The Vermont Statutes Online
DEPARTMENTS, DIVISIONS, AND BOARDS
(a) An applicant
for or a recipient of assistance, benefits, or social services from the
Department for Children and Families, the Department of Vermont Health Access,
the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living, or the
Department of Mental Health, or an applicant for a license from one of those
departments, or a licensee may file a request for a fair hearing with the Human
Services Board. An opportunity for a fair hearing will be granted to any
individual requesting a hearing because his or her claim for assistance,
benefits, or services is denied, or is not acted upon with reasonable
promptness; or because the individual is aggrieved by any other agency action
affecting his or her receipt of assistance, benefits, or services, or license
or license application; or because the individual is aggrieved by Agency policy
as it affects his or her situation.
(b) The hearing
shall be conducted by the Board or by a hearing officer appointed by the Board.
The chairman of the Board may compel, by subpoena, the attendance and testimony
of witnesses and the production of books and records. All witnesses shall be
examined under oath. The Board shall adopt rules with reference to appeals,
which shall not be inconsistent with this chapter. The rules shall provide for
reasonable notice to parties, and an opportunity to be heard and be represented
(c) The Board or
the hearing officer shall issue written findings of fact. If the hearing is
conducted by a hearing officer the hearing officer's findings shall be reported
to the Board, and the Board shall approve the findings and adopt them as the
findings of the Board unless good cause is shown for disapproving them. Whether
the findings are made by the Board, or by a hearing officer and adopted by the
Board, the Board shall enter its order based on the findings.
(d) After the
fair hearing the Board may affirm, modify or reverse decisions of the Agency;
it may determine whether an alleged delay was justified; and it may make orders
consistent with this title requiring the agency to provide appropriate relief
including retroactive and prospective benefits. The Board shall consider, and
shall have the authority to reverse or modify, decisions of the Agency based on
rules which the Board determines to be in conflict with State or federal law.
The Board shall not reverse or modify agency decisions which are determined to
be in compliance with applicable law, even though the board may disagree with
the results effected by those decisions.
(e) The Board
shall give written notice of its decision to the person applying for fair
hearing and to the Agency. Unless a continuance is requested or consented to by
an aggrieved person, decisions and orders concerning Temporary Assistance to
Needy Families (TANF) under V.S.A. 33 chapter 11, TANF-Emergency Assistance
(TANF-EA) under Title IV of the Social Security Act and medical assistance
(Medicaid) under V.S.A. 33 chapter 19 shall be issued by the Board within 75
days of the request for hearing.
(f) The Agency
or the appellant may appeal from decisions of the Board to the Supreme Court
under Rule 13 of the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure. Pending the final
determination of any appeal the terms of the order involved shall be given
effect by the agency except insofar as they relate to retroactive benefits.
(g) A party to
an order or decree of the Board or the Board itself, or both, may petition the
Supreme Court for relief against any disobedience of or noncompliance with the
order or decree. In the proceedings and upon such notice thereof to the parties
as it shall direct, the Supreme Court shall hear and consider the petition and
make such order and decree in the premises by way of writ of mandamus, writ of
prohibition, injunction, or otherwise, concerning the enforcement of the order
and decree of the Board as shall be appropriate.
Notwithstanding subsections (d) and (f) of this section, the Secretary shall
review all Board decisions and orders concerning TANF, TANF-EA, office of child
support cases, and Medicaid. The secretary shall:
(A) adopt a
Board decision or order, except that the Secretary may reverse or modify a
Board decision or order if:
(i) the Board's
findings of fact lack any support in the record; or
decision or order implicates the validity or applicability of any Agency policy
(B) issue a
written decision setting forth the legal, factual or policy basis for reversing
or modifying a Board decision or order.
Notwithstanding subsections (d) and (f) of this section, a Board decision and
order concerning TANF, TANF-EA, Office of Child Support, or Medicaid shall
become the final and binding decision of the Agency upon its approval by the
Secretary. The Secretary shall either approve, modify or reverse the Board's decision
and order within 15 days of the date of the Board's decision and order. If the
Secretary fails to issue a written decision within 15 days as required by this
subdivision, the Board's decision and order shall be deemed to have been
approved by the Secretary.
Notwithstanding subsection (f) of this section, only the claimant may appeal a
decision of the Secretary to the Supreme Court. Such appeals shall be pursuant
to Rule 13 of the Vermont Rules of Appellate Procedure. The Supreme Court may
stay the Secretary's decision upon the claimant's showing of a fair ground for
litigation on the merits. The Supreme Court shall not stay the Secretary's
order insofar as it relates to a denial of retroactive benefits. (Added 1973,
No. 101, § 5; amended 1989, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.); 1989, No. 219 (Adj. Sess.), §
9(a); 1993, No. 105, § 1; 1999, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2005, No. 174 (Adj.
Sess.), § 8; 2007, No. 15, § 6; 2007, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2009, No. 156
(Adj. Sess.), § I.9.)