USDA NAD Applies Finality Rule

The National Appeals Division (NAD) of the United States Department of Agriculture has held that the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) “finality rule” bars FSA from demanding repayment of farm program benefits after 90 days of benefit application, even if the farmer requests a NAD appeal. Case No. 2016E000061. The “finality rule” states that once FSA makes a determination concerning eligiblity for benefits that decision is final and binding after 90 days from the date of application and supporting documentation has been supplied, unless the farmer requests an administrative review. 7 C.F.R § 780. In Case No 2016E000061 FSA demanded repayment of program benefits more than 90 days after eligibility was determined and benefits paid. Its position was that 7 C.F.R. § 780 did not apply because the farmer had appealed to NAD. NAD’s ruling is that appeal to NAD is pursuant to 7 C.F.R § 11, not 7 C.F.R. § 780. Therefore appeal to NAD did not toll the 90 day period for finality and FSA’s decision to the contrary was in error. Lawler & Swanson, P.L.C. represented the farmer in this NAD appeal.

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