Waive Fair Hearing Timelines Guidance
Select from the following list to see all of the COVID-19 waivers issued to each state:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Temporary
Waiver of Time Frames for Fair Hearings Due to Novel Coronavirus
(COVID-19) – Blanket Approval
DATE: April 13, 2020
RE: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Temporary Waiver of Time Frames for Fair Hearings Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Blanket Approval
Dear SNAP State Agencies:
As authorized by SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 272.3(c)(1)(i), the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will allow state agencies flexibility in the time frames for fair hearings in SNAP regulations at 7 CFR 273.15(c) and (j)(2).
Under the authority of 7 CFR 272.3(c)(1)(i), FNS may authorize temporary waivers to deviate from specific regulatory provisions when they cannot be implemented due to extraordinary temporary situations. FNS has received multiple requests from state agencies for these flexibilities and has determined that approval is appropriate due to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
FNS encourages states to use existing flexibility to conduct hearings by alternate means, such as telephone or video conference, when possible, to meet the standard required time frames. As needed, state agencies may extend the fair hearings process up to 120 days from receipt of the request for fair hearings that were already in process or for which requests are received from March 1 through May 31, 2020. The time frame for sending notices confirming oral withdrawal requests may be extended up to 30 days from receipt of the request for such requests received during this same time period. This waiver is contingent upon a state agency’s compliance with the conditions, including prioritizing completion of the fair hearing process for any household whose process was delayed due to this flexibility, and evaluation requirements detailed in the attached enclosures, which are due 45 days after expiration (July 15, 2020).
If the state agency elects to implement these flexibilities, it must notify its respective FNS regional office, which will acknowledge receipt. State responses will be relayed to the FNS State Administration Branch.
FNS is ready to provide technical assistance to state agencies as they seek to maintain operations and serve clients during the current public health emergency. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your respective regional office representative.
Ronald K. Ward
Director, Program Accountability and Administration