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Permanent Disqualification from SNAP – How to Fight It

Permanent Disqualification from SNAP – How to Fight It

Getting permanently banned from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can seem really scary. Without those benefits to help feed your family, you might not know how you’ll get by. But don’t lose hope yet – you still have options to appeal the disqualification if you act fast and build a strong case.

In this article, we’ll walk through the process step-by-step so you understand how to fight back against permanent SNAP disqualification. We’ll also give tips on the best legal and evidence strategies. With the right approach, many people have succeeded in getting unfair disqualifications overturned. So read on for everything you need to know to get your benefits back!

Reasons People Get Permanently Disqualified from SNAP

Here are some of the main reasons people can get permanently banned from receiving SNAP benefits:

  • Committing SNAP fraud 3 or more times
  • Trading benefits for firearms, ammunition or explosives
  • Trading benefits for controlled substances like drugs or alcohol
  • Trading benefits for cash
  • Buying, selling or stealing SNAP cards

Sometimes disqualifications happen by accident or because someone didn’t fully understand the rules. So don’t assume yours was justified without exploring your options first.

Appealing Within 10 Days of Notice

If you get a notice saying you’re permanently disqualified from SNAP, you have the right to appeal – but you must act very quickly. Here are the steps:

  1. File a written request for an administrative review within 10 days of getting the disqualification notice.
  2. Explain in writing why you think the disqualification was improper or excessive.
  3. Provide any evidence you have showing the ban was unjustified.

Any evidence that shows the disqualification was improper or too severe can help your appeal. This includes things like:

  • Records showing you didn’t commit the violations claimed
  • Witness statements disputing the accusations
  • Proof you were confused about the rules but not intentionally violating them
  • Evidence of hardship to your family if benefits are lost

Gather as much favorable evidence as you can to support overturning the ban.

Christine Twomey
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What Happens After the Administrative Review

After you submit your SNAP disqualification appeal:

  • A review officer will consider your appeal and evidence from the state.
  • You’ll get a Final Agency Decision upholding or reversing the disqualification.
  • If it’s upheld, you can request judicial review in court within 30 days.

Don’t give up if your first appeal is denied – keep fighting it in court if needed. Many bans get overturned there.

Common Reasons SNAP Disqualification Appeals Succeed

Here are some of the most common reasons appeals successfully overturn permanent SNAP disqualifications:

  • SNAP program rules were wrongly applied to your specific case
  • The evidence presented of trafficking or fraud is weak or inadequate
  • The state didn’t follow proper procedures when disqualifying you
  • You can show undue hardship to your family if benefits are lost

If you can show that any of these apply in your situation, your chances of winning the appeal increase dramatically. That’s why building a strong case is so important.

Getting an Attorney to Help Your Appeal

Having an experienced attorney represent you can significantly improve your odds of success. A knowledgeable lawyer can:

  • Navigate the appeals process properly
  • Build the strongest argument using evidence and legal precedents
  • Negotiate with state officials on your behalf
  • File briefs and motions for you
  • Represent you in court if the case goes to judicial review

In many cases, a good lawyer can get disqualifications reversed where someone representing themselves would have failed.

If You Win Your SNAP Disqualification Appeal

If your appeal succeeds in overturning the SNAP ban:

  • The disqualification will be reversed and your benefits restored
  • You’ll receive back benefits you were owed from when they originally stopped
  • Any violations will be removed from your record
  • SNAP won’t be lost again if accused of violations in the future

So it’s definitely worth appealing to potentially regain your SNAP eligibility.

Avoiding Permanent SNAP Disqualification in the First Place

Here are some tips to avoid getting permanently banned from SNAP to begin with:

  • Never trade benefits for anything except eligible food items
  • Only use benefits for your own household’s needs
  • Keep your EBT card secure and don’t share your PIN
  • Report lost or stolen cards right away
  • Follow all SNAP rules very carefully

Just one mistake could lead to permanent disqualification, so be very diligent. Prevention is always best.

If You’re Falsely Accused of SNAP Violations

If you’re wrongly accused of SNAP fraud or trafficking:

  • Stay calm and cooperate with investigators
  • Don’t admit to anything false just to appease them
  • Politely share your side of the story
  • Record interactions to document your account
  • Gather evidence proving your innocence
  • Contact a lawyer immediately if disqualified

With proof and legal help, false allegations can often be successfully overturned.

Avoiding SNAP Trafficking Stings

Watch out for undercover agents trying to entrap you in trafficking stings:

  • An agent may offer cash for your benefits
  • They’ll pressure you to agree to the deal
  • Once you agree, they’ll move in and arrest you

Never accept a sketchy proposal, no matter how tempting. It’s likely a setup.

Your Rights Against Self-Incrimination

If accused of SNAP violations, remember these rights:

  • Right to remain silent – you don’t have to answer questions
  • Evidence obtained illegally can’t be used
  • Right to an attorney – ask for one immediately
  • Innocent until proven guilty – burden of proof is on the state

Don’t talk to investigators without your lawyer present. Know your rights.


Getting permanently banned from receiving SNAP benefits can seem devastating. But it’s not necessarily the end of the road. You have the right to appeal the disqualification, first administratively and then in court if needed.

Building a strong case supported by evidence and legal help can successfully get your SNAP benefits reinstated. Don’t give up without exploring every option. With persistence and the right strategy, many recipients have overturned unfair disqualifications. There is hope!

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