How ESD subverts appeals and due process

Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) is, for at least one claimaint, not forwarding appeals to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).

The reason, according to an ESD agent: “Your appeal requests have been received, but have not been forwarded to OAH because there is no denial to appeal”.

Are appeals restricted to “denials”? Not according to Washington Administrative Code.

WAC 192-04-020
Unless the context in this chapter clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms and phrases shall have these meanings:
(1) “Appeal” means a request for a hearing before and decision by the office of administrative hearings in a matter involving unemployment insurance benefits.

A “denial” would be considered one kind of “matter involving unemployment insurance benefits”. Other errors can also be considered a “matter”.

Appeals are the setting to sort out differences between ESD and others — claimants and employers.

In fact, appeals do happen even when there is approval (no denial) of benefits. An employer can object — through appeal — that the employee does not have a right to benefits. This is why Determination letters are also sent to employers in regular (non-pandemic) times.

The ESD reason to deny forwarding to OAH on the basis “there is no denial to appeal” is simply, bureucratic bullshit that thwarts the purpose of appeals and prevents due process.

In this case, there is no denial of benefits.

The “matter” not being forwarded to OAH are ESD’s false assertions the claimant has one or more claims out-of-state or with the Railroad Retirement Board. These false assertions were made in three separate Determination letters. The claimant has never filed for claims as asserted.

The claimant refuted the assertions and asked ESD repeatedly for information about why ESD determined the claimant had an out-of-state or railroad claim.

ESD did not respond to those requests.

The claimant wants the record to be clear there is no such claim. Further, such assertions may, in fact, reflect the possibility the claimant is the victim of identity theft in another state. If that is the case, corrective action needs to be taken.

Because ESD did not respond to requests for information, the claimant filed appeals.

ESD is, in this case, not following the Washington Administrative Code to provide due process and is not cooperating in fighting potential identify theft.