Unclear information is information received during the certification, outside the mandatory Mid-Certification Review, about a household’s circumstances from which the agency cannot readily determine the effect on the household’s continued eligibility for SNAP or the effect on the benefit amount. Unclear information is information that is not verified or that is verified, but additional verification is needed to act correctly on the change.
Even if the household reported the change, the information could still be considered unclear if the agency needs additional information to act on the change.
Example 1: If a household reports and verifies a new member joined the household, but does not provide any information regarding the new member’s income. The agency must contact the household before the agency can act to add the individual to the household and change the benefit level.
However, if the information is verified upon receipt (see 1140.005.60 Changes Considered Verified Upon Receipt for a Household) and the agency does not need any additional information to act on the change, the agency must take the action.
Example 2: If the agency received a data match from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that a household’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) changed due to a cost-of-living adjustment, the State must take action since the information is verified and the impact on the household is clear.
During a certification period, changes may be reported by the household, an outside source, or an automated report. While all reported changes must be documented, not all changes require immediate action. Depending on the nature of the change, the reported change is either acted on when reported, or documented for follow-up at the next certification.
See 1141.005.00 When to Act on Unclear Information for more information on what the agency must do to resolve information which is considered unclear.
Note: Certain data matches, although considered unclear information, must be handled in a very specific manner. Review 1141.010.00 Acting on Unclear Information From Certain Data Matches for more information.