What if I didn’t file my appeal on time? Can I still appeal?

If you are going through the process of trying to obtain unemployment compensation benefits (benefits), there are various stages you may encounter. The very first stage is receiving your Notice of Determination.

After you file your initial claim for benefits, you will receive a Notice of Determination in the mail. This Notice of Determination tells you whether you are eligible for benefits. It will state the reasons why you were or were not found eligible for benefits. If you are dissatisfied with the determination (i.e., you were found ineligible for benefits), you have the right to appeal the determination.

You must appeal the ruling in your Notice of Determination within 15 days of the mailing date of the determination. The Notice of Determination will always state when the last day to file your appeal is. You must file it by that day. Therefore, your appeal must be e-mailed, faxed or postmarked on the last day to appeal. Always keep proof that you sent your appeal in by the deadline. However, what if you didn’t file your appeal within the 15-day deadline?

It is a common scenario where individuals will file their appeal late because they were either mis-informed or because they received their Notice of Determination late (passed the appeal deadline). Most individuals believe they are not able to file an appeal and their chances of receiving benefits are gone. In some cases, if an individual misses the appeal deadline, he/she does lose the right to file an appeal. The general rule is that if an appeal is not filed within the 15-day deadline, the UC Service Center’s determination becomes final and the Referee does not have jurisdiction to consider the appeal.

However, sometimes an individual can file a late appeal and have it accepted. An untimely appeal may be allowed with a showing of “fraud or a breakdown in the administrative process.” Generally, there is a showing of fraud or breakdown in the administrative process where an administrative board or body is negligent or unintentionally misleads a party. In other words, if an official from the UC Service Center or someone from the State misleads an individual as to the proper procedure for filing an appeal, an administrative breakdown has occurred and a late appeal may be accepted.

If an administrative body, i.e., UC Service Center, mails a Notice of Determination to an incorrect address or mails it late, there is a breakdown in the administrative process and a late appeal may be accepted.

Therefore, if an individual is mis-informed by the UC Service Center and files a late appeal as a result, the untimely appeal may be accepted. If an individual receives their Notice of Determination late because it was mailed late or to an incorrect address, the individual may be able to file a late appeal and still have it accepted.

It is important to remember that getting a late appeal to be accepted is a hard hurdle to overcome. Even if the appeal was late because of someone else’s negligence, it doesn’t guarantee that an appeal will be accepted past the 15-day deadline.