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Library: Policy

340:2-3-55. DHS client grievances not covered by another grievance system

Revised 9-15-14

(a) Application.  This Section describes the grievance policy for persons receiving Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) services not covered by another grievance system or issues not specifically addressed by the DHS fair hearing process.  A grievance or complaint is not processed under this Section if DHS has a formal administrative appeal or review process in place that addresses the grievance or complaint.

(b) Definitions.  The definitions in Oklahoma Administrative Code  (OAC) 340:2-3-2 and 340:2-3-45(b) apply to this Section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(c) Notice of client bill of rights.  The DHS Client Bill of Rights poster, DHS Pub. No. 92-06, is posted in conspicuous view of the public in all offices and facilities.  Applicants and recipients of benefits and services administered by DHS have the right to:

  • (1) be treated with courtesy and dignity;

  • (2) receive prompt service;

  • (3) receive clear explanations of the laws and rules that determine eligibility for benefits and services;

  • (4) have benefits and services explained in native language, when unable to understand English;

  • (5) have benefits and services explained by an interpreter for the deaf, when unable to hear well;

  • (6) have forms read and explained, when unable to read forms because of limited eyesight, or other inability to read;

  • (7) receive fair and consistent consideration of any application for benefits or services;

  • (8) have the opportunity for an appeal and a fair hearing in case of denial or reduction of benefits or services;

  • (9) discuss with a local DHS supervisor any complaint regarding DHS benefits or services or treatment by DHS staff;

  • (10) contact the DHS Office of Client Advocacy (OCA) at 1-800-522-8014, regarding any complaint that has been discussed with, but not resolved by, the local office supervisory staff; and

  • (11) receive, upon request, a further explanation of applicant or client rights.

(d) Filing a grievance.  Recipients of benefits and services administered by DHS, and persons acting on behalf of recipients, have the right to talk with a local DHS supervisor if they have a complaint about the way they were treated by DHS staff.  Supervisory staff promptly seeks to resolve the matter with the client.  Clients have the right to contact OCA, Attn. Grievance Liaison, PO Box 25352, Oklahoma City, OK 73125 (1-405-522-2720 or 1-800-522-8014, fax 1-405-522-2680) regarding any complaint that has been discussed with, but not resolved by, the local office supervisory staff.

(e) Allegations of discrimination.  When a grievance or complaint alleges discrimination based on sex, age, national origin, religion, color, or disability, the client is referred to the DHS Office for Civil Rights for appropriate handling and resolution of the complaint.  The local grievance coordinator immediately forwards the grievance to the DHS civil rights administrator and so informs the grievant.

(f) Processing a grievance.  When a client contacts OCA for assistance in resolving a complaint, OCA contacts DHS supervisory staff who have the authority to resolve the grievance to request a response to the grievance within seven business days.

  • (1) The advocate general may grant an extension for good cause, such as an unusually complex matter.

  • (2) When a complete response is not timely received by OCA, the grievance may be considered unresolved and processed as a contested grievance.

  • (3) After receiving a response to the grievance, OCA contacts the grievant to inform the grievant of the proposed resolution and the right to contest the response to the grievance.  When the grievant is not satisfied with the outcome and requests to appeal the decision, the grievance is processed as a contested grievance.  When OCA does not obtain a reply from the grievant within 10 business days of actual notice to the grievant of the proposed response, the grievance may be deemed resolved.

(g) Contested grievances.  Contested grievances of clients are processed per OAC 340:2-3-46.

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