Food Stamps

1142.015.10 Inadvertent Household Error

IM-#40 May 28, 2008,  IM-#142 December 2, 2005

An inadvertent household error (IHE) is a claim established against the EU for an overpayment caused by a misunderstanding or unintended error on the part of the EU.

Instances of inadvertent household errors, which may result in a claim include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • the EU unintentionally failed to provide the agency with correct or complete information (Cause Code 16),
  • the EU unintentionally failed to report or failed to report timely to the agency changes in its EU circumstances that were required to be reported (Cause Code 17),
  • the EU requested continued benefits until a hearing decision was given, and the EU unintentionally received benefits or more benefits than it was entitled to receive pending the fair hearing decision (Cause Code 14), or
  • a misunderstanding or unintended error on the part of a categorically eligible EU, when a claim can be calculated based on a change in net income and/or EU size (Cause Code 83).

Register and track all possible overpayments in the CARS discovery system. If it is determined the overpayment is under the threshold for establishing a claim, reject the claim referral using reason code 05 (Overpayment less than threshold). This allows another worker or reviewer to see that the claim has already been explored. Refer to CARS user guide REJECTING A FOOD STAMP DISCOVERY CLAIM REFERRAL.

Continue to establish all claims referred as a result of a Quality Control review, and all SPV/IPV referrals. If an Inadvertent Household Error overpayment was notdiscovered as a result of a Quality Control review do not establish a claim if the amount of the overpayment is equal to or less than the stated threshold:

  • Participating EU: If the head of the EU is receiving Food Stamp benefits at the time the overpayment is discovered, do not establish a claim for less than $71. If the overpayment is $70 or less, register the possible overpayment, and reject the claim referral using reason code 05.
  • Non-Participating EU: If the head of the EU is not receiving Food Stamp benefits at the time the overpayment is discovered, establish a claim for overpayment of $401 or more. If the overpayment is $400 or less, register the possible overpayment, and reject the claim referral using reason code 05.

Register and establish all claims that are referred as a result of quality control review findings. Calculate an IHE claim back no more than twenty-four months including the month of discovery.

EXAMPLE: A possible overpayment for March 2002 is discovered on May 6, 2004. The 24-month look-back period is June 2002 through May 2004. A claim is not established.