Verification of financial and non-financial eligibility factors play a critical role in the timely and accurate delivery of benefits. What we request, why we request it and the frequency with which we request it has a direct impact on our ability to deliver services. The following are examples of questions involving verifications with answers provided. The case circumstances as a whole must inform your actions. Nuanced rules and competing factors may require a different approach. If you have case specific questions please contact the policy mailbox.
Q1. Doug Jones is a SNAP applicant who states he is homeless. How do I verify residency for this client?
A1. Residency can be verified in a variety of ways. First, explore whether it can be verified through a data source or via other documentary verifications, such as a paystub or through the RMV or SSA. Before requesting proof of residency you must explore if reasonable proof has already been provided. Remember that collateral contact can also be utilized. In extreme circumstances where the client is unable to provide documentary evidence or DTA is unable to establish collateral contact to verify residency, as is often the case for homeless clients, a signed self-declaration (including the application or recertification form) may be accepted.
Q2. Lisa Bourne is a SNAP applicant, she states that she is homeless and does not have a mailing address she can use. Must she provide a mailing address?
A2. Yes, DTA needs a mailing address to send clients important information. Homeless clients may need assistance in identifying an address to use such as that of a friend, relative, authorized representative or shelter. As a last resort, the TAO address may be used. The client must sign the Using TAO for Mailing Address (TAO-MADD) form, which details conditions for use of the TAO address.
Q3. Samantha Boudreax is applying for EAEDC and SNAP. She states she is homeless and is couch surfing from friend to friend usually for a week at a time (no residential or permanent address). Samantha’s mother allows her address to be used for mail purposes only. Samantha pays $50 per week to the friend who lets her sleep on the couch. She also pays for her prepaid cell phone. How do I mark this on BEACON?
A3. All of this information must be recorded on BEACON as reported by the client. The Address page must have the Homeless box checked. Samantha must also have $50 a week entered as rent in the shelter expense page and the Phone SUA entered on the SUA page.
Q4. Mandy Moore is a twenty year old SNAP applicant. She states she is homeless and using her mother’s mailing address. Do I need additional documents to verify this?
A4. No, verbal self-declaration of homelessness is sufficient and additional verification must not be requested. However, as in all situations it is important to ask clarifying questions to thoroughly evaluate the client’s living arrangement. As always be sure to record the client’s explanation in the narrative.
Q1. Michelle May submitted a paper SNAP application on which she indicated that she was applying for herself and her 15 year old daughter. During the interview she informed the worker that her 20 year old son who lives at home is working. She stated she does not want to apply for him because he takes care of his own meals. I explained that he is required to be included in the household due to his age. The client then stated that he actually just moved out and is not living at home. This sounds contradictory, what should I do?
A1. While it is true that dependent children who live at home and are under the age of 22 are required to be in the same household as their parent, a client must not be required to put in writing that someone is no longer in their home. In this situation, it is important to restate the program rules so that the client understands reporting requirements and the risk of withholding information. If a client’s statements regarding who they purchase and prepare with or who has moved out of their home seem questionable or contradictory a referral to the Fraud Investigation and Data Match Unit must be made. A detailed narrative must be written including all of these details.
Q1. Julio Ramos is an EAEDC and SNAP client living in private housing at 123 Main St. Roxbury MA, 02119 and is currently assigned to the Dudley Square TAO. He calls his case manager to report that he has moved to 200 East St. East Bridgewater, MA 02333. Mr. Ramos states that he still lives alone and is paying $200 per month in rent plus all utilities at his new address. These are the same expenses as his previous address in Roxbury. What verifications must I request?
A1. You must update the address on BEACON and complete all necessary pages, (address, shelter costs, utility, etc.). A VC-1 must be sent for the rent and utilities at the new address regardless of whether or not the rental amount or the SUA has changed. Based on the information provided, nothing is questionable about his living arrangement, housing type or residency. A VC-1 must not be sent for these items. Living arrangement and housing type may be verbally self-declared. Residency must be marked as verified because there is no reason to believe he is no longer a Massachusetts resident.
Q2. In the case above the client has not returned the verification requested for rent and utilities and the VC-1 is now past due. What do I do?
A2. You must remove these expenses, write a detailed narrative explaining why the expenses have been removed, wrap up the case and transfer it on BEACON to the office covering Mr. Ramos’ new address. For Simplified Reporting households, the expenses must be removed at the next reporting period. Finally, because this is a EAEDC case, you need to also change the living arrangement, if necessary.
Q3. Edith Kopelman submitted the Notice of Returned Mail form. She filled out the form completely, confirming a new address with the same household members and shelter and utilities costs, but did not submit any other verifications, such as a new lease. Do I send a VC-1?
A3. No, unless there is other questionable or contradictory information, Ms. Kopelman’s case must be updated with the new information provided. All items must be verified using the Notice of Returned Mail form as the self-declaration. Wrap up the changes and transfer the case to the appropriate TAO if applicable.
New FAW Verifications Due Action
Q1. I received an Action: Verifications due, for Carl Winslow’s case. The outstanding verification is for Mr. Winslow’s wages. The previous FAW wrote the following narrative: “Client called and reported a new job and will be working full time (35 hours) at CVS. VC-1 sent for wages.” Mr. Winslow has a certification type of Simplified Reporting. Is this narrative sufficient for me to close the case?
A1. No. Based on SNAP federal rules it needs to be clear that DTA took action to request the verifications because it appeared the client was over his gross income limit. Because that detail is not included in the narrative the Action must be dismissed using the reason: Due to Simplified Reporting Rules. You must make sure a detailed narrative explains the reason for the dismissal so that it is clear to the next FAW that this income needs to be verified during the next reporting period (IR or Recertification).
Q2. Carrie Jones is a SNAP client who called to report she is starting a new job. I asked how much she thinks she will be making before taxes. Ms. Jones states that she thinks she will be making about $2,000 per month. She is the grantee of a household of 3, herself and two minor children on SIMP-12. She gets $500 per month in child support for both kids. Do I send a VC-1 for her wages?
A2. No, a VC-1 must not be sent based on the information provided. According to the client’s household size and reporting requirement she is not over the gross monthly income limit of $3,403 even when combining her wages and the other known income. Sending a VC-1 would be an error. A detailed narrative must be entered explaining:
· that the client reported the employment
· a VC-1 is not necessary at this time, and
· a follow up must be done at the next reporting period.
Q3. John Oliver is a SNAP client who sent a letter to the DTA stating that he started a job last week. He will be working 40 hours per week at $13.00 per hour. He is a household of one on SIMP-12. Because we have information from the client that he is over the gross income limit, a VC-1 is sent for his wages and a narrative outlining all of this detailed information is entered. The FAW receives an Action of: Verifications due. Upon review of the BEACON case record no verifications of earnings appear to have been submitted. What does the FAW do?
A3. Because the previous FAW clearly stated in the narrative that the reported change indicated that the client would exceed his monthly gross income limit, close the case for failure to provide verifications and update the narrative.
Q1. Madeline Medeiros is applying for SNAP and TAFDC for herself, her husband and their 3 children. Must I run an overnight SVES for all household members?
A1. Yes, at application an overnight SVES must be completed for all household members. When adding a new household member an overnight SVES must be run for them before adding them to the case.
Q2. Barry Benoit has submitted his IR, on which he marked no change to his RSDI and SSI. Do I run an overnight SVES?
A2. No, only real time data sources/matches must be checked at IR and SVES must not be run unless in the rare circumstance there is questionable information about the reported SVES information.
Q3. Agnes O’Malley has submitted her recertification form. The household is comprised of Agnes, her husband, John, her sister, Mary, and Mary’s daughter, Julie. Agnes and John have RSDI. Her sister Mary has part time earnings and gets child support for Julie. Who must I run an overnight SVES for?
A3. An overnight SVES must be run for Agnes and John. An overnight must not be run on Mary or Julie based on the information above stating they do not have RSDI, SSI or child support. Of course, if there is contradictory information a SVES must be run and the details of why it was run must be in the narrative.
Q4. Sally Smith and her 11 year old son Robert are recertifying their SNAP benefits. Sally reports a change that she is now getting RSDI. Who must I run a SVES for?
A4. You must run a SVES for both Sally and Robert because it is likely that Robert is also getting a small RSDI benefit based on their relationship.