Expedited Benefits

 

Screening for expedited benefits is when you speak with the applicant to ask or explain the expedited service questions to determine eligibility for expedited service. Screening can occur over the phone or in person (such as when the client makes a walk-in application).

 

The Time of First Contact is defined as the day an application is screened for expedited purposes.  Screening usually takes place at the time of first contact.

 

The application interview takes place before expedited screening or may occur on the same day. If you reach the applicant through a manual cold call, you must attempt an application interview. If the applicant is available for the application interview, you must also conduct an expedited screening. If the applicant states s/he is not available for the interview and screening at that time, you must schedule an interview appointment to occur as soon as possible.

 

Note

The first contact may occur outside the 7-day expedited time frame. This usually happens if you are unable to reach the applicant by phone, and the applicant has failed to respond to the interview scheduled by the appointment letter that was mailed to the client.    

 

If you are unable to speak with and screen the applicant on Day 1, you must schedule an appointment to take place within 7 days of the missed manual cold call. An In-Office appointment letter should be sent if the applicant does not have a telephone, the client has Heightened Level of Security or if the applicant indicated on the application that s/he would like to have a face-to-face interview.

 

Prior to making any telephone or in person appointments, check to see if the client has an ADA accommodation.  If the client has an ADA accommodation, check the Accommodation Special Assistance Disposition page to determine the accommodation remedies.  If at least one of the remedies is:

 

make sure any appointment complies with the accommodation remedy.

 

Determining Eligibility for Expedited Service

Determining Eligibility for Expedited Service is a Two-Step Process. To conduct a screening, the applicant must be interviewed first. An accurate expedited determination cannot be made until you discuss the household’s income, assets and expenses.

 

The Immediate Needs questions in the Program-RFA and Program Change page cannot be answered if the Held indicator in the Interview page is set to No. You must interview the applicant and switch the Held indicator from No to Yes, before BEACON will allow you to complete the Immediate Needs questions. This hard edit will apply to all pending SNAP applications regardless of application method (In-Person, Phone, Web etc.).

 

Note

This hard edit will not impact the Immediate Needs questions for cash cases.  

 

Once you are able to speak to the applicant, proceed based on the following two questions: 

 

Step One: Does the Household Qualify for Expedited Service?

Households are eligible for expedited service if:

  1. the household’s gross income in the month of application does not exceed $150 and countable liquid assets (assets easily converted into cash, such as a bank account) do not exceed $100; or

  2. the household’s combined monthly gross income and liquid assets are less than the combined monthly rent (or mortgage) and utilities (i.e., the appropriate SUA); or

  3. the household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker as described in 106 CMR 365.810.

Note

An applicant that meets the criteria above is eligible for expedited benefits.

 

Step Two: Does the Household Appear to Be Eligible for SNAP Benefits?

At the application interview, determine if the household appears to be eligible for SNAP benefits. Collect as much information and verification regarding SNAP eligibility as possible. However, identity is the only eligibility factor that must be verified within the 7-day expedited time frame. The electronic validation of the applicant’s Social Security number through the State Verification and Exchange System (SVES) is an acceptable verification of identity.  

 

After the applicant has been interviewed, lack of verification other than identity must not delay expedited service during the 7-day expedited time frame. If the applicant meets the criteria for expedited service, appears eligible for SNAP benefits and provides proof of identity by Day 7, you must issue expedited benefits by Day 7. 

 

Important

You cannot end an action for a pending SNAP application, with a completed interview, if the Immediate Needs questions are left blank. A hard edit will direct you to complete the Immediate Needs questions before ending the action. This hard edit will apply to all pending SNAP applications regardless of application method (In-Person, Phone, Web etc.)

 

 

For eligible households, expedited SNAP benefits must be issued by the 7th calendar day following the date of application.

 

Subsequent Discovery of Applicant Qualification for Expedited Benefits

Subsequent Discovery is defined as the determination after the first seven days from the application date that an applicant qualifies or is eligible for expedited benefits. Expedited benefits must be issued no later than seven days after the date of subsequent discovery, provided the Department has proof of identity for the applicant.

 

Example #1

An applicant is interviewed, screened and determined to meet the criteria for receiving expedited service by Day 7.  The applicant, however, does not provide identification by Day 7 (which, at a minimum would be providing his/her SSN for SVES electronic verification) but provides proof of identity at some later point during the 30-day pending period. You must process expedited benefits using subsequent discovery rules The expedited benefits must be issued no later than seven days after the date the department discovers the household is entitled to expedited service, providedproof of identity has been verified. If the applicant does not complete the application process by Day 30, you must deny SNAP benefits on Day 30 in accordance with SNAP processing rules.

 

Example #2

An applicant is unable to be interviewed and screened by Day 7. The applicant is interviewed and screened later in the 30-day pending period.  If the applicant is determined eligible for expedited service, you must process expedited benefits using subsequent discovery rules The expedited benefits must be issued no later than seven days after the date the department discovers the household is entitled to expedited service , provided proof of identity has been verified If the applicant does not complete the application process by Day 30, you must deny SNAP benefits on Day 30 in accordance with SNAP processing rules.

 

Example #3

An application is received and date-stamped on August 21 (Day 1), but you are unable to reach the applicant. An appointment is scheduled for August 28 at 10:00 a.m. On the day of the scheduled appointment the applicant does not answer and does not call back to reschedule. On September 1, the applicant calls the DTA Assistance Line to inquire about an interview because s/he received a NOMI. During the interview/screening, you discover that the applicant is eligible for expedited service. You must issue expedited benefits by September 8, under subsequent discovery rules.

 

For applicants subject to expedited service under subsequent discovery rules:

  1. select the expedited reason in the Immediate Needs field on the Program Change page of the Program Administration workflow, and

  2. record the reason for the subsequent discovery on the Narrative tab using the following language: Eligible for expedited benefits by subsequent discovery.

 

Automated Case Actions to Create Expedited SNAP Benefits

If an interview was not conducted/scheduled on a pending expedited SNAP case by day 2 from the application date, the Perform Cold Call Action Creation batch will schedule a phone interview appointment for the client on day 7 from the application date.  If day 7 is not a working day, the appointment would be scheduled before day 7.  The batch job will automatically enter a narrative for the action taken.  However, no appointments will be automatically scheduled for a client who requires an American Sign Language interpreter or a home visit.  Appointments for these clients must be made by a case manager or Client Assistance Coordinator (CAC).

 

A special batch job will automatically authorize an interview wrap-up calculation request for expedited SNAP benefits as soon as identity (SSN) information is verified and an interview is conducted on a pending Expedited SNAP case to release the expedited benefit payment.  Once the verification of identity is set up to be verified, the system will automatically request verification of SSN from SVES. When the overnight inquiry of SSN is returned via SVES as verified, the system will automatically mark identity as verified on the verifications tab. 

 

This batch will also create a central print EBT Card Request for the grantee as long as the grantee did not receive a new/replacement card in the last 12 months.  If the grantee is required to have a Photo EBT and a DTA photo is available, then the photo would be printed on the EBT Card. If no DTA photo is available, or the client is not required to have their photo on their EBT card, then a non-photo EBT card will be printed. The batch job will automatically enter a narrative for the action taken.

 

Processing an Expedited Issuance in BEACON

The applicant is eligible for expedited benefits if there is a yes answer to one of the expedited screening questions. To process expedited benefits, you must:

  1. go to the Verification tab and verify identity

  2. go to the Interview Wrap-up workflow and click Selection

  3. select the Food Stamp Pending AU

  4. click the EBC Results Check box at the bottom of the page

  5. click Finish

  6. click the EBC Results tab

  7. click Calculate

  8. click the Pending transaction that is in the window

  9. click Close

  10. click Authorization

  11. (The Benefit Effective Date filed and the Reevaluation fields will be automatically completed by BEACON)

  12. click the AU Manager/Supervisor checkbox

  13. click Approve

  14. click Save

  15. click Finish

 

Web Applications will Auto populate with Answers to the Immediate Needs Questions

The answers provided on a SNAP web application to the Immediate Needs questions will be auto populated on the Program Change page. This page will be set to Requires Reedit when you open the Program Change page:

Note

The Immediate Needs questions in the Program Change page cannot be answered if the Held indicator in the Interview page is set to No. You must interview the applicant and switch the Held indicator from No to Yes, before BEACON will allow you to complete the Immediate Needs questions. It is mandatory for you to provide an answer in the Screened field.

 

Issuing a Single Verification Checklist to Satisfy the Requirements for Expedited and Case Processing

To enable case managers to issue a single VC-1 that lists the verification required for expedited as well as the verifications for determination of the case, BEACON will:

  1. display an expedited header on the VC-1.  Under that header, identity will be the only verification listed with a due date that is 7 days from the date of application. The Identity verification factor will be the first item in the VC-1;

  2. display the additional items requested under their appropriate eligibility factor. This section of the VC-1 will have a due date that is 30 days from the date of application. When the VC-1 is generated, the expedited item (identity) will be listed first. The other requested items will follow under their eligibility factor headings.

 

Remember

Most applicants provide one or more verifications when the application form is submitted. Be sure to enter the verifications received before issuing the verification checklist. This ensures that DTA does not request verifications already received by the Department

 

Processing Expedited Benefits and Approving the Case with a Single Wrap-up

When a client provides all verifications at application, you are able to process the expedited benefits and approve the case with a single wrap-up.  To process both expedited and ongoing benefits with a single wrap-up, you will wrap up the case using all verifications submitted for case processing.  The rest of the process will be automated by BEACON as follows:

 

Day 1: Once you wrap-up the case, BEACON will display an informational edit that reads: “This request is for a Pending Expedited Food Stamp AU which is ready for approval of regular Food Stamp benefits.  After the expedited benefit is paid, BEACON will automatically create a new request to approve regular Food Stamp benefits.  No further action will be required.”

 

Day 2: As the informational message states, after the expedited benefit is issued, BEACON will automatically create a new request to approve regular SNAP benefits.  At this point, the case will be pending in BEACON.

On the evening of Day-2, the transaction for regular SNAP benefits will be released.

 

Note

The automatic wrap up for case processing will not occur if a Program Integrity Checklist item is identified between the time that the expedited benefit is processed and up until the time of the attempted automatic wrap up for case processing.  Additionally, a batch narrative will be entered to indicate the action taken.  This case will continue to pend and will be placed into the regular FAW action pool for processing.

 

Day 3: The case will show as active and will no longer be pending. The Results tab in BEACON will display both the expedited issuance EBC calculation and the ongoing case approval or denial.

 

Expedited Must Not be Issued with a Single Wrap-up if:

 

In this situation, you must continue to issue expedited benefits separately by selecting identity and any income to be used in the calculation of the expedited benefits. While doing EBC Calculation on the  Interview Wrap-up page, if a pending expedited case has only identity verified and all verifications required for regular SNAP processing are not submitted, expedited benefits must be processed without the case approval.  An informational edit will be displayed in BEACON which reads: “This request is for a Pending Expedited Food Stamp AU.”  After the expedited benefit is paid, BEACON will NOT be able to automatically approve regular Food Stamp benefits. Further action will be required.

In this situation, you must determine eligibility after verifications are received or not received.

 

 

SNAP Application Processing Policy and Procedures

 

 

  Last Update: August 24, 2018