SNAP Hearings Unit

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Two images: 1. A judge gesturing to a woman at a desk. 2. An illustration showing food and the logo of the SNAP program.

About SNAP fair hearings

SNAP fair hearings are heard in the Colorado Department of Human Services SNAP Hearings Unit. All SNAP fair hearing appeals need to be filed at your local county human services office.  

Hearings for SNAP Intentional Program Violations (fraud) are heard by the Office of Administrative Courts.

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How SNAP appeals work

Step 1: You request an appeal at your local county office verbally, in writing or by using the SNAP Fair Hearing request form. Your local county office can provide this form or you can download it below, in English or Spanish:

Step 2: The county office will review your request and restore your SNAP benefits, if allowable. The county office will forward your Fair Hearing request to the SNAP Hearings Unit.

Step 3: The SNAP Hearings Unit schedules a hearing and sends you a Notice of Hearing along with any other necessary documents. Most hearings happen via telephone conferencing through Google Meet or Zoom technology. You can request a face-to-face hearing if you prefer, however, the majority of hearings occur via telephone or internet for the convenience of the parties. 

Step 4: The SNAP Hearings Unit holds a hearing to better understand the dispute and to receive evidence and testimony. Both you and the county department will appear at the hearing to tell your sides of the story. 

Step 5: The SNAP Hearings Unit administrative adjudicator (judge) issues an Initial Decision and forwards it to the Office of Appeals.

Step 6: The Office of Appeals mails you a Notice of Initial Decision. The Notice of Initial Decision will include additional information, a Notice of Intent to file Exceptions form, and general instructions so that if you have a legal basis to object to any portion of the initial decision, you may file exceptions (objections). Importantly, for SNAP related appeals and proceedings only, anyone who wants to file Exceptions to the Initial Decision, must file a Notice of Intent to File Exceptions within 5 days plus 3 days for mailing (so within 8 days) from the day listed on the Notice of Initial Decision Certificate of Mailing. The Notice of Initial Decision includes the Notice of Intent to File Exceptions form-so all a party needs to do to make sure they have the ability to later file Exceptions in a SNAP related matter is to fill out the provided form and timely return it to the Office of Appeals. For a quick reference, the deadline for filing the Notice of Intent to File Exceptions is also included on the form itself.

Step 7: The CDHS Office of Appeals reviews the record, including the Initial Decision, any Notice of Intent to File Exceptions and Exceptions, and responses to Exceptions, the applicable law, and issues and sends you a Final Agency Decision.

Step 8: The County Department implements the Final Agency Decision. When applicable, the Appellant may appeal the Final Agency Decision to the Denver District Court by filing for a judicial review of the Final Agency Decision. If there is no filing for judicial review, the appeal is complete. Under certain circumstances, a party may file a Motion for Reconsideration with the Office of Appeals. However, the timeframe for filing for judicial review will continue to run despite that a Motion for Reconsideration has been filed.

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Frequently asked questions

Expand the questions below for answers to frequently asked questions about SNAP fair hearings and the SNAP Hearings Unit.

How do I contact the SNAP Hearings Unit?
You can contact the SNAP Hearings Unit in multiple ways: 
  • By phone at 303-866-7285 (local) or 833-847-0345 (toll free)
  • By email at cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us
  • By mail or dropping off in person at Colorado Department of Human Services/Fort Logan, SNAP Hearings Unit, 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236.

Note: Personnel receiving hand-delivered documents will only retrieve the document; personnel receiving the hand-delivered documents cannot respond to questions about the appeal process.

How do I know if I should appeal a SNAP decision?

If you believe the local County Office’s decision is incorrect, either because the local County Office used incorrect information to make its decision, or misapplied the law, you should reach out to the County staff to discuss the decision. The local County Office must explain the action taken on your SNAP case. This can be either as a discussion or a more formal Dispute Resolution Conference. If after this explanation or Dispute Resolution Conference, you still do not agree with the decision, you should request a Fair Hearing. For example, if the local County Office reduced your SNAP benefits and stated as its reason that you are now common law married and you do NOT believe you are common law married, you should discuss this decision with the County staff and provide verification to show you are not in a common law marriage. If the discussion and verification do not result in a case change, you can appeal the decision.

Will my benefits continue during the appeal?

If you request a hearing or a Dispute Resolution Conference any time prior to the date the action is to be taken and if your SNAP certification period has not yet ended, your benefits can continue in the amount you received prior to the action you are appealing. 

You cannot request to receive benefits during your appeal if your application for SNAP was denied. 

What is a dispute resolution conference?

A dispute resolution conference is a meeting between you and County staff to discuss an action taken on your case. During this informal meeting County staff will explain the specific reasons for the action and related SNAP rules. The local County Office will have to provide you the ability to review all the documents related to the action taken on your case. 

If during the meeting new information is provided that changes the action that was taken on your case, the previous action will be changed to reflect the new information. After this meeting you will receive written information that explains if the action will be changed or if the action will stand. 

Once you have received the County Office decision, you will have ten (10) calendar days from the date of this written correspondence to appeal that decision.

I want to appeal my SNAP benefits as well as benefits other than SNAP. Where do I send that appeal?

For any other appeal requests that have to do with other benefits programs (such as Colorado Works, Old Age Pension, Aid to the Needy Disabled, etc.) you will file your appeal request(s) with the Office of Administrative Courts, you may use this form to file an appeal.

Can someone help me appeal my case?

If you have someone else request an appeal on your behalf, you must state, in writing, that you gave that person permission to do so. You can fill out the Representative Authorization Form, which is linked below, or you can email the SNAP Hearings Unit at cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us or mail us a letter at Colorado Department of Human Services/Fort Logan, SNAP Hearings Unit, 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236.

Download the Representative Authorization Form

What happens at the hearing?

The hearing is an opportunity for the judge to understand both sides of the story and to help the judge to make a decision. The hearing takes place over the phone or over the internet, and lasts no more than an hour in most cases. You may request a face to face hearing if you so choose. 

At the hearing, the judge will ask one party, usually the County staff, to present its evidence first. The County staff will call witnesses and present evidence in whatever order they deem best. Once the County has concluded its case, the judge will ask you to present your case in the form of evidence or witnesses.

How do I prepare for a hearing?

The local County Office must send you a letter five days before the hearing explaining why the County Office has made the decision you are now appealing. The County Office must include all the evidence it intends to ask the judge to admit at hearing. Only evidence admitted at hearing will be considered by the judge.

You can bring witnesses to the hearing who know about the facts and issues involved in your case. During the hearing, you may call witnesses to ask questions about the facts of your case and you may testify yourself. The County staff and the judge may also ask your witness questions. 

If you have documents such as letters, photos, or other records that help prove your case (these would be considered your exhibit packet for the hearing), please send your exhibits to the SNAP Hearings Unit either by US Mail or hand delivery at 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236 or by email at cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us.  Be sure to send these before your scheduled hearing date so the Hearings Officer has these before the hearing date.  These documents/records will be offered to the Hearings Officer as evidence and the Hearings Officer will determine whether the evidence you offer will be admitted into evidence at the hearing.  In the rare circumstance of your hearing being in person, you may submit your documents/records before the hearing or bring them with you to the hearing.

How do I submit documents to the SNAP Hearings Unit?

You can email your documents to cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us. You can also drop off your documents in person or mail them to our office, located at Colorado Department of Human Services/Fort Logan, SNAP Hearings Unit, 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236. The SNAP Hearings Unit must receive documents by the due date listed in the notices of hearing you have received. Postmark dates do not qualify.

Do I get a lawyer for the hearing?

You may certainly bring a lawyer, or any representative, with you to the hearing. The State will not pay for a lawyer. If you want to get a lawyer or have a representative at hearing, you should consider working on getting one right after you file your appeal.

If you are interested in hiring a lawyer, here is a list of free or low-cost legal services.  

If you choose to hire an attorney for your SNAP appeal and then later you decide that you do not want to be represented by a lawyer, or if your lawyer wishes to withdraw from representing you, the lawyer must formally file a Motion to Withdraw (see below) in compliance with the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. The SNAP Hearings Unit will not accept a written statement from you stating that you have changed attorneys or that you are no longer represented by an attorney.

Download the Motion to Withdraw Appeal form

Can I have a representative?

Yes. You can bring any representative with you to the hearing. If you want the SNAP Hearings Unit to communicate with your representative outside of the hearing, you must either email the SNAP Hearings Unit at cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us or send a letter to Colorado Department of Human Services/Fort Logan, SNAP Hearings Unit, 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236 to indicate the name of your representative and your wish that we communicate directly with your representative. Always include your case number in your written communications. You can also fill out the Representative Authorization Form (see below).  

If you change representatives or no longer have a representative, you must tell the SNAP Hearings Unit in writing (email, mail, hand delivered).

Download the Representative Authorization Form

Can I see the county office’s evidence?

Yes. You or your representative have the right to examine, at the local county office, all papers and records which are to be used at your hearing. Call or write the county office and ask to see a copy of your file and any other documents or relevant evidence the county has regarding your case.

What if I need an interpreter or translation?

If you need an interpreter at the hearing, please request an interpreter through your county office. If you have an interpreter at your hearing, the SNAP Hearings Unit will automatically translate the written decisions into that language. If you do not have an interpreter at the hearing but you would still like the SNAP Hearings Unit to translate the written decisions, you can submit this request by email at cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us or send a letter to Colorado Department of Human Services/Fort Logan, SNAP Hearings Unit, 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236. You can also call the SNAP Hearings Unit, toll free, at 833-847-0345. 

Please always include your case number in any communication with the SNAP Hearings Unit.

How do I get a witness to come to the hearing?

A witness can come voluntarily. You can also use a subpoena to protect your right to have that person testify if their testimony is relevant to your case. Contact the SNAP Hearings Unit before the hearing to get a subpoena to require the witness to appear. You may have to pay for the witness’ expenses to attend, and you must arrange for someone to serve the subpoenas at least 48 hours before the hearing, not counting weekends and holidays. It is your responsibility to ensure that your witnesses are available and present for the hearing.

Is it OK to bring letters instead of witnesses?

Generally, it is better to bring witnesses who can help present your side of the case and answer any questions raised. Usually, a written statement by a witness who is not present at the hearing is not allowed. 

If I forget something, can I send it to the judge later?

The judge will decide whether to allow you to submit something after the hearing. The judge may allow it. If the judge allows you to send a document after the hearing, you must also send it to the County Office, and the County Office will have a chance to respond. 

Will the hearing location be accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes. Most hearings take place over the phone or the internet. You can request a face-to-face hearing if you prefer. Face-to-face hearings will be held at locations accessible to persons with disabilities. If you know persons who plan to attend have special needs that require reasonable accommodation, contact the Snap Hearings unit to make arrangements.w

What if I can’t attend my hearing?

If you cannot attend the hearing on the date and time shown, you must contact the SNAP Hearings Unit as soon as you know of the problem. You can request a new hearing date so long as your request is made at least five (5) calendar days prior to the scheduled date. If your request is not made within the five calendar days, you must show good cause. Good cause includes circumstances beyond your control, such as your illness, illness of another household member requiring your presence, a household emergency, or the unavailability of an important witness on the day of hearing.

What if I miss my hearing?

If you fail to appear either personally or by an attorney, the judge will cancel the hearing and issue an order dismissing the case for failure to appear. You will have ten days to write to the SNAP Hearings Unit to show “good cause” for your failure to appear. You must either email the SNAP Hearings Unit at cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us or send a letter to Colorado Department of Human Services/Fort Logan, SNAP Hearings Unit, 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236.

Are the hearings and records confidential?

Your hearing is not open to the public but will be recorded. The recording is the official record of the hearing and the transcript, if any, must be made from that recording. A party may request a copy of the official recording at a nominal cost. The judge has the discretion whether to allow any other person to make a recording of any portion of the hearing. The taking, use, and distribution of any recording is subject to confidentiality laws.

When will I receive a decision?

The CDHS Office of Appeals will mail you the Initial Decision shortly after the SNAP Hearings Unit issues the Initial Decision. You will have an opportunity to file a Notice of Intent to File Exceptions, Exceptions (objections) to the decision if you believe the judge decided the case based on incorrect facts or law, and you will have an opportunity to file a response if the other party files Exceptions to the Initial Decision. The CDHS Office of Appeals will then review the initial decision, any exceptions, if filed, and any response, and will then issue a Final Agency Decision.

If I believe the initial decision is wrong, what do I do? How do I file exceptions?

If you believe the judge based his or her decision on incorrect facts or law, you may file exceptions (objections) to the decision, stating why you disagree with the decision. The first step to filing exceptions is to file a Notice of Intent to File Exceptions. The purpose of the Notice is so the Office of Appeals will wait to decide your case until you submit your exceptions. After filing your Notice of Intent to File Exceptions, you will have until the deadline stated in the Notice of Initial Decision to file your Exceptions. You may file your exceptions by filling out this form, by emailing them to cdhs_appeals@state.co.us, or by mailing them or dropping them off at 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236.  If you have questions about the Exceptions process, please call the SNAP Hearings Unit, toll free, at 833-847-0345.

Please note that you cannot appeal the Final Agency Decision to the Denver District Court unless you have filed valid Exceptions to the Initial Decision. 

What if I disagree with the final agency decision?

If you disagree with the final agency decision and believe one of the two circumstances below applies, you can request that the Office of Appeals reconsider its decision. A request for reconsideration must be in writing, and it must be filed with the Office of Appeals within 15 days of the date provided in the Final Agency Decision’s Certificate of Mailing. No extensions of time can be granted. The Office of Appeals cannot consider any request filed after the 15-day time period.

For the Office of Appeals to consider a request for reconsideration a party must show that one or both of the following circumstances existed:

  • The party had good cause for failing to file Exceptions (objections) by the due date in the Notice of Initial Decision. The party's request for reconsideration must also include the party's Exceptions to the Initial Decision.
  • The party shows that the Final Agency Decision is based upon a clear or plain error of fact or law. The party must show that the Office of Appeals based its decision upon a misunderstanding of the clear facts of the case, or has overlooked a rule, statute, or court decision that requires a different decision.

Written briefs which merely state support or a general dissatisfaction with the Final Agency Decision or administrative hearing process do not constitute a request for reconsideration. A document that includes new evidence or presents arguments previously considered and resolved against a party's position does not constitute a request for reconsideration. This process is limited to correcting an error that occurred in the course of the Office of Appeals’ review and issuance of a Final Agency Decision.

You can also appeal a Final Agency decision to the Denver District Court if you have timely filed valid Exceptions with the Office of Appeals. For more information, call the Denver District Court Pro Se/Self-Help Center at 303-606-2442. For more information, visit the Denver District Court Pro Se/Self-Help Center page on the Colorado Judicial Branch website. 

If I win at the hearing, what will happen to my SNAP benefits?

If the Final Agency Decision restores or awards your SNAP benefits, the County Office must restore your benefits, if they were not restored when you appealed, or issue new benefits if awarded in the Decision. If you have questions, you should contact your local County Office to discuss your benefits.

If I lose at the hearing, what will happen to my SNAP benefits?

If your benefits were restored when you filed your appeal, these benefits will close. The benefits you received from when they were restored to the point the decision was made must be returned. The County Office will calculate overpayments and provide you with information about these overpayments. If you continue to receive some SNAP benefits, the overpayment can be collected from your ongoing benefits.

What are the rules that govern the SNAP program and hearings?

The State rules that govern the SNAP program and hearings are available here.

Contact information

You can contact the SNAP Hearings Unit in multiple ways: 

  • By phone at 303-866-7285 (local) or 833-847-0345 (toll free)
  • By email at cdhs_snaphearings@state.co.us
  • By mail or dropping off in person at Colorado Department of Human Services/Fort Logan, SNAP Hearings Unit, 3550 W. Oxford Ave., Denver, CO 80236.

Note: Personnel receiving hand-delivered documents will only retrieve the document; personnel receiving the hand-delivered documents cannot respond to questions about the appeal process.