The Fair Hearing process lets you have the opportunity to tell an Administrative Law Judge (from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance) why you think a decision made by the local social services agency on your case is wrong. Once the hearing is completed, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance issues a written decision stating if the agency was correct or in error.
Fair Hearing Opportunities
You have the opportunity to request a Fair Hearing on any action the local agency may make on your case. This includes, but is not limited to, reductions in your grant, denials, determinations of employability, and restrictions on any amount of your Temporary Assistance, SNAP benefits, or Medicaid.
At a Fair Hearing you will have the chance to explain why you think the decision is wrong.
How to Request a Fair Hearing
You can request a Fair Hearing by phone, mail, or fax. Contact information is listed on the right of this page. If you require an interpreter you may request one at the time of your call.
There are time limits regarding requests. Generally, it is a good idea to request a hearing right away. If you wait too long, you may not be able to get a hearing.
If you receive a notice that tells you that your Temporary Assistance or Medical Assistance or services have been denied, will be stopped, or will be reduced, you may ask for a Fair Hearing
Look at your notice to be sure of the time limits. Your notice will tell you wheather the time limit is 60 or 90 days.
If you do not get a notice about your case, and your money, other help, or services are denied, stopped, or reduced, you can also ask for a Fair Hearing.
Benefits While Waiting for Hearing
When you request a Fair Hearing, you may ask that your benefits continue at least until the hearing is held. The decision to continue your benefits is made by the state. If you do not want the money or other help you have been getting to stay the same until the Fair Hearing decision is made, you must tell Albany when requesting your Fair Hearing.
Reimbursing the State
If a decision is made that your benefits will continue until the hearing and you lose the Fair Hearing, you will have to pay back any Temporary Assistance and/or SNAP benefits you received while you were waiting for the Fair Hearing decision. You may also have to pay back any Medical Assistance you received while you were waiting for the Fair Hearing decision.
Before the Hearing Date
The supervisor of the team that has your case will be contacting you to set up a pre-hearing conference which may take place by phone. At this conference you will be able to discuss what happened and the reasons why it happened. This conference may resolve this disagreement. If this is the case, please let the supervisor know at the time of the conference. You will need to sign a withdrawal and you will not have to appear for the Fair Hearing.
Inability to Attend the Hearing
If you or your representative fail to show for your hearing and you have a valid reason, you have 15 days from the scheduled date to request that your hearing be rescheduled. You must contact Albany within those 15 days.
If you need to reschedule your hearing prior to the hearing date, you may request an adjournment by contacting Albany at the appropriate numbers. An adjournment will be given if you have a valid reason for being unable to appear.
If you cannot attend due to a disability and cannot travel you may have a representative, friend, relative, or lawyer appear for you. A friend or relative must bring a written letter signed by you saying that you want that person to represent you.
If you have no representative and wish to participate in the hearing, you may have a telephone hearing scheduled. You will have to provide medical verification that you cannot travel to the hearing location. When you request your hearing you should inform them that you are disabled and wish to have a telephone hearing.
Scheduling the Hearing
You will receive notification from Albany by mail telling you when your hearing is scheduled. It may take up to 4 weeks for the Hearing to be scheduled.
What to Expect
The Department will submit a packet including all the information from your case to make their decision. You will have a chance to give the judge any information you may have at that time. You will also be able to ask the Department representative questions and the Department will be able to ask you questions. These hearings are recorded in Albany through the telephone.
Length of Time for Decision
The Administrative Law Judges have 30 days to make a decision regarding the facts of the case. You will receive a decision in the mail as soon as that decision is rendered.
You may be eligible for legal advice and/or representation through one of the agencies found in Chautauqua County. Chautauqua County Legal Aid and Southern Tier Legal Services may be able to help you.