- Notice of Appeal
- Notice of Telephonic Hearing Before an Appeals Examiner
- What to Expect in the Appeal Hearing
- Ways to Prepare for the Appeal Hearing
- What happens if you do not participate in the hearing?
- Prepare to Discuss Important Facts
- What will not happen at the hearing?
- What If I Need Accommodations?
- Attorneys and Other Representatives
- Documents and Other Evidence
- Can the Hearing be Postponed or Rescheduled?
- What If I Want to Withdraw or Cancel the Appeal?
- How Can I Update My Address?
- Appealing the Decision of the Appeals Examiner
The appeals process begins at First Level Appeals. Any adverse decision made by a Deputy on a claim for insurance benefits may be appealed by the claimant or employer to First Level Appeals. The Notice of Appeal is the first document you will receive once your appeal has been filed and logged in our system at First Level Appeals. This means you have filed an appeal – it is not a determination of the validity or timeliness of the appeal.
The Notice of Appeal provides you with the date your appeal was filed and the docket number associated with your appeal. You should use the docket number in any correspondence you have with the Commission when discussing your appeal. If you are a party to the decision of a Deputy, and the other party filed an appeal, you will receive a Notice of Appeal.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you are still unemployed, you must continue to file weekly UI claims throughout the appeal process to be paid for those weeks. You will not be paid for any weeks you did not file on time, unless you can show good cause for filing late. For more information, please read Your Unemployment Benefit Rights and Responsibilities.
Your appeal hearing will be conducted by telephone. You will receive the Notice of Telephonic Hearing Before an Appeals Examiner listing the date, time, and Virginia statutes at issue. If you are a party to a decision of a deputy that was appealed, you will receive a Notice of Telephonic Hearing Before an Appeals Examiner. All persons connected with the appeal – claimant, employer, attorney – who receive a Notice of Telephonic Hearing Before an Appeals Examiner will receive a packet of documents to be discussed at the hearing.
The notice contains important information on how to participate in the appeal hearing. Read the notice carefully and follow the instructions. You must register your telephone number before the hearing. Before the start of the hearing:
- Be ready to present your case.
- Make sure your phone is reliable, fully charged, and working before the hearing.
- Keep your phone line clear to receive a call from the Appeals Examiner.
- Find a quiet place for the hearing.
- You cannot participate in the hearing if you are driving a vehicle even with Bluetooth technology.
If you are disconnected during the hearing, the Appeals Examiner will try to call back and reconnect you. If you do not receive a call back from the Appeals Examiner, you should contact (804) 786-3020 or (800) 552-4500 to notify First Level Appeals that you have lost the connection and you did not receive a call back from the Appeals Examiner. Do not use the “caller ID” function to attempt to call the Appeals Examiner.
If you do not have access to a phone or need other special arrangements, contact First Level Appeals before the hearing.
An Appeals Examiner will conduct the appeal hearing. The hearing will address the issues listed on the Notice of Telephonic Hearing Before an Appeals Examiner. The hearing is scheduled for parties with an interest in the case. If you receive a notice, it means you are a party to the case, or a representative to a party. The Appeals Examiner will decide the facts of the case based on the testimony and evidence presented in the hearing.
At the hearing, the Appeals Examiner will:
- Record the hearing
- Explain the process
- Answer questions about the appeals process
- Question the other party and witnesses under oath or affirmation
- Hear objections and motions
- Enter exhibits into the record
At the hearing, a party can:
- Present necessary witnesses
- Question parties and witnesses under oath or affirmation
- Present testimony and evidence under oath or affirmation
After the hearing, the Appeals Examiner will issue a written decision. The decision will be based on the testimony and evidence given at the hearing. The decision will affirm (approve), amend (change), or reverse the decision of a deputy. The Decision of the Appeals Examiner will be mailed to the parties of the case at the addresses provided to the Commission. The Decision of Appeals Examiner will be using the Virginia Unemployment Compensation Act and the Virginia Administrative Code.
The hearing with the Appeals Examiner may be your only chance to present important information for the case. Prepare for the hearing by doing the following:
- Send copies of your documents to the Appeals Examiner and the other party before the date and time of the hearing. Include your docket number in your correspondence.
- Know the Virginia statute and/or issues to be addressed at the hearing.
- Review the notice and all documents included with it.
- Prepare witnesses with firsthand knowledge to testify for you. Testimony has greater weight than written statements.
- Make a list of key points you want to talk about in the hearing.
The Decision of Appeals Examiner will be based on the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing. You must prepare to present and defend your case. If you do not participate, the hearing will proceed in your absence.
If you do not attend the hearing, you will not be able to object to documents or evidence provide by the other party. If you are a claimant then you may be required to repay benefits that you already received. If you are an employer, your unemployment tax rate may be affected.
Facts are the basis of your case, not conclusions. Be ready to answer questions about the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of your case. Prepare to discuss facts that prove your case and make your point. Present evidence and witnesses to support the facts you want to discuss in the hearing. Facts presented in the hearing should prove your point of view on the issues. The Appeals Examiner may exclude irrelevant or unnecessary facts, testimony, and evidence at the hearing.
The following is a list of things that will not happen at the hearing:
- You will not receive an immediate verbal decision on the outcome of your case.
- You will not receive payments for claims filed.
- You will not receive a review of all outstanding issues you may have on your claim.
Requests for reasonable accommodations should be made before the hearing date. Upon receiving a Notice of Appeal, parties, witnesses, or representatives that need a reasonable accommodation must contact the Clerk of First Level Appeals. Interpreters may be provided for hearings. Translators may be provided to translate documents. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
For TTY Callers: Virginia Relay, Call 711 or 800-828-1120.
Any party, representative, or witness requesting reasonable accommodations must contact the Clerk of First Level Appeals, by email at: or by calling (804) 786-3020 or (800) 552-4500 so that arrangements can be made for their participation in the hearing.
Most claimants and employers represent themselves at the appeal hearing. However, you may choose a person to represent you in the hearing. A representative does not have to be an attorney. Notify your representative of the date and time of the hearing. Register their phone number for participation.
If a claimant wants to be represented by an attorney but cannot afford to hire one, free legal services may be available through a legal aid office. The Virginia State Bar or the local bar association can also provide information about free legal services.
Any attorney or representative should contact the Clerk of First Level Appeals at email@example.com as soon as possible to ensure proper notice of proceedings. Include the docket number.
You may arrange for witnesses to testify at the hearing. The best witnesses are those who were personally involved in the events being discussed since they can testify from their own memory. You should be familiar with your witnesses' testimony before calling them to testify. Witnesses whose testimony is only repetitive may not be allowed to testify.
Notify your witness of the date and time of the hearing. Register their phone number for participation in the hearing.
The Appeals Examiner will exclude witnesses from the hearing until they are called to testify. Witnesses will be subject to questioning by the opposing party and the Appeals Examiner.
The First Level Appeals clerk’s office will mail to you the documents to be used as evidence along with the Notice of Telephonic Hearing Before an Appeals Examiner. Read the documents carefully and have them available during the hearing.
During the hearing, each party to the case will be given an opportunity to read and discuss the documents. They can make objections to having those documents become a part of the record of the case. The Appeals Examiner will decide if documents or other evidence are relevant and will either accept them into evidence or reject them.
If you have other documents or items of evidence that support your case, send a copy to the Office of First Level Appeals before your appeal hearing. You may email those documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have audio recording or video evidence to submit, you must send the evidence to First Level Appeals in the mail using a hard medium such as a USB, or CD-RAM. Also send copies to the other party who received a notice of the hearing. Documents that have not been sent as instructed may not be considered by the Appeals Examiner.
Hearings will only be rescheduled for good cause, where material and substantial harm may result. You may ask for a postponement by calling the Clerk of First Level Appeals at (804) 786-3020 or (800) 552-4500 or by sending an email to email@example.com. Be prepared to provide details and/or documents about the reason you want to postpone the hearing.
An appealable decision will be issued based on the available evidence and testimony from the hearing. You may appeal the denial of your request. If you do not receive a response on your request, you should plan to participate in the hearing as originally scheduled.
The party who filed an appeal may ask to withdraw, or cancel, the appeal at any time. The request to withdraw must be in writing, signed by the appealing party, and submitted to the Clerk of First Level Appeals. You may also withdraw your appeal online through your customer self-service account. If you choose to withdraw your appeal, the Deputy’s decision you appealed will remain the same.
If your address has changed after you filed an appeal, you must notify the Clerk of First Level Appeals immediately by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the docket number in your email. This will change your address for the current appeal only. Filing a mail forwarding request with the U. S. Postal Service is not proper notice of a change in your address to the Commission. If you do not notify the Commission of your change of address, it may cause you to miss your chance to participate in the hearing.
You must also notify the Commission of your change in address through the claimant self-service portal or the employer self-service portal or by calling the Customer Contact Center. This action will change your address for all other agency matters.
The Appeals Examiner will issue a decision as quickly as possible. The decision will be mailed to all parties to the case. The decision will contain the appearances, statutory issues discussed, facts of the case, applicable law of the case, and reason for the decision.
If a Decision of Appeals Examiner is not in your favor, you have the right to appeal it to Commission Appeals. You must follow the instructions on the Decision of Appeals Examiner to file an appeal. You have 30 days from the date the decision is mailed to appeal to Commission Appeals.
The appeal must be filed:
- by mail to the VEC, Commission Appeals, P.O. Box 26441, Richmond, VA 23261-6441
- by internet at https://www.vec.virginia.gov/appeals
- by fax to Commission Appeals at 804-786-9034
- in person at a VEC office.