Hello, I live in Helena Montana and receive SNAP benefits which is the "Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program" (SNAP), in other words to put it simple, food stamps.
Recently our re-certification or re-determination was due to be conducted with my wife via the phone with our case worker. It was prescheduled on 12/05/2013 at 2:30PM by our case worker thru the Department of Public Health and Human Services of Montana. My wife who was designated by the case worker to be interviewed and should be ready at the designated time to receive the appointed call. My wife works in an office and has to make prior arrangements in order to excuse herself from her desk to receive this call.
On that day she did excuse herself around 2:28PM to be ready to receive this call. She never received the call and waited promptly as her break was about to end and called to see what the issue was. She got the case workers voice mail and left a message inquiring to why she did not receive the call. The case worker then called back an hour later saying she was unable to make the scheduled call due to she was in a meeting and would have to reschedule the phone appointment with my wife. We waited for her return call to reschedule but Friday passed and she did not call. They requested that we do not call her because of her heavy work load so we respected that request.
Well, on Saturday we received a notice from her department stating their office was unable to process our recertification because we failed to comply with the required recertification interview by not being readily available as required via the appointment that they had made. We have tried to contact our case worker since to get an understanding of why she filed this notice of missed interview against our recertification. She has yet to return the call and when we tried calling the main office to understand why this is happening they basically put the blame for this issue on us stating this is standard to file this infraction notice when you do not do the recertification interview, so they are not clearly accepting the responsibility of this issue and are being very coy by stating it is just a case of us missing each other. I spoke with a supervisor and that is the response I got. They also have stated that they will contact us if we qualify for recertification which has me totally confused and very nervous as though this is some kind of setup for us not to get our benefits. My wife did save the message the case worker left her apologizing for missing the appointment so if this escalates we do have that as proof towards this issue that it was her who missed the appointment. She is also the person who processed this notice of failure of compliance.
Noting the situation and information I have provided, do we have nay legal rights here if this escalates to a negative result for my family? Thank you.