Appealing Denials

Produced by an AmeriCorps Project of Western Massachusetts Legal Services updated and revised Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Last Updated May 2010

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

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

  • 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. Be sure to file your written appeal before the deadline.

Even if you are trying to solve the problem by talking to someone at the welfare 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?

Look at the sample denial notices. When DTA sends you a letter denying, stopping, reducing, or changing your benefits, they include information about how to appeal.

The sample notices have sample appeal requests filled out. There is an address and a fax number on the back of the notices for the Division of Hearings in Boston. Make a copy of any appeal requests you fill out 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, be sure to call the Division of Hearings at (617) 348-5321 or 1-800-882-2017 to make sure they got it. Make note of your phone call on the tracking worksheet in your folder.

You have 90 days from the date on the notice to file the appeal. 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.

Call your local legal services office if you want help or you are confused about whether you should appeal. Remember to keep copies of everything you send to DTA!

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't 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.

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