N.J. Admin. Code § 10:87-8.6 - Processing fair hearing requests

Current through Register Vol. 54, No. 7, April 4, 2022

(a) To assure orderly and expeditious processing of complaints and fair hearing requests, the CWA and Division of Family Development (DFD) shall proceed in the following manner:
1. The CWA shall designate a staff member to act as a fair hearing liaison between itself and the DFD. Upon receipt of a request for a fair hearing, and no later than one working day following receipt of the request, the liaison shall notify the DFD of the request, the issues to be resolved, and such other information as may be necessary to process the case.
2. The CWA liaison's duties shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
i. The liaison shall establish a system to insure that every written request for a hearing which is received by the CWA is stamped with the date of receipt and forwarded to the Division of Family Development within one working day of the date of the request.
ii. The liaison shall review incoming requests for possible corrective action prior to a hearing.
iii. The liaison shall identify, and arrange for participation of CWA staff who may be essential to the hearing. The liaison shall also assemble all records relevant to the hearing and arrange for an interpreter if the household does not speak English.
iv. The liaison shall contact the household or its representative, not less than two working days prior to a hearing, to confirm attendance and to arrange for the transportation of the household if necessary.
v. Prior to the hearing date, the liaison shall submit special reports regarding hearing requests, if so instructed by the DFD.
vi. The liaison shall submit reports, regarding the implementation of State fair hearing decisions, in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter.
vii. The liaison shall serve as the single individual in the CWA to be contacted regarding matters relating to hearings.
3. The CWA shall provide the following services to the household:
i. An oral request for a fair hearing shall be reduced to a written record by the staff person to whom the request is made. No special form or manner of expression is required, provided that the request identifies the nature and date of the complaint. If it is unclear from the household's request what action it wishes to appeal, the CWA may request that the household clarify its grievance.
ii. Upon the household's request, the CWA shall assist in the preparation of the household's fair hearing request.
iii. The household shall be informed of, and referred to, legal services in the community for the purpose of obtaining legal counsel at the hearing.
iv. Upon request, the CWA shall make available without charge the specific materials necessary for a household or its representative to determine whether a hearing should be requested or to prepare for a hearing which includes, but is not limited to, access to the case record.
v. If the individual making the request speaks a language other than English or has a limited English proficiency or disability and the CWA is required by N.J.A.C. 10:87-9 to provide bilingual staff or interpreters who speak the appropriate language, the CWA shall insure that the hearing procedures are verbally explained in that language.
vi. The CWA shall provide the household transportation to and from the hearing, if requested.
4. To the maximum extent possible, a hearing shall be scheduled no later than seven working days after receipt of notification by the CWA of the household's request and held no later than 21 days after the date of the household's request.
i. The household may request and is entitled to receive a postponement of the scheduled hearing. The postponement shall not exceed 30 days and the time limit for action on the decision may be extended for as many days as the hearing is postponed. For example, if a hearing is postponed by the household for 10 days, notification of the hearing decision will be required within 70 days from the date of the request for a hearing.
5. Hearings will be scheduled by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). State level fair hearings will be conducted by an administrative law judge assigned by the Director of the Office of Administrative Law.
6. The Division of Family Development (DFD) and OAL will share responsibilities as follows:
i. The DFD shall register each request for a fair hearing on the date which the request is received and forward all requests to OAL within one work day of date received. OAL shall refer all requests made direct to OAL to DFD for registering.
ii. When received by the DFD, requests shall be transmitted by datafax or telephone to the CWA.
iii. Together with notice of the hearing date, the household will be promptly notified by OAL whether or not the household is to continue to receive benefits at an unreduced level pending the outcome of the fair hearing. A copy of this communication will be sent to the DFD and to the CWA.
7. A request for a fair hearing shall not be denied or dismissed except under the following circumstances:
i. The request for a hearing is not received within the time interval specified at 10:87-8.5.
ii. The household withdraws the fair hearing request for any reason. When a household that previously requested a NJ SNAP fair hearing contacts the CWA (either orally, electronically or in writing) in order to withdraw its hearing request, the CWA shall send a Cancellation of Your NJ SNAP Fair Hearing Request form (NJ SNAP-944), along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, to the household which confirms that the household has requested cancellation of its hearing. The form shall also advise the household and/or household representative that it is entitled to request reinstatement of its hearing request within 90 days of the date that the household's NJ SNAP case was to be affected by the proposed case action. A copy of the confirmation letter to the household shall be retained in the household's case record and another copy shall be forwarded to the State Bureau of Administrative Review and Appeals. If the confirmation portion of the Confirmation of Verbal Withdrawal Request form (NJ SNAP-944) is not returned to the agency, then the hearing shall continue.
iii. The household abandons its request for a fair hearing.
(1) A request for a hearing shall be considered abandoned if neither the household nor its representative appears at the time and place established for the hearing, unless the DFD or CWA received notice not later than the scheduled date of hearing that the household would be unable to attend for reasonable good cause; in such case, the hearing shall be adjourned and rescheduled. (Good cause is defined at 10:87-10.18.) No hearing shall be delayed for a period of more than 30 calendar days under any circumstances, except as provided at (a)7iii(2) below.
(2) If the household or its representative, fails to appear for a scheduled hearing without having given proper notice, a notice of assumption of abandonment shall be sent to the household. If there is no answer within 10 calendar days, the hearing shall be deemed abandoned. The household shall have the right to present in writing or electronically to the DFD directly or through the CWA, such facts or reasons for the failure to appear. The DFD may determine whether or not the facts so presented by the household or its representative, constitute reasonable good cause, as defined at 10:87-10.18 to warrant reinstatement of the hearing.
8. Scheduling of hearing requests from households, such as migrant farm workers, which plan to move from the county before the hearing decision would normally be reached shall be expedited.

Notes

N.J. Admin. Code § 10:87-8.6
Amended by R.1989 d.121, effective 2/21/1989.
See: 20 N.J.R. 2689(a), 21 N.J.R. 511(b).
Substituted "calendar" for "working" and "expedited" for "expected".
Amended by R.1998 d.498, effective 10/5/1998.
See: 30 N.J.R. 1928(a), 30 N.J.R. 3669(b).
In (a)7, rewrote ii.
Amended by R.2004 d.181, effective 5/17/2004.
See: 36 N.J.R. 28(a), 36 N.J.R. 2425(a).
Rewrote the section.
Amended by R.2007 d.129, effective 5/7/2007.
See: 38 N.J.R. 4374(a), 39 N.J.R. 1719(a).
In (a)7iii(1), updated the N.J.A.C. reference.
Administrative change.
See: 44 N.J.R. 1529(a).

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