1. File an appeal
You may file an appeal of any decision to deny, change, or stop Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. You can file an appeal in writing at your local Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) office. You can also call (800) 435-0774. You must file an appeal within 60 days of the date of the written notice.
2. Continue your TANF payments during an appeal
You can keep getting payments even during an appeal. To keep getting payments, you must appeal:
- Appeal within 10 days of the date of the notice of change; or
- Before the date of change becomes effective, whichever is later.
The date the change becomes effective is included on the notice of change. Be sure to get some kind of a record that you filed your appeal showing the date it was filed.
3. Pre-appeal conference
DHS may agree to approve the case, or restore your full benefits right away, if:
- Your application was denied; or
- Your TANF payments were changed or ended because of a mistake or a misunderstanding about the facts.
If not, DHS will schedule a fair hearing.
4. Fair hearing
You will have the following rights at the hearing:
- To present your testimony and other witnesses in support of your claim
- To present documents that support your case
- To examine the records relied on by DHS, and
- To cross-examine other witnesses
After the hearing, the hearing officer will give his decision in writing. You can file a lawsuit if you disagree with the decision in the DHS hearing.
5. File a TANF benefits lawsuit
You may file a lawsuit in the circuit court if a hearing officer rules against you in a DHS hearing. You must file this lawsuit no later than 35 days from the date that the decision was sent to you. You or your lawyer will have the chance to show evidence to support of your case.
The judge will then decide if the hearing officer:
- Looked at the facts the right way; and
- Applied the law the right way.
The judge will then do one of the following:
- Approve your claim;
- Deny your claim; or
- Send your case back to DHS to be reevaluated.
Learn more about Starting a lawsuit.
Updated: September 2017