Office of Inspector General
The Appeal Hearings Section conducts administrative fair hearings for applicants and recipients of public assistance and child welfare programs, disqualification hearings, and nursing home discharge hearings on behalf of the Department. The office also conducts hearings for applicants and recipients of the Medicaid Waiver Program for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) and limited hearings for the Department of Revenue, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA). The parties to the appeal include a petitioner, who requested the appeal, and a respondent, who is responding to the hearing request. Most hearings are conducted telephonically, however, federal regulations give applicants and recipients a right to an in-person hearing. The purpose of a fair hearing is to afford due process in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. The goal of this section in fulfilling the Department's mission is to ensure that administrative hearings are conducted timely, fairly, professionally, and objectively, thereby resulting in quality decisions that are consistent with the laws and regulations.
The Department is required to provide an opportunity for an administrative hearing to any applicant or recipient when its action, intended action, or failure to act would adversely affect the individual or family's eligibility for an amount or type of public assistance benefits; or when action on a claim for such assistance or services is unreasonably delayed. A request for a public assistance fair hearing can be made at a local Department office, the Customer Call Center (CCC), or directly to the Appeal Hearings Section. There is a time limit in which an appeal can be made, depending on program rules. For the Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP), Cash Assistance, and Medicaid programs, a fair hearing must be requested within 90 days of the Notice of Case Action.
The section reports directly to the Inspector General and employs dedicated full-time hearing officers to conduct hearings; this ensures independence and complies with federal regulations requiring a hearing officer to be a headquarters-level employee. Each hearing officer is a trained, knowledgeable, independent, and neutral adjudicator who had no involvement in the initial determination. The hearing officer makes a written decision on the appeal based on the evidence developed on the record and the program rules and regulations. The written decision is in the form of a Final Order issued to all the parties within federally established deadlines. If the final decision is unfavorable to the non-agency party, an appeal may be requested within a limited time to the appropriate District Court of Appeals (DCA).
Office of Inspector General
Appeal Hearings Section
2415 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32303-4190