With the release of OLGT 2021-39: Cross Programs: Telephonic Signature, new procedures were issued regarding how to verify self-declarations (see)
The following procedures no longer fall under Temporary COVID-19 procedures. For these topics, you must follow the procedures outlined in the Regular Online Guide:
PI Matches – you must return to pre-COVID procedures when processing FIDM matches (see).
SLAM for TAFDC and EAEDC (see Addressing SLAM).
The ability to schedule and generate in-office appointments has resumed to ensure that clients who cannot be serviced through the phone have access to Department services at their local office. An in-office appointment may be scheduled for a client to provide Department services in accordance with an ADA accommodation, if they cannot be reached due to having no working contact number, or if an in-office appointment is requested by the client.
Other circumstances, such as client concerns for confidentiality or safety, may also warrant an in-office appointment. A consultation with the DV Specialist is required when the request is related to domestic violence to determine the best way to work with that client.
BEACON will automatically submit a SVES request for all household members for a new application when the number held in the SSN field does not begin with 99. A SVES request is not required at application unless Identity can only be verified by SVES overnight for the grantee, or verification of reported RSDI and/or SSI income is needed.
Case managers must conduct a SVES request at recertification/reevaluation for new household members. A SVES must only be run on existing household members who are receiving or presumed to be receiving RSDI and/or SSI when the RSDI and/or SSI income has not been updated within the last year. A SVES request is not to be submitted for Bay State CAP clients because SSA updates a Bay State client’s case as new information is reported to SSA. In addition, DTA cannot make income changes to Bay State CAP cases.
Case managers will be able to determine if the income has been updated within the last year by clicking on the External Agency – Other Income button in the selected client’s Other Income Status page. The Current Effective date will have the most recent date the income was updated. Use the income listed in the External Agency – Other Income screen if it has been updated within the last year. BENDEX and/or SDX will batch in new data as it becomes available.
SVES requests are not required at case maintenance.
When a SVES request is completed, BEACON automatically creates a Process SVES Query Action, so that the person making the request, can review the returned SVES data. EAEDC and TAFDC case managers must review the Returned SVES Inquiries view to review the data received.
SNAP-only clients must be certified as federally disabled through the Social Security Administration, through MassHealth, through the Veterans Administration at 100% disability or by one of the other sources outlined in theOnline Guide page.
If the client does not provide verification of their disability, and there is no data on SVES or MassHealth, you must process the case without coding the client as disabled.
For guidance regarding verification of Disability for EAEDC please see
For guidance regarding EAEDC noncitizens in a qualified noncitizen status that are not yet residing in the US for more than five years, see EAEDC COVID Procedures for Disability Verification Process.
A client can verbally self-declare disability for the purpose of obtaining an accommodation. This is applicable to all DTA programs. However, a client who self-declares for the purpose of obtaining an accommodation must not be coded as Yes on the Disability page in BEACON, unless the client verifies disability in accordance with the procedures outlined above for each program.
If a client reports that an income source has been terminated, it must be ended in BEACON. If a client reports that they are not terminated, but currently have no hours/pay the income source must be zeroed out. If it is unclear whether they are still employed, two cold call attempts must be made to try and clarify. If cold call attempts to the client are unsuccessful, the source must be ended in BEACON.
A verbal self-declaration that a client is no longer working must be accepted for SNAP only. Similarly, if a client submits a written note indicating they are not working, or if they include this information on a Recertification form, it is acceptable verification of proof of termination. No additional verification is needed as terminated income is not being counted at this time.
Exception: If there is a Work Number Match that is active and displaying wages within 30 days of the case manager reviewing the case, and the client reports that they are unemployed, they must provide documentary evidence for proof of termination from the employer. If the client reports having trouble obtaining this verification, the case manager must institute collateral contact to assist. Each attempt at collateral contact must be recorded in the narrative. As a last resort, a written self-declaration that the client is no longer employed may be accepted. Terminated income, if any, is still not countable.
If unemployment compensation has ended for a client, the terminated unemployment income that falls within the client’s initial cyclical month of application period must be counted. Since DUA is a verified upon receipt source, this is the only terminated income that must be counted. Case managers must also remove this income after it is used in the initial month of application. For more information regarding unemployment income ending, please see Processing Cases with Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Terminated Income received prior to the application date is never considered. Permanent procedures for verifying terminated income have resumed and have been revised to support the hybrid work model.
When an individual who is applying for TAFDC or EAEDC has an outstanding paystub, the option of either counting a client’s last check for the application month or adjusting the eligibility date to the day after a client’s last check is received must still be explored.
As a condition of eligibility, clients must apply for other benefits for which they may be eligible including but not limited to veteran’s benefits and workman’s compensation, as appropriate. You must follow the temporary procedures outlined below for applying for unemployment benefits at application. You must follow the procedures outlined in EAEDC COVID Procedures for Disability Verification Process for information on EAEDC clients who are required to apply for SSI.
Clients applying for TAFDC who recently lost their job or who had their hours reduced must apply for unemployment benefits, if they have not done so already. you must explain to clients that the unemployment benefit will likely be greater than the cash assistance amount. If the client fails to apply for unemployment compensation, the case must be closed for Failure to Apply for Other Benefits, under noncooperation.
If a client states that they are unable to apply for unemployment because they cannot access their account and have been told by the Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) that they must report to the main office in Boston with their identification, and the client is otherwise eligible for TAFDC or EAEDC; you must accept the client’s statement of this and approve the case. Inform the client that once they have been approved for TAFDC or EAEDC benefits, they will be required to take the steps necessary to file the unemployment claim.
The day after the case is approved, you must check UI Online and if there is no claim pending or active, you must create a VC-1 for proof of application for unemployment. Click User Entered on the Verifications tab and click New, then choose Application for Other Benefits under Element. Select Unemployment Compensation under Value, and click the Mandatory radio button for TAFDC, and Save. The VC-1 must be centrally printed, and a narrative completed detailing the action taken. If the client fails to apply for unemployment compensation by the VC-1 due date, the case must be closed for Fail to apply for other benefit(s), under the Reason category Noncooperation.
When an ongoing TAFDC client reports they have stopped working, they must apply for unemployment benefits. A VC-1 for unemployment compensation must be sent to the client. If the client fails to apply for unemployment compensation by the time the VC-1 expires, the case must be closed for Failure to Apply for Other Benefits under Noncooperation.
EAEDC clients approved for unemployment benefits are ineligible for EAEDC even if the weekly payment amount is zero.
EAEDC clients who state they are not able to work due to a disability are not advised to apply for unemployment benefits.
ABAWD work rules remain suspended. Clients normally subject to the ABAWD work rules who appear ineligible due to strikes, must not have the strike(s) removed unless the client was legitimately meeting, exempt or had good cause for that strike month. If the client has regained eligibility because of the suspension of ABAWD work rules, apply the appropriate exemption to the Work Requirements - FS page and enter a regained reason of Exempt on the ABAWD Clock page for the month for which benefits are being issued. If the client does not meet any previously existing exemptions, use ABAWD Rules Suspended (COVID-19) as an exemption in the Work Requirements – FS page.
The TAFDC Pathways to Work sanction process remains paused and 24- month time limited benefits clocks are not currently accruing months; however, certain clients are required to participate in Pathways to Work and most clients can take advantage of Pathways to Work opportunities. You must follow guidance in the TAFDC Pathways to Work book.
If a client reports earned income and the wages are available on Work Number, you must confirm with the client during the interview whether the employer and wage information listed is correct. If the client confirms that Work Number information is correct, the Earned Income page must be updated with Work Number information.
If the client indicates they are no longer employed or the wages in Work Number are not accurate, a mandatory VC-1 must be sent for the applicable item, i.e., wages or proof of termination.
If the client is stating they are having a hard time obtaining information, you must attempt collateral contact. Remember to document all attempts of collateral contact in the narrative. If collateral contact is unsuccessful, a written self-declaration will be accepted as a last resort.
If a case manager is reviewing a case and Work Number has an employer that is active with no wages displayed within 30 days of the date the case manager is reviewing the case, and the client has indicated no earned income, disposition the match as a terminated source in BEACON.
If the client has indicated no earned income and Work Number data is displayed as inactive in BEACON, even if there are wages listed within the last 30 days, disposition the employer as a terminated source.
If the client is at Recertification and an outstanding PI Checklist item appears for Work Number, the match must be acted on.
If the Work Number match is listed as active, there are recent wages within 30 days of the date the recertification is being reviewed by the case manager, and the employer is not known to BEACON or the client reports no earned income, you must perform two cold calls.
If the client answers, and states Work Number information is correct, update the case using Work Number information. If the client indicates they are no longer employed or the wages in Work Number are not accurate, a mandatory VC-1 for either wages or proof of termination must be sent.
If the client states they are having a hard time obtaining information, you must attempt collateral contact. Remember to document all attempts of collateral contact in the narrative. If collateral contact is unsuccessful, a written self-declaration will be accepted as a last resort.
If the client does not answer, a mandatory, user-entered VC-1 for Additional Verification entering in the Details field: Earned Income. In the Document(s) of evidence field enter:
“You indicated that (household member name) had no earned income. Our data sources show earnings from (employer name) within the last 30 days. Please provide proof of your last 4 weeks earnings or proof of termination.”
If a Work Number match that appears on the PI Checklist is listed as active and there are no wages within 30 days of the recertification being reviewed by the case manager, and the client reported no earned income or no changes to their existing earned income, disposition the match as a terminated source and do not use Work Number information.
If the wages displayed on Work Number is for an existing job known to BEACON and the match is active, you must update the wages based on the match. If Work Number appears as an outstanding PI Checklist item, it must be addressed.
Example 1: A client states on their recertification form that they are working and receive wages of $400 per week at Stop and Shop (these wages are not listed on the Work Number). A different employer, Target, is listed on Work Number and shows current wages of $625 per week. The case manager performs a cold call and the client answers. The client confirms the information for Target listed on Work Number is correct and that they are no longer are working at Stop and Shop. The case manager must update the case using the Work Number information and end the Stop and Shop income in BEACON. No additional verification is needed.
Example 2: A client calls in and completes a telephonic recertification including a telephonic signature. There is a PI Checklist match for an active Work Number and has wages within 30 days of the case manager reviewing the case. The client states they just ended the job last week and that they are no longer receiving wages. The case manager must send a mandatory VC-1 for proof of termination.
While SLAM Procedures have resumed for Economic Assistance (EA) programs; for a SNAP case that is linked to a EA case, the procedures below must be followed relating to the SNAP and SLAM must only addressed in instances of increased SLAM.
At application, recertification or reevaluation, you must not address new or continued SLAM circumstances.
However, increased SLAM circumstances at recertification or reevaluation must be addressed using existing procedures under Increased SLAM Circumstances at Interim Report outlined in the Online Guide here.
Example: At application, a client had self-declared that their rent was $1,200 per month and that they were responsible for heating and cooling. The client’s only income is unemployment compensation of $150 per week. Since this is at application, SLAM is not to be addressed.
At recertification, the same client reports that they have moved, and the rent is now $1,600 plus responsibility for full utilities. The client reports no changes to their income. In this situation, SLAM must be addressed using the established procedures in the Online Guide.
If a client submits a voter registration form and it populates as an Action to Process Scanned Document or is available in the Scanned Document History page in the ECF or Available/Reviewed Scanned Documents view, disposition the document as Reviewed Not Relevant. These must not be printed and mailed on behalf of the client. You must conduct a courtesy call and inform the client that they can register to vote online at: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/OVR/. However, if the client does not have access to the internet and would like a new mail-in voter registration sent to them, you must send an email with the client’s name and address to your management team and copy your supervisor. The management team will determine which in-office staff will be assigned to mail the form from the local office.