Hearing Procedures

Hearing Procedure Guidelines

Prior to initiating the hearing procedure, the parents or local school official may request a conference to provide an opportunity for the parent and school official to discuss the situation, present information and obtain an explanation of data submitted in the application or the decision rendered. The request for a conference shall not in any way prejudice or diminish the right to a fair hearing.

The hearing procedure provides for the following:

  1. A publicly announced, simple method for making an oral or written request.
  2. An opportunity to be assisted or represented by an attorney or other person.
  3. An opportunity to examine, prior to and during the hearing, any documents and records presented to support the decision under appeal.
  4. Reasonable promptness and convenience in scheduling a hearing and adequate notice as to the time and place of the hearing.
  5. An opportunity to present oral or documentary evidence and arguments supporting a position without undue interference.
  6. An opportunity to question or refute any testimony or other evidence and to confront and cross-examine any adverse witnesses.
  7. That the hearing be conducted and the decision made by a hearing official who did not participate in making the decision under appeal or any previously held conference regarding the meal benefit issuance process.
  8. That the decision of the hearing official be based in the oral and documentary evidence presented at the hearing and be made a part of the hearing record.
  9. That the parties concerned and any designated representative thereof be notified in writing of the decision of the hearing official and that the decision of the hearing official is binding.
  10. That for each hearing a written record be prepared, including the challenge or decision under appeal, any documentary evidence, a summary of any oral testimony presented at the hearing, the decision of the hearing official including the reasons thereof and a copy of the notification to the parties concerned of the hearing official's decision.
  11. That such written record be preserved for a period of 3 years after the close of the school year to which it pertains. These records shall be available for examination by the parties concerned or their representatives at any reasonable time and place during such period.

During the appeal and hearing procedure:

  • Children who have been denied benefits upon application shall not receive continued benefits during this period.
  • Children who have been approved for benefits but are subject to termination or reduction of benefits later in the same school year shall continue to receive benefits if an appeal of the adverse action has been made within the 10-day advance notice period.

Advance notification shall be provided to families who receive a termination of benefits 10 calendar days prior to the actual termination. The notice shall advise households of: (1) the change; (2) the reason for the change; (3) the right to appeal the action within the 10-day advance notice period; (4) instructions on how to appeal and (5) the right to reapply any time during the school year. The reasons for ineligibility shall be properly documented and retained on file at the Local Educational Agency.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail:

U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.