The weekend of September 26, 1998, we will complete the mass adjustment to update the October 1998 regular payroll.  This adjustment implements the net and gross income increases made in the Food Stamp program effective October 1, 1998.

Revised Issuance Tables for each household size are being sent with a separate memorandum.

Income/Budgeting Changes:

The standard utility allowance increases to $195.00 and the excess shelter expense deduction increases to $275.  All other deductions remain at their current levels.  The deductions are:

  • $134 standard deduction;

  • $275 excess shelter deduction for non-elderly/disabled households; households with an elderly or disabled member continue to have no limit on their excess shelter deduction; and 

  • $195 standard utility allowance and $26 telephone standard.

The maximum gross income limits for households with an elderly or separate household status have increased.  Below is the new gross limit chart.  The IMNL is updated with the new chart.

165% of Poverty Level

Household Size         Maximum Gross Income Level
1                                              $1107
2                                              $1492
3                                              $1877
4                                              $2262
5                                              $2647
6                                              $3032
7                                              $3417
8                                              $3802
    Each Additional +$385

The Update Process:

State Office automatically adjusts the allotments for all households certified on or prior to September 25, 1998.  This includes the case action 12s.  FCAS/FPAR are updated with code 7 in Field 6, code 66 in Field 9 and the new adjustment figures.  A computer listing is generated for each caseload indicating the cases that have been adjusted and the allotment amounts.  No turnaround IM-105s are sent.


FBCA will be updated with the new allotment figures effective September 28, 1998.

October Expedited Issuances:

October expedited issuances pending in the system on September 25 for mailing October 1, 1998 will be adjusted before mailing.


For any case approved/adjusted after September 25, 1998 for October payroll or later, use the new issuance tables.

Mass Notification:

A notice is being sent to notify households of a possible increase in benefits.  See example.


Your Food Stamps may have changed due to an increase in the Food Stamp issuance amounts, standard utility deduction and excess shelter expense deduction.  If your issuance was affected, you will receive an increase in your Food Stamp benefits.

 The changes are effective for October 1998.

 If you have any questions, please contact your local Family Services Office.

  • Read and this memorandum with staff.

  • File the revised Forms Manual page.

  • Use the new issuance tables to determine any Food Stamp allotments for October 1998 or later.
Distribution # 3
Form not available on the On-line System.  Refer to IM Forms Manual.

[ Memorandum Table of Contents ]

1105.010.30      INELIGIBLE ALIENS

Some aliens may be lawfully admitted but only for a temporary or specific period of time with no intention of abandoning residence in a foreign country.  Such aliens are:  students, tourists, visitors, and some workers and diplomats.  Aliens in this group are not eligible for FS because of the temporary nature of their admission status.  Although these aliens are not eligible for FS, this does not affect the eligibility of other household members.  Consider resources of an ineligible alien in their entirety toward total household resources.  Prorate income of an ineligible alien.  Exclude the ineligible alien in determining household size.

1105.010.30.05        Ineligible Aliens as Head of Household

When eligible members of a household are all unemancipated minors (dependent children under age 18 living in the household) and the only adult is an ineligible alien, the ineligible alien may apply as head of the household on behalf of the eligible minors; however, the ineligible alien is held responsible for any misrepresentation of fraud committed in household certification.  If the household contains another eligible adult or emancipated minor (child under age 18 who is married or has established his/her own household), the application must be taken in the name of the other adult or the emancipated minor as the head of the household even though he/she is not normally considered the head of the household.

1105.010.30.10        Reporting Illegal Aliens

Immediately inform the local INS office of any household member(s) determined to be ineligible to receive FS because the member(s) is present in the United States in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Document a determination that a household member(s) is an ineligible alien and report to INS.

IM-#107   September 14, 1998

A household may be composed of any of the following individuals or groups of individuals (including the homeless person(s), provided that they are not residents of an institution, except those institutions authorized to participate in the program, or residents of a commercial boarding house).

1. An individual who:
a. lives alone and purchases and prepares food for home consumption;

b. lives with others but customarily purchases food and


prepares meals for home consumption separate and apart from the others;

c. is 60 years of age or older, living with others (and spouse of such individual), and is unable to purchase and prepare meals because he/she suffers from a disability considered permanent under the Social Security Act or suffers from a non-disease related severe, permanent disability (however, the countable income of the others with whom the individual resides [excluding the income of such individual's spouse] cannot exceed 165 percent of the poverty level; and this countable income shall be the gross income of the others with whom the individual resides determined as if they were applying to participate in the Food Stamp program);

165% of Poverty Level
Household Size
Maximum Gross Income
Each additional +385
d. is eligible for delivered meals and/or communal dining program;

e. resides with his or her spouse and the spouse is eligible for delivered meals and/or communal dining program; or

f. is an addict or alcoholic and a resident of a treatment program authorized by FCS and receives meals through such program (refer to Special Application Procedures).

 2. A group of individuals that:
  a. Live together and customarily purchase food and prepare meals together for home consumption;

  b. Live together and some or all individuals are eligible for delivered meals and/or communal dining program;


there is a court order (signed by a judge) or administrative order (signed by the Director of Child Support Enforcement) requiring the child support payment.

Before allowing the deduction, verify the legal obligation to pay child support and the actual amount of child support paid.

1115.035.25      Shelter Cost

FS households, including the homeless, incurring shelter expenses receive a shelter deduction (refer to Homeless Shelter Deduction for policy on determining a homeless household's shelter costs).

Consider each individual in a DMH apartment placement as an individual Food Stamp household.  Allow a prorated share of the shelter expenses such as rent, utilities or utility standard for each household.

1115.035.25.05        Allowable Shelter Costs
IM-#107   September 14, 1998

Shelter costs consist of the costs of home ownership or rent, utilities (heating and cooking fuel, electricity, water and sewer, and trash collection) and telephone.  For homeless households, the cost for shelter all or part of the month is a shelter expense.

Shelter costs are as incurred or as billed rather than as paid.  Shelter costs do not include penalty fees (late payment charges on utilities, rent, mortgages, property insurance, and/or property taxes).

Deduct monthly shelter costs in excess of 50 percent of the household's income after all other deductions have been allowed.  The excess shelter deduction cannot exceed $275 for households not containing any aged or disabled members.

A household containing a member who meets the elderly/disabled definition receives an excess shelter deduction for the monthly cost that exceeds 50 percent of the household's monthly income after all other applicable deductions.

If more than one FS household lives in one apartment and more than one household pays the rent and/or utilities, allow only a prorated amount of the rent and/or utility expense, depending upon the number of individuals contributing to the rent and utility expenses.

1115.035.25.10        Home Ownership or Rent

Include in shelter costs the continuing expense of the dwelling (including mobile home and lot rent) occupied by the household, whether such costs are rent, mortgage, or other charges leading to the


ownership of the dwelling, including interest on such shelter costs.  Include property taxes, State and local assessments, and insurance on the structure itself.  Do not include separate costs for insuring furniture or personal belongings.

NOTE:  Allow personal property tax on a mobile home as a shelter expense.  No other personal property tax is allowable.

1115.035.25.15        Utilities
IM-#107   September 14, 1998

Utility costs are charges for heating and cooking fuel, cooling and electricity, water and sewer, and garbage and trash collection fees.  Also, the fees charged by the utility provider for initial installation of the utility are utility costs.  One-time deposits are NOT utility costs.  The costs of cutting wood (such as cutting permits, gas for chain saw, and equipment like a chain saw) are not allowable shelter costs.  If the household purchases wood, allow as an utility expense.

Two methods exist for calculating the amount of utilities to include in shelter cost -- actual utility expenses or the standard utility allowance (SUA).  The method used depends on whether:  the household incurs utility expenses separate from its dwelling cost (that is, utilities are not included in the rent); the household qualifies for the SUA; and if the household qualifies, it elects to use the SUA.

At each application and reapplication, assess the household's eligibility to use the SUA.  Discuss the option of using the SUA with qualifying households.  A household has the option of claiming the utility standard if it incurs out-of-pocket utility costs or received energy assistance benefits at this address, or can claim actual utilities billed if the expenses can be verified.

1. Actual Utility Expenses
  For households incurring allowable utility expenses separate from dwelling costs (that is, utilities not included in rent), add the amount of utility expenses to shelter cost, unless the household qualifies for and elects the SUA.  When using actual utility expenses and the household has a telephone expense, add the standard telephone allowance or basic telephone rate, whichever is greater, to shelter cost.
 2. Unverified Deductible Expenses
  If a deductible expense must be verified and obtaining the verification may delay the household's certification, advise the household that the budget may be computed without providing a deduction for claimed expenses.  If the household chooses to use actual utility costs but the


DMH claimants who pay a portion of utilities are entitled to the utility standard if applicable.

A household that received energy assistance benefits covering one of the last 12 months at its current address is entitled to the standard utility allowance for the certification period even if it does not incur any out-of-pocket expense.
The standard utility allowance is $195 per month.

1115.035.25.20        Telephone Costs

If the household is not entitled to use the utility standard but has a telephone cost, use the standard telephone allowance or basic telephone rate for one telephone, whichever is greater.  Also allow fees charged by the telephone company for initial installation of the telephone.  However, do not include one-time deposits.  The cost to rent one basic rotary telephone is included in the standard.  The standard telephone allowance is $26.

1115.035.25.25        Utility Decision Period

The household may decide whether to use actual expenses or the utility standard at the following times:

 1. at certification,

 2. at recertification,

 3. whenever a change in residence or a change in utility payment arrangements occur (if the household's utility arrangement changes, determine if it remains eligible to use the standard or actual expenses).

1115.035.25.30        Households Sharing Utilities

1. When more than one household shares the same living quarters and shares one or more of the heating or cooling costs (fuel or electricity) that are billed separate from rent or mortgage payments, each FS household is entitled to a prorated share of the utility standard or actual utility costs.

 a. When one household's name is on the utility bill, and it alone pays the bill, it alone is entitled to the utility standard or actual utility costs.

 b. When one household's name is on the utility bill, and other households living with it contribute to paying the bill, all