(a)Requirements for participation. The State agency shall require that a household participating or applying for participation in the Food Stamp Program provide the State agency with the social security number (SSN) of each household member or apply for one before certification. If individuals have more than one number, all numbers shall be required. The State agency shall explain to applicants and participants that refusal or failure without good cause to provide an SSN will result in disqualification of the individual for whom an SSN is not obtained.
(b)Obtaining SSNs for food stamp household members.
(1) For those individuals who provide SSNs prior to certification, recertification or at any office contact, the State agency shall record the SSN and verify it in accordance with § 273.2(f)(1)(v).
(2) For those individuals who do not have an SSN, the State agency shall:
(i) If an enumeration agreement with SSA exists, complete the application for an SSN, Form SS-5. To complete Form SS-5, the State agency must document the verification of identity, age, and citizenship or alien status as required by SSA and forward the SS-5 to SSA.
(ii) If no enumeration agreement exists, an individual must apply at the SSA, and the State agency shall arrange with SSA to be notified directly of the SSN when it is issued. The State agency shall inform the household where to apply and what information will be needed, including any which may be needed for SSA to notify the State agency of the SSN. The State agency shall advise the household member that proof of application from SSA will be required prior to certification. SSA normally uses the Receipt of Application for a Social Security Number, Form SSA-5028, as evidence that an individual has applied for an SSN. State agencies may also use their own documents for this purpose.
(3) The State agency shall follow the procedures described in paragraphs (b)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section for individuals who do not know if they have an SSN, or are unable to find their SSN.
(4) If the household is unable to provide proof of application for an SSN for a newborn, the household must provide the SSN or proof of application at its next recertification or within 6 months following the month the baby is born, whichever is later. If the household is unable to provide an SSN or proof of application for an SSN at its next recertification within 6 months following the baby's birth, the State agency shall determine if the good cause provisions of paragraph (d) of this section are applicable.
(c)Failure to comply. If the State agency determines that a household member has refused or failed without good cause to provide or apply for an SSN, then that individual shall be ineligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program. The disqualification applies to the individual for whom the SSN is not provided and not to the entire household. The earned or unearned income and resources of an individual disqualified from the household for failure to comply with this requirement shall be counted as household income and resources to the extent specified in § 273.11(c) of these regulations.
(d)Determining good cause. In determining if good cause exists for failure to comply with the requirement to apply for or provide the State agency with an SSN, the State agency shall consider information from the household member, SSA and the State agency (especially if the State agency was designated to send the SS-5 to SSA and either did not process the SS-5 or did not process it in a timely manner). Documentary evidence or collateral information that the household member has applied for an SSN or made every effort to supply SSA with the necessary information to complete an application for an SSN shall be considered good cause for not complying timely with this requirement. Good cause does not include delays due to illness, lack of transportation or temporary absences, because SSA makes provisions for mail-in applications in lieu of applying in person. If the household member can show good cause why an application for a SSN has not been completed in a timely manner, that person shall be allowed to participate for one month in addition to the month of application. If the household member applying for an SSN has been unable to obtain the documents required by SSN, the State agency caseworker should make every effort to assist the individual in obtaining these documents. Good cause for failure to apply must be shown monthly in order for such a household member to continue to participate. Once an application has been filed, the State agency shall permit the member to continue to participate pending notification of the State agency of the household member's SSN.
(e)Ending disqualification. The household member(s) disqualified may become eligible upon providing the State agency with an SSN.
(f)Use of SSNs. The State agency is authorized to use SSNs in the administration of the Food Stamp Program. To the extent determined necessary by the Secretary and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, State agencies shall have access to information regarding individual Food Stamp Program applicants and participants who receive benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act to determine such a household's eligibility to receive assistance and the amount of assistance, or to verify information related to the benefit of these households. State agencies shall use the State Data Exchange (SDX) to the maximum extent possible. The State agency should also use the SSNs to prevent duplicate participation, to facilitate mass changes in Federal benefits as described in § 273.12(e)(3) and to determine the accuracy and/or reliability of information given by households. In particular, SSNs shall be used by the State agency to request and exchange information on individuals through the IEVS as specified in § 272.8.
(g)Entry of SSNs into automated data bases. State agencies with automated food stamp data bases containing household information shall enter all SSNs obtained in accordance with § 273.6(a) into these files.