What can I do if they deny me or try to cut my TANF, General Relief, Medicaid, MC+, Food Stamps, Child Care or other public assistance benefits?
If you participate in a publicly supported assistance program provided by the state or federal government, you have a right to appeal any action or decision that adversely affects your benefits. Do not accept a verbal explanation. That is considered "hearsay." Get everything in writing and save all paperwork every step of the way.
If an agency or welfare office tries to cut your benefits:
- Tell them in writing that you do not agree with the decision.
- Always keep a record of who you talk to and the date you talk to them.
- Ask what information you can provide that will change the action or decision.
- If you have a good reason why you cannot fix the problem, tell them.
- If the matter cannot be resolved within five working days, ask for a hearing in writing.
- If you need special accommodations, including help with reading, language, or physical access, inform the agency when you request the hearing.
- Before the hearing takes place, you have a right to make copies of your case file for that program. There may be a small charge for copies.
- Always take someone with you to the hearing. It might be a legal aid lawyer, personal case manager, community advocate, or a trusted friend or family member.
- If you do not agree with the outcome of the hearing, you can take other steps, depending on which program, through your local court system or federal oversight agency. The hearing decision letter will tell you what other agency you can appeal to.
Brenda Procter, M.S., State Specialist &
Personal Financial Planning, University of Missouri-Extension
Last update: Wednesday, April 19, 2006