Can I fix problems without going to a hearing?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.  In the meantime, you can read or download a pdf of the 2022 guide from

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed January 2020

Yes. You can try to fix problems by talking with a DTA worker, Supervisor, Office Director or calling the DTA Ombudsman Office.

Start by trying to figure out what happened in your case, when your benefits started or stopped, and what notices you were sent. See How do I get information about my SNAP case online or with my smartphone? for information about DTA connect.

Second, call the DTA Assistance Line and ask the DTA worker to explain to you the reason for DTA's action on your benefits.

If you do not get a satisfactory answer, ask for a Supervisor or the Assistant Director in the office you are calling.

You can also file a complaint with the Department by speaking with a manager or the DTA Ombudsman Office at 617-348-5354. See How can the DTA Ombuds Office help?

Even if you are trying to fix the problem, you can ask for a hearing at the same time. You can always cancel the hearing request if DTA agrees to fix the problem and correct your benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 343.350.

Discrimination complaints

If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your race, gender, disability, age, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs, you have a right to file a complaint with:

Director, Office of Adjudication
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410

Director of Equal Opportunity
Department of Transitional Assistance
600 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02111

106 C.M.R. §§ 360.200-360.220. You need to include your name, address, and phone number as well as information on what happened (date, office, name of person you interacted with, whatever you know). You need to file this complaint within 180 days of the incident.

For legal help, call the nearest Legal Services office. See Appendix E for a list of Legal Services offices.

Advocacy Reminders:

  • Advocates may need a release signed by the client to discuss a client’s case with DTA. If you cannot send a release, you may be able to do a three-way call. See Can someone else help me apply for SNAP?

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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