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Public Health and Social Service Benefit Fair Hearings

Appeal of Denial or Termination of Benefits before the California Department of Social Services

Applicants or recipients of CalWORKS, CalFRESH, Medi-Cal or other benefits are entitled to appeal the decision denying, terminating or reducing benefits before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

All hearings are held on a first-come, first-served basis. All hearings are scheduled for two time slots: 8:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Since all hearings set for that day are held in only two time slots, you will probably share your time slot with several different claimants. Whoever checks in first will have their hearing first, with no exceptions.

At the hearing:

When it is time for your hearing to start, your hearing officer will bring you into the room where the hearing will be held.

Your hearing issues are heard by an Administrative Law Judge, who is employed by the State of California Department of Social Services and will render an impartial decision.

The judge will ask the County to present its case first, because the County has the burden of proving why it took the action. Then you will be asked to present your case and why you disagree. The judge can ask questions of both parties and question any witnesses.

The judge will typically take the case under advisement and make his or her decision. The decision will be sent to both parties at the same time.

After the hearing:

You will receive your hearing decision 90 days from the date you filed your hearing request. Generally, hearing decisions are sent approximately 30-45 days after your hearing. If you think your hearing decision is late, you can call your assigned hearing officer and we can check on the status of your hearing decision.

If your claim is granted in part or in full, that means that the judge made his or her decision, or part of that decision, in your favor. The County has 30 days to comply with the judge’s order. The County will notify you when it has complied with the judge’s order.

If your claim is denied, that means the judge made his or her decision in the County's favor.


If either party disagrees with any part of the decision, either party may ask for a rehearing within 30 days. The front of the hearing decision will give you detailed information about how to ask for a rehearing.

I am a former Administrative Law Judge who worked for the Department of Social Services in the Los Angeles hearing office.  From my experience, the vast majority of claimants for benefits appeared before myself and other ALJs without an attorney or representative.  Cases involving public benefits, particularly Medi-Cal eligibility, often involve complex regulations and case law.  Claimant may have a substantial advantage in securing benefits when they are represented at these hearing by knowledgable counsel.

 I would appreciate the opportunity to represent applicants and recipients in these administrative hearings to ensure the State grants the public benefits that you are entitled to under the law.