BUC - Appeals Frequently Asked Questions

Claimants and Employers have the same right to appeal an unemployment decision to grant or deny unemployment benefits under federal and state law. Our goal is that all appeals conclude with the parties feeling they had a fair opportunity to present their case.

1. I filed my appeal, now what can I expect?

  • After filing your appeal you will receive documents in the mail including a notice of hearing advising of the date, time and location of the hearing, a copy of the decision under appeal and relevant documents that were available to the deputy/examiner when the decision under appeal was issued.

2. I need accommodations, what can I do?

  • If you need accommodations such as an interpreter, please contact the Division of Administrative Hearings at 207-621-5001. The Division will work with you to assure the appropriate accommodations are made.

3. I don't have a telephone, how can I participate?

  • The majority of hearings are held by telephone. If you do not have a telephone reasonably available to you, you should go to your local CareerCenter to make arrangements to use one of their telephones for the hearing.

4. Can I use my cell phone for the hearing?

  • You may use a cell phone for the hearing. However, you must assure that you are in an area with sufficient reception. If the call is distorted or dropped, the Hearing Officer will attempt to call you back one time. If it is distorted or dropped again, the Hearing Officer may proceed without you. If you are driving at the time of the hearing, the Division requires that you pull over to a safe location to participate in the hearing.

5. Do I need an attorney?

  • You have the right to hire an attorney or another individual who you authorize to represent you at your hearing, at your own expense. You are not required to have an attorney or representative at the hearing and, in fact, most parties do not have representatives. The Administrative Hearing Officer will ensure that each party, whether represented or not, receives a fair and impartial hearing. If you do have legal representation, you must ensure that your attorney is given notice of the hearing in time to prepare. The Division of Administrative Hearings will NOT postpone a hearing because a party or their attorney would like more time to prepare.

6. Can I have a representative at the hearing?

  • The Administrative Hearing Officer will ensure that each party, whether represented or not, receives a fair and impartial hearing. You may choose to have a representative for the hearing. The representative would be the person who could question you, the opposing party and any witnesses. Representatives typically do not provide testimony.

7. What happens in the hearing?

  • The hearing is similar to a court trial, but it is not as formal. The appeal hearing is controlled by the Administrative Hearing Officer to make sure that each party has the same opportunity to present their case.
  • The hearing will begin with the Administrative Hearing Officer making an opening statement about what will happen during the hearing. The Hearing Officer will introduce the administrative documents into the record. The Hearing Officer will confirm whether there are any witnesses, other than the parties, who will be participating in the hearing. The Hearing Officer will answer any questions you have about the hearing process.
  • The Hearing Officer will begin receiving testimony by swearing in the first witness. The party that has the burden of proof usually presents their case first. In a case involving a separation from employment, the burden of proof depends on the way that the separation occurred. If the claimant left work voluntarily, it is the claimant’s burden to present evidence that they had good cause connected to the work for leaving the job. If the employer dismissed the claimant, it is the employer’s burden to present evidence showing that the claimant was discharged for misconduct connected with the work.
  • The Hearing Officer will usually question the witness first and allow them to tell their story. After answering all the Hearing Officer’s questions, the witness will be allowed to testify as to any additional information that is relevant to the issue on appeal. The party who requested the witness to appear will have the opportunity to ask questions of the witness. Then the opposing party will have the opportunity to ask the witness questions, which is referred to as cross examination. The Hearing Officer will call the next witness and the process will be repeated.
  • When one party has finished presenting their case, the opposing party will be given the opportunity to present their case. The Hearing Officer will allow each party additional opportunity to respond to the evidence presented by the other party. The Hearing Officer will close the hearing after each party has been given a full opportunity to present their case and has no further evidence to present. Hearings are usually scheduled for one hour but generally take less time to complete. The Hearing Officer has the ability to continue a hearing to a second date and time if the time allotted for the hearing is not sufficient to allow for presentation by the parties.

8. When will I get my decision?

  • The decision will be sent to you in writing typically within two weeks of the hearing date. The Division staff cannot advise you of the results of the decision verbally.

9. I can't attended my hearing at the scheduled time, what can I do?

  • You must make every effort to attend the hearing. If you have a very serious conflict and cannot attend the hearing, you must contact the Division of Administrative Hearings immediately. You should only request a postponement if you have a commitment that is both very important and cannot be changed. The Division is under serious time constraints to complete its cases. Generally, hearings will not be postponed for personal reasons or everyday scheduling conflicts, such as vacations, child care responsibilities or business appointments. You may not assume that a postponement request has been granted until you have received confirmation from the Division of Administrative Hearings.

10. I have evidence that I want the hearing officer to consider, what do I do?

  • If you have documentation that you would like the Hearing Officer to consider at the hearing, please submit the information prior to the hearing either:
    • Via Fax: (207)287-5949
      Via Email: admin.hearings@maine.gov 
    • Or Via Regular Mail: Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Division of Administrative Hearings, 30 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-00.

11. What if I don't answer the call for the hearing?

  • It is important that you are ready and prepared to go forward with your hearing at the scheduled time. If you are the appealing party and you do not appear for your hearing – whether it is by telephone or in person – YOUR APPEAL WILL BE DISMISSED. If you are the non-appealing party and you do not appear, the hearing will continue without you. Your failure to appear may result in a denial of further rights of appeal.

12. How do I withdraw the appeal?

  • If you are the appealing party and decide that you no longer wish to move forward with the appeal you may withdraw your appeal by submitting your request in writing either:
    • Via Fax: (207)287-5949
      Via Email: admin.hearings@maine.gov 
    • Or Via Regular Mail: Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Division of Administrative Hearings, 30 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0030.
  • If a written request to withdraw the appeal is not received before the scheduled hearing, the Hearing Officer will attempt to contact you for the hearing.

13. How do I request a subpoena?

  • If you ask someone to appear as a witness and they refuse, you may request that they be subpoenaed. This means they will be required by law to appear. You also have the right to request a subpoena for written documents or other evidence that you are unable to obtain on your own. Subpoena requests may be submitted in writing to the Division of Administrative Hearings and should include a detailed explanation of the evidence being requested and the reason you need that evidence for your hearing. You must also include a full name and address of the witness you are requesting to be subpoenaed, or the name and address of the individual or entity that possesses the documents you are seeking for the hearing.

14. How can I appeal the Hearing Officer's decision?

  • If you do not agree with the decision of the Hearing Officer in your case, you can appeal that decision to the unemployment Insurance Commission. The Commission may or may not grant you another hearing. The appeal must be filed with the Unemployment Insurance Commission within 15 days of the date of the Hearing Officer's decision, by writing to:
    • Unemployment Insurance Commission
      57 State House Station
      Augusta, ME 04333-0057 
      Telephone: (207) 623-6786
      Fax: (207) 287-4554

15. What if I want a waiver of overpayment of my benefits?

  • If an overpayment has been established by either the Hearing Officer's decision or the Unemployment Insurance Commission decision, you may request a Waiver of Overpayment from the Commission. 
  • Your request for Waiver of Overpayment must be in writing and mailed to the Unemployment Insurance Commission. Upon request, the Commission may grant a hearing of this matter. If you do not request a hearing, the Commission will make a decision based upon a review of the record, and/or any other information the Commission may request from the claimant.
    Please send Requests for Waiver of Overpayment to:
    • Unemployment Insurance Commission
      57 State House Station
      Augusta, ME 04333-0057
      Phone: (207) 623-6786