Chapter 12: Fair Hearing
I. Fair Hearing Procedures for Local Agencies
Any individual who is denied participation, is terminated or disqualified from CSFP, or if DCF has a claim against them, has the right to a fair hearing. The hearing request shall be filed within 60 days from the date when the LA gave or mailed the denial, termination, or disqualification action notice. The individual’s request may be either written or oral.
When the LA receives a request for a fair hearing, the complainant has the option to resolve the issue with a preliminary conference with the LA within seven (7) days. The LA shall notify DCF and proceed with the fair hearing when the issue is still unresolved after the possible preliminary conference. The LA shall notify the appellant in writing of the time and location at least ten days in advance of the fair hearing and shall enclose an explanation of the hearing procedure.
The hearing shall be accessible to the appellant and shall be held within three (3) weeks from the date the LA or DCF received the request for a hearing. The LA or DCF shall provide the appellant or the appellant’s representative an opportunity to present their case in accordance with 7 CFR Part 247.33
II. Denial of Fair Hearing
The request for a fair hearing shall be denied when criteria listed in 7 CFR Part 247.33 are not met.
III. Continuation of Benefits
Participants who appeal the: claim against them, termination, or disqualification within 15 days of receiving the notice, may receive program benefits until a hearing official reaches a decision or until the participants certification expires, whichever occurs first. However, if the hearing decision finds that a participant received program benefits fraudulently, the LA must include the value of the benefits received during the time that the hearing was pending, as well as for any previous period, in its initiation and pursuit of a claim against the participant.
Applicant’s who are denied benefits at initial certification or at subsequent certifications, shall not receive benefits while awaiting the hearing.
IV. Hearing Official
The hearing official is an individual who resides in the DCF Legal Department and shall conduct hearings. The official does not have any involvement in the decision and was not directly involved in the initial determination of the action being contested. The hearing official shall be in compliance with 7 CFR 247.33
V. Hearing Decisions
The decisions of the hearing official shall comply with Federal law, regulations, or policy, and shall be factually based on the hearing record and binding on the LA. Hearing decisions and notification shall be in compliance with 7 CFR 247.33.
All State Agency and Local Agency hearing records and decisions shall be available for public inspection and copying provided the names and addresses of participants and other members of the public are kept confidential.
VI. Appeal of State and Local Agency Fair Hearing Decisions
Any applicant or participant who went through the fair hearing process has the right to appeal the decision through a judicial review. The LA is to notify DCF immediately when a request for a judicial review is made.
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