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Action of the Division of Social Services ("DSS") to recover food stamp and TANF benefits


In re: DCIS No. Redacted Redacted

Appearances:
Redacted pro se, Appellant
Rita Duhr, Investigative Auditor, Audit and Recovery Management Services
Cheryl McKeon, Sr. Social Worker/Case Manager, Division of Social Services

I.

Redacted. ("Appellant") is dissatisfied with the action of the Division of Social Services ("DSS") to recover the $2,369.00 of food stamp benefits and $475.00 and TANF (ABC) benefits that he allegedly received in error, which resulted in an overpayment recoupment action processed by DSS. Appellant maintains that he properly advised DSS of all relevant information, and that he should not be responsible for the overpayment of benefits, if any, because it was not his fault.

The Division of Social Services ("DSS") contends that the Appellant received an overpayment of food stamp benefits from December 2003 through March 2004 and TANF benefits in November 2003.

II.

The Appellant was issued a Notice of Food Stamp Overpayment dated July 28, 2004. (Exhibit 5) The Appellant was also issued a Notice of TANF Overpayment also dated July 28, 2004. (Exhibit 4).

The Appellant filed two requests for a fair hearing date-stamped September 27, 2004. (Exhibits 2 & 3)

The Appellant was notified by certified letter dated October 8, 2004, that a fair hearing would be held on October 27, 2004. The Appellant requested a continuance due to a medical emergency that was granted. The hearing was ultimately conducted on December 13, 2004 in New Castle, DE.

This is the decision resulting from that hearing.

III.

Redacted was issued $2,369.00 of food stamp benefits during the period December 2003 through March 2004. He was also issued $475.00 in TANF benefits in November 2003. The Division of Social Services testified that Redacted failed to report the employment and income of his live-in partner, Redacted.. Ms. Redacted obtained a position with Fleet Credit Card in September 2003. DSS records indicate that they were never informed of this employment, either through pay stubs or other contact from the Appellant.

The Appellant testified that he provided DSS with all of the information they requested, and feels that because the overpayment, if any, was not his fault, he should not have to repay the money.

Based upon the documentary evidence and testimony at the hearing, the overpayment was the fault of the Appellant and properly attributed to him. DSS did not apply income disregards to the overpayment, as was proper in this case.

IV.

Pursuant to 7 CFR 273.18(a) adult household members shall be jointly and severally liable for the value of any over issuance of benefits to the household. The Division of Social Services shall establish a claim against any household that has received more benefits than it is entitled to receive. This is true whether the overpayment is due to an inadvertent household error, an intentional violation or an administrative error.

An inadvertent household error occurs when a claim for an overpayment results from a misunderstanding or unintended error on the part of the household. 7 CFR 273.18(b)(2). Under DSSM 9085 a household is required to report certain changes in circumstances within 10 days of their knowledge of those changes. Specifically, a household is required to report a change in gross income in excess of $25.00 and sources of income. In this particular case, the household never reported a change in income that resulted when Redacted began working for Fleet Credit Card. There was no testimony to suggest that this was anything other than an unintended error on the part of the household.

The record is sufficient to sustain the decision of DSS to issue the Notice of Food Stamp Overpayment for $2,269.00 of food stamp benefits and the Notice of TANF Overpayment in the amount of $475.00.

V.

For the reasons stated above, the decision of the Division of Social Services to seek repayment of $2,369.00 of food stamp benefits and $475.00 in TANF benefits is AFFIRMED.

Date: February 10, 2005

MICHAEL L. STEINBERG
HEARING OFFICER

THE FOREGOING IS THE FINAL DECISION OF THE DIVISION OF SOCIAL SERVICES

POSTED
MLS/vmd

cc:
Redacted
Cheryl McKeon, DSS Pool 150
Rita Duhr, ARMS

EXHIBITS FILED IN OR FOR THE PROCEEDING

  • EXHIBIT #1 - Copy of DSS Fair Hearing summary consisting of two (2) pages date-stamped October 6, 2004.
  • EXHIBIT #2 - Copy of Fair Hearing Request, date-stamped September 27, 2004, consisting of one (1) page.
  • EXHIBIT #3 - Copy of Fair Hearing Request, date-stamped September 27, 2004, consisting of one (1) page.
  • EXHIBIT #4 - Copy of Notice of TANF Overpayment dated July 28, 2004, consisting of nine (9) pages.
  • EXHIBIT #5 - Copy of Notice of Food Stamp Overpayment dated July 28, 2004, consisting of 15 pages.
  • EXHIBIT #6 - Copy of Notice to Approve Your ABC dated September 17, 2003, consisting of seven (7) pages.
  • EXHIBIT #7 - Copy of Notice of to Approve Your Food Stamps dated September 17, 2003, consisting of eight (8) pages.


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