IM-24 03/22/99 WAIVER OF FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW FOR FS RECERTS
|WAIVER OF FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW FOR FOOD STAMP RECERTIFICATIONS|
|Effective immediately staff are required
to conduct only an annual face-to-face interview with participants who
recertify for food stamp benefits. Missouri's waiver request allowing
a face-to-face interview be held only once every 12 months for recertifications
is approved. Provided there are no changes in the household's situation,
participants returning a signed, completed application, with verification(s)
attached, by the end of the last month of their current certification period,
will not be required to complete an interview. Applicants for recertification
who do not meet this criteria can be interviewed by phone.
This waiver allows Missouri the opportunity to:
Recertifications are defined as applications taken timely, or non-timely, prior to the end of the household's current certification period. No interview is required when the recertification application is complete, contains no changed, questionable or missing information, and includes all required verification.
An application is considered complete if the eligibility section of the application is complete and the application has been signed. Policy regarding complete applications is not changed. Refer to IMNL 1120.040.00.
Conduct an interview whenever one is requested by the household. Assess all recertification applications received, either in person or by mail, and determine if an interview is needed. If necessary, conduct a phone interview.
Example: Ms. J. is a Temporary Assistance participant who was interviewed in November for a reinvestigation. Her LATP is January. On 1-20-99 she came in to reapply but could not stay so she left her completed, signed application. She has no changes in shelter costs or her household situation. Even though Ms. J. did not come in timely to reapply, the interview can be waived because her certification period has not ended. The application can be processed using normal procedures.
Initial applications are defined as applications from households applying for food stamp benefits for the first time or applying any time after the last month of their current certification. Households making an initial application must meet the face-to-face interview requirement unless they qualify for a hardship waiver.
Example: Mr. M's certification period is January-March. Mr. M. received his Notice of Expiration (NOE) in February. On April 8th, he calls the office wanting to know why there are no benefits in his EBT account. Upon learning his certification period ended, Mr. M. requests a food stamp application be mailed to him. Because this is considered an initial application and Mr. M. does not meet a condition of the face-to-face interview waiver, a face-to-face interview must be completed before eligibility can be determined.
HARDSHIP WAIVER OF THE FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW
Under certain conditions, households who are required to do a face-to-face interview may qualify for a hardship waiver of the face-to-face interview. Hardship waivers are discussed in IMNL 1120.045.20. If the household meets the hardship waiver criteria, conduct a telephone interview. If not, a face-to-face interview is required, either by the household, an authorized representative or through making a home visit, before an eligibility determination can be made.
Example: Mr. M. returns the initial application and attaches a note stating he cannot come to the office because the transmission just went out on his car. He does not know anyone he can appoint as an authorized representative. He states he has no available transportation. He now meets the hardship waiver criteria. The caseworker can conduct a telephone interview with Mr. M. In this example, an interview is required before an eligibility determination can be made.
MAIL OUT APPLICATIONS/NOTICE OF EXPIRATION (NOE)
Policy is to mail a food stamp application to a household upon request. We are expanding this policy to now include mailing a new application when the household is notified of the action taken on their food stamp case (IM-112) and there is not sufficient time for the NOE to be computer generated.
NOTE: A food stamp case must be on the regular payroll for two consecutive months in order for a NOE to be computer generated.
Example: Ms. L. applies for food stamp benefits on February 19th. On March 8th, her application is approved for February-April. She will be on the regular payroll for April. There is not sufficient time for her to receive a computer generated NOE because she will not be on two regular payrolls before her certification period ends. When staff sends the NOE, include a food stamp application.
Food Stamp policy staff are currently working with Data Processing to change programming so that most food stamp cases will receive an automated NOE. This should be accomplished soon after programming for the year 2000 has been completed.
The next contact with households is the first opportunity for staff to explain the mail-in application process for recertifications. During the contact, explain to the household what a complete application is and what verification(s) to attach to the application. When explaining this process to participants, encourage them to mail in their completed applications timely to ensure receipt of uninterrupted food stamp benefits.
For those households who are certified for 24 months, a mid-certification review is required at 12 months. The procedure for these reviews is to contact the household by telephone to determine if any change in the household's eligibility has occurred. If the household does not have a telephone, complete the review by mail. At the end of the 24-month certification, an interview is required.
When a reinvestigation on an IM case and
a food stamp recertification coincide, the face-to-face interview conducted
for the IM case meets the requirement of the yearly in-person interview
for food stamp purposes.
Form revisions are currently being completed as follows: