(a) Use of notice. Prior to any action to reduce or terminate a household's benefits within the certification period, the State agency shall, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, provide the household timely and adequate advance notice before the adverse action is taken.
(1) The notice of adverse action shall be considered timely if the advance notice period conforms to that period of time defined by the State agency as an adequate notice period for its public assistance caseload, provided that the period includes at least 10 days from the date the notice is mailed to the date upon which the action becomes effective. Also, if the adverse notice period ends on a weekend or holiday, and a request for a fair hearing and continuation of benefits is received the day after the weekend or holiday, the State agency shall consider the request timely received.
(2) The notice of adverse action shall be considered adequate if it explains in easily understandable language: The proposed action; the reason for the proposed action; the household's right to request a fair hearing; the telephone number of the SNAP office (toll-free number or a number where collect calls will be accepted for households outside the local calling area) and, if possible, the name of the person to contact for additional information; the availability of continued benefits; and the liability of the household for any overissuances received while awaiting a fair hearing if the hearing official's decision is adverse to the household. If there is an individual or organization available that provides free legal representation, the notice shall also advise the household of the availability of the service. A notice of adverse action that combines the request for verification of information received through an IEVS computer match shall meet the requirements in § 273.2(f)(9). A notice of adverse action that combines the request for verification of information received through a SAVE computer match shall meet the requirements in § 273.2(f)(10).
(3) The State agency may notify a household that its benefits will be reduced or terminated, no later than the date the household receives, or would have received, its allotment, if the following conditions are met:
(i) The household reports the information which results in the reduction or termination.
(ii) The reported information is in writing and signed by the household.
(iii) The State agency can determine the household's allotment or ineligibility based solely on the information provided by the household as required in paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section.
(iv) The household retains its right to a fair hearing as allowed in § 273.15.
(v) The household retains its right to continued benefits if the fair hearing is requested within the time period set by the State agency in accordance with § 273.13(a)(1).
(vi) The State agency continues the household's previous benefit level, if required, within five working days of the household's request for a fair hearing.
(4) The State agency shall notify a household that its benefits will be reduced if an EBT system-error has occurred during the redemption process resulting in an out-of-balance settlement condition. This notification shall be made no later than the date the action is initiated against the household account. The State agency shall adjust the benefit in accordance with § 274.12 of this chapter.
(b) Exemptions from notice. Individual notices of adverse action shall not be provided when:
(2) The State agency determines, based on reliable information, that all members of a household have died.
(3) The State agency determines, based on reliable information, that the household has moved from the project area.
(4) The household has been receiving an increased allotment to restore lost benefits, the restoration is complete, and the household was previously notified in writing of when the increased allotment would terminate.
(5) The household's allotment varies from month to month within the certification period to take into account changes which were anticipated at the time of certification, and the household was so notified at the time of certification.
(6) The household jointly applied for PA/GA and SNAP benefits and has been receiving SNAP benefits pending the approval of the PA/GA grant and was notified at the time of certification that SNAP benefits would be reduced upon approval of the PA/GA grant.
(7) A household member is disqualified for an intentional Program violation in accordance with § 273.16, or the benefits of the remaining household members are reduced or terminated to reflect the disqualification of that household member, except as provided in § 273.11(c)(3)(i). A notice of adverse action must be sent to a currently participating household prior to the reduction or termination of benefits if a household member is found through a disqualified recipient match to be within the period of disqualification for an intentional Program violation penalty determined in another State. In the case of applicant households, State agencies shall follow the procedures in § 273.2(f)(11) for issuing notices to the disqualified individual and the remaining household members. The notice requirements for individuals or households affected by intentional Program violation disqualifications are explained in § 273.16.
(8) The State agency has elected to assign a longer certification period to a household certified on an expedited basis and for whom verification was postponed, provided the household has received written notice that the receipt of benefits beyond the month of application is contingent on its providing the verification which was initially postponed and that the State agency may act on the verified information without further notice as provided in § 273.2(i)(4).
(9) The State agency must change the household's benefits back to the original benefit level as required in § 273.12(c)(1)(iii).
(10) Converting a household from cash and/or SNAP benefit repayment to benefit reduction as a result of failure to make agreed upon repayment as discussed in § 273.18.
(11) The State agency is terminating the eligibility of a resident of a drug or alcoholic treatment center or a group living arrangement if the facility loses either its certification from the appropriate agency or agencies of the State (as defined in § 271.2) or has its status as an authorized representative suspended due to FNS disqualifying it as a retailer. However, residents of group living arrangements applying on their own behalf are still eligible to participate.
(12) The household voluntarily requests, in writing or in the presence of a caseworker, that its participation be terminated. If the household does not provide a written request, the State agency shall send the household a letter confirming the voluntary withdrawal. Written confirmation does not entail the same rights as a notice of adverse action except that the household may request a fair hearing.
(13) The State agency determines, based on reliable information, that the household will not be residing in the project area and, therefore, will be unable to obtain its next allotment. The State agency shall inform the household of its termination no later than its next scheduled issuance date. While the State agency may inform the household before its next issuance date, the State agency shall not delay terminating the household's participation in order to provide advance notice.
(14) The State agency initiates recoupment of a claim as specified in § 273.18(g)(4) against a household which has previously received a notice of adverse action with respect to such claim.
(c) Optional notice. The State agency may, at its option, send the household an adequate notice as provided in paragraph (b)(3) of this section when the household's address is unknown and mail directed to it has been returned by the post office indicating no known forwarding address.
[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47889, Oct. 17, 1978]