Will My Money Be Retroactive if I Won an Unemployment Appeal?

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The unemployment appeal process is designed to allow interested parties a right to protest the state's decisions on claims. Until a state approves a claim, it doesn't release any payments associated with it. You can receive these payments if the appeal is later approved as long as you remain eligible and verify that eligibility through the certification process while appealing your claim. After you win the appeal, you receive that back pay in a lump sum.

The Unemployment Appeal Process

  • One of your rights during the unemployment appeal process is the right to appeal the state's determination decision. Your former employer also can appeal the decision. Then the state holds a hearing either in person or over the phone where all interested parties can submit evidence that proves their side of the case. If you disagree with the review decision and have new evidence, you can appeal a second time to the state's review board. If you disagree with that decision, you'd have to appeal through the civil courts.

No Payments During Appeals

  • Depending on the schedule and the number of appeals filed, the appeals process can take a couple of weeks or several months. During the entire process, you won't receive any unemployment compensation payments. Only if you win the appeal, you can receive those weeks of pay. The reasoning behind this rule is that if you don't qualify for benefits and the state gives them to you during the appeal, you'd have to pay that money back. It's more effective to withhold payment until you've been approved for benefits.

Weekly Claims Certifications

  • If you want to receive your unemployment money after your appeal, you must continue to file your weekly claims certifications and maintain eligibility. The weekly claims certification process verifies your eligibility to the state based on a series of questions you answer over the phone or Internet. By filing the certifications, you are telling the state that you are eligible to receive payment. If you don't certify, you can't receive payments for those weeks even if you win your appeal because you didn't tell the state you were eligible for them.

Receiving Retroactive Benefits

  • Each time a decision is made on an appeal, you receive the decision by mail. If approved, it tells you to continue filing your certifications. Some states also note the amount of back pay can receive. On your next pay date, you receive your current unemployment payment and a lump sum of your back pay. Depending on your state and the way you've set up your payments, you can receive the payment by check, prepaid debit card or direct deposit.

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