The appeals process
You have the right to appeal any VR counselor determination with which you disagree.
CAP can help you to file an appeal.
Step 1 REQUEST FOR HEARING
To file an appeal, you must write a letter to the
of the Alabama Department of
Rehabilitation Services. You must explain why you disagree with your counselor’s
determination and the services that you want from VR. Your letter should also include
your counselor’s name and the location of the counselor’s office.
You will receive acknowledgement of your appeal request from VR and you will be
given a choice of either an Informal Administrative Review or an Impartial Hearing.
If you choose an Informal Administrative Review, the district administrator of your
local VR office will listen to both sides and make a decision. At your IAR, you
will be given an opportunity to state your concerns and the services you need to
achieve your vocational goal.
Step 2 MEDIATION OPTION
You may request mediation by an impartial, unrelated third party at any time before
you attend your formal Impartial Hearing. Mediation does not deny or delay your
right to a hearing.
Step 3 IMPARTIAL HEARING
An Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO) will be selected at random from a pool of hearing
officers. This officer is someone outside the agency who will listen to both sides
of your case. The Impartial Hearing must be held within 60 days after your appeal
request is received.
An Impartial Hearing is a formal administrative process, and a record will be kept
of it. You may have a representative or attorney with you. CAP can help you prepare
and may be able to represent you. If you want CAP’s assistance, you should get the
program involved as soon as possible, since it takes time to prepare for an Impartial
Hearing. After the Impartial Hearing Officer has listened to everyone, he or she
has 30 days to render a decision in writing.
Step 4 REVIEW OF IMPARTIAL HEARING DECISION
A. State Official Review
After you are notified of the hearing decision, either you or VR can request a review
of the decision made by the Impartial Hearing Officer within 20 days of that decision.
The reviewing official can be the chief official of the designated State agency
or an official from the governor’s office. The reviewing official must give you
the chance to present additional information and present your side of the story.
The reviewing official cannot change the Hearing Officer’s decision if it was favorable
to you unless the hearing officer’s decision was not consistent with state or federal
law, the Rehabilitation Act itself, or state regulation or policy. The reviewing
official’s decision must be in writing and this decision is final unless you go
B. Filing a Civil Action
After the Impartial Hearing Officer renders his or her decision, you can also file
a civil action in state or federal court. The court will review the IHO’s decision
and may permit you to provide additional evidence and testimony. You may contact
CAP to find out if we will represent you in a civil action.