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Fair Hearing of the Month

Fair Hearing #7033030L (July 20, 2015)

December 15, 2015

Congratulations to Megan Neal, Nassau/Suffolk Law Services!

Agency failure to advise appellant that they could apply for EAA to replace lost SSI funds leads to a reversal of Agency action discontinuing Appellant's temporary housing assistance.

The Appellant, aged 36, was in receipt of temporary housing assistance for herself and her spouse.  By notice dated March 17, 2015, the Agency determined that the Appellant was responsible to pay $337.00 per month towards the cost of the household’s temporary housing assistance.

On April 16 & 21, 2015, the Appellant signed Independent Living Plans (ILP) stating that she was required, as a condition of receipt of assistance, to pay $337 per month toward the cost of temporary housing.  The Appellant did not pay the required monthly contribution and by notice dated May 13, 2015, the Agency determined to discontinue temporary housing assistance to the Appellant's household effective May 16, 2015 on the grounds that the Appellant failed to pay her required contribution.

The ALJ found that the May 13, 2015 notice was neither adequate nor timely notice of the Agency’s proposed action as the Agency’s proposed action was less than 10 days from the date of the notice.

The Agency acknowledged that Appellant’s spouse called the Agency on May 18 and, upon being advised of the reason for discontinuance, advised the Agency that the contribution for May, 2015 was not paid because the Appellant’s funds from her SSI check had been lost or stolen.  The Agency acknowledged this conversation, in which the Agency asked if a police report had been filed.

However, the Agency asserted that the phone call occurred after the notice was issued and that a police report was not timely received.

The Appellant stated that she did not know that she could request replacement funds and therefore did not report the loss of the SSI funds to the Agency until she received the discontinuance notice.

The Appellant asserted that upon reporting the loss, the Agency did not ask that a police report be provided and did not advise that she could request replacement funds under EAA, with which she could have complied with the required contribution for May, 2015.

The Appellant’s Representative provided a police report filed on May 22, 2015 and proof that the Agency was provided with a copy of the report with a request for EAA replacement funds prior to the hearing and contended that the Agency did not act on that request and that the Appellant therefore remained unable to pay the contribution for May, 2015.

The Agency acknowledged that the Appellant was not advised in respect of her right to request replacement funds or that a police report should be submitted when filed.

The ALJ found that the Appellant immediately explained she was unable to pay the contribution for May, 2015 due to lost or stolen SSI funds once advised of the reason for discontinuance.  Therefore, the Agency’s determination to discontinue temporary housing and Public Assistance could not be upheld.  The Agency was directed to continue to provide the Appellant with temporary housing and Public Assistance pending an evaluation of her request for the replacement of lost or stolen SSI funds.


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