Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Manual

1115.080.00 Prohibition in Increasing Food Stamp Benefits

IM-43 May 17, 2007; IM-143 December 5, 2005; IM-42 May 4, 2005; IM-24 March 4, 2002

EUs incurring a decrease in income due to penalties imposed by Temporary Assistance for failure to comply with required actions of the program do not receive an increase in food stamp benefits. Use the following guidelines to determine in what situation the policy applies:

  • Temporary Assistance benefits are being received and are decreased (reduced, terminated, or suspended) due to failure to perform a behavioral requirement. A behavioral requirement is designed to improve the well-being of the EU, such as participating in work requirement activities or not cooperating in establishing paternity or in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support order.
    EXAMPLE: Ms. Lee’s EU is sanctioned for failing to comply with Temporary Assistance work requirements which results in a reduction/sanction of the Temporary Assistance grant. Food stamp benefits cannot be increased.
  • This policy does not apply when an EU fails to perform a procedural requirement. A procedural requirement is a step that an individual must take to continue receiving benefits such as completing a reinvestigation or providing outstanding verification.
    EXAMPLE: Ms. Lee’s EU is closed for Temporary Assistance because she failed to complete a reinvestigation. Food stamp benefits can be increased, if applicable, as this is a procedural requirement.
  • This policy does not apply in situations where the case is in application status and the penalty is a denial of benefits. This policy applies when the case is in active status.
    EXAMPLE: The Temporary Assistance program requires that an unmarried parent identify the child’s other parent. If the applicant refuses to provide the information, benefits for the applicant are denied. In this situation, benefits are never received for the applicant so they cannot be decreased.
  • This policy does not apply if the individual does not have active Food Stamp benefits at the time the disqualification for Temporary Assistance was imposed.
    EXAMPLE:  Ms. Lee’s Temporary Assistance (TA) grant was reduced because she failed to comply with TA work requirements. Ms. Lee then applies and is approved for Food Stamp benefits.  A penalty is not imposed on the Food Stamp benefits because the benefits were not active at the time of the TA disqualification.

The “RP – Reduction – Refusal to Comply with Program Requirements” code is used on the Income (FMX0) and Income Amount (FMX3) screens to show the penalty. The prohibition against increasing food stamp benefits applies for the duration of the penalty imposed by the other assistance program. Attribute the RP amount determined to be appropriate the first month that the penalty is imposed throughout the length of the penalty. During the penalty period, act on changes that affect food stamps which are not related to the violation.

EXAMPLE: Sara M is sanctioned by Temporary Assistance for non-cooperation with Child Support. Her Temporary Assistance grant is reduced from $216 to $162. The reduction in Sara’s Temporary Assistance grant causes her food stamp benefit amount to increase. Therefore, $54 is budgeted as RP income. Sara’s employer reduces the number of hours she works during her penalty period. Because the change in Sara’s earned income is not a violation of the Temporary Assistance Program, a budget adjustment is completed using the change in Sara’s earned income, Temporary Assistance grant, and continuing to budget the $54 RP income.

Refer to the Procedure Guide Prohibition Against Increasing Food Stamp Benefits for procedures to implement this policy.

Refer to the procedure guide Ending Food Stamp Noncompliance with TA Program Requirement for procedures to end the food stamp noncompliance.