Ohio Unemployment
Appeal Steps

If you find you have been denied unemployment compensation benefits that you have a right to, that your employer has paid for, then it is critical for you to learn about the appeal levels and the process at each level.

Outline of the Appeal Process

  1. Application for Benefits
  2. Fact-Finding
  3. Initial Determination
  4. Written Appeal to ODJFS
  5. Redetermination
  6. Appeal for Hearing
  7. Hearing with Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC)
  8. Decision
  9. Request for Review
  10. Appeal to Court

Appeal from an Initial Determination

When you file for unemployment benefits, your employer will be asked to provide information, after which ODJFS will make a determination regarding your eligibility for benefits.  If you find that the initial determination denied your unemployment compensation benefits, you may submit a written appeal, which is frequently referred to as an unemployment appeal letter.  This appeal must be submitted within 21 calendar days of the date of the determination, and it may be submitted by mail or fax to the processing center identified on the determination, or it may be submitted through the online system.

If you choose to have the Ohio Unemployment Lawyers of Smith's Law Offices assist you, at this stage we would notify ODJFS that we represent you, request a copy of your file, which will include more information than is seen through ODJFS’ online system.  The file will contain documents, questionnaire responses, and other information provided by your former employer.  We will then craft an appeal that explains why the law provides that you have a right to unemployment compensation benefits.

Once this appeal is submitted, ODJFS has 21 days to either issue a redetermination or refer the appeal to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission.  In almost all cases, ODJFS will issue a redetermination that will either maintain its original determination or change it.

Appeal from a Redetermination

If ODJFS’ Redetermination is not in your favor, you have 21 days from the date the redetermination is issued to file an appeal to the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC).  Once this appeal is filed, you will first receive confirmation that the appeal has been filed, and about a week later you will receive a notice with the date and time of the hearing. This hearing is most often held by telephone, though it may be held in person if needed.

This unemployment appeal hearing is the most important stage of the appeal process.  Prior to the hearing, Smith's Law Offices will request your ODJFS file, subpoena any documents that may support your position, secure any important witnesses, and discuss the hearing process with you so you will be comfortable with it.

During this hearing, a Hearing Officer will begin by asking witnesses questions.  Any representatives will have the opportunity to follow-up with further questions.  If you choose to have the Ohio Unemployment Attorneys at Smith's Law Offices represent you, we would cross examine all of the employer witnesses, follow up with questions for you to ensure the Hearing Officer hears and understands why you are entitled to benefits, and we will provide a closing statement to the Hearing Officer, setting forth the law and facts that support your right to unemployment compensation.

Appeal from a Hearing Decision

If the Hearing Officer’s decision is not in your favor, a Request for Review of that decision may be submitted to the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission (UCRC).  The UCRC may deny the request for a review or at may grant it, in which case it may rely on what is already in the record or hold a further hearing.  Requests to the UCRC are rarely granted and are uphill battles.  This is why it is important to contact the Ohio Unemployment Lawyers at Smith's Law Offices before the Unemployment Appeal Hearing, when there are still many strategies available to obtain the benefits you have a right to.

Appeal to Court

There may additionally be appeals that can be made to Court.  However, just as the request for review is an uphill battle, so are any appeals to courts.

Important Notes About the Process

Continue to report to ODJFS throughout the process.  If you win, you will be paid only for the weeks that you reported.  If the online system stops taking your claims, call to report the problem and take care of it immediately.

If you have been paid benefits and later lose, ODJFS will demand that you repay any benefits already received.  Overpayments not paid in full within forty-five days of a decision becoming final may be referred to Ohio's Attorney General for collection.

Deadlines are very firm, and missing a deadline will likely be the end of your claim.  The limited circumstances when a deadline might be extended require you to: A) Provide certified medical documentation that you had a medical condition that prevented you from filing on time, or B) you must convince the Review Commission that you did not receive proper notice of the determination you are appealing.

Free Consultations

You have nothing to risk or lose by calling Smith's Law Offices for your free consultation, so call us today before any of your unemployment appeal rights are lost. Whether you just received an unemployment denial and need to appeal or are about to have an unemployment hearing, we can help.

Affordable Legal Help

We offer fee options that understand the cost of  legal help can be difficult when you are unemployed. In many PUA cases, we offer a minimal flat fee for representation through the PUA system and the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission.

Statewide Representation

Because unemployment determinations are appealed in writing, and the hearings are conducted by telephone, Smith's Law Offices successfully represents clients throughout the entire State of Ohio.

Improve Your Chance to Obtain Benefits

The unemployment benefit appeal process does provide opportunities to obtain a determination in your favor, but you must have knowledge of the laws, the rules, and have the required tools to obtain and present evidence on your behalf.

The fact is, ODJFS does not operate based on what you know to be true, unless that truth can be shown to them, proven to them, and explained in a way that they can understand that Ohio statutes and rules require them to give you benefits.

The Ohio Unemployment Lawyers at Smith's Law Offices have the expertise and experience to navigate through the Unemployment Appeal process and to present the best case possible to obtain the benefits you deserve.   It is a simple decision: If you want to increase your chances of obtaining benefits, take advantage of a free consultation with the Ohio Unemployment Lawyers at Smith's Law Offices.


"Professional, upfront, knowledgeable, made the whole appeals process way less stressful, made me feel comfortable at the hearing, and won my appeal! Highly recommend using!"


"Brian is a very good attorney and I am very happy with the way that he handled my unemployment case. He is very professional and informative and easy to talk to and he explains concerns very well. I would recommend him to anyone. He is very thorough and made me feel very confident with him handling my case. Thank you very much for your hard work in my case."


"Thank you Brian for representing me with my unemployment case. I was over whelmed and devastated at the loss of my job after 27 years of employment. You was my rock that helped me through this nightmare, I couldn't have done it without you. You are very professional and easy to talk to, I appreciate all you did for me."


"Excellent service, not only did I win my case but the level of customer service was phenomenal!! Anytime i had a question it was answered so that i could understand it.
I was also extremely prepared and ready before we went to court.
It was such a nice process. I would recommend this company to anyone i know!!"  


"Beat Walmart unemployment case!  Took the time to help me think this case through. Helped me prioritize the events that happened. Came up with a winning strategy that ultimately won my appeal hearing against the retail giant Walmart!"


"There are only good things to be said about this Law Firm, Attorney Brian Smith and Attorney John Sivinski.  I was blindsided by separation at my former employment and then denied unemployment benefits as well.  In addition to the denial of benefits, I also lost two rounds of appeals.  Before my third appeal, which involved a phone hearing, I was very fortunate to find this Law Firm.  They were meticulous and extremely experienced in helping to turn the situation around."


"Brian is very responsive and very thorough. I was very nervous throughout the process, and he made me feel relaxed and confident. I would highly recommend Brian to all my friends and family because I am confident he will not let them down, he is very trustworthy and personable. Thanks so much Brian for your professionalism and you eagerness to go the extra mile. You are an excellent attorney."


"Mr. Smith is an amazing lawyer who listens and takes his time to make sure he understands every detail of your particular case. I would recommend him to my family/friends if ever needed. Mr. Smith helped me understand the procedure which helped me better prepare myself for my hearing. The outcome was exactly what we were looking for. Thank you!"


"I was extremely happy working Brian & John on my case.  They were very thorough & easy to talk with.  I would highly recommend them to anyone!"


"Great law firm.  My attorney help me immensely. My job fired me unjustly and they help me get my unemployment back. They help file everything and keep you updated on what going on. Very friendly and helpful. Wish these guys the best in the future!"


"Brian and his colleague John were incredibly helpful and supportive. Not only did they make me feel secure, I felt represented and heard. I won my case with their help and hard work! I highly recommend them for anyone who is having to fight their employer for unemployment. I can not thank them enough!"  


"Brian Smith is the best! He handled my claim in a most timely manner an professional manner. Could not have done this by myself. Bravo!!!"


"I would absolutely recommend Law Offices of Brian J. Smith, ltd. Brian and John worked with my (juvenile) son and I on a very challenging case. The case even went to the Supreme Court. . . We wouldn’t have WON without their experience and dedication. They were very professional, considerate and understanding especially when things became overwhelming for us. We couldn’t be more thankful for their services."

Unemployment Consultations

If you contact us for a free consultation regarding your unemployment case, there are some important questions you should be prepared to answer:

We attempt to respond to every request for an Ohio unemployment consultation the same day it is received. Due to a large volume of requests for consultations, we are occasionally unable to respond until the following business day.  Double check your email address so you can receive a response. If you leave a number for us to call you back on, be sure that your voicemail is set up so we can leave a message if you are unable to answer or screening your calls.

Out-of-Office Notice - through August 3, 2023

While we typically encourage and provide free consultations every day, Mr. Smith will be unavailable to provide consultations until August 4, 2023. He will be available for free consultations after that time.

Contact Us

For a Free Telephone Consultation
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Please keep in mind that the success of any legal matter depends on the unique circumstances of each case and we cannot guarantee particular results for future clients based on successes we have achieved in past legal matters.