.23 Appeals and Complaints of Discrimination.

A. Agency Conference. A FIP recipient may request an agency conference to:

(1) Obtain an explanation of the reasons for proposed actions; and

(2) Present information to show that the proposed action is incorrect.

B. Appeal of Local Department Decision. The local department shall give to each applicant or recipient of FIP written notification of the right to and procedures for requesting and obtaining an administrative hearing as set forth in COMAR 07.01.04.

C. Discrimination.

(1) The local department may not discriminate against any FIP applicant or recipient on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, or religious or political affiliation.

(2) A FIP applicant or recipient may file a written complaint which sets forth the events and circumstances of alleged discrimination with the:

(a) Secretary;

(b) Local department;

(c) Department's Constituent Services Office;

(d) Departmental Equal Opportunity Officer; or

(e) Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region III, Philadelphia, PA.

(3) The Department shall investigate promptly and notify the complainant of its findings within 60 days of the filing of a written complaint.