You may appeal any action or inaction the Department of Human Services (DHS) has taken, including denying your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application or cutting your SNAP benefits. There are deadlines for filing appeal. For SNAP cases, the deadline is 90 days from the date on the notice or the DHS action you want to appeal. If you want to keep your benefits going, you need to appeal within 10 days of the date on the notice or before the date DHS will change your benefits.
You should only appeal if you think there is a good reason why the denial or reduction was wrong. Some examples of decisions you might want to appeal are:
- You were denied benefits after filing an application
- Your benefits were reduced or suspended
- Your benefits were stopped or terminated
- You were given the wrong amount of benefits
- DHS staff refused to accept your application
- Your caseworker failed to do something on your case
If you file an appeal, DHS will look at your case or application again. DHS should schedule a pre-appeal conference with you so that you can meet with a DHS caseworker and see if the appeal can be resolved.
If the appeal is not resolved, you will receive a notice scheduling a hearing for your appeal. Usually the hearing is at the local office nearest you. A hearing officer conducts the hearing. For most of Illinois, the hearing office calls the local office and the hearing is conducted over the phone. During the appeal hearing, DHS staff testify about what they did and why, and you have the opportunity to testify and provide other evidence about what DHS did and why it was wrong. The hearings are tape recorded. After the hearing, the agency will send you a written decision on your appeal.
When DHS makes a decision in your case, they should explain to you why they made this decision.
You do not need one, but it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. If you cannot find a lawyer to take your case, you can have anyone you feel comfortable with speak on your behalf. The person does not have to be a lawyer.
For more information see Appealing a SNAP benefits decision.
What rules does DHS apply in SNAP benefits?
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has a manual with its rule for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The manual is called the Cash, SNAP, and Medical Manual. You can look at the manual online or at any local DHS office during normal business hours.
If you receive a written notice about your case, the notice should say what rule the DHS applied when making a decision about your case. You can also ask a DHS caseworker to tell you what section of the manual applied.
For more information, please read Is Your SNAP (Food Stamps) Application Being Processed Correctly?