Central office staff conduct conferences with county staff when expedited identification errors are found during the quarterly review of non-expedited food stamp cases.  The purpose of the conferences is to determine why the error occurred and if the Food Stamp Program and Policy Unit can assist county staff with a better understanding of expedited policy.

Due to a suggestion from county staff during one of these conferences, a summary of each error from the March 1999 review is provided.  Share this summary with all staff who handle food stamp applications.  Discuss the issues contained in these summaries at the next staff meeting opportunity.  Clear any policy questions through normal supervisory channels.

SUMMARY 1:  On 11/12/98, the household made a timely reapplication for food stamp benefits.  The household claimed income of $600 per month and $470 in shelter expenses.  The head of household is an ineligible immigrant.  According to memorandum IM-#142, dated November 6, 1998, the income of ineligible immigrants is not included in the food stamp budget.  Based on this information, the income for the screening should have been zero.  The worker should have screened the application as eligible for expedited benefits.  The household income is less than $150 and resources are less than $100.  The date of discovery is the application date because these circumstances existed on that date.

The worker completed the case on 12/1/98 and realized the case should have been expedited.  The worker completed an IM-106B and identified the case as expedited.  The person who input the FISU entered it as nonexpedited.

SUMMARY 2:  On 12/31/98, the household filed a timely food stamp reapplication in the county office.  The household claimed zero income and $1.14 in resources.  The household is responsible for heating and cooling expenses and is entitled to the standard utility allowance (SUA).  Based on this information, the household was eligible for expedited services.

The worker screened the application as expedited for the month of January 1999.  The worker then realized the last ATP for the household was January 1999.  The worker rescreened the application for February 1999 and determined the household was ineligible for expedited services for February 1999.  A second FS-1B was mailed to the household stating, "Your food stamps were not expired yet.  You will receive January's on 1-9-99 as usual.  Your case will be processed for February and stamps will be available 2-9-99."

The case should have been screened expedited eligible for February 1999 as the application was a timely recertification for February 1999.  The household's income was less than $150 and resources were $100 or less.

SUMMARY 3:  Household made timely reapplication on 01-15-99 for the month of 02-99.  At the time of application, an IMES was run for the applicant's spouse.  The IMES showed a balance in unemployment compensation benefits that would be depleted in January.  Since the unemployment claim balance was depleted in January and the household had no other income, no income should have been budgeted for the month of February.  The application should have been expedited on the date of application.

SUMMARY 4:  For timely food stamp reapplication dated 12/15/98, the household was correctly screened as not eligible for expedited benefits because income exceeded shelter costs.  The household returned an IM-145 on 12/21/98 reporting employment ended 12/18/98.  With the loss of earned income, the household was eligible for expedited benefits for the first month of the new certification (01/99) because income was less than shelter expenses.  Although benefits for 01/99 were issued timely using supplemental payroll, there was nothing to identify the issuance as expedited.  Expedited benefits must be identified and issued using the FISU screen.

SUMMARY 5:  On 01/04/99, the household filed an initial food stamp application.  The household claimed $143.00 income and $205.00 resources.  The household is responsible for $400 a month rent plus utilities.  At application, the household was not eligible for expedited services due to program ineligibility.  The household owns a car that exceeds the resource limits for the Food Stamp Program.

On 01/29/99, the household was approved for Temporary Assistance and became categorically eligible for food stamp benefits.  The worker completed the food stamp approval and entered a FISU request on 01/29/99 for January 1999 benefits.  The case record indicates the worker did not code the FISU request as expedited because benefits would be available the next day.  Not identifying a case as expedited service eligible because benefits are available within the same time frame conflicts with expedited service policy.  The household should have been expedited upon approval of the Temporary Assistance case because the household income/resources were less than the shelter cost.

SUMMARY 6:  On 12/18/98, the applicant applied for food stamp benefits.  The applicant claimed zero income and resources and no shelter expenses.  The applicant claimed he was disabled and also applied for Medical Assistance and General Relief.  The worker determined the applicant was not eligible for expedited benefits because he had used up his three non-work months.  The application should have been screened as eligible for expedited benefits because the applicant claimed a disability and his income is less than $150 and resources are less than $100.

On 1/11/99, the application was transferred to a different worker.  The worker reviewed the application and recorded, "It appears upon review of this case on 1-12-99 that this client should have been expedited".  The worker also indicated the date of discovery would be changed to 1/12/99.  Since there was no change in the applicant's circumstances, it is not appropriate to change the date of discovery.  The system shows the FISU entered was not identified as expedited.

SUMMARY 7:  Applicant completed an initial application on 11-06-98.  The expedited screening area on the FS-1 is not completed.  The FEXP screening in the record indicates the household is not eligible for expedited benefits and listed the reason as "other".  There is no recording in the record to explain how this decision was reached.  Other information in the case file indicates income from Americorps was considered, but later determined to be excludable income.  Correctly screened, the applicant was eligible to receive expedited benefits.

  • Review this memorandum with all appropriate staff.

  • Discuss the error summaries at the next staff meeting.
Distribution #6

[ 1999 Memorandums ]