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Home Self-help Library Public Benefits Appealing a change in your public benefits or services

Appealing a change in your public benefits or servicesPrintE-mailPDF

What is a state hearing? A state hearing is a formal meeting with you, someone from the local agency, and a hearing officer from ODJFS. The person from the local agency will explain the action it has taken or wants to take on your case. You will have a chance to tell why you think it is wrong. The hearing officer will review the facts presented and recommend a decision based on whether the rules were correctly followed.

How to ask for a Hearing To ask for a hearing, contact your local agency. Or write to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, State Hearings, 30 East Broad Street, 31st Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414. If you receive a notice denying, reducing or stopping your assistance or services, a form to request a hearing will be included with the notice. Fill out the form and mail it to State Hearings or fax it to (614)728-9574.

Your hearing request must be received within 90 days of the mailing date of the notice. You may request a hearing on the amount of your food stamps at any time during your certification period.

If someone else makes a written request for you, it must include a written statement, signed by you, that the person is your representative. Only you can make a request by telephone.

Continuing Assistance or Services You must request a hearing within 15 days of the mailing date on the notice to prevent an immediate change in your assistance or services. Food stamps can only continue until the end of your certification period. After that you must reapply and be found eligible.

If your assistance or services have been changed without written notice or if the change was made even though you requested a hearing, you can call the Bureau of State Hearings. If you need help doing this, call a district office toll free at the following numbers: Canton, 1-800-686-1569; Cleveland 1-800-686-1551; or Columbus, 1-800-686-1568. If you do not know which district to call, ask your local agency.

If your assistance is continuing and you lose the hearing, you may have to pay back any benefits that you were not eligible to receive.

If you request a hearing about child support services, your hearing request will have no effect on your receipt of services while your hearing is pending.

When will the state hearing be held? After your hearing request is received, the bureau of state hearings will send you a notice with the date, time, and place of the hearing. This notice will be sent to you at least 10 days before the hearing. The notice will tell you what to do if you cannot come to the hearing as scheduled.

Where are the state hearings held? Hearings are usually held at the local agency. If you are unable to go there, the hearing may be held some other place convenient to you and to the other people involved. You will need to make a request.

Postponement of the state hearing If you cannot come to the scheduled hearing or if you need more time to prepare, you can ask the bureau of state hearings for a postponement. For the food stamp program postponement is limited to 30 days from the date of the first scheduled hearing. For other programs, you must have a good reason to postpone the hearing.

If you do not attend the state hearing The bureau of state hearings will send you a dismissal notice if you don't come to the hearing. If you want to continue with your hearing request, you must contact the bureau of state hearings within 10 days to explain. The bureau of state hearings will decide whether you had a good reason. If you do not call within 10 days or show good cause, the hearing will be dismissed and you will lose. The local agency can then go ahead with the action it was planning to take. If you disagree with the dismissal, the dismissal notice will tell you how to ask for an administrative appeal.

Before the state hearing You may have a lawyer, welfare rights worker, friend or relative go to the hearing to present your case for you. If you are not going to be at the hearing, this person must bring a written statement from you saying he or she is your representative. If you want legal help at the hearing, you must make arrangements before the hearing. If you want notice of the hearing sent to your lawyer, you must give the hearings section your lawyer's name and address.

You and your representative have the right to look at your file and the rules being applied to your case. If your hearing is about work registration or employment and training, you may also look at your employment and training case file. You can get a free copy of any case record documents that are related to your hearing request. Your representative must provide a signed statement from you before looking at your case record or getting copies.

The local agency does not have to show you confidential records. Confidential records, which you could not look at or question, cannot be presented at the hearing or be used by the hearing officer in reaching a decision.

Subpoena You can ask the hearing authority to subpoena documents or witnesses that would not otherwise be available and that are essential to your case. You must request the subpoena at least five calendar days before the date of the hearing. You must provide the name and the address of the person or document you want subpoenaed.

After the state hearing You should receive a hearing decision within 60 days of your hearing request about food stamps and within 90 days for all other programs. If you disagree, your written decision will tell you how to ask for an administrative appeal.

Compliance with the hearing decision If the hearing decision orders an increase in your food stamps, you should get the increase about 10 days after you get the hearing decision. If the decision orders a decrease, you should get the new, smaller amount the next time you regularly get food stamps. For all other programs, the agency must comply with the decision within 15 days of the date the decision is issued. This action should always be within 90 days of your hearing request. Contact the bureau of state hearings if you have not promptly received the benefits awarded by the hearing decision.



This article is meant to give you general information and not specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated April 2012. CE-51-F180-CLAS

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