If you do not agree with the decision of the Department of Social Services (including the Family Support Division, Children's Division and MO HealthNet Division), the Department of Health and Senior Services or the Department of Mental Health on your state benefits (MO HealthNet, Temporary Assistance, Food Stamp benefits, Child Care Subsidy, Consumer Directed Services, Blind Pension, etc.) you can appeal their decision and request a hearing. The hearing will give you the opportunity to present evidence, such as witness testimony and documents, to show why the decision made for your case was wrong.
Note: The following information is provided to help you understand the hearing process. It is not intended to provide legal advice about an appeal. If you need legal advice about how to proceed with your appeal, please contact an attorney.
Attendance at the Hearing
You or someone representing you, such as an attorney, must attend the hearing. If you or your representative requested the hearing and you do not attend the hearing and a representative does not attend in your place, your appeal will be dismissed. In some instances, such as hearings regarding the disqualification of a party from participation in the Food Stamp program, the hearing will be conducted regardless of whether you or your representative appear.
Preparation for the Hearing
You should begin preparing for the hearing immediately after you file your appeal. This may include arranging for necessary witnesses and gathering documents or other materials that you believe support your case. The Hearings Unit will not postpone a hearing because you are not prepared, except in extraordinary circumstances.
If you want to review the Family Support Division's documents that relate to your case, they will be available at the county office where the hearing will be located two days before the hearing. To set up a time to come in and review those documents, please contact the county office listed on your hearing notice. You can also arrive 15 minutes before your hearing to see these documents.
You should be prepared to present firsthand evidence to prove the facts, which are believed to be true. Only people who have personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the issue should testify. No one should rely on what previously has been presented to the Family Support Division or any other state or federal agency to prove the case before the Hearings Unit.
A witness should be someone who saw or heard something that is important in proving a fact. It is not necessary to have many witnesses repeat the same testimony. It is your responsibility to make sure all witnesses are available and will attend the hearing on time.
If you expect to be represented by an attorney at the hearing, you must make arrangements with that attorney to enter an appearance with the Hearings Unit. If you expect to be represented by a friend, relative, or anyone else of your choosing, you must sign a form that states who is authorized to represent you. This form can only be used in hearings regarding benefits administered by the Family Support Division, such as Food Stamp benefits, MO HealthNet, Temporary Assistance and Blind Pension. If you would like to request this form, please contact the Family Support Division after you receive your hearing notice at 855-373-4636.
If there are any documents you would like to be considered for your hearing, you have the option to send them to the Benefit Hearings Unit. It is your responsibility to make sure that all parties involved in the hearing receive copies of the documents before the scheduled hearing.
It is important to note that the documents you send will not be returned to you, so please do not send original documents. Documents can be sent to the Benefit Hearings Unit by mail or fax. Please contact the Benefit Hearings Unit in your geographic region for specific instructions on where to send your documents:
Benefit Hearings Unit:
- Central Missouri: 573-751-0335
- Eastern Missouri: 314-877-2072
- Western Missouri: 816-325-5918
Child Support Hearings Unit: 573-526-3518
A subpoena is an order issued by the Hearings Unit to require someone to provide documents or to appear to testify at your hearing. If you would like to ask for a subpoena, you should contact the Benefit Hearings Unit at 573-751-0335 after you receive your hearing notice. The Hearings Unit will review and rule on your request. If your request is granted, it is your responsibility to serve the subpoena.
Every effort should be made to participate in the hearing when it is scheduled. If you need a postponement, please contact the Benefit Hearings Unit at the number at the top of your notice of hearing immediately. You must make your request to the Hearings Unit at the earliest possible moment. You must explain in detail your reason for requesting a postponement. The Hearings Unit will notify you if a hearing is postponed.
Telephone Conference Hearings
Hearings are held by telephone conference between you and/or your representative, the Hearing Officer, the Family Support Division witness, and any other parties involved. To participate in the phone conference, you will go to the office in your county. Your location is stated on the Notice of Hearing if you are unsure where that is. The Hearing Officer will contact everyone who needs to be involved in the hearing by phone at the hearing's scheduled time. If someone is not available to answer the call, they will be given a timeframe they can return the call and participate in the hearing. If they do not return the call on time, they will not be able to attend the hearing.
Hearings typically last between 40 and 50 minutes, depending on the issues involved. Those participating in the hearing must be available during the entire hearing. Testimony cannot be taken from a witness who is not available when the Hearing Officer calls.
If you would like to attend your hearing with the Hearing Officer present, you may request the Hearing Officer attend your hearing at the office in the county you live in rather than by phone. To request an in-person hearing, please contact the Benefit Hearings Unit at the number at the top of your notice of hearing after you receive your hearing notice.
If you have additional questions or would like more information, please contact the office nearest you.
|Central Missouri||PO Box 1527
Jefferson City, MO 65102
|Western Missouri||103 N Main, #202
Independence, MO 64050
|Eastern Missouri||8501 Lucas and Hunt, Suite 110
St. Louis, MO 63136