Department of Human Services

Food Stamp OnlinePolicy Manual

Special Living Arrangements

Revised:

41.2

GROUP LIVING ARRANGEMENTS

Food Stamp Table of Contents

1240-1-31-.02

(1)   Residents of Group Living Arrangements

These arrangements are sometimes called residential rehabilitation homes.These homes are public or private nonprofit residential settings that serves no more than sixteen residents.They are certified by the appropriate state agency or agencies under regulations issued under section 1616(e) of the Social Security Act or under standards determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be comparable to these standards.

 

Prior to certifying any residents for Food Stamps, the caseworker will verify that the group living arrangement is authorized by an agency such as Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (DMHR).The group home may request authorization as a wholesaler through the Food and Nutrition Services of U.S.D.A.The home does not have to be certified as a wholesaler to be approved for food stamps.

 

The caseworker must verify that the home is a non-profit residence or the contract agency that serves the home has non-profit status.Non-profit status can be established by the agency such as the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, which has approved the home, or by proof of tax exempt status through the Internal Revenue Service.

 

Note:The non-profit agency may in turn contract with service providers who are either for-profit or not-for-profit.This would not affect the homeís eligibility.

 

(a)   Residents of Residential Rehabilitation Homes (Group Living Arrangements)

 

Blind or disabled (as defined in Section 1240-1-8-.01) residents of a group living arrangement may voluntarily apply for the Food Stamp Program.The county office will certify these residents using the same provisions that apply to all other households.

 

(b)   Application Process

 

1.      Residents of group living arrangements may apply and be certified:

 

        through use of an authorized representative employed and designated by the group living arrangement; or

        on their own behalf; or

        through an authorized representative of their own choice.

 

2.      The group living arrangement must determine if any resident can apply for food stamps on his or her own behalf; the determination should be based on the residentís physical and mental ability to handle his or her own affairs.The group living arrangement is encouraged to consult with any other agencies providing services to individual residents prior to a determination.

 

3.      All residents of the group living arrangement do not have to be certified either through an authorized representative or individually in order for one or the other method to be used.Applications will be accepted for any individual applying as a one-person household or for any grouping of residents applying as a household as defined in Section 1240-1-2-.02.

 

4.      If the resident applies using the facility as an authorized representative, the group living arrangement may receive and spend the allotment for food prepared and served to the eligible resident or allow the eligible resident to use all or any portion of the allotment on his or her own behalf.The same provisions applicable in 1240-1-31-.01 to residents of treatment centers also apply to blind or disabled residents of group living arrangements when the facility acts as the residentís authorized representative.

 

5.      If the residents are certified on their own behalf, the allotment may be either:

 

        turned over to the facility to be used to purchase meals served either communally or individually to eligible residents; or

        used by eligible residents to purchase and prepare food for their own consumption; and/or

        used to purchase meals prepared and served by the group living arrangement.

 

6.      If the group living arrangement has its status as an authorized representative suspended by FNS (as discussed in 1240-1-31-.01), residents will be able to participate on their own behalf when otherwise eligible.

 

7.      Expedited Service - Residents of group living arrangements who are entitled to expedited service will have their applications processed timely enough to assure that the benefits will be received by the household on or before the seventh calendar day following the application date.

 

8.      As in the case of Drug Addict and Alcoholic Treatment Centers, each county office may appoint a caseworker to serve as liaison and to certify the residents of the treatment centers and group living arrangements.

 

(c)    Reporting Changes

 

1.      If the resident has made application on his or her behalf, the household is responsible for reporting changes to the county office in accordance with the provisions that apply to all other food stamp households as stated in 1240-1-19-.04.

 

2.      If the group living arrangement is acting in the capacity of an authorized representative, the group living arrangement will notify the county office of changes in the householdís income or other household circumstances in accordance with the provisions that apply to all other food stamp households.The group home must notify the county office when the individual leaves the group living arrangement.(See Section 1240-1-19-.04)

 

The group living arrangement must return the householdís benefits to the county office if they are received after the household has left the group living arrangement.

 

(d)   While the Participant is in the Facility

 

Through a waiver from USDA, the facility will be permitted to act as a point of sale.The food stamp benefits will be redeemed at the facility and be deposited into the institutionís account.This may be completed by point of sale terminals or manual EBT transaction processing.This process will prevent the facility from having to handle multiple EBT cards while shopping for food.EBT benefits due a recipient leaving the facility can be accurately tracked.†††

 

(e)   Household Leaves the Group Living Arrangement

 

1.      Facility Has Use of Benefits

 

(i)   When the household leaves the facility, the group living arrangement, either acting as an authorized representative or retaining use of the benefits on behalf of the residents (regardless of the method of application) must provide residents with their EBT card (if applicable).Also the departing household must receive its full allotment if the monthly allotment has been issued and no benefits have been spent on behalf of that individual household any time during the month.

 

(ii) When an individual leaves the group living arrangement prior to the 16th day of the month and benefits have already been issued and any portion spent on behalf of the individual, the facility shall provide the household with its EBT card (if applicable) and one-half of its monthly allotment.

†††††††††††

If the household leaves after the 16th of the month and the benefits have already been issued and used, the household does not receive any benefits.

 

(iii)    When a group of residents have been certified as one household and have returned benefits to the facility to use, the departing residents shall be given a pro rata share of one-half of the householdís monthly benefits if leaving prior to the 16th day of the month.

 

Example:Three residents with limited income have been certified as one household within the group living arrangement facility. Their monthly allotment is $150.00; one-half of this amount is $75.00.Therefore, each personís pro rata share would be one-third of $75.00 or $25.00.

 

(iv)   Once the resident leaves, the group living arrangement no longer acts as his or her authorized representative.

 

(v)      The group living arrangement should provide the household with a Change Report Form to report to the County Office the individualís new address and other circumstances after leaving the group living arrangement and advise the household to return the form to the appropriate office in the county within 10 days.

 

2.      Household Retains Use of Food Stamp Benefits

 

(i)    If a resident or a group of residents apply on their own behalf and retain use of their own allotment, these individuals are entitled to keep the benefits when they leave the group living arrangement.

 

If a group of residents have applied as one household, a pro rata share of the remaining allotment should be provided to any departing household member.

 

Example:A group of four residents apply as one household.Their monthly allotment is $209.00.One of the four residents leaves the facility on the 18th of the month.The group has $100.00 of benefits remaining.The individual leaving would receive one-fourth of the $100.00 allotment or $25.00 in benefits.

 

(ii)      Although the household is responsible for reporting changes in the household circumstances, the group living arrangement should provide the household with a Change Report Form to report to the county office the individualís new address and other circumstances after leaving the group living arrangement.The facility should also advise the household to return the form to the appropriate office in the county within 10 days.

 

(f)     Liabilities

 

The same provisions regarding misrepresentation and fraud applicable to drug and alcoholic treatment centers also apply to group living arrangements when the facility is acting as an authorized representative (See 1240-1-31-.01).These provisions are not applicable if a resident has applied on his or her own behalf.The resident applying on his or her behalf is responsible for overissuances (See 1240-1-20).

 

(g)   Use of Benefits by Residents

 

1.      Group living arrangements may purchase and prepare food to be consumed by eligible residents on a group basis.When:

 

        residents normally obtain their meals at a center location as part of the group living arrangement services or

        meals are prepared at a central location for delivery to the individual residents.

 

2.      If residents purchase and/or prepare food for ďhome consumptionĒ as opposed to communal dining, the group living arrangement should ensure that each residentís food stamps are used for meals intended for that resident.

 

3.      If the resident retains use of his or her own allotment, he or she may either use the benefits to purchase meals prepared for them by the facility or to purchase food to prepare meals for their own consumption.

 

4.      Disabled residents (as defined in Food Stamp Policy) can use Food Stamps to purchase prepared meals.The group living arrangement would be where a significant number of individuals receiving SSI reside or are likely to reside.

 

(h)   Group Living Arrangement Responsibilities

 

The reporting responsibilities and reviews for drug addict and alcoholic treatment centers also apply toward group living arrangements.Refer to Section 1240-1-31-.01 for specific instructions.

 

(i)     Shelter Expenses

 

The food stamp householdís shelter expenses would be determined based upon the individual circumstances.The caseworker must review the contract with the agency to determine each situation.Some examples of allowable shelter (rent and utilities) amount (not intended to be all-inclusive) would be:

 

        Individual resides in a regular group home.The contract with the agency shows room and board.The caseworker would subtract the Thrifty Food Plan from the total amount shown as room and board.The remaining amount would be shown as a shelter amount.No utility expense would be shown in the budget.

        Individual resides in a regular group home.In the contract with the agency, the individual is responsible for rent and a major heating/cooling utility expense on a monthly basis.The amount for rent would be shown in the food stamp budget.The agency receives the utility bill and divides it among the residents of the home.The individual would be eligible for the standard utility allowance.

        Individual resides in a regular group home.In the contract with the agency, the individual is responsible for rent and a major heating/cooling utility expense on a monthly basis.The amount of rent would be shown in the food stamp budget.The agency charges the person a flat rate for the utilities.The individual would be eligible for the basic utility expense.

 

(2)   Supportive Living Arrangement

Supportive living arrangements must be certified by the appropriate state agency in the same manner as the group living arrangement.

 

The supportive living arrangement agency subcontracts with individuals and/or agencies to manage these arrangements.

 

Individuals receiving supportive living services are living in property that they own and/or control (etc. pays rent) and have certain services provided to them in their homes based on their specific needs.These individuals make application for food stamps in the same manner as any other individual.They may have an individual to act as their authorized representative.The fact that there are some services provided to the individual in their home by a profit or nonprofit agency is irrelevant, if they are otherwise eligible.

 

The householdís shelter expenses are determined based upon the individual circumstances.Some examples (this is not intended to be all-inclusive) are:

 

              An individual resides in a house.He/she receives a major heating/cooling utility bill.The household would be eligible for the standard utility allowance.

              The individual resides in an apartment with other adults.The agency receives a major heating/cooling utility bill and divides the expense evenly among the residents in the apartment.Each individual would be eligible for the standard utility allowance.

              The individual resides in an apartment with other adults.The agency receives a major heating/cooling utility bill and charges each individual a flat monthly rate.Each individual would be eligible for the basic utility allowance.

              The individual resides in an apartment where the individual is billed only for excess expenses.The individual would be eligible for the basic utility allowance.

 

Glossary of Terms

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