Michigan Department of Human Services accelerates hearings process with "Rocket Docket" program
July 25, 2011
The Michigan Department of Human Services is partnering with the Michigan Administrative Hearings System (MAHS) on the Rocket Docket, a program designed to provide full and timely resolution for DHS public assistance clients with pending hearings, heightening the efficiency of the hearings process and saving taxpayer dollars.
The Rocket Docket initiative will enable administrative law judges to fully complete more than 600 hearings for public assistance clients on July 27 in coordination with DHS offices in the following Michigan counties: Barry, Bay, Berrien, Calhoun, Genesee-McCree, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Saginaw and Washtenaw.
"The Rocket Docket project is an important step in improving the timeliness of administrative hearings scheduled for DHS public assistance programs," Director Maura D. Corrigan said. "Our objective is to give DHS and hearings staff the ability to provide DHS clients with timely hearings on their cases. Streamlining the hearings process will save taxpayer dollars and provide the prompt resolution our clients deserve."
DHS clients received a notice with instructions to appear at their local DHS offices for hearings at 8 a.m. on July 27. The respective DHS offices will use a number of hearing rooms in order to conduct multiple hearings simultaneously via teleconference with administrative law judges.
"Administrative law judges typically see a 50 percent to 60 percent ‘no-show' rate on scheduled hearing dates for DHS clients who have had their benefits extended during the appeal process," Corrigan said. "This is likely due to expectation of an unfavorable ruling for the client. After the client fails to appear for the hearing, benefits are discontinued and the case dismissed, resulting in savings of taxpayer dollars when these hearings are promptly held."
Going forward, Corrigan notes, DHS will assess the 13-county project to evaluate the potential for Rocket Docket days to become standard procedure on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis at DHS offices in all Michigan counties.
"DHS will continue our focus on providing full and prompt hearings for clients as we fulfill our mission to protect Michigan's vulnerable children, adults and families," she said.
For more information about DHS, please visit www.michigan.gov/dhs. Follow DHS on Twitter @MichiganDHS.