All ALJs must be licensed attorneys who’ve had experience practicing law. In addition, ALJs have extensive training and experience in the area of unemployment law. The questions they ask and the rulings they make during the hearing are designed to determine the reason for the decision.

• If you lose at the appeals level, you may seek further redress at the Board of Review? That process is a legal review of the written record only, and no hearing is permitted. If you’re still dissatisfied with the board’s decision, you may seek review with the Circuit Court in your county.

Illinois law also provides small employers and claimants with free legal assistance. A small employer is one who reported wages paid to less than 20 individuals, whether part time or full time, for each of any two of the four calendar quarters preceding the quarter in which its application for legal assistance is made. Simply contact us immediately after receiving a ruling against you or a notice of an appeal. Any delay could result in your not being able to obtain this service. These are independent law firms and are not part of the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Representation at your hearing isn’t automatic and depends, in part, upon the facts in your case.

For more information, visit http://www.ides.state.il.us or call (800) 367-4382. IBI