What do we do?
The Appeals Division of the Department of Human Services (DHS) conducts administrative fair hearings for appeals arising out of the broad array of programs administered by DHS. These include cash and food benefit programs, health care programs, social services programs, residential programs and others. Human services judges conduct hearings involving allegations of program fraud. They also conduct hearings on maltreatment determinations made by DHS or local county agencies. In addition, the human services judges conduct hearings involving individuals who were disqualified from working in DHS-licensed facilities. The Appeals Division also conducts hearings for other agencies. Human services judges hear eligibility appeals for the MNsure insurance exchange. They also conduct child maltreatment and vulnerable adult maltreatment and disqualification hearings for the Minnesota departments of Health and Education.
After the hearing, the human services judges complete recommended decisions that are reviewed by the chief human services judges who are delegates of the commissioner of DHS. The chief judges issue final decisions on behalf of the commissioner, assuring the law is properly interpreted and decisions are consistent with DHS policy.
The main laws about fair hearings are in Minnesota Statutes, sections 256.045, 256.0451 and 256.046.
Who are we?
The Appeals Division currently consists of a director, three co-chief human services judges, 30 human services judges, six paralegals and nine support staff. In fiscal year 2017, the Appeals Division processed nearly 16,000 program appeals.
What is a fair hearing?
A human services judge will conduct a hearing with all parties present. For complex matters, the human services judge may hold a prehearing conference before the hearing to narrow the issues and plan for the hearing. The human services judge is an independent decision maker who has not been involved in the decision being appealed. Most hearings are held by telephone, but if requested, may be heard by video conference or in person. During the hearing, the human services judge will listen to the arguments and testimony from both sides, and will review the evidence each side gives the judge. Each side will have the opportunity to ask the other side questions about their testimony and evidence. Efforts are made to get all information needed to arrive at a fair decision based solely on the law and evidence presented.
What happens after the hearing?
After the hearing, the human services judge writes a recommended order. The decision will contain findings of fact, relevant law, and analysis/conclusions. After the commissioner of DHS (or the respective agency) reviews and accepts the order, the decision is mailed to the parties. Getting a decision can take up to 60 days from the date the appeal was filed for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) appeals or 90 days from filing for all other appeals. This timeline may be longer due to continuances or the human services judge allowing time for each side to submit and review additional evidence after the hearing. If a party disagrees with the final decision, the party has 30 days from the date of the decision to ask the commissioner to reconsider the decision. The parties also have 30 days from the date of the decision to appeal to the state district court.
The frequently asked questions about state appeal hearings page has information about how to request a hearing.
The form Information About State Appeal Hearings (DHS-2811) is also available in the DHS eDocs (eForms) library along with the form Instructions for Requesting an Appeal (DHS-0033).
There are three databases that allow for appeals decisions to be viewed online. The databases contain a collection of decisions with private data and identifying data removed. The databases are available to members of the public interested in seeing how the appeals function has addressed particular issues. Individuals can search by keyword, date, human services judge or docket number. The three databases are:
Fair Hearing Appeals Search - most current DHS appeal decisions
Fair Hearing Appeal Archive - DHS appeal decisions issued between 2001 and April 2013
MNsure Appeal Search - decisions issued by the MNsure Board
Procedures for deciding financial responsibility disputes between counties
The Department of Human Services has the statutory authority to resolve disputes between county human services agencies regarding financial responsibility for human services programs ranging from Medical Assistance to commitment, which are reviewed by the Appeals Division. Procedures, information, forms and contact information is available on the procedures for deciding financial responsibility disputes between counties Web page.
Procedures for deciding nursing facility rate appeals
Human services judges decide issues involving the determination of a payment rate established, or disallowed costs from provider cost reports, for nursing facility rate appeal requests. Providers have 60 days from the date of the published payment rate to file an appeal request. The notice of appeal must specify each disputed item, the reason for the dispute, the total dollar amount in dispute or each separate disallowance, allocation, or adjustment of each cost item or part of a cost item, and the computation that the provider believes is correct. For an appeal item on which the provider disagrees with the appeal determination, the provider may file a written demand for a contested case hearing.
For questions about the appeal process, contact:
Minnesota Department of Human Services
PO Box 64941
St. Paul, MN 55164-0941
Site address: 444 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-3801