Frequently Asked Questions

What is an administrative hearing?

An administrative hearing is a legal proceeding designed to review a Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) action before an impartial hearing official.  Each party to an administrative hearing has a right to present and question witnesses, and to submit or challenge documents regarding the decision.  The result of the proceeding is a decision to affirm, modify, or set aside the original DHS action.

How do I request a hearing?

To request a hearing, you must file an appeal.  You may file an appeal by writing, by phone, or online. To file an appeal in writing, please fill out the appeal entry form below and submit to the Clerk's Office, which is a part of the Division of Appeals and Hearings, by mail, fax, or email.

Appeal Entry Form: English/Spanish

James K. Polk Building
505 Deaderick Street, 1st Floor
ATTN: Appeals and Hearings Clerk's Office
Nashville, TN 37243

Fax: (615) 248-7013 or (866) 355-6136
Phone: 1-833-772-TDHS (8347)

To file an appeal by phone, please call 1-833-772-TDHS (8347) or  1-800-270-1349 (TTY).

To file an appeal online, please visit

What happens after I request a hearing?

In most cases, the hearing will be scheduled and each party is served with a Notice of Hearing identifying the time, date, and place for the hearing. An impartial Administrative Hearing Official is also assigned to preside over the case. The hearing may be in person or by telephone.

In certain cases, a prehearing conference is conducted by telephone. The prehearing conference is normally used to determine procedural matters necessary for an efficient hearing.

How do I prepare for my hearing?

Persons appearing before the Division of Appeals and Hearings may be represented by an attorney or a non-attorney representative.

Each party is responsible for presenting testimony and/or exhibits that support their case.  To prepare for your hearing, you should obtain copies of any documents you want the Administrative Hearing Official to consider and submit them to the Clerk’s Office. You may fax your documents to (615) 248-7013 or (866) 355-6136.  You may email your documents to  You should also notify your witnesses of the date and time of the hearing.  If your hearing will be conducted by telephone, please have the names and telephone numbers of your witnesses ready for the Administrative Hearing Official.

If you have a conflict and cannot attend your hearing as scheduled, you may request a continuance.  To request a continuance please contact the Clerk’s Office at 1-833-772-TDHS (8347) or  Please be sure to tell the Clerk’s Office your name, the date of your hearing, and why you are requesting a continuance.  The Clerk’s Office will forward your request to the presiding Administrative Hearing Official who will decide whether to grant or deny your request.      

What happens during my hearing?

Once the parties are present, the Administrative Hearing Official creates an official recording of the proceedings, introduces the case, and describes the procedures that will be followed.  Each party will have an opportunity to present their case.  In doing so, the parties will be allowed to testify, question witnesses, present documents to the Administrative Hearing Official for review, and present an argument that the law and the evidence supports their position.

What happens after my hearing?

The Administrative Hearing Official will close the record, consider the evidence, decide whether the disputed action or inaction was proper, and write an Initial Order.  Each party will be mailed a copy of the Initial Order. 

A typical Initial Order will contain: (1) a statement of the issue decided, (2) findings of fact, (3) conclusions of law, and (4) an explanation of how either party may petition/appeal the Administrative Hearing Official’s decision.  If the Initial Order is not petitioned or appealed, it becomes a Final Order within fifteen (15) days; however, please note that for some DHS programs, the Administrative Hearing Official’s decision is final and cannot be petitioned or appealed.  

How can I withdraw my request for hearing?

In most cases, you may withdraw your request for hearing in writing. Download and fill out the Withdrawal form, or write your request on paper, including your name, address and tracking number of your appeal, and send it to the Division of Appeals and Hearings by mail, fax, or email.

Mail:  James K. Polk Building                
505 Deaderick Street, 1st Floor           
ATTN: Appeals and Hearings Clerk’s Office                       
Nashville, TN 37243

Fax: (615) 248-7013 or (866) 355-6136
Phone: 1-833-772-TDHS (8347)