The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Are your SNAP applicants not receiving DTA calls for their scheduled SNAP interviews?

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Possible DTA Calls Going to Incorrect/Out-dated Client Phone Numbers:

We are writing today with a specific problem we need your help with. A few months ago DTA changed the process for the SNAP application interviews. Instead of DTA workers manually making the phone calls, DTA uses an "automated dialer" option. An outbound DTA phone call automatically goes to the SNAP applicant on the date and time of the scheduled interview. If the SNAP applicant picks up the phone call and accepts the call, a live DTA worker comes on the phone line to do the interview.

However, we have found in a number of cases, DTA's automated dialer appears to be using OLD PHONE NUMBERS that may be in the clients' BEACON case record from when they got SNAP benefits in the past. The automated dialer is NOT consistently calling the most recent -- or "primary" -- phone number listed in the SNAP application. 

This issue appears to be happening mostly for households that:

  • a) filed a paper SNAP application,
  • b) received SNAP or cash assistance in the past, and
  • c) have changed their phone number since they were last on benefits (which is not unusual at all).

This problem could also be happening for Virtual Gateway (online) applications, but DTA thinks it is primarily a SNAP paper application issue. (The automated dialer is not calling out for recertification interviews).

How can you tell if DTA called the WRONG phone number for a SNAP interview?

Ask the client to look at the notice received from DTA that lists their scheduled appointment. If they do not have the notice, they can download DTA Connect on a smartphone to look at it. You can also see a copy of the notice on the My Account Page.  Attached is a sample redacted SNAP appointment notice-- the phone number that DTA is calling is the number listed on the right-hand side, right under the date. 

If DTA called the wrong number for an interview, what should you do?

  • If the phone number listed is not the correct phone number and your client is within the 30 days application period, please call the DTA Assistance Line. If you cannot get through, then call DTA Ombudsman office at 1-617-348-5354.or email Ombuds Director Sara Craven at Tell the Ombuds what you think happened and include just the Agency ID (listed on all DTA notices) to help DTA look up the case. You can also call the local DTA Office Director or Assistant Director if you cannot get through to the Ombuds Unit or do not get any response back.

  • If your client was DENIED his or her SNAP application for failure to complete the interview ("failure to complete the application process") -  but DTA called the wrong number -  DTA should reopen the SNAP application back to the original date of application. Again, tell the please contact the DTA Ombudsman and ask them to reopen the case. 

Please let MLRI (Pat or Vicky) know if you have any of these cases (we do not need client identifying information, but just how many clients you see with this problem).


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