When will I get a decision and what should I do if I lose?

We are in the process of updating the SNAP Advocacy Guide, so some of the information is no longer current.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 www.masslegalservices.org/FoodStampSNAPAdvocacyGuide

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

The hearing officer must decide your case within 60 days of receiving your appeal request. 106 C.M.R. § 367.450.

If you win, you should get any benefits DTA owes you within 30 days of the decision. If your SNAP is supposed to go up because of the hearing decision, DTA must include the increase either within 10 days or in your next regular payment (depending on the date you asked for a hearing).106 C.M.R. § 367.450(A). DTA must also give you any SNAP benefits you missed while you were waiting for your hearing decision because your SNAP case was denied or your SNAP amount was too low. 106 C.M.R. § 366.500.

If you lose your fair hearing, don’t give up! First, you can reapply for benefits. Second, you have 14 days from the date of the decision to ask for a remand and 30 days after receipt of the decision to file in court to challenge the hearing officer’s decision. 106 C.M.R. §§ 343.710, 343.720, 367.475. You may be able to get help from your local Legal Services office. See Appendix E . 106 C.M.R. §§ 343.710, 343.720.

Be sure to allow time to get the remand or court papers ready. You can fax your remand request to the DTA Commissioner: Fax to 617-348-8575

If you lose the fair hearing, DTA may ask you to repay SNAP benefits you got while you were waiting for a hearing decision. See What if I was overpaid SNAP benefits? If you are no longer receiving benefits, DTA cannot recover SNAP benefits by reducing your cash assistance benefits, but DTA may be able to pay itself back by intercepting certain income. See How does DTA collect overpayments if I am not getting SNAP?

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