My unemployment benefits were denied-- based on the section 1256.
I intend to appeal the decision.
Page 2 on the notice of determination, appeal information section says:
"when your appeal is received, your case will be reviewed.
If the decision remains the same we will send your appeal to the office of appeals"
Does it mean that solely based on my appeal letter explaining why I don't agree with the decision, the original non- eligibility decision can be reversed without going even to the 1st hearing before the ALJ. ?
Employment / Labor Attorney
If your letter is powerful enough to make the people who denied your application in the first place realize they made a mistake or made a decision based on incomplete information, then sure. If you convince them, they will just give you your benefits. The folks at EDD are there to give out benefits, so they are not trying to deny you your benefits. It's just that they have to comply with certain rules. If you can show them that giving you benefits will not violate any rules, then you will get them if you're eligible.
Having said that, when you claim unemployment benefits, the premiums for your previous employer go up - at least for a time - so often employers challenge a former employee's application for benefits. Section 1256 means that you were denied benefits because it seems you quit your job voluntarily or that you were fired due to your own fault. I imagine it's hard to overcome this simply with a letter because you basically get into a "he said, she said" situation.
The "good news" for you is that even if you lose your appeal, you can "purge the disqualification" by reopening your claim after earning five times your weekly benefit amount in covered employment and then losing that work without fault. So say your weekly benefit amount is $200. After you go out and earn $1,000 through one job or a series of jobs and then lose the job(s) through no fault of your own, you can then start receiving your benefits, drawing from all of the jobs you've worked at during the proper base period. It sounds like a hassle, but if you just took on some temp work to earn five times your benefit amount, you can reopen your claim and get your benefits.
Good luck to you.
This is an incomplete answer written in response to the limited facts provided. It is intended as a courtesy to better inform the reader about his or her possible rights and potential courses of action; it is not intended as formally researched legal advice or as an agreement to enter into an attorney-client relationship.
Administrative Law Lawyer
This electronic communication may be considered Advertisement under California State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1-400.
Dear U.I. Claimant:
Although the answer you suggest in your question is correct, i.e. that solely based on your appeal letter persuasively explaining the reason(s) you disagree with the EDD's decision to deny you unemployment benefits, the EDD can make a redetermination in your case without the need for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
However, in my experience as an Unemployment Insurance/EDD Appeals Employment Law attorney who has to date won every timely filed EDD appeal on behalf of my client(s) (no doubt due to selectively choosing cases and a bit of luck), I always draft a Redetermination Request letter (when it makes sense to) along with the Appeal Form (DE 1000M), and yet the EDD has only redetermined but one case out of double digits. Typically, when the case is a Claimant claims versus the employer claims case (factual discrepancies), the EDD does not redetermine the case, but rather forwards it to the Claimant's local California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board office for a hearing before an ALJ. Furthermore, should the EDD redetermine your case, your former employer will have the right to appeal the EDD's redetermined decision and force you into a first level appeal hearing.
So do not be surprised if you ultimately have to endure a hearing. Moreover, be mindful of what you write and what you choose not to write in your appeal letter as it may be used against you at a potential hearing, hurting your chances of winning should your case have merit.
Best of luck to you,
Michelle L. Reynolds, Esq.
The Legal Advocate
627 S. Rosewood Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92703
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering attorney is licensed to practice law solely in the State of California. Furthermore this electronic communication may be considered Advertisement under California State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1-400.