7 CFR 273.2 - Office operations and application processing.

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There are 6 Updates appearing in the Federal Register for 7 CFR Part 273. View below or at eCFR (GPOAccess)
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§ 273.2 Office operations and applicationprocessing.
Link to an amendment published at 81 FR 89839, Dec. 13, 2016.
Link to an amendment published at 82 FR 2035, Jan. 6, 2017.
Link to an amendment published at 82 FR 2037, Jan. 6, 2017.

(a)Operation of food stamp offices and processing of applications -

(1)Office operations.State agencies must establish procedures governing the operation of food stamp offices that the Stateagency determines best serve households in the State, including households with special needs, such as, but not limited to, households with elderly or disabled members, households in rural areas with low-income members, homeless individuals, households residing on reservations, households with adult members who are not proficient in English, and households with earned income (working households). The Stateagency must provide timely, accurate, and fair service to applicants for, and participants in, the Food Stamp Program. The Stateagency cannot, as a condition of eligibility, impose additional application or applicationprocessing requirements. The Stateagency must have a procedure for informing persons who wish to apply for food stamps about the application process and their rights and responsibilities. The Stateagency must base food stamp eligibility solely on the criteria contained in the Act and this part.

(2)Application processing. The application process includes filing and completing an application form, being interviewed, and having certain information verified. The Stateagency must act promptly on all applications and provide food stamp benefits retroactive to the month of application to those households that have completed the application process and have been determined eligible. The Stateagency must make expedited service available to households in immediate need. Specific responsibilities of households and State agencies in the application process are detailed below.

(b)Food Stamp application form -

(1)Content. Each application form shall contain:

(i) In prominent and boldface lettering and understandable terms a statement that the information provided by the applicant in connection with the application for food stamp benefits will be subject to verification by Federal, State and local officials to determine if such information is factual; that if any information is incorrect, food stamps may be denied to the applicant; and that the applicant may be subject to criminal prosecution for knowingly providing incorrect information;

(ii) In prominent and boldface lettering and understandable terms a description of the civil and criminal provisions and penalties for violations of the Food Stamp Act;

(iii) A statement to be signed by one adult household member which certifies, under penalty of perjury, the truth of the information contained in the application, including the information concerning citizenship and alien status of the members applying for benefits;

(iv) A place on the front page of the application where the applicant can write his/her name, address, and signature.

(v) In plain and prominent language on or near the front page of the application, notification of the household's right to immediately file the application as long as it contains the applicant's name and address and the signature of a responsible household member or the household's authorized representative. Regardless of the type of system the Stateagency uses (paper or electronic), it must provide a means for households to immediately begin the application process with name, address and signature;

(vi) In plain and prominent language on or near the front page of the application, a description of the expedited service provisions described in paragraph (i) of this section;

(vii) In plain and prominent language on or near the front page of the application, notification that benefits are provided from the date of application; and

(viii) The following nondiscrimination statement on the application itself even if the Stateagency uses a joint application form:

“In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability.

“To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”; and

(ix) For multi-program applications, contain language which clearly affords applicants the option of answering only those questions relevant to the program or programs for which they are applying.

(2)Income and eligibility verification system (IEVS). If the Stateagency chooses to use IEVS in accordance with paragraph (f)(9) of this section, it must notify all applicants for food stamp benefits at the time of application and at each recertification through a written statement on or provided with the application form that information available through IEVS will be requested, used and may be verified through collateral contact when discrepancies are found by the Stateagency, and that such information may affect the household's eligibility and level of benefits. The regulations at § 273.2(f)(4)(ii) govern the use of collateral contacts. The Stateagency must also notify all applicants on the application form that the alien status of applicant household members may be subject to verification by INS through the submission of information from the application to INS, and that the submitted information received from INS may affect the household's eligibility and level of benefits.

(3)Jointly processed cases. If a Stateagency has a procedure that allows applicants to apply for the food stamp program and another program at the same time, the Stateagency shall notify applicants that they may file a joint application for more than one program or they may file a separate application for food stamps independent of their application for benefits from any other program. All food stamp applications, regardless of whether they are joint applications or separate applications, must be processed for food stamp purposes in accordance with food stamp procedural, timeliness, notice, and fair hearing requirements. No household shall have its food stamp benefits denied solely on the basis that its application to participate in another program has been denied or its benefits under another program have been terminated without a separate determination by the Stateagency that the household failed to satisfy a food stamp eligibility requirement. Households that file a joint application for food stamps and another program and are denied benefits for the other program shall not be required to resubmit the joint application or to file another application for food stamps but shall have its food stamp eligibility determined based on the joint application in accordance with the food stamp processing time frames from the date the joint application was initially accepted by the Stateagency.

(4)Privacy Act statement. As a Stateagency, you must notify all households applying and being recertified for food stamp benefits of the following:

(i) The collection of this information, including the social security number (SSN) of each household member, is authorized under the Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2011-2036. The information will be used to determine whether your household is eligible or continues to be eligible to participate in the Food Stamp Program. We will verify this information through computer matching programs. This information will also be used to monitor compliance with programregulations and for program management.

(ii) This information may be disclosed to other Federal and State agencies for official examination, and to law enforcement officials for the purpose of apprehending persons fleeing to avoid the law.

(iii) If a food stamp claim arises against your household, the information on this application, including all SSNs, may be referred to Federal and State agencies, as well as private claims collection agencies, for claims collection action.

(iv) Providing the requested information, including the SSN of each household member, is voluntary. However, failure to provide an SSN will result in the denial of food stamp benefits to each individual failing to provide an SSN. Any SSNs provided will be used and disclosed in the same manner as SSNs of eligible household members.

(c)Filing an application -

(1)Household's right to file. Households must file food stamp applications by submitting the forms to the food stamp office either in person, through an authorized representative, by fax or other electronic transmission, by mail, or by completing an on-line electronic application. The Stateagency must provide households that complete an on-line electronic application in person at the food stamp office the opportunity to review the information that has been recorded electronically and must provide them with a copy of that information for their records. Applications signed through the use of electronic signature techniques or applications containing a handwritten signature and then transmitted by fax or other electronic transmission are acceptable. State agencies must document the date the application was filed by recording the date of receipt at the food stamp office. When a resident of an institution is jointly applying for SSI and food stamps prior to leaving the institution, the filing date of the application that the Stateagency must record is the date of release of the applicant from the institution. The length of time a Stateagency has to deliver benefits is calculated from the date the application is filed in the food stamp office designated by the Stateagency to accept the household's application, except when a resident of a public institution is jointly applying for SSI and food stamps prior to his/her release from an institution in accordance with § 273.1(e)(2). Residents of public institutions who apply for foods stamps prior to their release from the institution shall be certified in accordance with § 273.2(g)(1) or § 273.2(i)(3)(i), as appropriate. Each household has the right to file an application form on the same day it contacts the food stamp office during office hours. The household shall be advised that it does not have to be interviewed before filing the application and may file an incomplete application form as long as the form contains the applicant's name and address, and is signed by a responsible member of the household or the household's authorized representative. State agencies shall document the date the application was filed by recording on the application the date it was received by the food stamp office. When a resident of an institution is jointly applying for SSI and food stamps prior to leaving the institution, the filing date of the application to be recorded by the Stateagency on the food stamp application is the date of release of the applicant from the institution.

(2)Contacting the food stamp office.

(i)State agencies shall encourage households to file an application form the same day the household or its representative contacts the food stamp office in person or by telephone and expresses interest in obtaining food stamp assistance or expresses concerns which indicate food insecurity. If the Stateagency attempts to discourage households from applying for cash assistance, it shall make clear that the disadvantages and requirements of applying for cash assistance do not apply to food stamps. In addition, it shall encourage applicants to continue with their application for food stamps. The Stateagency shall inform households that receiving food stamps will have no bearing on any other program's time limits that may apply to the household. If a household contacting the food stamp office by telephone does not wish to come to the appropriate office to file the application that same day and instead prefers receiving an application through the mail, the Stateagency shall mail an application form to the household on the same day the telephone request is received. An application shall also be mailed on the same day a written request for food assistance is received.

(ii) Where a project area has designated certification offices to serve specific geographic areas, households may contact an office other than the one designated to service the area in which they reside. When a household contacts the wrong certification office within a project area in person or by telephone, the certification office shall, in addition to meeting other requirements in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, give the household the address and telephone number of the appropriate office. The certification office shall also offer to forward the household's application to the appropriate office that same day if the household has completed enough information on the application to file or forward it the next day by any means that ensures the application arrives at the application office the day it is forwarded. The household shall be informed that its application will not be considered filed and the processingstandards shall not begin until the application is received by the appropriate office. If the household has mailed its application to the wrong office within a project area, the certification office shall mail the application to the appropriate office on the same day, or forward it the next day by any means that ensures the application arrives at the application office the day it is forwarded.

(iii) In State agencies that elect to have Statewide residency, as provided in § 273.3, the applicationprocessing timeframes begin when the application is filed in any food stamp office in the State.

(3)Availability of the application form. The Stateagency shall make application forms readily accessible to potentially eligible households. The Stateagency shall also provide an application form to anyone who requests the form. If the Stateagency maintains a Web page, it must make the application available on the Web page in each language in which the Stateagency makes a printed application available. The Stateagency must provide on the Web page the addresses and phone numbers of all State food stamp offices and a statement that the household should return the application form to its nearest local office. The applications must be accessible to persons with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112, as amended by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1974, Public Law 93-516, 29 U.S.C. 794. Regardless of the type of system the Stateagency uses (paper or electronic), the Stateagency must provide a means for applicants to immediately begin the application process with name, address and signature.

(4)Notice of right to file. The Stateagency shall post signs in the certification office which explain the applicationprocessingstandards and the right to file an application on the day of initial contact. The Stateagency shall include similar information about same day filing on the application form.

(5)Notice of Required Verification. The Stateagency shall provide each household at the time of application for certification and recertification with a notice that informs the household of the verification requirements the household must meet as part of the application process. The notice shall also inform the household of the Stateagency's responsibility to assist the household in obtaining required verification provided the household is cooperating with the Stateagency as specified in (d)(1) of this section. The notice shall be written in clear and simple language and shall meet the bilingual requirements designated in § 272.4(b) of this chapter. At a minimum, the notice shall contain examples of the types of documents the household should provide and explain the period of time the documents should cover.

(6)Withdrawing application. The household may voluntarily withdraw its application at any time prior to the determination of eligibility. The Stateagency shall document in the case file the reason for withdrawal, if any was stated by the household, and that contact was made with the household to confirm the withdrawal. The household shall be advised of its right to reapply at any time subsequent to a withdrawal.

(d)Household cooperation.

(1) To determine eligibility, the application form must be completed and signed, the household or its authorized representative must be interviewed, and certain information on the application must be verified. If the household refuses to cooperate with the Stateagency in completing this process, the application shall be denied at the time of refusal. For a determination of refusal to be made, the household must be able to cooperate, but clearly demonstrate that it will not take actions that it can take and that are required to complete the application process. For example, to be denied for refusal to cooperate, a household must refuse to be interviewed not merely failing to appear for the interview. If there is any question as to whether the household has merely failed to cooperate, as opposed to refused to cooperate, the household shall not be denied, and the agency shall provide assistance required by paragraph (c)(5) of this section. The household shall also be determined ineligible if it refuses to cooperate in any subsequent review of its eligibility, including reviews generated by reported changes and applications for recertification. Once denied or terminated for refusal to cooperate, the household may reapply but shall not be determined eligible until it cooperates with the Stateagency. The Stateagency shall not determine the household to be ineligible when a person outside of the household fails to cooperate with a request for verification. The Stateagency shall not consider individuals identified as nonhousehold members under § 273.1(b)(2) as individuals outside the household.

(2)Cooperation with QC Reviewer. In addition, the household shall be determined ineligible if it refuses to cooperate in any subsequent review of its eligibility as a part of a quality control review. If a household is terminated for refusal to cooperate with a quality control reviewer, in accordance with §§ 275.3(c)(5) and 275.12(g)(1)(ii) of this chapter, the household may reapply, but shall not be determined eligible until it cooperates with the quality control reviewer. If a household terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Statequality control reviewer reapplies after 125 days from the end of the annual review period, the household shall not be determined ineligible for its refusal to cooperate with a Statequality control reviewer during the completed review period, but must provide verification in accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(ix) of this section. If a household terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Federal quality control reviewer reapplies after nine months from the end of the annual review period, the household shall not be determined ineligible for its refusal to cooperate with a Federal quality control reviewer during the completed review period, but must provide verification in accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(ix) of this section. In the event that one or more household members no longer resides with a household terminated for refusal to cooperate, the penalty for refusal to cooperate will attach to household of the person(s) who refused to cooperate. If the Stateagency is unable to determine which household member(s) refused to cooperate, the Stateagency shall determine the household to which the penalty shall apply.

(e)Interviews.

(1) Except for households certified for longer than 12 months, and except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, households must have a face-to-face interview with an eligibility worker at initial certification and at least once every 12 months thereafter. State agencies may not require households to report for an in-office interview during their certification period, though they may request households to do so. For example, State agencies may not require households to report en masse for an in-office interview during their certification periods simply to review their case files, or for any other reason. Interviews may be conducted at the food stamp office or other mutually acceptable location, including a household's residence. If the interview will be conducted at the household's residence, it must be scheduled in advance with the household. If a household in which all adult members are elderly or disabled is certified for 24 months in accordance with § 273.10(f)(1), or a household residing on a reservation is required to submit monthly reports and is certified for 24 months in accordance with § 273.10(f)(2), a face-to-face interview is not required during the certification period. The individual interviewed may be the head of household, spouse, any other responsible member of the household, or an authorized representative. The applicant may bring any person he or she chooses to the interview. The interviewer must not simply review the information that appears on the application, but must explore and resolve with the household unclear and incomplete information. The interviewer must advise households of their rights and responsibilities during the interview, including the appropriate applicationprocessing standard and the households' responsibility to report changes. The interviewer must advise households that are also applying for or receiving PA benefits that time limits and other requirements that apply to the receipt of PA benefits do not apply to the receipt of food stamp benefits, and that households which cease receiving PA benefits because they have reached a time limit, have begun working, or for other reasons, may still qualify for food stamp benefits. The interviewer must conduct the interview as an official and confidential discussion of household circumstances. The Stateagency must protect the applicant's right to privacy during the interview. Facilities must be adequate to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of the interview.

(2) The Stateagency must notify the applicant that it will waive the face-to-face interview required in paragraph (e)(1) of this section in favor of a telephone interview on a case-by-case basis because of household hardship situations as determined by the Stateagency. These hardship conditions include, but are not limited to: Illness, transportation difficulties, care of a household member, hardships due to residency in a rural area, prolonged severe weather, or work or training hours which prevent the household from participating in an in-office interview. The Stateagency must document the case file to show when a waiver was granted because of a hardship. The Stateagency may opt to waive the face-to-face interview in favor of a telephone interview for all households which have no earned income and all members of the household are elderly or disabled. Regardless of any approved waivers, the Stateagency must grant a face-to-face interview to any household which requests one. The Stateagency has the option of conducting a telephone interview or a home visit that is scheduled in advance with the household if the office interview is waived.

(i) Waiver of the face-to-face interview does not exempt the household from the verification requirements, although special procedures may be used to permit the household to provide verification and thus obtain its benefits in a timely manner, such as substituting a collateral contact in cases where documentary verification would normally be provided.

(ii) Waiver of the face-to-face interview may not affect the length of the household's certification period.

(3) The Stateagency must schedule an interview for all applicant households who are not interviewed on the day they submit their applications. To the extent practicable, the Stateagency must schedule the interview to accommodate the needs of groups with special circumstances, including working households. The Stateagency must schedule all interviews as promptly as possible to insure eligible households receive an opportunity to participate within 30 days after the application is filed. The Stateagency must notify each household that misses its interview appointment that it missed the scheduled interview and that the household is responsible for rescheduling a missed interview. If the household contacts the Stateagency within the 30 day applicationprocessing period, the Stateagency must schedule a second interview. The Stateagency may not deny a household's application prior to the 30th day after application if the household fails to appear for the first scheduled interview. If the household requests a second interview during the 30-day applicationprocessing period and is determined eligible, the Stateagency must issue prorated benefits from the date of application.

(f)Verification. Verification is the use of documentation or a contact with a third party to confirm the accuracy of statements or information. The Stateagency must give households at least 10 days to provide required verification. Paragraph (i)(4) of this section contains verification procedures for expedited service cases.

(1)Mandatory verification.State agencies shall verify the following information prior to certification for households initially applying:

(i)Gross nonexempt income. Gross nonexempt income shall be verified for all households prior to certification. However, where all attempts to verify the income have been unsuccessful because the person or organization providing the income has failed to cooperate with the household and the Stateagency, and all other sources of verification are unavailable, the eligibility worker shall determine an amount to be used for certification purposes based on the best available information.

(ii)Alien eligibility.

(A) The Stateagency must verify the eligible status of applicant aliens. If an alien does not wish the Stateagency to contact INS to verify his or her immigration status, the Stateagency must give the household the option of withdrawing its application or participating without that member. The Department of Justice (DOJ) Interim Guidance On Verification of Citizenship, Qualified Alien Status and Eligibility Under Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Interim Guidance) (62 FR 61344, November 17, 1997) contains information on acceptable documents and INS codes. State agencies should use the Interim Guidance until DOJ publishes a final rule on this issue. Thereafter, State agencies should consult both the Interim Guidance and the DOJ final rule. Where the Interim Guidance and the DOJ final rule conflict, the latter should control the verification of alien eligibility. As provided in § 273.4, the following information may also be relevant to the eligibility of some aliens: date of admission or date status was granted; military connection; battered status; if the alien was lawfully residing in the United States on August 22, 1996; membership in certain Indian tribes; if the person was age 65 or older on August 22, 1996; if a lawful permanent resident can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of covered work and if any Federal means-tested public benefits were received in any quarter after December 31, 1996; or if the alien was a member of certain Hmong or Highland Laotian tribes during a certain period of time or is the spouse or unmarried dependent of such a person. The Stateagency must also verify these factors, if applicable to the alien's eligibility. The SSA Quarters of Coverage History System (QCHS) is available for purposes of verifying whether a lawful permanent resident has earned or can receive credit for a total of 40 qualifying quarters. However, the QCHS may not show all qualifying quarters. For instance, SSA records do not show current year earnings and in some cases the last year's earnings, depending on the time of request. Also, in some cases, an applicant may have work from uncovered employment that is not documented by SSA, but is countable toward the 40 quarters test. In both these cases, the individual, rather than SSA, would need to provide the evidence needed to verify the quarters.

(B) An alien is ineligible until acceptable documentation is provided unless:

(1) The Stateagency has submitted a copy of a document provided by the household to INS for verification. Pending such verification, the Stateagency cannot delay, deny, reduce or terminate the individual's eligibility for benefits on the basis of the individual's immigration status; or

(2) The applicant or the Stateagency has submitted a request to SSA for information regarding the number of quarters of work that can be credited to the individual, SSA has responded that the individual has fewer than 40 quarters, and the individual provides documentation from SSA that SSA is conducting an investigation to determine if more quarters can be credited. If SSA indicates that the number of qualifying quarters that can be credited is under investigation, the Stateagency must certify the individual pending the results of the investigation for up to 6 months from the date of the original determination of insufficient quarters; or

(3) The applicant or the Stateagency has submitted a request to a Federal agency for verification of information which bears on the individual's eligible alien status. The Stateagency must certify the individual pending the results of the investigation for up to 6 months from the date of the original request for verification.

(C) The Stateagency must provide alien applicants with a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation of their eligible alien status as of the 30th day following the date of application. A reasonable opportunity must be at least 10 days from the date of the Stateagency's request for an acceptable document. When the Stateagency fails to provide an alien applicant with a reasonable opportunity as of the 30th day following the date of application, the Stateagency must provide the household with benefits no later than 30 days following the date of application, provided the household is otherwise eligible.

(iii)Utility expenses. The Stateagency shall verify a household's utility expenses if the household wishes to claim expenses in excess of the Stateagency's utility standard and the expense would actually result in a deduction. If the household's actual utility expenses cannot be verified before the 30 days allowed to process the application expire, the Stateagency shall use the standard utility allowance, provided the household is entitled to use the standard as specified in § 273.9(d). If the household wishes to claim expenses for an unoccupied home, the Stateagency shall verify the household's actual utility expenses for the unoccupied home in every case and shall not use the standard utility allowance.

(iv)Medical expenses. The amount of any medical expenses (including the amount of reimbursements) deductible under § 273.9(d)(3) shall be verified prior to initial certification. Verification of other factors, such as the allowability of services provided or the eligibility of the person incurring the cost, shall be required if questionable.

(v)Social security numbers. The Stateagency shall verify the social security number(s) (SSN) reported by the household by submitting them to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for verification according to procedures established by SSA. The Stateagency shall not delay the certification for or issuance of benefits to an otherwise eligible household solely to verify the SSN of a household member. Once an SSN has been verified, the Stateagency shall make a permanent annotation to its file to prevent the unnecessary reverification of the SSN in the future. The Stateagency shall accept as verified an SSN which has been verified by another program participating in the IEVS described in § 272.8. If an individual is unable to provide an SSN or does not have an SSN, the Stateagency shall require the individual to submit Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Number, to the SSA in accordance with procedures in § 273.6. A completed SSA Form 2853 shall be considered proof of application for an SSN for a newborn infant.

(vi)Residency. The residency requirements of § 273.3 shall be verified except in unusual cases (such as homeless households, some migrant farmworker households, or households newly arrived in a project area) where verification of residency cannot reasonably be accomplished. Verification of residency should be accomplished to the extent possible in conjunction with the verification of other information such as, but not limited to, rent and mortgage payments, utility expenses, and identity. If verification cannot be accomplished in conjunction with the verification of other information, then the Stateagency shall use a collateral contact or other readily available documentary evidence. Documents used to verify other factors of eligibility should normally suffice to verify residency as well. Any documents or collateral contact which reasonably establish the applicant's residency must be accepted and no requirement for a specific type of verification may be imposed. No durational residency requirement shall be established.

(vii)Identity. The identity of the person making application shall be verified. Where an authorized representative applies on behalf of a household, the identity of both the authorized representative and the head of household shall be verified. Identity may be verified through readily available documentary evidence, or if this is unavailable, through a collateral contact. Examples of acceptable documentary evidence which the applicant may provide include, but are not limited to, a driver's license, a work or school ID, an ID for health benefits or for another assistance or social servicesprogram, a voter registration card, wage stubs, or a birth certificate. Any documents which reasonably establish the applicant's identity must be accepted, and no requirement for a specific type of document, such as a birth certificate, may be imposed.

(viii)Disability.

(A) The Stateagency shall verify disability as defined in § 271.2 as follows:

(1) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) of the definition, the household shall provide proof that the disabled individual is receiving benefits under titles I, II, X, XIV or XVI of the Social SecurityAct.

(2) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraph (6) of the definition, the household must present a statement from the Veterans Administration (VA) which clearly indicates that the disabled individual is receiving VA disability benefits for a service-connected or non-service-connected disability and that the disability is rated as total or paid at the total rate by VA.

(3) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraphs (7) and (8) of the definition, proof by the household that the disabled individual is receiving VA disability benefits is sufficient verification of disability.

(4) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraphs (5) and (9) of the definition, the Stateagency shall use the Social Security Administration's (SSA) most current list of disabilities considered permanent under the Social SecurityAct for verifying disability. If it is obvious to the caseworker that the individual has one of the listed disabilities, the household shall be considered to have verified disability. If disability is not obvious to the caseworker, the household shall provide a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist certifying that the individual has one of the nonobvious disabilities listed as the means for verifying disability under paragraphs (5) and (9) of the definition.

(5) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraph (10) of the definition, the household shall provide proof that the individual receives a Railroad Retirement disability annuity from the Railroad Retirement Board and has been determined to qualify for Medicare.

(6) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraph (11) of the definition, the household shall provide proof that the individual receives interim assistance benefits pending the receipt of Supplemental Security Income; or disability-related medical assistance under title XIX of the SSA; or disability-based State general assistance benefits. The Stateagency shall verify that the eligibility to receive these benefits is based upon disability or blindness criteria which are at least as stringent as those used under title XVI of the Social SecurityAct.

(B) For disability determinations which must be made relevant to the provisions of § 273.1(a)(2)(ii), the Stateagency shall use the SSA's most current list of disabilities as the initial step for verifying if an individual has a disability considered permanent under the Social SecurityAct. However, only those individuals who suffer from one of the disabilities mentioned in the SSA list who are unable to purchase and prepare meals because of such disability shall be considered disabled for the purpose of this provision. If it is obvious to the caseworker that the individual is unable to purchase and prepare meals because he/she suffers from a severe physical or mental disability, the individual shall be considered disabled for the purpose of the provision even if the disability is not specifically mentioned on the SSA list. If the disability is not obvious to the caseworker, he/she shall verify the disability by requiring a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist certifying that the individual (in the physician's/psychologist's opinion) is unable to purchase and prepare meals because he/she suffers from one of the nonobvious disabilities mentioned in the SSA list or is unable to purchase meals because he/she suffers from some other severe, permanent physical or mental disease or nondisease-related disability. The elderly and disabled individual (or his/her authorized representative) shall be responsible for obtaining the cooperation of the individuals with whom he/she resides in providing the necessary income information about the others to the Stateagency for purposes of this provision.

(ix)State agencies shall verify all factors of eligibility for households who have been terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Statequality control reviewer, and reapply after 95 days from the end of the annual review period. State agencies shall verify all factors of eligibility for households who have been terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Federal quality control reviewer and reapply after seven months from the end of the annual review period.

(x)Household composition.State agencies shall verify factors affecting the composition of a household, if questionable. Individuals who claim to be a separate household from those with whom they reside shall be responsible for proving that they are a separate household to the satisfaction of the Stateagency. Individuals who claim to be a separate household from those with whom they reside based on the various age and disability factors for determining separateness shall be responsible for proving a claim of separateness (at the Stateagency's request) in accordance with the provisions of § 273.2(f)(1)(viii).

(xi)Students. If a person claims to be physically or mentally unfit for purposes of the student exemption contained in § 273.5(b)(2) and the unfitness is not evident to the Stateagency, verification may be required. Appropriate verification may consist of receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources, or of a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist.

(xii)Legal obligation and actual child support payments. The Stateagency shall obtain verification of the household's legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of the obligation, and the monthly amount of child support the household actually pays. Documents that are accepted as verification of the household's legal obligation to pay child support shall not be accepted as verification of the household's actual monthly child support payments. State agencies may and are strongly encouraged to obtain information regarding a household member's child support obligation and payments from Child Support Enforcement (CSE) automated data files. For households that pay their child support exclusively through their State CSE agency, the Stateagency may use information provided by that agency in determining a household's legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of its obligation and amount the household has actually paid. A household would not have to provide additional verification unless it disagrees with the data presented by the State CSE agency. Before the Stateagency may use the CSE agency's information, the household must sign a statement authorizing release of the household's child support payment records to the Stateagency. State agencies that choose to rely on information provided by their State CSE agency in accordance with this paragraph (f)(1)(xii) must specify in their State plan of operation that they have selected this option. The Stateagency shall give the household an opportunity to resolve any discrepancy between household verification and CSE records in accordance with paragraph (f)(9) of this section.

(xiii) [Reserved]

(xiv)Additional verification for able-bodied adults subject to the time limit -

(A)Hours worked. For individuals subject to the food stamp time limit of § 273.24 who are satisfying the work requirement by working, by combining work and participation in a work program, or by participating in a work or workfare program that is not operated or supervised by the Stateagency, the individuals' work hours shall be verified.

(B)Countable months in another state. For individuals subject to the food stamp time limit of § 273.24, the Stateagency must verify the number of countable months (as defined in § 273.24(b)(1)) an individual has used in another State if there is an indication that the individual participated in that State. The normal processingstandards of 7 CFR 273.2(g) apply. The Stateagency may accept another Stateagency's assertion as to the number of countable months an individual has used in another State.

(2)Verification of questionable information.

(i) The Stateagency shall verify, prior to certification of the household, all other factors of eligibility which the Stateagency determines are questionable and affect the household's eligibility and benefit level. The Stateagency shall establish guidelines to be followed in determining what shall be considered questionable information. These guidelines shall not prescribe verification based on race, religion, ethnic background, or national origin. These guidelines shall not target groups such as migrant farmworkers or American Indians for more intensive verification under this provision.

(ii) If a member's citizenship or status as a non-citizen national is questionable, the Stateagency must verify the member's citizenship or non-citizen national status in accordance with attachment 4 of the DOJ Interim Guidance. After DOJ issues final rules, State agencies should consult both the Interim Guidance and the final rule. Where the Interim Guidance and the DOJ final rule conflict, the latter should control the eligibility determination. The Stateagency must accept participation in another program as acceptable verification if verification of citizenship or non-citizen national status was obtained for that program. If the household cannot obtain the forms of verification suggested in attachment 4 of the DOJ Interim Guidance and the household can provide a reasonable explanation as to why verification is not available, the Stateagency must accept a signed statement, under penalty of perjury, from a third party indicating a reasonable basis for personal knowledge that the member in question is a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national. The signed statement must contain a warning of the penalties for helping someone commit fraud. Absent verification or third party attestation of U.S. citizenship or non-citizen national status, the member whose citizenship or non-citizen national status is in question is ineligible to participate until the issue is resolved. The member whose citizenship or non-citizen national status is in question will have his or her income and resources considered available to any remaining household members as set forth in § 273.11(c).

(3)State agency options. In addition to the verification required in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this section, the Stateagency may elect to mandate verification of any other factor which affects household eligibility or allotment level, including household size where not questionable. Such verification may be required Statewide or throughout a project area, but shall not be imposed on a selective, case-by-case basis on particular households.

(i) The Stateagency may establish its own standards for the use of verification, provided that, at a minimum, all questionable factors are verified in accordance with paragraph (f)(2) of this section and that such standards do not allow for inadvertent discrimination. For example, no standard may be applied which prescribes variances in verification based on race, religion, ethnic background or national origin, nor may a State standard target groups such as migrant farmworkers or American Indians for more intensive verification than other households. The options specified in this paragraph, shall not apply in those offices of the Social Security Administration (SSA) which, in accordance with paragraph (k) of this section, provide for the food stamp certification of households containing recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and social security benefits. The Stateagency, however, may negotiate with those SSA offices with regard to mandating verification of these options.

(ii) If a Stateagency opts to verify a deductible expense and obtaining the verification may delay the household's certification, the Stateagency shall advise the household that its eligibility and benefit level may be determined without providing a deduction for the claimed but unverified expense. This provision also applies to the allowance of medical expenses as specified in paragraph (f)(1)(iv) of this section. Shelter costs would be computed without including the unverified components. The standard utility allowance shall be used if the household is entitled to claim it and has not verified higher actual costs. If the expense cannot be verified within 30 days of the date of application, the Stateagency shall determine the household's eligibility and benefit level without providing a deduction of the unverified expense. If the household subsequently provides the missing verification, the Stateagency shall redetermine the household's benefits, and provide increased benefits, if any, in accordance with the timeliness standards in § 273.12 on reported changes. If the expense could not be verified within the 30-day processing standard because the Stateagency failed to allow the household sufficient time, as defined in paragraph (h)(1) of this section, to verify the expense, the household shall be entitled to the restoration of benefits retroactive to the month of application, provided that the missing verification is supplied in accordance with paragraph (h)(3) of this section. If the household would be ineligible unless the expense is allowed, the household's application shall be handled as provided in paragraph (h) of this section.

(4)Sources of verification -

(i)Documentary evidence.State agencies shall use documentary evidence as the primary source of verification for all items except residency and household size. These items may be verified either through readily available documentary evidence or through a collateral contact, without a requirement being imposed that documentary evidence must be the primary source of verification. Documentary evidence consists of a written confirmation of a household's circumstances. Examples of documentary evidence include wage stubs, rent receipts, and utility bills. Although documentary evidence shall be the primary source of verification, acceptable verification shall not be limited to any single type of document and may be obtained through the household or other source. Whenever documentary evidence cannot be obtained or is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, the eligibility worker may require collateral contacts or home visits. For example, documentary evidence may be considered insufficient when the household presents pay stubs which do not represent an accurate picture of the household's income (such as out-dated pay stubs) or identification papers that appear to be falsified.

(ii)Collateral contacts. A collateral contact is an oral confirmation of a household's circumstances by a person outside of the household. The collateral contact may be made either in person or over the telephone. The Stateagency may select a collateral contact if the household fails to designate one or designates one which is unacceptable to the Stateagency. Examples of acceptable collateral contacts may include employers, landlords, social service agencies, migrant service agencies, and neighbors of the household who can be expected to provide accurate third-party verification. When talking with collateral contacts, State agencies should disclose only the information that is absolutely necessary to get the information being sought. State agencies should avoid disclosing that the household has applied for food stamps, nor should they disclose any information supplied by the household, especially information that is protected by § 273.1(c), or suggest that the household is suspected of any wrong doing.

(iii)Home visits. Home visits may be used as verification only when documentary evidence is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, or cannot be obtained, and the home visit is scheduled in advance with the household. Home visits are to be used on a case-by-case basis where the supplied documentation is insufficient. Simply because a household fits a profile of an error-prone household does not constitute lack of verification. State agencies shall assist households in obtaining sufficient verification in accordance with paragraph (c)(5) of this section.

(iv)Discrepancies. Where unverified information from a source other than the household contradicts statements made by the household, the household shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to resolve the discrepancy prior to a determination of eligibility or benefits. The Stateagency may, if it chooses, verify the information directly and contact the household only if such direct verification efforts are unsuccessful. If the unverified information is received through the IEVS, as specified in § 272.8, the Stateagency may obtain verification from a third party as specified in paragraph (f)(9)(v) of this section.

(v)Homeless households. Homeless households claiming actual shelter expenses or those with extremely low shelter costs may provide verification of their shelter expenses to qualify for the homeless shelter deduction if the Stateagency has such a deduction. If a homeless household has difficulty in obtaining traditional types of verification of shelter costs, the caseworker shall use prudent judgment in determining if the verification obtained is adequate. For example, if a homeless individual claims to have incurred shelter costs for several nights and the costs are comparable to costs typically incurred by homeless people for shelter, the caseworker may decide to accept this information as adequate information and not require further verification.

(5)Responsibility of obtaining verification.

(i) The household has primary responsibility for providing documentary evidence to support statements on the application and to resolve any questionable information. The Stateagency must assist the household in obtaining this verification provided the household is cooperating with the Stateagency as specified under paragraph (d)(1) of this section. Households may supply documentary evidence in person, through the mail, by facsimile or other electronic device, or through an authorized representative. The Stateagency must not require the household to present verification in person at the food stamp office. The Stateagency must accept any reasonable documentary evidence provided by the household and must be primarily concerned with how adequately the verification proves the statements on the application. However, the Stateagency has primary responsibility for verifying fleeing felon and parole or probation violator status in accordance with § 273.11(n).

(ii) Whenever documentary evidence is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, or cannot be obtained, the Stateagency may require a collateral contact or a home visit in accordance with paragraph (f)(4) of this section. The Stateagency, generally, shall rely on the household to provide the name of any collateral contact. The household may request assistance in designating a collateral contact. The Stateagency is not required to use a collateral contact designated by the household if the collateral contact cannot be expected to provide an accurate third-party verification. When the collateral contact designated by the household is unacceptable, the Stateagency shall either designate another collateral contact, ask the household to designate another collateral contact or to provide an alternative form of verification, or substitute a home visit. The Stateagency is responsible for obtaining verification from acceptable collateral contacts.

(6)Documentation. Case files must be documented to support eligibility, ineligibility, and benefit level determinations. Documentation shall be in sufficient detail to permit a reviewer to determine the reasonableness and accuracy of the determination.

(7)State Data Exchange and Beneficiary Data Exchange. The Stateagency may verify SSI benefits through the State Data Exchange (SDX), and Social Security benefit information through the Beneficiary Data Exchange (BENDEX), or through verification provided by the household. The Stateagency may use SDX and BENDEX data to verify other food stamp eligibility criteria. The Stateagency may access SDX and BENDEX data without release statements from households, provided the Stateagency makes the appropriate data request to SSA and executes the necessary data exchangeagreements with SSA. The household shall be given an opportunity to verify the information from another source if the SDX or BENDEX information is contradictory to the information provided by the household or is unavailable. Determination of the household's eligibility and benefit level shall not be delayed past the applicationprocessing time standards of paragraph (g) of this section if SDX or BENDEX data is unavailable.

(8)Verification subsequent to initial certification -

(i)Recertification (A) At recertification the Stateagency shall verify a change in income if the source has changed or the amount has changed by more than $50. Previously unreported medical expenses, actual utility expenses and total recurring medical expenses which have changed by more than $25 shall also be verified at recertification. The Stateagency shall not verify income if the source has not changed and if the amount is unchanged or has changed by $50 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. The Stateagency shall also not verify total medical expenses, or actual utility expenses claimed by households which are unchanged or have changed by $25 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. For households eligible for the child support deduction or exclusion, the Stateagency may use information provided by the State CSE agency in determining the household's legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of its obligation and amounts the household has actually paid if the household pays its child support exclusively through its State CSE agency and has signed a statement authorizing release of its child support payment records to the Stateagency. A household would not have to provide any additional verification unless they disagreed with the information provided by the State CSE agency. State agencies that choose to use information provided by their State CSE agency in accordance with this paragraph (f)(8)(i)(A) must specify in their State plan of operation that they have selected this option. For all other households eligible for the child support deduction or exclusion, the Stateagency shall require the household to verify any changes in the legal obligation to pay child support, the obligated amount, and the amount of legally obligated child support a household member pays to a nonhousehold member. The Stateagency shall verify reportedly unchanged child support information only if the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated.

(B) Newly obtained social security numbers shall be verified at recertification in accordance with verification procedures outlined in § 273.2(f)(1)(v).

(C) For individuals subject to the food stamp time limit of § 273.24 who are satisfying the work requirement by working, by combining work and participation in a work program, or by participating in a work program that is not operated or supervised by the Stateagency, the individuals' work hours shall be verified.

(D) Other information which has changed may be verified at recertification. Unchanged information shall not be verified unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. Verification under this paragraph shall be subject to the same verification procedures as apply during initial verification.

(ii)Changes. Changes reported during the certification period shall be subject to the same verification procedures as apply at initial certification, except that the Stateagency shall not verify changes in income if the source has not changed and if the amount has changed by $50 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. The Stateagency shall also not verify total medical expenses or actual utility expenses which are unchanged or have changed by $25 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated.

(9)Optional use of IEVS.

(i) The Stateagency may obtain information through IEVS in accordance with procedures specified in § 272.8 of this chapter and use it to verify the eligibility and benefit levels of applicants and participating households.

(ii) The Stateagency may access data through the IEVS provided the disclosure safeguards and data exchangeagreements required by part 272 are satisfied.

(iii) The Stateagency shall take action, including proper notices to households, to terminate, deny, or reduce benefits based on information obtain through the IEVS which is considered verified upon receipt. This information is social security and SSI benefit information obtained from SSA, and TANF benefit information and UIB information obtained from the agencies administering those programs. If the Stateagency has information that the IEVS-obtained information about a particular household is questionable, this information shall be considered unverified upon receipt and the Stateagency shall take action as specified in paragraph (f)(9)(iv) of this section.

(iv) Except as noted in this paragraph, prior to taking action to terminate, deny, or reduce benefits based on information obtained through the IEVS which is considered unverified upon receipt, State agencies shall independently verify the information. Such unverified information is unearned income information from IRS, wage information from SSA and SWICAs, and questionable IEVS information discussed in paragraph (f)(9)(iii) of this section. Independent verification shall include verification of the amount of the asset or income involved, whether the household actually has or had access to such asset or income such that it would be countable income or resources for food stamp purposes, and the period during which such access occurred. Except with respect to unearned income information from IRS, if a Stateagency has information which indicates that independent verification is not needed, such verification is not required.

(v) The Stateagency shall obtain independent verification of unverified information obtained from IEVS by means of contacting the household and/or the appropriate income, resource or benefit source. If the Stateagency chooses to contact the household, it must do so in writing, informing the household of the information which it has received, and requesting that the household respond within 10 days. If the household fails to respond in a timely manner, the Stateagency shall send it a notice of adverse action as specified in § 273.13. The Stateagency may contact the appropriate source by the means best suited to the situation. When the household or appropriate source provides the independent verification, the Stateagency shall properly notify the household of the action it intends to take and provide the household with an opportunity to request a fair hearing prior to any adverse action.

(10)Optional use of SAVE. Households are required to submit documents to verify the immigration status of applicant aliens. State agencies that verify the validity of such documents through the INS SAVE system in accordance with § 272.11 of this chapter must use the following procedures:

(i) The Stateagency shall provide an applicant alien with a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation of their eligible alien status prior to the 30th day following the date of application. A reasonable opportunity shall be at least 10 days from the date of the Stateagency's request for an acceptable document. An alien who has been given a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation and has not done so as of the 30th day following the date of application shall not be certified for benefits until acceptable documentation has been submitted. However, if the 10-day reasonable opportunity period provided by the Stateagency does not lapse before the 30th day following the date of application, the Stateagency shall provide the household with benefits no later than 30 days following the date of applicationProvided the household is otherwise eligible.

(ii) The written consent of the alien applicant shall not be required as a condition for the Stateagency to contact INS to verify the validity of documentation.

(iii)State agencies which access the ASVI database through an automated access shall also submit INS Form G-845, with an attached photocopy of the alien's document, to INS whenever the initial automated access does not confirm the validity of the alien's documentation or a significant discrepancy exists between the data provided by the ASVI and the information provided by the applicant. Pending such responses from either the ASVI or INS Form G-845, the Stateagency shall not delay, deny, reduce, or terminate the alien's eligibility for benefits on the basis of the individual's alien status.

(iv) If the Stateagency determines, after complying with the requirements of this section, that the alien is not in an eligible alien status, the Stateagency shall take action, including proper notices to the household, to terminate, deny or reduce benefits. The Stateagency shall provide households the opportunity to request a fair hearing under § 273.15 prior to any adverse action.

(v) The use of SAVE shall be documented in the casefile or other agency records. When the Stateagency is waiting for a response from SAVE, agency records shall contain either a notation showing the date of the Stateagency's transmission or a copy of the INS Form G-845 sent to INS. Once the SAVE response is received, agency records shall show documentation of the ASVI Query Verification Number or contain a copy of the INS-annotated Form G-845. Whenever the response from automated access to the ASVI directs the eligibility worker to initiate secondary verification, agency records shall show documentation of the ASVI Query Verification Number and contain a copy of the INS Form G-845.

(11)Use of disqualification data.

(i) Pursuant to § 273.16(i), information in the disqualified recipient database will be available for use by any Stateagency that executes a computer matching agreement with FNS. The Stateagency shall use the disqualified recipient database for the following purposes:

(A) Ascertain the appropriate penalty to impose based on past disqualifications in a case under consideration;

(B) Conduct matches as specified in § 273.16 on:

(1)Programapplication information prior to certification and for a newly added household member whenever that might occur; and

(2) The current recipient caseload at the time of recertification for a period of 1 year after the implementation date of this match. State agencies do not need to include minors, as that term is defined by each State.

(3)States having the ability to conduct a one-time match of their entire active caseload against active cases from the disqualified recipient database may do so and be exempted from the 1-year requirement to conduct matches at recertification.

(ii)State agencies shall not take any adverse action to terminate, deny, suspend, or reduce benefits to an applicant, or SNAP recipient, based on disqualified recipient match results unless the match information has been independently verified. The Stateagency shall provide to an applicant, or recipient, an opportunity to contest any adverse disqualified recipient match result pursuant to the provisions of § 273.13.

(iii) Independent verification shall take place separate from and prior to issuing a notice of adverse action - a two-step process. Independent verification for disqualification purposes means contacting the applicant or recipient household and/or the Stateagency that originated the disqualification record immediately to obtain corroborating information or documentation to support the reported disqualification information in the intentional Program violation database.

(A) Documentation may be in any form deemed appropriate and legally sufficient by the Stateagency considering the adverse action. Such documentation may include, but shall not be limited to, electronic or hard copies of court decisions, administrative disqualification hearing determinations, signed disqualification consent agreements or administrative disqualification hearing waivers.

(B) A State may accept a verbal or written statement from another Stateagency attesting to the existence of the documentation listed in paragraph (f)(11)(iii)(A) of this section.

(C) A State may accept a verbal or written statement from the household affirming the accuracy of the disqualification information if such a statement is properly documented and included in the case record.

(D) If a Stateagency is not able to provide independent verification because of a lack of supporting documentation, the Stateagency shall so advise the requesting Stateagency or FNS, as appropriate, and shall take immediate action to remove the unsupported record from the disqualified recipient database in accordance with § 273.16(i)(6).

(iv) Once independent verification has been received, the requesting Stateagency shall review and immediately enter the information into the case record and send the appropriate notice(s) to the record subject and any remaining members of the record subject's SNAP household.

(v) Information from the disqualified recipient database is subject to the disclosure provisions in § 272.1(c) of this chapter and the routine uses described in the most recent “Notice of Revision of Privacy Act System of Records” published in the Federal Register.

(g)Normal processing standard -

(1)Thirty-day processing. The Stateagency shall provide eligible households that complete the initial application process an opportunity to participate (as defined in § 274.2(b)) as soon as possible, but no later than 30 calendar days following the date the application was filed, except for residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to release from the institution in accordance with § 273.1(e)(2). An application is filed the day the appropriate food stamp office receives an application containing the applicant's name and address, which is signed by either a responsible member of the household or the household's authorized representative. Households entitled to expedited processing are specified in paragraph (i) of this section. For residents of public institutions who apply for food stamps prior to their release from the institution in accordance with § 273.1(e)(2), the Stateagency shall provide an opportunity to participate as soon as possible, but not later than 30 calendar days from the date of release of the applicant from the institution.

(2)Combined allotments. Households which apply for initial month benefits (as described in § 273.10(a)) after the 15th of the month, are processed under normal processing timeframes, have completed the application process within 30 days of the date of application, and have been determined eligible to receive benefits for the initial month of application and the next subsequent month, may be issued a combined allotment at Stateagency option which includes prorated benefits for the month of application and benefits for the first full month of participation. The benefits shall be issued in accordance with § 274.2(c) of this chapter.

(3)Denying the application. Households that are found to be ineligible shall be sent a notice of denial as soon as possible but not later than 30 days following the date the application was filed. If the household has failed to appear for a scheduled interviewand has made no subsequent contact with the Stateagency to express interest in pursuing the application, the Stateagency shall send the household a notice of denial on the 30th day following the date of application. The household must file a new application if it wishes to participate in the program. In cases where the Stateagency was able to conduct an interview and request all of the necessary verification on the same day the application was filed, and no subsequent requests for verification have been made, the Stateagency may also deny the application on the 30th day if the Stateagency provided assistance to the household in obtaining verification as specified in paragraph (f)(5) of this section, but the household failed to provide the requested verification.

(h)Delays in processing. If the Stateagency does not determine a household's eligibility and provide an opportunity to participate within 30 days following the date the application was filed, the Stateagency shall take the following action:

(1)Determining cause. The Stateagency shall first determine the cause of the delay using the following criteria:

(i) A delay shall be considered the fault of the household if the household has failed to complete the application process even though the Stateagency has taken all the action it is required to take to assist the household. The Stateagency must have taken the following actions before a delay can be considered the fault of the household:

(A) For households that have failed to complete the application form, the Stateagency must have offered, or attempted to offer, assistance in its completion.

(B) If one or more members of the household have failed to register for work, as required in § 273.7, the Stateagency must have informed the household of the need to register for work, determined if the household members are exempt from work registration, and given the household at least 10 days from the date of notification to register these members.

(C) In cases where verification is incomplete, the Stateagency must have provided the household with a statement of required verification and offered to assist the household in obtaining required verification and allowed the household sufficient time to provide the missing verification. Sufficient time shall be at least 10 days from the date of the Stateagency's initial request for the particular verification that was missing.

(D) For households that have failed to appear for an interview, the Stateagency must notify the household that it missed the scheduled interview and that the household is responsible for rescheduling a missed interview. If the household contacts the Stateagency within the 30 day processing period, the Stateagency must schedule a second interview. If the household fails to schedule a second interview, or the subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request or cannot otherwise be rescheduled until after the 20th day but before the 30th day following the date the application was filed, the household must appear for the interview, bring verification, and register members for work by the 30th day; otherwise, the delay shall be the fault of the household. If the household has failed to appear for the first interview, fails to schedule a second interview, and/or the subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request until after the 30th day following the date the application was filed, the delay shall be the fault of the household. If the household has missed both scheduled interviews and requests another interview, any delay shall be the fault of the household.

(ii) Delays that are the fault of the Stateagency include, but are not limited to, those cases where the Stateagency failed to take the actions described in paragraphs (h)(1)(i) (A) through (D) of this section.

(2)Delays caused by the household.

(i) If by the 30th day the Stateagency cannot take any further action on the application due to the fault of the household, the household shall lose its entitlement to benefits for the month of application. However, the Stateagency shall give the household an additional 30 days to take the required action, except that, if verification is lacking, the Stateagency has the option of holding the application pending for only 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing.

(A) The Stateagency has the option of sending the household either a notice of denial or a notice of pending status on the 30th day. The option chosen may vary from one project area to another, provided the same procedures apply to all households within a project area. However, if a notice of denial is sent and the household takes the required action within 60 days following the date the application was filed, the Stateagency shall reopen the case without requiring a new application. No further action by the Stateagency is required after the notice of denial or pending status is sent if the household failed to take the required action within 60 days following the date the application was filed, or if the Stateagency chooses the option of holding the application pending for only 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing, and the household fails to provide the necessary verification by this 30th day.

(B)State agencies may include in the notice a request that the household report all changes in circumstances since it filed its application. The information that must be contained on the notice of denial or pending status is explained in § 273.10(g)(1) (ii) and (iii).

(ii) If the household was at fault for the delay in the first 30-day period, but is found to be eligible during the second 30-day period, the Stateagency shall provide benefits only from the month following the month of application. The household is not entitled to benefits for the month of application when the delay was the fault of the household.

(3)Delays caused by the State agency.

(i) Whenever a delay in the initial 30-day period is the fault of the Stateagency, the Stateagency shall take immediate corrective action. Except as specified in §§ 273.2(f)(1)(ii)(F) and 273.2(f)(10)(i), the Stateagency shall not deny the application if it caused the delay, but shall instead notify the household by the 30th day following the date the application was filed that its application is being held pending. The Stateagency shall also notify the household of any action it must take to complete the application process. If verification is lacking the Stateagency has the option of holding the application pending for only 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing.

(ii) If the household is found to be eligible during the second 30-day period, the household shall be entitled to benefits retroactive to the month of application. If, however, the household is found to be ineligible, the Stateagency shall deny the application.

(4)Delays beyond 60 days.

(i) If the Stateagency is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30-day period, and the case file is otherwise complete, the Stateagency shall continue to process the original application until an eligibility determination is reached. If the household is determined eligible, and the Stateagency was at fault for the delay in the initial 30 days, the household shall receive benefits retroactive to the month of application. However, if the initial delay was the household's fault, the household shall receive benefits retroactive only to the month following the month of application. The Stateagency may use the original application to determine the household's eligibility in the months following the 60-day period, or it may require the household to file a new application.

(ii) If the Stateagency is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30-day period, but the case file is not complete enough to reach an eligibility determination, the Stateagency may continue to process the original application, or deny the case and notify the household to file a new application. If the case is denied, the household shall also be advised of its possible entitlement to benefits lost as a result of Stateagency caused delays in accordance with § 273.17. If the Stateagency was also at fault for the delay in the initial 30 days, the amount of benefits lost would be calculated from the month of application. If, however, the household was at fault for the initial delay, the amount of benefits lost would be calculated from the month following the month of application.

(iii) If the household is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30-day period, the Stateagency shall deny the application and require the household to file a new application if it wishes to participate. If however, the Stateagency has chosen the option of holding the application pending only until 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing, and verification is not received by that 30th day, the Stateagency may immediately close the application. A notice of denial need not be sent if the notice of pending status informed the household that it would have to file a new application if verification was not received within 30 days of the initial request. The household shall not be entitled to any lost benefits, even if the delay in the initial 30 days was the fault of the Stateagency.

(i)Expedited service -

(1)Entitlement to expedited service. The following households are entitled to expedited service:

(i) Households with less than $150 in monthly gross income, as computed in § 273.10 provided their liquid resources (i.e., cash on hand, checking or savings accounts, savings certificates, and lump sum payments as specified in § 273.9(c)(8)) do not exceed $100;

(ii) Migrant or seasonal farmworker households who are destitute as defined in § 273.10(e)(3) provided their liquid resources (i.e., cash on hand, checking or savings accounts, savings certificates, and lump sum payments as specified in § 273.9(c)(8)) do not exceed $100;

(iii) Households whose combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than the household's monthly rent or mortgage, and utilities (including entitlement to a SUA, as appropriate, in accordance with § 273.9(d)).

(2)Identifying households needing expedited service. The Stateagency's application procedures shall be designed to identify households eligible for expedited service at the time the household requests assistance. For example, a receptionist, volunteer, or other employee shall be responsible for screening applications as they are filed or as individuals come in to apply.

(3)Processing standards. All households receiving expedited service, except those receiving it during months in which allotments are suspended or cancelled, shall have their cases processed in accordance with the following provisions. Those households receiving expedited service during suspensions or cancellations shall have their cases processed in accordance with the provisions of § 271.7(e)(2).

(i)General. For households entitled to expedited service, the Stateagency shall make available to the recipient coupons or an ATP card not later than the seventh calendar day following the date an application was filed. For a resident of a public institution who applies for benefits prior to his/her release from the institution in accordance with § 273.1(e)(2) and who is entitled to expedited service, the date of filing of his/her food stamp application is the date of release of the applicant from the institution. Whatever system a Stateagency uses to ensure meeting this delivery standard shall be designed to allow a reasonable opportunity for redemption of ATPs no later than the seventh calendar day following the day the application was filed.

(ii)Drug addicts and alcoholics, group living arrangement facilities. For residents of drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation centers and residents of group living arrangements who are entitled to expedited service, the Stateagency shall make available to the recipient coupons or an ATP card not later than the 7 calendar days following the date an application was filed.

(iii)Out-of-office interviews. If a household is entitled to expedited service and is also entitled to a waiver of the office interview, the Stateagency shall conduct the interview (unless the household cannot be reached) and complete the application process within the expedited servicestandards. The first day of this count is the calendar day following application filing. If the Stateagency conducts a telephone interview and must mail the application to the household for signature, the mailing time involved will not be calculated in the expedited servicestandards. Mailing time shall only include the days the application is in the mail to and from the household and the days the application is in the household's possession pending signature and mailing.

(iv)Late determinations. If the prescreening required in paragraph (i)(2) of this section fails to identify a household as being entitled to expedited service and the Stateagency subsequently discovers that the household is entitled to expedited service, the Stateagency shall provide expedited service to households within the processingstandards described in paragraphs (i)(3) (i) and (ii) of this section, except that the processing standard shall be calculated from the date the Stateagency discovers the household is entitled to expedited service.

(v)Residents of shelters for battered women and children. Residents of shelters for battered women and children who are otherwise entitled to expedited service shall be handled in accordance with the time limits in paragraph (i)(3)(i) of this section.

(4)Special procedures for expediting service. The Stateagency shall use the following procedures when expediting certification and issuance:

(i) In order to expedite the certification process, the Stateagency shall use the following procedures:

(A) In all cases, the applicant's identity (i.e., the identity of the person making the application) shall be verified through a collateral contact or readily available documentary evidence as specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

(B) All reasonable efforts shall be made to verify within the expedited processingstandards, the household's residency in accordance with § 273.2(f)(1)(vi), income statement (including a statement that the household has no income), liquid resources and all other factors required by § 273.2(f), through collateral contacts or readily available documentary evidence. However, benefits shall not be delayed beyond the deliverystandards prescribed in paragraph (i)(3) of this section, solely because these eligibility factors have not been verified.

State agencies also may verify factors other than identity, residency, and income provided that verification can be accomplished within expedited processingstandards. State agencies should attempt to obtain as much additional verification as possible during the interview, but should not delay the certification of households entitled to expedited service for the full timeframes specified in paragraph (i)(3) of this section when the Stateagency has determined it is unlikely that other verification can be obtained within these timeframes. Households entitled to expedited service will be asked to furnish a social security number for each person applying for benefts or apply for one for each person applying for benefits before the second full month of participation. Those household members unable to provide the required SSN's or who do not have one prior to the second full month of participation shall be allowed to continue to participate only if they satisfy the good cause requirements with respect to SSN's specified in § 273.6(d), except that households with a newborn may have up to 6 months following the month the baby was born to supply an SSN or proof of an application for an SSN for the newborn in accordance with § 273.6(b)(4). The Stateagency may attempt to register other household members but shall postpone the registration of other household members if it cannot be accomplished within the expedited service timeframes. With regard to the work registration requirements specified in § 273.7, the Stateagency shall, at a minimum, require the applicant to register (unless exempt or unless the household has designated an authorized representative to apply on its behalf in accordance with § 273.1(f)). The Stateagency may attempt registration of other household members by requesting that the applicant complete the work registration forms for other household members to the best of his or her ability. The Stateagency may also attempt to accomplish work registration for other household members in a timely manner through other means, such as calling the household. The Stateagency may attempt to verify questionable work registration exemptions, but such verification shall be postponed if the expedited service timeframes cannot be met.

(ii) Once an acceptable collateral contact has been designated, the Stateagency shall promptly contact the collateral contact, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (f)(4)(ii) of this section. Although the household has the primary responsibility for providing other types of verification, the Stateagency shall assist the household in promptly obtaining the necessary verification.

(iii) Households that are certified on an expedited basis and have provided all necessary verification required in paragraph (f) of this section prior to certification shall be assigned normal certification periods. If verification was postponed, the Stateagency may certify these households for the month of application (the month of application and the subsequent month for those households applying after the 15th of the month) or, at the Stateagency's option, may assign normal certification periods to those households whose circumstances would otherwise warrant longer certification periods. State agencies, at their option, may request any household eligible for expedited service which applies after the 15th of the month and is certified for the month of application and the subsequent month only to submit a second application (at the time of the initial certification) if the household's verification is postponed.

(A) For households applying on or before the 15th of the month, the Stateagency may assign a one-month certification period or assign a normal certification period. Satisfaction of the verification requirements may be postponed until the second month of participation. If a one-month certification period is assigned, the notice of eligibility may be combined with the notice of expiration or a separate notice may be sent. The notice of eligibility must explain that the household has to satisfy all verification requirements that were postponed. For subsequent months, the household must reapply and satisfy all verification requirements which were postponed or be certified under normal processingstandards. If the household does not satisfy the postponed verification requirements and does not appear for the interview, the Stateagency does not need to contact the household again.

(B) For households applying after the 15th of the month, the Stateagency may assign a 2-month certification period or a normal certification period of no more than 12 months. Verification may be postponed until the third month of participation, if necessary, to meet the expedited timeframe. If a two-month certification period is assigned, the notice of eligibility may be combined with the notice of expiration or a separate notice may be sent. The notice of eligibility must explain that the household is obligated to satisfy the verification requirements that were postponed. For subsequent months, the household must reapply and satisfy the verification requirements which were postponed or be certified under normal processingstandards. If the household does not satisfy the postponed verification requirements and does not attend the interview, the Stateagency does not need to contact the household again. When a certification period of longer than 2 months is assigned and verification is postponed, households must be sent a notice of eligibility advising that no benefits for the third month will be issued until the postponed verification requirements are satisfied. The notice must also advise the household that if the verification process results in changes in the household's eligibility or level of benefits, the Stateagency will act on those changes without advance notice of adverse action.

(C) Households which apply for initial benefits (as described in § 273.10(a)) after the 15th of the month, are entitled to expedited service, have completed the application process, and have been determined eligible to receive benefits for the initial month and the next subsequent month, shall receive a combined allotment consisting of prorated benefits for the initial month of application and benefits for the first full month of participation within the expedited service timeframe. If necessary, verification shall be postponed to meet the expedited timeframe. The benefits shall be issued in accordance with § 274.2(c) of this chapter.

(D) The provisions of paragraph (i)(4)(iii)(C) of this section do not apply to households which have been determined ineligible to receive benefits for the month of application or the following month, or to households which have not satisfied the postponed verification requirements. However, households eligible for expedited service may receive benefits for the initial month and next subsequent month under the verification standards of paragraph (i)(4) of this section.

(E) If the Stateagency chooses to exercise the option to require a second application in accordance with paragraph (i)(4)(iii) of this section and receives the application before the third month, it shall not deny the application but hold it pending until the third month. The Stateagency will issue the third month's benefits within 5 working days from receipt of the necessary verification information but not before the first day of the month. If the postponed verification requirements are not completed before the end of the third month, the Stateagency shall terminate the household's participation and shall issue no further benefits.

(iv) There is no limit to the number of times a household can be certified under expedited procedures, as long as prior to each expedited certification, the household either completes the verification requirements that were postponed at the last expedited certification or was certified under normal processingstandards since the last expedited certification. The provisions of this section shall not apply at recertification if a household reapplies before the end of its current certification period.

(v) Households requesting, but not entitled to, expedited service shall have their applications processed according to normal standards.

(j)PA, GA and categorically eligible households. The Stateagency must notify households applying for public assistance (PA) of their right to apply for food stamp benefits at the same time and must allow them to apply for food stamp benefits at the same time they apply for PA benefits. The Stateagency must also notify such households that time limits or other requirements that apply to the receipt of PA benefits do not apply to the receipt of food stamp benefits, and that households which cease receiving PA benefits because they have reached a time limit, have begun working, or for other reasons, may still qualify for food stamp benefits. If the Stateagency attempts to discourage households from applying for cash assistance, it shall make clear that the disadvantages and requirements of applying for cash assistance do not apply to food stamps. In addition, it shall encourage applicants to continue with their application for food stamps. The Stateagency shall inform households that receiving food stamps will have no bearing on any other program's time limits that may apply to the household. The Stateagency may process the applications of such households in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (j)(1) of this section, and the Stateagency must base their eligibility solely on food stamp eligibility criteria unless the household is categorically eligible, as provided in paragraph (j)(2) of this section. If a State has a single Statewide GA application form, households in which all members are included in a State or local GA grant may have their application for food stamps included in the GA application form. State agencies may use the joint applicationprocessing procedures described in paragraph (j)(1) of this section for GA recipients in accordance with paragraph (j)(3) of this section. The Stateagency must base eligibility of jointly processed GA households solely on food stamp eligibility criteria unless the household is categorically eligible as provided in paragraph (j)(4) of this section. The Stateagency must base the benefit levels of all households solely on food stamp criteria. The Stateagency must certify jointly processed and categorically eligible households in accordance with food stamp procedural, timeliness, and notice requirements, including the 7-day expedited service provisions of paragraph (i) of this section and normal 30-day applicationprocessingstandards of paragraph (g) of this section. Individuals authorized to receive PA, SSI, or GA benefits but who have not yet received payment are considered recipients of benefits from those programs. In addition, individuals are considered recipients of PA, SSI, or GA if their PA, SSI, or GA benefits are suspended or recouped. Individuals entitled to PA, SSI, or GA benefits but who are not paid such benefits because the grant is less than a minimum benefit are also considered recipients. The Stateagency may not consider as recipients those individuals not receiving GA, PA, or SSI benefits who are entitled to Medicaid only.

(1)Applicant PA households.

(i) If a joint PA/food stamp application is used, the application may contain all the information necessary to determine a household's food stamp eligibility and level of benefits. Information relevant only to food stamp eligibility must be contained in the PA form or must be an attachment to it. The joint PA/food stamp application must clearly indicate that the household is providing information for both programs, is subject to the criminal penalties of both programs for making false statements, and waives the notice of adverse action as specified in paragraph (j)(1)(iv) of this section.

(ii) The Stateagency may conduct a single interview at initial application for both public assistance and food stamp purposes. A household's eligibility for food stamp out-of-office interview provisions in paragraph (e)(2) of this section does not relieve the household of any responsibility for a face-to-face interview to be certified for PA.

(iii) For households applying for both PA and food stamps, the Stateagency must follow the verification procedures described in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(8) of this section for those factors of eligibility which are needed solely for purposes of determining the household's eligibility for food stamps. For those factors of eligibility which are needed to determine both PA eligibility and food stamp eligibility, the Stateagency may use the PA verification rules. However, if the household has provided the Stateagency sufficient verification to meet the verification requirements of paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(8) of this section, but has failed to provide sufficient verification to meet the PA verification rules, the Stateagency may not use such failure as a basis for denying the household's food stamp application or failing to comply with processing requirements of paragraph (g) of this section. Under these circumstances, the Stateagency must process the household's food stamp application and determine eligibility based on its compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(8) of this section.

(iv) In order to determine if a household will be eligible due to its status as a recipient PA/SSI household, the Stateagency may temporarily postpone, within the 30-day processing standard, the food stamp eligibility determination if the household is not entitled to expedited service and appears to be categorically eligible. However, the Stateagency shall postpone denying a potentially categorically eligible household until the 30th day in case the household is determined eligible to receive PA benefits. Once the PA application is approved, the household is to be considered categorically eligible if it meets all the criteria concerning categorical eligibility in § 273.2(j)(2). If the Stateagency can anticipate the amount and the date of receipt of the initial PA payment, but the payment will not be received until a subsequent month, the Stateagency shall vary the household's food stamp benefit level according to the anticipated receipt of the payment and notify the household. Portions of initial PA payments intended to retroactively cover a previous month shall be disregarded as lump sum payments under § 273.9(c)(8). If the amount or date of receipt of the initial PA payment cannot be reasonably anticipated at the time of the food stamp eligibility determination, the PA payments shall be handled as a change in circumstances. However, the Stateagency is not required to send a notice of adverse action if the receipt of the PA grant reduces, suspends or terminates the household's food stamp benefits, provided the household is notified in advance that its benefits may be reduced, suspended, or terminated when the grant is received. The case may be terminated if the household is not categorically eligible in accordance with § 273.12(c). The Stateagency shall ensure that the denied application of a potentially categorically eligible household is easily retrievable. For a household filing a joint application for food stamps and PA benefits or a household that has a PA application pending and is denied food stamps but is later determined eligible to receive PA benefits and is otherwise categorically eligible, the Stateagency shall provide benefits using the original application and any other pertinent information occurring subsequent to that application. Except for residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to their release from a public institution in accordance with § 273.1(e)(2), benefits shall be paid from the beginning of the period for which PA or SSI benefits are paid, the original food stamp application date, or December 23, 1985 whichever is later. Residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to their release from the institution shall be paid benefits from the date of their release from the institution. In situations where the Stateagency must update and reevaluate the original application of a denied case, the Stateagency shall not reinterview the household, but shall use any available information to update the application. The Stateagency shall then contact the household by phone or mail to explain and confirm changes made by the Stateagency and to determine if other changes in household circumstances have occurred. If any information obtained from the household differs from that which the Stateagency obtained from available information or the household provided additional changes in information, the Stateagency shall arrange for the household or it authorized representative to initial all changes, re-sign and date the updated application and provide necessary verification. In no event can benefits be provided prior to the date of the original food stamp application filed on or after December 23, 1985. Any household that is determined to be eligible to receive PA benefits for a period of time within the 30-day food stamp processing time, shall be provided food stamp benefits back to the date of the food stamp application. However, in no event shall food stamp benefits be paid for a month for which such household is ineligible for receipt of any PA benefits for the month, unless the household is eligible for food stamp benefits and an NPA case. Benefits shall be prorated in accordance with § 273.10(a)(1)(ii) and (e)(2)(ii)(B). Household that file joint applications that are found categorically eligible after being denied NPA food stamps shall have their benefits for the initial month prorated from the date from which the PA benefits are payable, or the date of the original food stamp application, whichever is later. The Stateagency shall act on reevaluating the original application either at the household's request or when it becomes otherwise aware of the household's PA and/or SSI eligibility. The household shall be informed on the notice of denial required by § 273.10(g)(1)(ii) to notify the Stateagency if its PA or SSI benefits are approved.

(v) The Stateagency may not require households which file a joint PA/food stamp application and whose PA applications are denied to file new food stamp applications. Rather, the Stateagency must determine or continue their food stamp eligibility on the basis of the original applications filed jointly for PA and food stamp purposes. In addition, the Stateagency must use any other documented information obtained subsequent to the application which may have been used in the PA determination and which is relevant to food stamp eligibility or level of benefits.

(2)Categorically eligible PA and SSI households.

(i) The following households are categorically eligible for food stamps unless the entire household is institutionalized as defined in § 273.1(e) or disqualified for any reason from receiving food stamps.

(A) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive cash through a PA program funded in full or in part with Federal money under Title IV-A or with State money counted for maintenance of effort (MOE) purposes under Title IV-A;

(B) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind benefits or services from a program that is more than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to forward purposes one and two of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L. 104-193.

(C) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind benefits or services from a program that is more than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to further purposes three and four of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L. 104-193, and requires participants to have a gross monthly income at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level.

(D) Any household in which all members receive or are authorized to receive SSI benefits, except that residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and food stamp benefits prior to their release from the institution in accordance with § 273.1(e)(2), are not categorically eligible upon a finding by SSA of potential SSI eligibility prior to such release. The Stateagency must consider the individuals categorically eligible at such time as SSA makes a final SSI eligibility and the institution has released the individual.

(E) Any household in which all members receive or are authorized to receive PA and/or SSI benefits in accordance with paragraphs (j)(2)(i)(A) through (j)(2)(i)(D) of this section.

(ii) The Stateagency, at its option, may extend categorical eligibility to the following households only if doing so will further the purposes of the Food Stamp Act:

(A) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind services from a program that is less than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to further purposes one and two of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L. 104-193. States must inform FNS of the TANF services under this paragraph that they are determining to confer categorical eligibility.

(B) Subject to FNS approval, any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind services from a program that is less than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to further purposes three and four of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L 104-193, and requires participants to have a gross monthly income at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level.

(iii) Any household in which one member receives or is authorized to receive benefits according to paragraphs (j)(2)(i)(B), (j)(2)(i)(C), (j)(2)(ii)(A) and (j)(2)(ii)(B), of this section and the Stateagency determines that the whole household benefits.

(iv) For purposes of paragraphs (j)(2)(i), (j)(2)(ii),and (j)(2)(iii) of this section, “authorized to receive” means that an individual has been determined eligible for benefits and has been notified of this determination, even if the benefits have been authorized but not received, authorized but not accessed, suspended or recouped, or not paid because they are less than a minimum amount.

(v) The eligibility factors which are deemed for food stamp eligibility without the verification required in paragraph (f) of this section because of PA/SSI status are the resource, gross and net income limits; social security number information, sponsored alien information, and residency. However, the Stateagency must collect and verify factors relating to benefit determination that are not collected and verified by the other program if these factors are required to be verified under paragraph (f) of this section. If any of the following factors are questionable, the Stateagency must verify, in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section, that the household which is considered categorically eligible:

(A) Contains only members that are PA or SSI recipients as defined in the introductory paragraph (j) of this section;

(B) Meets the household definition in § 273.1(a);

(C) Includes all persons who purchase and prepare food together in one food stamp household regardless of whether or not they are separate units for PA or SSI purposes; and

(D) Includes no persons who have been disqualified as provided for in paragraph (j)(2)(vi) of this section.

(vi) Households subject to retrospective budgeting that have been suspended for PA purposes as provided for in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) regulations, or that receive zero benefits shall continue to be considered as authorized to receive benefits from the appropriate agency. Categorical eligibility shall be assumed at recertification in the absence of a timely PA redetermination. If a recertified household is subsequently terminated from PA benefits, the procedures in § 273.12(f)(3), (4), and (5) shall be followed, as appropriate.

(vii) Under no circumstances shall any household be considered categorically eligible if:

(A) Any member of that household is disqualified for an intentional Program violation in accordance with § 273.16 or for failure to comply with monthly reporting requirements in accordance with § 273.21;

(B) The entire household is disqualified because one or more of its members failed to comply with workfare in accordance with § 273.22; or

(C) The head of the household is disqualified for failure to comply with the work requirements in accordance with § 273.7.

(D) Any member of that household is ineligible under § 273.11(m) by virtue of a conviction for a drug-related felony.

(viii) These households are subject to all food stamp eligibility and benefits provisions (including the provisions of § 273.11(c)) and cannot be reinstated in the Program on the basis of categorical eligibility provisions.

(ix) No person shall be included as a member in any household which is otherwise categorically eligible if that person is:

(A) An ineligible alien as defined in § 273.4;

(B) Ineligible under the student provisions in § 273.5;

(C) An SSI recipient in a cash-out State as defined in § 273.20; or

(D) Institutionalized in a nonexempt facility as defined in § 273.1(e).

(E) Ineligible because of failure to comply with a work requirement of § 273.7.

(x) For the purposes of work registration, the exemptions in § 273.7(b) shall be applied to individuals in categorically eligible households. Any such individual who is not exempt from work registration is subject to the other work requirements in § 273.7.

(xi) When determining eligibility for a categorically eligible household all provisions of this subchapter except for those listed below shall apply:

(A)Section 273.8 except for the last sentence of paragraph (a).

(B)Section 273.9(a) except for the fourth sentence in the introductory paragraph.

(C)Section 273.10(a)(1)(i).

(D)Section 273.10(b).

(E)Section 273.10(c) for the purposes of eligibility.

(3)Applicant GA households.

(i)State agencies may use the joint applicationprocessing procedures in paragraph (j)(1) of this section for GA households, except for the effective date of categorical eligibility, when the criteria in paragraphs (j)(3)(i) (A) and (B) of this section are met. Benefits for GA households that are categorically eligible, as provided in paragraph (j)(4) of this section, shall be provided from the date of the original food stamp application, the beginning of the period for which GA benefits are authorized, or the effective date of State GA categorical eligibility (February 1, 1991) or local GA categorical eligibility (August 1, 1992), whichever is later:

(A) The Stateagency administers a GA program which uses formalized application procedures and eligibility criteria that test levels of income and resources; and,

(B) Administration of the GA program is integrated with the administration of the PA or food stamp programs, in that the same eligibility workers process applications for GA benefits and PA or food stamp benefits.

(ii)State agencies in which different eligibility workers process applications for GA benefits and PA or food stamp benefits, but procedures otherwise meet the criteria in paragraph (j)(3)(i) of this section may, with FNS approval, jointly process GA and food stamp applications. If approved, State agencies shall adhere to the joint applicationprocessing procedures in paragraph (j)(1) of this section, except for the effective date of categorical eligibility for GA households. Benefits shall be provided GA households that are categorically eligible, as provided in paragraph (j)(4) of this section, from the date of the original food stamp application, the beginning of the period for which GA benefits are authorized, or the effective date of State GA categorical eligibility (February 1, 1992) or local GA categorical eligibility (August 1, 1992), whichever is later.

(4)Categorically eligible GA households. Households in which each member receives benefits from a State or local GA program which meets the criteria for conferring categorical eligibility in paragraph (j)(4)(i) of this section shall be categorically eligible for food stamps unless the individual or household is ineligible as specified in paragraph (j)(4)(iv) and (j)(4)(v) of this section.

(i)Certification of qualifying programs.Recipients of benefits from programs that meet the criteria in paragraphs (j)(4)(i)(A) through (j)(4(i)(C) of this section shall be considered categorically eligible to receive benefits from the Food Stamp Program. If a program does not meet all of these criteria, the Stateagency may submit a program description to the appropriate FNS regional office for a determination. The description should contain, at a minimum, the type of assistance provided, the income eligibility standard, and the period for which the assistance is provided.

(A) The program must have income standards which do not exceed the gross income eligibility standard in § 273.9(a)(1). The rules of the GA program apply in determining countable income.

(B) The program must provide GA benefits as defined in § 271.2 of this part.

(C) The program must provide benefits which are not limited to one-time emergency assistance.

(ii)Verification requirements. In determining whether a household is categorically eligible, the Stateagency shall verify that each member receives PA benefits, SSI, or GA from a program that meets the criteria in paragraph (j)(4)(i) section or that has been certified by FNS as an appropriate program and that it includes no individuals who have been disqualified as provided in paragraph (j)(4)(iv) or (j)(2)(v) of this section. The Stateagency shall also verify household composition if it is questionable, in accordance with § 273.2(f), in order to determine that the household meets the definition of a household in § 273.1(a).

(iii)Deemed eligibility factors. When determining eligibility for a categorically eligible household, all Food Stamp Program requirements apply except the following:

(A)Resources. None of the provisions of § 273.8 apply to categorically eligible households except the second sentence of § 273.8(a) pertaining to categorical eligibility and § 273.8(i) concerning transfer of resources. The provision in § 273.10(b) regarding resources available the time of the interview does not apply to categorically eligible households.

(B)Gross and net income limits. None of the provisions in § 273.9(a) relating to income eligibility standards apply to categorically eligible households, except the fourth sentence pertaining to categorical eligibility. The provisions in §§ 273.10(a)(1)(i) and 273.10(c) relating to the income eligibility determination also do not apply to categorically eligible households.

(C)Zero benefit households. All eligible households of one or two persons must be provided the minimum benefit, as required by § 273.10(e)(2)(ii)(C).

(D) Residency.

(E) Sponsored alien information.

(iv)Ineligible household members. No person shall be included as a member of an otherwise categorically eligible household if that person is:

(A) An ineligible alien, as defined in § 273.4;

(B) An ineligible student, as defined in § 273.5;

(C) Disqualified for failure to provide or apply for an SSN, as required by § 273.6;

(D) A household member, not the head of household, disqualified for failure to comply with a work requirement of § 273.7;

(E) Disqualified for intentional program violation, as required by § 273.16;

(F) An SSI recipient in a cash-out State, as defined in § 273.20; or

(G) An individual who is institutionalized in a nonexempt facility, as defined in § 273.1(e).

(v)Ineligible households. A household shall not be considered categorically eligible if:

(A) It refuses to cooperate in providing information to the Stateagency that is necessary for making a determination of its eligibility or for completing any subsequent review of its eligibility, as described in §§ 273.2(d) and 273.21(m)(1)(ii);

(B) The household is disqualified because the head of household fails to comply with a work requirement of § 273.7;

(C) The household is ineligible under the striker provisions of § 273.1(g); or

(D) The household is ineligible because it knowingly transferred resources for the purpose of qualifying or attempting to qualify for the Program, as provided in § 273.8(i).

(vi)Combination households. Households consisting entirely of recipients of PA, SSI and/or GA from a program that meets the requirements of § 273.2(j)(4)(i) shall be categorically eligible in accordance with the provisions for paragraphs (j)(2)(iii) and (j)(2)(v) of this section for members receiving PA and SSI or provisions of paragraphs (j)(4) (iv) and (v) of this section for members receiving GA.

(5)Households with some PA or GA recipients.State agencies that use the joint applicationprocessing procedures in paragraphs (j)(1) and (j)(3) of this section may apply these procedures to a food stamp applicant household in which some, but not all, members are in the PA/GA filing unit, except for procedures concerning categorical eligibility. If the Stateagency decides not to use the joint application procedures for these households, the households shall file separate applications for PA/GA and food stamp benefits. This decision shall not be made on a case-by-case basis, but shall be applied uniformly to all households of this type in a project area.

(k)SSI households. For purposes of this paragraph, SSI is defined as Federal SSI payments made under title XVI of the Social SecurityAct, federally administered optional supplementary payments under section 1616 of that Act, or federally administered mandatory supplementary payments made under section 212(a) of Pub. L. 93-66. Except in cashout States (§ 273.20), households which have not applied for food stamps in the thirty preceding days, and which do not have applications pending, may apply and be certified for food stamp benefits in accordance with the procedures described in § 273.2(k)(1)(i) or § 273.2(k)(1)(ii) and with the notice, procedural and timeliness requirements of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 and its implementing regulations. Households applying simultaneously for SSI and food stamps shall be subject to food stamp eligibility criteria, and benefit levels shall be based solely on food stamp eligibility criteria until the household is considered categorically eligible. However, households in which all members are either PA or SSI recipients or authorized to receive PA or SSI benefits (as discussed in § 273.2(j)) shall be food stamp eligible based on their PA/SSI status as provided for in § 273.2(j)(1)(iv) and (j)(2). Households denied NPA food stamps that have an SSI application pending shall be informed on the notice of denial of the possibility of categorical eligibility if they become SSI recipients. The Stateagency shall make an eligibility determination based on information provided by SSA or by the household.

(1)Initial application and eligibility determination. At each SSA office, the Stateagency shall either arrange for SSA to complete and forward food stamp applications, or the Stateagency shall outstation State food stamp eligibility workers at the SSA Offices with SSA's concurrence, based upon an agreement negotiated between the Stateagency and the SSA.

(i) If the Stateagency arranges with the SSA to complete and forward food stamp applications the following actions shall be taken:

(A) Whenever a member of a household consisting only of SSI applicants or recipients transacts business at an SSA office, the SSA shall inform the household of:

(1) Its right to apply for food stamps at the SSA office without going to the food stamp office; and

(2) Its right to apply at a food stamp office if it chooses to do so.

(B) The SSA will accept and complete food stamp applications received at the SSA Office from SSI households and forward them, within one working day after receipt of a signed application, to a designated office of the Stateagency. SSA shall also forward to the Stateagency a transmittal form which will be approved by SSA and FNS. The SSA will use the national food stamp application form for joint processing. State agencies may substitute a State food stamp application, provided that prior approval is received from both FNS and SSA. SSA shall approve, deny, or comment upon FNS-approved State food stamp applications within thirty days of their submission to SSA.

(C) SSA will accept and complete food stamp applications from SSI households received by SSA staff in contact stations. SSA will forward all food stamp applications from SSI households to the designated food stamp office.

(D) The SSA staff shall complete joint SSI and food stamp applications for residents of public institutions in accordance with § 273.1(e)(2).

(E) The Stateagency shall designate an address for the SSA to forward food stamp applications and accompanying information to the Stateagency for eligibility determination. Applications and accompanying information must be forwarded to the agreed upon address in accordance with the time standards contained in § 273.2(k)(1)(i)(B).

(F) Except for applications taken in accordance with paragraph (k)(1)(i)(D) of this section, the Stateagency shall make an eligibility determination and issue food stamp benefits to eligible SSI households within 30 days following the date the application was received by the SSA. Applications shall be considered filed for normal processing purposes when the signed application is received by SSA. The expedited processing time standards shall begin on the date the Stateagency receives a food stamp application. The Stateagency shall make an eligibility determination and issue food stamp benefits to a resident of a public institution who applies jointly for SSI and food stamps within 30 days following the date of the applicant's release from the institution. Expedited processing time standards for an applicant who has applied for food stamps and SSI prior to release shall also begin on the date of the applicant's release from the institution in accordance with § 273.2 (i)(3)(i). SSA shall notify the Stateagency of the date of release of the applicant from the institution. If, for any reason, the Stateagency is not notified on a timely basis of the applicant's release date, the Stateagency shall restore benefits in accordance with § 273.17 to such applicant back to the date of release. Food stamp applications and supporting documentation sent to an incorrect food stamp office shall be sent to the correct office, by the Stateagency, within one working day of their receipt in accordance with § 273.2(c)(2)(ii).

(G) Households in which all members are applying for or participating in SSI will not be required to see a State eligibility worker, or otherwise be subjected to an additional State interview. The food stamp application will be processed by the Stateagency. The Stateagency shall not contact the household further in order to obtain information for certification for food stamp benefits unless: the application is improperly completed; mandatory verification required by § 273.2(f)(1) is missing; or, the Stateagency determines that certain information on the application is questionable. In no event would the applicant be required to appear at the food stamp office to finalize the eligibility determination. Further contact made in accordance with this paragraph shall not constitute a second food stamp certification interview.

(H) SSA shall refer non-SSI households to the correct food stamp office. The State agencies shall process those applications in accordance with the procedures noted in § 273.2. Applications from such households shall be considered filed on the date the signed application is taken at the correct Stateagency office, and the normal and expedited processing time standards shall begin on that date.

(I) The SSA shall prescreen all applications for entitlement to expedited services on the day the application is received at the SSA office and shall mark “Expedited Processing” on the first page of all households' applications that appear to be entitled to such processing. The SSA will inform households which appear to meet the criteria for expedited service that benefits may be issued a few days sooner if the household applies directly at the food stamp office. The household may take the application from SSA to the food stamp office for screening, an interview, and processing of the application. This provision does not apply to applications described in paragraph (k)(1)(i)(D) of this section.

(J) The Stateagency shall prescreen all applications received from the SSA for entitlement to expedited service on the day the application is received at the correct food stamp office. All SSI households entitled to expedited service shall be certified in accordance with § 273.2(i) except that the expedited processing time standard shall begin on the date the application is received at the correct Stateagency office, unless the applicant is a resident of a public institution as described in § 273.1(e)(2).

(K) The Stateagency shall develop and implement a method to determine if members of SSI households whose applications are forwarded by the SSA are already participating in the Food Stamp Program directly through the Stateagency.

(L) If SSA takes an SSI application or redetermination on the telephone from a member of a pure SSI household, a food stamp application shall also be completed during the telephone interview. In these cases, the food stamp application shall be mailed to the claimant for signature for return to the SSA office or to the Stateagency. SSA shall then forward any food stamp applications it receives to the Stateagency. The Stateagency may not require the household to be interviewed again in the food stamp office. The Stateagency shall not contact the household further in order to obtain information for certification for food stamp benefits except in accordance with § 273.2(k)(1)(i)(F).

(M) To SSI recipients redetermined for SSI by mail, the SSA shall send a stuffer informing them of their right to file a food stamp application at the SSA office (if they are members of a pure SSI household) or at their local food stamp office, and their right to an out-of-office food stamp interview to be performed by the Stateagency if the household is unable to appoint an authorized representative.

(N)Section 272.4 bilingual requirements shall not apply to the Social Security Administration.

(O)State agencies shall provide and SSA shall distribute an information sheet or brochure to all households processed under this paragraph. This material shall inform the household of the following: The address and telephone number of the household's correct food stamp office, the remaining actions to be taken in the application process, and a statement that a household should be notified of the food stamp determinations within thirty days and can contact the food stamp office if it receives no notification within thirty days, or has other questions or problems. It shall also include the client's rights and responsibilities (including fair hearings, authorized representatives, out-of-office interviews, reporting changes and timely reapplication), information on how and where to obtain coupons, and how to use coupons (including the commodities clients may purchase with coupons).

(P) As part of the SSA-State agency joint food stamp processingagreement, States may negotiate, on behalf of project areas, to have SSA provide initial eligibility and payment data where the local area is unable to access accurate and timely data through the State's SDX. However, in negotiating such agreements, SSA may challenge a State's determination that it does not have the computer capability to use SDX data. If SSA, FNS, and the State are unable to resolve this matter, and SSA determines that a State does have the capability to provide accurate and timely SDX data to the food stamp project area, SSA is not required to provide alternate means of transmitting initial SSI eligibility and payment data.

(ii) If the Stateagency chooses to outstation eligibility workers at SSA offices, with SSA's concurrence, the following actions shall be completed.

(A) SSA will provide adequate space for State food stamp eligibility workers in SSA offices.

(B) The Stateagency shall have at least one outstationed worker on duty at all time periods during which households will be referred for food stamp applicationprocessing. In most cases this would require the availability of an outstationed worker throughout normal SSA business hours.

(C) The following households shall be entitled to file food stamp applications with, and be interviewed by an outstationed eligibility worker:

(1) Households containing an applicant for or recipient of SSI;

(2) Households which do not have an applicant for or recipient of SSI, but which contain an applicant for or recipient of benefits under title II of the Social SecurityAct, if the Stateagency and SSA have an agreement to allow the processing of such households at SSA offices.

(D) Households shall be interviewed for food stamps on the day of application unless there is insufficient time to conduct an interview. The Stateagency shall arrange for the outstationed worker to interview applicants as soon as possible.

(E) The Stateagency shall not refuse to provide service to persons served by the SSA office because they do not reside in the county or project area in which the SSA office is located, provided, however, that they reside within the jurisdictions served by the SSA office and the Stateagency. The Stateagency is not required to process the applications of persons who are not residing within the SSA office jurisdiction but who do reside within the Stateagency's jurisdiction, other than to forward the forms to the correct food stamp offices.

(F) The Stateagency may permit the eligibility worker outstationed at the SSA to determine the eligibility of households, or may require that completed applications be forwarded elsewhere for the eligibility determination.

(G)Applications from households entitled to joint processing through an outstationed eligibility worker shall be considered filed on the date they are submitted to that worker. Both the normal and expedited service time standards shall begin on that date.

(H) Households not entitled to joint processing shall be entitled to obtain and submit applications at the SSA office. The outstationed eligibility worker need not process these applications except to forward them to the correct food stamp office where they shall be considered filed upon receipt (any activities beyond acceptance and referral of the application would require SSA concurrence). Both the normal and expedited service time standards shall begin on that date.

(iii) Regardless of whether the Stateagency or SSA conducts the food stamp interview, the following actions shall be taken:

(A)Verification.

(1) The Stateagency shall ensure that information required by § 273.2(f) is verified prior to certification for households initially applying. Households entitled to expedited certification services shall be processed in accordance with § 273.2(i).

(2) The Stateagency has the option of verifying SSI benefit payments through the State Data Exchange (SDX), the Beneficiary Data Exchange (BENDEX) and/or through verification provided by the household.

(3)State agencies may verify other information through SDX and BENDEX but only to the extent permitted by data exchangeagreements with SSA. Information verified through SDX or BENDEX shall not be reverified unless it is questionable. Households shall be given the opportunity to provide verification from another source if all necessary information is not available on the SDX or the BENDEX, or if the SDX/BENDEX information is contradictory to other household information.

(B)Certification period.

(1)State agencies shall certify households under these procedures for up to twelve months, according to the standards in § 273.10(f), except for State agencies which must assign the initial certification period to coincide with adjustments to the SSI benefit amount as designated in § 273.10(f)(3)(iii).

(2) In cases jointly processed in which the SSI determination results in denial, and the Stateagency believes that food stamp eligibility or benefit levels may be affected, the Stateagency shall send the household a notice of expiration advising that the certification period will expire the end of the month following the month in which the notice is sent and that it must reapply if it wishes to continue to participate. The notice shall also explain that its certification period is expiring because of changes in circumstances which may affect food stamp eligibility or benefit levels and that the household may be entitled to an out-of-office interview, in accordance with § 273.2(e)(2).

(C)Changes in circumstances.

(1) Households shall report changes in accordance with the requirements in § 273.12. The Stateagency shall process changes in accordance with § 273.12.

(2) Within ten days of learning of the determination of the application for SSI through SDX, the household, advisement from SSA where SSA agrees to do so for households processed under § 273.2(k)(1)(i), or from any other source, the Stateagency shall take required action in accordance with § 273.12. State agencies are encouraged to monitor the results of the SSI determination through SDX and BENDEX to the extent practical.

(3) The Stateagency shall process adjustments to SSI cases resulting from mass changes, in accordance with provisions of § 273.12(e).

(D)SSI households applying at the food stamp office. The Stateagency shall allow SSI households to submit food stamp applications to local food stamp offices rather than through the SSA if the household chooses. In such cases all verification, including that pertaining to SSI program benefits, shall be provided by the household, by SDX or BENDEX, or obtained by the Stateagency rather than being provided by the SSA.

(E)Restoration of lost benefits. The Stateagency shall restore to the household benefits which were lost whenever the loss was caused by an error by the Stateagency or by the Social Security Administration through joint processing. Such an error shall include, but not be limited to, the loss of an applicant's food stamp application after it has been filed with SSA or with a Stateagency's outstationed worker. Lost benefits shall be restored in accordance with § 273.17.

(2)Recertification.

(i) The Stateagency shall complete the application process and approve or deny timely applications for recertification in accordance with § 273.14 of the food stamp regulations. A face-to-face interview shall be waived if requested by a household consisting entirely of SSI participants unable to appoint an authorized representative. The Stateagency shall provide SSI households with a notice of expiration in accordance with § 273.14(b), except that such notification shall inform households consisting entirely of SSI recipients that they are entitled to a waiver of a face-to-face interview if the household is unable to appoint an authorized representative.

(ii) Households shall be entitled to make a timely application (in accordance with § 273.14(b)(3)) for food stamp recertification at an SSA office under the following conditions.

(A) In SSA offices where § 273.2(k)(1)(i) is in effect, SSA shall accept the application of a pure SSI household and forward the completed application, transmittal form and any available verification to the designated food stamp office. Where SSA accepts and refers the application in such situations, the household shall not be required to appear at a second office interview, although the Stateagency may conduct an out-of-office interview, if necessary.

(B) In SSA offices where § 273.2(k)(1)(ii) is in effect, the outstationed worker shall accept the application and interview the recipient and the Stateagency shall process the application according to § 273.14.

(l)Households applying for or receiving social security benefits. An applicant for or recipient of social security benefits under title II of the Social SecurityAct shall be informed at the SSA office of the availability of benefits under the Food Stamp Program and the availability of a Food Stamp Programapplication at the SSA office. The SSA office is not required to accept applications and conduct interviews for title II applicants/recipients in the manner prescribed in § 273.2(k) for SSI applicants/recipients unless the Stateagency has chosen to outstation eligibility workers at the SSA office and has an agreement with SSA to allow the processing of such households at SSA offices. In these cases, processing shall be in accordance with § 273.2(k)(1)(ii).

(m)Households where not all members are applying for or receiving SSI. An applicant for or recipient of SSI shall be informed at the SSA office of the availability of benefits under the Food Stamp Program and the availability of a food stamp application at the SSA office. The SSA office is not required to accept applications or to conduct interviews for SSI applicants or recipients who are not members of households in which all are SSI applicants or recipients unless the Stateagency has chosen to outstation eligibility workers at the SSA office. In this case, processing shall be in accordance with § 273.2(k)(1)(ii).

(n)Authorized representatives. Representatives may be authorized to act on behalf of a household in the application process, in obtaining food stamp benefits, and in using food stamp benefits.

(1)Application processing and reporting. The Stateagency shall inform applicants and prospective applicants that indicate that they may have difficulty completing the application process, that a nonhousehold member may be designated as the authorized representative for applicationprocessing purposes. The household member or the authorized representative may complete work registration forms for those household members required to register for work. The authorized representative designated for applicationprocessing purposes may also carry out household responsibilities during the certification period, such as reporting changes in the household's income or other household circumstances in accordance with §§ 273.12(a) and 273.21. Except for those situations in which a drug and alcohol treatment center or other group living arrangement acts as the authorized representative, the Stateagency must inform the household that the household will be held liable for any overissuance that results from erroneous information given by the authorized representative.

(i) A nonhousehold member may be designated as an authorized representative for the application process provided that the person is an adult who is sufficiently aware of relevant household circumstances and the authorized representative designation has been made in writing by the head of the household, the spouse, or another responsible member of the household. Paragraph (n)(4) of this section contains further restrictions on who can be designated an authorized representative.

(ii) Residents of drug or alcohol treatment centers must apply and be certified through the use of authorized representatives in accordance with § 273.11(e). Residents of group living arrangements have the option to apply and be certified through the use of authorized representatives in accordance with § 273.11(f).

(2)Obtaining food stamp benefits. An authorized representative may be designated to obtain benefits. Even if the household is able to obtain benefits, it should be encouraged to name an authorized representative for obtaining benefits in case of illness or other circumstances which might result in an inability to obtain benefits. The name of the authorized representative must be recorded in the household's case record and on the food stamp identification (ID) card, as provided in § 274.10(a)(1) of this chapter. The authorized representative for obtaining benefits may or may not be the same individual designated as an authorized representative for the application process or for meeting reporting requirements during the certification period. The Stateagency must develop a system by which a household may designate an emergency authorized representative in accordance with § 274.10(c) of this chapter to obtain the household's benefits for a particular month.

(3)Using benefits. A household may allow any household member or nonmember to use its ID card and benefits to purchase food or meals, if authorized, for the household. Drug or alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements which act as authorized representatives for residents of the facilities must use food stamp benefits for food prepared and served to those residents participating in the Food Stamp Program (except when residents leave the facility as provided in § 273.11(e) and (f)).

(4)Restrictions on designations of authorized representatives.

(i) The Stateagency must restrict the use of authorized representatives for purposes of applicationprocessing and obtaining food stamp benefits as follows:

(A)Stateagency employees who are involved in the certification or issuance processes and retailers who are authorized to accept food stamp benefits may not act as authorized representatives without the specific written approval of a designated Stateagency official and only if that official determines that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative.

(B) An individual disqualified for an intentional Program violation cannot act as an authorized representative during the disqualification period, unless the Stateagency has determined that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative. The Stateagency must separately determine whether the individual is needed to apply on behalf of the household, or to obtain benefits on behalf of the household.

(C) If a Stateagency has determined that an authorized representative has knowingly provided false information about household circumstances or has made improper use of coupons, it may disqualify that person from being an authorized representative for up to one year. The Stateagency must send written notification to the affected household(s) and the authorized representative 30 days prior to the date of disqualification. The notification must specify the reason for the proposed action and the household's right to request a fair hearing. This provision is not applicable in the case of drug and alcoholic treatment centers and those group homes which act as authorized representatives for their residents. However, drug and alcohol treatment centers and the heads of group living arrangements that act as authorized representatives for their residents, and which intentionally misrepresent households circumstances, may be prosecuted under applicable Federal and State statutes for their acts.

(D) Homeless meal providers, as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter, may not act as authorized representatives for homeless food stamp recipients.

(ii) In order to prevent abuse of the program, the Stateagency may set a limit on the number of households an authorized representative may represent.

(iii) In the event employers, such as those that employ migrant or seasonal farmworkers, are designated as authorized representatives or that a single authorized representative has access to a large number of authorization documents or coupons, the Stateagency should exercise caution to assure that each household has freely requested the assistance of the authorized representative, the household's circumstances are correctly represented, the household is receiving the correct amount of benefits and that the authorized representative is properly using the benefits.

[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47889, Oct. 17, 1978]
Editorial Note:
For Federal Register citations affecting § 273.2, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 7 - AGRICULTURE

§ 2011 - Congressional declaration of policy

§ 2012 - Definitions

§ 2012a - Publicly operated community health centers

§ 2013 - Establishment of supplemental nutrition assistance program

§ 2014 - Eligible households

§ 2015 - Eligibility disqualifications

§ 2016 - Issuance and use of program benefits

§ 2017 - Value of allotment

§ 2018 - Approval of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns

§ 2019 - Redemption of program benefits

§ 2020 - Administration

§ 2021 - Civil penalties and disqualification of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns

§ 2022 - Disposition of claims

§ 2023 - Administrative and judicial review; restoration of rights

§ 2024 - Violations and enforcement

§ 2025 - Administrative cost-sharing and quality control

§ 2026 - Research, demonstration, and evaluations

§ 2027 - Appropriations and allotments

§ 2028 - Consolidated block grants for Puerto Rico and American Samoa

§ 2029 - Workfare

§ 2030 - Repealed. Pub. L. 110–234, title IV, § 4115(b)(14), May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1108, and Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title IV, § 4115(b)(14), June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 1870

§ 2031 - Minnesota Family Investment Project

§ 2032 - Automated data processing and information retrieval systems

§ 2033 - Repealed. Pub. L. 107–171, title IV, § 4124(b), May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 326

§ 2034 - Assistance for community food projects

§ 2035 - Simplified supplemental nutrition assistance program

§ 2036 - Availability of commodities for emergency food assistance program

Title 7 published on 2015-08-22

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 7 CFR Part 273 after this date.

  • 2017-01-06; vol. 82 # 4 - Friday, January 6, 2017
    1. 82 FR 2010 - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Food and Nutrition Service
      Final rule and interim final rule.
      Effective dates: This final rule is effective March 7, 2017. The amendments to 7 CFR 273.11(e) and 273.11(f) are being issued as an interim final rule and are effective April 6, 2017. The amendments to 7 CFR 273.2(c)(1)(v) are effective January 8, 2018. Comment date: FNS will consider comments from the public on the amendments to 7 CFR 273.11(e) and 273.11(f). Comments must be received at one of the addresses provided below on or before March 7, 2017.
      7 CFR Parts 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, and 285
The section you are viewing is cited by the following CFR sections.

Title 7 published on 2015-08-22.

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 7.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2017-01-06; vol. 82 # 4 - Friday, January 6, 2017
    1. 82 FR 2010 - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Eligibility, Certification, and Employment and Training Provisions of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008
      GPO FDSys: XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, Food and Nutrition Service
      Final rule and interim final rule.
      Effective dates: This final rule is effective March 7, 2017. The amendments to 7 CFR 273.11(e) and 273.11(f) are being issued as an interim final rule and are effective April 6, 2017. The amendments to 7 CFR 273.2(c)(1)(v) are effective January 8, 2018. Comment date: FNS will consider comments from the public on the amendments to 7 CFR 273.11(e) and 273.11(f). Comments must be received at one of the addresses provided below on or before March 7, 2017.
      7 CFR Parts 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, and 285