115. What if DTA says I committed fraud or an Intentional Program Violation (IPV)?
An IPV is an “intentional program violation.” That is when a court or an administrative hearing officer determines that you gave DTA false or misleading information on purpose. DTA must prove that you intentionally and willfully hid information in order to get benefits you are not eligible for, or intentionally and willfully did not report a change that you were required to report and would have reduced your benefits. 106 C.M.R. § 367.525. Purposely giving false or misleading information or willfully hiding information in order to get benefits is fraud.
Example: Stacy wrote that she has $0 of income on her SNAP application. She was working when she wrote $0 income on the application and knew she was lying. She did it intentionally to get the maximum SNAP grant.
If DTA thinks you committed fraud, they are required to send you a notice about an Administrative Disqualification Hearing. This notice sets a time and a date for a hearing with a DTA Hearing Officer. At this hearing the hearing officer will hear from DTA about why DTA thinks you intentionally broke SNAP rules to get more SNAP. You will also have an opportunity to explain why you did not intentionally break the SNAP rules.
If you do not attend the hearing, DTA will make a decision anyway. During the pandemic DTA has been doing the hearings by phone without an in-person option. If you get a notice about an Administrative Disqualification Hearing, contact Legal Services as soon as possible.
This notice also includes a page called an “Administrative Disqualification Hearing Waiver.” Try to consult with a Legal Services advocate before you sign this waiver. Signing this waiver means that DTA will find that you have an IPV and sanction you off SNAP – without a hearing or any further evaluation of the situation.
If you get a notice about an Administrative Disqualification Hearing, call Legal Services as soon as possible.