Department of Human Services
Food Stamp Online Policy Manual
Periods of Eligibility
DETERMINING LENGTH OF CERTIFICATION PERIODS FOR FOOD STAMP HOUSEHOLDS
Households shall be assigned the longest certification periods possible based on the predictability of the household’s circumstances. Households must be certified for at least three months except as discussed in Section 1240-1-7-.01-(2)-(b). In no circumstances may a certification period extend beyond one year.
(a) As a result of anticipated changes, the household’s level of benefits for the month of application may differ from its entitlement in subsequent months. The household’s allotment will vary from month to month within the certification period to reflect changes anticipated at the time of certification, unless the household elects the averaging techniques in Section 1240-1-4-.17.
(b) Certification Periods
1. Households that have Self-Employed Income as the only Earnings
Certify households with self-employment as the only type of earned income with a twelve (12) month period. This can include self-employed farmers or regular farm employment with the same employer provided the income can be predicted readily, and household circumstances are not likely to change. If there is another type of earnings, the household should be assigned to simplified reporting and given a twelve (12) month certification period.
2. Simplified Reporting Cases
(i) Elderly or Disabled Households with no Earnings
Households containing only elderly or disabled household members without earnings will be considered as being simplified reporting but will treated differently from all other simplified reporting cases. The treatment of these households will be as follows:
(I) These households will continue to be certified for 12 months.
(II) At the end of twelve months, the renewal process may be completed by phone. If however, the client requests an office interview this would be granted.
(III) Reporting requirements
Households whose gross monthly income is over the gross income standard (but not the net income standard), at the time of the most recent action, have no further reporting requirements until renewal.
Example: A two person household (husband is 65 and wife is disabled) apply for benefits. The wife receives $579 SSA and the husband receives $400 in SSA and $1000 in retirement benefits. The household’s total gross monthly income is $1979 which is over the gross income standard of $1579 for a two person household. The household is subject to the net income standard only. If after the budget is worked and the household is eligible, the household would not have any reporting requirements until renewal.
Households with income at or below the gross income limit, at the time of the most recent action, must report if their income goes over 130% of the poverty level for their household size. Once the worker acts on the change, if the household remains eligible, there is no further reporting requirement until renewal.
Example: An individual, age 64, applies for benefits. At application the only household income is SSA of $800 a month. If otherwise eligible, the household is assigned a twelve month certification period and placed in SR. As the household’s countable gross monthly income is below 130% of the poverty level for a one person household ($1174), the household is required to report when their gross monthly income exceeds the 130% standard. Two months into the certification period, the household reports the receipt of a $400 monthly private retirement benefit. The total income for the household is now $1200 a month which is over the 130% standard of $1174. After the budget is worked and the household remains eligible, the household has no further reporting requirement until renewal.
(ii) Other Simplified Reporting Cases
All other SR households are to be assigned a twelve-month certification period. (A partial month’s benefit is considered a month in the twelve-month period.) Families First/Food Stamp households who do not have earned income will also be given a twelve-month
(I) At the end of five months, SR households will be notified of
the requirement to provide an interim report of the household’s
circumstances. The household must complete the interim
report form, attach required verification and return this
information to the county office before the end of the sixth
month of the certification period. If the SR household fails to
provide an interim report form and required verifications to the
county office by the last day of the sixth month, the Food Stamp
case will auto-close.
3. Special Circumstances
· If an active Food Stamp SR household applies for another program (like FF) during the certification period, we can recertify (if all information necessary is provided) the FS case at that time and will continue to meet SR requirements. The worker would give the household a twelve month certification period at renewal. The household will continue to be SR and subject to those requirements. The case is actively certified when the household applies for the other program and we cannot require the household to be recertified at that time if the household chooses not to do so, nor can we penalize the household by closing the case. Any reported changes must be acted upon.
· If a household has a onetime medical expense that should be prorated over the certification period, the certification period that allows the individual to be eligible should be approved. In some cases it would not be beneficial to the household to have a 12 month certification period; but a lesser certification period would make the household eligible. The case worker would give the lesser certification period and the case would not be considered SR.
· If a household’s circumstances warrant them not being assigned to SR the household looses the reporting criteria for SR and would revert to 10 day reporting requirement.
Example: If an elderly individual comes in to apply with his only income of SSA; we would normally give the household a year certification. However, if the household reports that in two months he will be entering a nursing home we would have to take this into consideration and only give a three month certification and explain the 10 day reporting requirements.
If a household no longer qualifies as a SR case during the certification period, the household will retain the SR status through the certification period.
If the household is given a shorter or longer certification period than appropriate, the case will not be considered simplified reporting and would be subject to regular reporting requirements.