105. Can I fix problems without going to a hearing?
Yes. You can try to fix problems by talking with a DTA worker, Supervisor, Office Director or calling the DTA Ombuds Office.
Start by trying to figure out what happened in your case, when your benefits started or stopped, and what notices you were sent. See Question 23 for information about DTA Connect.
Second, call the DTA Assistance Line and ask the DTA worker to explain to you the reason for DTA's action on your benefits.
- When the issue is missing verification and the verification was in the case record but not processed, DTA should reopen the case immediately and issue you retroactive benefits. See Question 20.
- When the issue is verification you sent in but you sent it in late, DTA should reopen your SNAP and make a determination of whose “fault” it is. See Question 21.
- When the issue involves DTA failing to increase your benefits when you reported a decrease in income or increase in expenses, DTA should fix the case and issue you retroactive SNAP (this is an “underpayment”). See Question 93 and 102 DTA should not tell you to file an appeal to get the correction made.
If you do not get a satisfactory answer, ask for a Supervisor or the Assistant Director in the office you are calling. You can also file a complaint with the Department by speaking with a manager or the DTA Ombuds Office at (617) 348-5354. See Question 31.
Even if you are trying to fix the problem, you can ask for a hearing at the same time. You can always withdraw the hearing request if DTA agrees to fix the problem and correct your benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 343.350.
If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your race, gender, national origin, disability, age, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs, you have a right to file a complaint with:
Director, Office of Adjudication
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-9410
Director of Equal Opportunity
Department of Transitional Assistance
600 Washington St,
Boston, MA 02111.
106 C.M.R. §§ 360.200-360.220. You need to include your name, address, and phone number as well as information on what happened (date, office, name of person you interacted with, whatever you know). You need to file this complaint within 180 days of the incident.
For legal help, call the nearest Legal Services office. See Appendix E for a list of Legal Services offices.