Fair Hearing Office
  A Fair Hearing is an administrative law procedure in which a customer exercises the right to challenge a determination made by the Westchester County Department of Social Services. Based upon New York State  regulations, the Fair Hearing provides the customer with the opportunity to seek and respond to the department's evidence and arguments, and to present his/her own evidence and arguments before an impartial Administrative Law Judge.

When is a Fair Hearing held?

A customer has the right to challenge certain determinations, or actions taken, by the Westchester County Department of Social Services through the Fair Hearing process when he/she disagrees with the department's decision. Examples of issues are:

  • Denial of Public Assistance, Medical Assistance, Food Stamps, HEAP, or Services
  • Employability, work requirement decisions
  • Failure to determine the customer's eligibility in a timely manner
  • Discontinuance, suspension, or reduction of assistance
  • Inadequacy in the amount or manner of payments of assistance
  • The determination that a protective, vendor, or two party payment should be made or continued, e.g., restrictions
  • Any grounds affecting the customer's entitlement to assistance

How is a Fair Hearing requested?

The fair hearing request is made to the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. To request a hearing online, submit an e-request form or print out and complete the form, then mail or fax it to the address indicated before the effective date of the intended action to preserve any aid-continuing rights.  Also available are e-adjournment and e-compliance forms. Go to:  http://www.otda.state.ny.us/oah/forms.asp

A customer may request a Fair Hearing by any clear written or oral communications to the New York State Department of Social Services, Fair Hearings Unit, P.O. Box 1930, Albany, New York 12201, or by faxing (518) 473-6735.  

The Office of Administrative Hearings will establish two statewide toll-free request numbers:
To request a hearing or for other related purposes, call 800-342-3334.
To request an adjournment of a scheduled hearing, call 877-209-1134.

When a hearing is requested, the State will send the Appellant a notice regarding the time and place of the hearing. The hearings are held at the Fair Hearing Office located at: 100 East 1st Street, Mount Vernon,  NY 10550, (914) 813-6667.

What about expenses to attend a Fair Hearing?

If the Appellant makes a request of the department, necessary transportation for the Appellant,  his/her representative, and witnesses, as well as child care must be provided.

What determines "Aid-Continuing" or "Non-Aid Continuing"?

Upon receipt of a request for a Fair Hearing from a customer, the New York State Department of Social Services makes a determination as to whether the hearing should be "Aid-Continuing" or "Non-Aid Continuing". Generally, "Aid-Continuing" is mandated if the request is received before the effective date of the reduction or discontinuance notice.

What Legal Assistance is available?

A customer has the right to be represented by legal counsel, a relative, a friend or other person at the hearing. If free legal assistance is needed, it may be obtained by contacting Westchester Putnam Legal Services at (914) 949-1305 or other legal advocacy groups. The Appellant, his/her attorney, or other representative will have the opportunity to present written and oral evidence to demonstrate why the action should not be taken, as well as an opportunity to question any persons who appear at the hearing. The Appellant also has the right to bring witnesses to speak in his/her behalf, as well as bring documents such as the department's notices, pay stubs, receipts, medical bills, medical verification, letters, etc. that may be helpful in presenting his/her case. Additionally if requested, the New York State Office of Family Assistance will provide interpreter services.

Fair Hearing Facts:

Fair Hearing Activity 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Hearings scheduled * 2134 2325 2254 2654 3102
Hearings held 541 557 649 661 725
Hearings withdrawn
by appellant
245 265 263 320 337
Hearings defaulted
by appellant
613 690 622 803 1042

* Includes adjourned, rescheduled and out-of-county cases.

Fair Hearing Decisions 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 %
Agency affirmed 398 412 545 546 627 89%
Agency reversed 84 95 90 96 78 11%