Benefit Programs

How Do I Stop My SNAP Overpayment Garnishment?

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I became disabled 4 years ago. At that time I had to collect (SNAP) benefits to feed my children. 3 years ago I did not send in the proper forms to continue my food stamp benefits. The SNAP/food stamp program stated I owe for receiving the benefits ($3000), I’m still disabled and only collecting ($2000) per month for my household. They are presently taking $305 per month from my check.

This is a major hardship on my health care cost as well as my family. My two Sons are 18 and older therefore they no longer receive a disability distribution from my illness.
I can no longer afford my insulin. I’m in dangerous territory.

Whom do I contact to have this reviewed and possibly stop it completely?

Dennis

Answer:

Dear Dennis,

Your benefits are most likely administered by an agency in your state.

Before your payment reduction, you would have received a letter explaining the garnishment for the overpayment.

The agency in your state that manages the SNAP program is the one to contact to ask for an appeal of the overpayment garnishment.

You may qualify for free legal aid in your state and should contact them for assistance.

For residents of Illinois, the legal aid group there offers this advice for people in the same situation:

“What should I do if I have been charged with an overpayment?
First, you should carefully read the notice. Look at the dates on the notice and ask yourself if someone in your household was working, but not reporting their income during the date(s) DHS put on the notice. Or, did you forget to tell DHS that a person who was counted as a household member has moved out?

If you still have questions after reading the notice, you should file an appeal right away.” – Source

They also say, “There is no cost to file an appeal, and it is the best way to get DHS to give you a better explanation for why the overpayment occurred. Filing an appeal is the only way to get DHS to change their decision.”

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You have 90 days to appeal from the date of your notification letter.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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