If you receive a Notice of Determination or Notice of Overpayment, the California Employment Development Department has decided you are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, or that you need to return benefits you were paid. You have the right to appeal the EDD’s decision, and can take immediate steps to start that process.
Start the Appeals Process
You can appeal the decision by sending in the Appeal Form.
- Send the appeal form within 30 days of the date the Notice was sent to you.
- Mail the Appeal Form to the EDD address printed at the top of the Notice of Determination or Overpayment.
- Keep your explanation statement (at the bottom of the Appeal Form) simple: “I disagree with the EDD’s determination” or “I disagree with the EDD’s decisions and would like a judge to review my case” is enough. You will have a chance to fully argue your case later.
- You should have received a copy of the Appeal Form with the Notice of Determination or Notice of Overpayment.
Did you miss the 30-day deadline? You can still appeal the decision.
- If you appeal the decision after the deadline, the EDD is still required to send your case to the agency that reviews appeals.
- When you go before a judge in a hearing on your appeal, you will need to explain why you were not able to send in your appeal on time. The judge will determine whether you had “good cause”, meaning a good reason, for the delay. Good cause can include all different sorts of reasons, including that you had trouble understanding the notice and your rights, that you were dealing with medical issues, or that you did not receive the Notice.
Did you lose the Appeal Form?
- You should have received a copy of the appeal form with the Notice of Determination or Notice of Overpayment. But if you lost it or can’t find it, that’s alright!
- You can print out the appeal form from the EDD’s website: https://edd.ca.gov/siteassets/files/pdf_pub_ctr/de1000m.pdf
- You can also send in a letter to the EDD address listed on the Notice of Determination. The letter should have the following information: (a) Your personal information: name, address, Social Security number, and (b) the statement “I disagree with the EDD’s decision and would like a judge to review my case.”
What happens next? You will have a hearing with a judge from an independent agency called the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board (also called the CUIAB).
- The CUIAB will send you a brightly colored Notice of Hearing, with the date of your hearing and information on how to attend the hearing. It’s normal to get multiple Notices of Hearing, with a few different case numbers – this happens if there are multiple legal questions for the judge to decide in your case. But there should only be one combined hearing for the different cases, scheduled for a single day and time.
- The CUIAB should also send you a packet of documents, which is the appeal file for your hearing.
- You have a right to an interpreter in your native language to be present if you wish – call the CUIAB office number in the bottom left corner of the Notice of Hearing, to confirm or request interpretation for your hearing.
How can you prepare for the hearing?
The most important thing is to show up to the hearing, but sometimes there are ways to prepare:
- Collect and submit new evidence or witness statements.
- Review the appeal file to understand why EDD made its decision against you.
- Watch the CUIAB’s video explaining the process, which is available at cuiab.ca.gov and YouTube.
- Prepare and practice your explanation of what happened, so you can explain it to the judge.
Why Should You Appeal a Notice of Determination or Notice of Overpayment?
- The EDD has made an important decision for you and your family. Even if you are not sure whether the decision is incorrect, it is your right and the government’s duty to have a neutral judge review these cases.
- There is absolutely no harm in appealing your decision. If you lose your appeal, there are not any additional negative consequences. After the judge reviews the case, if you still disagree, you can ask for an additional round of review.
- Even if the EDD is technically correct that you were not eligible for benefits, you can apply for a “waiver” of your overpayment.
- If the EDD decided that you made a false statement, that decision could make it difficult to receive unemployment benefits in the future. Even if you’re financially secure, or don’t feel like getting unemployment benefits is important to you right now, you may want to protect your ability to access unemployment insurance benefits in the future.
Having Trouble Understanding the Forms? Here’s A Cheat Sheet
Some of the documents you will be sent are confusing – here’s a cheat sheet that explains the purpose of each document:
Notice of Determination
Explains the specific legal reason the EDD decided you were not eligible for benefits for some period of time. This may be written in dense, legal language that is hard to understand.
Notice of Overpayment
- If you received benefits, this Notice states how much money the EDD believes you owe them.
- The amount you owe can sometimes include a penalty, depending on the legal reason for the decision. This usually happens when the EDD decides you intentionally made a “false statement” (provided incorrect information) to them, which supposedly resulted in you being paid too much in benefits.
Acknowledgment of Appeal
- Tells you that the EDD has received your appeal, and forwarded your case to the CUIAB, which will be scheduling you for a hearing.
- Provides your case number and further procedural options.
- You may have to wait several weeks before your hearing is scheduled and you get a Notice of Hearing.
Notice of Hearing
- Tells you the date and time of your hearing with a judge from the CUIAB.
- Tells you the specific legal issue(s) you and the judge will discuss at the hearing.
- Lists the office number to call to check in for your telephonic hearing (currently, all hearings are conducted over the phone).
- Lists the phone and fax number for the CUIAB Office of Appeals handling your case.
- Heads Up: You usually have very little time, about 10 days, between when you get a Notice of Hearing and when the hearing is scheduled to take place. If you are waiting for a Notice of Hearing, make sure you open any mail from the CUIAB or EDD right away, so you learn about the hearing date as early as possible and have time to prepare!
Record of Claim Status Interview
- Often included in the appeal file (the packet of documents that should come in the same envelope as your Notice of Hearing).
- Is a record of any conversations (usually, phone calls) EDD staff had with you or your employer, and contains notes on the EDD staff person’s reasons for making the decision against you.
- Can be a very important document if there is a dispute between you and your former employer.