When a client reports expenses that exceed the household’s income, you must explore how or whether the household is meeting its expenses. The procedures for handling cases suspected of living above means (SLAM) vary based on whether the SLAM is new, increased or ongoing and where the household is in its certification period.
If a client reports expenses that exceed his/her income, you must explore how the client is meeting expenses and confirm whether the income and expenses on file are correct.
This includes asking clarifying questions such as, but not limited to, whether rent or dependent care is subsidized, if there is any income that may not be considered income by the client such as someone who is paying a portion of their rent, and whether the expenses are split with other persons.
Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) values are excluded from the calculation when determining a SLAM circumstance.
A Verification Checklist (VC-1) may be required based on the client’s response. If the client discloses new information, a VC-1 must be sent for the changed items. Depending on the circumstances, a VC-1 may need to be sent for a SLAM-related item(s).
New SLAM Circumstances at Application, Interim Report and Recertification/Reevaluation
If the client describes a new SLAM situation in writing and confirms that the information is correct and states that s/he is not sure how expenses will be paid or states that s/he is behind on the expenses, you must:
explain to the client that s/he will be required to verify the SLAM circumstance at the next recertification
write a detailed Narrative explaining the household’s SLAM circumstance; and
process the application, IR or Recertification/Reevaluation
If a client reports a new SLAM circumstance that was not previously addressed at application and is now addressed at IR, a cold call must be attempted. The cold call reason of Questionable or Contradictory Information should be selected. If the client cannot be reached, you must write a Narrative explaining the attempt was made and acknowledge that the household has a newly reported SLAM. The case must be processed without delay.
When discussing a reported SLAM circumstance by the client, you must clearly document the SLAM discussion in the case Narrative. If there is no acknowledgement of a SLAM discussion (including an attempt to discuss at Interim Report) in a Narrative, the case must be treated as a new SLAM situation at Recertification.
Clients must not be required to provide verification of the SLAM circumstance if the Department did not inform (or attempt to inform) them of the verification requirements at the previous reporting period.
SLAM Circumstances at Case Maintenance
SLAM-related verifications are not required outside of required reporting periods (application, Interim Report, and Recertification/Reevaluation). If a client provides verification of new or increased expenses outside of required reporting periods, you must update the case record and document the increase in the Narrative. The SLAM circumstances must be addressed at the next reporting period.
No Change Reported at Interim Report
If a client’s case was previously processed with SLAM circumstances and s/he maintains on the IR that there have been no changes, you must:
write a detailed Narrative reflecting that no change has occurred in the household’s SLAM circumstance
process the IR without delay
If a client reports No Change to all fields, including his/her SLAM circumstances at IR, a cold call is not required and must not be attempted. Verifications are not required at this point in the certification period for ongoing SLAM if there has not been a change in the client’s financial circumstances.
Increased SLAM Circumstances at Interim Report
If a client reports a change to his/her financial circumstance that result in an increased SLAM circumstance at IR, you must:
attempt to contact the client to discuss the increase in the SLAM circumstance so the most accurate verification request can be sent, if applicable.
if the client is reached, you must send a VC-1 based on the client’s answer (such as newly reported income that was not identified on the IR).
if the client cannot be reached, you must not schedule an appointment. You must process the Interim Report based on the information reported on the form.
write a detailed Narrative explaining the circumstance and the actions that were taken (attempted cold call, VC-1 sent, etc.)
Increase or Continued SLAM Circumstances at Recertification or Cash Reevaluation
BEACON will waive the recertification interview for households where all adult members are elderly and/or federally certified as disabled with no earned income. However, if an increased or ongoing SLAM circumstance exists, you must attempt contact with the client to clarify the circumstances. To do this, you must go to the Phone page and attempt a cold call, selecting the reason for the cold call as Questionable/Contradictory. If the cold call attempt is not successful for households who appear eligible for the interview waiver, you must schedule an interview appointment.
Once the Recertification or Cash Reevaluation interview is conducted:
if the client explains that s/he is behind on expenses such as, rent, you must send a VC-1 with a type of Past Due Housing Costs. The expenses must be zeroed out and the case processed without credit for the expenses until verification is provided.
if the client does not indicate that there is additional income or explain how expenses are being met, you must send a VC-1 with a verification type of Living Above Means, which is a mandatory verification. The case must not be processed until verification(s) is provided.
If an optional verification(s) is received after the case was processed, you must give the client credit for the expense(s) and check the date the verification is received as the client may be entitled to a related benefit.
With the new VC-1 enhancements, Cash cases that have an outstanding mandatory verification(s) will close automatically if verification is not received within the prescribed timeframes of the reporting period. For SNAP, cases with outstanding mandatory verifications will close according to timely case closing procedures.
SLAM Circumstances at Reapplication/Reinstatement
If a client who reported a SLAM circumstance closes and is reopened within a year, you must explore with the client whether the circumstances have changed during the period when s/he was not receiving cash and/or SNAP benefits. The explanation given will help determine whether s/he must be held to procedures established for addressing new SLAM or ongoing SLAM circumstances at Recertification or Cash Reevaluation.
Example 1: The client reported a previous SLAM circumstance and at recertification the case closed and the SLAM was not addressed. The client reapplies 18 months later and had sufficient income while s/he was not receiving benefits, but subsequently loses the job and reports a new SLAM circumstance at reapplication. The client would not be required to provide verification of the SLAM circumstance because the circumstances changed while the client was not receiving benefits.
If the client reports the same circumstance as listed above within a year of his/her closing, the SLAM circumstance would also be treated as new.
Example 2: If the client reports the same income and expenses the Department had on file within the previous year and does not indicate that circumstances changed during the period s/he was not receiving benefits, you must send a VC-1 with a type of Living Above Means.
Verifications Related to SLAM
The following user-generated verification types were added as part of the VC-1 Sprint enhancements. You must only request these items according to the circumstances outlined above. The table below shows the language that displays on the VC-1 when these options are selected.
A self-declaration of expenses is no longer sufficient when Past Due Housing Costs is requested. The client must provide verification that the expenses continue to be incurred.
If Living Above Means is requested, Cash cases will automatically close if the verification(s) is not received within the prescribed timeframes of the reporting period. For SNAP, cases will close according to timely case closing procedures.
When to Complete a Fraud Referral
If all options have been explored with the client to clarify and verify their SLAM circumstance and fraud is suspected, a fraud referral must be completed.
Suspected fraud includes:
inconsistent or contradictory information concerning current eligibility that cannot be resolved through additional verifications or collateral contacts
deliberate failure to report income, assets or circumstances affecting eligibility or benefit amount or such changes, or
receipt of information from data sources, other agency matches or outside parties that indicates a potential fraud.
Last Update: June 13, 2019