PA 09-118—sSB 817

Human Services Committee

Judiciary Committee

Planning and Development Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RIGHT TO A HEARING IN THE RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AND TRANSITIONARY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

SUMMARY: This act gives individuals in the rental assistance and transitionary rental assistance programs aggrieved by decisions of the Department of Social Services (DSS) commissioner or his designated agent, the right to a hearing in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act (UAPA) and allows them to appeal final decisions to Superior Court.

Under prior law, these individuals could request an informal hearing and a subsequent desk review to appeal DSS decisions to deny, modify, or terminate program assistance. But, because DSS was not statutorily required to hold formal hearings, individuals were unable to appeal final decisions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009

UAPA HEARING PROCESS

Judicial Review

Under the act, an individual whose assistance is denied, modified, or terminated may request a department hearing in accordance with UAPA and, if still not satisfied, can appeal to Superior Court. Under UAPA, aggrieved parties have 45 days to appeal final agency decisions in “contested cases” to Superior Court. UAPA generally defines “contested cases” as those where a statute requires an agency to determine a party's legal rights, duties, or privileges after a hearing (CGS 4-166).

Under the UAPA, the court can only overturn an agency's decision under limited circumstances. These include situations where (1) a statute or constitutional law was violated; (2) an agency acted without statutory authority; (3) the agency erred in considering the evidence; (4) the agency's procedures were unlawful; or (5) the agency was arbitrary, capricious, or abused its discretion.

OLR Tracking: ND: JK: PF: TS