Basic certification 2007
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Basic Certification 2007. What we’ll cover:. Application Process Processing Time Standards Household Concept Interviewing Verification and Documentation Financial and Non-Financial Eligibility Criteria Resources Income Eligibility/Ineligibility Determinations Certification Periods

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What we ll cover l.jpg
What we’ll cover:

  • Application Process

  • Processing Time Standards

  • Household Concept

  • Interviewing

  • Verification and Documentation

  • Financial and Non-Financial Eligibility Criteria

  • Resources

  • Income

  • Eligibility/Ineligibility Determinations

  • Certification Periods

  • Reporting and Acting on Changes

  • Recertifications


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Background:

  • The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is an alternative to the Food Stamp Program for low-income families living on reservations and in Oklahoma

  • Households are prohibited from participating in both programs in the same month

  • FDPIR and the Food Stamp Program have similar, but not identical, eligibility criteria


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Application process sections 3100 3200 of fns handbook 501 l.jpg
Application Process financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Sections 3100-3200 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Begins when an applicant requests an application form

  • Applications can be filed in person, by mail, or by data fax (must be readable and have clear signature)

  • An application is acceptable if it contains:

    • Applicant’s name and address

    • Signature of a responsible household member or an authorized representative


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Application Process financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Sections 3100-3200 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Applications that do not contain a name, address, and signature – No further action if the ITO/State agency cannot contact the applicant

  • Applicants have the right to file an application the same day they contact the food distribution office

  • ITOs/State agencies make applications available and assist applicants in filling out the applications

  • Applicants that are physically or verbally abusive to staff may be refused service


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Processing Time Standards financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3300 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • 7 calendar days (excluding weekends and holidays) for most applications

  • 1 calendar day (excluding weekends and holidays) for expedited service cases:

    • no income in the current month;

    • household is likely to be eligible;

    • household would otherwise suffer hardship


Household concept section 3400 of fns handbook 501 l.jpg
Household Concept financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3400 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • A household is:

    • An individual living alone;

    • An individual living with others but purchasing food and preparing meals separately (exception: spouses and children under 18);

    • A group of individuals living together who purchase food and prepare meals together


Household concept section 3400 of fns handbook 5019 l.jpg
Household Concept financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3400 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Non-household members are persons residing with the applicant household but not considered part of the household for eligibility purposes:

    • Roomers

    • Social Security Income recipients in “cash-out” States

    • Disqualified individuals


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Household Concept financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3400 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Unqualified Aliens - ITOs/State agencies may choose to either serve or not serve persons who are not US citizens or are not qualified aliens per 8 U.S.C. 1641(b)

  • Households with foster children may:

    • Count the children as household members and count the foster care payments as household income; or

    • Not count the children as household members and not count the foster care payments as household income


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Household Concept financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3400 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Head of Household and Authorized Representatives

    • A head of household must be designated for each household. This is a responsible household member in whose name the application is filed.

    • The household may designate an authorized representative to act on behalf of the household in filing the application or picking up commodities.


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Interviewing financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3600 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • All applicants must be interviewed (may be conducted by telephone or at applicant’s home)

  • ITOs/State agencies must

    preserve privacy and

    confidentiality

  • The person interviewed may be the head of household, spouse, other responsible member of the household, or an authorized representative


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Interviewing financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3600 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • During the interview, the certification worker will:

    • Review and complete the application form with the applicant;

    • Explore and resolve unclear and incomplete information;

    • Advise the applicant of his/her rights and responsibilities.


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Interviewing financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3600 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Rights and Responsibilities

    • Right to a fair hearing (in writing);

    • The disqualification penalties for intentional program violations (in writing);

    • Refusal to cooperate will result in the denial of the application;

    • Responsibility for obtaining verification;

    • Responsibility for reporting changes in household circumstances;

    • Prohibition on participating in FDPIR and the Food Stamp Program in the same month.


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Verification and Documentation financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Document!

  • Document!

  • Document!

  • Every action must be fully documented in the household’s casefile


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Verification and Documentation financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Verification – Households are responsible for providing documentation for verification

    • Mandatory:

      • All gross nonexempt income

      • Household expenses related to the child support and Medicare premium deductions

    • Only if questionable:

      • Resources

      • Identity

      • Residency


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Verification and Documentation financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 3500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Sources of Verification

    • Documentary Evidence (e.g., pay stubs; Social Security award letter; income tax return; zero income form); include copies in the case file

    • Collateral Contact - Verbal confirmation of household circumstances by a person outside of the household (e.g., employer; neighbors; landlord); document the contact

    • Home Visits - Use only if documentary evidence or collateral contacts can not be obtained; document the home visit


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Non-Financial Eligibility Criteria financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4200 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Residency – The applicant household must live on a reservation, a near area, or FNS service area in Oklahoma, where FDPIR is approved to operate

  • Residents of approved nearareas or FNS service areas in Oklahoma - The applicant household must included at least one person who is a member of a federally recognized tribe


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Non-Financial Eligibility Criteria financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4200 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Citizenship - ITOs/State agencies may choose to either serve or not serve persons who are not US citizens or are not qualified aliens per 8 U.S.C. 1641(b)


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Financial Eligibility Criteria financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4400-4700 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Resource standards

  • Income standards

  • Categorical eligibility

    for PA, GA, SSI households

    (no income or resource test)


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Resources financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4400 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Limits

    • $3,000 for households with 2 or more elderly members

    • $1,750 for all other households

  • What do we count?

    • Cash, checking and savings accounts

    • Readily negotiable certificates, stocks, bonds, etc.

    • Certain exempt income (non-recurring lump sum payments)

    • Resources of disqualified household members


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Resources financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4400 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • What don’t we count?

    • Resources excluded by law

    • Life insurance and pensions

    • Disaster payments

    • Prorated income

    • Prorated share of resources jointly owned by another household


Income section 4500 of fns handbook 501 l.jpg
Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • FDPIR income standards are the Food Stamp Program (FSP) net monthly income standards increased by the applicable FSP standard deduction

  • Example: 4 person household

    FSP net monthly income standard: $1613

    FSP standard deduction: + $134

    $1747

  • Adjusted each October 1

  • Exhibit M of FNS Handbook 501


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Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • What is counted as income?

    • Earned Income

      • Wages

      • Self-employment

      • Training allowances (except reimbursements)

      • Work study earnings (except Title IV of the Higher Education Act)


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Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • What is counted as income?

    • Unearned Income

      • Assistance payments (e.g., TANF, SSI, GA)

      • Pensions, Social Security, Veteran’s or disability benefits, workman’s or unemployment compensation

      • Foster care payments and adoption subsidies

      • Child support and alimony

      • Student financial assistance (except Title IV)

      • Interest, dividends, grants, royalties


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Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • What is not counted as income?

    • In-kind payments

    • Vendor payments

    • Income excluded by law

    • Non-Title IV education assistance used for allowable educational expenses

    • Loans

    • Reimbursements for expenses

    • Third party payments

    • Earnings of children


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Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4500 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • What is not counted as income?

    • Irregular income ($30 or less per quarter)

    • Costs of self-employment

    • Recoupments

    • Non-recurring lump-sum payments

    • Annual land-lease or treaty income

    • Title IV-D child support payments


Income deductions section 4550 of fns handbook 501 l.jpg
Income Deductions financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4550 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Four income deductions:

    • 20 % Earned Income deduction

    • Child Support deduction (must verify)

    • Medicare Part B and D Premiums deduction (must verify)

    • Dependent Care deduction:

      • $200 per child if under 2 years old

      • $175 all other


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Determining Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4600 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • ITO/State agency must take into account:

    • any income the household is receiving on a regular basis; and

    • any income the household is reasonably expected to receive during the certification period

  • Income that cannot be reasonably anticipated should not be counted


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Determining Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4600 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Records of current and past income should be used:

    • Pay stubs for the last 30 days should be used for salaried employees (determine “normal” weekly amount for hourly wage earners)

    • For seasonal income, use wages from past season as a guide, but fluctuations from season to season can be expected

    • For self-employment, income tax returns should be used as a guide, but fluctuations from year to year can be expected


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Determining Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4600 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Anticipating Income

    • Should only be used if timing and amount are known (e.g., new job starts on June 20 at $10 per hour for 35 hours per week)

  • Averaging Income

    • For self-employment, contract employees, or student financial assistance when income is expected to cover a specific period of time (e.g., summer employment, school year)


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Determining Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 4600 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Options for converting weekly and biweekly income to monthly income:

    • Multiply weekly amounts by 4.3

    • Multiply biweekly amounts by 2.15

    • Use the ITO’s/State agency’s conversion standard

    • Use the exact figure if it can be anticipated for each month


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Determining Net Monthly Income financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)in 8 Easy Steps(Section 4640 of FNS Handbook 501)

Step 1: Determine gross earned income

Step 2: Determine self-employment income

Step 3: Combine amounts in Steps 1 and 2

Step 4: Subtract 20% from total in Step 3

Step 5: Determine unearned income

Step 6: Determine student financial assistance income

Step 7: Combine amounts in Steps 4, 5 and 6

Step 8: Subtract allowable deductions from total in Step 7


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Determining Eligibility financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Putting it All Together)(Section 4100 of FNS Handbook 501)

  • Establish household composition

  • Establish residency on reservation or Indian household status if in near area or Oklahoma

  • Determine categorical eligibility, if PA, GA, or SSI household

  • Determine financial eligibility, if non-assistance household

    • Resource test

    • Net monthly income test


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Certification Periods financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5110 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • Certification periods may not exceed 12 months

  • Households may not receive commodities after their certification period has expired

  • Certification periods should match the period of time that the household’s circumstances (e.g., income, resources, and household composition) are expected to remain stable


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Certification Periods financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5110 of the FNS Handbook 501)


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Determinations of Ineligibility financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5200 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • Notice of Denial must be sent if the household is found to be ineligible

  • Notice must be sent within the 7-day processing standard (excluding weekends and holidays)

  • Notice must include:

    • Reason for denial;

    • Right to request a fair hearing;

    • Contact information;

    • Name of organization that provides free legal representation, if available


Reporting and acting on changes section 5140 of the fns handbook 501 l.jpg
Reporting and Acting on Changes financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5140 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • Within 10 days, households must report:

    • Changes in income

    • Changes in household composition

    • When resources exceed the limits ($1,750 or $3000, whichever is applicable)

  • The ITO/State agency may provide a change report form

  • Households may also report changes in person or by telephone


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Reporting and Acting on Changes financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5140 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • ITO/State Agency Action on Reported Changes

    • Increase household benefits (i.e., new household member)

    • Decrease household benefits (i.e., household member left)

    • Ineligibility (i.e., household income or resources exceeded limits)

  • If decrease or ineligibility – ITO/State agency must issue a Notice of Adverse Action


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Reporting and Acting on Changes financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5140 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • Notice of Adverse Action

    • Must be issue prior to any action to decrease benefits or terminate participation

    • Must allow at least 10 and no more than 20 days between mailing date and effective date


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Reporting and Acting on Changes financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5140 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • The Notice of Adverse Action must include:

    • Reason for the adverse action

    • The date it will take effect

    • Right to request a fair hearing and to receive continuation of benefits pending the outcome of the fair hearing

    • Time frame for requesting the fair hearing and continuation of benefits

    • That the household will be liable for any benefits it receives pending the outcome of the fair hearing if the fair hearing decision upholds the adverse action

    • Contact information to ask questions

    • Contact information of organization that provides free legal representation, if available


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Recertifications financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5300 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • Procedures must be in place for notifying households that they must reapply at the end of their certification period (ITO/State agency may provide a Notice of Expiration of Certification)

  • Households applying for recertification in the last month of their certification period must receive commodities on an uninterrupted basis


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Recertifications financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)(Section 5300 of the FNS Handbook 501)

  • Households that fail to submit a timely application for recertification lose their right to uninterrupted benefits and are treated as initial certification

  • Households that apply for recertification within 30 days of expiration of their certification period, do not have to provide verification if:

    • Source of income has not changed; and

    • Amount has not changed by more than $50 per month.


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!Quiz Time! financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)

Q: Lisa is seventeen and has a 3-month old baby. She is living with her parents. Her parents participate in FDPIR. She says she purchases and prepares her meals separately from her parents and siblings. She wants to get her own commodities. Can you certify Lisa as a separate household?

A: No. Children under 18 cannot be certified as a separate household.


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Q: financial eligibility criteria to receive commodities)What is the processing time frame for an applicant household who reports they have no income?

A: The processing time frame for households qualifying for expedited service is one calendar day (excluding weekends and holidays) after the application was filed.


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Q: A household reports on its application that it has $24,963 in an IRA. Is the IRA counted as a resource?

A: No. Pension plans and retirement accounts are not counted as a resource for FDPIR.


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Q: For the last 15 years, Joe has lived in a tent on land owned by his brother. He does not have steady employment or any other regular income. Sometimes he cuts wood for his brother or other people and they give him some money or things that he needs (e.g., clothes, cookware) What certification period should you give Joe?

A. Two months. Most zero income household would get a one-month certification period. In unique situations, like Joe’s, where the household’s circumstances are verified to be somewhat stable, you may give the household a two-month certification period.


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Q: If you can’t complete verification of a household’s income within the 7-day processing time frame, do you deny the application?

A: No. You certify the household for one month pending verification. The household cannot receive commodities beyond the one month until the required verification is completed.


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Q: Can a household participate in FDPIR and food stamps in the same month?

A: No. FDPIR is an alternative program to the Food Stamp Program, so households may not participate in both programs in the same month.


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Q: What household information must be verified? the same month?

  • - All gross nonexempt income

    - Household expenses related to the child support and Medicare premium deductions

    - Questionable information


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Q: Can ITOs and State agencies serve unqualified aliens? the same month?

A: ITOs and State agencies have the option to either serve or not serve unqualified aliens.


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Q: A household wins $500 at bingo and deposits the money in their savings account. They now have $1,630 in their savings account. Is the household required to report the winnings?

A: No. The $500 is a non-recurring lump sum payment, which is considered a resource, not income, in the month received. However, households do not have to report a change in resource levels until they exceed the limits ($1,750 or $3,000, whichever is applicable).


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Bonus Question their savings account. They now have $1,630 in their savings account. Is the household required to report the winnings?

Q: Is Paris Hilton in or out of jail?

A: Nobody cares.


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