DSS: Office of Legal Counsel, Regulations and Administrative Hearings

Office of Legal Counsel, Regulations and Administrative Hearings
 


The Office of Legal Counsel, Regulations and Administrative Hearings (OLCRAH) serves as in-house counsel for the agency, administers the promulgation of agency regulations and schedules and conducts administrative hearings in accordance with state and federal law. OLCRAH includes the agency HIPAA Privacy Officer and agency Ethics Liaison Officer. OLCRAH attorneys advise all areas of the Department as legal issues and problems arise.  OLCRAH attorneys often work in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General. 
 
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Applicants for and recipients of benefits provided under Department of Social Services programs may contest actions taken by the Department, including, but not limited to:

  • Denial, discontinuance or reduction  of assistance provided in programs administered by the Department, including, but not limited to, SNAP, cash, medical, energy, rental and child care assistance benefits;
  • Administrative disqualification  for the SNAP, Temporary Family Assistance (TFA), State Administered General Assistance (SAGA) and child care assistance programs;
  • Recoupment of benefits, including liens placed by the Departments of Administrative and Social Services; and
  • Child support actions such as administrative offset, state and federal income tax offset, consumer reporting, and property liens.
The unit also conducts nursing home transfer and discharge hearings.

Administrative hearings are conducted by hearing officers, who are impartial employees of the Department of Social Services and are designees of the Commissioner of Social Services. Hearing officers conduct the hearing, review the hearing record, research the law and issue written decisions based on the facts and applicable state and federal law.
 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food stamps) hearings: You may request a SNAP hearing within 90 days of the date of the notice of action. You may request a SNAP hearing in writing or by telephone. Our telephone numbers are listed at the bottom of this page. You may call us at any time of the day or night to request a SNAP hearing. If you are leaving us a voice mail asking for a SNAP hearing, please provide the following information: your name (please spell), client identification number, address, telephone number with area code, and a brief explanation why you are asking for a hearing (i.e. denial, discontinuance, reduction). SNAP hearings are the only hearings that may be requested by telephone.

All other hearings concerning Department-administered programs must be requested within 60 days from the date of the notice of action and must be requested in writing. Our mailing address and fax number are at the bottom of this page. If you are receiving benefits and wish them to continue pending the outcome of a hearing, you must request a hearing within ten days from the date of the notice of action, except that under the Medicaid program, for benefits to continue, you must request a hearing any time prior to the date the action is proposed to be taken.

Nursing Home Discharge hearings must be requested within 10 days of receipt of the discharge notice from the nursing home in order to prevent the proposed transfer or discharge from occurring. These hearings must be requested in writing.  Our mailing address and fax number are at the bottom of this page.

HUSKY B, CHARTER OAK Level Two REVIEWS: The Administrative Hearings unit reviews eligibility determinations made by the HUSKY B and Charter Oak Programs, If you disagree with an eligibility determination for these programs, you must first request a Level One review directly from the HUSKY B and Charter Oak programs. Requests for Level One reviews must be received by those programs no later than 10 days from the date on the notice of eligibility. If you disagree with the Level One review and you want to have a Level Two review from the Department, your must request it no later than 10 days following the date on the Level One review decision.. Our mailing address and fax number are at the bottom of this page.

If you do not have a form to request a hearing, you may use the forms below (please explain why you want a hearing and to sign your name on the form) or simply mail or fax [860-424-5729] a signed letter that identifies yourself (name, address, identification number) and briefly tells us why you want a hearing. It is helpful to us if you include a copy of the notice you received that made you ask for a hearing.

Hearing Request Form:

  Hearing Request Application  (PDF)


Getting a Faster Resolution:

Once a hearing has been requested, you may still want to try and resolve the issue with your worker. If the issue is something that can be easily resolved or you are just looking for an explanation of what happened, you may wish to contact your worker, or your worker’s supervisor.

If the problem is resolved before the date of the hearing, please contact the hearing office at 1-800-462-0134 to withdraw your request for a hearing. We will also ask you to submit your withdrawal in writing. You may use the following form to withdraw your hearing request or you may simply submit a signed letter stating that you are withdrawing your request for a hearing. Our mailing address and fax number are at the bottom of this page.

W-535 Letter of resolution (PDF)



THE HEARING: Hearings are usually held by video conference
 
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If your hearing involves Child Support, Childcare or a Nursing Home Discharge, not all of the following information may apply to you.

The hearing process gives you a chance to explain why you disagree with the Department’s action. It is an informal meeting, presided over by a hearing officer, in which someone from the Department, usually your eligibility worker, will explain the Department’s action. You will be able to present your side of the situation and provide any documents that you think might help your argument. You may also bring witnesses who can testify for you.

Most of the Department’s hearings are held by video-conference.. You and the hearing officer will be in two different offices. The hearing officer will speak with you and see you by using a video camera. You and the Department’s representative will speak with and see the hearing officer on the video screen. There will be a fax machine in the hearing room so that you and the hearing officer may share documents.

The hearing officer will make an audio recording of the hearing. There will be no video recording made of the hearing.

You or your legal representative (such as a conservator or power of attorney) must be present at the hearing.  If you do not appear at the hearing and there isn’t a good reason for your missing it, your hearing request will be dismissed.

You may have legal representation at the hearing, but this is not required. You and your representative have the right to review your case record before the hearing. If you wish to do so, contact your eligibility worker or your eligibility worker’s supervisor to make arrangements to view your file. In most cases, you and your representative are entitled to receive a copy of the department’s hearing summary from your eligibility worker five working days before the hearing. You may also ask your worker to provide you with a copy of the laws used in reaching the decision. Please:

  • Call the hearing office as soon as possible if you decide that you no longer need the hearing or if you cannot make the scheduled appointment.
  • Arrive at least 15 minutes before the hearing.
  • Let the receptionist know that you are at there for a hearing.
  • Ask your worker for a copy of the hearing summary before you come into the hearing room if you have not yet received a copy.
The hearing officer does not make a decision about your case during or right after the hearing. He or she will issue a written decision and send it to you by certified mail. Please contact your eligibility worker or the Office of Legal Counsel, Regulations, and Administrative Hearings if you have any questions about the hearing process.

If you do not agree with the hearing officer’s decision, you have the right to ask the Department to reconsider it.  You also have the right to appeal the hearing officer’s decision to Superior Court without first asking for reconsideration. 

Right To Request Reconsideration

If you want the Department to reconsider the hearing officer’s decision, you must send a written reconsideration request to the Department within 15 days of the mailing date of the hearing officer’s decision.  Reconsideration may be granted if  there was an error of fact or law; new evidence has been discovered that couldn’t have been presented at the hearing; or other good cause is shown. If the reconsideration request is granted, you will be notified within 25 days of the request date. If you do not get a response within 25 days, this means that your reconsideration request has been denied. The right to request reconsideration of a hearing decision is based on §4-181a (a) of the Connecticut General Statutes.

In your request for reconsideration, you should include the specific grounds for the request.  You should indicate which fact or law is incorrect; what new evidence has been discovered; or the exact nature of the good cause that exists.

Reconsideration requests should be sent to the Director, Department of Social Services, Office of Legal Counsel, Regulations and Administrative Hearings, 55 Farmington Avenue, 11th floor, Hartford CT 06105.

Right To Appeal

You have the right to appeal the hearing officer’s decision to Superior Court within 45 days after the mailing of the hearing officer’s decision.  If you ask for reconsideration of the decision and your request is denied, you must appeal within 45 days after the agency denies your request. If the Department grants your request for reconsideration and a hearing officer issues a new decision, you have 45 days after the mailing of the new decision to file an appeal.  If the Department grants your request for reconsideration and fails to issue a new decision within 90 days, you have 45 days after the 90 days to file an appeal.  The right to appeal is based on §4-183 of the Connecticut General Statutes. To appeal, a petition must be filed at Superior Court in New Britain or in the district where you live. A copy must be served on the Attorney General's Office in Hartford or on the Department of Social Services at 55 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105. You must also serve a copy of the petition on all parties to the hearing at the address shown in the decision.

The 45-day appeal period may be extended in certain instances if there is good cause. The extension request must be in writing and filed with the Commissioner of Social Services no later than 90 days after the mailing of the hearing officer’s decision. The request must contain a complete and detailed explanation of the reasons that the appeal could not be filed within the statutory timeframe.  The Commissioner or his designee reviews the request and decides whether there is good cause for granting an extension, in accordance with §17b-61 of Connecticut General Statutes. The decision whether to grant an extension is final and is not subject to review or appeal.
 

Telephone and Fax Directory

Director:  Brenda Parrella: 860-424-5104   fax 860-424-5403

Hearings Manager: Dulce Frazao: 860-424-5574   fax 860-424-5729

The Administrative Hearings main telephone number is 860-424-5760 (please use if calling within the Hartford calling area) or 1-800-462-0134 outside of the Hartford calling area. The 800 number is toll free in CT only.

The Administrative Hearings primary fax number is 860-424-5729

The Central Office TDD number is 800-842-4524 (860) 424-4975 from out of state)

Applicants for and recipients of assistance from the Department who wish to seek legal representation may call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320 for information. You may also visit the following websites of Connecticut based legal services organizations:

You may e-mail your questions to the unit at olcrah.DSS@ct.gov.
Mailing Address: DSS-OLCRAH, 55 Farmington Avenue, Hartford CT 061065


Content Last Modified on 7/29/2014 12:46:20 PM