Department of Human Services
Families First Online Policy Manual
Appeals and Fair Hearings
All hearings will be tape-recorded. Recordings will not be transcribed routinely. However, any party may request, at his expense or by the Division of Appeals and Hearings’ expense, a transcript of all or any part of the recording. If the Division of Appeals and Hearings elects to transcribe the proceedings, any party will be provided a copy of the transcript upon payment of a reasonable fee. All recordings will be kept on file for no less than three years and then destroyed if there have been no further developments in regard to the appeal.
The Hearing Official will enter an Initial Order in writing, which will contain a report of the hearing and a preliminary decision regarding the hearing. The Initial Order will be sent to the appellant and the county office. The report of the hearing will include the following information:
· The names and identities of the persons present at the hearing.
· A statement of the issues.
· A summary of the substance of the hearing that includes:
- A citation of oaths administered.
- A statement of the evidence presented.
- Exhibits, stipulations, admissions, and matters officially noticed.
- Questions and offer of proof, objections, and rulings on any objections.
- Attachments, which include the appeal form, the Withdrawal of Complaint (if applicable), the appeal summary prepared by the county office, acknowledgment notices, budget screens, and all documents or correspondence pertaining to the appeal.
· The recommendation of the Hearing Official, which will include:
- A concise statement of the issues.
- The facts brought out in the hearing.
- Citation to the applicable law or regulation.
- The reasoning that led to the conclusion.
- The recommendation to the Commissioner or his/her designated representative.
The recommendation is based exclusively on the evidence obtained in the hearing. Confidential or other information which the appellant or his representative does not have an opportunity to hear, see, respond to, or consent to will not be introduced at the hearing nor become a part of the hearing record, since due process requires that all parties must have the opportunity of cross-examination and rebuttal.
The appellant, his/her representative, and the Case Prep Unit worker who attended the Hearing will receive copies of the initial order. This report will allow the parties to examine the order for completeness and accuracy. Any party to the hearing may file a Petition for Reconsideration and/or Appeal of the Initial Order by submitting written comments, arguments, and exceptions to the order within 15 days of the mailing of the report. In accordance with due process, it is not permissible to add new evidence that was not presented at the hearing.
The following information will be submitted to the Commissioner or his/her designated representative for the final decision:
· The report of the hearing.
· All exhibits and documents which were made part of the hearing record.
· A recording of the hearing or transcription, if one was made.
· Hearing Official’s recommendation.
· Any additional comments, arguments, and exceptions filed within 15 days of the Hearing Official’s decision.
The Final Order entered by the Commissioner or his/her designated representative shall either:
· Adopt the decision of the Hearing Official as set forth in the Initial Order.
· Modify and/or reverse the decision of the Hearing Official as set forth in the Initial Order, specifying the basis of the modification or reversal.
· Remand the case to the Hearing Official for a specified reason.
While the Final Order is binding upon all parties to the appeal, either party may file a Petition for Reconsideration of the Final Order within 15 days of the date of the Final Order. This petition must be in writing, stating the specific grounds for the request. Filing a Petition for reconsideration of the Final Order shall not supersede or delay the effective date of the Final Order. The Final Order will take effect on the date entered and will continue in effect until the Petition for Reconsideration of the Final Order is granted or until the Final Order is superseded, modified, or set aside in a manner provided by law.
However, if a change affecting the recipient’s benefits occurs while the reconsideration is pending, action to implement that change will not be delayed pending the decision on the petition.