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Telephone Fair Hearings

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
Index No.: 82-14 - REG. REF: 273.15
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This policy memo clarifies the use of telephone fair hearings.

DATE: May 21, 1982
POLICY MEMO: Index No.: 82-14 - REG. REF: 273.15
SUBJECT: Telephone Fair Hearings
TO: All Regions

(This supersedes 80-50)


Clarify the use of telephone fair hearings.


Current program regulations neither permit nor preclude state agency use of telephonic fair hearing procedures. This is due to the fact that use of procedures other than face-to-face hearings was not contemplated during the regulatory formulation process. However, we are not adverse to use of telephonic fair hearings provided they meet all pertinent regulatory requirements of Section 273.15. Our principal concern in any consideration of such hearing procedures is the potentially adverse impact they may have on a recipient's rights to due process during the hearing process.

Therefore, we will continue to require that recipients be advised that they may have a face-to-face hearing unless the following telephone fair hearing configuration is used: both parties (household and state agency) with all witnesses at one location and only the hearing officer at another location. If a state agency chooses to use this type of fair hearing, special attention must be given to the written uniform rules of procedures 273.15(i)(3) to insure that all parties understand what is expected at the hearing. Emphasis should be given to the recipient's rights during the hearing 273.15(p) and the handling of documents prior to, during and after the hearing.

Additionally, recipients should receive a copy of these procedures when notified of the time and location of the hearing. The hearing officer should also remind all of 22 the parties present of the procedures of conduct prior to administering the oath to each party.

The above guidelines must be adhered to when state agency procedures for telephone fair hearings are submitted.

Willis L. DeLozier
Acting Deputy Administrator
for Family Nutrition Programs

Page updated: April 05, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.