On June 3, 2016, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) issued OAH Procedures Transmittal 16-04, entitled Ramirez - Language Access Insert with Correspondence, to its Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) staff, including all Hearing Officers, and to local social services districts. This transmittal explained that:
On October 6, 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed Executive Order 26, which directs executive State agencies that provide direct public services to offer language assistance services including translation and interpretation to people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). In response to the Governor’s order, on April 1, 2015, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) implemented the OTDA Language Access Plan for LEP individuals that require that persons with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to agency services, programs, and activities in Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean, French (Haitian) Creole, and Italian.
Ramirez v. Giuliani, et al. (USDC, SDNY) concerns the translation of various forms and informational materials and the provision of interpreter services to non-English speaking applicants and recipients of the SNAP program in New York City. OTDA settled this lawsuit in September 2002 and agreed to translate application, recertification, informational materials, and various forms into up to nine languages including Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Haitian-Creole, French, Vietnamese, Korean and Yiddish.
The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) recently began including an insert called the Ramirez Insert (XL206B) with mailed communications to appellants. The insert offers assistance in English and ten other languages including Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Haitian-Creole, Vietnamese, Korean, Italian, Yiddish and French, and provides a telephone number LEP individuals may use to contact OAH for interpreter services to assist in responding to questions or concerns. That number is 1-800-342-3334.
The Ramirez insert is automatically included with the OAH Acknowledgment Letter (OAH-4420), OAH Scheduling Notice (OAH-457), and the automated Fishman letter (XL0254). Effective immediately, all OAH staff should include the insert with any manually created, Fair Hearing related correspondence mailed to clients, representatives or other interested parties.
The Ramirez Insert was also modified for Fully Integrated Appeals Office (FIDA) incorporating their telephone number 1-844-523-8777.
A copy of the Ramirez Insert is attached to this transmittal.
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Author: Gene Doyle, LMSW.