You can ask for a hearing by
- sending a fax to the Division of Hearings, FAX 617-348-5311, or
- writing to DTA, P.O. Box 4017, Taunton MA 02780‐0314
Fax is better because it is faster and you have a fax receipt showing when you sent the request to the Division of Hearings.
Call 617-348-5321 or 800-882-2017 to see if DTA got your hearing request. Also call this number if you think your SNAP should have continued while you are waiting for the hearing and it stopped.
DTA has a form called a “Request for an Appeal” to ask for a hearing. See sample in Appendix C . If you got written notice of DTA’s decision, you can ask for a hearing by filling out the appeal form on the back of one copy of the notice. Or, you can write your own letter requesting a fair hearing. You do not have to use the DTA form. 106 C.M.R. § 343.240.
You should write the reason why you want a fair hearing. If you file the appeal on the backside of the SNAP letter of denial or termination, it is perfectly fine to give a general reason if you are not sure. You can write down “I disagree with DTA’s decision.” If you are not sending in the DTA notice of action, you should give more detail.
If you need an interpreter or you are homebound, you can ask for accommodations on the appeal form including:
■ Request that the hearing to be held in your home if you are disabled and homebound. 106 C.M.R. §§ 343.310.
■ Request for an interpreter if you need one including American sign language or foreign language. 106 C.M.R. §§ 343.450, and
■ Request an “expedited” (quickly scheduled) appeal, if your SNAP application for expedited benefits was denied. 106 C.M.R. § 367.225
Be sure to send your hearing request to the Division of Hearings, not your local DTA office.
Next steps after filing an appeal
The Division of Hearings (DOH) should send you a notice within a few weeks of your appeal that tells you the date and time of your hearing. DTA must send you written notice of your hearing date at least one week prior to the hearing. 106 C.M.R.§ 367.325.
It will also include the address of your local DTA office where it will be held. If you prefer to not go in person or cannot travel to the DTA office for any reason, you can ask to have your hearing done over the phone. This is your choice.
The DOH notice will have other information about what a hearing is like and what your rights are.
Rescheduling a hearing
If you are appealing a SNAP issue and you cannot make the hearing date the Division of Hearings scheduled, you are entitled to postpone (reschedule) the hearing. 106 C.M.R. §367.200. Call the Division of Hearings before the date it is scheduled for and ask for a new date. You do not need to have a good cause reason, as long as you call before the hearing date to postpone. 106 C.M.R. 343.320(A)(2). If you need to postpone more than once, you may need to show good cause.
If you miss the hearing without calling in advance, you will have to give a good cause reason to the Division of Hearings to get the hearing rescheduled. You will also be asked to explain to the hearing officer at the rescheduled hearings why you missed the first hearing. Good cause includes an unexpected emergency. 106 C.M.R.§ 343.320(D). Otherwise the Division of hearings will dismiss your appeal. 106 C.M.R. 343.320(B)(1).
Cancelling a hearing if DTA fixes your 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 mailing address or fax information above.
- You can also cancel a hearing by calling the Division of Hearings at 617-348-5321.
- 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.