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Yes there are. In North Carolina, as in all other states, you have the right to appeal a denial of unemployment benefits. If you file an appeal and win, you will receive all benefits to which you are entitled. This includes retroactive benefits: benefits from the time that your application for unemployment should have been accepted.
If your claim for benefits is denied, you must file an appeal with the Appeals Section of the North Carolina DES. The determination letter will tell you when and how to file your appeal. Your appeal must be in writing, but it need not take any particular form; a letter is fine.
Throughout the appeal process, you should file weekly claims for unemployment benefits, look for work, and keep records of your job search, just as you would if your application for benefits had been granted. This may seem like a waste of time, but it’s not. If you win your appeal, you will be entitled to benefits retroactively from when your application should have been accepted – but only if you’ve been following the usual rules to receive benefits.
Once it receives your appeal, the Appeals Section of the DES will schedule an evidentiary hearing. You will receive a notice of hearing, explaining when and where the hearing will take place and whether it will be in person or by phone.
At the hearing, the appeals referee will ask questions, review documents, and make a decision on your appeal. Your employer will also likely attend the hearing and may be represented by an attorney. You may hire an attorney to represent you, too.
You should be prepared to present all of the evidence showing that you should have received unemployment benefits. If there is a dispute over why you were fired, for example, you should submit any documents you have showing that you were not fired for misconduct, such as a separation notice indicating you are being laid off for lack of work. You may also want to present witnesses who can support your side of the story, such as a coworker who was laid off at the same time and was given the same information as you. The hearing notice will explain how to present copies of your documents to the appeals referee.
If you lose your appeal, you have ten days to file an appeal called a Higher Authority Review. The Assistant Secretary of the DES, the Board of Review, or another designated official will hear this appeal. This appeal will be decided based on the record of the evidentiary hearing. There won’t be another hearing, and you won’t have an opportunity to present additional evidence. If you disagree with the outcome of the Higher Authority Review, you may appeal to the North Carolina Superior Court.
The Division of Employment Security has lots of information on their page about appeals and hearings, which you may find useful. You can find that here:
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