IM-5 01/07/00 EXPANDED CATEGORICAL ELIG. FOR FS - MAN. REV. #2
|EXPANDED CATEGORICAL ELIGIBILITY FOR FOOD
FOOD STAMP MANUAL REVISION #2
|The United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) has expanded its categorical eligibility rules for food stamps to
help support working families. With the expanded categorical eligibility
rules, families authorized for or receiving cash benefits and/or support
services funded through Title IV-A or maintenance of effort (MOE) funds
are considered categorically eligible for food stamps.
This represents a significant change in policy for categorical eligibility. We have determined the entire household benefits if any household member receives or is authorized to receive services or benefits from one the programs designated as funded in-part through Title IV-A or MOE. This change includes households with members receiving or authorized to receive Temporary Assistance cash benefits. The entire household is categorically eligible if any household member receives or is authorized to receive Temporary Assistance cash. Categorical eligibility is based on approval of a participant for a service or benefit and not actual use of the service.
Identify through the interview process or other available information applicants for food stamps and/or household members who might be authorized for or receiving services through one of the following programs:
Households who are categorically eligible based on participation in one of the above programs are eligible only during the time they qualify for or meet the criteria for that program.
Note: The expanded categorical eligibility does not change the policy for individuals disqualified for intentional program violation (IPV). Do not give categorical eligibility status to a household containing a member disqualified for an IPV.
Do not reject a categorically eligible household if the household's income exceeds the net or gross income limit. When a categorically eligible household contains three or more household members and has income which exceeds the net income limit, the household is eligible for food stamps but is not entitled to benefits. Place the household in suspend status.
Refer to IMNL Section 1135.035.05.10 for eligibility criteria for categorically eligible households.
Enter an "A" in field 26 under Type of Assistance for household members who are considered categorically eligible because the household contains members receiving Temporary Assistance cash and/or support services.
Enter a "C" in field 26 under Type of Assistance for household members who receive Temporary Assistance cash.
For the FSU5 system to process categorically eligible households, field 17 can contain no NPA household members. All household members must be PA or SSI.
|1100.000.00 OVERVIEW OF THE FOOD
The Food Stamp program is designed to promote the general welfare and safeguard the health and well-being of the nation's population by raising the levels of nutrition among low-income households. Section 2 of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 states, in part: Congress hereby finds that the limited food purchasing power of low-income households contributes to hunger and malnutrition among members of such households. Congress further finds that increased utilization of food in establishing and maintaining adequate national levels of nutrition promotes the distribution in a beneficial manner of the nation's agricultural abundance and strengthens the nation's agricultural economy, as well as results in more orderly marketing and distribution of foods. To alleviate such hunger and malnutrition, a Food Stamp program is herein authorized that will permit low-income households to obtain a more nutritious diet through normal channels of trade by increasing food purchasing power for all eligible households that apply for participation.
Under the Food Stamp program, eligible
households receive a coupon allotment determined by taking 30 percent of
the household's net income after deductions and subtracting that amount
from the Thrifty Food Plan Allotment for that household size. Most
households have to spend cash in addition to coupons to purchase an adequate
diet. The total value of the allotment is adjusted annually to reflect
changes in food prices as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
1100.005.00 LEGAL BASIS
The legal basis for program administration
and determination of the level of participation for households in the program
is set forth in the Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended by the Food Security
Act of 1985 and the Hunger Prevention Act of 1988 and the Personal Responsibility
and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
The following alphabetical list includes definitions and explanations of some of the terms used in the Food Stamp program.
Allotment: the total value of coupons a household is authorized to receive during each month or other time period.
Application: the application form designed or approved by FCS completed by a household member or authorized representative.
ATM (Automatic Teller Machine): a cash machine located at banks, stores and many other places that allows an individual to withdraw
cash benefits from an EBT account.
Authorization to Participate (ATP) card: a document issued by the state agency to a certified household showing the allotment the household is authorized to receive on presentation of such document.
Benefit Security Card: a plastic card with a magnetic stripe utilized by eligible households to access benefits issued in the State of Missouri. Security is maintained by assigning a Personal Identification Number (PIN) issued to an eligible household.
Bona fide loan: a loan that is supported by a written agreement to repay within a specified time or that is received from an individual or establishment engaged in the business of making loans. If neither condition applies, a loan can be considered bona fide if the claimant acknowledges (either verbally or by a written statement) the existence of one of the following situations:
Coupon issuer: any office of the state agency or any person, partnership, corporation, organization, political subdivision, or other entity with which a state agency has contracted for, or to which it has assigned responsibility for, the issuance of coupons to households.
Date of Discovery: the date of discovery of expedited eligibility can be other than the date of application in two situations: (1) if the application is received in the mail and must be returned to the applicant for signature or further information, add the number of days
the application is in the mail to the date of application to arrive at the date of discovery; and (2) if a change of circumstances is known to DFS on a pending application making the applicant eligible for expedited services, the date the change is known is the date of discovery.
prorated amount, determine eligibility and allotment by considering all income and resources available to the household for the month.
Households eligible for $1, $3, or $5 allotments
for subsequent months receive allotments of $2, $4, and $6 respectively
to correspond with coupon book denominations.
CATEGORICALLY ELIGIBLE HOUSEHOLDS
Consider households with all members eligible for SSI/SAB/SP/GR or any member receiving or authorized to receive Temporary Assistance and/or special support services as categorically eligible. Do not test against gross and net income limits. Categorically eligible one or two person households are entitled to an ongoing issuance of $10 regardless of income level. The initial month's benefits may be less than $10 due to proration.
Suspend categorically eligible households
of three or more persons whose income exceeds the categorically eligible
issuance table maximums. Still consider them eligible for FS; however,
the benefit amount is zero.
1130.035.10 Elderly and Disabled and Other Households
For households containing an elderly or disabled member, use the net monthly adjusted income and household size to determine the basis of issuance.
For households containing no elderly or
disabled members and eligible on both gross and net income eligibility
limits, use the net monthly adjusted income and household size to determine
the basis of issuance.
1130.040.00 APPLICATION DISPOSITION -- APPROVAL
To approve an application:
1. determine the certification period;
2. determine the monthly coupon allotment;
3. consider the option for an authorized representative; and
4. Notify the Household in writing of the approval by:
a. advising the household of:(1) FS allotment amount;
(2) certification period beginning and ending dates;
(3) variations in benefit level based on changes anticipated at the time of certification;
(4) an explanation of the initial allotment if it includes benefits for both the month of application and the current month, and a statement indicating the monthly allotment for the remainder of the certification period;
(5) the right to a fair hearing and the name and telephone number of the person to contact for further information;
b. sending the identification card;
Notify the household in writing of the
rejection and the right to a fair hearing. The rejection Notification
or organization is available.
Each claimant has the right to withdraw the request for assistance at any time. If during the interview, it becomes clear that the claimant is ineligible on a specific requirement, discuss and fully explain the pertinent law or regulation and the right to appeal. Explain that verification of ineligibility is not required. This includes NEED when it is obvious that the claimant's statement regarding amount of income is sufficient to meet need.
Explain that the application is rejected immediately. If the claimant chooses, he/she may withdraw the request in writing. Reject the application on the basis of withdrawal. Inform the applicant that a reapplication may be filed at any time.
4. reporting the required information about any new sponsor and spouse obtained during a certification period; andDFS is responsible for obtaining from the immigrant or immigrant's spouse the following information:
1. income and resources of the immigrant's sponsor and the sponsor's spouse (if living with the sponsor) at the time of the immigrant's application for FS;
1. income of the immigrant's sponsor and the sponsor's spouse (if living with the sponsor) at the time of the immigrant's application for FS,In cases where the immigrant has not refused to obtain information or verification, only the immigrant is ineligible until it is received.
1. Determine eligibility of any remaining household members.
spouse (excluding the attributed income and resources of the immigrant's sponsor and sponsor's spouse) in the same manner as a disqualified member, and consider in determining the eligibility and benefit level of the remaining household members.
In cases where the same sponsor is responsible for an entire household of immigrants, the entire household is ineligible until the needed sponsor information is provided and/or verified.
If proper information and verification
is subsequently received, act on the information as a reported change in
1135.030.25 Memorandum of Agreement
The Secretary enters into an agreement
with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General whereby they inform
any sponsor of an immigrant and the immigrant, at the time the sponsor
executes an affidavit of support or similar agreement on behalf of an immigrant,
of the requirements of Section 1308 of Public Law 97-
The following four groups are categorically eligible for FS:
1. all household members receive SSI, SAB, or SP;
work related expenses for Temporary Assistance participants for 90 days after the closing of the cash case. Participants receiving this service can be identified through the JCAT screen.
c. Contracted Case Management Services--Participants may be eligible for this service for 12 months after the referral is accepted. Participants eligible for contracted case management services can be identified through the JCAT screen as load #88,000.
d. Parent's Fair Share--This program provides case management and support services for non-custodial parents. The program is administered through the Division of Child Support Enforcement. Participants of the program can be identified through the JCAT screen with the program identification code of PFS (Parent's Fair Share).
e. Child Care--This program provides child care support for participant households. Based on the participant's income, the participant may be responsible for a portion of the child care expense based on a sliding scale. In addition, the participant may be responsible for a co-payment to the provider. Participants receiving child care assistance can be identified through the Child Care screens.
Missouri Mentoring--Private companies participate in this program by providing structured job site mentoring with a volunteer on-site mentor. The individual is hired and paid by the company. This program is available to individuals up to age 21 and offered in St. Louis City and County, Phelps, Cape Girardeau, Scott, Audrain, Randolph, Boone, Callaway, and Cole counties.
ZCAS screen. The service worker/case manager is identified on the ZCAS screen. Check with the service worker/case manager to determine the type of living arrangement and approximate duration of the arrangement for the applicant.
3. all household members receive GR; orEach situation is discussed as follows.
CE Household/Members Receive Temporary Assistance/SSI/SAB/SP/Special Support
Categorically eligible households are households in which all members receive or are authorized to receive SSI, SAB and/or SP benefits. The entire household is categorically eligible if any member receives or is authorized to receive Temporary Assistance cash or special support services. Temporary Assistance, for categorical eligibility purposes, includes Temporary Assistance cash, Temporary Assistance/$10 minimum grant, Temporary Assistance recoupment to zero grant cases, or cases in a wage supplementation program; SSI includes SSI cash, SSI suspended and recouped to zero; SAB includes SAB cash; SP includes SP cash; special support services includes those listed in Section 1135.035.00.
NOTE: Persons entitled to Title XIX (Medicaid) only are not considered as Temporary Assistance participants for categorical eligibility purposes.
Consider households containing ineligible immigrants, ineligible students, or a household member, disqualified for non-compliance with work registration (METP components) or voluntary job quit, as categorically eligible if they meet the requirements.
Do not consider a household categorically eligible if it:
1. includes a person(s) disqualified for an IPV; orOtherwise, follow normal FS procedures for cases with a combination of SSI, SAB or SP persons and persons not eligible under these programs.
CE Household Determination (Temporary Assistance/SSI/SAB/SP/Special Support
If any of the following criteria is questionable, obtain verification to establish categorical eligibility. The household must:
1. contain only SSI, SAB and/or SP participants;
3. meet the definition of a household; orThe policy for categorical eligibility applies even if the household members are in different Temporary Assistance, SSI, SAB, SP, or special support services assistance groups.
CE Household Eligibility (Temporary Assistance/SSI/SAB/SP/Special Support
Households considered categorically eligible must meet the same eligibility requirements as all other households in the following non-financial areas: residency, citizenship/immigrant status, sponsored immigrant, household determination, identity, work registration, and SSNs.
NOTE: Households considered categorically eligible are considered eligible without verification required for residency, SSNs, and sponsored immigrant information and resources, including resource transfer.
Categorically eligible households have the same financial requirements.
1. Income and deductions: no change in what is defined and budgeted as income or deductions for categorically eligible households.Categorically eligible households have different eligibility requirements in the following areas.
1. Resources: categorically eligible households do not have to meet the resource limits defined for other households. Resources do not have to be explored or verified for these households.
that limit, they are eligible for FS; however are not entitled to benefits.
If the household is entitled to zero benefits, suspend the case. If the case is in application status, approve the case with no benefits issued.
The case remains in suspended status until:(1) the household becomes entitled to benefits,
The following applies when all members of the household are eligible for GR. The GR claimant is approved but has not received cash benefits yet or is receiving cash GR. The GR claimant on Medicaid only does not qualify for categorical eligible status.
1135.035.10.05 CE Household Determination (GR)
The household must contain only members eligible for cash GR and meet the definition of a FS household.
Eligibility verification for GR is required. Verify household composition if it is questionable.
No person is included as a member of an otherwise categorically eligible household if that person is:
1. an ineligible immigrant,The GR categorical household cannot be categorically eligible if:
1. the household refused to cooperate in providing eligibility information at an application or case review for the current certification period,
Categorically eligible households must meet the same eligibility requirements as other households, including residency, citizenship/immigrant status, sponsored immigrant, household determination, identity, work registration, and SSN.
NOTE: GR categorically eligible households are considered eligible without verification of residency, sponsored immigrant information, and resources, except for transfer of resources to qualify for FS.
Categorically eligible households' eligibility requirements differ as follows.
1. Resources: GR categorically eligible households do not have to meet the resource maximums as defined for other households. Do not explore or verify resources, except if the household states they have transferred a resource. Explore the transfer in the same manner as in a non-categorically eligible household.The case remains suspended until the household becomes entitled to benefits, the household is no longer eligible, or the certification period expires.
Combination SSI/SAB/SP or GR CE Households
A categorically eligible household may have individuals eligible for any combination of SSI, SAB, SP, and GR. The GR claimant is processed using the categorical eligibility criteria for GR members. The remaining household members are processed using the categorical eligibility criteria for SSI, SAB and/or SP members.
NOTE: The entire household is categorically eligible if any household member receives or is authorized to receive Temporary Assistance cash benefits or special support services.
EXAMPLE: A household consists of one GR participant, two Temporary Assistance participants, and one SSI recipient. The Temporary Assistance participant transferred a lot at a vacation resort to someone outside the food stamp household. The Temporary Assistance participant is categorically eligible as transfer of resources is not considered in determining categorical eligibility for Temporary Assistance participants. Therefore, all members of the household are categorically eligible and the household is eligible for food stamps.
EXAMPLE: A household with two GR participants and two Temporary Assistance participants is applying for FS. One of the GR participants is currently disqualified from FS due to an IPV claim. The GR categorical eligibility rules state a member disqualified for an IPV does not make the remaining GR participants categorically ineligible. So the categorically eligible household consists of one GR participant and the two Temporary Assistance participants.
Using the same household composition, the
Temporary Assistance participant is disqualified for the IPV rather than
the GR participant. The Temporary Assistance categorical eligibility
rules state a Temporary Assistance household cannot be categorically eligible
if one member is disqualified for an IPV. Therefore, the entire household
is not categorically eligible.
Applications and Reapplications
Determine categorical eligibility, or potential categorical eligibility, at the time of application.
Screen FS applications made jointly with
Temporary Assistance, GR, SAB, or special support services for expedited
services at the time of
If the caseworker verifies on the date of application that the claimant is ineligible for FS because of an eligibility factor such as household resources exceed the allowable maximums (i.e., the fair market value of the automobile less the exclusion exceeds $2000/$3000), place the application in pending status. Expedited services cannot be given since the FS household is ineligible for benefits on the date of application. A household that is potentially categorically eligible cannot be denied for 30 days from the date of application. When the IM case is completed, process the FS case at the same time.
At the time the Temporary Assistance cash, GR cash, SAB, or SSI is approved, evaluate the FS application for expedited services. Evaluate for the month of application or the first month of the new certification period.
If entitled to expedited services, issue expedited benefits within expedited time frames using the date the IM/SSI grant is approved as the date of discovery. Prorate benefits from the date IM benefits are payable (date of eligibility) or the date of the FS application, whichever is later.
EXAMPLE: Mrs. Smith applies for Temporary Assistance and FS on 1/6. She has no income or liquid resources as she was laid off. She is screened as expedited service eligible. Mrs. Smith claims she is buying an automobile with a value of $8,000. This automobile makes the family ineligible for FS benefits but the application cannot be rejected for 30 days or until the Temporary Assistance application is rejected. Record expedited benefits are not issued as the household is ineligible due to resources. The automobile with a NADA value of $8,000 less the $4,650 exclusion leaves a resource value of $3,350, exceeding the resource limit of $2,000. The Temporary Assistance application is still pending. If Temporary Assistance cash is approved in January, issue expedited benefits with the date the Temporary Assistance is approved as the date of discovery.
For non-expedited cases where processing time frames have not changed, take action on the case as follows:
1. A household potentially categorically eligible cannot be denied for 30 days from the date of application. The household can be denied only if during the 30 days the Temporary Assistance, SAB, GR and/or SSI application is denied and the household is not otherwise eligible for FS.
3. If the Temporary Assistance, SSI, GR and/or SAB application has not been acted on, and the 30 days from the date of application have nearly expired, process the case under non-IM procedures.
4. If FS are denied as a non-IM household, and later the Temporary Assistance, SSI, GR and/or SAB is approved, provide the household benefits using the original application and any other pertinent information occurring subsequent to that application. SSI households are entitled to the excess medical deduction and the uncapped excess shelter deduction from the date SSI benefits are payable or the date of the original FS application, whichever is later. Do not re-interview the household. Contact the household by telephone or mail regarding changes. The application is updated, and the household initials the changes indicated and resigns the form. The form can be mailed to the household to have the changes initialed and the form re-signed.
1135.035.25 Cancel Closing an SP Case
When an SP case is cancel closed, the claimant
becomes categorically eligible for FS. Process a FS application under
the procedures discussed in this section.
CE for Individual Household Members
Participants of SSI, SP, or SAB, who are part of a household in which other members do not receive these benefits, are categorically resource eligible. Exclude from the household's total resources those resources verified as belonging to the SSI, SP, or SAB participant. If resources are held jointly with a non-categorically eligible household member, count in total resources only that portion contributed by the non-categorically eligible member.
NOTE: The law allowing the exclusion of an SSI, SP, or SAB household member's resources does not include GR. Continue to count the resources of a household member receiving GR in the household's total resources.
Treat income for categorical household members the same as for non-categorical members. The household must meet gross and net income standards.