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NYS Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Administrative Hearings — Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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If you feel you were incorrectly denied a benefit, such as a disability retirement benefit or Retirement Service credit, the administrative hearing process is your opportunity to present evidence supporting your claim. These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide you with basic information about that process.

The Hearing Administration Bureau must receive your written request for a hearing within four months of the determination date. The determination date, as well as our approval or denial of your application, and information about your right to appeal our determinations are included in the final agency determination letter sent to you.

  1. What is a hearing?
  2. Do I need an attorney?
  3. How do I find an attorney?
  4. How long do I have to request a hearing?
  5. Who may request a hearing?
  6. How do I request a hearing?
  7. How will I know you received my hearing request?
  8. What is pre hearing review?
  9. What is a Scheduling Form?
  10. Will you contact me when my hearing is scheduled?
  11. Do I have to appear at the hearing?
  12. Where are hearings held?
  13. Can I have the hearing delayed or ask for an adjournment?
  14. What happens if I miss the hearing?
  15. How will I know what issues will be determined at the hearing?
  16. Can I have a witness testify at the hearing?
  17. Should I bring my medical records to the hearing?
  18. What happens at a hearing?
  19. If the Hearing Officer permits a written argument (memorandum of law), when must I submit it?
  20. Could there be more than one hearing?
  21. If there is more than one hearing, will my case stay with the same Hearing Officer?
  22. If more than one Hearing Officer has heard testimony in my case, which Hearing Officer will write the decision? Will a Hearing Officer who heard my case always write the decision?
  23. Can an applicant put a hearing case on hold?
  24. How will I know the outcome of my hearing?
  25. How long will it take to get a Final Determination?
  26. Why would I be denied benefits?
  27. Can I appeal the Final Determination of the Comptroller?
  28. Where can I find the Retirement and Social Security Law?
  29. How do I contact you?
  1. What is a hearing?

    A hearing is a formal legal proceeding with a Hearing Officer presiding. You, as the applicant attend with your attorney, if you retain one, along with the attorney for the Retirement System. A record is made and provided to you. You must prove you are entitled to the benefit you seek. Your hearing is your only opportunity to present facts to prove your case.

  2. Do I need an attorney?

    No, you can represent yourself. You can also hire an attorney to represent you, but at your own expense.

    Start looking for an attorney immediately if you wish representation. You will not be granted an adjournment at your hearing to get an attorney.

  3. How do I find an attorney?

    You may obtain a referral from your local bar association or your union. Neither the Retirement System nor the Hearing Officer can recommend an attorney.

  4. How long do I have to request a hearing?

    You have four months from the determination date which is listed in the final agency determination letter denying your disability application or the written denial of benefits. We recommend you send time sensitive information by certified mail return receipt requested.

  5. Who may request a hearing?

    Anyone who has had a retirement benefit denied.

  6. How do I request a hearing?

    To request a hearing:

    • Email Hearing Administration; or
    • Fax us: 518-402-4137; or
    • Write to:

      Gayle Everitt, Director

      Hearing Administration, Mail Drop 7-9a

      NYS and Local Retirement System

      110 State Street

      Albany, NY 12244-0001

    Your request must be in writing and state you are requesting a hearing. Include your name, retirement registration number or the last four digits of your social security number (to identify your records), your email address, and a phone number where you can be reached during the day (Sample Hearing Request Letter Adobe pdf).

    If you email your request, please note that emails and related attachments are scanned for viruses, malware and spam, which may result in your request not reaching Hearing Administration. If your email is successfully delivered, you will receive an acknowledgement. If you do not receive an automated acknowledgement within 24 hours, please call 518-486-7015 to confirm we received your request.1

    If you mail your request, send it by certified mail, return receipt requested, so it will be considered filed on the day you mail it. Hearing requests sent by regular mail will be considered filed on the date they are received by NYSLRS.

  7. How will I know you received my hearing request?

    You will receive a confirmation within one week. We will also send you an acknowledgement letter within 4-6 months. The letter will include a Scheduling Information Form that you must complete and return.

  8. What is pre hearing review?

    We review every case before to make sure it is ready to put on our hearing calendar.

  9. What is a Scheduling Information Form?

    A Scheduling Information form is sent to you with the acknowledgement letter requesting information so that we can schedule your hearing.

    See a sample Scheduling Information Form Adobe pdf.

    For cases with medical issues, the scheduling form must be returned to the Retirement System by the due date on the form — which is 45 days from the date of the acknowledgement letter. If you don’t return the form on time, a hearing may be scheduled to dismiss your case.

    If you are unable to submit your records within 45 days of the date of the acknowledgement letter, you may ask for an extension by sending Hearing Administration a written explanation of why you are unable to provide the records by the due date.

  10. Will you contact me when my hearing is scheduled?

    Yes. Hearing Administration sends you a Notice of Hearing at least three weeks before your scheduled hearing date. The Notice has a brief description of the issues to be decided, the date, time and location of the hearing.

  11. Do I have to appear at the hearing?

    It is recommended that you appear, but if you do not intend to appear you must send Hearing Administration a written request waiving your right to appear at least three business days before the hearing date. Keep in mind if you waive your right to appear and do not have an attorney appear for you at the hearing, you also waive your right to object to evidence offered by the Retirement System’s attorney as well as your right to cross-examine any witnesses.

  12. Where are hearings held?

    Hearings are held in the following locations: Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Mineola, New York, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, and White Plains.

    Most of the locations connect to Albany by video conference.

  13. Can I have the hearing delayed or ask for an adjournment?

    Yes, you may request one adjournment without providing a reason for the request (as of right) and one for cause. You must request an adjournment in writing by email, letter or fax. We must receive your request at least three business days before the hearing.

    If an adjournment is not granted in advance, you must go to your hearing and request an adjournment from the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer will decide whether you have sufficient cause for an adjournment.

    Needing additional time to retain an attorney is not “cause” unless you can show unavoidable circumstances.

    No more than two adjournments will be granted.

    “Three business days” is defined as:

    • Monday for a hearing on Thursday;
    • Tuesday for a hearing on Friday;
    • Wednesday for a hearing on Monday;
    • Thursday for a hearing on Tuesday; and
    • Friday for a hearing on Wednesday.

    If a New York State holiday falls within the time period, an extra day is added.

  14. What happens if I miss the hearing?

    If you do not appear at the initial hearing and you did not properly ask for an adjournment, your case will be dismissed. If you fail to appear at a continued hearing without an adjournment, the Retirement System’s attorney may proceed with its case in your absence and Hearing Officer may close or dismiss your case.

  15. How will I know what issues will be determined at the hearing?

    The Notice of Hearing will state the issues based on your application. At the hearing, both the Retirement System and you may withdraw or add issues and the Hearing Officer will decide which issues are relevant.

  16. Can I have a witness testify at the hearing?

    Yes. You must be ready to present all witnesses at the initial hearing. If there is a medical issue, you may, at your own expense, have your doctor(s) testify in person or by telephone. Witnesses may also testify for the Retirement System.

  17. Should I bring my medical records to the hearing?

    No. At the time we send you the hearing acknowledgement we separately send an encrypted Compact Disc (CD) containing your medical record reviewed for your determination. You may add medical records that are not on the CD by sending them to us no later than the due date on the scheduling form, which is 45 days from the date the acknowledgement letter is sent to you.

    At the initial hearing the Hearing Officer will only accept into evidence only the records that were on the encrypted CD and any additional records sent to Hearing Administration on or before the due date on the scheduling form, and the supplemental report of the Retirement System doctor (if there is one).

  18. What happens at a hearing?

    • The Retirement System attorney, the Hearing Officer, and you outline the issues to be decided;
    • Documents are admitted into evidence;
    • The Retirement System attorney and you can offer documents into evidence and object to material you believe should not be made a part of the hearing record;
    • The Hearing Officer rules on whether a document will be a part of the hearing record;
    • You and your witnesses may testify;
    • You (or your attorney, if you choose to obtain one) may question witnesses;
    • The Hearing Officer may question your witnesses;
    • The Retirement System attorney may present witnesses at the same hearing or at a continued hearing;
    • You may question the Retirement System witnesses;
    • The Hearing Officer and you may question the Retirement System witnesses.

    The Hearing Officer will allow a closing argument at the hearing or may allow a submission of a written argument (memorandum of law). You will receive a record or transcript of the hearing within one month.

  19. If the Hearing Officer permits a written argument (memorandum of law), when must I submit it?

    The written argument is usually due 30 days from receipt of the hearing record or transcript. Parties may waive submission.

  20. Could there be more than one hearing?

    Yes. Parties can ask the Hearing Officer for a continuance to present additional evidence.

  21. If there is more than one hearing, will my case stay with the same Hearing Officer?

    Not necessarily. Hearing Administration may schedule your continued case with a different Hearing Officer.

  22. If more than one Hearing Officer has heard testimony in my case, which Hearing Officer will write the decision? Will a Hearing Officer who heard my case always write the decision?

    Usually a Hearing Officer who heard your case will write the decision. If unavailable, Hearing Administration will assign your case to another Hearing Officer who will review the entire record and write the decision.

  23. Can an applicant put a hearing case on hold?

    No, except when an applicant has a second application pending, the applicant may submit a written request to place the matter on hold until the second determination is finalized.

  24. How will I know the outcome of my hearing?

    You will receive a Final Determination signed by the Retirement System’s Executive Deputy Comptroller on behalf of the Comptroller. It will include the Hearing Officer decision and may also include additional or different findings of facts and conclusions of law.

  25. How long will it take to get a Final Determination?

    You should receive a copy of the Final Determination approximately four to five months from the date you receive the transcript of the last hearing. Please email us at Hearings@osc.state.ny.us if you do not receive your Final Determination within this time frame.

  26. Why would I be denied benefits?

    If you do not meet all of the eligibility requirements established by Retirement and Social Security Law, you will be denied benefits.

  27. Can I appeal the Final Determination of the Comptroller?

    Yes, you have four months to request an Article 78 proceeding to the State court. Direct any questions regarding Article 78 proceedings to the Retirement System’s Legal Services Bureau at 518-474-3592 or by mail:

    Legal Services, Mail Drop 14-1a.

    New York State and Local Retirement System

    110 State Street

    Albany, NY 12244-0001

  28. Where can I find the Retirement and Social Security Law?

    Laws: New York State Legislature search database

    Regulations: Scheduling, Adjourning and Conduct of Administrative Hearings Adobe pdf

  29. How do I contact you?

    • You may contact our Call Center toll-free at 1-866-805-0990 or 518-474-7736 in the Albany, New York area; or
    • Email the Hearing Administration and Matrimonial Bureau; or
    • Fax us: 518-402-4137; or
    • Write us:

      Hearing Administration and Matrimonial Bureau

      New York State and Local Retirement System

      110 State Street, Mail Drop 7-9a

      Albany, NY 12244-0001

1 Updated 5/16

(Rev. 3/11)

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