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The Social Security Act has always required as one of the conditions for federal participation in the state public assistance programs that the state plans provide an opportunity for a fair hearing to any person who is dissatisfied with the action taken by the local agency on his claim for assistance. When the Act was passed in August, 1935, the right to a fair hearing was a new concept in public assistance administration. However, this provision was based on the belief that the claimant who meets the requirements established in the state law has a right to benefits and has a right to a hearing when he is denied these benefits. This study was undertaken in order to examine the concept of the fair hearing, its procedure and significance in public assistance administration. Emphasis was placed on understanding the legal base and administrative due process. The historical background of the Social Security Act was studied in relation to its intent of granting assistance to needy people as a matter of right, emphasizing the dignity of the claimants. Current literature was examined to determine the present concept and significance of the hearing procedure in public assistance administration and its effect on agency staff and policy. This study presents standards for the fair hearing process, steps in conducting the hearing, and some problem areas relating to the procedure. It was concluded that as the public assistance programs have grown, the use of the fair hearing has played an important role in the administration of the programs. Yet, in order to be effective, the fair hearing procedure must be flexible and adaptable to changing time and developments in public assistance programs.