Lifting Burdens: Proof, Social Justice, and Public Assistance Administrative Hearings
Posted: 3 Apr 2007 Last revised: 23 Feb 2014
In Lifting Burdens: Proof, Social Justice, and Public Assistance Administrative Hearings, Lisa Brodoff describes the administrative hearing system for public assistance recipients and applicants, and asserts that it is the primary social justice system for the poor. She discusses why public assistance appellants are always placed at a significant disadvantage in this system. The article proposes that the best way to even out the inequities in adjudications is to always place the burdens of production and persuasion by clear and convincing evidence on the government in these hearings. She argues that policy, efficiency, and fairness require a consistent and heavy burden on the state when it attempts to take away or deny brutal needs benefits. This article examines other administrative substantive areas where the burden is placed on the government in hearings, and shows why the policies behind the changed burden in those areas apply with equal force to public benefits hearings. She demonstrates why a new and heavy burden on the agency will not only result in more equitable adjudications but also lead to better managed public assistance programs. Finally, she suggests ways in which to implement this change.
Keywords: administrative law, public assistance, social justice, burden of proof
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