Aug 8, 2023

Anthony Lux serves as CCLP's director of communications. His areas of expertise include institutional communications strategies, constituency growth and network activation for cause-driven organizations. Staff page ›

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of TANF grant rule change

CCLP's Emeritus Advisor, Chaer Robert, provided written testimony in support of the CDHS rule on the COLA increase for TANF recipients. If the rule is adopted, the cost of living increase would go into effect on July 1, 2024.

CCLP’s legislative watch for April 5, 2024

For the 2024 legislative session, CCLP is keeping its eye on bills focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, preserving affordable communities, advocating for progressive tax and wage policies, and reducing health care costs.

Student-built app to assist Coloradans appeal SNAP overpayment decisions  

by | Aug 8, 2023

SnappyNav, developed as law school class project, now available to the public.


DENVER, CO — August 8, 2023 — Law students at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law today publicly released a groundbreaking web app to help SNAP recipients navigate the complex administrative court system for appealing SNAP overpayment decisions.  

SnappyNav explains difficult concepts, legal terms, and rights, with step-by-step instructions for recipients facing potentially severe legal and financial liabilities. Using plain language (English and Spanish), the app helps users understand the avenues available to them, depending on their specific circumstances.  

This resource, remarkably, began its life as a class project. The class, led by Professor Lois Lupica, examined potential uses of technology to make legal issues more accessible for people experiencing poverty. 

“Public benefits recipients have few resources available to help them understand their options when faced with claims of overpayment,” said Professor Lupica. “The byzantine legal process to appeal these claims is conducted outside traditional courts, involving administrative hearings endured with limited information and typically without the benefit of a lawyer. The students determined there was an opportunity to help recipients by providing better information.” 

The student team engaged outside resources along the way. Students worked closely with LaQuetta Walker, social worker and longtime public policy advocate with first-hand appeal experience of her own. According to Walker, “Our goal with SnappyNav was to ensure those faced with overpayment claims would have accurate information about the process.” Importantly, she noted, the team aimed to present that information in an accessible, user-friendly format, “to minimize stress to SNAP participants.” 

For outside legal expertise, the student team partnered with Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP). For 25 years, CCLP has fought for the rights of those experiencing poverty in Colorado, through research, legislative, legal, and regulatory advocacy efforts. Much of CCLP’s recent work has highlighted the challenges of claims of overpayments. 

“Overpayments can occur for many reasons, intentional or accidental. They can even occur when an agency itself miscalculates the amount a household is eligible for,” said Bethany Pray, CCLP Senior Legal Director. “No matter the reason, however, when an overpayment is identified, the recipient must pay that amount – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars – back.” 

The need for resources assisting those facing claims of overpayment couldn’t be greater. A 2022 CCLP report entitled Barriers, Errors, & Due Process Denied revealed that Colorado faces one of the worst agency error rates in the country. Despite a process riddled with errors, as of 2019, fewer than 300 people annually completed the appeal process. 

Jennifer Edmunds, a student involved in the app’s creation, expressed the team’s hope that the public launch of SnappyNav would assist more Coloradans in understanding and exercising their right to appeal. “Since Colorado currently has no online resources to help recipients understand the SNAP overpayment process, it was extremely important for us to tailor the app in a way that would truly help someone facing an overpayment. Helping our Colorado community break down an access-to-justice problem was one of the most rewarding experiences of our law school journey.” 

The DU-hosted app may be found at or 


About Lois Lupica 

Lois R. Lupica is the Director of the Law + Innovation Lab at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and the Maine Law Foundation Professor of Law, Emerita at the University of Maine School of Law. In 2019 she received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award through which she researched access to justice and technology at the University of Melbourne in Australia. Professor Lupica is an Affiliated Faculty member of the Harvard Law School Access to Justice Lab, Co-Principal Investigator of the Financial Distress Research Study, and Co-Principal Investigator of the Princeton Debt Lab. From 2022 to 2023, she served as a CCLP Visiting Scholar. She has published articles on topics including access to justice, bankruptcy, consumer finance, securitization, property and contract theory, intellectual property in commerce, secured transactions, legal ethics, as well as a leading Casebook on Bankruptcy Law & Practice. 

Recent articles

CCLP testifies in support of TANF grant rule change

CCLP's Emeritus Advisor, Chaer Robert, provided written testimony in support of the CDHS rule on the COLA increase for TANF recipients. If the rule is adopted, the cost of living increase would go into effect on July 1, 2024.

CCLP’s legislative watch for April 5, 2024

For the 2024 legislative session, CCLP is keeping its eye on bills focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, preserving affordable communities, advocating for progressive tax and wage policies, and reducing health care costs.


To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.


Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.