FAQ on DTA Appeal Process

The appeals process at the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is handled by the Division of Hearings (DOH). The appeals process gives you an opportunity to dispute certain decisions or actions taken by the Department.

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What are some of the reasons why I might want to appeal?

The following are some of the reasons or “grounds” you might appeal a decision made by DTA and request an appeals hearing:

  • DTA denied your application for benefits
  • You are receiving benefits and DTA lowered your benefits
  • DTA stopped your benefits
  • DTA denied your request for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What if I have questions about my appeal rights?

If you have questions about your appeal rights, you can call the Division of Hearings at (617) 348-5321. 

How do I appeal a decision made or action taken by DTA?

You can submit a written or verbal telephone appeal request. Appeal requests are usually found on most DTA notices telling you about a change in your benefits. Learn about all the ways you can submit an appeal request.

Additional Resources

Is there a time limit on when I can appeal?

Yes. In most cases, the Division of Hearings must receive your appeal request no more than 90 days from the date on the notice of the action you want to appeal. 

If DTA takes action on your case without sending you proper notice, you have up to 120 days from the date of the action.

Will I receive my benefits while I’m waiting for my hearing?

This is called “Aid Pending.” Generally, you will receive Aid Pending if DTA receives your appeal request before the date your benefits are to be stopped or lowered, as shown on the Department notice.  Cash benefits will be continued until the Hearing Officer issues the appeal decision.

If you receive SNAP benefits, any eligibility for Aid Pending ends when your SNAP certification period ends.

Please note:  If your appeal is denied, all payments you received during the Aid Pending time frame must be paid back to DTA.

How will I know when my hearing is scheduled?

The Division of Hearings will mail you a letter with the date, time, and location of the hearing. This letter will be mailed to you 15 days before your hearing date.

What if I need an interpreter at the hearing or need an accommodation for a disability?

If you need an interpreter, tell us on your appeal request. You should also tell us the language you speak.

You can also request an interpreter by calling the Division of Hearings at (617) 348-5321. 

If you need an accommodation because of a disability – known as an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodation -- to participate in the hearing, please call the Division of Hearings at (617) 348-5321.

What is a typical appeal hearing like?

Your hearing will be held in a hearings room at your local Transitional Assistance office, or by telephone conference call. An impartial Hearing Officer will conduct the hearing and decide the case. A DTA employee will also be present to explain the Department’s side of the case.

First, the Hearing Officer will ask all the people at the hearing to state their names and swear to tell the truth.

Next, the Department representative will explain DTA’s decision.

Then, you (the person appealing), or your representative, will present your reasons for disagreeing with the decision.   

Both sides can present any relevant evidence supporting their argument. 

After the hearing, a decision will be issued and mailed.  This will happen no later than 30 days after the hearing.

May I bring someone to the hearing with me?

Yes.  You may bring a friend, advocate, lawyer, or other person to assist or accompany you at the hearing. You may also bring witnesses. Witnesses must be sworn in and testify under oath.

If you are unable to get child care, you may bring your children to the hearing, as long as they do not disrupt the hearing. 

If anyone in the hearing room is disruptive the Hearing Officer may stop the hearing and order the disruptive person or people to leave.

What if I can't come to the scheduled appeal hearing?

If you cannot come to the scheduled hearing, you must call the Division of Hearings at (617) 348-5321 before the hearing date.

You must have a “Good Cause” reason why you cannot attend, or your appeal will be dismissed.  Good Cause reasons can include a death in the family, or a sudden and serious emergency which reasonably prevents you from attending the hearing.

You may be asked to give us proof of your Good Cause reason.

If you miss the hearing without Good Cause, your appeal will be dismissed.

What happens when the Hearing Officer issues an appeal decision?

You will receive written notice of the decision.

DTA will then implement the Hearing Officer’s decision within 30 days. 

What if I disagree with the appeal decision?

You have the right to appeal the case to a Massachusetts Superior Court within 30 days of the DOH decision date.

You can find more information on how to appeal a decision to a Massachusetts Superior Court.

Additional Resources

Contact for FAQ on DTA Appeal Process

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