Office of Fair Hearings

The Office of Fair Hearings provides impartial administrative hearings for individuals or entities who have received an adverse notice from the Department.

Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) adjudicate a wide range of Department-related issues regarding the following programs:

  • Adoption License/Subsidy
  • Big Sky RX
  • Blind & Low Vision Services
  • Block Grant Daycare Program
  • Child Care Benefits
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Daycare License/Certification
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Facility Discharge (DPHHS is not a party)
  • Foster Care
  • Healthy Montana Kids
  • Healthy Montana Kids Plus
  • Home and Community Based Services
  • Informal Dispute Resolution (Facility Survey Deficiencies)
  • Licensure and Certification
  • Low Income Energy Assistance Program
  • Low Income Weatherization Program
  • Medicaid
  • Personal Care Services
  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Special Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries
  • Substantiation of Abuse Or Neglect
  • Temporary Assistance To Needy Families
  • Tobacco Sales Compliance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Note: The Office of Fair Hearings does not have jurisdiction over issues determined by the Department's Child Support Enforcement Division.

ALJ's research statutes, rules, regulations, policies, and court cases to reach conclusions of law. After weighing evidence and evaluating testimony, they issue written decisions that are final and binding unless appealed to the state Board of Public Assistance, the Department Director, or a district court.

Fair Hearing Decisions

Informal Dispute Resolutions

Informal Dispute Resolution (IDR) Process

Timeframes for Decisions

Administrative Rules of Montana (A.R.M. 37.5.101 et seq.) have been promulgated regarding contested case proceedings before the Office of Fair Hearings.   Hearing procedures differ depending on whether the appealing party meets the definition of a “Claimant” or a “Provider”.   The applicable definitions of these terms are found in A.R.M. 37.5.304.  

Pursuant to A.R.M. 37.5.307, generally a request for hearing from a “Claimant” must be received in writing by the Department within 90 days of the mailing date of the Department’s adverse action notice.  This 90 day deadline applies to many programs including but not limited to Medicaid; TANF; LIEAP; Developmental Disability; day care benefits; and SNAP (hearing request may be verbal or written).   Specifically, a hearing request must be received by the Department in writing within 30 days regarding a Department determination of ability to pay for the cost of care in an institution under § 53-1-405, M.C.A.; a nursing facility’s transfer or discharge of a nursing facility resident; a substantiated report of child abuse, neglect or exploitation; or a proposal by the Department to file a lien under § 53-6-171, M.C.A.   “Claimants” may submit a request for hearing to:

Department of Public Health and Human Services
Office of Fair Hearings
PO Box 202953
2401 Colonial Drive, Third Floor
Helena, MT 59620
Fax: 406-444-3980

In contrast to a “Claimant”, a “Provider” must first submit a request for an administrative review to the Department division that issued the determination being contested (not submitted to the Office of Fair Hearings), which request must be received by the Department within 30 days of mailing of the Department’s adverse action.  See A.R.M. 37.5.310.   The “Provider” must mail or deliver its request for administrative review to the below address.   Note that only after the Department has issued its administrative review determination, then the “Provider” may move to the next level by submitting a request for hearing directly to the Office of Fair Hearings (address shown above).

Department of Public Health and Human Services
* name of division
P.O. Box 4210
Helena, MT  59604-4210