DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

Division of Social Services

Statutory Authority: 31 Delaware Code,Section 512 (31 Del.C. §512)

FINAL

ORDER

Food Stamp Policy

Nature of the Proceedings

Delaware Health and Social Services (“Department”)/ Division of Social Services initiated proceedings to amend the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) regarding the Food Stamp Program. The Department’s proceedings to amend its regulations were initiated pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10113 and its authority as prescribed by 31 Delaware Code Section 512.

Nature of the Exempt Regulation

Citation

• 2 Del.C. §10113

Summary of Proposed Changes

The purpose of this amendment is to update Food Stamp policy so that it is consistent with the policies regarding the implementation of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT). DSS is not changing existing policies or procedures, but clarifying the DSSM to reflect current practices. The several housekeeping changes for clarification and process purposes include removing language, correcting grammatical and typographical errors.

For example:

• Under DSSM 9016.2, Obtaining Food Stamps Benefits clarifies that Food Stamp identification cards are not required for EBT.

• Under DSSM 9039.1, Thirty-Day Processing clarifies the process that ensures the client has the opportunity to participate by the 30th day after the application date.

• Under DSSM 9041.1, Processing Standards revises the issuance procedures due to EBT.

• Under DSSM 9063.1, Anticipating Income revises the language to correct grammatical and typographical errors.

• Under DSSM 9078.1, Residents of Drug/Alcoholic Treatment and Rehabilitation Programs removes the reference to DSSM 9016 and inserts policy reference language that the authorized representative must be employed by the treatment facility.

• Under DSSM 9079.1, Replacing Food Benefits Issued by Electronic Benefit Transfer removes the word “below” and inserts the policy reference number.

Findings of Fact

The Department finds that these changes are exempt from the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act (Title 29 Chapter 101).

THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, that the proposed revision regarding housekeeping changes to the policies of the Food Stamp Program be adopted informally as an exempt regulation and shall become effective November 10, 2005.

Vincent P. Meconi, Secretary, DHSS, October 13, 2005

DSS EXEMPT REGULATION #05-59

REVISIONS:

9016.2 Obtaining Food Stamps Benefits

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 and on the food stamp identification (ID) card in DCIS.

(Break in Continuity of Sections)

9039.1 Thirty-Day Processing

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 application was filed except for residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to release from the institution per DSSM 9015. 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 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.

The 30 day period begins on the day following the date of the application (do not include the date of application in the thirty (30) days).

Action (computer input) must take place on or before the 30th 26th day for mailed EBT cards. Do not delay due to weekends or holidays. If work cannot be completed by the 30th 26th day, the worker issues a pending notice (Form 340) on the 30th 26th day. If the 30th 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.

Instances of computer error, such as computer down time, will still be considered errors by FNS, but worker will document the reason in the case record.

(Break in Continuity of Sections)

9041.1 Processing Standards

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.

The table below shows filing days, the respective days by which the data must be system- entered, and the day the benefits are mailed, and the day the benefits are received by made available to the household.

Day Client Applied

Last Day to Enter into DCIS

Day Benefits Mailed

Day Client Must Receive Benefits

Monday

Thursday

Friday

Monday

Tuesday

Friday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Day of Application

Last Day to Confirm in DCIS

Day Benefits Made Available

Monday

Thursday

Friday

Tuesday

Friday

Monday

Wednesday

Monday

Tuesday

Thursday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Friday

Wednesday

Thursday

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.

(Break in Continuity of Sections)

9063.1 Anticipating Income

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 household may elect to income average 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 an 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.

(Break in Continuity of Sections)

9078.1 Residents of Drug/Alcoholic Treatment and Rehabilitation Programs

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 per DSSM 9016 who is employed by the program.

(Break in Continuity of Sections)

9079.1 Replacing Food Benefits Issued by Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

Food stamp benefits issued by EBT can only be replaced under two conditions:

• Unauthorized use of the account based on the conditions listed below under DSSM 9079.2; and

• Food purchased with food stamp benefits that was destroyed in a household misfortune or disaster.

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.

9079.2 Unauthorized Use of the Account

The reason DSS issues food stamp benefits by EBT is to minimize the loss and theft of client benefits.

DSS will replace benefits issued by EBT due to the unauthorized use of the account only if the loss occurred:

• after a report of a lost or stolen EBT card is made to the e-Funds Customer Support number at 1-800-526-9099;

• because of DSS local office card/PIN issuance error; or

• because of an unlawful or other erroneous action on the part of DSS or the EBT contractor.

DSS will not replace food stamp benefits withdrawn from an EBT account before a report of a lost or stolen EBT card is made to the e-Funds Customer Support Unit.

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.

DSS will not replace EBT issued benefits that were misused by an authorized representative.

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.

9 DE Reg. 800 (11/01/05) (Final)