How Long Is the Appeal Process for Unemployment Benefits in California?

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) includes an appeals option for the process of granting unemployment benefits to claimants. This ensures that those who feel their case deserves a second look can have it. No payments are distributed during the appeals process but claimants may receive back payment if the appeals decision goes their way. The length of the appeals process can take anywhere from just a few weeks to a couple of months.

Who Can Appeal

After someone applies for unemployment benefits in the state of California, both the employer and the claimant receive written notice of the benefits determination. Either one can appeal the decision if the party feels it was made based on false or misleading information. The EDD gives you 20 calendar days to file an appeal through either a written statement or using the form included with the determination letter. You must send mail the appeal request to the address listed on your determination letter.

Overall Process

Once you request an appeal, you will receive another letter with the date and other details of your scheduled appeal hearing. All parties involved will gather evidence that proves their claims and testify under oath either in person or over the phone. An administrative law judge will oversee the hearing, asking questions and reviewing the evidence. The administrative law judge does not disclose a decision during the hearing. Instead, both parties will receive the results of the hearing by mail. If one of the parties disagrees with the appeals decision, they have the right to a second appeal through the California Unemployment Appeals Board. The process is the same but the decision is final.

Common Delays

One the most common reasons an appeals process takes longer than usual is a rescheduled hearing date. Either party can request to reschedule due to schedule conflicts by contacting the EDD at the number indicated on the appeal notice form. If there are a particularly high number of appeals hearings requested at the same time as your request, you might have to wait a little longer to receive a schedule of hearings.

Speeding up an Appeal

Although every appeals process has its own timeline, you can speed up your appeal process by filing the initial appeal as soon as possible. Instead of rescheduling the hearing because of a schedule conflict, move other time commitments around to accommodate the hearing. You might also consider hiring legal representation for the appeals hearing. It is not a requirement but an attorney can help you streamline your case by providing advice on the legal process.