Overview of the Administrative Appeal Process
I. The Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) sends various documents to customers (custodial and non-custodial parents) informing them of the administrative action the division proposes to take related to their child support case. All DCSS documents related to an administrative action include a statement explaining the petitioner's right to request an appeal hearing and how and where to send the appeal request.
II. If a custodial or non-custodial parent requests an appeal hearing, the following steps are taken by the department:
DCSS enters the appeal request into DCSS' computer system (KIDS);
DCSS notifies the Bureau of Administrative Hearings (BAH), which is another Bureau within the Department of Healthcare and Family Services; and
DCSS sends BAH any documents petitioner provided with their appeal request.
When BAH receives the appeal request and corresponding documents, BAH schedules an appeal hearing and notifies interested parties, including the custodial and non-custodial parents. If the appeal is related to an account balance, the following steps take place:
Prior to hearing, DCSS' financial records specialist conducts an account review and provides appropriate DCSS field staff with the review results and appeal file.
DCSS field staff sends the petitioner the account review results, along with the HFS Form Number 2788, Request to Withdraw Appeal.
Upon receipt of the account review, the petitioner has two options:
If the petitioner agrees with review results, the appeal can be withdrawn by signing HFS 2788 Form, Request to Withdraw Appeal. DCSS forwards the withdrawal form to BAH.
If the petitioner disagrees with review results, then the petitioner should provide the reason for disagreement. The appeal will then proceed to hearing.
Administrative liens provide the non-custodial parent the right to appeal within 15 days from the date of the lien. In addition to challenging the account balance, the non-custodial parent can claim that the liened funds are exempt from lien. A joint owner of a bank account also has the right to request a hearing. It is up to the non-custodial parent, or the joint owner, to provide proof that the funds are from a source that cannot be liened or in the case of a joint owner, that all or part of the liened bank account belongs only to the joint owner.
If the appeal involves the Administrative Paternity Order and/or the Administrative Support Order:
DCSS field staff review the administrative file/order and any additional information petitioner provided.
If the review results in a change, or correction, of the administrative order, the order is corrected by DCSS staff and provided to the petitioner along with the HFS 2788, Request to Withdraw Appeal. If the review results in no change or correction to the order, the petitioner is notified of that result.
Upon receipt of the new corrected administrative order, or the notification that the review has not resulted in a change or correction, the petitioner has two options:
Petitioner agrees with order changes, or decision not to change, and withdraws appeal request. The petitioner would fill out HFS Form 2788, Request to Withdraw Appeal. DCSS forwards the withdrawal form to BAH.
Petitioner disagrees with the changes or corrections to the order, or with the DCSS review result, by indicating reason for disagreement, and the matter proceeds to hearing.
Note: If any of the situations above result in no changes and the petitioner does not withdraw, the appeal hearing will proceed.Pre-Appeal Hearing
III. Pre-Appeal Hearing
To expedite a resolution, DCSS conducts a pre-appeal conference with the petitioner prior to BAH hearing. Results may include:
Petitioner agrees with review results/administrative order, and withdraws appeal in writing or verbally in the presence of the hearing officer;
Appeal is closed with DCSS, and DCSS notifies BAH of withdrawal; or
Petitioner disagrees and the matter proceeds to an appeal hearing conducted by an impartial hearing officer.
IV. Appeal Hearing
Petitioner will receive written notification of the location, time and date of appeal hearing.
Petitioner should arrive at least 10 minutes early to check in to hearing location. Several hearings are scheduled on the same day. Be prepared to wait for case to be called. Generally, parties accompanied by an attorney will be called first.
Petitioner may bring witnesses and/or documents to support his or her case.
Individuals present during the hearing include the impartial hearing officer, petitioner, DCSS witness, and sometimes the other parent. The custodial and non-custodial parent may bring in individuals to represent them during the hearing.
The hearing itself starts and in general, the petitioner presents his/her case which may include submission of any documents and witness testimony. DCSS witness will provide information they have related to the case, to the petitioner and hearing officer. Petitioner may ask questions of the DCSS witness.
During the appeal hearing, the hearing officer may ask clarifying questions of either party. If, during the hearing, it is discovered that either party has documents in support of their case that they did not bring, the record may be left open for a short period of time to send in those documents.
Following the appeal hearing, a Final Administrative Decision is drafted by the hearing officer.
V. The Final Administrative Decision is rendered by BAH, and it is submitted to the Director for final approval and signature. After signature, all parties are notified and decision is implemented by DCSS.
VI. Appellant has 35 days to file an administrative appeal action challenging the Final Administrative Decision in court.