How To Appeal an Administrative Law Judge’s Decision to the CUIAB Board

You appealed a determination the EDD made against you. You attended a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge at the California Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board (“CUIAB”). But unfortunately, the judge decided against you.  

The judge’s decision does not have to be the end of the process. You have the right to appeal the decision to the board members of the CUIAB. The process is not difficult. You can start it today.  

How to Start the Appeals Process 

To appeal an unfavorable decision, you need to send in the Appeal Form or write a letter requesting an appeal. Here is the basic information you need to know: 

  • Fill out all necessary personal information on the Appeal Form. The case number and hearing date are listed on the first page of the Decision. If you are writing a letter, make sure you include your name, address, the case number of the decision, and the date you are sending the appeal. 
  • Provide an argument to the CUIAB about why the Administrative Law Judge made an error in your case. 
  • Send the form or letter within 30 days of the date the decision was mailed to you. The date the decision was mailed should be printed or stamped on the first page of the decision. Mail the form or letter to: CUIAB – Sacramento Office of Appeals, 2400 Venture Oaks Way, Suite 100, Sacramento, CA 95833, or fax it to (916) 263-6765.

What arguments could convince the board members to reverse the decision?  

The Board members are going to review the audio recording of the hearing and the appeal file to see if the judge made an error in the case.  

The board could conclude that the judge made an error, for example: 

  1. By not acknowledging testimony at the hearing or other evidence in the case file; 
  1. By mischaracterizing the evidence at the hearing; 
  1. By misstating the legal standard, or contradicting other cases that the CUIAB has decided. 

The Board is not likely to reverse an ALJ simply because the Board members thought the story one person told was more believable than the story another person told at the hearing. 

If you know that an error was made by the judge, you will want to explain why the judge made an error in your appeal. Try your best to address the specific reason(s) the judge did not decide in your favor, and why that decision was not correct (either because of facts the judge did not consider, or because the judge misapplied the law). 

Can I Review the Recording of the Hearing Before Preparing My Argument? 

Yes, you can request for a copy of the complete Administrative Record. You can simply write “I request a complete copy of the record in my case, including a recording of the administrative hearing. I request the right to provide written argument after receiving a copy of the record.” 

A copy of the record and a recording of the hearing should be provided free of charge. The recording will be mailed to you, along with a paper copy of the entire administrative record. Once that record is sent to you, you have 12 days to send your argument to the Board. If you request the hearing file, we suggest that you wait to submit a written argument until you receive the complete hearing record, so that you do not have to change or walk back anything you have said. It is still good to prepare your argument before receiving the record, however, so that you do not miss the 12-day deadline. 

Can I Submit Additional Evidence for the Board to Review? 

Yes, if you believe there is additional evidence that could support your case, you can provide it with your appeal or argument.  

If you are submitting new evidence, you need to: 

  1. send the Board a copy of the evidence; 
  1. explain why the evidence is important for the case; 
  1. explain why you were not able to submit it for the first hearing. 

The Board members do not always accept new evidence, and they will only accept new evidence if you explain why the new evidence is important and why you did not provide the evidence earlier. 

Did you lose the Appeal Form?  

  • You should have received a copy of the appeal form with the decision. But if you lost it or can’t find it, that’s alright! 
  • You can print out the appeal form from the CUIAB’s website:
  • You can also send a letter to the CUIAB that includes the following information: your name and address, the case number on the decision, and a statement that you want to appeal the decision. A sample letter is accessible at the end of this fact sheet. 

Did you miss the 30-day deadline? You can still appeal the decision. 

Even you appeal the decision after the deadline to appeal has past, the board members will still review your appeal if the board members think you have a good reason for sending the appeal in after the deadline. 

So,when you write the letter to the CUIAB along with the Appeal Form, you will need to explain why you were not able to send in your appeal on time. The Board will determine whether you had “good cause,” meaning a good enough reason, for the delay.  

Good cause can include all sorts of different reasons, including:  

  1. You had trouble understanding the decision and your rights. 
  1. You did not have legal representation in time to send it by the deadline. 
  1. You were dealing with medical issues. 
  1. You did not receive the decision in time. 
  1. You sent the appeal in just a few days after the deadline. 

What happens after you have filed your appeal? 

  • Unlike the first appeal, you will not have another hearing before a judge. At this stage, two board members of the CUIAB will review the written decision, the record of the hearing, and any additional evidence or written arguments you have submitted. After you send in your argument, there is not really anything for you to do except wait for the Board’s decision.  
  • The Board’s decision can affirm (uphold) the judge’s decision, it can reverse the decision entirely, it can reverse part of the decision, or it can send the case back to the EDD for further consideration. 
  • Typically, the Board only overturns a judge’s decision if it finds some sort of obvious legal error or an unsupported finding of fact. It is far from a sure thing, but as explained below, may still be worth the effort. 

Why Should You Appeal 

  • Just because someone is a judge does not mean everything they say is correct. Even if you are not sure whether the decision is incorrect, it is your legal right to ask for members of the Board to review a judge’s decision to make sure the decision has applied the law correctly and has a fair basis for the factual determinations the judge made.  
  • There is no harm in appealing your decision. If you lose your appeal, there are not any additional negative consequences. After the Board reviews the case, if you still disagree, you can file a Petition for Writ of Mandate in your county’s Superior Court, within six months of the mailing date of the Board’s decision.  
  • If you had an overpayment assessed against you, even if the EDD and judge are correct that you were not eligible for benefits, you might still be eligible for a waiver of the overpayment.  
  • If the EDD and judge 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. 

Template Documents to Help You Appeal 

Here is a template to show how you can make some of the arguments explained above.