Pre-Hearing Meeting With the DSHS Representative

Created on: 
Sep 16 2015

Revised October 29, 2015

Pre-Hearing Meeting With the DSHS Representative


The Pre-Hearing Meeting is an informal, voluntary meeting conducted by the DSHS Representative and the Client and/or Representative prior to an Administrative Hearing to attempt to resolve the issues at the lowest possible level. 

See WAC 388-02-0175 - What is a Pre-Hearing Meeting? 

Clarifying Information: 

1.    The pre-hearing  meeting (PHM) ensures that hearings are held only in cases that cannot be resolved under current policy.
2.    The (PHM) is not designed to take the place of an administrative hearing. It is an opportunity for the client and/or their representative and the  Administrative Hearing Coordinator (AHC) to clarify the issue for hearing, correct errors and make agreements.
3.    The  PHM is not mandatory and does not need to be lengthy or formal. 
4.    The PHC can be held by telephone or in person. 
5.    The client has a right to decline a PHM.

Administrative Hearings Coordinator Responsibilities: 

1.    Attempt telephone contact immediately with the client for a  PHM as soon as possible after receiving the request for an administrative hearing; or  
2.    Use the DSHS 02-527(x) Pre-hearing Meeting Letter, ACES letter FHC2 Pre-hearing Meeting Notification or local CSO letter to schedule pre-hearing meeting when the telephone attempt is unsuccessful.
3.    Arrange for interpreter services or other accommodation as required. 
4.    Document on the ACES narrative when a client declines a PHM.


Administrative Hearings Coordinator Procedures: 

The AHC should be prepared to meet at least once, either in person or by telephone, with the client and/or the representative before the administrative hearing. Additional contacts should be scheduled as needed.
1.    When conducting a pre-hearing meeting: 

       a.    Attempt to identify and define the issues.
       b.    Explain the facts on which the decision is based.
       c.    Discuss the result the client expects from the administrative hearing.
       d.    Explain the client's right to representation and the local contact for free legal services.
       e.    Discuss the rules, which the department relied on when making the decision the client is appealing. Make copies of the cited rules available on    request.
       f.    Review the evidence that the department relied on and how it relates to the client's situation.
       g.    Attempt to resolve areas of factual dispute by reviewing the case record, ACES record or other documentation.
       h.    Allow the client an opportunity to provide additional information and/or documents that were not considered in the original decision.
       i.    Correct any CSO errors that are identified.
       j.    Coordinate with Regional staff for clarification of regulations, policies or procedures as needed.
       k.    Review alternative methods for helping the client, including community resources and the possibility of an Exception to Rule.
       l.    Review the hearing procedures, including testimony, swearing of witnesses and presentation of evidence.
       m.    Answer any general questions the client has regarding the hearing process.
       n.    Submit new or additional evidence provided by the appellant to the original decision maker or their supervisor for an amended decision, if appropriate. (See WAC 388-406-0060 (3) for application denials.)

2.    If a resolution is reached and the client wishes to withdraw the hearing request: 
       a.    Have the client complete a DSHS 02-528(X) Withdrawal of  Administrative Hearing which specifies the reason for the withdrawal and any agreements made by the  AHC or other CSO staff which resulted in the withdrawal:
       b.    For verbal withdrawals: 
              1)    Have the client complete a DSHS 02-528(X) as in (a) above or send the form to the client with instructions to complete as in (a) above.

              2)    Notify the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) immediately if the written withdrawal will not be received by OAH before the hearing is scheduled.

3.    Forward the original copy of the withdrawal to the OAH. Give one copy to the client and put one copy in the CSO hearing file.