Benefits: Petition to DSS for a Fair Hearing
Authored By: Legal Aid of North Carolina
If DSS denies you Food Stamps or Medicaid (determination of disability) or notifies you that they are cutting your benefits:
If you think the decision by DSS is wrong, ask for a Fair Hearing immediately.
You can ask for a Fair Hearing by contactingthe caseworker whose name and telephone number is written on the Notice you received from DSS. All you need to do is tell the caseworker, or leave a message, that you wish to appeal the decision by DSS.
You may also mail your request for a Fair Hearing to DSS. You may write your request on the back of the notice you received from DSS and explain why you think the decision is wrong. You should send the request by Certified Mail.
You must ask for a Fair Hearing:
Within 90 days of the decision regarding Food Stamps.
Within 60 days of the decision regarding Medicaid Approval (determination of disability)
You can still ask for a Fair Hearing if you miss your deadline, if you can show to DSS that you had a good reason. Good reasons for missing an appeal deadline can include: serious illness or hospitalization, death or illness in your immediate family, inability to obtain necessary records in time, loss of records due to fire or other accident, or a misunderstanding of the appeal requirements.
If you were denied benefits by DSS, you cannot receive any benefits until you win at the Fair Hearing.
If DSS has notified you that it is reducing or terminating your benefits, you will continue to receive your benefits at same level if you file your appeal within 10 days after receiving notice of the decision.
***After you file your request for a Fair Hearing, you will receive a notice in the mail telling you of the hearing date, time and place. You will receive at least 10 days prior notice of the hearing date.***
What to expect at the Hearing:
The hearing will be conducted by a Hearing Officer who was not involved in making the initial decision in your case. The Hearing Officer will make a new decision.
At the hearing you will be given an opportunity to examine the records and documents used by DSS in making its determination about your benefits. You will also be allowed to question any witnesses presented by DSS. You will be allowed to present your own documents and witnesses to try and prove that the DSS decision is wrong.
Notification of the Decision:
You will receive notice of the decision by mail. Within 10 days of receiving the decision, you may contact DSS and make a request to present oral (verbal) or written arguments. If you do not make a request to present oral or written arguments within 10 days, the decision becomes final.
If you wish to appeal the decision, you must file a petition for judicial review in superior court within 30 days of your receipt of the decision. You will need an attorney to file a petition.