Sample provider email/letter questioning Virtual Gateway Food Stamp application decision
Many nonlegal providers help households file Food Stamp applications online using the "Provider" face of the Virtual Gateway. Gateway providers can now get the REASON for the denial of FS application (up until recently, the quot;reason" field was blank.) This means an opportunitiy for quick follow up. EOHHS announced this upgrade in its February 2009 Newsletter, available atwww.mass.gov/vg/commonintake under Announcements and Newsletters. Attached is a sample denial sent to a provider and a sample provider response questioning DTA's calculation.
Note: If your client's FS case is denied for lack of verifications, the FS rules require workers to accept missing verifications that are received within 60 days of the date of application (usually 30 days of a denial)and reopen the case back to the date of the original application if the applicant is otherwise eligible. 106 CMR 361.930 Hence, the sooner you check the Virtual Gateway log for your applications and figure out which cases were denied, the sooner you can get them reopened. Here's what Gateway providers will now see in the Application Status section if a FS application is denied:
Application Status Information Application Submit Date: 02/19/2009 Applicant Category Code Status Reason Status Date XXX XXXXX FSNPA Denied Unearned Income in excess of grant amount 02/23/2009
Here's some sample text of what the provider sent in the above (redacted) case to the local DTA office to question their decision in his client's case. Assuming DTA is wrong, if this client's FS denial is reversed, she will get the $24 increase in benefits April 1st and likely also qualify for the H-EAT sweep the end of April to further increase her minimum benefits. The provider used the opportunity in his email to copy and paste the Gateway information into the email, as is done above:
Dear DTA Worker (Name of):
We assisted Ms. XXXX with her application for food stamps. (Include the client's name, SSN, date of application). The Virtual Gateway says her application was denied on 2/23/09 and that her unearned income is in excess of the grant amount. I am attaching a summary of our calculation—an estimate—and what we thought her food stamp benefit is. Her monthly income is $___and she pays $ ____ in rent, with all utilities included. She just pays for phone. Her countable income is $$ ____ (unearned income minus the standard deduction of $144), so I think she should qualify for the minimum grant amount of $14. Am I doing something incorrect in my calculation? Thanks for your time.