Department of Human Services
Food Stamp Online Policy Manual
ACTIONS BASED ON ELIGIBILITY
Households found eligible after consideration of the non-financial criteria in Section 1240-1-3, should have their countable income compared to the monthly income eligibility standards for the appropriate household size to determine if the household is eligible based on financial criteria.
Households, which do not contain a member who is elderly or disabled, are subject to a gross income limit of 130 percent of the poverty level income standard. To determine this limit, nonexempt gross income will be added together, and this sum must be compared to the eligibility limit for the appropriate household size. If the monthly income exceeds the amount for the appropriate household size, the household is ineligible. If the monthly income is less than or equal to the gross income limit, normal procedures allowing deductions will be followed and then the net income must be subject to the net monthly income guidelines. Guidelines for the gross and net monthly income standards are given in Section 1240-1-4-.27.
(1) Determining the Monthly Allotment
To determine the household’s monthly benefits, the caseworker may refer to the appropriate Basis of Issuance (BOI) Table. No benefits of under $10.00 will be issued for the initial month. After the initial month all eligible one and two person households shall receive the minimum allotment.
(2) Proration of Initial Month’s Benefits
The amount of the household’s benefits for the initial month of certification will be based on the day of the month it applies for the benefits. The following procedures will be used to determine the amount of initial benefits:
(a) A household’s benefit level for the initial month of certification will be based on the day of the month it applies for benefits. Using calendar month, households will receive benefits prorated from the day of application to the end of the month.
The term initial month means the first month for which an allotment is issued to a household or the first month for which the household is certified for participation in the Food Stamp Program following any period during which the household is certified for participation. If the prorated benefits for the initial month are calculated to be less than $10.00, the household will receive no benefits for the initial month.
Exception: Migrant or seasonal farmworkers households who have participated in the Food Stamp Program within 30 days prior to the date of application will be entitled to the full month’s benefits. Initial months benefits will be prorated if there has been more than 30 day break in the migrant or seasonal farmworker household’s certification period.
Note: The proration of the household’s initial month’s benefits will be done by ACCENT. Therefore, it will not be necessary for the caseworker to follow the procedures set forth below in computing the initial month’s benefits. This will be accomplished in the computer by comparing the beginning certification date to the full monthly allotment. For migrant or seasonal farmworkers entitled to the full month’s benefits, the beginning certification date will begin the first day of the month so the computer will not prorate benefits.
In cases where the application was denied in the initial 30 days due to the fault of the household, and the household comes back in during the next 30 days and complies, the beginning certification date should reflect the date the eligibility is determined.
(b) To determine the amount of the prorated allotment, the following procedures apply:
1. Determine if the household is eligible according to the net income standard table;
2. Based on the date of application, the following formula applies:
Full Month’s Benefits X number of days in month + 1 - date of application ÷ number of days in month = allotment
Example: Mr. Smith applied on April 10 and is eligible for a full month’s benefits of $200.
$200 X 30 + 1 - 10 = $200 X 21 = 4200 ÷ 30 = $140
3. After using the multiplication factor to determine the allotment if the prorated benefits for the initial month of certification are computed to be less than $10.00, no benefits will be issued for the initial month.
4. The proration calculator at www.sworps.utk.edu/induction/prorate.asp may be used to calculate the initial month’s benefits when the caseworker has to do this manually.
(3) If an application for recertification is not received until after the certification period has expired, then that application shall be considered an initial application and benefits for the initial month will be prorated. Benefits of less than $10.00 will not be issued.
(4) Eligible households which are entitled to no benefits shall be denied participation, on the ground that their net income exceeds the level below which benefits are issued.
(a) The certification period will begin with the month of application for eligible households, which are not entitled to benefits because the initial proration is less than $10 but will be entitled to benefits in subsequent months.
(b) If a household is claiming actual utility expenses in excess of the Department’s utility standard and the expense would actually result in a deduction, the expense must be verified. If the actual utility expenses cannot be verified before the 30 days allowed to process the application expire, the caseworker shall use the standard. If the household wishes to claim expenses for an unoccupied home, the caseworker shall verify the actual expenses for the unoccupied home in every case and shall not use the standard utility allowance.
(c) If a deductible expense must be verified, and obtaining the verification may delay the Food Stamp certification, the caseworker shall advise the household that the eligibility and benefit level may be determined without providing a deduction for the claimed, but unverified, expense. This shall also apply to the allowance of medical expenses and dependent care costs. If the expense cannot be verified within 30 days of the date of application, the caseworker shall determine the eligibility and benefit level without providing a deduction for the unverified expense.
If the household subsequently provides the missing verification, the caseworker shall redetermine the benefits and provide increased benefits, if any, in reported changes. The household shall be entitled to the restoration as a result of the disallowance of the processing standard because the caseworker failed to allow the household sufficient time to verify the expense. If the household would be ineligible unless the expense is allowed, the application shall be handled as provided in Section 1240-1-17.