95. Continuing benefits while waiting for a fair hearing
If a recipient household asks for a fair hearing within ten days from when the food stamp office sends a notice that it is stopping or reducing the household’s food stamps, the household has a right to keep getting the same amount of food stamps until the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decides if the food stamp household wins its hearing. This is called “aid paid pending.” [7 C.F.R. § 273.13(a)(1), (3)(vi), 273.15(k)(1); MPP §§ 63-504.211(a)(4), 63-804.62, 22-072.5.] If the recipient has a good reason for not asking for a hearing within the ten days, the food stamp office must give the recipient the same amount of food stamps that the household was getting until the ALJ decides if the household wins its hearing. [7 C.F.R. § 273.15(k)(1); MPP §§ 63-804.613, 22-072.522.] When the recipient is late in asking for a hearing, however, the household should not count on the food stamp office to continue its food stamps, pending the fair hearing.
A recipient household will keep getting the same amount of food stamps each month unless one of the following applies:
- the recipient’s certification period ends while waiting for the fair hearing [7 C.F.R. § 273.15(k)(2)(i); MPP §§ 63-804.642(a), 22-072.65.].
- the food stamp office sends the household a new notice to reduce or cut off its food stamp benefits because something new changes in the household’s circumstances and the household did not ask for a hearing on the new notice within the ten-day period [7 C.F.R. § 273.15(k)(2)(iii); MPP § 63-804.642(c).]; or
- the food stamp office makes a “mass change” in the food stamp program. [7 C.F.R. § 273.15(k)(2)(iv); MPP § 63-804.642(d).] (See the section of this guide about the exceptional situations involving so-called “mass changes” where the state agency is not required to give “timely” notice.)
- the food stamp office sends a notice to cut the household off its food stamps for not turning in a quarterly report (QR7) form and you admit that you did not turn in the form [7 C.F.R. § 273.21(m)(1)(ii); MPP § 63-804.642(e)(QR).] (See the section of this guide about quarterly reporting requirements for more details about what the household has to do to keep getting benefits.)
- the administrative law judge (ALJ) tells the household in writing that it will lose its hearing and the only reason the recipient asked for the hearing is because s/he does not agree with the way the food stamp office understands the Food Stamp Act or federal food stamp regulations. [7 C.F.R. § 273.15(k)(2)(ii); MPP §§ 63-804.642(b), 22-072.62.]
If a household’s certification period ends while waiting for its fair hearing or the hearing to be decided, the household must complete the recertification process to continue to receive food stamps. [7 C.F.R. §§ 273.14(a), 273.15(k)(2)(i); MPP §§ 63-504.1, 22-045.3.] However, the food stamp office still must hold the fair hearing.