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If you received a SNAP charging letter in the mail, you were asked to respond to the letter in a timely fashion. If you failed to issue the proper response in the proper timeframe or the USDA did not feel your response was adequate enough, the USDA suspended your SNAP benefits or even disqualified you entirely from accepting them. If you are convinced there was no wrongdoing in your store and that your SNAP benefits have been mistakenly and wrongfully taken from you, you must hire an attorney and appeal this decision. The SNAP administrative appeals process is not an easy one, but it’s one you must go through if you want to reinstate your benefits.
Reasons for Appeal
There are four reasons you might be able to call for an administrative appeal for your SNAP benefits. The first is a denial of a retail application. If you have a store and applied for permission to accept SNAP benefits but were denied, you can call for an administrative hearing to find out why and to see how you can change that decision. Sometimes it’s as easy as filing the necessary paperwork a second time to ensure it’s filed correctly.
The second reason is your suspension is six months or longer. This is devastating to a business. If there was wrongdoing in your place of business, the USDA might issue a suspension of benefits for six months or longer. This timeframe is long enough to file an appeal to see if there is a way to have it shortened or reversed entirely.
The next reason is a permanent disqualification from the SNAP benefit program. If you received a charging letter in the mail and your response was not considered valid, you the USDA might decide to remove your ability to accept SNAP benefits for a lifetime. This is something that can cause you to go out of business and lose the ability to care for you own family. You have the legal right to an attorney and to appeal this decision to see if it has a chance of being overturned in a court of law.
The final reason for an administrative appeal is a civil money penalty. This occurs when you are permanently disqualified from the SNAP program and make the decision to sell your business and get out of this line of work. The USDA can issue a fine of $59,000 or less for selling your business after this decision, and you don’t want to pay that. An administrative hearing can allow a judge to change this fine and allow you to sell without penalty.
The Appeal Process
If you want to appeal the decision of the USDA after it’s made, you must hire an attorney who has ample experience working with the USDA and SNAP laws. This is not an easy process, and it does require ample paperwork filled with confusing legal jargon and more. You want to be sure you’re getting the possible representation so you end with a successful appeal. If you’re unable to end with a successful appeal, you could lose your business forever. Since this is not an option, you must have the correct attorney on your side.
You have only 10 days to file for an appeal once the USDA has made a decision regarding the outcome of your charging letter. The process can take many months to complete once all the paperwork has been filed and turned into the Administrative Review Decision. There could be more than 10 pages of information requested of you from this board, and you must provide the information adequately and correctly. Even one small mistake on this paperwork can result in the denial of your appeal. You don’t have time to waste, which is why an attorney is the person to handle this situation for you.
Your business could suffer forever if the USDA decides to remove or suspend your SNAP benefits. Let an attorney help you keep your doors open and your profits coming. You aren’t required to settle for the decision the USDA throws at you. You have legal rights, and you should take advantage of those before it is too late.