This opinion will be unpublished and may

not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).

 

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C5-00-659

 

 

Yon S. Groebner,

Relator,

 

vs.

 

Commissioner of Economic Security,

Respondent.

 

 

Filed December 19, 2000

Appeal dismissed

Lansing, Judge

 

Department of Economic Security

File No. 187799

 

 

Yon S. Groebner, 1815 Central Avenue Northeast, Apt.15, Minneapolis, MN 55418 (pro se relator)

 

Kent E. Todd, Minnesota Department of Economic Security, 390 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55101 (attorney for respondent)

 

            Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

LANSING, Judge

            By writ of certiorari, Yon Groebner appeals the Commissioner of Economic Security’s dismissal of her application for reemployment compensation benefits.[1]  The record supports the finding that Groebner did not timely appeal a reemployment compensation judge’s decision and, even if she had timely appealed, she was ineligible. We therefore dismiss.

FACTS

            Yon Groebner established a reemployment compensation account when she was discharged from employment with Liberty Carton in April 1998.  After her benefit year ended in April 1999, Groebner applied for a second reemployment compensation account, basing it on a brief employment with Landmark Personnel during which she earned $254.  The department denied that application on a finding that Groebner was not statutorily eligible for a second benefit account.  Groebner appealed the decision to the reemployment compensation judge. 

            After the reemployment compensation judge affirmed the department’s determination, the department mailed a copy of the decision to Groebner on June 18, 1999.  Groebner had informed the department that she was homeless and directed that the decision be mailed to the main Minneapolis post office’s general-delivery address.  But after the June 18, 1999, hearing, Groebner had obtained housing and was no longer using the general-delivery address.  Although Groebner called the department several times to request that a copy of the decision be sent to her, a department employee testified that Groebner did not tell the department her new address until August 10.

The department made repeated attempts to deliver the written decision to Groebner, but was unsuccessful until a department employee gave her a copy at a workforce center in early August.  Groebner appealed the reemployment compensation judge’s decision on August 10, more than 30 days after the June 18 decision.

Initially, a commissioner’s representative affirmed the denial of benefits on the merits.  Groebner appealed, and the commissioner asked this court to dismiss the appeal so that the commissioner could consider the jurisdiction issue.  A commissioner’s representative then dismissed Groebner’s appeal as untimely.  Groebner appeals, arguing that the untimeliness of her appeal should not preclude consideration of the merits because she did not receive a copy of the decision until after the appeal deadline had passed.  Groebner further argues that, on the merits, she is eligible for the second benefit account.

D E C I S I O N

            On appeal, this court reviews the commissioner’s factual findings in the light most favorable to the decision, determining whether the evidence in the record reasonably tends to sustain those findings.  Lolling v. Midwest Patrol, 545 N.W.2d 372, 377 (Minn. 1996).  But whether the commissioner erred in dismissing an appeal as untimely is a question of law, which this court independently reviews.  Stottler v. Meyers Printing Co., 602 N.W.2d 916, 918 (Minn. App. 1999). 

            If an applicant appeals a reemployment compensation judge’s decision, that appeal must be made “within 30 calendar days after mailing of the * * * decision[.]”  Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(a) (Supp. 1999).  Groebner does not dispute that she failed to appeal the reemployment compensation judge’s decision within the 30-day appeal period.  Instead, Groebner argues that because she did not receive the decision within the appeal time period, she could not have timely appealed it. 

The time limit for appeals from decisions on reemployment compensation benefit accounts is absolute.  See, e.g., Hart-Wilke v. Aetna Life Ins., 550 N.W.2d 310, 313 (Minn. App. 1996); Andstrom v. Willmar Reg’l Treatment Ctr., 512 N.W.2d 117, 118 (Minn. App. 1994); Baldinger Baking Co. v. Stepan, 354 N.W.2d 569, 571 (Minn. App. 1984), review denied (Minn. Dec. 20, 1984).  The department must dismiss an untimely appeal for lack of jurisdiction.  Hart-Wilke, 550 N.W.2d at 313.  Under the statute, receipt of the mailing is not determinative; instead, the appeal time limit begins to run on the date that the department mails the decision to the applicant’s designated address.  See Minn. Stat. § 268.105, subd. 2(a); Smith v. Masterson Personnel, Inc., 483 N.W.2d 111, 112 (Minn. App. 1992) (finding that an applicant’s untimely appeal was not excused by delay caused by the post office forwarding mail).  The statutory time period begins to run even if a party has not yet received the department’s determination.  Grewe v. Commissioner of Econ. Sec., 385 N.W.2d 894, 895 (Minn. App. 1986). 

The commissioner’s representative found that (1) three different department employees properly mailed copies of the reemployment judge’s decision to Groebner at her last known address on five different occasions after the June 18 decision, and (2) department employees made further attempts to deliver Groebner a copy of the decision by offering to fax the decision and even calling the Minneapolis post office to confirm the general-delivery mailing address.  The evidence in the record supports these findings.  Thus, Groebner’s delayed appeal did not invoke the commissioner’s review powers.

            Even if the appeal had triggered review, the record establishes that Groebner was not entitled to a second benefit account after her brief employment with Landmark Personnel.  To establish a second benefit account, an applicant must satisfy certain statutory conditions, including “hav[ing] performed services in covered employment after the effective date of the prior benefit account.”  Minn. Stat. § 268.07, subd. 3 (Supp. 1999).  Also, “[t]he wages paid for that employment must equal not less than eight times the weekly benefit amount of the prior benefit account.”  Id.  The purpose of this section is to prevent applicants from “establishing more than one benefit account as a result of one loss of employment.”  Id.

            To be eligible for the second account under Minn. Stat. § 268.07, subd. 3, Groebner had to earn wages of eight times her weekly benefit amount, or eight times $103, after the effective date of her first benefit account.  The record shows that Groebner only earned $254 in the year following the effective date of her reemployment compensation benefit account.  Thus, she did not earn the minimum amount necessary to satisfy the statute.

On the undisputed facts, Groebner did not timely appeal the reemployment compensation judge’s decision.  The commissioner properly dismissed Groebner’s appeal.

            Appeal dismissed.



[1] Effective April 7, 2000, the legislature changed the program name from reemployment compensation to unemployment insurance and redesignated reemployment compensation benefits as unemployment benefits and reemployment compensation judges as unemployment law judges.  See 2000 Minn. Laws ch. 343.  Because Groebner’s claim was filed before the effective date of the amendments, the previous terminology is appropriate.