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Appealing Denials

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed February, 2019

What if DTA denies my TAFDC, EAEDC, Emergency Assistance, or SNAP/Food Stamps application? I disagree with what DTA.

If you disagree with what the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) does, you can:

  • Talk to your worker. See if your worker can solve the problem.
  • Talk to your worker’s supervisor.
  • Call the client services line at 1-800-445-6604.
  • Appeal. There is a deadline to appeal.  File your written appeal before the deadline.

Even if you are trying to solve the problem by talking to someone at the DTA office, you may want to file an appeal. It can take a while to get a hearing, so it is good to start the process right away. This way you will have a hearing scheduled in case DTA does not fix the problem. If DTA does fix the problem, you can always “withdraw” (cancel) the appeal.

How do I file a DTA appeal?

When DTA sends you a letter denying, stopping, reducing, or changing your benefits, they include information about how to appeal.  You have 90 days from the date on the notice to appeal.

Look on the back of the notice.  There is an address and a fax number for the Division of Hearings in Boston. Fill out the appeal request. Make a copy of the appeal request and put the copies in your folder. Mail or fax your filled-out appeal to the Division of Hearings. Check your appeal form, as addresses sometimes change. The appeal should be sent to:

Division of Hearings, DTA
P.O. Box 4017
Taunton, MA 02780-9805

or fax it to: (617) 348-5311.

After mailing or faxing the appeal, call the Division of Hearings at (617) 348-5321 or 1-800-882-2017 to make sure they got it.  Write down your phone call on the tracking worksheet in your folder.

Note: If you are already getting TAFDC benefits and want to keep getting the same amount while you are waiting for the hearing and decision, you need to file the appeal within 10 days of the date on the notice.

Remember to keep copies of everything you send to DTA.

Call your local legal services office if you want help or you are confused about whether you should appeal. 

Look at sample denial notices. The sample notices have sample appeal requests filled out.

Use the tracking worksheet.

What happens if I lose my DTA appeal?

If you lose your appeal, DTA can take back the extra money they paid you while you were waiting for your appeal decision. That money will be considered an "overpayment." If you are still on TAFDC, DTA can not take the money back all at once, but they will lower your family's benefits by up to 10% per month until the overpayment is repaid.

You may be able to appeal the hearing decision in court. Call your local legal services office to talk about your appeal.

Who to call for help

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