24. Notification of qualification or denial
If an applicant does not qualify for expedited (emergency) food stamps but qualifies for regular food stamps, the food stamp office must make sure that the applicant gets the stamps within 30 days. [Robertson v. Jackson, 766 F. Supp. 470 (E.D. Va. 1992), aff'd, 972 F. 2d 529 (4th Cir. 1992); Harley v. Lyng, 653 F. Supp. 266 (E.D. Pa. 1986); see Adens v. Sailer, 312 F. Supp. 923 (E.D.P.a. 1970). 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(g)(1); MPP § 63-301.1.] If the applicant qualifies, the applicant should get food stamps back to the date of application. [See Reinbolt v. Weber, 399 N.Y.S. 2d 757 (App. Div. 1977). 7 C.F.R. § 273.10(a)(1)(ii); MPP § 63-503.1, 503.131.] Whether the applicant qualifies for food stamps or not, the food stamp office must send the applicant a notice, within 30 calendar days after the date of application for food stamps, telling the applicant what it has decided to do with the application. [See Reynolds v. Giuliani, 35 F. Supp.2d 331 (S.D.N.Y. 1999). 7 C.F.R. § 273.10(g)(1); MPP § 63-504.22.]
The food stamp office must follow applicable regulations in making this decision; it should not act arbitrarily. [De Vault v. Mitchell, 586 P.2d 459 (Utah 1978).] If the food stamp office decides that the applicant qualifies for food stamps, it must send a notice telling the applicant how many food stamps s/he will be getting and the starting and ending dates of the certification period. [7 C.F.R. § 273.10(g)(1)(i)(A); MPP § 63-504.221.]
If the food stamp office turns the applicant down, this notice must explain the reason it turned the applicant down. (The section about what happens after the household loses the hearing explains notices in more detail.) The food stamp office must respond to every argument the household makes that it is eligible. [7 C.F.R. § 273.10(g)(1)(ii); MPP § 63-504.23; see also, Kuykendall v. Adult and Family Servs. Div., 690 P.2d 517 (Or. Ct. App. 1984).] Whatever the food stamp office decides, the notice must give the phone number of the food stamp office and, if possible, the name of someone at the food stamp office to talk to if the household has any questions. [7 C.F.R. § 273.10(g)(1)(i)(A), (ii); MPP § 63-504.21(b).] The notice also must tell the applicant that s/he has the right to a fair hearing and explain how to get free legal aid.