The purpose of the Food Stamp Program is to provide more nutritious diets to individuals of limited financial means. The purpose of this manual of State rules and regulations is to ensure that the provisions of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 are applied to individuals applying for or receiving benefits in Delaware. Food Stamp benefits provided to eligible households shall not be considered income or resources for any purpose under any Federal, State, or local laws.
(a) Any unauthorized issuance, use, transfer, acquisition, alteration, possession, or presentation of Food Stamp benefits may subject any individual, partnership, corporation, or other legal entity to prosecution under sections 15 (b) and (c) of the Food Stamp Act or under any other applicable Federal, State, or local law, regulation or ordinance. Sections 15 (b) and (c) of the Food Stamp Act read as follows:
(b) Whoever knowingly uses, transfers, acquires, alters, or possesses food stamp benefits or authorization cards in any manner not authorized by this Act or the regulations issued pursuant to this Act shall, if such food stamp benefits or authorization cards are of the value of $5,000 or more, be guilty of a felony and shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $250,000 or imprisoned for not more than twenty (20) years, or both, or if such food stamp benefits or authorization cards are of a value of more than $100, but less than $5,000, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(c) Whoever presents, or causes to be presented, food stamp benefits for payments or redemption of the value of $100 or more, knowing the same to have been received, transferred or used in any manner in violation of the provisions of this Act or the regulations issued pursuant to this Act shall be guilty of a felony and shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both, or, if such food stamp benefits are of a value of less than $100, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
1. Persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of the provisions of the Food Stamp Act or regulations, other Federal assistance programs or federally assisted State programs which provide assistance on a means‑tested basis to low income individuals, or general assistance programs subject to the joint processing requirements in DSSM 9042 .
3. Local, State, or Federal law enforcement officials, upon their written request, for the purpose of investigating an alleged violation of the Food Stamp Act or regulations. The written request must include the identity of the individual requesting the information and his authority to do so, the violation being investigated and the identity of the person on whom the information is requested.
DSS shall also make available to law enforcement officers, on official duty, the address, social security number, and a photograph (if available) of a food stamp recipient if the officer furnishes the recipient's name and informs DSS that the individual is fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody or confinement for a felony, is violating a condition of parole or probation, or has information necessary for the officer to conduct an official duty related to a felony/parole violation.
4. Persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of the programs required to participate in the State Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS), to the extent that the food stamp information is useful in establishing or verifying eligibility or benefit amounts under those programs.
5. Persons directly connected with the administration of the Child Support Program (IV‑ D) in order to assist in the administration of that program, and employees of the Secretary of Health and Human Services as necessary to assist in establishing or verifying eligibility or benefits under Title II (RSDI) and Title XVI (SSI) of the Social Security Act.
6. Persons directly connected with the verification of immigration status of aliens applying for food stamp benefits, through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program, to the extent the information is necessary to identify the individual for verification purposes. (Also see DSSM 2013.5 )
Recipients of information released under this section must adequately protect the information against unauthorized disclosure to persons or for purposes not specified in this section. In addition, information received through the IEVS must be protected from unauthorized disclosure as required by regulations established by the information provider. Information released to DSS pursuant to section 6103 (1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 is subject to the safeguards established by the Secretary of the Treasury in section 6103 (1) of the Internal Revenue Code and implemented by the Internal Revenue Service in its publication Tax Information and Security Guidelines.
We will not discriminate against any applicant or participant in any aspect of program administration, including, but not limited to, the certification of households, the issuance of food stamp benefits, the conduct of fair hearings, or the conduct of any other program service for reasons of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, political beliefs, or retaliation. Discrimination in any aspect of program administration is prohibited by these regulations: the Food Stamp Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (Public Law 94‑ 135), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93‑ 112, sec. 504), and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d). Enforcement action may be brought under any applicable Federal Law. Title VI complaints shall be processed in accord with 7 CFR, Part 15.
The ten‑day timely notice period is also used to determine whether benefits are to continue if a request for a hearing is filed during the timely notice period. Therefore, if the ten‑day timely notice period ends on a week‑ end or holiday, the ten‑day period for filing a request will be extended to the next full work day.
3) The household has been receiving an increased allotment to restore lost benefits, the restoration is complete, and the household was previously notified in writing of when the allotment would terminate;
4) The household's allotment varies from month to month within the certification period to take into account changes which were anticipated at the time of certification and the household was so notified at the time of certification;
5) The household jointly applied for TANF/ GA/RCA and food stamp benefits and has been receiving food stamp benefits pending the approval of the TANF/GA/RCA grant and was notified at the time of certification that food stamp benefits would be reduced upon approval of the TANF\GA grant;
6) A household member is disqualified for intentional Program violation in accordance with DSSM 2023, or the benefits of the remaining household members are reduced or terminated to reflect the disqualification of that household member. The notice requirements for individuals or households affected by intentional Program violation disqualifications are explained in DSSM 2023.
7) DSS has assigned a longer certification period to a household certified on an expedited basis and for whom verification was postponed, provided the household has received written notice that the receipt of benefits beyond the month of application is contingent on its providing the postponed verification and that DSS may act on the verified information without further notice as provided in DSSM 9041.
9) DSS is terminating the eligibility of a resident of a drug or alcoholic treatment center or a group living arrangement if the facility loses either its certification from DHSS or has its status as an authorized representative suspended due to FNS disqualifying it as a retailer. Residents of group living arrangements applying on their own behalf are still eligible to participate.
11) The household voluntarily requests in writing or in the presence of a case worker, that its participation be terminated. If the household does not provide a written request, send the household a letter confirming the voluntary withdrawal. Written information does not entail the same rights as a notice of adverse action except that the household may request a fair hearing.
12) DSS determines, based on reliable information, that the household will not be residing in the project area and, therefore, will be unable to obtain its next allotment. Inform the household of its termination no later than its next scheduled issuance date. Do not delay terminating the household's participation in order to provide advance notice.
If the following conditions are met, dispense with the timely notice requirement in DSSM 9006.2 . However, the household must be notified that its benefits will be reduced or terminated no later than the date the household receives, or would have received its allotment:
b. One parent is a citizen of the U.S. who has been physically present in the U. S., or one of its outlying possessions, for a continuous period of one year prior to the birth of the child, and the other parent is a national, but not a citizen of the U.S.; or
c. One parent is a citizen of the U.S. who has been physically present in the U. S., or one of its outlying possessions, for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of the child.
a. An American Indian born in Canada who possesses at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race to whom the provisions of section 289 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) apply; or
b. A member of an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the U.S. to Indians because of their status as Indians;
c. Lawfully residing in the U.S. and was a member of a Hmong or Highland Laotian tribe at the time that the tribe rendered assistance to U.S. personnel by taking part in a military or rescue operation during the Vietnam era beginning August 5, 1964, and ending May 7, 1975;
an unmarried child under the age of 18, or if a full-time student under the age of 22, of a deceased Hmong or Highland Laotian provided that the child was dependent upon him or her at the time of his or her death; or
B. An individual who is BOTH a qualified alien and an eligible alien as follows:
1. A qualified alien is:
g. An alien who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the U.S. by a spouse or a parent or by a member of the spouse or parent’s family residing in the same household as the alien at the time of the abuse; or
2. An eligible alien is:
a. An alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence who has 40 quarters of work as determined under Title II of the Social Security Act, including qualifying quarters of work not covered by Title II of the Social Security Act, based on the sum of:
(ii) Beginning January 1, 1997, any quarter in which the alien received any Federal means-tested benefits does not count as a qualifying quarter. A parent or spouse quarter is not creditable if the parent or spouse received any Federal means-tested benefits or actually received food stamps in that quarter. If an alien earns the 40th quarter of coverage before applying for food stamps or any other Federal means-tested benefit in that same quarter, all that quarter counts toward the 40 qualifying quarters total.
(i) A veteran who was honorably discharged for reasons other than alien status, who fulfills the minimum active-duty service requirements of 38 U.S.C. 5303A(d), including an individual who died in active military, naval or air service.
A veteran includes an individual who served before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while such forces were in the service of the Armed Forces of the U.S. or in the Philippine Scouts, as described in 38 U.S.C. 107;
(iii) The spouse and unmarried dependent children (legally adopted or biological) of a person described above in (i) through (iii), including the spouse of a deceased veteran, provided the marriage fulfilled the requirements of 38 U.S.C. 1304, and the spouse has not remarried. An unmarried child for the purposes of this section is: a child who is under the age of 18 or, if a full-time student, under the age of 22; such unmarried dependent child of a deceased veteran was dependent upon the veteran at the time of the veteran's death; or an unmarried disabled child age 18 or older if the child was disabled and dependent on the veteran prior to the child’s 18th birthday.
i. Lawfully in U.S. and is receiving disability or blind payments (as listed under DSSM 9013.1);
k. Lawfully in U.S. and is now under 18 years of age (when child turns 18, the child must meet another eligibility criteria like 40 quarters or the five-year residency rule to continue to get food stamps);
m. Immigrants who are victims of severe trafficking in persons per Public Law 106-386 Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. Severe forms of trafficking in persons is defined as sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Victims of trafficking are issued T visas by U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2003 expanded eligibility to include the minor children, spouses, and in some cases the parents and siblings of victims of severe trafficking. Under TVPRA, eligible relatives of trafficking victims are entitled to visas designated as T-2, T-3, T-4 or T-5 (known as Derivative T Visas) and are eligible for food stamps like the direct victims of severe trafficking.
If an alien is awarded a T visa and was under the age of 21 years on the date the T visa application was filed, the Derivative T Visas are available to the alien's spouse, children, unmarried siblings under 18 years of age, and parents.
Adult victims of severe trafficking will be certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and will receive a certification letter. Children, those under 18 years of age, who are victims of severe trafficking do not need to be certified but will receive a letter stating that the child is a victim of a severe form of trafficking. These victims of trafficking, and eligible relatives awarded a Derivative T Visa, are treated like refugees for food stamp purposes. Victims of trafficking do not have to hold a certain immigration status, but they need to be certified by HHS in order to receive food stamps.
Accept the original certification letter or letter for children in place of INS documentation. Victims of severe forms of trafficking are not required to provide any documentation regarding immigrant status. (DO NOT CALL SAVE.)
Call the trafficking verification line at (202) 401-5510 to confirm the validity of the certification letter or similar letter for children and to notify the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the benefits for which the individual has applied.
Note the "entry date" for refugee benefit purposes. The individual "entry date" for refugee benefits purposes is the certification date, which appears in the body of the certification letter or letter for children.
Re-certification letters will used to confirm that the individual continues to meet the certification requirements. These letters will have the same "entry date" as the original certification letters. The regular recertification periods will apply to these individuals in the same manner that they apply to refugees.
Call the toll-free trafficking verification line at 1 (866) 402-5510 to notify ORR of the benefits for which the individual has applied. (NOTE: the DHS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system does not contain information about victims of a severe form of trafficking or nonimmigrant alien family members. DO NOT CONTACT SAVE concerning victims of trafficking or their nonimmigrant alien family members.)
For an individual who is already present in the United States on the date the Derivative T Visa is issued, the date of entry for food stamp purposes is the Notice Date on the I-797, Notice of Action of Approval of that individual Derivative T Visa.
For an individual who enters the United States on the basis of a Derivative T Visa, the date of entry for food stamp purposes is the date of entry stamped on that individual passport or I-94 Arrival Record.
DSS Policy and Program Development (PPDU) Unit will inform the local INS office whenever eligibility personnel knows for sure that any member of a household is ineligible to receive food stamps because the member is present in the United States in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Caution must be exercised to ensure that the determination is not made merely on the alien's inability or unwillingness to provide documentation of alien status. When a person indicates inability or unwillingness to provide documentation of alien status, staff shall not continue efforts to obtain the documentation. That person shall be classified as an ineligible alien. Staff will obtain only the documents necessary to provide information on the income and resources of the ineligible alien to be made available to the remaining members of the household.
This regulation does not permit the reporting of aliens to INS on mere suspicion of prejudice. Firm evidence that a household is illegally in the U.S. would be required. Two examples of circumstances when an alien would be reported to INS are:
If a determination is made that a household, or household member, is in fact an illegal alien present in the United States in violation of the immigration laws, staff will report the determination to the supervisor. The supervisor will send a written report to the Food Stamp Policy Administrator who will decide whether the evidence is enough to make a report to INS.
An individual cannot participate as a member of more than one household in any month. There is an exception for individuals who are residents of shelters for battered women and children. Refer to DSSM 9080 for the rules for residents of shelters for battered women and children.
There is no requirement for an individual to live in Delaware for any specific length of time. A fixed residence is not required. Residency rules do not require intent to reside permanently in Delaware. Migrant campsites meet the residency requirements.
When a household moves within the state, DSS will transfer the household's case file to the new office. The household's certification period continues without having to reapply. The current office will act on changes in household circumstances resulting from the move before transferring the case file to the new office.
Households that temporarily leave the state, maintain their Delaware residency and intend to return can continue to receive benefits. This includes, but is not limited to, households on vacation or taking care of a sick family member in another state. This does not include households that leave for military deployment or hospitalizations that will exceed 30 days.
Any Student who is enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education shall be ineligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program unless the individual qualified for one of the exemptions listed in DSSM 9010.1.
A student is considered to be enrolled in an institution of higher education if the student is enrolled in a business, technical, trade, or vocational school that normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment in the curriculum or if the individual is enrolled in a regular curriculum at a college or university that offers degree programs regardless of whether a high school diploma is required.
5) Be employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week and be paid for such employment or, if self-employed, be employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week and receiving weekly earnings at least equal to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours;
a) The student must be approved for work study at the time of application for food stamps, the work study must be approved for the school term, and the student must anticipate actually working during that time.
9) Be responsible for the care of a dependent household member who has reached the age of 6 but is under age 12 when it is determined that adequate child care is not available to enable the student to attend class and comply with the work requirements listed in #5 and #6.
If no natural, adoptive or stepparent is in the food stamp household as the child, another full-time student in the same food stamp household may qualify for eligible student status if he or she has parent control over the child and is not living with his or her spouse.
d) A State or local government employment and training program for low-income households where one or more components of the program are equivalent to the food stamp employment and training program, determined by DSS.
Self-initiated placements during the period of time the person is enrolled in one of these employment and training programs shall be considered to be in compliance with the requirements of the employment and training program in which the person is enrolled provided that the program has a component for enrollment in an institution of higher education and that program accepts the placement.
Persons who voluntarily participate in one of these employment and training programs and are placed in an institution of higher education through or in compliance with the requirements of the program shall also qualify for the exemption.
Ineligible students (i.e., those not meeting the requirements for student participation in this section) are non‑household members per DSSM 9013.2 and cannot participate regardless of with whom they live.
The enrollment status of a student begins on the first day of the school term of the institution of higher education. The enrollment shall be considered to continue through normal periods of class attendance, vacation and recesses, unless the student graduates, is suspended or expelled, drops out, or does not intend to register for the next normal school term, excluding summer school.
Restore to households benefits which were lost whenever the loss was caused by an error by the Division or by an administrative disqualification for intentional Program violation which was subsequently reversed as specified in DSSM 9011.5, or if there is a statement elsewhere in the regulations specifically stating that the household is entitled to restoration of lost benefits. Benefits will be restored for not more than twelve months prior to whichever of the following occurred first:
Restore to households benefits which were found by any judicial action to have been wrongfully withheld. If the judicial action is the first action the recipient has taken to obtain restoration of lost benefits, then benefits will be restored for a period of not more than twelve months from the date the court action was initiated.
If the Division determines that a loss of benefits has occurred, and the household is entitled to restoration of those benefits, automatically take action to restore any benefits that were lost. No action by the household is necessary. However, benefits will not be restored if they were lost more than 12 months before the loss was discovered by the Division or were lost more than 12 months before the Division was notified in writing or orally of a possible loss to a specific household. Notify the household of its entitlement, the amount of benefits to be restored, any offsetting that was done, the method of restoration, and the right to appeal through the fair hearing process if the household disagrees with any aspect of the proposed lost benefit restoration.
If the Division determines that a household is entitled to restoration of lost benefits, but the household does not agree with the amount to be restored as calculated by the Division or any other action taken by the Division to restore lost benefits, the household may request a fair hearing within 90 days of the date the household is notified of its entitlement. If a fair hearing is requested prior to or during the time lost benefits are being restored, the household will receive the lost benefits as determined by the agency pending the results of the fair hearing. If the fair hearing decision is favorable to the household, restore the lost benefits in accordance with that decision.
If a household believes it is entitled to restoration of lost benefits but the Division after reviewing the case file does not agree, the household has 90 days from the date of the Division determination to request a fair hearing. Restore benefits to the household only if the fair hearing decision is favorable to the household. Benefits lost more than 12 months prior to the date the Division was initially informed of the household's possible entitlement to lost benefits will not be restored.
1. If the household was eligible but received an incorrect allotment, the loss of benefits will be calculated only for those months the household participated. If the loss was caused by an incorrect delay, denial, or termination of benefits, calculate the months affected by the loss as follows:
a. If an eligible household's application was erroneously denied, calculate the loss beginning with the month of application. For an eligible household filing a timely re‑application, calculate the loss beginning with the month following the expiration of its certification period.
d. After computing the date the loss initially occurred, calculate the loss for each month subsequent to that date until either the first month the error is corrected or the first month the household is found ineligible.
2. For each month affected by the loss, determine if the household was actually eligible. In cases where there is no information in the household's case file to document that the household was actually eligible, advise the household of what information must be provided to determine eligibility for these months. For each month the household cannot provide the necessary information to demonstrate its eligibility, the household will be considered ineligible.
3. For the months the household was eligible, calculate the allotment it should have received. If the household received a smaller allotment than it was eligible to receive, the difference between the actual and correct allotments equals the amount to be restored.
4. If a claim against a household is unpaid or held in suspense as provided in DSSM 7005, the amount to be restored will be offset against the amount due on the claim before the balance, if any, is restored to the household. At the point in time when the household is certified and receives an initial allotment, the initial allotment will not be reduced to offset claims, even if the initial allotment is paid retroactively.
Audit and Recovery Management Services processes all claim determinations. Consequently, benefits will not be restored to any household until ARMS advises the DSS via Form 106, of any off‑setting that is required due to outstanding claims. The procedure for effecting benefit restorations is found in DSSM 7002.1.
Individuals disqualified for intentional Program violation are entitled to restoration of any benefits lost during the months that they were disqualified, not to exceed twelve (12) months prior to the date of DSS notification, only if the decision which resulted in disqualification is subsequently reversed. For example, an individual would not be entitled to restoration of lost benefits for the period of disqualification based solely on the fact that a criminal conviction could not be obtained, unless the individual successfully challenged the disqualification period imposed by an administrative disqualification in a separate court action.
For each month the individual was disqualified, not to exceed twelve months prior to DSS notification, the amount to be restored, if any, will be determined by comparing the allotment the household received with the allotment the household would have received had the disqualified member been allowed to participate. If the household received a smaller allotment than it should have received, the difference equals the amount to be restored. Participation in an administrative disqualification hearing in which the household contests DSS' assertion of intentional Program violation will be considered notification that the household is requesting restored benefits.
The amount restored will be issued in addition to the allotment currently eligible households are entitled to receive. Reasonable requests by households to restore lost benefits in monthly installments will be honored. As an example of a reasonable request, the household may fear that the excess food stamp benefits will be stolen or that the amount to be restored is more than it can use in a reasonable period of time.
Whenever lost benefits are due a household and the household's membership has changed, restore the lost benefits to the household containing a majority of the individuals who were household members at the time the loss occurred. If DSS cannot locate or determine the household which contains a majority of household members, restore the lost benefits to the household containing the head of the household at the time the loss occurred.
If applicable, each case file will contain Form 106 documenting a household's entitlement to restoration of lost benefits. In addition, DMS will maintain a central alphabetic listing of cases where lost benefits have been or will be restored and will cross‑reference this listing to cases in which a claim against the household can be used to offset the amount to be restored.
Require that a household participating or applying for participation in the Food Stamp Program provide the SSN of each household member or apply for one before certification. Explain to applicants and participants that refusal or failure without good cause to provide a SSN will result in disqualification of the individual for whom a SSN is not obtained.
For those individuals who do not have a SSN, issue an Form 122 including the system‑generated unique identifier (Client ID#) for each individual listed on the form. (Inclusion of the unique identifier will enable automatic transmittal of the SSN to the DCIS database.) Inform the household where to apply and what information will be needed. Advise the household member that proof of application from SSA will be required prior to certification (SSA normally uses the Receipt of Application for a Social Security Number, Form SSA‑ 5028, as evidence that an individual has applied for a SSN). Follow this same procedure for individuals who do not know if they have a SSN, or are unable to find their SSN.
If the household is unable to provide proof of application for a SSN for a newborn, the household must provide the SSN or proof of application at its next recertification or within 6 months following the month the baby is born, whichever is later. If the household is unable to provide a SSN or proof of application at its next recertification within 6 months following the baby’s birth, DSS shall determine if the good cause provisions of DSSM 9012.4 apply.
If DSS determines that a household member has refused or failed without good cause to apply for a SSN, that individual is ineligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program. The disqualification applies to the individual for whom the SSN is not provided and not to the entire household. The earned or unearned income and resources of an individual disqualified from the household for failure to comply with this requirement will be counted as household income and resources to the extent specified in DSSM 9076.2.
In determining if good cause exists for failure to comply with the requirement to apply for or provide DSS with a SSN, consider information from the household member, SSA and DSS. Documentary evidence or collateral information that the household member has applied for a SSN or made every effort to supply SSA with the necessary information to complete an application for a SSN will be considered good cause for not complying timely with this requirement. Good cause does not include delays due to illness, lack of transportation or temporary absences, because SSA makes provisions for mailing applications in lieu of applying in person. If the household member can show good cause why an application for a SSN has not been completed in a timely manner, allow the person to participate for one month in addition to the month of application. If the household member applying for a SSN has been unable to obtain the documents required by SSA, make every effort to assist the individual in obtaining these documents. Good cause for failure to apply must be shown monthly in order for such a household member to continue to participate. Once an application has been filed, permit the member to continue to participate pending notification to DSS of the household member SSN.
Workers should establish short‑term controls to check the status of the SSN application monthly. If DSS has requested the necessary documents for the clients (birth certificates, etc.), check monthly to see if the documents have been received. Refer the client back to SSA when documents arrive.
If the client was responsible for obtaining the necessary documents, check with the client by phone or by mail to determine what progress has been made. Inform the client that continued eligibility is dependent upon their continued efforts to obtain documents needed to apply for a SSN.
The Division is authorized to use Social Security Numbers in the administration of the Food Stamp Program. To the extent determined necessary by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, State agencies are given access to information regarding individual Food Stamp Program applicants and participants who receive benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (SSI) to determine such a household's eligibility to receive assistance and the amount of assistance, or to verify information related to the benefit of the households. Use the State Data Exchange (SDX) to the maximum extent possible. Use SSN's to prevent duplicate participation, to facilitate mass changes in Federal benefits and to determine the accuracy and/or reliability of information given by households. In particular, DSS will use SSN's to request and exchange information on individuals through IEVS (see DSSM 2013.1).
4. an individual who is 60 years of age or older, living with others (and the spouse of such individual), who is unable to purchase and prepare meals because he/she suffers from a disability considered permanent under the Social Security Act or suffers from a non‑ disease related, severe, permanent disability. However, the income (all income included under DSSM 9055) of the others with whom the individual resides (excluding the income of such individual's spouse) cannot exceed 165% of the poverty line. (Refer to the current October Cost-of-Living Adjustment Administrative Notice.)
A) General Definition ‑ a household is composed of one of the following individuals or groups of individuals, provided they are not residents of an institution (except as otherwise specified in DSSM 9015), or are not boarders (as specified in DSSM 9013.3).
This includes severely disabled individuals who have someone purchase and prepare their meals for them (regardless of whether or not they are paid for the service). The disabled individuals are considered separate food stamp households, even if they live in the same home as the individual purchasing and preparing the meals for them. This household does not have to meet the 165 percent rule.
B) Special Definition ‑ the following individuals living with others or groups of individuals living together must be considered as customarily purchasing food and preparing meals together, even if they do not do so*.
3. Child(ren) living with a non-parent who has legal custody of the child(ren) will continue to be a member of the household for food stamp purposes even if a natural parent moves into the home. The non-parent must provide proof of legal custody. If the adult who has legal custody of the child chooses to let the child and natural parent purchase and prepare meals together, the child can become a member of the natural parent’s food stamp household.
4. Joint custody – Children who live with parents in a joint custody situation can get food stamps with the parent who is the first to apply for food stamps. This also covers shared custody situations. If both parents are applying for the same child(ren), the parent who provides the majority of the meals (21 meals a week) will include the child as part of his/her food stamp household.
When the parent who provides the majority of the meals applies for food stamps after the other parent is already getting food stamps for children, he/she can include the children in their food stamp after they are removed from the other parent’s case. The children are removed from the first parent’s case and opened in the second parent’s case no later than the second month after the month the second parent requests food stamps for the children.
5. When an individual resides a portion of the month with a food stamp household, the household can choose to include or exclude the individual from the food stamp household. If included, the income of the individual must be included and the individual cannot get benefits in another household or state.
6. Although a group of individuals living together and purchasing and preparing meals together constitutes a single household under the provisions of the above general definition, an otherwise eligible member of such a household who is 60 years of age or older and who is unable to purchase and prepare meals because (s)he suffers from a disability considered permanent under the Social Security Act, or suffers from a non-disease-related, severe, permanent disability, may be a separate household from the others based on the provisions of this section provided that the income (all income under DSSM 9055) of the others with whom the individual resides (excluding the income of the spouse of the elderly and disabled individual) does not exceed 165% of the poverty line. Only the spouse of the elderly and disabled individual is required to be included in the same household with the individual.
"Elderly or disabled member" means a member of a household who:
c. receives federally or State‑administered supplemental benefits under section 1616(a) of the Social Security Act provided that the eligibility to receive benefits is based upon the disability or blindness criteria used under Title XVI of the Social Security Act;
h. is a surviving spouse of a veteran and considered by the VA to be in need of regular aid and attendance or permanently housebound or a surviving child of a veteran and considered by the VA to be permanently incapable of self‑support under Title 38 of the United States Code; or
i. is a surviving spouse or surviving child of a veteran and is considered by the VA to be entitled to compensation for service‑connected death or pension benefits for a non‑ service connected death under Title 38 of the United States Code and has a disability considered permanent under Section 221(i) of the Social Security Act;
j. received an annuity payment under Section 2(a)(l)(iv) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 and is determined to be eligible to receive Medicare by the Railroad Retirement Board, or Section 2(a)(i)(v) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 and is determined to be disabled based upon the criteria used under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
k. is a recipient of interim assistance benefits pending the receipt of Supplemental Security Income, disability related medical assistance under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, or disability-based State general assistance benefits provided that the eligibility to receive those benefits is based upon disability or blindness criteria which are at least as stringent as those used under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
"Entitled" as used in this definition refers to those veterans' surviving spouses and surviving children who are receiving the compensation or pension benefits stated or have been approved for such payments, but are not yet receiving them.
Note: Some disabled persons optionally receive Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) payments in lieu of Civil Service Disability payments. Such persons are considered to meet the disability definition under this section. Some persons, however, receive FECA payments on a temporary basis while recovering from an on-the-job injury. Receipt of these temporary payments does not satisfy the disability definition. Therefore, verify which type of FECA payment a client receives.
For the purposes of defining a household under the provisions of this section, the following individuals will not be included as a member of the household unless specifically included as a household member under the special definition at DSSM 9013.1. If not included as a member of the household under the special definition, such individuals will not be included as a member of the household for the purpose of determining household size, eligibility or benefit level. The income and resources of such individuals will be handled in accordance with DSSM 9077. The following individuals (if otherwise eligible) may participate as separate households:
3) Other individuals who share living quarters with the household, but who do not customarily purchase food and prepare meals with the household. For example, if the applicant household shares living quarters with another family to save on rent, but does not purchase and prepare food together with that family, the members of the other family are not members of the applicant household.
Some household members are ineligible to receive Program benefits under the provisions of the Food Stamp Act (such as certain aliens and certain students). Others may become ineligible for such reasons as being disqualified for committing an intentional Program violation or refusing to comply with a regulatory requirement. These individuals must be included as a member of the household for the purpose of defining a household under the definition in DSSM 9013.1. However, such individuals must not be included as eligible members of the household when determining the household's size for the purpose of comparing the household's monthly income with the income eligibility standard or assigning a benefit level by household size. The income and resources of such individuals will be handled in accordance with DSSM 9076. These individuals are not eligible to participate as separate households.
6) Individuals found guilty of having made a fraudulent statement or misrepresentation to the identity and/or place of residence in order to receive the multiple benefits at the same time per DSSM 2024.
Boarders are defined as individuals or groups of individuals residing with others and paying reasonable compensation to the others for lodging and meals (excluding residents of a commercial boarding house). Boarders are ineligible to participate in the Program independent of the household providing the board. They may participate as members of the household providing the boarder services to them, at such household's request.
The household with which a boarder resides (including the household of the proprietor of a boarding house) may participate in the program if the household meets all the eligibility requirements for program participation.
To determine if an individual is paying reasonable compensation for meals and lodging in making a determination of boarder status, only the amount paid for meals will be used, provided that the amount paid for meals is distinguishable from the amount paid for lodging. A reasonable monthly payment will be either of the following:
2) Boarders whose board arrangement is for two meals or less per day will pay an amount which equals or exceeds two‑thirds of the maximum food stamp allotment for the appropriate size of the household.
An individual furnished both meals and lodging by a household but paying compensation of less than a reasonable amount to the household for such services will be considered a member of the household providing the services.
This means that a person paying reasonable compensation for meals is considered a boarder and can be included in the household's food stamp household if the household providing the boarder services wants them to be included. A person paying less than a reasonable amount to the household for meals must be included in the food stamp household of the household providing the service. Either way, the person paying for the meals cannot receive food stamps on their own separate from the household providing the service.
None of the income or resources of individuals determined to be boarders and who are not members of the household providing the boarder services will be considered available to such household. However, the amount of the payment that a boarder gives to a household will be treated as self‑employment income to the household.
The procedures for handling self‑employment income from boarders (other than such income received by a household that owns and operates a commercial boarding house) are set forth in DSSM 9074. The procedures for handling income from boarders by a household that owns and operates a commercial boarding house are also covered in DSSM 9074.6.
For program purposes, a commercial boarding house is defined as an establishment licensed as an enterprise which offers meals and lodging for compensation. In project areas with licensing requirements, a commercial boarding house will be defined as a commercial establishment which offers meals and lodging for compensation with the intent of making a profit. The number of boarders residing in a boarding house will not be used to determine if a boarding house is a commercial enterprise.
Foster care individuals (children and adults) placed in the homes of relatives or other individuals or families by a Federal, State, or local governmental foster care program, shall be considered boarders. The foster care payments received by the household for such foster care boarders shall not be considered as available income to the household. The foster care payments are exempt from the computation of net self-employment income from boarders under DSSM 9074.
Foster care children/adult boarders may participate in the Food Stamp Program as members of the household providing the boarder services to them, at such household's request. If the household chooses the option to include the foster care individuals in their food stamp household, foster care payments received by the household shall be considered unearned income to the household and counted in their entirety in determining the household's income eligibility and benefit level.
It is not a requirement that the head of household appear at the office for certification to the program. Another responsible member of the household or the authorized representative may appear to make application for benefits.
When designating the head of household, the household may select an adult parent of children (of any age) living in the household, or an adult who has parental control over children (under 18 years of age) living in the household, as the head of household. All adult household members must agree to the selection.
Households can select their heads of households at each certification action or whenever there is a change in household composition. The Application (Form 100) contains the written notification about designating the head of household.
Failure to designate or agree on a head of household will not delay certification or cause benefits to be denied. DSS will designate a head of household if the household does not designate one or the adults do not agree on a designation. If DSS has to designate a head of household, the designee will be the principal wage earner.
For purposes of failure to comply with DSSM 9018, the head of household shall be the principal wage earner unless the household has selected an adult parent of children. The principal wage earner is the household member (including excluded members) who is the greatest source of earned income in the two months prior to the month of the violation. This provision applies only if the employment involves 20 hours or more per week or provides weekly earnings at least equivalent to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours.
No person of any age living with a parent or person fulfilling the role of a parent who is registered for work or exempt from work registration requirements because such parent or person fulfilling the role of a parent is subject to and participating in the Food Stamp Employment and Training (FS E&T) Program, or is in receipt of unemployment compensation (or has registered for work as part of the UC application process), or is employed or self‑employed and working a minimum of 30 hours weekly or receiving a weekly earnings equal to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours can be considered the head of household. If there is no principal source of earned income in the household, the household member documented in the casefile as head of the household at the time of the violation will be considered the head of household.
Individuals will be considered residents of an institution where the institution provides them with the majority of their meals (over 50% of three meals daily) as part of the institution's normal services.
1. Residents of federally subsidized housing for the elderly. "Federally subsidized housing for the elderly" includes housing built under either Section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 or Section 236 of the National Housing Act.
2. Narcotics addicts or alcoholics, and their children, who, for the purpose of regular participation in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program, reside at a facility or treatment center. Resident addicts or alcoholics, and their children, will be treated as one household for purposes of eligibility determination.
3. Blind or disabled individuals who are covered under the Food Stamp Act's definition of a disabled person in DSSM 9013, b through k, and who reside in properly certified public or private non‑profit group living arrangements serving no more than 16 residents. Processing standards, verification requirements, lost benefit entitlement, and rights to fair hearings, and advance notice will apply to the households in (2) and (3) as they do to all other households. See DSSM 9078.
4. Women or women with their children temporarily residing in a shelter for battered women and children. Persons temporarily residing in shelters for battered women and children will be considered individual household units for the purposes of applying for and participating in the program. A shelter for battered women and children is a public or private non‑profit residential facility that serves battered women and their children. If such a facility services other individuals, a portion of the facility must be set aside on a long‑term basis to serve only battered women and children.
Residents of public institutions who apply for SSI prior to their release from an institution under the Social Security Administration's Pre‑release Program for the Institutionalized [42 U.S.C. 1383(j)] can apply for food stamps at the same time they apply for SSI. Process these pre‑release applicants in accordance with the provisions in DSSM 9028, 9039, 9042, 9043, 9061, and 9081, as appropriate.
Inform applicants that a nonhousehold member may be designated as the authorized representative for application processing purposes. The authorized representative may carry out household responsibilities during the certification period such as reporting changes in the household's income or other circumstances. Inform the household that the household will be held liable for any overissuances that results from erroneous information given by the authorized representative.
A nonhousehold member may be designated as an authorized representative for the application process provided that the person is an adult who is sufficiently aware of relevant household circumstances. The authorized representative designation must be made in writing by the head of the household, the spouse, or another responsible member of the household. DSSM 9016.4 contains more restrictions on who can be designated an authorized representative.
An authorized representative may be designated to obtain benefits. Encourage households to name an authorized representative for obtaining benefits in case of illness or other circumstances which might prevent the household from obtaining their benefits. The name of the authorized representative must be recorded in the household’s case record and in DCIS.
The authorized representative for obtaining benefits may or may not be the same individual designated as an authorized representative for the application process or for meeting reporting requirements during the certification period.
When a household needs someone to obtain their food stamp benefits for a particular month, the household may designate an emergency authorized representative. The emergency authorized representative is designated to obtain the household's allotment when none of the persons specified on the ID card are available.
Form 105, Emergency Authorized Representative Designation Form, is used by the household to designate an emergency authorized representative. DSS will fill out and send the Emergency Authorized Representative Designation Form to the client when requested. Do not require households to come into the office to get the Emergency Authorized Representative Designation Form.
The designated emergency authorized representative must present the form that contains the signature of the household member on the ID card and the signature of the emergency authorized representative and the food stamp ID card to the food stamp issuance site. The form must be signed by both the household member and the designated emergency authorized representative before going to the issuance site. A separate written designation is required each time an emergency representative is authorized.
A household may allow any household member or nonmember to use its ID card and benefits to purchase food or meals, if authorized, for the household. Drug or alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements which act as authorized representatives for residents of the facilities must use food stamp benefits for food prepared and served to those residents participating in the Food Stamp Program, except when residents leave the facilities as provided in DSSM 9078.1.
1. DSS employees who are involved in the certification and/or issuance processes and retailers that are authorized to accept food stamp benefits may not act as authorized representatives without the specific written approval of the Operations Administrator and only if the Operations Administrator determines that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative.
2. Individuals disqualified for an intentional Program violation cannot act as authorized representatives during the period of disqualification unless the individual disqualified is the only adult member of the household able to act on its behalf and the agency has determined that no one else is available to serve as authorized representative. In this case it will be determined whether the authorized representative is needed to apply on behalf of the household, or to obtain benefits on behalf of the household.
3. Homeless meal providers may not act as authorized representatives for homeless food stamp recipients. A "homeless meal provider" is a public or private nonprofit establishment (e.g., soup kitchen, temporary shelter) approved by DHSS, that feeds homeless persons.
4. If DSS determines that an authorized representative has knowingly provided false information about household circumstances or has made improper use of food stamp benefits, it may disqualify that person from being an authorized representative for up to one year. DSS will send written notification to the affected household(s) and the authorized representative 30 days prior to the date of disqualification. The notification must specify the reason for the proposed action and the household's right to request a fair hearing. This provision is not applicable in the case of drug and alcohol treatment centers and those group homes that act as authorized representatives for their residents. However, drug and alcohol treatment centers and the heads of group living arrangements that act as authorized representatives for their residents, and which intentionally misrepresent households circumstances, may be prosecuted under applicable Federal and State statutes for their acts.
In the event that employers, such as those that employ migrant or seasonal farmworkers, are designated as authorized representatives or if any one authorized representative has access to a large number of food stamp benefits, caution should be exercised to assure that the household has freely requested the assistance of the authorized representative, the household's circumstances are correctly represented, and the household is receiving the correct amount of benefits. DSS should make sure that the authorized representative is properly using the food stamp benefits.
Households with striking members will be ineligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program unless the household was eligible for benefits the day prior to the strike and is otherwise eligible at the time of application. Such a household will not receive an increased allotment as the result of a decrease in the income of the striking member(s) of the household.
For food stamp purposes, a striker will be anyone involved in a strike or concerted stoppage of work by employees (including a stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective‑ bargaining agreement) and any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operations by employees. Any employee affected by a lockout, however, will not be deemed to be a striker.
Further, an individual who goes on strike who is exempt from work registration, in accordance with DSSM 9018, the day prior to the strike, other than those exempt solely on the grounds that they are employed, will not be deemed a striker.
Eligibility at time of application will be determined by comparing the striking member's income before the strike to the striker's current income and adding the higher of the two to the current income of non‑striking members during the month of application.
To determine benefits (and eligibility for households subject to the net income eligibility standard) deductions will be calculated for the month of application as for any other household. Whether the striker's pre‑strike earnings are used or his current income is used, the earnings deduction will be allowed if appropriate.
9018.2 Maintaining and Regaining ABAWD Eligibility
ABAWD (able-bodied adults without dependent children) means individuals without children in their FSP household who must work 20 hours a week and/or comply with certain work requirements in order to get food benefits.
Able-bodied adults without dependent children (ABAWDs) can only receive 3 months of food benefits in a 36 month period if they do not meet the work requirements. When the individual meets a work requirement, he or she may get benefits longer than 3 months.
If a child has its 16th birthday with a certification period, the child will fulfill the work registration requirement as part of the next scheduled recertification process, unless the child qualifies for another exemption.
If a mental or physical unfitness is claimed and the unfitness is not evident, verification may be required. Appropriate verification may consist of receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources, or of a statement from a physician or licensed certified psychologist.
3) A household member subject to and participating in the TANF Employment and Training program under Title IV of the Social Security Act. If the exemption claimed is questionable, verify the exemption.
If the child has its 6th birthday within a certification period, the individual responsible for the care of the child will fulfill the work registration requirement as part of the next scheduled recertification process, unless the individual qualifies for another exemption.
5) A person is in receipt of unemployment compensation. A person who has applied for, but has not yet begun to receive, unemployment compensation will also be exempt if that person was required to register for work with DOL as part of the unemployment compensation application process.
The person does not have to be a resident of such a treatment center. However, the treatment center must be certified as a rehabilitation program by the State agency that is responsible for the States programs for alcoholics and drug addicts. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) does not meet this criteria. Regular participants in AA are not exempted from work registrations.
This will include migrant and seasonal farmworkers who are under contract or similar agreement with an employer or crew chief to begin employment within 30 days (although this will not prevent individuals from seeking additional services from DOL).
8) A student enrolled at least half time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education, provided that students enrolled at least half time in an institution of higher education have met the eligibility conditions in DSSM 9010. Persons who are not enrolled at least half time or who experience a break in enrollment status due to graduation, expulsion, or suspension, or who drop out or otherwise do not intend to return to school will not be considered students for the purpose of qualifying for this exemption.
A student enrolled in a school, training program or institution of higher education will remain exempt during normal periods of class attendance, vacation and recess, unless the student graduates, is suspended or expelled, drops out, or does not intend to register for the next normal school term (excluding summer school).
2) They are determined ineligible for SSI and where applicable, a determination of their work registration status is then made through recertification procedures in accordance with DSSM 9043, or through other means.
Examples of such changes include loss of employment that also results in loss of income or more than $25 a month, or departure from household of the sole dependent child for whom an otherwise non‑ exempt household member was caring.
Those persons who lose their exemption due to a change in circumstances that is not subject to the reporting requirements of DSSM 9085 will register for employment at their household's next recertification.
Upon reaching a determination that an applicant or a member of the applicant's household is required to register, explain to the applicant the work registration requirements, their rights and responsibilities, and the consequences of failure to comply. Enter the appropriate mandatory code on the DCIS documents for each mandatory household member.
The time spent by the members of a household collectively each month in an Employment and Training work program. Time cannot exceed the number of hours equal to the household's allotment for that month divided by the higher of the applicable State or Federal minimum wage. The total hours of participation in an Employment and Training non‑work component for any household member individually in any month cannot exceed 120.
Permit persons exempt from the work registration and training requirements or those not exempt who have complied or are complying with the requirements, to participate in any employment and training program offered.
4. Accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment to which he or she is referred by an employment/training agency; at a wage not less than the higher of either the applicable State or Federal minimum wage.
1. The wage offered is less than the highest of the applicable federal minimum wage, the applicable state minimum wage, or 80% of the federal minimum wage if neither the federal nor state minimum wage is applicable, or
8. The distance from the member's house to the place of employment is unreasonable considering the expected wage and the time and cost of commuting. Employment will not be considered suitable if daily commuting time exceeds two hours daily, not including the transporting of a child to and from a child care facility. Employment is not considered suitable if the distance to the place of employment prohibits walking and neither public nor private transportation is available to transport the member to the job site, or
9. The working hours or nature of the employment interferes with the member's religious observations, convictions, or beliefs. For example, a Sabbatarian could refuse to work on the Sabbath and not affect the household's eligibility.
Household members who are required to register for work under TANF Employment and Training or Unemployment Compensation and who fail to comply with the work registration requirements of those programs will be handled in accordance with DSSM 9021.
DSS will be responsible for determining good cause in those instances where the work registrant has failed to comply with the work registration, voluntary quit, or employment and training requirements, of this section.
Determining good cause in cases of voluntary quit. In determining whether or not good cause exists, the employment and training agency and DSS will consider the facts and circumstances, including information submitted by the household member involved and the employer. Good cause will include circumstances beyond the member's control, such as, but not limited to, illness, illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member, a household emergency, the unavailability of transportation or the lack of adequate child care for children who have reached age six but are under age 12.
No individual who voluntarily quits his/her most recent job or reduces work hours to less than 30 hours per week, without good cause will be eligible to participate in the Food Supplement Program (FSP) as specified below.
1) When a household files an application for participation or when a participating household reports the loss of a source of income, determine whether any household member voluntarily quit a job. Benefits will not be delayed beyond the normal processing times specified in DSSM 9028 pending the outcome of this determination. This provision applies only if the employment involved 30 hours or more per week or provided weekly earnings at least equivalent to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours; the quit occurred within 30 days prior to the date of application or anytime thereafter; and the quit was without good cause. Changes in employment status that result from reducing hours of employment while working for the same employer, terminating a self‑employment enterprise or resigning from a job at the demand of the employer will not be considered as a voluntary quit for the purpose of this subsection.
An employee of the Federal Government or of a state or local government, who participates in a strike against such government and is dismissed from his or her job because of participation in the strike, will be considered to have voluntarily quit a job without good cause.
2) In the case of an applicant household, determine whether any currently unemployed (i.e., employed less than 30 hours per week or receiving less than weekly earnings equivalent to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours) household member who is required to register for work has voluntarily quit his or her most recent job within the last 30 days. If DSS learns that a household has lost a source of income after the date of application but before the household is certified, determine whether a voluntary quit occurred.
4) Upon a determination that the individual voluntarily quit employment, determine if the voluntary quit was with good cause as defined in DSSM 9026.3. In the case of an applicant household, if the voluntary quit was without good cause, the individual's application for participation will be denied and the appropriate period of ineligibility imposed per DSSM 9026.2.
If DSS determines that an individual voluntarily quit his/her job or reduced his/her work hours while participating in the program or discovers a quit or reduction of work hours which occurred within thirty (30) days prior to application or between application and certification, provide a notice of adverse action within ten (10) days after the determination of a voluntary quit is made. The notification must contain the proposed period of ineligibility and must specify that the individual may reapply at the end of the sanction. The periods of ineligibility are imposed according to DSSM 9026.2, and are effective upon the issuance of the notice of denial.
If a voluntary quit or reduction in work effort occurs in the last month of a certification period, or it is determined in the last 30 days of the certification period, the individual must be denied recertification for a period equal to the appropriate period of ineligibility. The beginning of the sanction starts with the first day after the last certification period ends and continues for the length of the sanction period, regardless of whether the individual reapplies for food benefits.
5) If an application for participation is filed in the last month of the sanction period, use the same application for the denial of benefits in the remaining month of the sanction and certification for any subsequent month(s) if all other eligibility criteria are met.
When an individual voluntarily quits a job or voluntarily reduces work hours to less than 30 hours per week and becomes ineligible to participate in the Food Supplement Program, the periods of ineligibility are as follows:
Determine whether good cause for the job quit exists, per DSSM 9025 and 9026.4. Within ten (10) days of the DSS determination that the non-compliance was without good cause, provide the individual with a notice of adverse action. The notice must contain the particular act of non-compliance committed, the proposed sanction period, and a statement that the individual may reapply at the end of the sanction period. Include information describing the action that can be taken to end or avoid the sanction.
The sanction period begins with the first month following the expiration of the adverse notice period, unless a fair hearing is requested. Individuals may appeal DSS actions such as DSS refusal to make a finding of good cause.
Good cause for leaving employment includes the good cause provisions found in DSSM 9025 and resigning from a job that does not meet the suitability criteria specified at DSSM 9022. Good cause for leaving employment also includes:
3) Acceptance by the head of household of employment, or enrollment at least half‑time in any recognized school, training program or institution of higher education, that requires the head of household to leave employment;
4) Acceptance by another household member of employment or enrollment at least half‑ time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education in another county which requires the household to move and thereby requires the head of household to leave employment;
7) Acceptance of a bona fide offer of employment of more than 30 hours a week or in which the weekly earnings are equivalent to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours which, because of circumstances beyond the control of the head of household, subsequently either does not materialize or results in employment of less than 30 hours a week or weekly earnings of less than the federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours; and
8) Leaving a job in connection with patterns of employment in which workers frequently move from one employer to another such as migrant farm labor or construction work. There may be some circumstances where households will apply for food benefits between jobs, particularly in cases where work may not yet be available at the new job site. Even though employment at the new site has not actually begun, the quitting of previous employment will be considered as with good cause if it is part of the pattern of that type of employment.
If the information given by the household is questionable as defined in DSSM 9033, request verification of the household's statements. The primary responsibility for providing verification as provided in DSSM 9035.1 rests with the household. If it is difficult or impossible for the household to obtain documentary evidence in a timely manner, offer assistance to the household to obtain the needed verification. Acceptable sources of verification include but are not limited to the previous employer, employee associations, union representatives, and grievance committees or organizations. Whenever DSS cannot obtain documentary evidence, substitute a collateral contact.
The Division is responsible for obtaining verification from acceptable collateral contacts provided by the household. If the household and the Division are unable to obtain requested verification from these or other sources because the cause for the quit resulted from circumstances that for good reason cannot be verified, such as a resignation from employment due to discrimination practices or unreasonable demands by an employer or because the employer cannot be located, the household will not be denied access to the Food Supplement Program.
DSS will provide timely, accurate, and fair service to applicants and recipients of the Food Stamp Program. DSS will not impose additional application or application processing requirements as a condition of eligibility.
The application process includes filing and completing an application form, being interviewed, and having certain information verified. Prompt action will be taken on all applications and food stamp benefits retroactive to the period of application will be provided to those households that have completed the application process and have been determined eligible. Expedited service will be available to households in immediate need.
Households must file a food stamp application by submitting the form to a certification office either in person, through an authorized representative, by fax or other electronic transmission, by mail or by completing an on-line electronic application. Applications signed through the use of electronic signature techniques or applications containing handwritten signatures and then transmitted by fax or other electronic transmission are acceptable. DSS must document the date the application was filed by recording the date of receipt at the local office.
The length of time DSS has to deliver benefits is calculated from the date the application is filed in the food stamp claim office designated to accept the household's application, except when a resident of a public institution is jointly applying for SSI and food stamps prior to his/her release from an institution in accordance with DSSM 9015. Certify residents of public institutions who apply for food stamps prior to their release from the institution in accordance with DSSM 9039 or DSSM 9041, as appropriate. The date received will be documented on the application.
Each household has the right to file, and should be encouraged to file an application form on the same day it contacts any food stamp office during office hours and expresses interest in obtaining food stamps or expresses concerns which indicate food insecurity.
DSS shall make clear to applicants that the disadvantages and requirements of applying for cash assistance do not apply to food stamps. Applicants shall be encouraged to continue an application with food stamps. DSS shall inform households that receiving food stamps will have no bearing on any other program's time limits that may apply to the household.
Mail an application form the same day households request food stamp assistance either by telephone or written notice. Advise the household that it does not have to be interviewed before filing the application and may file an incomplete application form as long as the form contains the applicant's name and address, and the signature of a responsible household member or the household's authorized representative. Any office must accept applications when filed, but must subsequently refer the household to the proper office for the eligibility determination. Mail applications received in the wrong office to the correct office the same day.
Applications filed at incorrect office locations are considered filed and the receiving office will forward the application to the correct office. If the household is eligible for expedited services, the receiving office will fax the application and proof of identity to the correct office and alert the office by phone about the fax. The correct office will issue the expedited benefits and, if necessary, schedule an appointment for an interview.
When a resident of an institution is jointly applying for SSI and food stamps prior to leaving the institution, the filing date of the application to be recorded by DSS on the application is the date of release of the applicant from the institution.
Have application forms readily accessible to potentially eligible households in each regional office and provide them to those groups and organizations involved in outreach efforts. DSS will provide a means for applicants to immediately begin the application process with name, address, and signature by having applicants complete and sign a copy of the on-line Referral for Assistance or the first page of the hard-copy application. Households that complete an on-line electronic application in person have the opportunity to review the information that has been recorded electronically and to receive a copy for their records.
When a household contacts the wrong certification office in person or by telephone, the household will be given the address and phone number of the correct office. The office contacted in person will provide the household an opportunity to file an application that same day. The office will forward the application to the correct office the same day. If the household has mailed its application to the wrong certification office, forward it to the proper office on the same day.
Provide each household at the time of application for certification or recertification with a notice (Form 105) that informs the household of the verification requirements the household must meet as part of the application process. The notice must also inform the household of the Division's responsibility to assist the household in obtaining required verification provided the household is cooperating as specified in DSSM 9029.
Notify households applying for TANF/GA/RCA of their right to apply for food stamp benefits at the same time and permit them to do so. DSS will notify such households that time limits or other requirements that apply to the receipt of TANF/GA/RCA benefits do not apply to the receipt of food stamp benefits. DSS will also notify such households, which cease receiving TANF/GA/RCA because they have reached a time limit, have begun working, or were closed for other reasons, that they may still be eligible for food stamp benefits. DSS will encourage applicants to continue to apply for food stamp benefits even if household determines not to apply for TANF/GA/RCA due to the requirements or disadvantages of that program. DSS will inform households that receiving food stamps will have no bearing on any other program’s time limits that may apply to the household. These households’ food stamp eligibility and benefit levels are to be based solely on food stamp eligibility criteria. However, any household in which all members are recipients of TANF/GA/RCA and/or SSI benefits are to be considered eligible for food stamps because of the TANF/ GA/RCA/SSI status in accordance with DSSM 9042.2.
Recipients include individuals authorized to receive TANF/GA/RCA and or SSI benefits but who have not yet received payment. In addition, persons are considered recipients if the TANF/GA/RCA or SSI benefits are suspended or recouped. Persons entitled to TANF/GA/RCA benefits because the grant is less than $10 are also considered TANF/GA/RCA recipients.
Households, whether jointly processed and/or eligible because of their TANF/GA/RCA/SSI status, will be certified in accordance with the notice, procedural and timeliness requirements of the food stamp regulations.
B. DSS will not deny a case because a household merely failed to cooperate or was unable to cooperate. DSS must determine that the household refused to cooperate. Before DSS can make a determination of refused to cooperate, the household must:
After a DSS denial or termination for refusal to cooperate, the household may reapply and must cooperate before determined eligible. If there is any question as to whether the household has merely failed to cooperate, as opposed to refused to cooperate, the DSS worker will not deny the household. The worker must provide assistance.
Non-household members, like roomers, live-in attendants or others sharing the residence, are not considered as living outside the household for the purposes of this policy. This means the failure of a non-household member to cooperate could cause the household to be ineligible.
A household is ineligible if it refuses to cooperate in any subsequent review of its eligibility as a part of a Quality Control (QC) review. If a household is terminated for refusal to cooperate with a QC reviewer, the household may reapply but will not be determined eligible until it cooperates with the QC reviewer. If a household terminated for refusal to cooperate with a State QC reviewer reapplies after 95 days from the end of September, (the end of the annual review period which runs October through September each fiscal year), do not determine the household ineligible for its refusal to cooperate with a State QC reviewer during the completed review period. However, the household must provide verification in accordance with DSSM 9032.13.
If a household terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Federal QC reviewer reapplies after seven months from the end of September, (the end of the annual review period which runs October through September each fiscal year), do not determine the household ineligible for its refusal to cooperate with a Federal QC reviewer during the completed review period. However, the household must provide verification in accordance with DSSM 9032.13.
If the household who refuses to cooperate with a QC reviewer joins another food stamp household, those individuals would be treated as ineligible household members until they cooperate with the QC reviewer.
Interview may be conducted at the food stamp office or other mutually acceptable location, including a household residence. Interviews conducted at the household's residence must be scheduled in advance.
The head of household, spouse, any other responsible member of the household, or an authorized representative may be interviewed. Advise the households of their rights and responsibilities during the interview, including the appropriate processing standard and the responsibility to report changes. The interview will be conducted as an official and confidential discussion of household circumstances and will be limited strictly to facts that relate directly to food stamp eligibility criteria. The applicant's right to privacy will be protected during the interview.
The eligibility worker must explore and resolve with the household any unclear and incomplete information. Households applying for cash assistance must be informed that time limits and other requirements that apply to the cash assistance program do not apply to the receipt of food stamps. Inform households that stop receiving cash assistance due to reaching a time limit, getting a job, or other reasons, that they may still be eligible for food stamp benefits.
Inform applicants that DSS will waive the office interview and conduct a telephone interview on a case-by-case basis because of household hardship situations. Hardship situations include, but are not limited to, age, disability, illness, transportation difficulties, care of a household member, hardships due to residency in a rural area, prolonged severe weather, or work or training hours which prevent the household from participating in an in-office interview. Document the casefile to show when a waiver was granted due to hardship.
Waiver of the face‑to‑face interview does not exempt the household from the verification requirements. A waiver of the face-to-face interview cannot not affect the length of the household's certification period. Assign households waived the face-to-face interview normal certification periods
DSS will schedule an interview for all applicant households who are not interviewed on the day they submit their applications. All interviews will be scheduled as promptly as possible to ensure eligible households receive an opportunity to participate within 30 days after the application is filed.
If the household misses its interview appointment, DSS will notify the household that it missed the interview and that the household is responsible for making another appointment. DSS will not deny the application prior to the 30th day after the application was filed if the household fails to appear for the interview. If the household requests a second interview during the 30-day application processing period and is determined eligible, DSS will prorate benefits from the date of application.
If the client is unable to provide verification use other resources available to you including third party verification. If you are still unable to verify the income, determine an amount based on the best available information. Sometimes the best available information will be from a collateral contact or from the client him/herself.
3. DSS must provide alien applicants at least 10 days from the date of the request to submit acceptable documentation of their eligible alien status as of the 30th day following the date of application.
4. DSS must provide the household with benefits no later than 30 days following the date of application, provided the household is otherwise eligible, if DSS fails to give applicants at least 10 days to submit acceptable documentation.
ii. If the household cannot obtain acceptable verification, DSS must accept a signed third-party statement, under penalty of perjury, which indicates a reasonable basis for personal knowledge that the member in question is a U. S. citizen or a non-citizen national.
1. Contact the household to determine if the information the household provided is correct if the SSN returns from SSA as unverified. Obtain the correct information so that the SSN can be resubmitted to SSA.
3. Accept any documents which reasonably establish the applicant's identity. (Examples include a driver's license, a work or school ID, an ID for health benefits, or for other assistance or social services program, a voter registration card, wage stubs, or a birth certificate.)
2. Only those individuals who suffer from one of the disabilities mentioned in the SSA list who are unable to purchase and prepare meals because of such disability will be considered disabled for the purpose of this provision.
i. If it is obvious that the individual is unable to purchase and prepare meals because s/he suffers from a severe physical or mental disability, consider the individual disabled for the purpose of the provision even if the disability is not specifically mentioned on the SSA list.
ii. If the disability is not obvious, verify the disability by requiring a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist certifying that the individual (in the physician's/psychologist's opinion) is unable to purchase and prepare meals because s/he suffers from one of the non-obvious disabilities mentioned in the SSA list or is unable to purchase meals because s/he suffers from some other severe, permanent physical or mental disease or non-disease related disability.
3. The elderly and disabled individual (or his/her authorized representative) is responsible for obtaining the cooperation of the individuals with whom s/he resides in providing the necessary income information about the others to DSS.
2. Verify all factors of eligibility for households who have been terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Federal QC reviewer and reapply after seven months from the end of the annual review period.
1. Appropriate verifications include receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources, or of a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist.
1. Hours worked – verify the hours worked for individuals who are satisfying the ABAWD work requirements by working, by combining work and participation in a work program, or by participating in a work or workfare program that is not operated or supervised by the State.
2. Countable months in another state – verify the number of countable months for individuals subject to the ABAWD provisions if an individual has lived in another state and there is an indication that the individual participated in that state.
Questionable information is information inconsistent with statements made by the applicant, with other information on the application or previous applications, or with information received by the agency. Procedures described below will apply when one of the following eligibility factors is questionable:
When expenses claimed by the household for purposes of determining allowable program deductions (per DSSM 9060) or those otherwise reported during the certification interview (e.g., car payments, credit card bills) exceed declared income, ask the household to verify how such expenses were paid. New applicants must satisfactorily explain past management. Possible methods to verify payments are as follows:
Additionally, households where management has been questionable will be notified that they will be responsible for verifications of all cash outflow at times of recertification if management continues to appear questionable.
A. Household Composition. Verify factors affecting the composition of a household, if questionable. Individuals who wish to be a separate household from those with whom they reside will be responsible for proving a claim that they are a separate household to the satisfaction of the Division.
Individuals who claim to be a separate household from those with whom they reside based on the various age and disability factors for determining separateness will be responsible for proving a claim of separateness in accordance with DSSM 9032.11.
When a household's statement that one or more of its members are U.S. citizens or has the status as a non-citizen national is questionable, ask the household to provide acceptable verification. Acceptable forms of verification include birth certificates, religious records, voter registration cards, certificates of citizenship or naturalization provided by INS, such as identification cards for use of resident citizens in the United States (INS form I‑ 179 or INS form I‑ 197), or U.S. passports. Participation in the TANF Program will also be considered acceptable verification if verification of citizenship or non-citizen national status was obtained for that program. If the above forms of verification cannot be obtained and the household can provide a reasonable explanation as to why verification is not available, accept a signed statement from a third party indicating a reasonable basis for personal knowledge that the member in question is a U.S. citizen. The signed statement must contain a warning of the penalties for helping someone commit fraud, such as: "If you intentionally give false information to help this person get food stamps, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both."
The member whose citizenship or non-citizen national status is in question will be ineligible to participate until proof of U.S. citizenship or non-citizen national status is obtained. Until proof of U.S. citizenship or non-citizen national status is obtained, the member whose citizenship or non-citizen national status is in question will have his or her income, less a prorata share, and all of his or her resources considered available to any remaining household members as set forth in DSSM 9076.2.
C. Deductible expenses. If obtaining verification for a deductible expense may delay certification, advise the household that its eligibility and benefit level may be determined without providing a deduction for the claimed but unverified expense. This provision also applies to the allowance of medical expenses per DSSM 9032. Shelter costs would be computed without including the unverified components. The standard utility allowance will be used if the household is entitled to claim it.
If the expense cannot be verified within 30 days of the date of application, determine the household's eligibility and benefit level without providing a deduction of the unverified expense. If the household subsequently provides the missing verification, redetermine the household's benefits, and provide increased benefits, if any, in accordance with the timeliness standards in DSSM 9085. If the expense could not be verified within the 30‑ day processing standard because the Division failed to allow the household sufficient time per DSSM 9040 to verify the expense, the household will be entitled to the restoration of benefits retroactive to the month of application, provided that the missing verification is supplied in accordance with DSSM 9040. If the household would be ineligible unless the expense is allowed, the household's application will be handled as provided in DSSM 9040.
Use documentary evidence as the primary source of verification for all items except residency and household size. Documentary evidence consists of a written confirmation of a household's circumstances. Although documentary evidence will be the primary source of verification, acceptable verification will not be limited to any single type of document and may be obtained through the household or other source. Whenever documentary evidence cannot be obtained or is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, require collateral contacts or home visits.
For example, documentary evidence is considered insufficient when the household presents pay stubs which do not represent an accurate picture of the household's income. Each wage stub submitted must contain a complete data (month, day, year) affixed by the employer. When wage stubs presented are not acceptable, any of the alternate procedures following may be invoked:
A collateral contact is a verbal confirmation of a household's circumstances by a person outside of the household. The collateral contact may be made either in person or over the telephone. Select a collateral contact if the household fails to designate one or designates one which is unacceptable to the Division.
Examples of acceptable collateral contacts are employers, landlords, social service agencies, migrant service agencies, and neighbors of the household who can be expected to provide accurate third party verification.
When talking with collateral contacts, DSS will disclose only the information that is absolutely necessary to get the information being sought. DSS will avoid disclosing that the household has applied for food stamps, nor should they disclose any information supplied by the household, especially information that is protected by DSSM 1003, or suggest that the household is suspected of doing any wrong doing.
If the Division designates a collateral contact, no contact will be made without providing prior written or oral notice to the household. At the time of this notice, inform the household that it has the following options:
Examples are the Beneficiary Data Exchange (BENDEX) and the State Data Exchange (SDX) and records of another agency where a routine access agreement exists (such as records from DOL Unemployment Compensation section).
Home visits may be used as verification only when documentary evidence is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, or cannot be obtained, and the home visit is scheduled in advance with the household.
Home visits are to be used on a case-by-case basis where the supplied documentation is insufficient. Even though a household fits a profile of an error-prone household, it does not constitute lack of verification, therefore a home visit in this case would not be appropriate. DSS will assist a household in obtaining sufficient verification in accordance with DSSM 9305.1 prior to a referral for a home visit by ARMS.
Where unverified information from a source other than the household contradicts statements made by the household, afford the household a reasonable opportunity to resolve the discrepancy prior to a determination of eligibility or benefits. Verify the information directly with the primary source and contact the household only if direct verification efforts are unsuccessful. If the unverified information is received through the IEVS, as specified in DSSM 2013.1, obtain verification from a third party as specified in DSSM 9037.
The household has the primary responsibility for providing documentary evidence to support statements on the application and to resolve any questionable information. DSS will assist the household in obtaining this verification provided the household is cooperating as defined in DSSM 9029. Households may supply documentary evidence in person, through the mail, by fax or other electronic device, or through an authorized representative. Do not require the household to present verification in person at the food stamp office. Accept any reasonable documentary evidence provided by the household. Be primarily concerned with how adequately the verification proves the statements on the application.
Whenever documentary evidence is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level or cannot be obtained, require a collateral contact or a home visit in accordance with DSSM 9034.3. Rely on the household to provide the name of any collateral contact. The household may request assistance in designating a collateral contact. DSS is not required to use a collateral contact designated by the household if the collateral contact cannot be expected to provide an accurate third‑party verification. When the collateral contact designated by the household is unacceptable, either designate another collateral contact, ask the household to designate another collateral contact, or provide an alternative form of verification or substitute a home visit. DSS is responsible for obtaining verification from acceptable collateral contacts.
Case files must be documented to support eligibility, ineligibility, and benefit level determinations. Documentation must be in sufficient detail to permit a reviewer to determine the reasonableness and accuracy of the determination. For all negative actions (denials, withdrawals) a substantive reason should be provided in the disposition section.
DSS participates in the SAVE Program established by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in order to verify the validity of documents provided by aliens applying for food stamp benefits. The central data files utilized are maintained by INS.
3) Investigating whether participating households received benefits to which they were not entitled, if an individual was previously certified to receive benefits on the basis of eligible alien status; and
Before benefits can be approved, a signature from a household member must be obtained on the application (Form 100) certifying all household members are U.S. citizens or aliens in lawful immigration status. For each member designating "alien" (i.e., non‑citizen) status, access the Alien Status Verification Index (ASVI) database to verify the alien's documented status through the SAVE Point‑of‑Contact (POC) person located in the Deputy Director’s Office for Service Delivery in the Lewis Building. Requests for verification can be mailed (using form SAVE-1) to the SAVE POC.
Secondary verification is accomplished through use of Form (INS) G‑ 845, submitted along with photocopies of documentation presented to DSS by the alien. This secondary verification procedure is also to be used whenever the client's documented alien status has not been verified successfully through ASVI or significant discrepancies exist between data on the ASVI file and the information provided by the alien applicant.
Provide an applicant alien with a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation of eligible alien status prior to the 30th day following the date of application. A reasonable opportunity is at least ten (10) days from the date DSS requests an acceptable document. An alien who has been given a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation and has not done so as of the 30th day following the date of application cannot be certified for benefits until documentation has been submitted. However, if the ten‑day reasonable opportunity period does not lapse before the 30th day following the date of application, provide the household with benefits no later than 30 days following the date of application if the household is otherwise eligible.
Submit INS Form G‑ 845, with an attached photocopy of the alien's document to the Division's SAVE Point‑of‑Contact person whenever the initial automated access does not confirm the validity of the alien's documentation or a significant discrepancy exists between the data provided by ASVI and the information provided by the applicant. Pending such responses from either the ASVI or INS Form G‑ 845, do not delay, deny, reduce, or terminate the alien's eligibility for benefits on the basis of the individual's alien status.
If it is determined that the alien is not in an eligible alien status, take action, including proper notices to the household, to terminate, deny, or reduce benefits. Provide households the opportunity to request a fair hearing under DSSM 5000 prior to any adverse action.
Document the use of SAVE in the casefile. While awaiting a response from SAVE, notate the date of the verification request or retain a copy of the INS Form G‑ 845 sent to INS. Once the SAVE response is received, enter the ASVI Query Verification Number or file a copy of the INS‑ annotated Form G‑ 845. Whenever the response from automated access to the ASVI directs the eligibility worker to initiate secondary verification, show documentation of the ASVI Query Verification Number in the record and file a copy of the INS Form G‑ 845.
Use information obtained through the IEVS to verify the eligibility and benefit level of applicant and participating households, in accordance with procedures specified in DSSM 2013.1. Disclosure safeguards must be satisfied, per DSSM 9003.
Take action, including proper notices to households, to terminate, deny, or reduce benefits based on information obtained through the IEVS which is considered verified upon receipt. This information is social security and SSI benefit information obtained from SSA and UIB information obtained from DOL. If DSS has information that the IEVS obtained information about a particular household is questionable, consider this information unverified. Unverified information is:
Prior to taking action to terminate, deny, or reduce benefits based on unverified information obtained through IEVS, independently verify the information. Independent verification includes verification of the amount of the asset or income involved, whether the household actually has or had access to such asset or income that it would be considered countable for food benefit purposes, and the period during which such access occurred. When DSS has information indicating that independent verification is unnecessary, such verification is not required.
Obtain independent verification of unverified information from IEVS by contacting the household and/or the appropriate income, resource or benefit source. When contacting the household, do so in writing, informing the household of the information DSS has received, and requesting that the household respond within ten (10) days. If the household fails to respond in a timely manner, send a notice of adverse action.
Contact the appropriate source by the means best suited to the situation. When the household or appropriate source provides the independent verification, properly notify the household of the action DSS intends to take and provide the household with an opportunity to request a fair hearing prior to any adverse action.
Provide eligible households that complete the initial application process an opportunity to participate as soon as possible, but no later that 30 calendar days following the date the application was filed. The following exception applies for residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to release from the institution per DSSM 9015. For residents of public institutions who apply for food stamps prior to their release from the institution, provide an opportunity to participate as soon as possible, but not later than 30 calendar days from the date of release of the applicant from the institution.
Action (computer input) must take place on or before the 26th day for mailed EBT cards. Do not delay due to weekends or holidays. If work cannot be completed by the 26th day, the worker issues a pending notice (Form 340) on the 26th day. If the 26th day falls on a weekend or holiday, action must take place on the last preceding day. Action must take place on the 27th, 28th, or 29th day for those clients picking up their EBT cards at a card issuance site. This ensures the client can have access to their benefits by the 30th day.
Households that are found to be ineligible must be sent a notice of denial as soon as possible but not later than 30 days following the date the application was filed. If the household has failed to appear for a scheduled interview and has made no subsequent contact with DSS to express interest in pursuing the application, send the household a notice of denial on the 30th day following the date of application. The household must file a new application if it wishes to participate in the program. If the 30th day falls on a weekend or holiday, action must take place on the next working day.
In cases where DSS was able to conduct an interview and request all of the necessary verification on the same day the application was filed, and no subsequent requests for verification have been made, DSS may also deny the application on the 30th day if the Division provided assistance to the household in obtaining verification per DSSM 9035.1, but the household failed to provide the requested verification.
If the agency does not determine a household's eligibility and provide an opportunity to participate within 30 days following the date the application was filed, the agency will take the following action:
2. For households with members who failed to register for work: informed the household of the need to register for work, determined if the household members are exempt from work registration, and given at least ten (10) days to do so.
3. In cases where verification is incomplete, DSS must have provided the household with a statement of required verification (Form 105) and offered to assist the household in obtaining required verification and allowed the household sufficient time to provide the missing verification.
A delay is considered the fault of the household if the household has failed to complete the application process even though DSS has taken all action required to assist the household. DSS must have taken the following actions before a delay can be considered the fault of the household:
Where verification is incomplete, provide assistance as required in DSSM 9035. Allow the household sufficient time to provide the missing verification. Sufficient time is at least ten (10) days from the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing.
4. For households that have failed to appear for an interview, DSS must notify the household that it missed the scheduled interview and that the household is responsible for rescheduling the missed interview. If the household contacts DSS within the 30-day processing period, DSS must schedule a second interview. If the household fails to schedule a second interview, or the subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request or cannot otherwise be rescheduled until after the 20th day but before the 30th day following the date the application was filed, the household must appear for the interview, bring verification, and register members for work by the 30th day; otherwise, the delay will be the fault of the household. If the household has failed to appear for the first interview, fails to schedule a second interview, and/or a subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request until after the 30th day following the date the application was filed, the delay will be the fault of the household. If the household has missed both scheduled interviews and requests another interview, any delay will be the fault of the household.
1. If by the 30th day the agency cannot take any further action on the application due to the fault of the household, send a notice of denial. If the household takes the required action within 60 days of the date the application was filed, reopen the case without requiring a new application.
1. Whenever a delay during the initial 30‑day period is agency fault, take immediate corrective action. Notify the household of any action it must take to complete the application. If verification is lacking, hold the application pending for only 30 days following the date of the initial request.
3. If the household is found to be eligible during the second 30‑day period, the household will be entitled to benefits retroactive to the month of application. If, however, the household is found to be ineligible, deny the application.
1. If DSS is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30‑day period, and the case file is otherwise complete, continue to process the original application until an eligibility determination is reached. If the household is determined eligible, and DSS was at fault for the delay in the initial 30 days, give the household benefits retroactive to the month of application. However, if the initial delay was the household's fault, give the household benefits retroactive only to the month following the month of application. Use the original application to determine the household's eligibility in the months following the 60‑day period.
2. If DSS is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30‑ day period, but the case file is not complete enough to reach an eligibility determination, deny the case and notify the household to file a new application. If the case is denied, advise the household of its possible entitlement to benefits lost as a result of DSS caused delays in accordance with DSSM 9011. If DSS was also at fault for the delay in the initial 30 days, the amount of benefits lost would be calculated from the month of application. If, however, the household was at fault for the initial delay, the amount of benefits lost would be calculated from the month following the month of application.
3. If the household is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30‑day period, deny the application and require the household to file a new application. As DSS has chosen to hold an application pending only until 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing, if the verification is not received by that 30th day, immediately deny the application. A notice of denial need not be sent if the notice of pending status informed the household that it would have to file a new application if verification was not received within 30 days of the initial request. The household will not be entitled to any lost benefits, even if the delay in the initial 30 days was the fault of DSS.
1. Households with less than $150 in monthly gross income, provided their liquid resources (i.e., cash on hand, checking or savings accounts, savings certificates and lump sum payments) as specified in DSSM 9059(H) do not exceed $100;
2. Migrant or seasonal farmworker households who are destitute as defined in DSSM 9067 provided their liquid resources (i.e., cash on hand, checking or savings accounts, savings certificates, and lump sum payments) as specified in DSSM 9059 (H) do not exceed $100;
3. Households whose combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than the household's monthly rent or mortgage, and utilities, (including entitlement to a SUA, as appropriate, under DSSM 9060).
For households entitled to expedited service, benefits must be available to the recipient not later than the seventh calendar day following the date an application was filed. For a resident of a public institution who applies for benefits prior to his/her release from the institution in accordance with DSSM 9015 and who is entitled to expedited service, the filing date is the date of release of the applicant from the institution. There are no exceptions to these requirements for weekends or holidays.
When an applicant comes in and is found eligible for expedited services, but they do not want the benefits because of anticipated changes (a move or new household members), we are required to issue the household expedited benefits. The only way we cannot expedite is when identity has not been verified or the household fails to file a completed application.
For residents of drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation centers and residents of group living arrangements who are entitled to expedited service, benefits must be made available not later than the seventh calendar day following the date an application was filed.
For a household entitled to expedited service and a waiver of the office interview, conduct the interview (unless the household cannot be reached) and complete the application process within the expedited service standards. The first day of this count is the calendar day following application filing. If DSS conducts a telephone interview and must mail the application to the household for signature, the mailing time involved will not be calculated in the expedited service standards. Mailing time will only include the days the application is in the mail to and from the household and the days the application is in the household's possession pending signature and mailing.
If DSS in prescreening individuals or applications, fails to identify a household as being entitled to expedited service and later discovers that the household was entitled, provide expedited service within the processing standards in this section. The processing standard, seven day timeframe, is calculated from the date that DSS discovers the household is entitled to expedited service.
In all cases, the applicant's identity (i.e., the identity of the person making the application) will be verified through a collateral contact or readily available documentary evidence as specified in DSSM 9032.
Once an acceptable collateral contact has been designated, promptly contact the collateral contact in accordance with DSSM 9034.2. Although the household has the primary responsibility for providing other types of verification, assist the household in promptly obtaining the necessary verification.
All reasonable efforts will be made to verify within the expedited processing standards the household's residency, in accordance with DSSM 9032.6, income statement (including a statement that the household has no income), liquid resources and all other factors required by DSSM 9032, through collateral contacts or readily available documentary evidence. However, benefits will not be delayed beyond the delivery standards prescribed in DSSM 9041.1 solely because these eligibility factors have not been verified.
Households that have recently moved from another state or territory where they were food stamp recipients and claim that they did not receive benefits for the current month should be handled as follows:
2) Social Security Numbers ‑ Those household members unable to provide the required SSN's or who do not have one prior to the second full month of participation will be allowed to continue to participate only if they satisfy the good cause requirements with respect to SSN's specified in DSSM 9012, except that households with a newborn may have up to six months following the month the baby was born to provide an SSN or proof of application for the newborn.
3) Work registration ‑ require the applicant to register (unless exempt or unless the household has designated an authorized representative to apply on its behalf in accordance with DSSM 9016). Attempt to register other household members but postpone the registration of other household members if it cannot be accomplished within the expedited service time frame.
4) Certification period ‑ Households certified on an expedited basis who have provided all necessary verification prior to certification will be assigned a normal certification period. If verification was postponed, certify these households for the month of application (the month of application and the subsequent month for those households applying after the 15th of the month) or, assign a normal certification period to those households whose circumstances would otherwise warrant a longer certification period.
For households applying on or before the 15th of the month, assign a one-month or normal certification period. Verification requirements may be postponed until the second month of participation. If a one-month certification period is assigned, a notice must be given to the household that explains what postponed verifications must be returned. For subsequent months, the household must reapply and provide all verification requirements that were postponed or be certified under normal processing standards. If the household does not provide the postponed verifications and does not appear for an interview, no further action is taken.
For households applying after the 15th of the month, assign a two-month certification or normal certification period of no more than 12 months. Verification may be postponed until the third month of participation to meet the expedited timeframe. If a two-month certification period is assigned, a notice must be given to the household that explains what postponed verifications must be returned. For subsequent months, the household must reapply and provide all verification requirements that were postponed or be certified under normal processing standards. If the household does not provide the postponed verifications and does not appear for an interview, no further action is taken. When a certification period of longer than two months is assigned and verification is postponed, households must be sent a notice advising that no benefits for the third month will be issued until the postponed verifications are provided. The notice must also advise the household that if the verification process results in changes in the household's eligibility or level of benefits, DSS will act on those changes without advance notice of adverse action.
Households which apply for initial benefits after the 15th of the month, are entitled to expedited service, and have been determined eligible to receive benefits for the initial month and the next subsequent month, shall receive a combined allotment. The combined allotments, which are the prorated benefits for the initial month and the first full month's benefit, are both issued within the expedited service timeframe. Verification shall be postponed to meet the expedited timeframe.
Expedited benefits shall not be issued to households which have been determined ineligible to receive benefits for the month of application or the following month, or to households which have not satisfied the postponed verifications requirements.
There is no limit to the number of times a household can be certified under expedited procedures, as long as prior to each expedited certification, the household either completes the verification requirements that were postponed at the last expedited certification or was certified under normal processing standards since the last expedited certification.
Households applying for food stamps whose gross income is at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level are categorically eligible unless specifically excluded in DSSM 9042.2 or 9042.3. The household is categorically eligible because Delaware uses TANF funds to provide pregnancy prevention information. Reduction of out-of-wedlock pregnancies is the 3rd purpose of the TANF program.
You are authorized to receive pregnancy prevention information. If you wish to receive this information you can call Planned Parenthood at 1-800-230-PLAN (7526). If you wish to get teen pregnancy prevention information, you may also call the Alliance for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention at 1-800-499-WAIT (9248). You can also call the Delaware Helpline at 1-800-464-4357 for the Public Health Family Planning clinic in your area.
Conduct a single interview at initial certification for TANF/GA/RCA and food stamp purposes. A household's eligibility for food stamp out‑ of‑ office interview provisions in DSSM 9030 does not relieve the household of any responsibility for a face‑to‑face interview to be certified for TANF/GA/RCA.
For households applying for both TANF/GA/RCA and food stamps, follow the verification procedures described in DSSM 9032 for those factors of eligibility needed solely for purposes of determining the household's eligibility for food stamps. For those factors of eligibility needed to determine both TANF/GA/RCA and food stamp eligibility, use TANF/GA/RCA verification rules. Do not delay the household's food stamp benefits if, at the end of 30 days following the date the application was filed, DSS has sufficient verification to meet the requirements in DSSM 9032, but does not have sufficient verification to meet the TANF/GA/RCA verification rules.
To determine if a household will be eligible due to its status as a recipient TANF/GA/RCA/SSI household, temporarily postpone, within the 30‑ day processing standard, the food stamp eligibility determination if the household is not entitled to expedited service and appears to be categorically eligible. Postpone denying a potentially categorically eligible household until the 30th day in case the household is determined eligible to receive TANF/GA/RCA benefits.
Once the TANF/GA/RCA application is approved, consider the household categorically eligible if it meets all the criteria concerning categorical eligibility in DSSM 9042. If DSS can anticipate the amount and date of receipt of the initial TANF/GA/RCA payment, but the payment will not be received until a subsequent month, vary the household's food stamp benefit level according to the anticipated receipt of the payment and notify the household. Disregard portions of initial TANF/GA/RCA payments intended to retroactively cover a previous month as lump sum payments.
If the amount or date of receipt of the initial TANF/GA/RCA payment cannot be reasonably anticipated at the time of the food stamp eligibility determination, handle the TANF/GA/RCA payments as a change in circumstances and issue a notice through DCIS to explain the adverse action.
Ensure that the denied application of a potentially categorically eligible household is easily retrievable. For a household filing a joint application for food stamps and TANF/GA/RCA benefits or a household that has a TANF/GA/RCA application pending and is denied food stamps, but is later determined eligible to receive TANF/GA/RCA benefits and is otherwise categorically eligible, provide benefits using the original application and any other pertinent information occurring subsequent to that application. Except for residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to their release from a public institution in accordance with DSSM 9015, pay benefits from the beginning of the period for which TANF/GA/RCA or SSI benefits are paid, the original food stamp application date, or December 23, 1985, whichever is later. Residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to their release from the institution are to be paid benefits from the date of their release from the institution. Use any available information to update the application and/or make mail or phone contact with the household or authorized representative to determine any changes in circumstances. If any information obtained from the household differs from that which DSS obtained from available information or the household provided additional changes in information, arrange for the household or its authorized representative to initial all changes, re‑sign, and date the updated application and provide necessary verification.
Any household determined TANF/GA/RCA eligible within the 30‑ day food stamp processing time will be provided benefits back to the date of the food stamp application. Do not pay food stamp benefits for a month in which such household is ineligible for receipt of any TANF/GA/ RCA benefits for the month, unless the household is eligible for food stamp benefits as an NPA case. Pro‑ rate benefits accordingly.
Households filing joint applications that are found categorically eligible after being denied NPA food stamps, should have their benefits pro‑ rated from the date TANF/GA/RCA benefits are payable, or the date of the original food stamp application, whichever is later. Re‑evaluate the original application either at the household's request or when it becomes otherwise aware of the household's TANF/GA/RCA/SSI eligibility. (Notices of denial for NPA food stamps should inform the household to notify DSS of subsequent approval for SSI benefits.)
Households who file joint applications for food stamps and TANF/GA/RCA and whose TANF/GA/RCA applications are subsequently denied may have their food stamp eligibility determined or continued on the basis of the original application and any other documented information obtained subsequent to the application which is relevant to food stamp eligibility or level of benefits. If more than 30 days lapses between filing of the original joint application and the household's indication that they want to reapply, a new application will be required.
Do not require households whose TANF/GA/RCA applications are denied to file new food stamp applications. Their food stamp eligibility should be continued or determined on the basis of the original applications filed jointly for TANF/GA/RCA and food stamp purposes and any other documented information obtained subsequent to the application which may have been used in the TANF/GA/RCA determination and which is relevant to food stamp eligibility or level of benefits.
Any household in which all members receive or are authorized to receive TANF/GA/RCA and/or SSI benefits are considered eligible for food stamps because of their status as TANF/GA/ RCA and/or SSI recipients unless the entire household is institutionalized as defined in DSSM 9015 or disqualified for any reason from receiving food stamps. Residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to their release from the institution in accordance with DSSM 9015 are not categorically eligible upon a finding by SSA of potential SSI eligibility prior to such release. Consider the individuals categorically eligible. At such time as a final SSI eligibility determination has been made and the individual has been released from the institution. The eligibility factors which are deemed for food stamp eligibility without the verification required in DSSM 9032 because of PA/SSI status are the resource, gross and net income limits, Social Security Number information, sponsored alien information and residency. If any of the following factors are questionable, verify that the household which is considered categorically eligible:
Assume categorical eligibility at recertification in the absence of a timely redetermination. If a recertified household is subsequently terminated from TANF/GA/RCA benefits, follow the procedures in DSSM 9089 as appropriate.
Under no circumstances will any household be considered categorically eligible if any member of that household is disqualified for an intentional Program violation in accordance with DSSM 2023, 2024, 2026, and 2027.
For the purposes of work registration, apply the exemptions in DSSM 9018.3 to individuals in categorically eligible households. Any such individual who is not exempt from work registration is subject to the other work requirements in DSSM 9018.1.
To facilitate their participation in the Program, households in which all members are applying for or receiving SSI may apply for food stamp benefits in Social Security Administration (SSA) offices if:
Households applying simultaneously for SSI and food stamps are subject to food stamp eligibility criteria. Base benefit levels solely on food stamp eligibility criteria until the household is considered categorically eligible. However, households in which all members are either TANF/GA/RCA or SSI recipients or authorized to receive TANF/GA/RCA or SSI benefits as defined in DSSM 9042 are food stamp eligible based on their TANF/GA/RCA/SSI status as provided for in that section. Households denied NPA food stamps that have an SSI application pending will be informed on the DCIS notice of denial of the possibility of categorical eligibility if they become SSI recipients.
2) The SSA will accept and complete food stamp applications received at the office from SSI households and forward them, within one working day after receipt of a signed application, to the designated DSS office, along with a transmittal form.
4) Except for applications taken in accordance with item (3), make an eligibility determination and issue food stamp benefits to eligible SSI households within 30 days following the date the application was received by SSA. Make an eligibility determination and issue food stamp benefits to a resident of a public institution who applies jointly for SSI and food stamps within 30 days following the date of the applicant's release from the institution. Expedited processing time standards for an applicant who has applied for food stamps and SSI prior to release also begin on the date of the applicant's release from the institution. SSA will notify DSS of the release date. If, for any reason, DSS is not notified on a timely basis of the applicant's release date, restore benefits in accordance with DSSM 9011 to such applicant back to the date of release.
Applications will be considered filed for normal processing purposes when the signed application is received by SSA. Expedited processing time standards will begin on the date DSS receives a food stamp application.
5) Households in which all members are applying for or participating in SSI will not be required to see a DSS worker, or otherwise be subjected to an additional State interview. The food stamp application will be processed by DSS. Do not contact the household further in order to obtain information for certification for food stamp benefits unless:
In no event would the applicant be required to appear at the food stamp office to finalize the eligibility determination. Further contact made in accordance with this section will not constitute a second food stamp verification interview.
Process these applications in accordance with the procedures noted in DSSM 9027 and DSSM 9028 . Applications from such households will be considered filed on the date the signed application is taken at the correct DSS office, and the normal and expedited processing time standards will begin on that date.
7) SSA will prescreen all applications for entitlement to expedited services on the day the application is received at the SSA office and will mark "Expedited Processing" on the first page of all households' applications that appear to be entitled to such processing. SSA will inform households which appear to meet the criteria for expedited service that benefits may be issued a few days sooner if the household applies directly at the food stamp office.
All SSI households entitled to expedited service will be certified in accordance with DSSM 9041 except that the expedited processing time standard will begin on the date the application is received at the correct DSS office.
10) If SSA takes an SSI application or redetermination on the telephone from a member of a pure SSI household, a food stamp application will also be completed during the telephone interview. In these cases, the food stamp application will be mailed to the claimant for signature for return to the SSA office or DSS office. SSA will then forward any food stamp applications it receives to DSS.
Do not require the household to be interviewed again in the food stamp office. Do not contact the household further in order to obtain information for certification for food stamp benefits except in accordance with (5) above.
11) To SSI recipients redetermined for SSI by mail, SSA will send a stuffer informing them of their right to file a food stamp application at the SSA office (if they are members of a pure SSI household) or at their local food stamp office, and their right to an out‑of‑office food stamp interview to be performed by DSS if the household is unable to appoint an authorized representative.
Address and telephone number of the household's correct food stamp office, the remaining actions to be taken in the application process, and a statement that a household should be notified of the food stamp determination within thirty (30) days and can contact DSS if it receives no notification within thirty days, or has other questions or problems. It will also include the client's rights and responsibilities (including fair hearings, authorized representatives, out‑of‑office interviews, reporting changes and timely reapplication), information on how to obtain food stamp benefits, and how to use food stamp benefits.
1) Ensure that information required by DSSM 9032 is verified prior to certification for households initially applying. Households entitled to expedited services will be processed in accordance with DSSM 9041.
Information verified through SDX or BENDEX will not be reverified unless it is questionable. Households will be given the opportunity to provide verification from another source if all necessary information is not available on the SDX or the BENDEX, or if the SDX/BENDEX information is contradictory to other household information.
2) In cases jointly processed in which the SSI determination results in denial, and DSS believes that food stamp eligibility or benefit levels may be affected, send the household a notice of expiration advising that the certification period will expire the end of the month following the month in which the notice is sent and that it must reapply if it wishes to continue to participate.
The notice will also explain that its certification period is expiring because of changes in circumstances which may affect food stamp eligibility or benefit levels and that the households may be entitled to an out‑of‑office interview, in accordance with DSSM 9030.
In such cases, all verification, including that pertaining to SSI program benefits, will be provided by the household, by SDX or BENDEX, or obtained by the State agency rather than being provided by SSA.
Jointly processed households which have received a food stamp notice of expiration and go to an SSA office for an SSI redetermination will be entitled to make a timely application for recertification at the SSA office. SSA will forward the completed application, transmittal form, and any available verification to the designated food stamp office.
A face‑to‑face interview will be waived if requested by a household consisting entirely of SSI participants unable to appoint an authorized representative. Provide SSI households with a notice of expiration in accordance with DSSM 9006, except that such notification will inform households consisting entirely of SSI recipients that they are entitled to a waiver of a face‑to‑face interview if the household is unable to appoint an authorized representative.
DSS is responsible for the timely and accurate issuance of benefits to certified eligible households. Assist those households comprised of elderly or disabled members which have difficulty reaching issuance offices, and households which do not reside in a permanent dwelling or a fixed mailing address by finding authorized representatives to act on their behalf or by other appropriate means.
All newly certified households, except those that are given expedited service, must be given an opportunity to participate no later than thirty (30) calendar days following the date the application was filed. An opportunity to participate consists of providing households with access to their benefits. A household has not been provided an opportunity to participate within the 30-day standard if the benefits are not posted to their EBT account by the 30th day.
Households applying for initial benefits after the fifteenth day of the month under the expedited service procedures must receive their prorated allotment for the initial month of application and their first full month's allotment at the same time if:
The provision of DSSM 9044.2 does not apply to households determined ineligible to receive benefits for the initial month of application or the next subsequent month. Households eligible for expedited service may receive benefits for the initial month under verification standards set forth in DSSM 9041.6 Special Procedures for Expedited Service. Additionally, do not issue initial benefits of less than $10 under the provision of 9044.2. [See DSSM 9066 Eligibilities and Benefits].
Resource standards of eligibility apply to all applicant households, including Public Assistance, General Assistance, and SSI households. The maximum allowed resources, including both liquid and non‑liquid assets of all members of all applicant households may not exceed $2,000, except that, for households including a member(s) age 60 or over or disabled per DSSM 9013.1, such resources will not exceed $3,000. Households that are categorically eligible as defined in DSSM 9042 do not have to meet the resource limits or definitions in this section.
Resources held jointly by separate households will be considered available in their entirety to each household, unless it can be demonstrated by the applicant household that such resources are inaccessible to that household. (See DSSM 4002.3).
If a household can demonstrate that it has access to only a portion of the resource, the value of that portion of the resource will be counted toward the household's resource level. In arriving at a determination of ownership, the following items should be considered:
The resource will be considered totally inaccessible to the household if the resource cannot practically be subdivided and the household's access to the value of the resource is dependent on the agreement of a joint owner who refuses to comply. For the purpose of this provision, ineligible aliens or disqualified individuals residing with the household will be considered household members.
For example, a household may consist of two members, one receiving SSI and/or TANF and the other receives no assistance. They jointly own resources that are totally accessible to either party. Since one member receives SSI and/or TANF, the jointly owned resource is totally excluded in determining the household's resources for food stamp purposes.
Resources that cannot be sold or disposed of for a significant return shall be identified as inaccessible. Any resource can be considered inaccessible if its sale or other disposition is unlikely to produce any significant amount of funds for the support of the household. This means the household is unlikely to be able to sell the resource for any significant return because the household's interest is relatively slight or because the cost of selling the household's interest would be greater than the value of the resource.
An example of an inaccessible resource is heir property where the heirs inherit individual fractional interests in a decedent's property. The value of the fractional interest in the property may be less than the cost of selling the property. Therefore, it can be considered inaccessible to the household.
3. The home and surrounding property temporarily unoccupied for reasons of employment, training for future employment, illness, vacation, or uninhabitability caused by casualty or natural disaster, if the household intends to return.
8. Installment contracts for the sale of land or other buildings are exempt if the contract or agreement is producing income consistent with its fair market value. The value of the property sold under such contract or held as security in exchange for a purchase price consistent with the fair market value of that property is also excluded.
11. Property (or portions of) that it is directly related to the maintenance or use of a vehicle excluded under DSSM 9051 (1, 2, and 6). For example, property used to park a produce truck on for sales, overnight parking and/or maintenance.
G. Governmental payments for the restoration of a home damaged in a disaster. Examples are payments from the Individual and Family Grant program or the Small Business Administration. The household must be subject to a legal sanction if the household does not use the funds as intended.
(i) The trust arrangement is not likely to end during the certification period and no household member has the power to revoke the trust arrangement or change the name of the beneficiary during the certification period;
(a) Established from the households' own funds, if the trustee uses the funds solely to make investments on behalf of the trust or to pay the educational or medical expenses of any person named by the household creating the trust, or
3. Payments received from the Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects, the Youth Community Conservation and Improvement Programs under Title IV of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act Amendment of 1978.
(i) A Federal earned income tax credit received either as a lump sum or as payments under Section 3507 of the Internal Revenue Code are excluded for the month of receipt and the following month for the individual and that individual's spouse.
(ii) Exclude any Federal, State or local earned income tax credit received by any household member for 12 months if the household was participating in the Food Supplement Program at the time of receipt of the earned income tax credit and provided the household participates continuously during that 12-month period.
L. Excluded resources used by or for an ineligible alien or disqualified person when counted as part of a household's resources. For example, work-related equipment needed for the employment of an ineligible alien or disqualified person.
* A household member is a 'recipient' of these benefits even if the benefits have been authorized but not received, if the benefits are suspended or recouped, or if the benefits are not paid because they are less than a minimum amount.
Excluded funds that are kept in a separate account, and that are not accumulated in an account with non-excluded funds retain their resource exclusion for an unlimited period of time. The resources of students and self‑employment households which are excluded as provided in DSSM 9049(9) and are commingled in an account with non‑excluded funds retain their exclusion for the period of time over which they have been prorated as income. All other excluded monies which are commingled in an account with non-excluded funds retain their exemption for six months from the date they are commingled. After six months from the date of commingling, all funds in the commingled account are counted as a resource.
Include as financial resources any boats, snowmobiles, and airplanes used for recreational purposes, any vacation homes, any mobile homes used primarily for vacation purposes, and any licensed vehicle (other than one used to produce income) to the extent that the fair market value of any such vehicle exceeds the fair market value limit. (Refer to current October Cost-Of-Living Adjustment Administrative Notice for the fair market value limit.)
Assign the average trade-in value. Do not increase the basic value of a vehicle by adding the value of low mileage or other factors such as optional equipment. However, vehicles with excessive high mileage can have the value of the vehicle decreased by using the High Mileage Tables in the front of the NADA books. A household may indicate that for some reason, such as body damage or inoperability, a vehicle is in less than average condition. Any household which claims that the blue book value does not apply to its vehicle must be given the opportunity to acquire verification of the true value from a reliable source. Also, households are to be asked to acquire verification of the value of licensed antique, custom made, or classic vehicles, if the Division is unable to make an accurate appraisal. Do not increase the value of any vehicle if it is equipped with apparatus for the handicapped. Instead, assign a blue book value as if the vehicle were not so equipped. If a vehicle is no longer listed in a blue book, the household's estimate of the value of the vehicle will be accepted unless the Division has reason to believe that the estimate is incorrect. In that case and if it appears that the vehicle's value will affect eligibility, the household must obtain a appraisal or produce other evidence of its value such as a newspaper advertisement which indicated the amount for which like vehicles are being sold.
1. Used primarily (over 50 percent of the time the vehicle is used) for income producing purposes such as, but not limited to a taxi, truck, or fishing boat. Licensed vehicles which have been previously used by a self‑employed household member engaged in farming, but are no longer used over 50 percent of the time in farming because the household member has terminated their self‑employment from farming continue to be excluded as a resource for one year from the date the household member terminated their self‑employment from farming;
3. Necessary for long distance travel, other than daily commuting, that is essential to the employment of a household member (or ineligible alien or disqualified person whose resources are being considered available to the household);
5. Necessary to transport a physically disabled household member (or ineligible alien or disqualified person whose resources are being considered available to the household) regardless of the purpose of such transportation (limited to one vehicle per physically disabled household member). The vehicle does not need to have special equipment or be used primarily by or for the transportation of the physically disabled household member to be excluded.
6. Used to carry fuel for heating or water for home use when such transported fuel or water is anticipated to be the primary source of fuel or water for the household. Do not require any further tests concerning the nature, capabilities, or other uses of the vehicle.
The exclusions #1 through #3 will apply when the vehicle is not in use because of temporary unemployment, such as when a taxi driver is ill and cannot work, or when a fishing boat is frozen in and cannot be used.
Additionally, the value of property, real or personal, is excludable to the extent that it is directly related to the maintenance or use of a vehicle excluded under items (1), (2), or (6) above. Only that portion of real property determined necessary for maintenance or use is excludable under this provision. For example, a household which owns a produce truck to earn its livelihood may be prohibited from parking the truck in a residential area. The household may own a 100‑acre field and use a quarter‑acre of the field to park and/or service the truck. Only the value of the quarter‑acre would be excludable under this provision, not the entire 100‑ acre field.
3. Any other vehicle a household member under age 18 (or ineligible alien or disqualified household member under age 18 whose resources are being considered available to the household) drives to commute to and from employment, or to and from training or education which is preparatory to employment, or to seek employment. This equity exclusion applies during temporary periods of unemployment to a vehicle which a household member under age 18 customarily drives to commute to and from employment.
If an individual is denied benefits because of the motor vehicle license requirement, he or she must be notified that they may produce verification that their motor vehicle is not licensed from the Division of Motor Vehicles in order to determine the equity value of the unlicensed vehicle.
At the time of application, households will be asked to provide information regarding any resources which any household member (or ineligible alien or disqualified person whose resources are being considered available to the household) had transferred within the three‑ month period immediately preceding the date of application. Households which have transferred resources knowingly for the purpose of qualifying or attempting to qualify for food stamp benefits will be disqualified from participation in the program for up to one (1) year from the date of the discovery of the transfer. This disqualification period will be applied if the resources are transferred knowingly in the three‑month period prior to application or if they are transferred knowingly after the household is determined eligible for benefits. An example of the latter would be assets which the household acquires after being certified and which are then transferred to prevent the household from exceeding the maximum resource limit.
For example, resources consisting of excluded personal property such as furniture, or of money that, when added to other non‑exempt household resources, totaled less at the time of the transfer than the allowable resource limits.
In the event that DSS establishes that an applicant household knowingly transferred resources for the purpose of qualifying or attempting to qualify for food stamp benefits, the household will be sent a notice of denial explaining the reason for, and length of, the disqualification. The period of disqualification will begin in the month of application. If the household is participating at the time of the discovery of the transfer, a notice of adverse action explaining the reason for, and length of, the disqualification will be sent. The period of disqualification will be made effective with first allotment to be issued after the notice of adverse action period has expired, unless the household has requested a fair hearing and continued benefits.
The length of the disqualification period will be based on the amount by which non‑exempt transferred resources, when added to other countable resources, exceeds the allowable resource limits. For example, if a one‑person household with $1,750 in a bank transferred ownership of a car worth $5,000, $100 of that transfer would be considered because the first $4,650 of the car's value was exempt and an additional $250 of the transferred asset would have been applied toward the $2,000 resource limit. The following chart will be used to determine the period of disqualification:
Participation in the Program will be limited to those households whose incomes are determined to be a substantial limiting factor in permitting them to obtain a more nutritious diet. Households which contain an elderly or disabled member must meet the net income eligibility standards for the Food Stamp Program. Households which do not contain an elderly or disabled member must meet BOTH the net income eligibility standards and the gross income eligibility standards for the Food Stamp Program. Households which are categorically eligible as defined in DSSM 9042 do not have to meet either the gross or net income eligibility standards. The net and gross income eligibility standards will be based on the Federal income poverty levels established in Section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act [42 USC 9902(2)].
The income eligibility limits are revised each October 1, to reflect the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) annual adjustment to the non-farm poverty guidelines. (Refer to the current October Cost-of-Living Adjustment Administrative Notice for the income eligibility limits.)
1. All wages and salaries for services performed as an employee, including money withheld from an employee's earnings to pay certain expenses such as child care or medical expenses as a vendor payment to a third party, and
2. The gross income from a self‑employment enterprise, including the total gain from the sale of any capital goods or equipment related to the business, excluding the costs of doing business as provided in DSSM 9074. Consider ownership of rental property a self‑ employment enterprise; however, income derived from the rental property will be considered earned income only if a member of the household is actively engaged in the management of the property at least an average of 20 hours a week. Payments from a roomer/boarder, except foster care boarders, or roomer only will also be considered self‑employment income and need not meet the 20-hour rule.
3. Training allowances from vocational and rehabilitative programs recognized by Federal, State, or local governments, to the extent that they are not reimbursements. Training allowances under WIA, other than earnings as specified in #5 of this Section are excluded from consideration as income.
5. Earnings to individuals who are participating in on‑the‑job training programs under Section 204(b)(1)(C) or section 264(c)(1)(A) of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). This provision does not apply to household members under 19 years of age who are under the parental control of another adult member, regardless of school attendance and/or enrollment. Earnings include monies paid under WIA and monies paid by the employer.
1. Assistance payments from Federal or federally aided public assistance programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), General Assistance (GA) programs, Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) or other assistance programs based on need.
2. Annuities, pensions, retirement, veteran's benefits, disability benefits, workman's compensation, unemployment compensation, social security, strike benefits, foster care payments for children or for adults who are considered members of the household, gross income minus the cost of doing business derived from rental property in which a household member is not actively engaged in the management of the property at least 20 hours a week.
5. Monies which are withdrawn or dividends which are or could be received by a household from trust funds considered to be excludable resources under DSSM 9049(8). Such trust withdrawals will be considered income in the month received, unless otherwise exempt under the provisions of DSSM 9059. Dividends which the household has the option of either receiving as income or reinvesting in the trust are to be considered as income in the month they become available to the household unless otherwise exempt under the provisions of DSSM 9059.
7. The earned or unearned income of an individual disqualified from the household for intentional Program violation, in accordance with DSSM 2023 will continue to be attributed in their entirety, to the remaining household members. However, the earned or unearned income of individuals disqualified from households for failing to comply with the requirement to provide an SSN in accordance with DSSM 9012, or for being an ineligible alien in accordance with DSSM 9007, will continue to be counted as income, less a prorata share for the individual.
1. Monies withheld from earned income, or other income source, or monies received from any income source, which are voluntarily or involuntarily returned to repay a prior overpayment received from that income source, provided that the overpayment was not excludable under DSSM 9059. However, monies withheld from assistance from another program as specified in DSSM 9082, for purposes of recouping from a household an overpayment which resulted from the household's failure to comply with the other program's requirements will be included as income.
Overpayment amounts being recouped from Unemployment Compensation or Social Security checks to pay back DOL or SSA are not counted as income for food stamp purposes, even if the overpayment was the client's fault.
Child support payments received by TANF recipients which must be transferred to the Division of Child Support Enforcement to maintain TANF eligibility. When an TANF recipient fails to turn over support payments to the Division of Child Support Enforcement, DSS does not process a claim. DCSE is responsible for processing the claim for the support payments their agency did not receive.
1. Exclude the following income when determining eligibility for food benefits.
A. In-kind Benefits – A gain or benefit not payable to the household do not count as income as follows:
B. Vendor Payments - Payments made by a person or organization on behalf of the household to a creditor, person or organization providing a service to the household do not count as income, as follows:
(a) A court awards support payments for $400 a month and, in addition, orders $200 to be paid directly to a bank for repayment of a loan. The $400 payment counts as income and the $200 payment does not count.
C. Employer Benefits – Incentive or Flex benefits not legally obligated or otherwise payable to households.
1. Credits available to employees to use to buy health insurance, annual leave, sick leave or life insurance. The employee cannot elect to receive a cash payment and loses the credits if not used. The amount shows up on the pay stub when used.
2. Points given as incentive to arrive to work on time or work so many weeks without taking leave. These points have a monetary value that appears on the pay stub and the points are subject to taxes. The employee can only redeem the points for commodities or goods from a catalog provided by the employer. The employee cannot convert the points to cash.
D. Irregular Income - Any income received in the certification period that does not exceed $30 a quarter that is infrequent and not reasonably anticipated as follows:
E. Educational Income - All education income (Title IV, BIA educational income, scholarships, educational grants, fellowships, deferred payment loans, veteran’s educational benefits, work-study) regardless of earmarking or use.
The portion of Veterans Educational Assistance designated as a living allowance for family members of the student is counted as unearned income.
F. Loans - All loans that are expected to be repaid.
G. Reimbursements – Reimbursements for past or future expenses that are not a gain or benefit to the household and do not exceed the costs of the actual expenses. Excluded reimbursements include:
H. Monies for third-party beneficiaries - Monies received and used for the care and maintenance of a third-party beneficiary who is not a household member.
1. When beneficiaries of a single payment are both household and non-household members, exclude any identifiable portion of the payment intended and used for the care and maintenance of the non-household member.
2. When you cannot identify the non-household member's portion, prorate the payment evenly among the intended beneficiaries. Apply the exclusion to the non-household member's pro-rata share or the amount actually used for the non-household member's care and maintenance, whichever is less.
I. Student income - The earned income of a student under age 18 who:
Continue this exclusion during temporary interruptions in school attendance due to semester or vacation breaks, provided the child's enrollment will resume following the break.
When the worker cannot identify the child's earnings, or amount of work performed from that of other household members, prorate the total earnings equally among the working members and exclude the child's share.
J. Non-recurring Lump Sum Payments - Money received in the form of a non-recurring lump sum payment, which is not limited to:
K. Self-Employment Business Costs - The cost of producing self-employment income via Delaware’s flat rate deduction.
L. Energy assistance:
1. Any payments or allowances made for the purpose of providing energy assistance under any Federal law other than part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act, including utility reimbursements made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the rural Housing Service, or
2. A one-time payment or allowance applied on an as-needed basis and made under a Federal or State law for the costs of weatherization or emergency repair or replacement of an unsafe or inoperative furnace or other heating or cooling device. Consider a down payment followed by a final payment upon completion of the work a one-time payment.
M. Cash donations – Cash donations received from one or more private nonprofit charitable organization, based on need and not exceeding $300 in a Federal fiscal year quarter.
N. EITC - Earned income tax credit payments received either as a lump sum or payments.
O. E & T Payments – Payments made to an E & T participant for costs that are reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the E & T program. These costs include, but are not limited to:
P. Foster Care Payments - Governmental foster care payments received by households with foster care individuals who are boarders in accordance with DSSM 9013.3.
Q. PASS Accounts - Income of an SSI recipient necessary for the fulfillment of a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). Exclude the income set aside for this special PASS account.
R. Basic Allowance for Quarters - Marines living on base in adequate quarters are not entitled to receive a Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) even though the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) lists the amount under entitlements and lists a deduction for the same amount under deductions on the statement. For these cases, disregard the BAQ under the entitlement and deduction sections when verified. Staff must advise applicants to get a letter from their commanding officer stating that the applicant is not entitled to the BAQ and does not receive it.
S. HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program – Participants in the FSS program sign a contract to achieve economic independence within five years. The program deposits a portion of rent increases into an escrow account to save for the participant at the end of the program with the following conditions:
T. Temporary Census Employment - The earnings of temporary census workers from the Bureau of Census is excluded for the Census 2010 Demonstration Project. The disregard expires September 30, 2010, unless extended by Food and Nutrition Service.
U. Payments or reimbursements from the following federal laws:
1. National School Lunch Act (P. L. 79-396 and P. L. 94-105)
2. Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (P. L. 89-642)
3. Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970 (P. L. 91-646)
4. Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (P. L. 93-113)
(i) Title I - for those individuals receiving food benefits or public assistance at the time they joined the Title I program.
(ii) Title II
6. Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 2008 (P. L. 105-220)
7. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act (P. L. 99-425)
8. Veterans' Benefits Improvement and Healthcare Authorization Act of 1986 (GI Bill)(P. L. 99-576)
9. Older Americans Act (P. L. 100-175)
(i) Senior Community Service Employment Program (Title V) monies for individuals age 55 and older.
10. The Housing and Community Development Act of 1987 (P. L. 100-242)
11. Wartime Relocation of Civilians (P. L. 100-383) (Civil Liberties Act of 1988) excludes payments made to:
14. Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (P. L. 101-508) - Any Federal earned income tax credit shall not be treated as income and shall not be taken into account in determining resources for the month of its receipt and the following month
August 1993 amendments to the Food Stamp Act - Exclusion from resources of any earned income tax credits received by any member of the household for a period of 12 months from receipt if such member was participating in the food stamp program at the time the credits were received and participated in such program continuously during the 12-month period
15. National and Community Service Act (NCSA) of 1990(P. L. 101-610)
16. Cranston-Gonzales National Affordable Housing Act, P.L. 101-625, provides that services provided to public housing residents under this section (Family Investment Centers) are not counted as income for purposes of any other program or provision of State or Federal law.
The exclusion applies to services such as child care, employment training and counseling, literacy training, computer skills training, assistance in the attainment of certificates of high school equivalency and other services.
This law excludes most increases in the earned income of a family residing in certain housing while participating in HUD demonstration projects authorized by this public law. The affected regional offices are contacted individually regarding these projects.
17. Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, P. L. 102-550, treats payments made under the Youth Build Program like JTPA payments, as item 6 above.
18. Child Care and Development Block Grant Act Amendments of 1992, P.L. 102-586, (under Family Support Act of the Social Security Act) excludes the value of any child care provided or arranged, any amount received as payment for such care, or reimbursement for costs incurred for such care from income for purposes of any other Federal or Federally-assisted program that bases eligibility for, or the amount of benefits, on need.
19. Victims of Nazi Persecution, P. L. 103-286, disregards payments made to individuals because of their status as victims of Nazi persecution in determining eligibility for and the amount of benefits or services to be provided under any Federal or federally assisted program that provides benefits or services based on need.
20. Crime Act of 1984, P. L. 103-322, exclude payments to a victim from a crime victim compensation program from income and resources.
21. Individual Business Accounts - Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act, P. L. 104-193, disregards funds in an Individual Business Account (IDA), including accruing interest, under the TANF block grant program for the purpose of determining eligibility to receive, or the amount of, any benefit authorized by the Food Stamp Act, during any period that an individual maintains or makes contributions into such an account.
22. Children of Vietnam Veterans - P. L. 104-204, disregard monthly allowances (from $200 - $1200) paid to a child of a Vietnam veteran for any disability resulting from spina bifida suffered by such child as income or resources in determining eligibility for or the amount of benefits under any Federal or federally assisted program.
23. Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P. L. 100-707, disregard Disaster Unemployment Assistance payments to any individual unemployed because of a major disaster as income or a resource when determining Food Supplemental Program benefits.
24. Combat Pay, Section 4101, section 5(d) of the Food and Nutrition Act, excludes from income special military pay for military personnel deployed to a designated combat zone.
25. Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, excludes from income payments made to certain veterans and the spouses of veterans who served in the military of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II.
26. Child Support Payments, Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, Sec. 5. (d) (18), excludes legally obligated child support payments made to or for children who live outside of the household which includes current support, arrears, and other payments ordered like for educational costs or health care.
V. American Indian or Alaska Native Payments
1. Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, P. L. 92-203
2. Judgment Funds (P. L. 93-143 and P. L. 97-458)
3. Secretary of Interior Trust Funds for an Indian Tribe, P. L. 98-64
4. Interest Income from Trusts, P. L. 930-134, P. L. 97-458, and P. L. 103-66, (except funds in excess of $2,000 per year of interest income)
5. Navajo or Hopi Indian Relocation Assistance, P.L. 93-531
6. Submarginal land trusts, P. L. 94-114 for certain Indian tribes, which include:
7. Indian Claims Commission for Sac and Fox Indians, P. L. 94-189
8. Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians, P. L. 94-540
9. Indian Claims Commission payments to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Indian Nation and the Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, P. L. 95-433
10. Indian Child Welfare, P. L. 95-608, excludes assistance or services provided for child and family service grant programs on or near reservations from affecting any federally assisted programs
11. Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980, P. L. 96-420
12. Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewas Arizona, P. L. 97-403
13. Blackfeet, Grosventre, and Assiniboine tribes, Montana, and the Papago, Arizona, P. L. 97-408
14. Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, P. L. 98-123
15. Assiniboine Tribes, P. L. 98-124
16. Old Age Assistance Claims Settlement Act, P. L. 98-500 (except for funds per capita shares in excess of $2,000)
17. Chippewas of Lake Superior, P. L. 99-146
18. White Earth Reservation Land Settlement Act of 1985, P. L. 99-264,
19. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, P. L. 99-346
20. Chippewas of the Mississippi, P. L. 99-37
21. Puyallup Tribe of Indians Settlement Act of 1989, P. L. 101-41,for the Puyallup Tribe in the State of Washington.)
22. Indian Claims Commission, P. L. 101-277, 4/30/90 for te Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
23. Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990, P. L. 101-503
24. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Grand Coulee Dam Settlement Act, P.L. 103-436
Base a household's benefit level for the initial month of certification on the day of the month it applies for benefits. Applicant households consisting of residents of a public institution who apply jointly for SSI and food stamps prior to release from the public institution in accordance with DSSM 9015 will have their eligibility determined for the month in which the applicant household was released from the institution.
Base a household's benefit level for the initial months of certification on the day of the month it applies for benefits. Provide benefits from the date of application to the end of the month unless the applicant household consists of residents of a public institution. For households which apply for SSI prior to their release from a public institution, base the benefit level for the initial month of certification on the date of the month the household is released from the institution and provide the household benefits from the date of the household's release from the institution to the end of the month. Using a 30‑ day calendar month, households will receive benefits prorated from the day of application to the end of the month. A household applying on the 31st of a month will be treated as though it applied on the 30th of the month. Migrant and seasonal farmworkers will receive a full allotment for the month of application when the household has participated in the Food Stamp Program within 30 days prior to the date of application. When certifying such a household, use the first day of the month as the start date.
The term "initial month" means the first month for which the household is certified for participation in the Food Stamp Program following any period during which the household was not certified for participation, except for migrant and seasonal farmworker households. In case of migrant and seasonal farmworker households, the term "initial month" means the first month for which the household is certified for participation in the Food Stamp Program following any period of more than one (1) month during which the household was not certified for participation.
Those households which are certified using the expedited service procedures in DSSM 9041, and which apply for benefits after the 15th of the month, will be certified for benefits prorated from the day of application to the end of the application month and also for the following month. Benefits for the second full month following the month of application shall not be issued until all postponed verification is provided to DSS.
If an application is held pending beyond 30 days and if the delay is the fault of the household, the first month for which an allotment will be issued to the household will be the month following the month of application. This allotment will be prorated from the date eligibility is established by the household.
Base the level of benefits on the same anticipated circumstances. If a household, other than a migrant farmworker household, submits an application after the household's certification period has expired, that application shall be considered an initial application and benefits shall be prorated. If a household's failure to timely apply for recertification was due to agency error causing a break in participation, follow the procedures in DSSM 9091.8. In addition, if the household submits an application for recertification prior to the end of its certification period but is found ineligible for one first month following the end of the certification period, then the first month of a subsequent participation will be considered an initial month. Conversely, if the household submits an application for recertification prior to the end of its certification period and is found eligible for the first month following the end of the certification period, then that month will not be an initial month.
Because of anticipated changes, a household may be eligible for the month of application, but ineligible in the subsequent month. The household is entitled to benefits for the month of application even if the processing of its application results in the benefits being issued in the subsequent month. Similarly, a household may be ineligible for the month of application but eligible in a subsequent month due to anticipated changes in circumstances. Even though denied for the month of application, the household does not have to reapply in the subsequent month. Use the same application for the denial for the month of application and the determination of eligibility for subsequent months, with the timeliness standards in DSSM 9028 and DSSM 9039.
As a result of anticipating changes, the household's allotment for the month of application may differ from its allotment in subsequent months. Establish a certification period for the longest possible period over which changes in the household's circumstances can be reasonably anticipated. Vary the household's allotment from month to month to reflect changes anticipated at the time of certification unless the household elects the averaging techniques.
Take into account the income already received by the household during the certification period and any anticipated income which the household and the Division are reasonably certain will be received during the remainder of the certification period. Income is not to be counted at all if it is uncertain what amount is to be received or when it is to be received.
As an example of uncertain income, a household anticipating income from a new source, such as a new job or recently applied for public assistance benefits may be uncertain as to the timing and amount of the initial payment. Do not anticipate this income unless there is reasonable certainty concerning the month in which the payment will be received and in what amount. If the exact amount of the income is not known, that portion of it which can be anticipated with reasonable certainty will be considered as income. In cases where the receipt of income is reasonably certain but the monthly amount may fluctuate, the income may be averaged. Households are to be advised to report all changes in gross monthly income as required in DSSM 9085. Impending receipt of a TANF, RCA or GA grant will be considered reasonably certain only when all technical and financial eligibility factors have been satisfied and a decision of eligibility has been reached.
Use income received during the past 30 days as an indicator of the income that is and will be available to the household during the certification period. Do not use past income as an indicator of income anticipated for the certification period if changes in income have occurred or can be anticipated. If income fluctuates to the extent that a 30‑day period alone cannot provide an accurate indication of anticipated income, use a longer period past time if it provides a more accurate indication of anticipated fluctuations in future income. Similarly, if the household's income fluctuates seasonally, it may be appropriate to use the most recent season comparable to the certification period, rather than the last 30 days, as one indicator of anticipated income. Exercise particular caution in using income for the certification period. In many cases of seasonally fluctuating income, the income also fluctuates from one season in one year to the same season in the next year. Do not automatically attribute to the household amounts of any past income. Do not use past income as an indicator of anticipated income when changes in income have occurred or can be anticipated during the certification period.
Whenever a full month's income is anticipated but is received on a weekly, bi‑weekly, or semi-monthly basis, convert the income to the monthly amount by multiplying by the appropriate income conversion factor as follows:
Wages held at the request of the employee will be considered income to the household in the month the wages would otherwise have been paid by the employer. However, wages held by the employer as a general practice, even if in violation of the law, will not be counted as income to the household, unless the household anticipates that it will ask for and receive an advance or that it will receive income from wages that were previously held by the employer as a general practice and that were, therefore, not previously counted as income by the Division. Count advances on wages as income in the month received only if reasonably anticipated.
Households receiving income on a recurring monthly or semi-monthly basis shall not have their monthly income varied merely because of changes in mailing cycles or pay dates or because weekends or holidays cause additional payments to be received in a month.
Income may be averaged when the household has fluctuating income. When averaging income, use the household's anticipation of monthly income fluctuations over the certification period. Averages are recalculated at recertification and when changes in income are reported.
Households which, by contract or by self‑employment, derive their annual income in a period of time shorter than one (1) year will have that income averaged over a 12‑ month period, provided the income from the contract is not received on an hourly or piecework basis. These households may include school employees, share croppers, farmers and other self‑employed households. However, these provisions do not apply to migrant or seasonal farmworkers. The procedures for averaging self‑employed income are described in DSSM 9075. Contract income which is not the household's annual income and is not paid on an hourly or piecework basis shall be prorated over the period the income is intended to cover.
For food stamp purposes, a contract employee is one that has an agreement with an employer to work a certain length of time or perform a specific job. It may be either a written contract or an implied contract. Acceptable verification would be a statement from the employer or a written document, such as a copy of the contract or agreement, that shows the terms of employment.
A teacher's aid works 10 months of the year for $9.16 per hour and 6 hours per day. She does not sign a "contract" but it is implied that she will be "rehired" for the following school year. She will be considered a contract employee whose income must be annualized.
Any expense, in whole or part, covered by educational income which has been excluded under DSSM 9059 C shall not be deductible. An expense covered by an excluded reimbursement or vendor payment, except an energy assistance vendor payment made under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act (LIHEAA), is not deductible. For example, the portion of rent covered by excluded vendor payments should not be calculated as part of the household's shelter cost.
However, that portion of an allowable medical expense which is not reimbursable, should be included as part of the household's medical expenses. Households entitled to the medical deduction should have the non‑reimbursable portion considered at the time the amount of reimbursement is received or can otherwise be verified. In addition, an expense which is covered by an excluded vendor payment that has been converted to a direct cash payment under the approval of a federally authorized demonstration project is not deductible (See DSSM 9059). A utility expense which is reimbursed or paid by an excluded payment, including HUD or FmHA utility reimbursements, shall not be deductible.
Expenses are deductible only if the service is provided by someone outside the household and the household makes a money payment for the service. For example, a dependent care deduction will not be allowed if another household member provides the care or compensation for the care is provided in the form of an in‑kind benefit, such as food.
Except as provided in DSSM 9064.3, allow a deduction for a billed expense only in the month the expense is billed or otherwise becomes due, regardless of when the household intends to pay the expense. Bills are considered due upon receipt. The date received for Program purposes, is the date mailed plus two days for delivery. Disregard any other due dates appearing on the bill.
For example, include rent which becomes due each month in the household's shelter costs, even if the household has not yet paid the expense. Amounts carried forward from past billing periods are not deductible, even if included with the most recent billing and actually paid by the household. A particular expense may be deducted only once.
Households may elect to have fluctuating expenses averaged. Households may also elect to have expenses which are billed less often than monthly averaged forward over the interval between scheduled billings, or, if there is no scheduled interval, averaged forward over the period the expense is intended to cover. Households reporting one‑ time only medical expenses during their certification period may elect to have a one‑time deduction or to have the expense averaged over the remaining months of their certification period. Averaging would begin the month the change would become effective.
For example, if a household receives a single bill in February which covers a three‑ month supply of fuel oil, the bill may be averaged over February, March and April. The household may elect to have one‑time only expenses averaged over the entire certification period in which they are billed.
Anticipation of the household expenses will be based on the most recent month's bills, unless the household is reasonably certain a change will occur. When the household is not claiming the utility standard, anticipate changes during the certification period based on last year's bills from the same period updated by overall price increases; or, if only the most recent bill is available, utility cost increases or decreases over the months of the certification period may be based on utility company estimates for the type of dwelling and utilities used by the household. Do not average past expenses, such as utility bills for the last several months as a method of anticipating utility costs for the certification period.
At certification and recertification, the household shall report and verify all medical expenses. The household's monthly medical deduction for the certification period shall be based on the information reported and verified by the household, and any anticipated changes in the household's medical expenses that can be reasonably expected to occur during the certification period. Reasonably anticipated changes are based on available information about the recipient's medical condition, public or private insurance coverage, and current verified medical expenses. The household shall not be required to file reports about its medical expenses during the certification period. If the household voluntarily reports a change in its medical expenses, DSS shall verify the change in accordance with DSSM 9038 and act on the change in accordance with DSSM 9085.
Households containing a member who is a recipient of SSI benefits and the household is determined within the 30‑day processing standard to be categorically eligible per DSSM 9042 or determined to be eligible as an NPA household and later becomes a categorically eligible household.
The entitlement is for the period for which the SSI recipient is authorized to receive SSI benefits or the date of the food stamp application, whichever is later, if the household incurs such expenses.
Households containing an SSI recipient as discussed above which are determined ineligible as an NPA household and later become categorically eligible and entitled to restored benefits per DSSM 9042, should receive restored benefits using the medical and excess shelter expense deductions from the beginning of the period for which SSI benefits are paid, the original food stamp application date, or December 23, 1985, whichever is later, if the household incurs such expenses.
Child support payments are budgeted prospectively using the averaging or conversion procedures in this section to determine the amount of the deduction. Fluctuating child support payments can be averaged according to DSSM 9064.3. Regular child support payments made on a weekly, bi-weekly, or semi-monthly basis should be converted according to DSSM 9064.5.
A. Add the gross monthly income earned by all household members and the total monthly unearned income of all household members, minus income exclusions, to determine the household's total gross income. Net losses from the self‑employment income of a farmer will be offset in accordance with DSSM 9074.
B. Multiply the total gross monthly earned income by 20 percent and subtract the amount (or multiply the total gross monthly earned income by 80 percent) and add that to the total monthly unearned income, minus income exclusions.
G. Total the allowable shelter expenses to determine shelter costs. Subtract from total shelter costs 50 percent of the adjusted income (the household's monthly income after all the above deductions have been subtracted). The remaining amount, if any, is the excess shelter cost. If there is no excess shelter cost, the net monthly income has been determined. If there is excess shelter cost, compute the shelter deduction in sub‑ paragraph (H) of this section.
Subtract from the adjusted income in sub‑paragraph (F) of this section the excess shelter cost up to the maximum amount allowed unless the household is entitled to the full amount of its excess shelter expenses. Households not subject to the excess shelter deduction limitation will have the full amount exceeding 50 percent of their income after other applicable deductions subtracted. The household's net monthly income has been determined.
Individual shelter and, where applicable, medical costs will be totaled and then rounded to the nearest dollar (i.e., $.01‑ $.49, round down and $.50‑ $.99 round up) before continuing on with the benefit calculation. The income conversion procedures in DSSM 9064 will also apply to medical and shelter expenses billed on a weekly or bi‑ weekly basis.
In calculating net monthly income, round down each calculation that ends in 1 through 49 cents and round up for calculations that end in 50 through 99 cents. For example, gross weekly wages would be converted to the monthly amount and then rounded to the nearest dollar prior to the computation of the earned income deduction. Cents will be rounded from this calculation before being subtracted from the earned income.
A. Households which contain an elderly or disabled member as defined in DSSM 9013.1 will have their net income, as calculated in DSSM 9065 compared to the monthly income eligibility standards defined in DSSM 9054 for the appropriate household size to determine eligibility for the month.
B. In addition to meeting the net income eligibility standards, households which do not contain an elderly or disabled member will have their gross income, as calculated in DSSM 9065, compared to the gross monthly income standards defined in DSSM 9054 for the appropriate household size to determine eligibility for the month.
C. For households considered destitute in accordance with DSSM 9067, determine a household's eligibility by computing its gross and net income according to DSSM 9067 and comparing, as appropriate, the gross and/or net income to the corresponding income eligibility standard in accordance with DSSM 9054.
D. If a household contains a member who is fifty‑nine years old on the date of application, but who will become sixty before the end of the month of application, determine the household's eligibility in accordance with paragraph (A) of this section.
E. If a household contains a student whose income is excluded (DSSM 9059 G) and the student becomes 18 during the month of application, exclude the student's earnings in the month of application and count the student's earnings in the following month. If the student becomes 18 during the certification period, the student's income shall be excluded until the month following the month in which the student turns 18.
F. Except as provided in DSSM 9061 and 9066(H), the household's monthly allotment will be equal to the maximum food stamp allotment for the household's size reduced by 30 percent of the household's net monthly income as calculated in DSSM 9065 .
G. If the calculation of benefits in accordance with paragraph (F) of this section, for an initial month would yield an allotment of less than $10 for the household, no benefits will be issued to the household for the initial month.
I. For those eligible households with three or more members, which are entitled to no benefits on an ongoing basis, deny the household's participation, on the grounds that its net income exceeds the level below which benefits are issued.
J. For those eligible households which are entitled to no benefits in their initial month of application in accordance with DSSM 9061, but are entitled to benefits in subsequent months, certify the household beginning with the month of application.
When a household's circumstances change and it becomes entitled to a different income eligibility standard, apply the different standard at the next recertification or whenever the Division changes the household's eligibility, benefit level, or certification period, whichever occurs first.
Migrant or seasonal farmworker households may have little or no income at the time of application and may be in need of immediate food assistance, even though they receive income at some other time during the month of application. The following procedures will be used to determine when migrant or seasonal farmworker households in these circumstances may be considered destitute, and therefore entitled to expedited service, and special income calculation procedures. Households other than migrant or seasonal farmworker households will not be classified as destitute.
1. Households whose only income for the month of application was received prior to the date of application, and was from a terminated source, will be considered destitute households and shall be provided expedited service.
A. If income is received on a monthly or more frequent basis, it will be considered as coming from a terminated source if it will not be received again from the same source during the balance of the month of application or during the following month.
B. If income is normally received less often than monthly, the non-receipt of income from the same source in the balance of the month of application or in the following month is inappropriate to determine whether or not the income is terminated. For example, if income is received on a quarterly basis (e.g., on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1), and the household applies in mid‑ January, the income should not be considered as coming from a terminated source merely because no further payments will be received in the balance of January or in February. The test for whether or not this household's income is terminated is whether the income is anticipated to be received in April. Therefore, for households that normally received income less often than monthly, the income shall be considered as coming from a terminated source if it will not be received in the month in which the next payment would normally be received.
2. Households whose only income for the month of application is from a new source will be considered destitute and will be provided expedited service if income of more than $25 from the new source will not be received by the tenth calendar day after the date of application.
A. Income which is normally received on a monthly or more frequent basis shall be considered to be from a new source if income of more than $25 has not been received from that source within 30 days prior to the date the application was filed.
B. If income is normally received less often than monthly, it will be considered to be from a new source if income of more than $25 was not received within the last normal interval between payments. For example, if a household applies in early January and is expecting to get paid every three months, starting in late January, the income will be considered to be from a new source if no income of more than $25 was received from the source during October or since that time.
Households may receive both income from a terminated source prior to the date of application, and income from a new source after the date of application, and still be considered destitute if they receive no other income in the month of application and income of more than $25 from the new source will not be received by the tenth day after the date of application.
3. Destitute households will have their eligibility and level of benefits calculated for the month of application by considering only income which is received between the first of the month and the date of application. Any income from a new source that is anticipated after the day of application will be disregarded.
4. Some employers provide travel advance to cover the travel costs of new employees who must journey to the location of their new employment. To the extent that these payments are excluded as reimbursements, receipt of travel advances will not affect the determination of when a household is destitute.
However, if the travel advance is by written contract an advance of wages later earned by the employee, rather than a reimbursement, the wage advance will count as income. In addition, the receipt of a wage advance for travel costs of a new employee will not affect the determination of whether subsequent payments from the employer are from a new source of income, nor whether a household will be considered destitute. For example, if a household applies on May 10, has received a $40 advance for travel from its new employer on May 1 which by written contract is an advance on wages but will not receive any other wages from the employer until May 30, the household will be considered destitute. The May 30 payment will be disregarded, but the wage advance received prior to the date of application will be counted as income.
5. A household member who changes jobs but continues to work for the same employer will be considered as still receiving income from the same source. A migrant farmworker's source of income will be considered to be the grower for whom the migrant is working at a particular point in time, and not the crew chief. A migrant who travels with the same crew chief but moves from one grower to another will be considered to have moved from a terminated income source to a new source.
6. The above procedures will apply at initial application and at recertification, but only for the first month of each certification period. At recertification, income from a new source shall be disregarded in the first month of the new certification period if income of more than $25 will not be received from this new source by the 10th calendar day after the date of the household's normal issuance cycle.
DSS approves eligible households for a defined number of months called a certification period. The certification period is the period of time that DSS determines a household is eligible to receive benefits.
At the end of the certification period, entitlement to food benefits expires. DSS will not issue any further food benefits until the household completes a new application, is interviewed and provides all necessary verifications.
The first month for which the household is eligible to participate starts the first month of the certification period. DSS will assign certification periods according to each household’s circumstances.
Households assigned a 12-month certification period are required to complete and return an interim report in the 6th month of the certification period.
Households assigned a 24-month certification period are required to complete and return an interim report in the 12th month of the certification period.
If an application is denied, the applicant is sent a system generated notice. If NPA food stamps were denied and the household is potentially categorically eligible, ask the household to inform DSS if it is approved to receive PA and/or SSI benefits.
Households that have filed an application by the fifteenth (15th) day of the last month of their certification period must be provided with either a notice of eligibility or a notice of denial by the end of the current certification period.
Households that have received a notice of expiration at the time of certification and have timely reapplied are to be sent a notice of eligibility or a notice of denial not later than 30 days after the date of the household's initial opportunity to obtain its last allotment. (See also DSSM 9091.)
The procedures for handling income received from boarders by a household that does not own and operate a commercial boarding house are described in DSSM 9074. For all other households receiving self‑employment income, including those that own and operate a commercial boarding house, the self‑employment income will be calculated according to DSSM 9074.
(i) Average the income over the period the income is intended to cover, even if the household receives income from other sources. If the averaged amount does not accurately reflect the household's current circumstances, calculate the self-employment income on the basis of anticipated earnings, not prior earnings
(ii) For self-employment that has been in existence for less than a year, average the income over the period of time the business has been in operation. Project that monthly amount for the coming year.
(i) For the period of time over which the self-employment income is determined, add all gross self-employment income (actual or anticipated) and capital gains, exclude the costs of producing the self-employment income, and divide the remaining amount of self-employment income by the number of months over which the income will be averaged. This amount is the monthly net self-employment income. Add the monthly self-employment income to any other earned income received by the household to determine the total monthly earned income.
(ii) If the cost of producing self-employment income exceeds the income derived from self-employment as a farmer, such losses must be prorated according to (a)(1) of this section, and then offset against countable income to the household as follows:
The cost for producing income is a standard deduction of the gross income. This standard deduction is a percentage of the gross income determined annually and is listed in the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) notice each October.
The standard deduction is considered the cost to produce income. The gross income test is applied after the standard deduction. The 20% earned income deduction is then applied to the net self-employment income and any other earned income in the household.
The standard deduction applies to all self-employed households with costs to produce income. To receive the standard deduction, self-employed households must provide and verify they have business costs to produce income. The verifications can include, but are not limited to, tax records, ledgers, business records, receipts, check receipts, and business statements. The self-employed household does not have to verify all its business costs to receive the standard deduction.
4) For those households whose self‑employment income is not averaged but is instead calculated on an anticipated basis, add any capital gains the household anticipates it will receive in the next 12 months, starting with the date the application is filed, and divide this amount by 12. This amount shall be used in successive certification periods during the next 12 months, except that a new average monthly amount shall be calculated over this 12‑month period if the anticipated amount of capital gains changes. Add the anticipated monthly amount of capital gains to the anticipated monthly self‑employment income, and subtract self-employment standard deduction.
During the period of time that a household member cannot participate for the reasons below, determine the eligibility and benefit level of any remaining household members in accordance with sections 9076.1 through 9076.4.
For households containing individuals determined ineligible because of the disqualifications or sanctions listed below, determine the eligibility and benefit level of any remaining household members as follows:
Apply all allowable earned income and deductions to the entire household. Include all deductions the ineligible household member would receive if he or she was included in the household size. Count the following deductions:
2) Income ‑ Count a prorata share of the income of such ineligible members as income to the remaining members. To get the prorated share, subtract the allowable income exclusions from the ineligible member’s income, divide the amount by the household size, and use all the income except for the prorated share of the ineligible household member.
3) Deductible expenses – Allow the earned income deduction for the prorated share of income used by the remaining household members. Divide the household's allowable child support payment, shelter (except any utility allowances), and dependent care expenses, which are either paid by or billed to the excluded members evenly among the household's members including the ineligible members. Allow all but the ineligible member's share as a deductible child support payment, shelter (except any utility allowances), or minor care expense for the remaining household members.
2) Income - Count a prorata share of the income of such members as income to the remaining members. This prorata share is calculated by first subtracting the allowable exclusions from the ineligible member's income and dividing the income evenly among the household members, including the ineligible members. All but the ineligible member's share is counted as income for the remaining household members.
3) Deductible expenses - The earned income deduction applies to the prorated income earned by such ineligible members, which is attributed to their households. That portion of the household's allowable child support payment, shelter (excluding any utility allowances), and dependent care expenses which are either paid by or billed to the excluded members, will be divided evenly among the household's members including the ineligible members. All but the ineligible member's share is counted as a deductible child support payment, shelter (excluding any utility allowances), or dependent care expense for the remaining household members.
Whenever an individual is determined ineligible within the household's certification period, determine the eligibility or ineligibility of the remaining household members based, as much as possible, on information in the case file:
a) Excluded for Intentional Program Violation Disqualification ‑ If a household's benefits are reduced or terminated within the certification period because one of its members was excluded because of disqualification for intentional Program violation, notify the remaining members of their eligibility and benefit level at the same time the excluded member is notified of his or her disqualification. The household is not entitled to a notice of adverse action, but may request a fair hearing to contest the reduction or termination of benefits, unless the household has already had a fair hearing on the amount of the claim as a result of a consolidation of the administrative disqualification hearing with the fair hearing.
b) Disqualified or determined ineligible for reasons other than intentional Program violation ‑ If a household's benefits are reduced or terminated within one certification period for reasons other than an intentional Program violation disqualification, issue a notice of adverse action in accordance with DSSM 9006, informing the household of the ineligibility, the reason for the ineligibility, the eligibility and benefit level of the remaining members and the action the household must take to end the ineligibility.
For all other non‑household members, defined in DSSM 9013.2 and DSSM 9013.3, who are not specifically mentioned in DSSM 9076, the income and resources of such individuals are not to be considered available to the household with whom the individual resides. Cash payments from the non‑household member to the household are considered under the normal income standards per DSSM 9055. Vendor payments are excluded as income.
Child support received by an ineligible student for a child is budgeted when determining benefits. If the child support includes monies for the whole family, such as alimony, the income must be prorated. Only the income of the ineligible student is disregarded.
If the household shares deductible expenses with the non‑household member, deduct only the amount actually paid or contributed by the household as a household expense. If the payments or contributions cannot be differentiated, prorate the expenses evenly among persons actually paying or contributing to the expense and deduct only the household's prorata share. Do not include such non‑household members when determining the size of the household for the purposes of:
Narcotics addicts or alcoholics who regularly participate in publicly operated or private non‑ profit drug or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs on a resident basis may voluntarily apply for the Food Stamp Program.
Resident addicts and alcoholics and their children, will have their eligibility determined as one household. Certify residents of addict/alcoholic treatment centers by using the same provisions that apply to all other applicant households except that certification must be accomplished through an authorized representative who is employed by the program.
Prior to certifying any residents, verify that the treatment center is authorized by FNS as a retailer if the center wishes to use food stamp benefits through a wholesaler, or, if it is not authorized by FNS as a retailer that it is under Part B of Title XIX of the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 300X et seg.)
Each treatment and rehabilitation center must provide DSS with a list of current participating residents on a periodic basis. This list will include a statement signed by a responsible center official attesting to the validity of the list. The agency will conduct periodic random on‑site visits to the center to assure the accuracy of the listings and that the agency's records are consistent and current.
1) When expedited processing standards are necessary per DSSM 9041, eligibility for the initial application will be processed on an expedited basis, and DSS will complete verification and documentation requirements prior to issuance of a second food stamp allotment. When normal processing standards apply, complete the verification and documentation requirements prior to making an eligibility determination for the initial application.
4) The organization or institution may be penalized or disqualified if it is determined administratively or judicially that food stamp benefits were misappropriated or used for purchases that did not contribute to a certified household's meals. Promptly notify FNS when DSS has reason to believe that an organization or institution is misusing food stamp benefits in its possession. Take no action prior to FNS action against the organization or institution. Establish a claim for overissuances of food stamp benefits held on behalf of resident clients as stipulated in DSSM 7000 of this section if any overissuances are discovered during an investigation or hearing procedure for redemption violations. If FNS disqualifies an organization or institution as an authorized retail food store, suspend its authorized representative status for the same period.
Disabled or blind residents of a group living arrangement who are covered under the Food Stamp Act's definition of a disabled person in DSSM 9013.1, (b through k) may voluntarily apply for the Food Stamp Program. The GLA must determine if a resident may apply on his or her own behalf based on the resident's physical and mental ability to handle his or her own affairs. Residents may apply through the use of the facility's authorized representative per DSSM 9016.1. Their eligibility will be determined as one‑person households. Residents can apply on their own behalf or through an authorized representative of their choice. Certify these residents using the same provisions that apply to all other households.
Room and medical costs which can be separately identified are allowable shelter and medical expenses. Normally the group home will identify the part of the payment that is being charged for separate costs.
If the amount the resident pays for room and meals is combined into one amount, the amount which exceeds the food stamp maximum allotment for a one-person household can be allowed as an identified shelter expense.
For example, a resident is charged $350 a month for room and meals. If the maximum food stamp allotment is $120 for a one-person household, then $120 is subtracted from the $350 monthly charge. The remainder $230 is allowed as the shelter cost.
If more than one resident applies as part of the same food stamp household, the food stamp maximum allotment amount for a one-person household would be deducted from the room and board payment for each person.
For example, two residents apply as one food stamp household. They each pay $350 a month for room and meals. If the maximum food stamp allotment for one-person household is $120, each resident has the $120 amount subtracted from the $350 payment. The remainder $230 for each person is used for the shelter costs, a $460 monthly room charge.
Some group homes charge a basic rate for room and board and they have higher rates depending on the amount of medical care that may be needed. In such instances, if a person is charged a higher rate, the basic rate minus the food stamp maximum allotment amount for a one-person household may be used to determine the shelter costs for that person, and the difference between the basic rate and the higher rate may be determined to be medical costs.
For example, a resident is charged a higher rate of $500 a month for room, meals and medical care. If the maximum food stamp allotment for one-person households is $120, the $120 is subtracted from the basic rate of $350 which leaves $230 for the shelter cost. The $350 basic rate is subtracted from the $500 higher rate to determine the medical costs of $150.
Each group living arrangement shall provide DSS with a list of currently participating residents on a periodic basis. This list will include a statement signed by a responsible center official attesting to the validity of the list. DSS will conduct periodic random on-site visits to assure the accuracy of the list and that the Division's records are consistent and current.
If the resident has made application on his/her own behalf, the household is responsible for reporting changes per DSSM 9085. If the group living arrangement is acting as authorized representative, the group living arrangement must notify DSS of all changes and must return any household's benefit which is received after the household has left the group living arrangement.
When the household leaves the facility, the group living arrangement either acting as an authorized representative or retaining use of the food stamp benefits on behalf of the residents will provide residents with their EBT card. The departing household will receive its full allotment if issued and if no food stamp benefits have been spent on behalf of that individual household. These procedures are applicable at any time during the month. If the food stamp benefits have already been issued and any portion spent on behalf of the individual, and the household leaves the facility prior to the 16th day of the month, the facility will provide the household with its EBT card and one‑half of its monthly allotment. If the household leaves on or after the 16th of the month and the food stamp benefits have already been issued and used, the household does not receive any food stamp benefits. If a group of residents have been certified as one household and have returned the food stamp benefits to the facility to use, the departing residents will be given a prorata share of one‑half of the household's allotment if leaving prior to the 16th of the month, and will be instructed to obtain EBT cards. Once the resident leaves, the group living arrangement no longer acts as his/her authorized representative.
If a resident or a group of residents apply on their own behalf and if they retain use of their own food stamp benefits, they are entitled to keep the food stamp benefits when they leave. If a group of residents have applied as one household, a prorata share of the remaining food stamp benefits will be provided to any departing household members. The group living arrangement will, if possible, provide the household with a change report form and will advise the household to return the form to the appropriate DSS office within ten (10) days. The group living arrangement will return to DSS any food stamp benefits not provided to departing residents at the end of each month. These returned food stamp benefits will include those not provided to departing residents because they left on or after the 16th of the month or they left prior to the 16th and the facility was unable to provide them with food stamp benefits.
The same provisions applicable to drug and alcoholic treatment centers in DSSM 9078.1 regarding misrepresentation or fraud and overissuances and institutional disqualification also apply to group living arrangements when acting as an authorized representative. A resident applying on his/her own behalf will be responsible for overissuances as would any other household.
The group living arrangement may purchase and prepare food to be consumed by eligible residents on a group basis if residents normally obtain their meals at or from a central location. If residents purchase and/or prepare food for home consumption, the group living arrangement will ensure that each resident's food stamps are used for meals intended for that resident. If the resident retains use of his/her own coupon allotment, coupons may be used either to purchase meals prepared by the facility or to purchase food to prepare meals for their own consumption.
The primary payee (cardholder) is responsible for the security and safeguarding of the EBT card and Personal Identification Number (PIN), including the careful selection of authorized representatives.
DSS will replace food stamp benefits withdrawn from an EBT account after a report of a lost or stolen EBT card is made to the e-Funds Customer Support Unit. Before a replacement is issued, DSS will verify the time/date of the report to e-Funds and the time/date of the loss of benefits.
Affidavit for Replacement of EBT Food Benefits. The affidavit will attest to the loss and must be made within ten days of the report of the loss. If the household does not sign and return the affidavit within ten days of the report of the loss DSS will deny the request for replacement of benefits.
DSS will verify the fact of the household’s misfortune or disaster. Disasters can include fire, floods, or hurricanes. Household misfortunes can include a breakdown in the refrigerator or freezer or the loss of electricity causing food to spoil.
A household member, or authorized representative, must sign and return to the food stamp office an Affidavit for Replacement of EBT Food Benefits. The affidavit will attest to the loss and must be made within ten days of the report of the loss. If the household does not sign and return the affidavit within ten days of the report of the loss DSS will deny the request for replacement of benefits.
A household member, or authorized representative, must sign an Affidavit for Replacement of EBT Food Benefits attesting to the loss and submit the affidavit to DSS within ten days of the report of the loss.
Prior to certifying its residents under this paragraph, determine that the shelter for battered women and children meets the definition in DSSM 9015 (4) and document the basis of this determination. Shelters having FNS authorization to redeem as wholesalers will be considered as meeting the definition and the Division is not required to make any further determination.
Many shelter residents have recently left a household containing the person who has abused them. Their former household may be certified for participation in the Program, and its certification may be based on a household size that includes the women and children who have just left. Shelter residents who are included in such certified households may nevertheless apply for and (if otherwise eligible) participate in the Program as separate households if such certified household which includes them is the household containing the person who subjected them to abuse. Shelter residents who are included in such certified households may receive an additional allotment as a separate household only once a month.
A full new application is required since the shelter resident would constitute a new household. However, information previously verified need not be re-verified if the worker is satisfied that it remains valid.
Eligibility is determined solely on the resources and income actually available to the applicant. The rationale for allowing a resident of a shelter for battered women to participate as a new household is the assumption that she is in fact cut off from her old household. Benefits for the shelter resident household shall be from the date of application to the end of the month.
Shelter residents who apply as separate households will be certified solely on the basis of their income and resources and the expenses for which they are responsible. They will be certified without regard to the income, resources, and expenses of their former household. Jointly held resources will be considered inaccessible in accordance with DSSM 9047. Room payments to the shelter will be considered as shelter expenses.
The battered spouse has to be in a shelter to get additional Food Stamps under this section. The spouse cannot stay at the home, even if the abuser has left the dwelling, and get additional Food Stamps.
"Date of entry" or "Date of admission" means the date established by the Immigration and Naturalization Service as the date the sponsored alien was admitted for permanent residence.
"Sponsor" means a person who executed an affidavit(s) of support or similar agreement on behalf of an alien as a condition of the alien's entry or admission into the United States as a permanent resident.
"Sponsored alien" means an alien for whom a person has executed an affidavit of support [INS Form I-864 or I-864A] on behalf of the alien according to section 213A of the INA.
DSS will consider the income and resources of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse towards the sponsored alien only if the sponsored alien is an eligible alien according to DSSM 9007.1. DSS will deem the income and resources of sponsor and sponsor's spouse, if he or she has executed INS Form I-864 or I-864A, as the unearned income and resources of the sponsored alien.
1. The monthly income of the sponsor and sponsor's spouse deemed to be that of the alien will be the total monthly earned and unearned income (including income exclusions provided for in DSSM 9059) of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse (if living with the sponsor) at the time the household containing the sponsored alien member applies or is recertified, reduced by:
(B) An amount equal to the monthly gross income eligibility limit for a household equal in size to the sponsor, the sponsor's spouse, and any other person who is claimed or could be claimed by the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse as a dependent for Federal income tax purposes.
2. If the alien has already reported gross income information on his/her sponsor due to TANF's sponsored alien rules, that income amount may be used for FSP deeming purposes. However, limit the allowable reductions to the total gross income of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse prior to attributing an income amount to the alien to amounts listed above in #1 in this section.
3. Actual money paid to the alien by the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse will not be considered as income to the alien unless the amount paid exceeds the amount attributed to the alien under paragraph 1 above. Only the amount paid that actually exceeds the amount deemed would be considered income to the alien.
5. If a sponsored alien can demonstrate to the Division's satisfaction that his/her sponsor sponsors other aliens, then the income and resources deemed under the provisions of paragraph 1 and 4 of this Section will be divided by the number of such aliens that apply for or are participating in the program.
4) An alien who is participating in the Food Stamp Program as a member of his or her sponsor's household or an alien whose sponsor is participating in the Food Stamp Program separate and apart from the alien;
8) A battered alien spouse, alien parent of a battered child, or child of a battered alien, for 12 months after a determination is made that the battering is substantially connected to the need for benefits, and the battered individual does not live with the batterer. After 12 months, do not deem the batterer's income and resources if the battery is recognized by a court or the INS and had a substantial connection to the need for benefits, and the alien does not live with the batterer;
9) An indigent alien that has been determined unable to obtain food or shelter taking into account the alien's own income plus any cash, food, or housing, or other assistance provided by other individuals, including the sponsor(s).
(B) If the LPR is an eligible sponsored alien, make an indigence determination.
An eligible sponsored alien is an alien eligible to receive food stamps according to DSSM 9007.1.
(C) Determine if the eligible sponsored alien's total household income by adding the eligible alien's household's own income, the cash contributions of the sponsor and others, and the value of any in-kind assistance the sponsor or others provide.
Accept whatever dollar value, if any, is given for any in-kind assistance provided by the person(s) providing the assistance. In-kind assistance includes, but is not limited to, food, housing, clothing, or transportation.
If the alien is indigent, then process the case as normal and deem only the actual amount of the cash support received from the sponsor. The cash support does not include the value of the in-kind assistance.
(E) If the alien is not indigent, then the eligible sponsored alien must provide information on the total amount of the sponsor's income and resources and follow the regular sponsor deeming procedures.
(H) The names of each eligible sponsored alien determined to be indigent and the sponsor(s) names are to be sent to the Food Stamp Policy Administrator after a determination is made.
The alien is responsible for obtaining the cooperation of his/her sponsor for providing DSS at time of application or recertification with the information and/or documentation necessary to calculate deemed income and resources until the alien becomes a citizen or works 40 qualifying quarters. The alien is also responsible for providing information about other aliens for whom the alien's sponsor has also signed an agreement to support to enable DSS to apply the proration provisions in DSSM 9081.2(E). If such information about other aliens for whom the sponsor is responsible is not provided to DSS, attribute the deemed income and resource amounts to the applicant in their entirety until such time as the information is provided. The alien is also responsible for reporting the required information about the sponsor and sponsor's spouse should the alien obtain a different sponsor during the certification period and for reporting a change in income should the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse change or lose employment or become deceased during the certification period. Handle such change in accordance with the timeliness standards and procedures in DSSM 9085.
Until the alien provides information or verification needed to calculate deemed income and resources, the sponsored alien is ineligible for benefits. DSS will determine the eligibility of any remaining household members.
Exclude any sponsor who is participating in the Food Stamp Program from a demand made under 8 CFR 213a.4(1)[Affidavit of Support on Behalf of Immigrants] for the value of food stamp benefits issued to an eligible sponsored alien he or she sponsors.
Do not increase food stamp benefits when a household's benefits received under another means-tested Federal, State or local welfare or public assistance program (such as but not limited to TANF, RCA or GA) have been decreased (reduced, suspended or terminated) due to failure to perform an action required under the assistance program or for fraud. Under no circumstances can the food stamp benefits be allowed to increase.
A procedural requirement which would not cause a sanction is a step that an individual must take to continue to receive benefits in the assistance program such as providing verification of circumstances.
A substantive requirement, which would cause a sanction, is a behavioral requirement in the assistance program designed to improve the well-being of the recipient family, such as participating in job search activities.
6. If the means-tested assistance program fails to verify an individual's failure to perform a required action, this rule will not apply and DSS will not be held responsible as long as DSS made a good faith effort to get the information.
Permit a household which consists of a resident or residents of a public institution which applies for SSI under SSA's Pre‑ release Program for the Institutionalized to apply for food stamp benefits jointly with their application for SSI prior to their release from the institution. Certify such households in accordance with DSSM 9015, DSSM 9039, DSSM 9041, and DSSM 9028.
Households assigned a 12-month certification period are required to complete and return an interim report in the 6th month of the certification period. DSS will close the food benefit case when a household fails to complete and return the interim report.
Households assigned a 24-month certification period are required to complete and return an interim report in the 12th month of the certification period. DSS will close the food benefit case when a household fails to complete and return the interim report.
Take prompt action on all changes to determine if the changes affect the household's eligibility or allotment. Even if there is no change in the allotment, document reported changes in the case file, provide another change report form to the household, and notify the household of the effect of the change, if any, on its benefits. Document the date of receipt of the report form or the date a change is reported by phone or in person. If a household reports a change in income which is expected to continue for at least one month beyond the month in which the change is reported, act on the change according to DSSM 9085.3 and 9085.4. If DSS fails to take action on a change within the time limits specified in DSSM 9085.3, restore the lost benefits.
PA households have the same reporting requirements as any other food stamp household and shall use the change report form. PA households who report changes to their workers for PA purposes will be considered to have reported the change for food stamp purposes as well.
For changes which result in an increase in a household's benefits, make the change effective no later than the first allotment issued ten (10) days after the date the change is reported to the Division.
For changes which produce an increase in benefits as the result of the addition of a new household member who is not a member of another certified household or as the result of a decrease of $50 or more in the household's gross monthly income, make the change effective not later than the first allotment issued ten (10) days after the date the change is reported. These changes must take effect no later than the month following in which the change is reported.
For example, a $30 decrease in income reported on the 15th day of May would increase the household's June allotment. If the same decrease were reported on May 28, and the household's normal issuance cycle was on June 1, the household's allotment would have to be increased by July.
If the change is reported after the 20th of a month and it is too late for the Division to adjust the following monthly allotment, issue a supplement by the 10th day of the following month or, if possible, in the household's normal issuance cycle in that month. For example, a household reporting a $100 decrease in income at any time during the month of May would have its June allotment increased. If the household reported the change after the 20th of May and it is too late to adjust the benefit normally issued on June 1, issue a supplement for the amount of the increase by June 10.
Verify changes which result in an increase in a household's benefit in accordance with the verification requirements in DSSM 9038, prior to taking action on these changes except in the case of newborn infants. When a household reports the birth of a newborn, add the newborn to the household when the baby comes home according to DSSM 2006. Allow the household ten (10) days from the date the change is reported to provide verification required by DSSM 9038. If the household provides verification within this period, take action on the changes within the timeframes specified above. The timeframes will run from the date the change was reported, not from the date of verification. If, however, the household fails to provide the required verification within ten (10) days after the change is reported but does provide the verification at a later date, then the timeframes specified in the first and second paragraphs of this section for taking action on changes will run from the date the verification is provided rather than from the date the change is reported.
If the household's benefit level decreases or the household becomes ineligible as a result of the change, issue a notice of adverse action (see DSSM 9006) within ten (10) days of the date the change was reported unless one of the exemptions to the notice of adverse action in DSSM 9006.3 applies. When a notice of adverse action is used, make the decrease in the benefit level effective no later than the allotment for the month following the month in which the notice of adverse action period has expired, provided a fair hearing and continuation of benefits have not been requested.
When a notice of adverse action is not used due to one of the exemptions in DSSM 9006.3, make the decrease effective no later than the month following the change. Verification which is required by DSSM 9032 must be obtained prior to recertification.
If the household fails to respond to the RFC, or does respond but refuses to provide sufficient information to clarify its circumstances, DSS will terminate the case and issue a notice of adverse action explaining the reason for the action. Inform the household that a new application must be filed if the household wishes to continue to receive benefits.
If a household fails to report a change as required under DSSM 9085 and, as a result, receives benefits to which it is not entitled, file a claim against the household in accordance with DSSM 7000. If the discovery is made within the certification period, the household is entitled to a notice of adverse action in advance if the household's benefits are reduced. A household is not to be held liable for a claim because of a change in household circumstances which it is not required to report. Do not terminate individuals for failure to report a change unless the individual is disqualified in accordance with the disqualification procedures specified in DSSM 2023.
Certain changes are initiated by the State or Federal government which may affect the entire caseload or significant portions of the caseload. These changes include adjustments to income eligibility standards and the shelter care deduction; adjustments to the maximum food stamp allotment and standard deduction; annual and seasonal adjustments to utility standards, periodic cost‑ of‑ living adjustments to RSDI, SSI, and other Federal benefits; periodic adjustments to TANF, RCA or GA payments; and other changes in the eligibility and benefit criteria based on legislative or regulatory changes.
DSS will implement these changes for all households at a specific point in time. Adjustments to Federal standards shall be implemented prospectively regardless of the household's budgeting system. Annual and seasonal adjustments in State utility standards shall also be implemented prospectively for all households.
Although notices of adverse action are not required for such changes [see DSSM 9006.3(1)], individual notices may be sent and the various changes will be publicized through the news media, at issuance offices and at other sites.
Households whose certification periods overlap a seasonal variation in the utility standard will be advised at the time of initial certification of when the adjustment will occur and what the variation in the benefit level will be, if known.
If the Division makes mass changes to public assistance grants and has at least 30 days advance knowledge of the amount of the public assistance adjustment, food stamp benefits will be recomputed to be effective in the same month as the public assistance (TANF, RCA or GA) change, or, if the Division does not have at least 30 days advance knowledge, the food stamp change will be effective not later than the month following the month in which the public assistance change was made.
Monthly reporting households must report the change on the appropriate monthly report, but are not required to report these types of changes outside the monthly report. Handle the information provided on the report in accordance with normal procedures. Households not subject to monthly reporting are not responsible for reporting these changes.
The household must be notified by the date it is scheduled to receive the changed allotment. However, the notice should be given as much before the household's scheduled issuance date as reasonably possible, but not earlier than the time required for advance notice of adverse action.
TANF, RCA and/or GA households have the same reporting requirements as any other food stamp households. Whenever an TANF, RCA and/or GA household reports a change, adjustments must be made in the household's eligibility status or allotment for the months determined appropriate given the household's budgeting cycle.
Notify households whenever their benefits are altered as a result of changes in the TANF, RCA and/or GA benefits. If the TANF, RCA and/or GA benefits are terminated but the household is still eligible for food stamp benefits, advise household members of food stamp work registration requirements, if applicable, as their Food Stamp Employment and Training registration exemption no longer applies.
Whenever a change results in the reduction or termination of a household's TANF, RCA and/or GA benefits within its food stamp certification period, and DSS has sufficient information to determine how the change affects the household's food stamp eligibility and benefit level, take the following actions:
If a change in household circumstances requires both reduction or termination in the TANF, RCA and/or GA payment and a reduction or termination in food stamp benefits, issue a single notice of adverse action for both the TANF, RCA and/or GA and food stamp actions. If the household requests a fair hearing within the period provided by the notice of adverse action, continue the household's food stamp benefit on the basis authorized immediately prior to sending the notice. If the fair hearing is requested for both programs' benefits, conduct the hearing according to TANF, RCA and/or GA procedures and timeliness standards. The household must reapply for food stamp benefits if the food stamp certification period expires before the fair hearing process is completed. If the household does not appeal, make the change effective in accordance with the procedures in DSSM 9085.2.
If the household's food stamp benefits will be increased as a result of a reduction or termination of TANF, RCA and/or GA benefits, the household's food stamp benefits must continue at the previous basis. If the household does not appeal, make the change effective in accordance with the procedures specified in DSSM 9085.2, except calculate the time limits for action from the date the TANF, RCA and/or GA notice of adverse action period expires.
Whenever a change results in the termination of a household's TANF, RCA and/or GA benefits within its food stamp certification period, and DSS does not have sufficient information to determine how the change affects the household's food stamp eligibility and benefit level (such as when an absent parent returns to a household, rendering the household categorically ineligible for TANF, RCA and/or GA, and DSS has no information on the income of the new household member), take the following action:
1) Where a TANF, RCA and/or GA notice of adverse action has been sent, wait until the household's notice of adverse action period expires or until the household requests a fair hearing, whichever occurs first. If the household requests a fair hearing and its TANF, RCA and/or GA benefits are continued pending the appeal, the household's food stamp benefits will be continued at the same basis.
2) If an TANF, RCA and/or GA notice of adverse action is not required, or the household decides not to request a fair hearing and continuation of its TANF, RCA and/or GA benefits, send the household Form 105 requesting the verification needed to determine the household's continued food stamp eligibility. Give the household at least ten (10) days to provide the necessary verifications. Take the necessary action to adjust or terminate the food stamps based on the rules regarding processing reported changes per DSSM 9085.
Under the Food Stamp Act of 1977, the Secretary of Agriculture may not spend more money for food stamp allotments than is appropriated by Congress. If the Secretary of Agriculture determines that there is not enough money available to provide full benefits to all certified households, USDA is required to reduce the value of the benefits issued to those households. This section establishes the procedures to be used if such an action is necessary. Such action may be a suspension or cancellation of allotments for one or more months, a reduction in allotment levels for one or more months, or a combination of these three actions. At such time as a decision is made to implement reduction, suspension, or cancellation procedures, FNS will notify DSS of the date of action and all relevant details.
Reductions, suspensions, and cancellations of allotments will be regarded as Federal adjustments to allotments. As such, DSS will notify households of reductions, suspensions, and cancellations of allotments in accordance with the notice provisions of DSSM 9086, except that DSS will not provide notices of adverse action to households affected by reductions, suspensions, or cancellations of allotments.
Households whose allotments are reduced or cancelled as a result of the enactment of these procedures are not entitled to the restoration of the lost benefits at a future date. However, if there is a surplus of funds as a result of the reduction or cancellation, FNS will direct DSS to provide affected households with restored benefits unless it is determined that the amount of surplus funds is too small to make this practicable.
Except as provided in DSSM 9090.4, determinations of the eligibility of applicant households will not be affected by reductions, suspensions, or cancellations of allotments. DSS will accept and process applications and determine eligibility during a month(s) in which a reduction, suspension, or cancellation is in effect. If an applicant is found to be eligible for benefits and a reduction is in effect, the amount of benefits will be calculated by reducing the maximum food stamp allotment amount by the appropriate percentage for the applicant's household size and then deducting 30 percent of the household's net food stamp income from the reduced maximum food stamp allotment amount. If the applicant is found to be eligible for benefits while a suspension or cancellation is in effect, no benefits will be issued to the applicant until issuance is again authorized by FNS.
Households eligible to receive expedited processing who apply for program benefits during months in which reductions or suspensions are in effect, will have their cases processed in accordance with the expedited processing provisions of DSSM 9041. However, if a suspension is still in effect at the time the issuance is to be made, the issuance will be suspended until the suspension is ended. In the case of a cancellation, the deadline for completing the processing for expedited service will be five days or the end of the month of application, whichever date is later. All other rules pertaining to expedited service contained in DSSM 9041 will be applicable to these cases.
The reduction, suspension, or cancellation of allotments in a given month will have no effect on the certification periods assigned to households. Those participating households whose certification periods expire during a month in which allotments have been reduced, suspended, or cancelled will be recertified according to the provisions of DSSM 9091. Households found eligible to participate during a month in which allotments have been reduced, suspended, or cancelled will have certification periods assigned in accordance with the provisions of DSSM 9061.
Any household that has its allotment reduced, suspended, or cancelled as a result of an order issued by FNS in accordance with these rules may request a fair hearing if it disagrees with the action, subject to the following conditions:
1) DSS will not be required to hold fair hearings unless the request for a fair hearing is based on a household's belief that its benefit level was computed incorrectly under these rules or that the rules were misapplied or misinterpreted.
Since the reduction, suspension, or cancellation would be necessary to avoid an expenditure of funds beyond those appropriated by Congress, households do not have a right to continuation of benefits pending the fair hearing. A household may receive retroactive benefits in an appropriate amount if it is determined that its benefits were reduced by more than the amount by which DSS was directed to reduce benefits.
No household may participate beyond the expiration of the assigned certification period without a determination of eligibility for a new period. Households must apply for recertification and comply with the interview and verification requirements per DSSM 9030 and DSSM 9038.
When a household is certified for one month or when the certification action is not completed until the second month of a two-month certification, provide a notice of expiration at the time of certification. All other households must be provided a notice of expiration at least one day before the last month, but no earlier than the next to the last month of the certification period.
Households certified for one month or certified in the second month if a two-month certification period shall be provided a notice of expiration at the time of certification. All other households must be provided a notice of expiration before the first day of the last month of the certification period.
All households must complete an application form in order for DSS to obtain all information needed to determine eligibility and benefits for a new certification period. A household's signature and date is required at all recertifications regardless of the type of application used. The type of application used can be updating the online version, completing a long version hardcopy, completing the short review form, or updating an initial long version hardcopy application. The recertification process can only be used for households which apply before the end of their current certification period except for the provisions under DSSM 9091.8.
A face-to-face recertification interview will be held with a member of each applying household or its authorized representative at least once every 12 months for households certified for 12 months or less. Face-to-face interviews can be waived per DSSM 9030. DSS will conduct a telephone interview or a home visit for households for whom the office interview is waived.
Schedule the Interview on or after the date the application was filed if the interview has not been previously scheduled, or the household has failed to appear for any interviews scheduled prior to this time and has requested another interview. Schedule the interview so that the household has at least ten (10) days after the interview in which to provide verification before the certification period expires. If a household misses a scheduled interview, send the household a notice of missed interview. If the household misses its scheduled interview and requests another interview, schedule a second interview.
Information provided by the household shall be verified according to DSSM 9038. Inform households of what required verification must be provided and of the date by which the verifications must be returned. The household must be allowed at least ten (10) calendar days to provide required verification. Households whose eligibility is not determined by the end of the current certification period due to the time period allowed for returning verifications shall receive their benefits for the full month, if eligible, within five (5) working days after the household submits the missing verification and benefits cannot be prorated.
Households reporting required changes in circumstances that are certified for one month or certified in the second month of a two-month certification period shall have 15 days from the date the notice of expiration is received to file a timely application for recertification.
Other households reporting required changes in circumstances that submit applications by the 15th day of the last month of the certification period shall be considered to have made a timely application for recertification.
For households consisting only of SSI applicants or recipients who apply for food stamp recertification at SSA offices according to DSSM 9043, an application shall be considered filed for normal processing purposes when the signed application is received by the SSA office.
Households which timely reapply do not lose their right to uninterrupted benefits for failure to submit any requested verification prior to the date the household submits a timely application for recertification.
Notify households that were certified for one month or certified for two months in the second month of the certification period and have met all required application procedures of their eligibility or ineligibility. Provide eligible households an opportunity to receive benefits no later than 30 calendar days after the date the household received its last allotment.
Other households that have met all application requirements shall be notified of their eligibility or ineligibility by the end of their current certification period. Provide households determined eligible an opportunity to participate by the household’s normal issuance cycle in the month following the end of its current certification period.
Any household not determined eligible in sufficient time to provide for issuance in that timeframe due to the time period allowed for submitting any missing verification must receive an opportunity to participate, if eligible, within five (5) working days after the household supplies the missing verification.
If an eligible household files an application before the end of the certification period but DSS does not complete the recertification process within the 30 days after the date of the application, continue to process that case and provide a full month's allotment for the first month of the new certification period.
If the household files an application by the end of the certification period, but fails to take a required action, deny the application at the end of 30 days. The household has 30 days after the end of the certification period to complete the process and have its application treated as an application for recertification.
If the household takes the required action after the end of the certification period but within 30 days after the end of the certification period, reopen the case and provide benefits retroactive to the date the household takes the required action.
If the household files an application within 30 days after the end of the certification period, the application shall be considered an application for recertification. Prorate benefits from the date of the application. If a household's application for recertification is delayed beyond the first of the month of a new certification period due to agency error, prorate the benefits from the date of the new application and then restore benefits back to the date the household's certification period should have started if not for the agency error.
DSS was approved by Food and Nutrition Service, under the United States Department of Agriculture, to operate a Simplified Food Stamp Program (SFSP). The SFSP permits a state to substitute certain TANF and RCA rules and procedures for food stamp rules. Delaware’s SFSP component is the Work For Your Welfare program rules.
The SFSP will follow all the regular food stamp rules for determining eligibility and certifying households. Under the SFSP, the changes in the food stamps rules that will affect Work For Your Welfare TANF or RCA households who receive food stamps are:
The SFSP allows Delaware to require single, custodial parents who are receiving TANF or RCA and caring for children age 12 months and older to participate in Work For Your Welfare. The SFSP also allows Delaware to use the food stamp allotment along with the TANF or RCA grant to determine the number of hours of Work For Your Welfare participation.
Two-parent households will be required to work the maximum participation hours of 35 hours per week. If the household receives subsidized childcare assistance, the maximum participation hours increase to 55 hours per week.
3. The two results (#1 and #2), added together, are the maximum monthly number of hours for which the family/household is required to participate in work experience. The family/household may have to participate in other activities to the maximum hours of participation.
6. The weekly number of hours (#5) is divided by 5 to get the daily participation requirement, rounded down. (This step is needed to give the Contractor and Client an idea of how to schedule the work on a daily basis to assure that the Client is able to meet the required work experience hours of participation.)
If the participant does not meet the required number of work experience hours, the penalty will be the closure of the entire TANF case for a minimum of one month and a mandatory four consecutive weeks of participation.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is the method by which Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) issues food benefits to participants. The EBT card is a plastic card called the Delaware Food First Card. The card is used with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) at grocery retailers to purchase food.
Delaware uses an EBT contractor to manage the EBT cards. Client/case file and benefit information are transmitted through an interface between the EBT contractor and the Division's data processing systems.
EBT did not change the way that eligibility determinations are made for food benefits. EBT affected the way that food benefits are delivered to participants. EBT provides greater privacy and security for those receiving food benefits.
The household may use its EBT card in any grocery store, convenience store, farmers’ market, etc., anywhere in the United States, authorized by FNS to accept the card. The benefits may be used the same as cash to purchase any food or food product prepared for human consumption. Households cannot use benefits to purchase alcoholic beverages, tobacco, soap and paper products, and hot foods or hot foods prepared for immediate consumption. Households can use benefits to buy seeds and plants for use in gardens to produce food for personal consumption by the eligible household.
EBT benefits are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week including weekends and holidays. DHSS issues benefits on a daily and monthly basis. DHSS issues monthly benefits on the same day each month for each household based on a staggered issuance schedule. The EBT contractor posts benefits in the household's account by 6 a.m. the day after benefits are approved in DCIS II.
There is no minimum dollar amount per transaction. There is no maximum limit on the number of transactions a household can make. Stores cannot impose transaction fees on food benefit households using their EBT card.
When transacting food benefits by EBT, the household cannot receive change. When a household returns food to a store, the store will credit the household's EBT account with the amount of the refund. The household cannot receive a cash refund for returned food.
The EBT contractor makes adjustments to EBT accounts to correct system errors. A system error is an error resulting from a malfunction at any point in the redemption process, for example, errors made at the grocery store. Adjustments are initiated by the client or store and may result in a debit or credit to the household.
DHSS will emphasize to clients that they should review their transaction slips before leaving the store. If there is a mistake, the client should discuss the problem with the store clerk or manager before leaving the store. Problems discovered later must be resolved through the EBT contractor Customer Service Unit.
The household has 90 days from the date of the problem transaction to contact the EBT contractor Customer Service at 1-800-526-9099 and inform the customer service representative that a problem has occurred. The household will need to tell the customer service representative the date, time and location of the transaction and the amount of food benefits that were debited in error.
If the request is a legitimate request, the EBT contractor will return the funds to the household's EBT account within 10 business days from the date the household filed the report with the EBT contractor Customer Service Unit. A business day is any calendar day other than a Saturday, a Sunday or a federal holiday.
If the household's request is not legitimate, the EBT contractor will deny the credit adjustment. The household may request a fair hearing. The EBT contractor will take no action to credit the household's EBT account unless the hearing decision is in the household's favor.
A retailer-initiated adjustment occurs when the retailer does not receive a credit for an EBT purchase amount when the household made the purchase. The store needs the adjustment to get credit for the purchase made by the household.
DHSS must act upon all adjustments to debit a household's account no later than 10 business days from the date the error occurred, by placing a hold on the adjusted amount in the household's account. If there are insufficient benefits to cover the entire adjustment, DHSS will place a hold on any remaining balance that exists and the whole amount will be debited from the household's account when the next month's benefits become available.
If the household disputes the adjustment and requests a hearing within 10 days of the notice, DHSS will make a provisional credit to the household's account by releasing the hold on the adjustment balance within 48 hours of the request by the household, pending resolution of the fair hearing. If the household does not request for a hearing within 10 days of the notice, DHSS will release the hold on the adjustment balance, and credit this amount to the retailer's account.
An EBT food benefit account does not close when a food benefit DCIS case closes. The former recipient remains entitled to the account balance. As long as benefits remain in the EBT food benefit account, the former recipient may have cards issued or reissued and be able to select or change PINs.
Sometimes circumstances cause the client or store clerk to enter the transaction manually instead of swiping the EBT card through the POS machine. This happens when the card’s magnetic stripe becomes scratched, worn or demagnetized.
Until the client can get a new card issued, the client can still use the card at a retailer. The clerk keys the card number in manually to complete the transaction. Only the client should enter his/her PIN. The client should never reveal the PIN to a store clerk when entering a manual transaction.
Retailers use a manual voucher process when the EBT contractor system or the terminals are not working and cannot accept the EBT card for a food benefit purchase. Retailers do not have to use the manual process, but most will not turn away a sale.
The manual voucher is a paper form on which the retailer writes the card number, the cardholder’s name, the store FNS number, and the dollar amount of the sale. The client must sign the voucher. The retailer must call in manual vouchers to the EBT contractor to get an authorization for the amount of the transaction. The retailer calls in to make sure that the money is in the client’s account. If the client has enough funds in the account to cover the transaction, the retailer subtracts the whole amount of the transaction from the client’s account.
DHSS must provide eligible households that complete the initial application process an opportunity to participate as soon as possible, but no later than 30 calendar days following the date the household filed the application. With EBT, FNS has issued guidelines saying that the opportunity to participate is the date the money is posted to the account plus two days when mailing the EBT card. DHSS mails most EBT cards. Clients may pick up a card at the local office after notifying the worker not to have the card mailed. To avoid these timeliness errors, staff will need to take the action to approve a case on or before the 26th day at the latest.
When it is not possible to process the case on or before the 28th day because the client did not turn in the verifications or worker time constraints, document the case record. The error may still count but the explanation will be there.
When the EBT contractor posts the EBT benefits to the household’s account, the household is considered in receipt of those benefits. If the household receives benefits it was not entitled to, DHSS/ARMS will establish a claim. DHSS/ARMS establishes a claim even if the household has not used the benefits in the EBT account. As long as the benefits are in the account, the household has access to those benefits and owes the State the amount of the claim.
Benefits remain available to the household for 365 days from the date of availability. The EBT contractor sends reports to DHSS that show accounts with no activity. The EBT contractor provides DHSS with a report for the following periods of time:
A household will get a notice at Periods 1, 2 and 3 if the household has not used benefits for 60, 90 or 230 days. Stale benefits are benefits not used by these time periods. The notice will tell the household the following information:
On day 230, DHSS will generate notices to clients with outstanding claims. The notice tells the household that ARMS will apply benefits not used for 230 days to the outstanding claim unless the household contacts ARMS within 10 days.
On day 250, households that do not contact ARMS to stop the repayment will have their stale benefits applied to the outstanding claim. On day 365, the EBT contractor system will expunge (remove from the account) any remaining stale benefits and send DHSS a report of those benefits expunged.
DCIS II and ARMS accounting systems will credit any expunged benefits to household accounts with an outstanding claim. ARMS and the Payments Unit will receive a report of benefits posted to household’s claims so ARMS can update the benefit recovery screens. ARMS will send the client a credit slip indicating the credit made on his or her claim and the existing balance.
“Able-bodied Adults Without Dependent Children (ABAWD)” - Individuals without children in their FSP household who must work and/or comply with certain work requirements for 20 hours a week in order to get food benefits.
“Adequate notice” - A written notice that includes:
“Administrative Terminal” - The EBT contractor system through which DHSS staff can obtain EBT card and account information.
“Alien Status Verification Index (ASVI)” - The automated database used by States to verify immigration statuses from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
“Allotment” - The total dollar value of food benefits a household receives each month.
“Application” - The form completed by a household member or authorized representative to apply for food benefits, cash assistance, child care or medical assistance programs.
“ASSIST” - Delaware’s electronic application. The acronym stands for Application for Social Services and Internet Screening Tool.
“Authorized Representative” - An individual the household authorizes to act on behalf of the household in the application process, in obtaining food benefits, and in using the EBT card. This individual has access to the household's EBT benefit account. This individual can be a non-household member or a household member, like a spouse, who is a secondary cardholder.
“Benefit Status” - A code that indicates the status of the benefit in the Administrative Terminal.
“Boarders” - Individuals or groups of individuals residing with others and paying reasonable compensation to the others for lodging and meals.
“Card Number” - The card number is on the front of the EBT card. The first six digits are the same for all of Delaware's cards. This number is called the Primary Account Number (PAN).
“Card Status” - An EBT card may be active or inactive. The card status for a replacement card can indicate stolen, lost, payee changed, name changed, damaged, undelivered, deactivated/cancelled or bad address.
“Categorically Eligible Household” - Any household where all members receive or are authorized to receive TANF/GA/RCA and/or SSI benefits, or the household income is at or under 200% of the FPL for their household size. The household is considered categorically eligible for food benefits. These households meet the resource test.
”Certification period” - The period of time in which a household is eligible to receive benefits.
“Claim” - The amount owed due to an over-issuance of food benefits.
“Date Available” - Benefits are available at 6:00 a.m. on the date specified in the Administrative Terminal. Regular monthly food benefits are available according to a seven day staggered schedule based on the case head’s last name. Benefits start staggering on the fifth calendar day of each month.
“Date of Admission” - The date established by the Immigration and Naturalization Service as the date the sponsored alien was admitted for permanent residence.
”Date of Entry” - The date established by the Immigration and Naturalization Service as the date the sponsored alien was admitted for permanent residence.
“Deeming” - Using a portion of an ineligible household member’s income or resources for the remaining household members.
“Destitute Households” - Migrant or seasonal farm worker households that have little or no income at the time of application and are in need of immediate food assistance.
“Disaster (for Assistance)” - A major disaster is any natural catastrophe such as a hurricane or drought, fire, flood, or explosion, which the President declares the severity and magnitude warrants disaster assistance.
“Drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program” means any drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program conducted by a private, nonprofit organization or institution, or a publicly operated community mental health center, licensed by DHSS.
“EBT Contractor Customer Support” - The Customer Support Unit receives phone calls from participants to check balances, report lost or stolen cards, report problems with a retailer, and request new PINs. The CSU number is 1-800-526-9099.
“Elderly [member] or [disabled] member with a disability” - A member of a household who:
C. Receives federally or State-administered supplemental benefits under section 1616(a) of the Social Security Act provided that the eligibility to receive the benefits is based upon the disability or blindness criteria used under title XVI of the Social Security Act.
H. Is a surviving spouse of a veteran and considered by the VA to be in need of regular aid and attendance or permanently housebound or a surviving child of a veteran and considered by the VA to be permanently incapable of self-support under title 38 of the United States Code.
I. Is a surviving spouse or surviving child of a veteran and considered by the VA to be entitled to compensation for a service-connected death or pension benefits for a non-service-connected death under title 38 of the United States Code and has a disability considered permanent under section 221(i) of the Social Security Act. “Entitled” as used in this definition refers to those veterans' surviving spouses and surviving children who are receiving the compensation or pension benefits stated or have been approved for such payments, but are not yet receiving them.
J. Receives an annuity payment under: section 2(a)(1)(iv) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 and is determined to be eligible to receive Medicare by the Railroad Retirement Board; or section 2(a)(1)(v) of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 and is determined to be disabled based upon the criteria used under title XVI of the Social Security Act.
K. Is a recipient of interim assistance benefits pending the receipt of Supplemental Security Income, a recipient of disability related medical assistance under title XIX of the Social Security Act, or a recipient of disability-based State general assistance benefits provided that the eligibility to receive any of these benefits is based upon disability or blindness criteria established by the State agency which are at least as stringent as those used under title XVI of the Social Security Act (as set forth at 20 CFR part 416, subpart I, Determining Disability and Blindness as defined in Title XVI).
“Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)” - The method used for issuing and accessing FSP benefits through the use of a card similar to a debit card.
“Eligible foods” mean:
C. Meals prepared and delivered by an authorized meal delivery service to households eligible to use EBT benefits to purchase delivered meals; or meals served by an authorized communal dining facility for the elderly, for SSI households or both, to households eligible to use EBT benefits for communal dining.
“Emergency (for Federal Assistance)” - An emergency is any occasion when the President determines that Federal assistance is needed to supplant State and local efforts to save lives, protect property, assure public health and safety, or to lessen the threat of a catastrophe.
“Expedited Service” - Food benefits must be available to the household no later than the seventh calendar day following the date an applicant files an application.
“Expunged Benefits” Benefits in client accounts not used for 365 days that are removed from the account forever.
“Filing Date” - The date DHSS receives the application form as long as the form contains the applicant's name and address, and the signature of a responsible household member or the household's representative, a signed Request for Assistance, or an application from ASSIST.
“FNS” - The Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“FNS Number” - A unique number assigned to retailers by FNS indicating that the retailer is eligible to accept FSP benefits.
”Group Living Arrangement” - A public or private nonprofit residential setting, certified by the State, which serves no more than sixteen residents. To be eligible for food benefits, a resident of such a group living arrangement must be blind or disabled as defined under Elderly member or member with a disability.
“Head of Household” - The individual who is an adult parent of children of any age selected by the household or the principal wage earner if selected by DHSS.
“Hold Amount” - When an EBT manual voucher transaction is used, the retailer obtains an authorization number from the EBT contractor. The EBT contractor puts a hold on the participant's food benefit account. Once an accept reason is assigned to the voucher, the hold amount is deducted from the participant's benefit balance and this field becomes blank.
“Homeless” - An individual who lacks a fixed and regular nighttime residence or an individual whose primary nighttime residence is:
“Homeless Meal Provider” - A public or private nonprofit establishment (e.g., soup kitchens, temporary shelters) that feeds homeless persons.
“Ineligible Alien” - An undocumented alien or a documented alien who does not meet a qualified and eligible status.
“Intentional Program Violation (IPV)” - Occurs when an individual breaks a FSP rule and is found guilty by a court or an administrative disqualification hearing, or signs a waiver to be disqualified to avoid prosecution.
“Low-income Household” - A household whose annual income does not exceed 125% of the Office of Management and Budget poverty guidelines.
“Manual Entries” - If an EBT card or POS machine is damaged, the card number can be keyed manually to complete the transaction.
“Manual Voucher” - Retailers use paper vouchers when the EBT contractor system is not available. Retailers who are not eligible to have POS terminals also use these vouchers. A voucher has a unique number, which identifies the voucher. This field is completed only if the transaction displayed in the Administrative Terminal is an off-line voucher.
“Mass Changes” - Certain changes initiated by the State or Federal government, which may affect the entire caseload or significant portions of the caseload such as annual cost-of-living adjustments, shelter/dependent care deduction and periodic cost-of-living adjustments to RSDI and SSI benefits.
“Meal Delivery Service” - A service agencies contract with for the preparation and delivery of meals at low prices to elderly persons and persons with physical or mental disabilities who are unable to adequately prepare all of their meals. An example is Meals on Wheels.
“Minimum Benefit” - The minimum monthly amount of food benefits that eligible one- and two-person households receive.
“Notice of Expiration“ - A notice sent to a household at the end of its certification period notifying a household of what it needs to do to continue to get benefits.
“Over-issuance” - The amount of benefits a household received that exceeded the amount the household was eligible to receive.
“PAN“ - The Primary Account Number is the 16-digit number on the EBT card, also called the card number.
“PIN (Personal Identification Number)” - A four digit secret code that allows the user to access benefits when using the EBT card. No one can use the card but the participant as long as the participant does not give the PIN to anyone.
“PIN Info” - The Card Maintenance screen in the Administrative Terminal displays whether or not the household selected a PIN and the method of selection. Yes, means a household selected a PIN. Fails is the number of times the PIN entered has failed that day. Chg Count is the number of times the household changed the PIN. Method is how the household selected the PIN.
“Point-of-Sale (POS) Terminal” - The device a participant uses to make transactions at the stores. The POS machine reads the card and allows the participant to buy food with the food benefits.
“Prospective Budgeting” - The computation of a household's food benefit for an issuance month based on an estimate of income and circumstances which will exist in that month.
“Quality Control Review” - A review of a statistically valid sample of active and negative cases to determine the extent to which households are receiving the food benefit allotments to which they are entitled, and to determine the extent to which decisions to deny, suspend, or terminate cases are correct.
“Recertification” - A review conducted at the end of a person’s certification period that requires an application, interview and verification of current circumstances.
”Residents of Institution” - An individual who resides in an institution where the institution provides him or her with the majority of his or her meals (over 50% of three meals daily) as part of the institution's normal services.
“Riverside Rule” - A rule that requires states to keep food benefits at the same level when a household’s TANF/RCA benefits have been reduced or terminated due to the household’s failure to perform an action required under the TANF/RCA program or fraud.
“Shelter for Battered Women and Children”- A public or private nonprofit residential facility that serves battered women and their children.
”Simplified FSP (SFSP)“ - A program that permits a state to substitute certain FSP rules with TANF and RCA rules and procedures.
“Simplified Reporting” - The only reporting requirement for households is when their income exceeds the 130% FPL threshold for the household size established at the time of intake or recertification.
“Sponsored alien” - An alien for whom a person has executed an affidavit of support [INS Form I-864 or I-864A] on behalf of the alien according to section 213A of the INA.
“Sponsor“ - A person who executed an affidavit(s) of support or similar agreement on behalf of an alien as a condition of the alien's entry or admission into the United States as a permanent resident.
“Spouse” - Refers to either of two individuals:
“Stale Benefits” - Benefits not used by a household within 60, 90 or 230 days.
“State Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS)” - A system of information acquisition and exchange for purposes of income and eligibility verification that meets the requirements of section 1137 of the Social Security Act, generally referred to as the IEVS.
”Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)” - The Federal name for the former Food Stamp Program.
“Supplemental Security Income (SSI)” - A means-tested monthly cash payment made under the authority of the Social Security Act for individuals who are aged, blind or have a disability.
“Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE)” - The INS program whereby State agencies may verify the validity of documents provided by aliens applying for food benefits by obtaining information from a central data file.
“Thrifty Food Plan” - The diet required to feed a family of four persons consisting of a man and a woman 20 through 50, a child 6 through 8, and a child 9 through 11 years of age, determined in accordance with the USDA Secretary's calculations. The cost of such diet shall be the basis for uniform allotments for all households regardless of their actual composition. In order to develop maximum food stamp allotments, the Secretary shall make household size and other adjustments in the Thrifty Food Plan taking into account economies of scale and other adjustments as required by law.
“Trafficking” - The buying or selling of food benefits for cash or consideration other than eligible food or the exchange of firearms, ammunition, explosives, or controlled substances.
“Under-issuance” - An amount of benefit that the household was entitled to receive that was less than the benefit the household actually received.
“Verification” - The use of third party information or documentation to establish the accuracy of statements on the application.
“Work for Your Welfare” - A work experience program in which participants work to earn their benefits.
Trafficking means the buying or selling of FSP EBT benefits for cash, other consideration other than eligible food, or the exchange of FSP EBT benefits for firearms, ammunition, explosives or controlled substances.
B) A claim is a Federal debt subject to this and other regulations governing Federal debts. Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) will establish and collect any claim by following these regulations.
B. The date of delinquency for a claim under #1 above is the due date on the initial written notification/ demand letter. The claim will remain delinquent until payment is received in full, a satisfactory payment agreement is negotiated, or allotment reduction is invoked.
C. The date of delinquency for a claim under #2 above is the due date of the missed installment payment. The claim will remain delinquent until payment is received in full, allotment reduction is invoked, or DHSS determines to either resume or re-negotiate the repayment schedule.
D. A claim is not considered delinquent if another claim for the same household is currently being paid either through an installment agreement or allotment reduction or DHSS expects to begin collection on the claim once the prior claim(s) is settled.
A. Compromise a claim or any portion of a claim if it can be reasonably determined that a household cannot pay the claim in 36 months. DHSS will compromise the claim by reducing it to an amount that allows the household to make restitution within three years.
D. Conducting offsets and intercepts, which include, but are not limited to, wage garnishments and intercepts of various State payments. (Consider these collections as “cash” for FNS claim accounting and reporting purposes.)
Use any other collection actions to collect claims, such as but not limited to, referrals to collection agencies, state tax refund, lottery offsets, wage garnishments, property liens and small claims court.
When a household sends in a payment based on a notification of a food benefit and cash assistance claim/ overpayment and does not specify what program the payment is for, each program must receive its pro rata share of the amount collected.
A. When a household moves out of the state of Delaware, DHSS is still responsible for initiating or continuing collection action for any overpayments, unless DHSS transfers the claim to the other state.