340:50-13-2. Hearing based on any action relating to a food benefit or case
(a) Client rights.Every applicant and participating household has the right to appeal any action that affects the household's participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), per Section 273.15(a) of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 C.F.R. § 273.15(a)).Applicants and recipients are advised verbally and in writing of their right to a fair hearing and of the procedures for appealing any decision.
(b) Hearing request.A hearing request may be made verbally or in writing. • 1
(1) When the client contacts the county office to request a fair hearing, the client is given an opportunity to review the situation with a supervisory or administrative staff member in the local county office.When the situation is not resolved in the review or the client does not wish to review the situation with local supervisory or administrative staff, the worker explains hearing procedures to the client, completes the first page of Form 13MP001E, Request for a Fair Hearing, and gives or mails the form to the client to complete the rest of the form. • 2
(2) Households wanting to contest a denial of expedited service must be given an opportunity to have an Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) conference scheduled within two-business days unless the household requests it be scheduled later or states it does not wish to have a DHS conference, per 7 C.F.R. § 273.15(d).A fair hearing must be held if the issue is not resolved or the household does not withdraw its request for a fair hearing by signing Form 13MP004E, Withdrawal of Request for Hearing.
(3) When a fair hearing is requested by a household that plans to move to another state before a hearing decision would normally be reached, such as a migrant farmworker household, DHS expedites processing the hearing before the household plans to leave the state, per 7 C.F.R. § 273.15(i) and Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:2-5-65.
(c) Participation during appeal.When a household requests a fair hearing during the 10-calendar day advance notice period, the household's food benefits are continued at the same level as authorized immediately prior to the notice of adverse action, unless the household specifically waives continuation of benefits, per 7 C.F.R. § 273.15(k).Benefits are not continued when the certification period expires prior to the fair hearing request.
(1) When the household chooses:
(A) to continue food benefits at the previous level until the hearing decision is reached and the hearing decision is not in the household's favor, the household is required to reimburse the ineligibly received benefits; and
(B) not to continue food benefits at the previous level until the hearing decision is reached and the hearing decision is in the household's favor, the household is entitled to the retroactive benefits lost during the appeal period.
(2) When the household fails to request continuation of benefits within the advance notice period and later establishes there was good cause for the failure, the worker reinstates the benefits to the prior basis.
(3) When benefits are reduced or closed because of a mass change without individual notice of adverse action, per OAC 340:50-9-5(k)(3)(A), the worker only reinstates benefits to the previous level when the issue being appealed is that eligibility or benefits were improperly computed or federal law or regulation is being misapplied or misinterpreted by DHS.
(4) When a household requests a hearing and continuation of benefits as a result of an action taken by DHS at initial certification or on a subsequent application, benefits are not reinstated or continued except as authorized at such initial or subsequent certification.
(d) Reduction or closure prior to hearing decision.Once continued, benefits are not reduced or closed prior to a hearing decision unless:
(1) the certification period expires.When this occurs, the household may reapply and be determined eligible for a new certification period and benefit amount as determined by DHS;
(2) the hearing officer makes a preliminary decision, in writing and at the hearing, that the sole issue is one of federal law or regulation and that the household's claim that DHS improperly computed benefits or misinterpreted or misapplied the federal law or regulation is invalid;
(3) a change in circumstances occurs that affects the household's eligibility or basis of issuance while the hearing decision is pending and the household does not request an additional hearing and continuation of benefits after the notice of adverse action. The benefit allotment must be based on any income the household had prior to the first notice of adverse action; or
(4) the household or its authorized representative verbally withdraws the fair hearing request and does not inform DHS of its desire to reinstate the fair hearing within 10-calendar days of receiving written notice from DHS confirming the withdrawal request.
(e) Hearing decision.Hearing decisions are made by the Appeals Committee, per OAC 340:2-5-76.
(1) The hearing is conducted, a decision is reached, and the household and county office are notified of the decision within 60-calendar days of receipt of the fair hearing request per 7 C.F.R. § 273.15(c).The notice also informs the household of any further appeal rights.
(2) When the decision is:
(A) in the household's favor and results in an increase in household benefits, the benefit increase is reflected in the household's electronic benefit transfer account within 10-calendar days of receipt of the hearing decision unless the hearing decision effective date corresponds with the next benefit issuance date; or
(B) not in the household's favor and results in a benefit decrease, the worker decreases the household's food benefits effective the next scheduled benefit issuance date.
1. Refer to Oklahoma Administrative Code 340:2-5-64 for information regarding what is considered a hearing request for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
2. The worker submits the completed Form 13MP001E to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Legal Services, Attention: Appeals Unit, gives a copy of the form to the client, and images a copy in the client's local case record.