Office of Fair Hearings
A fair hearing is an administrative procedure during which the customer is afforded the opportunity to contest determinations made by the department. In accordance with New York State regulations, the fair hearing is intended to provide the customer with the opportunity to address the departments evidence for its actions and to submit his/her own proof, evidence and arguments before an impartial Administrative Hearing Officer.
When is a fair hearing held?
When a customer disagrees with a decision or action taken by the Schenectady County Department of Social Services they can afford themselves the opportunity to contest that action. Some examples of issues that can be contested include:
- Denial of Public Assistance, Medical Assistance, Food Stamps, HEAP, or Services.
- Employability, work requirements and decisions about activity assignments.
- Discontinuance, suspension, or reduction of benefits.
- Inadequacy in the amount or manner of payments of assistance.
- The determination that a protective, vendor, or two-party payment should be made or continued, e.g. restriction.
- Any other grounds affecting the customer’s entitlement to assistance.
How is a fair hearing requested?
The Fair Hearing must be requested by the customer or his/her representative to the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. To request a hearing online, submit an e-request form or print out and complete the form, then mail or fax it to the address indicated.
A customer may also request a Fair Hearing by submitting any clear written or oral communication to the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Fair Hearing Unit, P.O. Box 1930, Albany, New York 12201 by fax (518)473-6735.
Effective 3/15/04 the Office of Administrative Hearings established two statewide toll-free request numbers:
To request a hearing call, 800-342-3334
To request an adjournment of a scheduled hearing 877-209-1134
Once a hearing has been requested, the state will send the Appellant a notice regarding the time and place of the hearing. The fair hearing office for Schenectady County is located at 797 Broadway, Schenectady, New York.
What determines “Aid-Continuing” or Non-Aid Continuing”?
Once the appellant request for a fair hearing has been received by the State, the State Office for Fair Hearings makes a determination as to whether the hearing should be “Aid-Continuing” or Non-Aid Continuing”. Generally, the State will grant Aid-Continuing if the request for the hearing is received before the effective date of the reduction or discontinuance notice.
What Legal Assistance is available?
A customer has the right to be represented by the person or his/her choosing. Such individuals may include legal counsel, a relative, a friend or other person at the hearing. The customer in need of free legal services may contact Legal Aid of Northeast New York, 55 Colvin Ave. Albany, New York 12206 or call (518)462-6765 or other legal advocacy group. The appellant, his/her attorney or other representative will have the opportunity to present written and oral evidence to establish why the action proposed by DSS should not be taken. At the time of the hearing the appellant or representative will also be given an opportunity to question any person who appears at the hearing on behalf of the DSS. The appellant has the right to bring witnesses to speak in his/her behalf, as well as submit documents such as notices, wage stubs, medical statements, receipts, bills, letters, or other materials relevant to the subject of the hearing.
If necessary, and requested by the appellant the state may provide interpreter services.