Section 358-4.2 - Prehearing responsibilities.

358-4.2 Prehearing responsibilities. (a) When requested, the social services agency must provide assistance to applicants and recipients in making a request for a fair hearing.

(b) (1) Upon notification by the department that a fair hearing has been requested and that the appellant's public assistance, medical assistance, food stamp benefits, or services must be continued or reinstated in accordance with section 358-3.6 of this Part until the fair hearing decision is issued, the social services agency, except as provided in section 358-3.6(b) and (c) (6) of this Part, must take immediate action to assure that the appellant's public assistance, medical assistance, food stamp benefits and services continue unchanged until the fair hearing decision is issued.

(2) Upon receipt of such notification, if public assistance, medical assistance, food stamp benefits or services already have been discontinued, reduced, restricted or suspended, the social services agency must take whatever action is necessary to restore the appellant's public assistance, medical assistance, food stamp benefits or services to their previous level. Such action must be taken as soon as possible but no later than five business days from notification that appellant's public assistance, medical assistance, food stamp benefits or services must continue or be reinstated.

(c) Upon oral or written request, including request by telephone, the social services agency must provide to the appellant and the appellant's authorized representative copies of the documents to be presented at the fair hearing. Such copies must be provided at a reasonable time before the date of the hearing. If the request for copies of documents is made less than five business days before the hearing, the social services agency must provide the appellant and the appellant's authorized representative such copies no later than at the time of the hearing. Such documents must be provided without charge and must be provided to the appellant and the appellant's authorized representative by mail within a reasonable time from the date of the request if the appellant or the appellant's authorized representative request that such documents be mailed; provided however, if there is insufficient time for such documents to be mailed and received before the scheduled date of the hearing such documents may be presented at the hearing instead of being mailed.

(d) Upon oral or written request, including request by telephone, the social services agency must provide to the appellant and the appellant's authorized representative copies of any documents from appellant's case file which the appellant or the appellant's authorized representative identifies and requests for purposes of hearing preparation. Such copies must be provided at a reasonable time before the date of the hearing. If the request for copies of documents is made less than five business days before the hearing, the social services agency must provide the appellant and the appellant's authorized representative such copies no later than at the time of the hearing. Such documents must be provided without charge and must be provided to the appellant and the appellant's authorized representative by mail within a reasonable time from the date of the request if the appellant or the appellant's authorized representative request that such documents be mailed; provided however, if there is insufficient time for such documents to be mailed and received before the scheduled date of the hearing such documents may be presented at the hearing instead of being mailed.

(e) The social services agency must encourage the use of agency conferences to settle disputes and complaints concerning actions regarding an applicant's or recipient's public assistance, medical assistance, food stamp benefits, HEAP benefits or services so as to eliminate the need to hold fair hearings wherever the dispute can be resolved by scrutiny of documents and/or thorough investigation.

(f) The social services agency must hold agency conferences when such conference is requested as provided for in section 358-3.8 of this Part. The conference may not be used to inhibit the appellant's right to a fair hearing. Agency conferences must be scheduled before the date of the fair hearing. If the appellant is contesting a denial of expedited participation in the Food Stamp Program, the conference must be scheduled within two business days of the conference request, unless the appellant requests a later date.

(g) The social services agency must bring the necessary information and documentation to any agency conference, including a telephone conference, to explain the reason for the agency determination and to provide a meaningful opportunity to resolve the problem.

(h) Except for telephone agency conferences approved pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, a representative of the social services agency must appear with the case record at the agency conference. Such representative must have reviewed the case and must have the authority to make binding decisions on behalf of the social services agency, including the authority to withdraw the intended action.

(i) Social services agencies may provide telephone conferences upon prior approval of the Office of Administrative Hearings of the department. The Office of Administrative Hearings may approve such requests in its discretion, where holding an in-person conference is not feasible.

(j) The social services agency must send copies of all correspondence relating to the conference and fair hearing to the authorized representative of the appellant.

 

Doc Status: 
Complete