Administrative Disqualification Hearings
Under state and federal law, if an individual is receiving assistance under the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA), State Administered General Assistance (SAGA) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and DSS determines that the individual has received such benefits fraudulently, i.e., the individual has committed an Intentional Program Violation (IPV), DSS will ask Hearings Unit to schedule an administrative disqualification hearing (ADH) for the individual.
In most ways, notices, procedures and appeal rights for ADH proceedings identical to those applicable to other DSS hearings. However, ADHs are different from other types of hearings the Hearings Unit conducts in the following ways:
- The Department alleges that the individual has committed an IPV and asks the Hearings Unit to schedule the hearing.
- The Hearings Unit sends the individual, via certified mail, a description of the Department’s allegations and the ADH process, in addition to the date of the scheduled ADH.
- A Notice of Hearing is sent to the individual at least 30 days prior to the ADH date.
- The Notice of Hearing contains: (1) the date, time, and place of the hearing; (2) the charge(s) against the individual, (3) a summary of the Department’s evidence of the IPV, and how and where the individual may examine the evidence; (4) notice that the decision will be based solely on the information the Department provides if the individual fails to appear at the hearing; (5) a statement that the individual has 10 days from the date of the scheduled hearing to present good cause for failure to appear in order to receive a new hearing; (6) notice as to the length of the disqualification period should there be a determination that there was an IPV; (7) a statement that the hearing does not preclude the state or federal government form prosecuting the individual for the IPV in a civil or criminal action; (8) the availability of free legal representation; (9) a listing of the individual’s rights; and (10) an invitation to contact the Department if additional information is needed.
- An individual may request only one postponement of the hearing. The individual’s request postpone the hearing must be made at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled hearing and the rescheduled date must not be more than 30 days from the scheduled date.
- If the individual or representative fails to appear at the hearing without good cause, the hearing shall still proceed. The Hearing Officer will carefully consider the evidence and determine if an IPV was committed based on clear and convincing evidence.
- If the individual does not attend the hearing and the Hearing Officer finds that the individual committed an IPV but then determines there was good cause for the individual not appearing at the hearing (the individual presented good cause for failure to appear within 10 days from the date of the hearing), a new hearing will be conducted. In situations where the good-cause reason for failure to appear is non-receipt of the hearing notice, the individual has 30 days after the date of the hearing decision to claim good cause for failure to appear. If there is good cause for failure to appear, the Hearing Officer’s initial decision is no longer valid and a new hearing is conducted.
- At the hearing, the Hearing Officer will inform the individual that he or she may decline to answer questions during the course of the hearing.
See 7 C.F.R. § 273.16(e).