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Kapps v. Wing

404 F.3d 105 (2d Cir. 2005)

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Kapps v. Wing

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

404 F.3d 105 (2d Cir. 2005)

Facts

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act provided financial assistance to low-income households for energy costs. New York established fixed eligibility criteria, and calculated benefits based on a rigid formula. Regulations implementing New York’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) required the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) (defendant) to process HEAP applications within 30 business days. Actual processing times were often much longer, up to 122 days. Further, determination letters for people granted benefits usually did not include an explanation of how the benefits were calculated. After OTDA made a determination on an application, the regulations allowed an applicant 60 days to request a hearing appealing a denial of benefits or an amount of benefits. The regulations, however, prohibited requesting a hearing more than 105 days after the close of the HEAP program year. Eileen Kapps (plaintiff) sued OTDA, claiming that the state’s implementation of its HEAP program violated her due-process rights. Specifically, Kapps claimed that (1) the delayed application processing combined with the 105-day window made it so that applicants did not always have the full 60 days to request a hearing as required under the regulations, and (2) the lack of an explanation in the determination letter provided insufficient notice of the reasons for OTDA’s determination. Kapps moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motion. OTDA appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Calabresi, J.)

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