OTDA Home Programs & Services Administrative Hearings Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the reasons why I might need a Fair Hearing?

At a Fair Hearing you will have a chance to explain why you think the decision is wrong.

How do I ask for a Fair Hearing?

Information about requesting a fair hearing is available here: Request a Fair Hearing

Are there time limits for requesting a Fair Hearing?

Will I continue to receive my benefits while I’m waiting for my hearing?

How will I know if my benefits will continue?

The Office of Administrative Hearings will send you a notice (OAH-4420) confirming your request for a hearing and telling you whether or not your benefits will continue while you are waiting for your Fair Hearing decision.

How will I know if my electronic request was received?

The Office of Administrative Hearings will send you notification (OAH-4420 Acknowledgement of Fair Hearing Request) via US mail once the fair hearing request is processed.

How will I know when my hearing is scheduled?

The Office of Administrative Hearings will send you a notice (OAH-457) telling you when and where your hearing will be scheduled. If your hearing has been scheduled, you can also get this information by calling our toll-free number, 1 (800) 342-3334, and following the prompts. In most instances, your hearing will be scheduled about three to four weeks after it is requested.

What happens if I have an emergency?

If you are facing an emergency situation such as homelessness, eviction, fuel or utility shut-off, etc. or have been denied emergency assistance, you should make your situation known at the time of your request for a hearing. In such cases, your hearing will be scheduled and a decision issued as soon as possible.

What if I am unable to attend my Fair Hearing on the scheduled date?

If you are unable to appear at the scheduled date and time, you may request an adjournment. More information about requesting an adjournment is available here: Request an Adjournment or Reopening

What if I am disabled and unable to attend a Fair Hearing?

If you are disabled, and cannot travel, you may appear through a representative, either a friend, relative or lawyer. If your representative is not a lawyer, or an employee of a lawyer, your representative must bring the hearing officer a written letter, signed by you, saying that you want that person to represent you. If, however, you have no representative available and wish to participate directly in the hearing, a telephone hearing may be scheduled for you. You will have to provide medical documentation that states you cannot travel to the regular hearing location. When you request a hearing, you should tell the interviewer or indicate in your letter or fax that you are disabled and want a telephone hearing. You will then be contacted about where to submit your medical documentation and about telephone hearing procedures.

What happens if I do not appear for my Fair Hearing and I have not requested nor been given an adjournment?

What do I do if I no longer want to have a Fair Hearing?

If you have scheduled a fair hearing and you feel the hearing is no longer necessary, you may withdraw your hearing request. More information about withdrawing a request for a Fair Hearing is available here: Cancel a Fair Hearing

How do I get ready for my Fair Hearing?

To help you get ready for the Fair Hearing, you have the right to look at your case record and get free copies of the forms and papers which your local agency will give to the Administrative Law Judge at the Fair Hearing. You can also get free copies of any other papers in your case record which you think you may need for the Fair Hearing. These documents should be given to you within a reasonable amount of time after you ask for them, but no later than the time of the hearing.

What should I bring to the Fair Hearing?

You should bring your scheduling notice, any witnesses you may have and any information that relates to the issue for the hearing such as:

Am I required to have someone represent me at the Fair Hearing?

No, it is not required that you have a representative. However, you may bring a lawyer, relative, or friend to the hearing to assist you in explaining why the agency’s decision about your case is wrong. If you think you need a lawyer, you may be able to get one at no cost by calling your local Legal Aid, Legal Services Office, or local Bar Association.

Who will be at the Fair Hearing?

Someone from your local social services agency will be at the Fair Hearing to explain the decision about your case. You or your representative will be able to question this person and present your side of the case. You or your representative will also be able to question any witnesses which you bring to help you. The Administrative Law Judge will conduct the hearing, listen to testimony and collect evidence. The hearing will be recorded.

What if I have expenses related to my Fair Hearing?

When and how will I get a decision?

Sometime after the completion of your hearing, a written decision will be mailed to you.

What happens if the decision says I won my Fair Hearing?

If you did not win your hearing, you may bring a lawsuit in accordance with Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. If you wish to do so and do not know how, you may contact the legal resources available to you, for example, County Bar Association, Legal Aid, Legal Services, etc. You must start a lawsuit within four months after the date of the decision.