You always have the right to ask for a hearing, including if you now have the proof DTA wanted. But, you might be able to get the problem fixed without having to wait for the hearing.
If you are missing proofs and your case was recently closed or denied you can still give them to DTA.
- If you give DTA the missing proofs within 60 days of the date you applied for SNAP, OR within 30 days of the date your certification period ended or your case closed, then as long as they think the proof you sent is acceptable DTA should approve or reinstate your benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 361.700(B).
- You may also be able to get a DTA worker or supervisor to approve your case if you supply the proof after this time. 106 C.M.R. § 367.225(A).
- If the documents DTA is asking for are ones you already sent them and DTA did not look at them timely, DTA should give you benefits going back to the date they received the proof from you. You can ask to speak to a Supervisor, call the Ombudsman Office or contact an advocate to help you.
Can I cancel the hearing if DTA fixes my case?
If DTA approves or re-opens your case while you are waiting for the hearing, you can withdraw (cancel) your appeal request so you do not have to go to the hearing. Make sure you got all of the benefits you are entitled to before you withdraw your appeal request.
- You can do this in writing. Mail or fax your withdrawal to the Division of Hearings, see How do I file an Appeal to get a fair hearing?
- You can also cancel a hearing by calling the Division of Hearings at 617-348-5321.
- If DTA approved your case or agreed to some or all of what you were asking for, it is a good idea to include this in your statement withdrawing the hearing. You will get a letter from DTA confirming that your appeal request was withdrawn. 106 C.M.R. 343.240 and 106 C.M.R. 367.150.
- Do not confuse withdrawing an appeal with asking for a hearing date to be rescheduled. If you cannot attend the hearing on the date scheduled by the Division of Hearings, call and ask for a new date. You may have to explain a good reason why you need a new date.
- You should not be pressured into withdrawing your appeal.
Should I bring missing proofs to the hearing?
If the missing proofs were needed for your SNAP application or Interim Report, the hearing Officer must look at the documents under the “de novo” (look anew) rule. This means that, even though the hearing is after your SNAP application or interim report is denied, if the proofs you submit are sufficient the Hearing Officer should give you SNAP back to the date of your application. The SNAP eligibility date should be the date all eligibility conditions were met regardless of when the evidence was submitted.
If the missing proofs were needed as part of your Recertification or a reported change during the certification period the hearing officer will only approve your benefits as of the date the documents were submitted. But the hearing officer should approve SNAP benefits back to the date the case was closed if he or she decides DTA was at fault.
Examples of when DTA is at fault include:
- You timely sent DTA documents that they did not look at,
- DTA asked you for documents that are not required,
- DTA failed to send you a notice requesting the missing proofs, failed to give you enough time or failed to offer assistance when you asked for help.
106 C.M.R. § 343.500(A). This “de novo” rule was changed slightly in January 2017. Contact a legal advocate if you believe you were wrongly denied retroactive benefits.
- Policy changed to allow oral or written withdrawal of appeal request. Ops Memo 2013-60 (Dec 5 2013).