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Learn About Food Stamps Denials and Appeals

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A food stamps denial can happen for several reasons. Your application can be denied when you turn it into your state agency for the first time or they can be stopped even after you have been getting food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for any period of time. Denials usually happen when you do not meet the initial eligibility criteria for SNAP or when your circumstances change and you no longer qualify for food stamps. Through the food stamps appeal process you can share any concerns you have about your case. If you appeal a decision with your state benefits office, it will take a second look at your food stamps qualifications. Even though reviews do not change the rules of SNAP, by appealing you will ensure a fair result in your food assistance case. You can learn how to appeal SNAP benefits denial decisions and find out what options you have after your benefits are cut or stopped altogether.

Discover Why Food Assistance Denials Happen

A food stamps denial for seniors can end in a senior getting fewer benefits than before or being completely disqualified from SNAP. The reasons food stamps can be denied usually have to do with qualifications for food assistance programs. However, food stamps denials can happen when a beneficiary violates the SNAP program rules or his or her circumstances change and this affects his or her current eligibility. At the beginning of the application process for food stamps, seniors can be denied assistance because they do not bring documents that verify their income or resources. Caseworkers need to be able to verify the information so as to determine if he or she qualifies for SNAP. Food stamps denials can also happen when the person does not meet the basic citizenship, residency or income requirements to get the benefits. Keep in mind that to apply you must be either a U.S. citizen or a legally present resident.

A food assistance denial or reduction in benefits can happen even after you have already started receiving benefits. For example, a denial can happen if you gain resources or have more income than is allowed under the program rules. Keep in mind that the amount of food assistance you get is directly related to the resources and income the household has. If you have a monthly income you can get fewer benefits. Anyone who violates the rules of SNAP can be disqualified as well. Finally, an application denial can happen if caseworkers discover fraud or misrepresentations of income, resources, household size, citizenship, identity or other important details. People who commit these types of violations may get a temporary or permanent ban from getting SNAP food assistance.

Applicants can learn more about SNAP disqualification by downloading our guide to senior benefit programs.

Find Out What Happens After a Food Stamps Denial

If your food stamps application is denied, you will receive a notification from your state or local public assistance office. When you are denied food stamps after completing the SNAP application process for the first time, you will hear a decision shortly after turning in your form. States are required to process applications within a month for most people. If your benefits are stopped or reduced after you have been getting them regularly, your state must notify you before it happens. Sometimes all you need to do to resolve the issue is to bring the missing documentation to verify your household information. Other times, you need to start the food stamps appeal process so your case can be reevaluated.

Learn About the Steps for Appealing Food Stamp Denials

If you have been denied benefits and want to reopen a food stamp case, you will need to appeal your food stamps denial with your state’s benefits office. An appeal can be made any time you disagree with a decision in your case. You can ask for a review after you have been denied benefits, banned from SNAP or when your benefits have been reduced. If you want your case to be reviewed, you have to ask for a meeting within a specific period of time. Letting too much time pass can lead to having to reapply for benefits instead of recovering any existing food stamp benefits you lost. In most cases, you will need to ask for an appeal in writing to your local benefits office. Some states use official food stamp appeal forms, while others can ask for a letter. Once they get your request, your local benefits office will review the facts and make a determination in your case. If you do not agree with the food stamps denial decision, you can ask for a hearing instead. Hearings are more formal meetings where a final decision is made.

Another common question a senior may ask during this process is “When can I apply for food stamps after being denied?”. After a food stamps denial, you can submit a new application as soon as you qualify for assistance again. Keep in mind that many denials happen because you are not meeting the initial eligibility requirements for food stamps. If you lose income or resources, you may qualify for SNAP later on. If you were banned for program violations, then you may be disqualified indefinitely.

Learn more about appealing to a food stamps denial as a senior by reading our guide to public assistance here.