Off-line storage.

Off-line storage. If a household's EBT account is inactive for three months (91 days) or longer, State agencies may elect to store all benefits in that account off-line.
(1) An EBT account is inactive if the household has not initiated activity that affects the balance of the household's SNAP EBT account, such as a purchase or return.
(2) Taking benefits off-line means that the household's SNAP EBT account, including all existing benefits in the account and any new issuances deposited into the account, is no longer accessible to the household unless and until the account and its benefits are reinstated upon contact by the household.
(3) The State agency shall send written notification to the household up to 10 days prior to or concurrent with the action to store benefits off-line. If an inactive account has a zero balance, a notice to the household is not required. At a minimum, the notice shall include information on:
(1) An EBT account is inactive if the household has not initiated activity that affects the balance of the household's SNAP EBT account, such as a purchase or return.
(2) Taking benefits off-line means that the household's SNAP EBT account, including all existing benefits in the account and any new issuances deposited into the account, is no longer accessible to the household unless and until the account and its benefits are reinstated upon contact by the household.
(3) The State agency shall send written notification to the household up to 10 days prior to or concurrent with the action to store benefits off-line. If an inactive account has a zero balance, a notice to the household is not required. At a minimum, the notice shall include information on:
(i) The steps necessary to bring the benefits back on-line; and
(ii) The State agency's permanent expungement policy.
(4) Benefits stored off-line that have not been expunged in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section shall be reinstated and made available within 48 hours of reapplication or contact by the household. In addition to a specific request for benefit restoration, household contact shall include, but is not limited to:
(i) Recertification or reapplication for benefits; and
(ii) A general request for assistance.
(i) Expungement.
(1) State agencies shall apply SNAP transactions against a household's SNAP benefits on a first-in-first-out basis. As a result, the oldest SNAP benefits are used first. On a daily basis, the State agency shall expunge benefits from EBT accounts at the monthly benefit allotment level in accordance with either paragraph (i)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section. State agencies must designate which approach will be used in its State plan and use the same approach for all households within the State.
(i) Inactive EBT accounts. Benefits allotments, or portion thereof, shall be expunged from EBT accounts that have been inactive, per paragraph (h)(1) of this section, for a period of nine months (274 days) in accordance with the following:
(A) When the oldest benefit allotment has not been accessed by the household for nine months, the State agency shall expunge benefits from the EBT account or off-line storage at the monthly benefit allotment level as each benefit allotment ages to nine months since the date of issuance or since the last date of account activity, whichever date is later.
(B) The State agency shall not expunge any benefits from active accounts even if there are benefit allotments older than nine months. If at any time after the expungement process begins, the household initiates activity affecting the balance of the account, the State shall stop expunging benefits from the account and start the account aging process over again for the remaining benefits.
(ii) Unused benefits. The State agency shall expunge individual benefit allotments, or portion thereof, that remain in a household's EBT account nine months (274 days) after the date the allotment was issued to the household, regardless of any account activity that may have taken place.
(2) Not later than 30 days before benefit expungement is scheduled to begin, State agencies shall provide notice to the household that benefits in their EBT account are approaching expungement due to nonuse/inactivity. At a minimum, the notice shall include:
(i) The date upon which benefits are scheduled to be expunged; and
(ii) The steps necessary to prevent the expungement, including an opportunity to request that any benefits stored off-line be restored to the household in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section;
(3) Expunged benefits shall be removed from the Account Management Agent and shall not be reinstated.
(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (i)(1) of this section, in instances when the State agency verifies a death match for all certified members of the household and closes the SNAP case in accordance with § 272.14 of this chapter, the State agency shall expunge the remaining SNAP balance in the household's EBT account at that time. In accordance with § 273.13(b)(2) of this chapter, expungement notices, per paragraph (i)(2) of this section, are not required for these households.
(j) Procedures to adjust SNAP accounts. Procedures shall be established to permit the appropriate managers to adjust SNAP benefits that have already been posted to an EBT account prior to the household accessing the account, or to remove benefits from inactive accounts for off-line storage or expungement in accordance with paragraphs (h) and (i) of this section.
(1) Whenever benefits are stored off-line or expunged, the State agency shall document the date, amount of the benefits, and storage location in the household case file.
(2) Issuance reports shall reflect the adjustment to the State agency issuance totals to comply with monthly issuance reporting requirements prescribed under § 274.4.

Source

7 CFR § 274.2


Scoping language

None
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