Both DSHS and HCA cases: The agency must give you written notice if it plans to turn down (deny), lower, or stop (terminate) your benefits, sanction (punish) you, or decide it paid you too much (it overpaid you) benefits or gave you benefits the agency later determines you did not actually qualify for. WAC 388-458-0002 (DSHS); WAC 182-518-0005 (HCA). The notice the agency gives you must say what action the agency is taking and what rule or rules it is relying on.
You can ask for an administrative hearing anytime within 90 days of the date of the agency's notice. Starting July 1, 2023, if circumstances beyond your control, such as medical issues, housing instability, language barriers, or domestic violence, keep you from meeting that deadline, you should still ask for a hearing as soon as you can. The agency should find you had good cause for not meeting your deadline as long as it hasn't been longer than a year.
If you get benefits, and you ask for a hearing within 10 days of the date on the notice or before the date the agency says it will stop or lower your benefits, the agency must keep giving you benefits until an ALJ has decided your case. If the agency stops your benefits without giving you written notice, ask for an administrative hearing to ask for continued benefits.
*There are two exceptions to the continued benefits rule. 1. DSHS can stop your food stamps even though you have asked for a hearing if your certification period has ended. WAC 388-458-0040(5)(c). 2. If you get medically needy Medicaid, HCA can stop your coverage even though you have asked for a hearing, if your certification period has ended. WAC 182-504-0130.
If the agency is stopping or paying you less benefits, any continued benefits you get may become an overpayment -- a debt you owe the agency -- if you lose your hearing. You might have to repay up to 60 days of benefits. Read How to fight an overpayment of cash or medical assistance and Fighting a food assistance overpayment to learn more about how the agencies collect overpayments.