Appealing a Decision

Appealing a Decision

When do I need to appeal?

After filing with the Employment Security Department, you will receive a written notice by mail or on your e-Services account that will deny or allow you benefits. If you are denied benefits, you have a right to appeal. If you are allowed benefits, your former employer has the right to appeal. If either you or your employer appeals, you will have a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. You have 30 days from the date on the decision to send an appeal.

How do I appeal?

You have 30 days from the date on the decision to send an appeal. In your appeal, state the following: “I want to appeal the denial of unemployment benefits because I disagree with the decision. I want a hearing, and I want a copy of my file.” Here is a template you can use (also available in Spanish).

You can appeal in three ways:

  1. Mail the form or letter to the address on the notice;
  2. Fax it to the number provided on the decision that denied you benefits;
  3. Appeal online through your eServices account.
    • Log into your eServices account, select the Decision status tab, look for the decision you want to appeal, and choose Appeal.

Make sure you keep copies of anything you mail, fax receipts, and a screenshot confirmation of your appeal submission.

What happens next? 

After you send in your appeal, you will receive a notice of the date and time of your hearing. Your hearing will be by telephone. If you cannot attend the hearing at that time, you must call the Office of Administrative Hearings immediately to request a postponement. The number to call can be found in your Notice of Hearing.

Should I continue filing weekly claims for unemployment benefits while I appeal?

Yes! If you win your hearing, you will receive benefits for each week that you file a weekly claim. If you lose your hearing, and you received benefits before the hearing, the Employment Security Department will try to get that money back from you. Find out more about Overpayments here.

How do I appeal the judge’s decision?

If you disagree with the judge’s decision, you may appeal by filing a “Petition for Review.” You must file the Petition for Review within 30 days of the mailing date listed on the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) decision. A Petition for Review is a letter that states the reasons for which you disagree with the judge’s decision.

If you have not already done so, download the audio recording of the hearing from your OAH Participant Portal. Listen to the recording and find the parts that help show that you quit for good cause or were not fired for misconduct (or whatever the issue you are appealing may be). In the letter, you should explain why you think the judge’s decision was wrong, using examples from the recording. Be as organized and specific as possible.

The letter must be no longer than five pages and signed by you. At the top of the letter, you should write “Petition for Review,” and include your name and address, your social security number, and the Docket Number on the decision. Continue to file weekly claims during this period when you are appealing.

Where should I send the Petition for Review or the Response?

Your Petition for Review (or response letter) must be mailed to:

Commissioner’s Review Office
Employment Security Department
P.O. Box 9555
Olympia, WA 98507-9555

You should always check your decision to verify that this is the correct address. The appeal must have proper postage. You may wish to send the appeal via certified mail to verify its delivery. You should write on either letter that you sent a copy of your Petition for Review or your response to your former employer or its representative, and then do so.

How do I appeal the Commissioner’s decision?

If you write a Petition for Review to the Commissioner and lose, then you can file an appeal in a state Superior Court. Very precise rules apply in appealing a case to Superior Court appeal, so we urge you to read, and download if you wish, a guide to this process which you can find in our self help section.