(a) Appellants have the right to seek mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution in addition to an administrative review under § 400.93.
(b) All requests for mediation under this subpart must be made after issuance of the adverse decision by the Agency and before the appellant has a NAD hearing on the adverse decision.
(c) An appellant who chooses mediation must request mediation not later than 30 calendar days from receipt of the written notice of the adverse decision. A request for mediation will be considered to have been “filed” when personally delivered in writing to the appropriate decision maker or when the properly addressed request, postage paid, is postmarked.
(d) An appellant will have any balance of the days remaining in the 30-day period to appeal to NAD if mediation is concluded without resolution. If a new adverse decision that raises new matters or relies on different grounds is issued as a result of mediation, the participant will have a new 30-day period for appeals to NAD.
(e) An appellant is responsible for contacting the Certified State Mediation Program in States where such mediation program exists. The State mediation program will make all arrangements for the mediation process. A list of Certified State Mediation Programs is available at http://www.act.fcic.usda.gov.
(f) An appellant is responsible for making all necessary contacts to arrange for mediation in non-certified States or in certified States that are not currently offering mediation on the subject in dispute. An appellant needing mediation in States without a certified mediation program may request mediation by contacting the RSO, which will provide the participant with a list of acceptable mediators.
(g) An appellant may only mediate an adverse decision once.
(h) If the dispute is not completely resolved in mediation, the adverse decision that was the subject of the mediation remains in effect and becomes the adverse decision that is appealable to NAD.
(i) If the adverse decision is modified as a result of the mediation process, the modified decision becomes the new adverse decision for appeal to NAD.