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Information Regarding Public Assistance
How do I request a hearing?
If you disagree with a decision made concerning state program benefits, the hearing request form you complete and where you must submit it depends on the type of decision you are disputing.
If you are disputing an eligibility decision by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) concerning the food assistance program (FAP), the cash assistance program (FIP or SDA), the child development grant program (CDC), the state emergency relief program (SER), direct support services (DSS), State SSI Payment (SSP), or medical insurance under Medicaid, MIChild, and Healthy Michigan Plan:
- You can use this form: Public Benefits Eligibility Hearing Request Form
- Submit the completed form or any other written hearing request to any local MDHHS office.
- A hearing on a FAP decision can also be verbally made to the local MDHHS office.
- Please note: See below for adverse decisions regarding Medicaid-covered services.
If you are currently enrolled in Medicaid or PACE and want to request a hearing about your Medicaid-covered services, a disenrollment request, or a denial of your waiver application:
- Use this form: Request for Hearing for Medicaid Enrollees, Pace Enrollees or Waiver Applicants.
- Submit to MOAHR-BSD (1) your request, (2) the notice of adverse action you disagree with, and (3) if you are a legal guardian, your letters of guardianship
- by mail at PO Box 30763, Lansing, MI 48909;
- by email at LARA-MOAHR-DCH@michigan.com; or
- by fax at 517-763-0146.
If you want to appeal an adverse decision made by your managed care health plan, MI Health Link Plan, Community Mental Health Services Program/Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan or MI Choice Waiver Program, and you have completed the agency’s internal appeal process or the agency has failed to properly respond to your internal appeal:
- Use this form: Request for State Fair Hearing (for MCO, CMH, PIHP, MI Health Link, MI Choice Waiver)
- Submit to MOAHR-BSD (1) your request and (2) the Notice of Resolution or appeal decision by the agency, if received
- by mail to MOAHR-BSD, PO Box 30763, Lansing, MI 48909.
- by email at LARA-MOAHR-DCH@michigan.com; or
- by fax at 517-763-0146.
What happens after I request a hearing?
- If you submitted your hearing request at an MDHHS local office, MDHHS will forward your hearing request, along with its response, to the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules (MOAHR). MDHHS should also send you a copy of its response, which is referred to as the hearing packet.
- Your hearing request will be reviewed MOAHR to determine if you have a right to an administrative hearing. If you do not, or if MOAHR needs additional information, MOAHR will send you a letter.
- If MOAHR determines you have a right to a hearing, a hearing will be scheduled with a MOAHR Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
The ALJ is an impartial factfinder who considers the evidence presented by you and MDHHS or the Medicaid-covered services agency and decides whether you are eligible for the benefits or services you believe you are entitled to receive.
- MOAHR will send you a Notice of Hearing.
The Notice of Hearing tells you when your hearing is scheduled and how you can access it by telephone or by videoconference. The Notice of Hearing will include other important information and contact information. Therefore, you should read it carefully.
Note: In some cases, a Notice of Telephone Prehearing Conference may be sent to you before a hearing is scheduled so the ALJ can discuss some preliminary matters before the hearing is held.
- The agency will send you a hearing packet that contains the documents it will present to the ALJ at the hearing.
Review those documents carefully and have them available at the hearing. Those are the documents that MDHHS or the agency will use to explain its adverse decision or negative action and ask the ALJ to admit into evidence at the hearing. If the documents are admitted into evidence, the ALJ may consider them to make a decision.
- You will have the chance to send MOAHR and the agency documents you want admitted into evidence at the hearing.
You should send those documents to MOAHR and the agency before the hearing date. Follow the instructions on the Notice of Hearing. Remember to include your name and MOAHR docket number on anything you send MOAHR.
- Prepare for your phone hearing.
- If the hearing is being held via telephone conference, it is your responsibility to call into the hearing using the information in the Notice of Hearing.
- If you use a cell phone, make sure the battery is fully charged.
- Try to have good, clear reception. If the ALJ cannot hear you, your case may have to be rescheduled.
- Be in a quiet location.
- Have a pen and paper available for note taking.
- Have all your documents and the documents sent to you by MDHHS or the agency with you during the hearing.
- Do not drive during the hearing or while joining the hearing.
- Do not multitask. The ALJ will expect your full attention.
- If you cannot join the hearing using the information on the Notice of Hearing, immediately call (800) 648-3397 and explain that you have been unable to connect with the ALJ.
- If your hearing is by Zoom.
Most hearings are scheduled by telephone, but if you requested a face-to-face hearing with the ALJ, it is scheduled to be held by Zoom. MOAHR does not provide training for using Zoom, but you can find the MOAHR Standards and Guidelines for Remote Hearings here. If you want your hearing to be in-person with the ALJ, under MOAHR Administrative Hearing Standard 2022-1 found here, you must send MOAHR a written request for an in-person hearing that includes your reason for the request. The ALJ will decide whether to grant your request.
- Other people who can join your hearing. You can have anyone you want at your hearing. However, the ALJ has the power to control the hearing, exclude anyone who is disruptive, and limit the number of people who testify at your hearing if the testimony is irrelevant or repetitive.
- Rescheduling or cancelling your hearing.
If you cannot join the hearing on the date scheduled, immediately send MOAHR a written request to change the date that includes the reason for the request. If your request is granted, you will receive an “Order of Adjournment” and, after that, a new Notice of Hearing with a new hearing date and new access information. If your request is not approved, you should join the hearing as scheduled or your hearing request may be dismissed for failure to appear. If your case involves food benefits, you have a right under federal law to adjourn your case up to 30 days. Send MOAHR a written statement if you no longer want your hearing. Please include your name and docket number from the Notice of Hearing on anything you send MOAHR.
What if I got a notice of hearing but did not ask for a hearing?
In certain cases, MDHHS may request a hearing. The Notice of Hearing should explain if MDHHS is requesting a hearing and why.
What if I have questions about the hearing?
If you have additional questions about the administrative hearing process, you can review the administrative hearing rules located at MOAHR Administrative Code Rules by clicking on the PDF file for the Michigan Administrative Hearing System Uniform Hearing Rules. MDHHS policies for state benefits are in the Bridges Administrative Manual (BAM) and Bridges Eligibility Manual (BEM) found here. Please be advised that MOAHR does not provide legal advice. Also, because the rules state that no party can talk to the ALJ if the other party is not present, you can only talk to the ALJ about your case at the hearing.
Do I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer. You can represent yourself at the hearing, or you can have a family member or friend represent you. If someone else will represent you, you must let MOAHR know in writing before the hearing. If you want an attorney, you can hire one at your expense. MOAHR does not provide legal assistance. You may find additional legal help online at michbar.org/public_resources/legalaid (search “Public Benefits”) or at MichiganLegalHelp.org.
What happens at a hearing?
The ALJ will start the hearing and explain the hearing process. The hearing will be recorded and controlled by the ALJ. Each party will get to explain their case under oath, present documents into evidence, object on legal grounds to evidence the other side wants to admit into evidence, present witnesses, and question the other party’s witnesses. A party’s rights are subject to the ALJ’s rulings which may include limiting the number of witnesses, deciding what evidence is admissible, and excluding repetitious or irrelevant testimony. The ALJ will make a decision based on the exhibits (documents admitted into evidence), the parties’ sworn testimony, and the applicable law and policy.
Can I send documents to the ALJ after the hearing?
Unless the ALJ told you at the hearing that you could send MOAHR additional documents for your case, the only documents the ALJ will consider are those presented at the hearing and admitted into evidence.
When will I get a decision?
In most cases, the ALJ will not make a decision at the hearing. You will receive the ALJ’s written decision after the hearing. Let MOAHR know if you change your mailing address.
What can I do if I don't agree with the ALJ's decision?
The hearing decision will explain your options if you do not agree with the ALJ’s decision.
What if I don't participate in the hearing?
If you did not join the hearing on the scheduled date and time, your hearing request will be dismissed. MOAHR will send you an “Order of Dismissal.” If you want to set aside the Order of Dismissal and have the hearing rescheduled, you must send MOAHR a written statement within 10 days of the hearing date explaining why you did not attend the hearing. Include any documents supporting your explanation. Put your name and the docket number for your case in any writing you send MOAHR. Your request will be reviewed by an ALJ manager who will decide whether a new hearing will be scheduled. You will be notified in writing.
Can I reapply for benefits?
If you were denied benefits or your case closed, you can reapply at any time. Your hearing will not affect your new application.