Legal Disclaimer: The following is basic legal information, provided as a public service by Wyoming’s lawyers. The information provided is not a substitute for speaking to an attorney. Only an attorney can give you legal advice regarding your specific situation. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
Some lawyers specialize in claims for disability, veteran’s benefits, worker’s compensation, or education-related benefits, and they may be able to help you prepare your application. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
When you apply:
You must be truthful about your qualifications. If you lie about your qualifications, the agency may accuse you of fraud. A charge of fraud will lead to a loss of benefits and possibly criminal charges.
Provide all of the information requested. Read the application carefully. Answer all of the questions that are asked. Make sure you provide all of the documents requested. The agency needs this information to prove that you qualify for the benefit. If you do not give the agency enough information, your benefits may be denied or delayed.
You have a right to appeal if benefits are denied or changed. If you are denied benefits, or your benefits were reduced or stopped, you usually have a right to appeal. This means that you have a right to argue why you should get or keep your benefits. However, you must follow the appeal instructions carefully, or you may lose your right. See more below.
I think I was discriminated against. What are my rights regarding fair treatment and equal access to services?
If you are denied Food Support because of your age;
If you are a deaf applicant and an agency does not provide you with a free qualified sign language interpreter;
If you have a physical disability and cannot access the floor where the program offices are located;
If you do not speak English well and an agency does not offer and provide you with a language interpreter.
status with regard to public assistance.
Most public benefits programs have a civil rights contact person who makes sure that applicants and clients have fair and equal access to programs and services. This person is responsible for:
Handling discrimination complaints;
Keeping civil right records and files;
Giving out information about civil rights laws to program workers, county and community agencies, applicants, clients and members of the public.
You may also contact the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, (202) 514-4609 (TTY: (202) 514-0716)
Important! If you file a complaint against a human services agency, agency workers cannot punish you in any way for filing the complaint. This protection applies also to anyone who gives information about the complaint. If agency staff punish you or make things hard for you because you filed a complaint, this may be retaliation. If this happens to you, you should report the behavior to the agency’s civil rights office.
If you need help to fill out the complaint, you may ask the agency. Most agencies will provide help to fill-out the complaint form. Help may include:
Reasonable accommodation for a disability, such as a sign language interpreter or large print materials.
Free interpreters for limited English speakers or those who do not speak English at all.
To get started:
First, take action right away. You should have received a letter or some other form of notice regarding the denial or change in benefits. Read this letter carefully. Usually, you have a strict time limit to file your appeal. This means that if you do not file your appeal on time, you may lose your right to do anything else.
You should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Some lawyers specialize in appeals for disability, veteran’s benefits, worker’s compensation, or education. Your local legal aid office may also be able to help. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
If you cannot find a lawyer, or choose to do the appeal yourself, you must follow the instructions carefully. Your letter may have some instructions. You should start by following the instructions on your letter or calling the agency for more information.
1. Intentional overpayment: the overpayment is intentional if you did not give the agency information that you knew you should have, or that you knew was wrong (you lied). If the agency thinks your overpayment was intentional, your case may be referred to the county prosecuting attorney for welfare fraud. See the fraud question below.
2. Unintentional overpayment: the overpayment is unintentional if it happened because of an honest mistake. However, even if you made an unintentional mistake, you may have to pay back the money
3. Administrative error: Sometimes the overpayment happens because the agency made a mistake. Even if the agency was the one who made the mistake, you may still have to pay back the money.
You have the right to fight the overpayment by asking for a fair hearing. You may want to argue any or all of the following:
Whether there was an overpayment at all;
The amount of the overpayment;
Whether you should have to pay back an unintentional overpayment or an administrative error;
Whether the overpayment was intentional; or
Sometimes, whether the agency acted timely in finding or notifying you about the overpayment (there are time limits that may apply).
Important! For some benefits, you have to ask for a hearing within 10 days of the notice to continue your benefits. However, If you appeal an overpayment or denial of benefits and request to continue to receive benefits during the appeal, it may increase the amount you have to pay back if it is determined that you continued to receive benefits during the appeal that you were not eligible for. You may want to discuss your options with a lawyer. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
You should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Click here for help finding a lawyer. If you are charged with a crime, ask for a public defender and do not make any statements to the agency until you have talked with your defender. Click here to find your local public defenders office.
In Wyoming, you may contact Vital Statistics Services at:
Website: Vital Statistics Services
Phone: (307) 777-7591
In-Person: 2300 Capitol Avenue (Hathaway Building), Cheyenne, WY 82002