Food Stamps Denials and Appeals in Pennsylvania


A food stamps denial in Pennsylvania occurs when a county assistance office (CAO) reviews a household’s SNAP application and finds the household ineligible. You may have your food stamps application denied for a number of reasons. Denied applicants may begin the food stamps appeal process if they believe their benefits were denied unfairly or their information was reviewed in error. On this page, you will learn some of the reasons for being denied food stamps as well as how you can appeal a denial if you wish to do so.

Common Reasons for Being Denied Food Stamps in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania food assistance denials are determined by the CAO and may happen for many reasons. A food stamps denial can occur if you do not attend two scheduled SNAP interviews with the CAO or if you do not finish your application despite help from the CAO. Food stamps denials are also a result of the household not meeting income or eligibility requirements for SNAP or not meeting work requirements in some cases.

Food assistance is denied for other reasons as well. You may have your food stamps application denied if you provide the CAO with any false or incomplete information. Food stamps denials may be the result of not providing a Social Security Number. Each household member who does not provide a Social Security Number will have his or her SNAP application denied. Discover how to receive food assistance by meeting the eligibility requirements and completing the application process in our free guide.

If your SNAP benefits are denied, then the CAO will explain in writing exactly why the denial took place. After the food stamp denial, you will have a set time period to request an appeal hearing. If you do not appeal by this deadline, then the CAO does not have to accept your request for an appeal.

How to Appeal SNAP Benefits Denial in Pennsylvania

Appealing food stamp denial in Pennsylvania is your right as an applicant. If you believe your food stamps denial was unfair, incorrect or the result of a CAO administrative error, then you may appeal your case by requesting a Department of Human Services (DHS) hearing. You should file your food stamps appeal at your county’s CAO. Anyone may represent you at the DHS hearing including yourself, a lawyer or another trusted person. Your SNAP appeal hearing should also be held quickly if you are disputing expedited benefits.

Appealing SNAP benefits denials is handled by Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. If your food stamps application is denied, then you may request a hearing with the bureau to dispute the DHS’s decisions. Most appeals have to be made in writing, but SNAP appeals may be made orally. The Bureau of Hearings and Appeals handles all of the following:

  • It conducts all appeal hearings and makes a determination about the validity of the appeal.
  • It notifies both the appellant (i.e., the appealing party) and the DHS of the hearing date.
  • It conducts the hearing by one of several available methods.
  • It receives appeal requests from the CAO (within three business days of the request).
  • It assigns an Administrative Law Judge to lead the hearing with both parties.

During the SNAP appeal hearing, the Administrative Law Judge organizes the discussion but also maintains a conversational atmosphere in which anyone may present a case. The Judge obtains evidence from both parties regarding the food stamps denial and may decide on the appeal orally at the conclusion of the hearing. If so, then the judge will also write out the decision. If the Administrative Law Judge does not decide on the appeal immediately, then he or she will review the presented evidence and write out a decision later. After this decision on the SNAP denial appeal, the appeal is handed over to the Director of the Bureau, who reviews the evidence and may uphold, amend or reverse the decision.

Learn all of the methods for appealing food stamp denial decisions and find out how to receive food assistance successfully in PA by downloading our detailed guide here.

Other Important Information About Food Stamps Denials in Pennsylvania

“How do you reopen a food stamp case? When can I apply for food stamps after being denied?” These common questions are on the minds of applicants who wish to reapply for SNAP benefits as soon as possible after a denial. You and your household may reopen your food stamp case by doing one of the following:

  • Requesting a new application from the CAO
  • Expressing your desire that your application be reopened by the CAO
  • Presenting any verification information documents that the CAO had previously requested

After your food stamps application is denied, you will not have to fill out another application if you reapply within a certain period after the denial. If within this timeframe you apply for food stamps after being denied, then the CAO is required to reopen your application, review the verification information it had from you previously and accept any new SNAP eligibility information from your household. Food assistance denials are often reversed during reopened cases, especially if the denial occurred because of delayed or incomplete information from the household. If your SNAP denial is reversed, then the CAO must open your benefits from the correct date.

What Is the Division of Family and Children Services in Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania provides services for families and children who are most in need. The division provides resources for free and reduced lunch, food stamps and temporary cash assistance for needy families. To find out if you are eligible for these services, download our comprehensive guide to review the eligibility requirements for each program.

How Can I Apply for Assistance Through the Division of Family and Children Services?

In order to be considered for the benefit programs offered by the Division of Family and Children Services, you must submit an application via an approved method. Additionally, many of the services provided by the division have eligibility requirements that you must meet to obtain benefits. Learn all about the application processes for these programs by downloading our guide.