GeorgiaGeorgia

Appealing Public Benefits Decisions

Authored By: Atlanta Legal Aid Society Inc LSC Funded

Request a Fair Hearing

If you don’t agree with a DFCS decision about your SNAP (Food Stamps), Medicaid or TANF case, you have the right to request a fair hearing.

  • When DFCS  reduces, denies or terminates your benefits, DFCS sends you a written notice.
  • Read the notice carefully and look for the reasons listed for the decision.
  • Look carefully for deadlines in the notice. Be sure to meet all deadlines.
  • Act quickly! Don't delay in requesting your fair hearing. If you do not act quickly you may lose your chance.

Continuing Benefits

  • If you are currently receiving benefits, your benefits will stop unless you specificially ask for "continuing benefits".
  • The hearing process can take weeks or months. If you request it, you can continue receiving benefits during the fair hearing process. However, if you lose your hearing, you may have to repay some benefits.
  • The time to request continuing benefits is very short - 10 days if you want to continue to receive SNAP benefits.

To request a fair hearing:

  • An appeal with DFCS is called a "Fair Hearing Request".
    • You have 90 days to file an appeal involving Food Stamps/SNAP.
    • You have 30 days to file Medicaid or TANF-related appeals..
  • Your notice should explain how to request a fair hearing. It's best to use the form provided on the back of your notice.
    • Fill out your Fair Hearing Request.
    • Make a copy. 
    • Take both the original Fair Hearing Request and the copy to your local DFCS office.
    • Turn in your original Fair Hearing Request and ask a representative from DFCS to time-stamp your copy.
    • Keep the copy for your records.
  • If you are unable to travel to your local office, you can:
    • Fax your Fair Hearing Request (be sure to get a fax confirmation sheet) or
    • Mail your Fair Hearing Request via certified mail, with a return receipt requested.

After you request your Fair Hearing:

  • DFCS will give your Fair Hearing Request to the Office of State Administrative Hearings. Your case will be assigned to a Hearing Officer and you will receive notice of your hearing date.
  • If you would like help with your appeal hearing, call Atlanta Legal Aid. We may be able to provide you advice about your hearing or represent you in your hearing.
  • Senior SNAP - DFCS has a special program for people who are over 60 years-old and live on fixed income. For more information about Senior SNAP, click HERE.
  • If you would like help with your fair hearing, you can apply for free legal help through Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc (in metro Atlanta) at 404-524-5811 or Georgia Legal Services Program (outside metro Atlanta) at 404-206-5175.