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PART 273 - CERTIFICATION OF ELIGIBLE HOUSEHOLDS
Authority:

7 U.S.C. 2011-2036.

Subpart A - General Rules
§ 273.1 Household concept.

(a) General household definition. A household is composed of one of the following individuals or groups of individuals, unless otherwise specified in paragraph (b) of this section:

(1) An individual living alone;

(2) An individual living with others, but customarily purchasing food and preparing meals for home consumption separate and apart from others; or

(3) A group of individuals who live together and customarily purchase food and prepare meals together for home consumption.

(b) Special household requirements -

(1) Required household combinations. The following individuals who live with others must be considered as customarily purchasing food and preparing meals with the others, even if they do not do so, and thus must be included in the same household, unless otherwise specified.

(i) Spouses;

(ii) A person under 22 years of age who is living with his or her natural or adoptive parent(s) or step-parent(s); and

(iii) A child (other than a foster child) under 18 years of age who lives with and is under the parental control of a household member other than his or her parent. A child must be considered to be under parental control for purposes of this provision if he or she is financially or otherwise dependent on a member of the household, unless State law defines such a person as an adult.

(2) Elderly and disabled persons. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, an otherwise eligible member of a household who is 60 years of age or older and is unable to purchase and prepare meals because he or she suffers from a disability considered permanent under the Social Security Act or a non disease-related, severe, permanent disability may be considered, together with his or her spouse (if living there), a separate household from the others with whom the individual lives. Separate household status under this provision must not be granted when the income of the others with whom the elderly disabled individual resides (excluding the income of the elderly and disabled individual and his or her spouse) exceeds 165 percent of the poverty line.

(3) Boarders.

(i) Residents of a commercial boarding house, regardless of the number of residents, are not eligible to participate in the Program. A commercial boarding house is an establishment licensed to offer meals and lodging for compensation. It does not include any of the entities listed in paragraph (b)(7)(vii) of this section. In project areas without licensing requirements, a commercial boarding house is a commercial establishment that offers meals and lodging for compensation with the intent of making a profit.

(ii) All other individuals or groups of individuals paying a reasonable amount for meals or meals and lodging must be considered boarders and are not eligible to participate in the Program independently of the household providing the board. Such individuals or groups of individuals may participate, along with a spouse or children living with them, as members of the household providing the boarder services, only at the request of the household providing the boarder services. An individual paying less than a reasonable amount for board must not be considered a boarder but must be considered, along with a spouse or children living with him or her, as a member of the household providing the board.

(A) For individuals whose board arrangement is for more than two meals per day, “reasonable compensation” must be an amount that equals or exceeds the maximum SNAP allotment for the appropriate size of the boarder household.

(B) For individuals whose board arrangement is for two meals or less per day, “reasonable compensation” must be an amount that equals or exceeds two-thirds of the maximum SNAP allotment for the appropriate size of the boarder household.

(iii) Boarders must not be considered to be residents of an institution as outlined in paragraph (b)(7)(vii) of this section.

(4) Foster care individuals. Individuals placed in the home of relatives or other individuals or families by a Federal, State, or local governmental foster care program must be considered to be boarders. They cannot participate in the Program independently of the household providing the foster care services. Such foster care individuals may participate, along with a spouse or children living with them, as members of the household providing the foster care services, only at the request of the household providing the foster care.

(5) Roomers. Individuals to whom a household furnishes lodging for compensation, but not meals, may participate as separate households. Persons described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section must not be considered roomers.

(6) Live-in attendants. A live-in attendant may participate as a separate household. Persons described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section must not be considered live-in attendants.

(7) Ineligible household members. The following persons are not eligible to participate as separate households or as a member of any household:

(i) Ineligible aliens and students as specified in §§ 273.4 and 273.5, respectively;

(ii) SSI recipients in “cash-out” States as specified in § 273.20;

(iii) Individuals disqualified for noncompliance with the work requirements of § 273.7;

(iv) Individuals disqualified for failure to provide an SSN as specified in § 273.6;

(v) Individuals disqualified for an intentional Program violation as specified in § 273.16; and

(vi) Residents of an institution, with some exceptions. Individuals must be considered residents of an institution when the institution provides them with the majority of their meals (over 50 percent of three meals daily) as part of the institution's normal services. Exceptions to this requirement include only the individuals listed in paragraphs (b)(7)(vii)(A) through (b)(7)(vii)(E) of this section. The individuals listed in paragraphs (b)(7)(vii)(A) through (b)(7)(vii)(E) can participate in the Program and must be treated as separate households from the others with whom they reside, subject to the mandatory household combination requirements of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, unless otherwise stated:

(A) Individuals who are residents of federally subsidized housing for the elderly;

(B) Individuals who are narcotic addicts or alcoholics and reside at a facility or treatment center for the purpose of regular participation in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program. This includes the children but not the spouses of such persons who live with them at the treatment center or facility;

(C) Individuals who are disabled or blind and are residents of group living arrangements;

(D) Individual women or women with their children who are temporarily residing in a shelter for battered women and children; and

(E) Individuals who are residents of public or private nonprofit shelters for homeless persons.

(vii) Individuals who are ineligible under § 273.11(m) because of a drug-related felony conviction.

(viii) At State agency option, individuals who are disqualified in another assistance program in accordance with § 273.11(k).

(ix) Individuals who are fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a crime, or an attempt to commit a crime, or who are violating a condition of probation or parole who are ineligible under § 273.11(n).

(x) Individuals disqualified for failure to cooperate with child support enforcement agencies in accordance with § 273.11(o) or (p), or for being delinquent in any court-ordered child support obligation in accordance with § 273.11(q).

(xi) Persons ineligible under § 273.24, the time limit for able-bodied adults.

(xii) Individuals convicted of certain crimes and who are out of compliance with the terms of their sentence and ineligible under § 273.11(s).

(c) Unregulated situations. For situations that are not clearly addressed by the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the State agency may apply its own policy for determining when an individual is a separate household or a member of another household if the policy is applied fairly, equitably and consistently throughout the State.

(d) Head of household.

(1) A State agency shall not use the head of household designation to impose special requirements on the household, such as requiring that the head of household, rather than another responsible member of the household, appear at the certification office to make application for benefits. When designating the head of household, the State agency shall allow the household to select an adult parent of children (of any age) living in the household, or an adult who has parental control over children (under 18 years of age) living in the household, as the head of household provided that all adult household members agree to the selection. The State agency shall permit such households to select their head at each certification action or whenever there is a change in household composition. The State agency shall provide written notice to all households at the time of application and as otherwise appropriate that specifies the household's right to select its head of household in accordance with this paragraph. The written notice shall identify which households have the option to select their head of household, the circumstances under which a household may change its designation of head of household, and how such changes must be reported to the State agency. If all adult household members do not agree to the selection or decline to select an adult parent as the head of household, the State agency may designate the head of household or permit the household to make another selection. In no event shall the household's failure to select an adult parent of children or an adult who has parental control over children as the head of household delay the certification or result in the denial of benefits of an otherwise eligible household. For households that do not consist of adult parents and children or adults who have parental control of children living in the household, the State agency shall designate the head of household or permit the household to do so.

(2) For purposes of failure to comply with the work requirements of § 273.7, the head of household shall be the principal wage earner unless the household has selected an adult parent of children as specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section. The principal wage earner shall be the household member (including excluded members) who is the greatest source of earned income in the two months prior to the month of the violation. This provision applies only if the employment involves 20 hours or more per week or provides weekly earnings at least equivalent to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours. No person of any age living with a parent or person fulfilling the role of a parent who is registered for work or exempt from work registration requirements because such parent or person fulfilling the role of a parent is subject to and participating in any work requirement under title IV of the Social Security Act, or in receipt of unemployment compensation (or has registered for work as part of the application for or receipt of unemployment compensation), or is employed or self-employed and working a minimum of 30 hours weekly or receiving weekly earnings equal to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours shall be considered the head of household unless the person is an adult parent of children as specified in § 273.1(d)(1) and the household elects to designate the adult parent as its head of household. If there is no principal source of earned income in the household, the household member, documented in the casefile as the head of the household at the time of the violation, shall be considered the head of household. The designation of head of household through the circumstances of this paragraph shall take precedence over a previous designation of head of household at least until the period of ineligibility is ended.

(e) Strikers. Households with a striking member are not eligible to participate in the Program, unless the household was eligible for benefits the day before the strike and is otherwise eligible at the time of application. A striker must be anyone involved in a strike or concerted stoppage of work by employees (including a stoppage by reason of the expiration of a collective-bargaining agreement) and any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operations by employees. Any employee affected by a lockout, however, must not be deemed to be a striker. Further, an individual who goes on strike but is exempt from work registration under § 273.7(b) the day before the strike, other than those exempt solely on the grounds that they are employed, must not be deemed to be a striker. Also, persons such as truck drivers who cannot do their jobs because the strike has left them with nothing to deliver, and employees who are not part of the bargaining unit and do not want to cross the picket line for fear of personal injury or death, must not be deemed to be strikers.

(1) Pre-strike eligibility must be determined by considering the day prior to the strike as the day of application and assuming the strike did not occur.

(2) Eligibility at the time of application must be determined by comparing the striking member's income before the strike to the striker's current income and adding the higher of the two to the current income of non-striking members during the month of application. If the household is eligible, the higher income figure must also be used in determining the household's benefits.

[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47889, Oct. 17, 1978]

§ 273.2 Office operations and application processing.

(a) Operation of SNAP offices and processing of applications -

(1) Office operations. State agencies must establish procedures governing the operation of SNAP offices that the State agency determines best serve households in the State, including households with special needs, such as, but not limited to, households with elderly or disabled members, households in rural areas with low-income members, homeless individuals, households residing on reservations, households with adult members who are not proficient in English, and households with earned income (working households). The State agency must provide timely, accurate, and fair service to applicants for, and participants in, SNAP. The State agency cannot, as a condition of eligibility, impose additional application or application processing requirements, including in the implementation of a photo EBT card policy. The State agency's photo EBT card policy must not affect the certification process for purposes of determining eligibility regardless of whether an individual has his/her photo placed on the EBT card. The State agency must have a procedure for informing persons who wish to apply for SNAP benefits about the application process and their rights and responsibilities. The State agency must base SNAP eligibility solely on the criteria contained in the Act and this part.

(2) Application processing. The application process includes filing and completing an application form, being interviewed, and having certain information verified. The State agency must act promptly on all applications and provide SNAP benefits retroactive to the month of application to those households that have completed the application process and have been determined eligible. States must meet application processing timelines, regardless of whether a State agency implements a photo EBT card policy. The State agency must make expedited service available to households in immediate need. Specific responsibilities of households and State agencies in the application process are detailed below.

(b) SNAP application form -

(1) A State agency may consider an application form to be a paper document, on-line document or a recorded conversation. Each application form shall contain:

(i) In prominent and boldface lettering and understandable terms a statement that the information provided by the applicant in connection with the application for SNAP benefits will be subject to verification by Federal, State and local officials to determine if such information is factual; that if any information is incorrect, SNAP benefits may be denied to the applicant; and that the applicant may be subject to criminal prosecution for knowingly providing incorrect information;

(ii) In prominent and boldface lettering and understandable terms a description of the civil and criminal provisions and penalties for violations of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008;

(iii) A statement to be signed by one adult household member which certifies, under penalty of perjury, the truth of the information contained in the application, including the information concerning citizenship and alien status of the members applying for benefits;

(iv) A place on the front page of the application where the applicant can write his/her name, address, and signature.

(v) In plain and prominent language on or near the front page of the application, notification of the household's right to immediately file the application as long as it contains the applicant's name and address and the signature of a responsible household member or the household's authorized representative. Regardless of the type of system the State agency uses (paper or electronic), it must provide a means for households to immediately begin the application process with name, address and signature;

(vi) In plain and prominent language on or near the front page of the application, a description of the expedited service provisions described in paragraph (i) of this section;

(vii) In plain and prominent language on or near the front page of the application, notification that benefits are provided from the date of application; and

(viii) The following nondiscrimination statement on the application itself even if the State agency uses a joint application form: “In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, political beliefs, or disability. “To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”; and

(ix) For multi-program applications, contain language which clearly affords applicants the option of answering only those questions relevant to the program or programs for which they are applying.

(2) Income and eligibility verification system (IEVS). In using IEVS in accordance with paragraph (f)(9) of this section, a State agency must notify all applicants for SNAP benefits at the time of application and at each recertification through a written statement on, or provided with, the application form that information available through IEVS will be requested, used, and may be verified through collateral contact when discrepancies are found by the State agency, and that such information may affect the household's eligibility and level of benefits. The regulations at § 273.2(f)(4)(ii) govern the use of collateral contacts. The State agency must also notify all applicants on the application form that the alien status of applicant household members may be subject to verification by USCIS through the submission of information from the application to USCIS, and that the submitted information received from USCIS may affect the household's eligibility and level of benefits.

(3) Jointly processed cases. If a State agency has a procedure that allows applicants to apply for SNAP and another program at the same time, the State agency shall notify applicants that they may file a joint application for more than one program or they may file a separate application for SNAP benefits independent of their application for benefits from any other program. All SNAP applications, regardless of whether they are joint applications or separate applications, must be processed for SNAP purposes in accordance with SNAP procedural, timeliness, notice, and fair hearing requirements. No household shall have its SNAP benefits denied solely on the basis that its application to participate in another program has been denied or its benefits under another program have been terminated without a separate determination by the State agency that the household failed to satisfy a SNAP eligibility requirement. Households that file a joint application for SNAP benefits and another program and are denied benefits for the other program shall not be required to resubmit the joint application or to file another application for SNAP benefits but shall have its SNAP eligibility determined based on the joint application in accordance with the SNAP processing time frames from the date the joint application was initially accepted by the State agency.

(4) Privacy Act statement. As a State agency, you must notify all households applying and being recertified for SNAP benefits of the following:

(i) The collection of this information, including the social security number (SSN) of each household member, is authorized under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2011-2036. The information will be used to determine whether your household is eligible or continues to be eligible to participate in SNAP. We will verify this information through computer matching programs. This information will also be used to monitor compliance with program regulations and for program management.

(ii) This information may be disclosed to other Federal and State agencies for official examination, and to law enforcement officials for the purpose of apprehending persons fleeing to avoid the law.

(iii) If a SNAP claim arises against your household, the information on this application, including all SSNs, may be referred to Federal and State agencies, as well as private claims collection agencies, for claims collection action.

(iv) Providing the requested information, including the SSN of each household member, is voluntary. However, failure to provide an SSN will result in the denial of SNAP benefits to each individual failing to provide an SSN. Any SSNs provided will be used and disclosed in the same manner as SSNs of eligible household members.

(c) Filing an application -

(1) Household's right to file -

(i) Where to file. Households must file SNAP applications by submitting the forms to the SNAP office either in person, through an authorized representative, by mail, by completing an on-line electronic application, or, if available, by fax, telephone, or other electronic transmission.

(ii) Right to file in writing. All households have the right to apply or to re-apply for SNAP in writing. The State agency shall neither deny nor interfere with a household's right to apply or to re-apply in writing.

(iii) Right to same-day filing. Each household has the right to file an application form on the same day it contacts the SNAP office during office hours. The household shall be advised that it does not have to be interviewed before filing the application and may file an incomplete application form as long as the form contains the applicant's name and address, and is signed by a responsible member of the household or the household's authorized representative. Regardless of the type of application system used, the State agency must provide a means for all applicants applying through any mechanism to immediately begin the application process by filing an application with only the name, address and signature.

(iv) Recording the filing date. The date of application is the date the application is received by the State agency. State agencies must document the application date on the application. If the application is received outside normal business hours the State agency will consider the date of application the next business day. For online applications, the date of application is the date the application is submitted, or the next business day if it is submitted after business hours. For telephonic applications, the date of application is the date on which the household member provides verbal assent.

(v) Application copies. When a household member completes an application, the State agency must offer to provide a copy of the completed application. For purposes of this subsection, a copy of the completed application is a copy of the information provided by the client that the State agency has used or will use to determine a household's eligibility and benefit allotment. At the option of the household, the State may provide the copy in an electronic format.

(vi) Residents of institutions. The following special provisions apply to residents of institutions.

(A) Filing date. When a resident of an institution is jointly applying for SSI and SNAP benefits prior to leaving the institution, the filing date of the application that the State agency must record is the date of release of the applicant from the institution.

(B) Processing deadline. The length of time a State agency has to deliver benefits is calculated from the date the application is filed in the SNAP office designated by the State agency to accept the household's application, except when a resident of a public institution is jointly applying for SSI and SNAP benefits prior to his/her release from an institution in accordance with § 273.11(i).

(C) Certification procedures. Residents of public institutions who apply for SNAP prior to their release from the institution shall be certified in accordance with § 273.2 paragraph (g)(1) or § 273.2(i)(3)(i) of this section, as appropriate.

(2) Contacting the SNAP office.

(i) State agencies shall encourage households to file an application form the same day the household or its representative contacts the SNAP office in person or by telephone and expresses interest in obtaining SNAP assistance or expresses concerns which indicate food insecurity. If the State agency attempts to discourage households from applying for cash assistance, it shall make clear that the disadvantages and requirements of applying for cash assistance do not apply to SNAP benefits. In addition, it shall encourage applicants to continue with their application for SNAP benefits. The State agency shall inform households that receiving SNAP benefits will have no bearing on any other program's time limits that may apply to the household. If a household contacting the SNAP office by telephone does not wish to come to the appropriate office to file the application that same day and instead prefers receiving an application through the mail, the State agency shall mail an application form to the household on the same day the telephone request is received. An application shall also be mailed on the same day a written request for food assistance is received.

(ii) Where a project area has designated certification offices to serve specific geographic areas, households may contact an office other than the one designated to service the area in which they reside. When a household contacts the wrong certification office within a project area in person or by telephone, the certification office shall, in addition to meeting other requirements in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, give the household the address and telephone number of the appropriate office. The certification office shall also offer to forward the household's application to the appropriate office that same day if the household has completed enough information on the application to file or forward it the next day by any means that ensures the application arrives at the application office the day it is forwarded. The household shall be informed that its application will not be considered filed and the processing standards shall not begin until the application is received by the appropriate office. If the household has mailed its application to the wrong office within a project area, the certification office shall mail the application to the appropriate office on the same day, or forward it the next day by any means that ensures the application arrives at the application office the day it is forwarded.

(iii) In State agencies that elect to have Statewide residency, as provided in § 273.3, the application processing timeframes begin when the application is filed in any SNAP office in the State.

(3) Availability of the application form.

(i) General availability. The State agency shall make application forms readily accessible to potentially eligible households. The State agency shall also provide an application form to anyone who requests the form. Regardless of the type of system the State agency uses, the State agency must provide a means for applicants to immediately file an application that includes only name, address and signature. If the State agency maintains a Web page, it must make the application available on the Web page in each language in which the State agency makes a printed application available. The State agency must provide on the Web page the addresses and phone numbers of all State SNAP offices and a statement that the household should return the application form to its nearest local office. The applications must be accessible to persons with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Public Law 93-112, as amended by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1974, Public Law 93-516, 29 U.S.C. 794, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. 12101.

(ii) Paper forms. The State agency must make paper application forms readily accessible and available even if the State agency also accepts application forms through other means.

(4) Notice of right to file. The State agency shall post signs in the certification office which explain the application processing standards and the right to file an application on the day of initial contact. The State agency shall include similar information about same day filing on the application form.

(5) Notice of Required Verification. The State agency shall provide each household at the time of application for certification and recertification with a notice that informs the household of the verification requirements the household must meet as part of the application process. The notice shall also inform the household of the State agency's responsibility to assist the household in obtaining required verification provided the household is cooperating with the State agency as specified in (d)(1) of this section. The notice shall be written in clear and simple language and shall meet the bilingual requirements designated in § 272.4(b) of this chapter. At a minimum, the notice shall contain examples of the types of documents the household should provide and explain the period of time the documents should cover.

(6) Withdrawing application. The household may voluntarily withdraw its application at any time prior to the determination of eligibility. The State agency shall document in the case file the reason for withdrawal, if any was stated by the household, and that contact was made with the household to confirm the withdrawal. The household shall be advised of its right to reapply at any time subsequent to a withdrawal.

(7) Signing an application or reapplication form. In this paragraph, the word “form” refers to applications and reapplications.

(i) Requirement for a signature. A form must be signed to establish a filing date and to determine the State agency's deadline for acting on the form. The State agency shall not certify a household without a signed form.

(ii) Right to provide written signature. All households have the right to sign a SNAP form in writing.

(iii) Unwritten signatures. The State agency shall decide whether unwritten signatures are generally acceptable. The State agency may decide to accept unwritten signatures. A State agency that does not select this option must accept unwritten signatures when necessary to comply with civil rights laws.

(A) These may include electronic signature techniques, recorded telephonic signatures, or recorded gestured signatures.

(B) A State agency is not required to obtain a written signature in addition to an unwritten signature.

(iv) Who may sign the form.

(A) An adult member of the household.

(B) An authorized representative, as described in paragraph (n)(1) of this section.

(v) Application copies. When a household member completes an application, the State agency must offer to provide a copy of the completed application. For purposes of this subsection, a copy of the completed application is a copy of the information provided by the client that the State agency has used or will use to determine a household's eligibility and benefit allotment. At the option of the household, the State may provide the copy in an electronic format.

(vi) Handwritten signatures. These provisions apply specifically to handwritten signatures, including handwritten signatures that the household transmits by facsimile or other electronic transmission.

(A) If the signatory cannot sign with a name, an X is a valid signature.

(B) The State agency may require a witness to attest to an X signature.

(C) An employee of the State agency may serve as a witness.

(vii) Electronic signatures. These provisions apply specifically to electronic signatures.

(A) The State agency may accept an electronic signature but is not required to do so.

(B) Some examples of electronic signature are the use of a Personal Identification Number (PIN), a computer password, clicking on an “I accept these conditions” button on a screen, or clicking on a “Submit” button on a screen.

(viii) Telephonic signatures. These provisions apply specifically to telephonic signatures.

(A) A State agency that chooses to accept telephonic signatures under this paragraph (c)(7)(viii) must specify in its State plan of operation that it has selected this option.

(B) To constitute a valid telephonic signature, the State agency's telephonic signature system must make an audio recording of the household's verbal assent and a summary of the information to which the household assents. An example of a telephonic signature is a recording of “Yes” or “No”, “I agree” or “I do not agree”, or otherwise clearly indicating agreement or disagreement during an interview over the telephone. An example of a summary of the information to which the household assents is a recording of a reiteration of the household's details agreed to during the telephone conversation.

(C) A telephonic signature system must provide for linkage from the audio file of the recorded verbal assent to the application so that the State agency has ready access to the household's entire case file.

(D) The State agency shall promptly provide to the household member a written copy of the completed application, with instructions for a simple procedure for correcting any errors or omissions.

(ix) Gestured signatures. These provisions apply specifically to gestured signatures.

(A) A State agency that chooses to accept gestured signatures under this paragraph (c)(7)(ix) must specify in its State plan of operation that it has selected this option.

(B) Gestured signatures include the use of signs and expressions to communicate “Yes” or “I agree” in American Sign Language (ASL), Manually Coded English (MCE) or another similar language or method during an interview, in person or over a video link.

(C) The State agency shall promptly provide to the household member a written copy of the completed application, with instructions for a simple procedure for correcting any errors or omissions.

(d) Household cooperation.

(1) To determine eligibility, the application form must be completed and signed, the household or its authorized representative must be interviewed, and certain information on the application must be verified. If the household refuses to cooperate with the State agency in completing this process, the application shall be denied at the time of refusal. For a determination of refusal to be made, the household must be able to cooperate, but clearly demonstrate that it will not take actions that it can take and that are required to complete the application process. For example, to be denied for refusal to cooperate, a household must refuse to be interviewed not merely failing to appear for the interview. If there is any question as to whether the household has merely failed to cooperate, as opposed to refused to cooperate, the household shall not be denied, and the agency shall provide assistance required by paragraph (c)(5) of this section. The household shall also be determined ineligible if it refuses to cooperate in any subsequent review of its eligibility, including reviews generated by reported changes and applications for recertification. Once denied or terminated for refusal to cooperate, the household may reapply but shall not be determined eligible until it cooperates with the State agency. The State agency shall not determine the household to be ineligible when a person outside of the household fails to cooperate with a request for verification. The State agency shall not consider individuals identified as nonhousehold members under § 273.1(b)(2) as individuals outside the household.

(2) Cooperation with QC Reviewer. In addition, the household shall be determined ineligible if it refuses to cooperate in any subsequent review of its eligibility as a part of a quality control review. If a household is terminated for refusal to cooperate with a quality control reviewer, in accordance with §§ 275.3(c)(5) and 275.12(g)(1)(ii) of this chapter, the household may reapply, but shall not be determined eligible until it cooperates with the quality control reviewer. If a household terminated for refusal to cooperate with a State quality control reviewer reapplies after 125 days from the end of the annual review period, the household shall not be determined ineligible for its refusal to cooperate with a State quality control reviewer during the completed review period, but must provide verification in accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(ix) of this section. If a household terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Federal quality control reviewer reapplies after nine months from the end of the annual review period, the household shall not be determined ineligible for its refusal to cooperate with a Federal quality control reviewer during the completed review period, but must provide verification in accordance with paragraph (f)(1)(ix) of this section. In the event that one or more household members no longer resides with a household terminated for refusal to cooperate, the penalty for refusal to cooperate will attach to household of the person(s) who refused to cooperate. If the State agency is unable to determine which household member(s) refused to cooperate, the State agency shall determine the household to which the penalty shall apply.

(e) Interviews.

(1) Except for households certified for longer than 12 months, and except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, households must have a face-to-face interview with an eligibility worker at initial certification and at least once every 12 months thereafter. State agencies may not require households to report for an in-office interview during their certification period, though they may request households to do so. For example, State agencies may not require households to report en masse for an in-office interview during their certification periods simply to review their case files, or for any other reason. State agencies may not require an in person interview solely to take a photo. Interviews may be conducted at the SNAP office or other mutually acceptable location, including a household's residence. If the interview will be conducted at the household's residence, it must be scheduled in advance with the household. If a household in which all adult members are elderly or disabled is certified for 24 months in accordance with § 273.10(f)(1), or a household residing on a reservation is required to submit monthly reports and is certified for 24 months in accordance with § 273.10(f)(2), a face-to-face interview is not required during the certification period. The individual interviewed may be the head of household, spouse, any other responsible member of the household, or an authorized representative. The applicant may bring any person he or she chooses to the interview. The interviewer must not simply review the information that appears on the application, but must explore and resolve with the household unclear and incomplete information. The interviewer must advise households of their rights and responsibilities during the interview, including the appropriate application processing standard and the households' responsibility to report changes. The interviewer must advise households that are also applying for or receiving PA benefits that time limits and other requirements that apply to the receipt of PA benefits do not apply to the receipt of SNAP benefits, and that households which cease receiving PA benefits because they have reached a time limit, have begun working, or for other reasons, may still qualify for SNAP benefits. The interviewer must conduct the interview as an official and confidential discussion of household circumstances. The State agency must protect the applicant's right to privacy during the interview. Facilities must be adequate to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of the interview.

(2) The State agency may use a telephone interview instead of the face-to-face interview required in paragraph (e)(1) of this section for all applicant households, for specified categories of households, or on a case-by-case basis because of household hardship situations as determined by the State agency. The hardship conditions must include, but are not limited to, illness, transportation difficulties, care of a household member, hardships due to residency in a rural area, prolonged severe weather, or work or training hours that prevent the household from participating in an in-office interview. If a State agency has not already provided that a telephone interview will be used for a household, and that household meets the State agency's hardship criteria and requests to not have an in-office interview, the State agency must offer to the household to conduct the interview by telephone. The State agency may provide a home-based interview only if a household meets the hardship criteria and requests one. A State agency that chooses to routinely interview households by telephone in lieu of the face-to-face interview must specify this choice in its State plan of operation and describe the types of households that will be routinely offered a telephone interview in lieu of a face-to-face interview. The State agency must grant a face-to-face interview to any household that requests one.

(i) State agencies must inform each applicant of the opportunity for a face-to-face interview at the time of application and recertification and grant a face-to-face interview to any household that requests one at any time, even if the State agency has elected the option to routinely provide telephone interviews.

(ii) Like households participating in face-to-face interviews, households interviewed by any means other than the face-to-face interview are not exempt from verification requirements. However, the State agency may use special procedures to permit the household to provide verification and thus obtain its benefits in a timely manner, such as substituting a collateral contact in cases where documentary verification would normally be provided.

(iii) The use of non-face-to-face interviews may not affect the length of a household's certification period.

(iv) State agencies must provide Limited English Proficient (LEP) households with bilingual personnel during the interview as required under § 272.4(b) of this chapter.

(3) The State agency must schedule an interview for all applicant households who are not interviewed on the day they submit their applications. To the extent practicable, the State agency must schedule the interview to accommodate the needs of groups with special circumstances, including working households. The State agency must schedule all interviews as promptly as possible to insure eligible households receive an opportunity to participate within 30 days after the application is filed. The State agency must notify each household that misses its interview appointment that it missed the scheduled interview and that the household is responsible for rescheduling a missed interview. If the household contacts the State agency within the 30 day application processing period, the State agency must schedule a second interview. The State agency may not deny a household's application prior to the 30th day after application if the household fails to appear for the first scheduled interview. If the household requests a second interview during the 30-day application processing period and is determined eligible, the State agency must issue prorated benefits from the date of application.

(f) Verification. Verification is the use of documentation or a contact with a third party to confirm the accuracy of statements or information. The State agency must give households at least 10 days to provide required verification. Paragraph (i)(4) of this section contains verification procedures for expedited service cases.

(1) Mandatory verification. State agencies shall verify the following information prior to certification for households initially applying:

(i) Gross nonexempt income. Gross nonexempt income shall be verified for all households prior to certification. However, where all attempts to verify the income have been unsuccessful because the person or organization providing the income has failed to cooperate with the household and the State agency, and all other sources of verification are unavailable, the eligibility worker shall determine an amount to be used for certification purposes based on the best available information.

(ii) Alien eligibility.

(A) The State agency shall verify the eligible status of all aliens applying for SNAP benefits by using an immigration status verification system established under section 1137 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b-7). FNS may require State agencies to provide written confirmation from USCIS that the system used by the State is an immigration status verification system established under section 1137 of the Social Security Act. If an alien does not wish the State agency to contact USCIS to verify his or her immigration status, the State agency must give the household the option of withdrawing its application or participating without that member. The Department of Justice (DOJ) Interim Guidance On Verification of Citizenship, Qualified Alien Status and Eligibility Under Title IV of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Interim Guidance) (62 FR 61344, November 17, 1997) contains information on acceptable documents and USCIS codes. State agencies should use the Interim Guidance until DOJ publishes a final rule on this issue. Thereafter, State agencies should consult both the Interim Guidance and the DOJ final rule. Where the Interim Guidance and the DOJ final rule conflict, the latter should control the verification of alien eligibility. As provided in § 273.4, the following information may also be relevant to the eligibility of some aliens: date of admission or date status was granted; military connection; battered status; if the alien was lawfully residing in the United States on August 22, 1996; membership in certain Indian tribes; if the person was age 65 or older on August 22, 1996; if a lawful permanent resident can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of covered work and if any Federal means-tested public benefits were received in any quarter after December 31, 1996; or if the alien was a member of certain Hmong or Highland Laotian tribes during a certain period of time or is the spouse or unmarried dependent of such a person. The State agency must also verify these factors, if applicable to the alien's eligibility. The SSA Quarters of Coverage History System (QCHS) is available for purposes of verifying whether a lawful permanent resident has earned or can receive credit for a total of 40 qualifying quarters. However, the QCHS may not show all qualifying quarters. For instance, SSA records do not show current year earnings and in some cases the last year's earnings, depending on the time of request. Also, in some cases, an applicant may have work from uncovered employment that is not documented by SSA, but is countable toward the 40 quarters test. In both these cases, the individual, rather than SSA, would need to provide the evidence needed to verify the quarters.

(B) An alien is ineligible until acceptable documentation is provided unless:

(1) The State agency has submitted a copy of a document provided by the household to USCIS for verification. Pending such verification, the State agency cannot delay, deny, reduce or terminate the individual's eligibility for benefits on the basis of the individual's immigration status; or

(2) The applicant or the State agency has submitted a request to SSA for information regarding the number of quarters of work that can be credited to the individual, SSA has responded that the individual has fewer than 40 quarters, and the individual provides documentation from SSA that SSA is conducting an investigation to determine if more quarters can be credited. If SSA indicates that the number of qualifying quarters that can be credited is under investigation, the State agency must certify the individual pending the results of the investigation for up to 6 months from the date of the original determination of insufficient quarters; or

(3) The applicant or the State agency has submitted a request to a Federal agency for verification of information which bears on the individual's eligible alien status. The State agency must certify the individual pending the results of the investigation for up to 6 months from the date of the original request for verification.

(C) The State agency must provide alien applicants with a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation of their eligible alien status as of the 30th day following the date of application. A reasonable opportunity must be at least 10 days from the date of the State agency's request for an acceptable document. When the State agency fails to provide an alien applicant with a reasonable opportunity as of the 30th day following the date of application, the State agency must provide the household with benefits no later than 30 days following the date of application, provided the household is otherwise eligible.

(iii) Utility expenses. The State agency shall verify a household's utility expenses if the household wishes to claim expenses in excess of the State agency's utility standard and the expense would actually result in a deduction. If the household's actual utility expenses cannot be verified before the 30 days allowed to process the application expire, the State agency shall use the standard utility allowance, provided the household is entitled to use the standard as specified in § 273.9(d). If the household wishes to claim expenses for an unoccupied home, the State agency shall verify the household's actual utility expenses for the unoccupied home in every case and shall not use the standard utility allowance.

(iv) Medical expenses. The amount of any medical expenses (including the amount of reimbursements) deductible under § 273.9(d)(3) shall be verified prior to initial certification. Verification of other factors, such as the allowability of services provided or the eligibility of the person incurring the cost, shall be required if questionable.

(v) Social security numbers. The State agency shall verify the social security number(s) (SSN) reported by the household by submitting them to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for verification according to procedures established by SSA. The State agency shall not delay the certification for or issuance of benefits to an otherwise eligible household solely to verify the SSN of a household member. Once an SSN has been verified, the State agency shall make a permanent annotation to its file to prevent the unnecessary reverification of the SSN in the future. The State agency shall accept as verified an SSN which has been verified by another program participating in the IEVS described in § 272.8. If an individual is unable to provide an SSN or does not have an SSN, the State agency shall require the individual to submit Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Number, to the SSA in accordance with procedures in § 273.6. A completed SSA Form 2853 shall be considered proof of application for an SSN for a newborn infant.

(vi) Residency. The residency requirements of § 273.3 shall be verified except in unusual cases (such as homeless households, some migrant farmworker households, or households newly arrived in a project area) where verification of residency cannot reasonably be accomplished. Verification of residency should be accomplished to the extent possible in conjunction with the verification of other information such as, but not limited to, rent and mortgage payments, utility expenses, and identity. If verification cannot be accomplished in conjunction with the verification of other information, then the State agency shall use a collateral contact or other readily available documentary evidence. Documents used to verify other factors of eligibility should normally suffice to verify residency as well. Any documents or collateral contact which reasonably establish the applicant's residency must be accepted and no requirement for a specific type of verification may be imposed. No durational residency requirement shall be established.

(vii) Identity. The identity of the person making application shall be verified. Where an authorized representative applies on behalf of a household, the identity of both the authorized representative and the head of household shall be verified. Identity may be verified through readily available documentary evidence, or if this is unavailable, through a collateral contact. Examples of acceptable documentary evidence which the applicant may provide include, but are not limited to, a driver's license, a work or school ID, an ID for health benefits or for another assistance or social services program, a voter registration card, wage stubs, or a birth certificate. Any documents which reasonably establish the applicant's identity must be accepted, and no requirement for a specific type of document, such as a birth certificate, may be imposed.

(viii) Disability.

(A) The State agency shall verify disability as defined in § 271.2 as follows:

(1) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) of the definition, the household shall provide proof that the disabled individual is receiving benefits under titles I, II, X, XIV or XVI of the Social Security Act.

(2) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraph (6) of the definition, the household must present a statement from the Veterans Administration (VA) which clearly indicates that the disabled individual is receiving VA disability benefits for a service-connected or non-service-connected disability and that the disability is rated as total or paid at the total rate by VA.

(3) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraphs (7) and (8) of the definition, proof by the household that the disabled individual is receiving VA disability benefits is sufficient verification of disability.

(4) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraphs (5) and (9) of the definition, the State agency shall use the Social Security Administration's (SSA) most current list of disabilities considered permanent under the Social Security Act for verifying disability. If it is obvious to the caseworker that the individual has one of the listed disabilities, the household shall be considered to have verified disability. If disability is not obvious to the caseworker, the household shall provide a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist certifying that the individual has one of the nonobvious disabilities listed as the means for verifying disability under paragraphs (5) and (9) of the definition.

(5) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraph (10) of the definition, the household shall provide proof that the individual receives a Railroad Retirement disability annuity from the Railroad Retirement Board and has been determined to qualify for Medicare.

(6) For individuals to be considered disabled under paragraph (11) of the definition, the household shall provide proof that the individual receives interim assistance benefits pending the receipt of Supplemental Security Income; or disability-related medical assistance under title XIX of the SSA; or disability-based State general assistance benefits. The State agency shall verify that the eligibility to receive these benefits is based upon disability or blindness criteria which are at least as stringent as those used under title XVI of the Social Security Act.

(B) For disability determinations which must be made relevant to the provisions of § 273.1(a)(2)(ii), the State agency shall use the SSA's most current list of disabilities as the initial step for verifying if an individual has a disability considered permanent under the Social Security Act. However, only those individuals who suffer from one of the disabilities mentioned in the SSA list who are unable to purchase and prepare meals because of such disability shall be considered disabled for the purpose of this provision. If it is obvious to the caseworker that the individual is unable to purchase and prepare meals because he/she suffers from a severe physical or mental disability, the individual shall be considered disabled for the purpose of the provision even if the disability is not specifically mentioned on the SSA list. If the disability is not obvious to the caseworker, he/she shall verify the disability by requiring a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist certifying that the individual (in the physician's/psychologist's opinion) is unable to purchase and prepare meals because he/she suffers from one of the nonobvious disabilities mentioned in the SSA list or is unable to purchase meals because he/she suffers from some other severe, permanent physical or mental disease or nondisease-related disability. The elderly and disabled individual (or his/her authorized representative) shall be responsible for obtaining the cooperation of the individuals with whom he/she resides in providing the necessary income information about the others to the State agency for purposes of this provision.

(ix) State agencies shall verify all factors of eligibility for households who have been terminated for refusal to cooperate with a State quality control reviewer, and reapply after 95 days from the end of the annual review period. State agencies shall verify all factors of eligibility for households who have been terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Federal quality control reviewer and reapply after seven months from the end of the annual review period.

(x) Household composition. State agencies shall verify factors affecting the composition of a household, if questionable. Individuals who claim to be a separate household from those with whom they reside shall be responsible for proving that they are a separate household to the satisfaction of the State agency. Individuals who claim to be a separate household from those with whom they reside based on the various age and disability factors for determining separateness shall be responsible for proving a claim of separateness (at the State agency's request) in accordance with the provisions of § 273.2(f)(1)(viii).

(xi) Students. If a person claims to be physically or mentally unfit for purposes of the student exemption contained in § 273.5(b)(2) and the unfitness is not evident to the State agency, verification may be required. Appropriate verification may consist of receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources, or of a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist.

(xii) Legal obligation and actual child support payments. The State agency shall obtain verification of the household's legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of the obligation, and the monthly amount of child support the household actually pays. Documents that are accepted as verification of the household's legal obligation to pay child support shall not be accepted as verification of the household's actual monthly child support payments. State agencies may and are strongly encouraged to obtain information regarding a household member's child support obligation and payments from Child Support Enforcement (CSE) automated data files. For households that pay their child support exclusively through their State CSE agency, the State agency may use information provided by that agency in determining a household's legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of its obligation and amount the household has actually paid. A household would not have to provide additional verification unless it disagrees with the data presented by the State CSE agency. Before the State agency may use the CSE agency's information, the household must sign a statement authorizing release of the household's child support payment records to the State agency. State agencies that choose to rely on information provided by their State CSE agency in accordance with this paragraph (f)(1)(xii) must specify in their State plan of operation that they have selected this option. The State agency shall give the household an opportunity to resolve any discrepancy between household verification and CSE records in accordance with paragraph (f)(9) of this section.

(xiii) [Reserved]

(xiv) Additional verification for able-bodied adults subject to the time limit -

(A) Hours worked. For individuals subject to the SNAP time limit of § 273.24 who are satisfying the work requirement by working, by combining work and participation in a work program, or by participating in a work or workfare program that is not operated or supervised by the State agency, the individuals' work hours shall be verified.

(B) Countable months in another state. For individuals subject to the SNAP time limit of § 273.24, the State agency must verify the number of countable months (as defined in § 273.24(b)(1)) an individual has used in another State if there is an indication that the individual participated in that State. The normal processing standards of 7 CFR 273.2(g) apply. The State agency may accept another State agency's assertion as to the number of countable months an individual has used in another State.

(2) Verification of questionable information.

(i) The State agency shall verify, prior to certification of the household, all other factors of eligibility which the State agency determines are questionable and affect the household's eligibility and benefit level. The State agency shall establish guidelines to be followed in determining what shall be considered questionable information. These guidelines shall not prescribe verification based on race, religion, ethnic background, or national origin. These guidelines shall not target groups such as migrant farmworkers or American Indians for more intensive verification under this provision.

(ii) If a member's citizenship or status as a non-citizen national is questionable, the State agency must verify the member's citizenship or non-citizen national status in accordance with attachment 4 of the DOJ Interim Guidance. After DOJ issues final rules, State agencies should consult both the Interim Guidance and the final rule. Where the Interim Guidance and the DOJ final rule conflict, the latter should control the eligibility determination. The State agency must accept participation in another program as acceptable verification if verification of citizenship or non-citizen national status was obtained for that program. If the household cannot obtain the forms of verification suggested in attachment 4 of the DOJ Interim Guidance and the household can provide a reasonable explanation as to why verification is not available, the State agency must accept a signed statement, under penalty of perjury, from a third party indicating a reasonable basis for personal knowledge that the member in question is a U.S. citizen or non-citizen national. The signed statement must contain a warning of the penalties for helping someone commit fraud. Absent verification or third party attestation of U.S. citizenship or non-citizen national status, the member whose citizenship or non-citizen national status is in question is ineligible to participate until the issue is resolved. The member whose citizenship or non-citizen national status is in question will have his or her income and resources considered available to any remaining household members as set forth in § 273.11(c).

(3) State agency options. In addition to the verification required in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this section, the State agency may elect to mandate verification of any other factor which affects household eligibility or allotment level, including household size where not questionable. Such verification may be required Statewide or throughout a project area, but shall not be imposed on a selective, case-by-case basis on particular households.

(i) The State agency may establish its own standards for the use of verification, provided that, at a minimum, all questionable factors are verified in accordance with paragraph (f)(2) of this section and that such standards do not allow for inadvertent discrimination. For example, no standard may be applied which prescribes variances in verification based on race, religion, ethnic background or national origin, nor may a State standard target groups such as migrant farmworkers or American Indians for more intensive verification than other households. The options specified in this paragraph, shall not apply in those offices of the Social Security Administration (SSA) which, in accordance with paragraph (k) of this section, provide for the SNAP certification of households containing recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and social security benefits. The State agency, however, may negotiate with those SSA offices with regard to mandating verification of these options.

(ii) If a State agency opts to verify a deductible expense and obtaining the verification may delay the household's certification, the State agency shall advise the household that its eligibility and benefit level may be determined without providing a deduction for the claimed but unverified expense. This provision also applies to the allowance of medical expenses as specified in paragraph (f)(1)(iv) of this section. Shelter costs would be computed without including the unverified components. The standard utility allowance shall be used if the household is entitled to claim it and has not verified higher actual costs. If the expense cannot be verified within 30 days of the date of application, the State agency shall determine the household's eligibility and benefit level without providing a deduction of the unverified expense. If the household subsequently provides the missing verification, the State agency shall redetermine the household's benefits, and provide increased benefits, if any, in accordance with the timeliness standards in § 273.12 on reported changes. If the expense could not be verified within the 30-day processing standard because the State agency failed to allow the household sufficient time, as defined in paragraph (h)(1) of this section, to verify the expense, the household shall be entitled to the restoration of benefits retroactive to the month of application, provided that the missing verification is supplied in accordance with paragraph (h)(3) of this section. If the household would be ineligible unless the expense is allowed, the household's application shall be handled as provided in paragraph (h) of this section.

(4) Sources of verification -

(i) Documentary evidence. State agencies shall use documentary evidence as the primary source of verification for all items except residency and household size. These items may be verified either through readily available documentary evidence or through a collateral contact, without a requirement being imposed that documentary evidence must be the primary source of verification. Documentary evidence consists of a written confirmation of a household's circumstances. Examples of documentary evidence include wage stubs, rent receipts, and utility bills. Although documentary evidence shall be the primary source of verification, acceptable verification shall not be limited to any single type of document and may be obtained through the household or other source. Whenever documentary evidence cannot be obtained or is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, the eligibility worker may require collateral contacts or home visits. For example, documentary evidence may be considered insufficient when the household presents pay stubs which do not represent an accurate picture of the household's income (such as out-dated pay stubs) or identification papers that appear to be falsified.

(ii) Collateral contacts. A collateral contact is an oral confirmation of a household's circumstances by a person outside of the household. The collateral contact may be made either in person or over the telephone. The State agency may select a collateral contact if the household fails to designate one or designates one which is unacceptable to the State agency. Examples of acceptable collateral contacts may include employers, landlords, social service agencies, migrant service agencies, and neighbors of the household who can be expected to provide accurate third-party verification. When talking with collateral contacts, State agencies should disclose only the information that is absolutely necessary to get the information being sought. State agencies should avoid disclosing that the household has applied for SNAP benefits, nor should they disclose any information supplied by the household, especially information that is protected by § 273.1(c), or suggest that the household is suspected of any wrong doing.

(iii) Home visits. Home visits may be used as verification only when documentary evidence is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, or cannot be obtained, and the home visit is scheduled in advance with the household. Home visits are to be used on a case-by-case basis where the supplied documentation is insufficient. Simply because a household fits a profile of an error-prone household does not constitute lack of verification. State agencies shall assist households in obtaining sufficient verification in accordance with paragraph (c)(5) of this section.

(iv) Discrepancies. Where unverified information from a source other than the household contradicts statements made by the household, the household shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to resolve the discrepancy prior to a determination of eligibility or benefits. The State agency may, if it chooses, verify the information directly and contact the household only if such direct verification efforts are unsuccessful. If the unverified information is received through the IEVS, as specified in § 272.8, the State agency may obtain verification from a third party as specified in paragraph (f)(9)(v) of this section.

(v) Homeless households. Homeless households claiming actual shelter expenses or those with extremely low shelter costs may provide verification of their shelter expenses to qualify for the homeless shelter deduction if the State agency has such a deduction. If a homeless household has difficulty in obtaining traditional types of verification of shelter costs, the caseworker shall use prudent judgment in determining if the verification obtained is adequate. For example, if a homeless individual claims to have incurred shelter costs for several nights and the costs are comparable to costs typically incurred by homeless people for shelter, the caseworker may decide to accept this information as adequate information and not require further verification.

(5) Responsibility of obtaining verification.

(i) The household has primary responsibility for providing documentary evidence to support statements on the application and to resolve any questionable information. The State agency must assist the household in obtaining this verification provided the household is cooperating with the State agency as specified under paragraph (d)(1) of this section. Households may supply documentary evidence in person, through the mail, by facsimile or other electronic device, or through an authorized representative. The State agency must not require the household to present verification in person at the SNAP office. The State agency must accept any reasonable documentary evidence provided by the household and must be primarily concerned with how adequately the verification proves the statements on the application. However, the State agency has primary responsibility for verifying fleeing felon and parole or probation violator status in accordance with § 273.11(n). If a SNAP applicant's attestation regarding disqualified felon status described in § 273.2(o) is questionable, the State agency shall verify the attestation. Each element of a questionable attestation - that the individual has been convicted of a crime listed at § 273.11(s), and that the individual is not in compliance with the terms of their sentence - shall be verified by the State agency. The State agency shall determine whether an attestation is questionable based on the standards established under § 273.2(f)(2)(i). In conducting verifications of questionable attestations under this paragraph, the State agency shall establish reasonable, consistent standards, evaluate each case separately, and document the case file accordingly.

(ii) Whenever documentary evidence is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, or cannot be obtained, the State agency may require a collateral contact or a home visit in accordance with paragraph (f)(4) of this section. The State agency, generally, shall rely on the household to provide the name of any collateral contact. The household may request assistance in designating a collateral contact. The State agency is not required to use a collateral contact designated by the household if the collateral contact cannot be expected to provide an accurate third-party verification. When the collateral contact designated by the household is unacceptable, the State agency shall either designate another collateral contact, ask the household to designate another collateral contact or to provide an alternative form of verification, or substitute a home visit. The State agency is responsible for obtaining verification from acceptable collateral contacts.

(6) Documentation. Case files must be documented to support eligibility, ineligibility, and benefit level determinations. Documentation shall be in sufficient detail to permit a reviewer to determine the reasonableness and accuracy of the determination.

(7) State Data Exchange and Beneficiary Data Exchange. The State agency may verify SSI benefits through the State Data Exchange (SDX), and Social Security benefit information through the Beneficiary Data Exchange (BENDEX), or through verification provided by the household. The State agency may use SDX and BENDEX data to verify other SNAP eligibility criteria. The State agency may access SDX and BENDEX data without release statements from households, provided the State agency makes the appropriate data request to SSA and executes the necessary data exchange agreements with SSA. The household shall be given an opportunity to verify the information from another source if the SDX or BENDEX information is contradictory to the information provided by the household or is unavailable. Determination of the household's eligibility and benefit level shall not be delayed past the application processing time standards of paragraph (g) of this section if SDX or BENDEX data is unavailable.

(8) Verification subsequent to initial certification -

(i) Recertification

(A) At recertification the State agency shall verify a change in income if the source has changed or the amount has changed by more than $50. Previously unreported medical expenses, actual utility expenses and total recurring medical expenses which have changed by more than $25 shall also be verified at recertification. The State agency shall not verify income if the source has not changed and if the amount is unchanged or has changed by $50 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. The State agency shall also not verify total medical expenses, or actual utility expenses claimed by households which are unchanged or have changed by $25 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. For households eligible for the child support deduction or exclusion, the State agency may use information provided by the State CSE agency in determining the household's legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of its obligation and amounts the household has actually paid if the household pays its child support exclusively through its State CSE agency and has signed a statement authorizing release of its child support payment records to the State agency. A household would not have to provide any additional verification unless they disagreed with the information provided by the State CSE agency. State agencies that choose to use information provided by their State CSE agency in accordance with this paragraph (f)(8)(i)(A) must specify in their State plan of operation that they have selected this option. For all other households eligible for the child support deduction or exclusion, the State agency shall require the household to verify any changes in the legal obligation to pay child support, the obligated amount, and the amount of legally obligated child support a household member pays to a nonhousehold member. The State agency shall verify reportedly unchanged child support information only if the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated.

(B) Newly obtained social security numbers shall be verified at recertification in accordance with verification procedures outlined in § 273.2(f)(1)(v).

(C) For individuals subject to the SNAP time limit of § 273.24 who are satisfying the work requirement by working, by combining work and participation in a work program, or by participating in a work program that is not operated or supervised by the State agency, the individuals' work hours shall be verified.

(D) Other information which has changed may be verified at recertification. Unchanged information shall not be verified unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. Verification under this paragraph shall be subject to the same verification procedures as apply during initial verification.

(ii) Changes. Changes reported during the certification period shall be subject to the same verification procedures as apply at initial certification, except that the State agency shall not verify changes in income if the source has not changed and if the amount has changed by $50 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated. The State agency shall also not verify total medical expenses or actual utility expenses which are unchanged or have changed by $25 or less, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or outdated.

(9) Mandatory use of IEVS.

(i) The State agency must obtain information through IEVS in accordance with procedures specified in § 272.8 of this chapter and use it to verify the eligibility and benefit levels of applicants and participating households.

(ii) The State agency must access data through the IEVS in accordance with the disclosure safeguards and data exchange agreements required by part 272.

(9) Mandatory use of IEVS.

(i) The State agency must obtain information through IEVS in accordance with procedures specified in § 272.8 of this chapter and use it to verify the eligibility and benefit levels of applicants and participating households.

(ii) The State agency must access data through the IEVS in accordance with the disclosure safeguards and data exchange agreements required by part 272.

(iii) The State agency shall take action, including proper notices to households, to terminate, deny, or reduce benefits based on information obtain through the IEVS which is considered verified upon receipt. This information is social security and SSI benefit information obtained from SSA, and TANF benefit information and UIB information obtained from the agencies administering those programs. If the State agency has information that the IEVS-obtained information about a particular household is questionable, this information shall be considered unverified upon receipt and the State agency shall take action as specified in paragraph (f)(9)(iv) of this section.

(iv) Except as noted in this paragraph, prior to taking action to terminate, deny, or reduce benefits based on information obtained through the IEVS which is considered unverified upon receipt, State agencies shall independently verify the information. Such unverified information is unearned income information from IRS, wage information from SSA and SWICAs, and questionable IEVS information discussed in paragraph (f)(9)(iii) of this section. Independent verification shall include verification of the amount of the asset or income involved, whether the household actually has or had access to such asset or income such that it would be countable income or resources for SNAP purposes, and the period during which such access occurred. Except with respect to unearned income information from IRS, if a State agency has information which indicates that independent verification is not needed, such verification is not required.

(v) The State agency shall obtain independent verification of unverified information obtained from IEVS by means of contacting the household and/or the appropriate income, resource or benefit source. If the State agency chooses to contact the household, it must do so in writing, informing the household of the information which it has received, and requesting that the household respond within 10 days. If the household fails to respond in a timely manner, the State agency shall send it a notice of adverse action as specified in § 273.13. The State agency may contact the appropriate source by the means best suited to the situation. When the household or appropriate source provides the independent verification, the State agency shall properly notify the household of the action it intends to take and provide the household with an opportunity to request a fair hearing prior to any adverse action.

(10) Mandatory use of SAVE. Households are required to submit documentation for each alien applying for SNAP benefits in order for the State agency to verify their immigration statuses. State agencies shall verify the validity of such documents through an immigration status verification system established under section 1137 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b-7) in accordance with § 272.11 of this chapter. USCIS maintains the SAVE system to conduct this verification. When using SAVE to verify immigration status, State agencies shall use the following procedures:

(i) The State agency shall provide an applicant alien with a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation of their eligible alien status prior to the 30th day following the date of application. A reasonable opportunity shall be at least 10 days from the date of the State agency's request for an acceptable document. An alien who has been given a reasonable opportunity to submit acceptable documentation and has not done so as of the 30th day following the date of application shall not be certified for benefits until acceptable documentation has been submitted. However, if the 10-day reasonable opportunity period provided by the State agency does not lapse before the 30th day following the date of application, the State agency shall provide the household with benefits no later than 30 days following the date of application Provided the household is otherwise eligible.

(ii) The written consent of the alien applicant shall not be required as a condition for the State agency to contact USCIS to verify the validity of documentation.

(iii) State agencies which access the ASVI database through an automated access shall also submit USCIS Form G-845, with an attached photocopy of the alien's document, to USCIS whenever the initial automated access does not confirm the validity of the alien's documentation or a significant discrepancy exists between the data provided by the ASVI and the information provided by the applicant. Pending such responses from either the ASVI or USCIS Form G-845, the State agency shall not delay, deny, reduce, or terminate the alien's eligibility for benefits on the basis of the individual's alien status.

(iv) If the State agency determines, after complying with the requirements of this section, that the alien is not in an eligible alien status, the State agency shall take action, including proper notices to the household, to terminate, deny or reduce benefits. The State agency shall provide households the opportunity to request a fair hearing under § 273.15 prior to any adverse action.

(v) The use of SAVE shall be documented in the casefile or other agency records. When the State agency is waiting for a response from SAVE, agency records shall contain either a notation showing the date of the State agency's transmission or a copy of the USCIS Form G-845 sent to USCIS. Once the SAVE response is received, agency records shall show documentation of the ASVI Query Verification Number or contain a copy of the USCIS-annotated Form G-845. Whenever the response from automated access to the ASVI directs the eligibility worker to initiate secondary verification, agency records shall show documentation of the ASVI Query Verification Number and contain a copy of the USCIS Form G-845.

(vi) State agencies may use information contained in SAVE search results to confirm whether an alien has a sponsor who has signed a legally binding affidavit of support when evaluating the alien's application for SNAP benefits in accordance with the deeming requirements described in § 273.4(c)(2).

(11) Use of disqualification data.

(i) Pursuant to § 273.16(i), information in the disqualified recipient database will be available for use by any State agency that executes a computer matching agreement with FNS. The State agency shall use the disqualified recipient database for the following purposes:

(A) Ascertain the appropriate penalty to impose based on past disqualifications in a case under consideration;

(B) Conduct matches as specified in § 273.16 on:

(1) Program application information prior to certification and for a newly added household member whenever that might occur; and

(2) The current recipient caseload at the time of recertification for a period of 1 year after the implementation date of this match. State agencies do not need to include minors, as that term is defined by each State.

(3) States having the ability to conduct a one-time match of their entire active caseload against active cases from the disqualified recipient database may do so and be exempted from the 1-year requirement to conduct matches at recertification.

(ii) State agencies shall not take any adverse action to terminate, deny, suspend, or reduce benefits to an applicant, or SNAP recipient, based on disqualified recipient match results unless the match information has been independently verified. The State agency shall provide to an applicant, or recipient, an opportunity to contest any adverse disqualified recipient match result pursuant to the provisions of § 273.13.

(iii) Independent verification shall take place separate from and prior to issuing a notice of adverse action - a two-step process. Independent verification for disqualification purposes means contacting the applicant or recipient household and/or the State agency that originated the disqualification record immediately to obtain corroborating information or documentation to support the reported disqualification information in the intentional Program violation database.

(A) Documentation may be in any form deemed appropriate and legally sufficient by the State agency considering the adverse action. Such documentation may include, but shall not be limited to, electronic or hard copies of court decisions, administrative disqualification hearing determinations, signed disqualification consent agreements or administrative disqualification hearing waivers.

(B) A State may accept a verbal or written statement from another State agency attesting to the existence of the documentation listed in paragraph (f)(11)(iii)(A) of this section.

(C) A State may accept a verbal or written statement from the household affirming the accuracy of the disqualification information if such a statement is properly documented and included in the case record.

(D) If a State agency is not able to provide independent verification because of a lack of supporting documentation, the State agency shall so advise the requesting State agency or FNS, as appropriate, and shall take immediate action to remove the unsupported record from the disqualified recipient database in accordance with § 273.16(i)(6).

(iv) Once independent verification has been received, the requesting State agency shall review and immediately enter the information into the case record and send the appropriate notice(s) to the record subject and any remaining members of the record subject's SNAP household.

(v) Information from the disqualified recipient database is subject to the disclosure provisions in § 272.1(c) of this chapter and the routine uses described in the most recent “Notice of Revision of Privacy Act System of Records” published in the Federal Register.

(g) Normal processing standard -

(1) Thirty-day processing. The State agency shall provide eligible households that complete the initial application process an opportunity to participate (as defined in § 274.2(b)) as soon as possible, but no later than 30 calendar days following the date the application was filed, except for residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and SNAP benefits prior to release from the institution in accordance with § 273.11(i). An application is filed the day the appropriate SNAP office receives an application containing the applicant's name and address, which is signed by either a responsible member of the household or the household's authorized representative. Households entitled to expedited processing are specified in paragraph (i) of this section. For residents of public institutions who apply for SNAP benefits prior to their release from the institution in accordance with § 273.11(i), the State agency shall provide an opportunity to participate as soon as possible, but not later than 30 calendar days from the date of release of the applicant from the institution.

(2) Combined allotments. Households which apply for initial month benefits (as described in § 273.10(a)) after the 15th of the month, are processed under normal processing timeframes, have completed the application process within 30 days of the date of application, and have been determined eligible to receive benefits for the initial month of application and the next subsequent month, may be issued a combined allotment at State agency option which includes prorated benefits for the month of application and benefits for the first full month of participation. The benefits shall be issued in accordance with § 274.2(c) of this chapter.

(3) Denying the application. Households that are found to be ineligible shall be sent a notice of denial as soon as possible but not later than 30 days following the date the application was filed. If the household has failed to appear for a scheduled interviewand has made no subsequent contact with the State agency to express interest in pursuing the application, the State agency shall send the household a notice of denial on the 30th day following the date of application. The household must file a new application if it wishes to participate in the program. In cases where the State agency was able to conduct an interview and request all of the necessary verification on the same day the application was filed, and no subsequent requests for verification have been made, the State agency may also deny the application on the 30th day if the State agency provided assistance to the household in obtaining verification as specified in paragraph (f)(5) of this section, but the household failed to provide the requested verification.

(h) Delays in processing. If the State agency does not determine a household's eligibility and provide an opportunity to participate within 30 days following the date the application was filed, the State agency shall take the following action:

(1) Determining cause. The State agency shall first determine the cause of the delay using the following criteria:

(i) A delay shall be considered the fault of the household if the household has failed to complete the application process even though the State agency has taken all the action it is required to take to assist the household. The State agency must have taken the following actions before a delay can be considered the fault of the household:

(A) For households that have failed to complete the application form, the State agency must have offered, or attempted to offer, assistance in its completion.

(B) If one or more members of the household have failed to register for work, as required in § 273.7, the State agency must have informed the household of the need to register for work, determined if the household members are exempt from work registration, and given the household at least 10 days from the date of notification to register these members.

(C) In cases where verification is incomplete, the State agency must have provided the household with a statement of required verification and offered to assist the household in obtaining required verification and allowed the household sufficient time to provide the missing verification. Sufficient time shall be at least 10 days from the date of the State agency's initial request for the particular verification that was missing.

(D) For households that have failed to appear for an interview, the State agency must notify the household that it missed the scheduled interview and that the household is responsible for rescheduling a missed interview. If the household contacts the State agency within the 30 day processing period, the State agency must schedule a second interview. If the household fails to schedule a second interview, or the subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request or cannot otherwise be rescheduled until after the 20th day but before the 30th day following the date the application was filed, the household must appear for the interview, bring verification, and register members for work by the 30th day; otherwise, the delay shall be the fault of the household. If the household has failed to appear for the first interview, fails to schedule a second interview, and/or the subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request until after the 30th day following the date the application was filed, the delay shall be the fault of the household. If the household has missed both scheduled interviews and requests another interview, any delay shall be the fault of the household.

(ii) Delays that are the fault of the State agency include, but are not limited to, those cases where the State agency failed to take the actions described in paragraphs (h)(1)(i) (A) through (D) of this section.

(2) Delays caused by the household.

(i) If by the 30th day the State agency cannot take any further action on the application due to the fault of the household, the household shall lose its entitlement to benefits for the month of application. However, the State agency shall give the household an additional 30 days to take the required action, except that, if verification is lacking, the State agency has the option of holding the application pending for only 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing.

(A) The State agency has the option of sending the household either a notice of denial or a notice of pending status on the 30th day. The option chosen may vary from one project area to another, provided the same procedures apply to all households within a project area. However, if a notice of denial is sent and the household takes the required action within 60 days following the date the application was filed, the State agency shall reopen the case without requiring a new application. No further action by the State agency is required after the notice of denial or pending status is sent if the household failed to take the required action within 60 days following the date the application was filed, or if the State agency chooses the option of holding the application pending for only 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing, and the household fails to provide the necessary verification by this 30th day.

(B) State agencies may include in the notice a request that the household report all changes in circumstances since it filed its application. The information that must be contained on the notice of denial or pending status is explained in § 273.10(g)(1) (ii) and (iii).

(ii) If the household was at fault for the delay in the first 30-day period, but is found to be eligible during the second 30-day period, the State agency shall provide benefits only from the month following the month of application. The household is not entitled to benefits for the month of application when the delay was the fault of the household.

(3) Delays caused by the State agency.

(i) Whenever a delay in the initial 30-day period is the fault of the State agency, the State agency shall take immediate corrective action. Except as specified in §§ 273.2(f)(1)(ii)(F) and 273.2(f)(10)(i), the State agency shall not deny the application if it caused the delay, but shall instead notify the household by the 30th day following the date the application was filed that its application is being held pending. The State agency shall also notify the household of any action it must take to complete the application process. If verification is lacking the State agency has the option of holding the application pending for only 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing.

(ii) If the household is found to be eligible during the second 30-day period, the household shall be entitled to benefits retroactive to the month of application. If, however, the household is found to be ineligible, the State agency shall deny the application.

(4) Delays beyond 60 days.

(i) If the State agency is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30-day period, and the case file is otherwise complete, the State agency shall continue to process the original application until an eligibility determination is reached. If the household is determined eligible, and the State agency was at fault for the delay in the initial 30 days, the household shall receive benefits retroactive to the month of application. However, if the initial delay was the household's fault, the household shall receive benefits retroactive only to the month following the month of application. The State agency may use the original application to determine the household's eligibility in the months following the 60-day period, or it may require the household to file a new application.

(ii) If the State agency is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30-day period, but the case file is not complete enough to reach an eligibility determination, the State agency may continue to process the original application, or deny the case and notify the household to file a new application. If the case is denied, the household shall also be advised of its possible entitlement to benefits lost as a result of State agency caused delays in accordance with § 273.17. If the State agency was also at fault for the delay in the initial 30 days, the amount of benefits lost would be calculated from the month of application. If, however, the household was at fault for the initial delay, the amount of benefits lost would be calculated from the month following the month of application.

(iii) If the household is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30-day period, the State agency shall deny the application and require the household to file a new application if it wishes to participate. If however, the State agency has chosen the option of holding the application pending only until 30 days following the date of the initial request for the particular verification that was missing, and verification is not received by that 30th day, the State agency may immediately close the application. A notice of denial need not be sent if the notice of pending status informed the household that it would have to file a new application if verification was not received within 30 days of the initial request. The household shall not be entitled to any lost benefits, even if the delay in the initial 30 days was the fault of the State agency.

(i) Expedited service -

(1) Entitlement to expedited service. The following households are entitled to expedited service:

(i) Households with less than $150 in monthly gross income, as computed in § 273.10 provided their liquid resources (i.e., cash on hand, checking or savings accounts, savings certificates, and lump sum payments as specified in § 273.9(c)(8)) do not exceed $100;

(ii) Migrant or seasonal farmworker households who are destitute as defined in § 273.10(e)(3) provided their liquid resources (i.e., cash on hand, checking or savings accounts, savings certificates, and lump sum payments as specified in § 273.9(c)(8)) do not exceed $100;

(iii) Households whose combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than the household's monthly rent or mortgage, and utilities (including entitlement to a SUA, as appropriate, in accordance with § 273.9(d)).

(2) Identifying households needing expedited service. The State agency's application procedures shall be designed to identify households eligible for expedited service at the time the household requests assistance. For example, a receptionist, volunteer, or other employee shall be responsible for screening applications as they are filed or as individuals come in to apply.

(3) Processing standards. All households receiving expedited service, except those receiving it during months in which allotments are suspended or cancelled, shall have their cases processed in accordance with the following provisions. Those households receiving expedited service during suspensions or cancellations shall have their cases processed in accordance with the provisions of § 271.7(e)(2).

(i) General. For households entitled to expedited service, the State agency shall post benefits to the household's EBT card and make them available to the household not later than the seventh calendar day following the date an application was filed. For a resident of a public institution who applies for benefits prior to his/her release from the institution in accordance with § 273.11(i) and who is entitled to expedited service, the date of filing of his/her SNAP application is the date of release of the applicant from the institution. Whatever systems a State agency uses to ensure meeting this delivery standard shall be designed to provide the household with an EBT card and PIN no later than the seventh calendar day following the day the application was filed.

(ii) Drug addicts and alcoholics, group living arrangement facilities. For residents of drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation centers and residents of group living arrangements who are entitled to expedited service, the State agency shall make benefits available to the recipient not later than the 7 calendar days following the date an application was filed.

(iii) Out-of-office interviews. If a household is entitled to expedited service and is also entitled to a waiver of the office interview, the State agency shall conduct the interview (unless the household cannot be reached) and complete the application process within the expedited service standards. The first day of this count is the calendar day following application filing. If the State agency conducts a telephone interview and must mail the application to the household for signature, the mailing time involved will not be calculated in the expedited service standards. Mailing time shall only include the days the application is in the mail to and from the household and the days the application is in the household's possession pending signature and mailing.

(iv) Late determinations. If the prescreening required in paragraph (i)(2) of this section fails to identify a household as being entitled to expedited service and the State agency subsequently discovers that the household is entitled to expedited service, the State agency shall provide expedited service to households within the processing standards described in paragraphs (i)(3) (i) and (ii) of this section, except that the processing standard shall be calculated from the date the State agency discovers the household is entitled to expedited service.

(v) Residents of shelters for battered women and children. Residents of shelters for battered women and children who are otherwise entitled to expedited service shall be handled in accordance with the time limits in paragraph (i)(3)(i) of this section.

(4) Special procedures for expediting service. The State agency shall use the following procedures when expediting certification and issuance:

(i) In order to expedite the certification process, the State agency shall use the following procedures:

(A) In all cases, the applicant's identity (i.e., the identity of the person making the application) shall be verified through a collateral contact or readily available documentary evidence as specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

(B) All reasonable efforts shall be made to verify within the expedited processing standards, the household's residency in accordance with § 273.2(f)(1)(vi), income statement (including a statement that the household has no income), liquid resources and all other factors required by § 273.2(f), through collateral contacts or readily available documentary evidence. However, benefits shall not be delayed beyond the delivery standards prescribed in paragraph (i)(3) of this section, solely because these eligibility factors have not been verified.

State agencies also may verify factors other than identity, residency, and income provided that verification can be accomplished within expedited processing standards. State agencies should attempt to obtain as much additional verification as possible during the interview, but should not delay the certification of households entitled to expedited service for the full timeframes specified in paragraph (i)(3) of this section when the State agency has determined it is unlikely that other verification can be obtained within these timeframes. Households entitled to expedited service will be asked to furnish a social security number for each person applying for benefts or apply for one for each person applying for benefits before the second full month of participation. Those household members unable to provide the required SSN's or who do not have one prior to the second full month of participation shall be allowed to continue to participate only if they satisfy the good cause requirements with respect to SSN's specified in § 273.6(d), except that households with a newborn may have up to 6 months following the month the baby was born to supply an SSN or proof of an application for an SSN for the newborn in accordance with § 273.6(b)(4). The State agency may attempt to register other household members but shall postpone the registration of other household members if it cannot be accomplished within the expedited service timeframes. With regard to the work registration requirements specified in § 273.7, the State agency shall, at a minimum, require the applicant to register (unless exempt or unless the household has designated an authorized representative to apply on its behalf in accordance with § 273.1(f)). The State agency may attempt registration of other household members by requesting that the applicant complete the work registration forms for other household members to the best of his or her ability. The State agency may also attempt to accomplish work registration for other household members in a timely manner through other means, such as calling the household. The State agency may attempt to verify questionable work registration exemptions, but such verification shall be postponed if the expedited service timeframes cannot be met.

(ii) Once an acceptable collateral contact has been designated, the State agency shall promptly contact the collateral contact, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (f)(4)(ii) of this section. Although the household has the primary responsibility for providing other types of verification, the State agency shall assist the household in promptly obtaining the necessary verification.

(iii) Households that are certified on an expedited basis and have provided all necessary verification required in paragraph (f) of this section prior to certification shall be assigned normal certification periods. If verification was postponed, the State agency may certify these households for the month of application (the month of application and the subsequent month for those households applying after the 15th of the month) or, at the State agency's option, may assign normal certification periods to those households whose circumstances would otherwise warrant longer certification periods. State agencies, at their option, may request any household eligible for expedited service which applies after the 15th of the month and is certified for the month of application and the subsequent month only to submit a second application (at the time of the initial certification) if the household's verification is postponed.

(A) For households applying on or before the 15th of the month, the State agency may assign a one-month certification period or assign a normal certification period. Satisfaction of the verification requirements may be postponed until the second month of participation. If a one-month certification period is assigned, the notice of eligibility may be combined with the notice of expiration or a separate notice may be sent. The notice of eligibility must explain that the household has to satisfy all verification requirements that were postponed. For subsequent months, the household must reapply and satisfy all verification requirements which were postponed or be certified under normal processing standards. If the household does not satisfy the postponed verification requirements and does not appear for the interview, the State agency does not need to contact the household again.

(B) For households applying after the 15th of the month, the State agency may assign a 2-month certification period or a normal certification period of no more than 12 months. Verification may be postponed until the third month of participation, if necessary, to meet the expedited timeframe. If a two-month certification period is assigned, the notice of eligibility may be combined with the notice of expiration or a separate notice may be sent. The notice of eligibility must explain that the household is obligated to satisfy the verification requirements that were postponed. For subsequent months, the household must reapply and satisfy the verification requirements which were postponed or be certified under normal processing standards. If the household does not satisfy the postponed verification requirements and does not attend the interview, the State agency does not need to contact the household again. When a certification period of longer than 2 months is assigned and verification is postponed, households must be sent a notice of eligibility advising that no benefits for the third month will be issued until the postponed verification requirements are satisfied. The notice must also advise the household that if the verification process results in changes in the household's eligibility or level of benefits, the State agency will act on those changes without advance notice of adverse action.

(C) Households which apply for initial benefits (as described in § 273.10(a)) after the 15th of the month, are entitled to expedited service, have completed the application process, and have been determined eligible to receive benefits for the initial month and the next subsequent month, shall receive a combined allotment consisting of prorated benefits for the initial month of application and benefits for the first full month of participation within the expedited service timeframe. If necessary, verification shall be postponed to meet the expedited timeframe. The benefits shall be issued in accordance with § 274.2(c) of this chapter.

(D) The provisions of paragraph (i)(4)(iii)(C) of this section do not apply to households which have been determined ineligible to receive benefits for the month of application or the following month, or to households which have not satisfied the postponed verification requirements. However, households eligible for expedited service may receive benefits for the initial month and next subsequent month under the verification standards of paragraph (i)(4) of this section.

(E) If the State agency chooses to exercise the option to require a second application in accordance with paragraph (i)(4)(iii) of this section and receives the application before the third month, it shall not deny the application but hold it pending until the third month. The State agency will issue the third month's benefits within 5 working days from receipt of the necessary verification information but not before the first day of the month. If the postponed verification requirements are not completed before the end of the third month, the State agency shall terminate the household's participation and shall issue no further benefits.

(iv) There is no limit to the number of times a household can be certified under expedited procedures, as long as prior to each expedited certification, the household either completes the verification requirements that were postponed at the last expedited certification or was certified under normal processing standards since the last expedited certification. The provisions of this section shall not apply at recertification if a household reapplies before the end of its current certification period.

(v) Households requesting, but not entitled to, expedited service shall have their applications processed according to normal standards.

(j) PA, GA and categorically eligible households. The State agency must notify households applying for public assistance (PA) of their right to apply for SNAP benefits at the same time and must allow them to apply for SNAP benefits at the same time they apply for PA benefits. The State agency must also notify such households that time limits or other requirements that apply to the receipt of PA benefits do not apply to the receipt of SNAP benefits, and that households which cease receiving PA benefits because they have reached a time limit, have begun working, or for other reasons, may still qualify for SNAP benefits. If the State agency attempts to discourage households from applying for cash assistance, it shall make clear that the disadvantages and requirements of applying for cash assistance do not apply to SNAP benefits. In addition, it shall encourage applicants to continue with their application for SNAP benefits. The State agency shall inform households that receiving SNAP benefits will have no bearing on any other program's time limits that may apply to the household. The State agency may process the applications of such households in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (j)(1) of this section, and the State agency must base their eligibility solely on SNAP eligibility criteria unless the household is categorically eligible, as provided in paragraph (j)(2) of this section. If a State has a single Statewide GA application form, households in which all members are included in a State or local GA grant may have their application for SNAP benefits included in the GA application form. State agencies may use the joint application processing procedures described in paragraph (j)(1) of this section for GA recipients in accordance with paragraph (j)(3) of this section. The State agency must base eligibility of jointly processed GA households solely on SNAP eligibility criteria unless the household is categorically eligible as provided in paragraph (j)(4) of this section. The State agency must base the benefit levels of all households solely on SNAP criteria. The State agency must certify jointly processed and categorically eligible households in accordance with SNAP procedural, timeliness, and notice requirements, including the 7-day expedited service provisions of paragraph (i) of this section and normal 30-day application processing standards of paragraph (g) of this section. Individuals authorized to receive PA, SSI, or GA benefits but who have not yet received payment are considered recipients of benefits from those programs. In addition, individuals are considered recipients of PA, SSI, or GA if their PA, SSI, or GA benefits are suspended or recouped. Individuals entitled to PA, SSI, or GA benefits but who are not paid such benefits because the grant is less than a minimum benefit are also considered recipients. The State agency may not consider as recipients those individuals not receiving GA, PA, or SSI benefits who are entitled to Medicaid only.

(1) Applicant PA households.

(i) If a joint PA/SNAP application is used, the application may contain all the information necessary to determine a household's SNAP eligibility and level of benefits. Information relevant only to SNAP eligibility must be contained in the PA form or must be an attachment to it. The joint PA/SNAP application must clearly indicate that the household is providing information for both programs, is subject to the criminal penalties of both programs for making false statements, and waives the notice of adverse action as specified in paragraph (j)(1)(iv) of this section.

(ii) The State agency may conduct a single interview at initial application for both public assistance and SNAP purposes. A household's eligibility for SNAP out-of-office interview provisions in paragraph (e)(2) of this section does not relieve the household of any responsibility for a face-to-face interview to be certified for PA.

(iii) For households applying for both PA and SNAP benefits, the State agency must follow the verification procedures described in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(8) of this section for those factors of eligibility which are needed solely for purposes of determining the household's eligibility for SNAP benefits. For those factors of eligibility which are needed to determine both PA eligibility and SNAP eligibility, the State agency may use the PA verification rules. However, if the household has provided the State agency sufficient verification to meet the verification requirements of paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(8) of this section, but has failed to provide sufficient verification to meet the PA verification rules, the State agency may not use such failure as a basis for denying the household's SNAP application or failing to comply with processing requirements of paragraph (g) of this section. Under these circumstances, the State agency must process the household's SNAP application and determine eligibility based on its compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(8) of this section.

(iv) In order to determine if a household will be eligible due to its status as a recipient PA/SSI household, the State agency may temporarily postpone, within the 30-day processing standard, the SNAP eligibility determination if the household is not entitled to expedited service and appears to be categorically eligible. However, the State agency shall postpone denying a potentially categorically eligible household until the 30th day in case the household is determined eligible to receive PA benefits. Once the PA application is approved, the household is to be considered categorically eligible if it meets all the criteria concerning categorical eligibility in § 273.2(j)(2). If the State agency can anticipate the amount and the date of receipt of the initial PA payment, but the payment will not be received until a subsequent month, the State agency shall vary the household's SNAP benefit level according to the anticipated receipt of the payment and notify the household. Portions of initial PA payments intended to retroactively cover a previous month shall be disregarded as lump sum payments under § 273.9(c)(8). If the amount or date of receipt of the initial PA payment cannot be reasonably anticipated at the time of the SNAP eligibility determination, the PA payments shall be handled as a change in circumstances. However, the State agency is not required to send a notice of adverse action if the receipt of the PA grant reduces, suspends or terminates the household's SNAP benefits, provided the household is notified in advance that its benefits may be reduced, suspended, or terminated when the grant is received. The case may be terminated if the household is not categorically eligible in accordance with § 273.12(c). The State agency shall ensure that the denied application of a potentially categorically eligible household is easily retrievable. For a household filing a joint application for SNAP benefits and PA benefits or a household that has a PA application pending and is denied SNAP benefits but is later determined eligible to receive PA benefits and is otherwise categorically eligible, the State agency shall provide benefits using the original application and any other pertinent information occurring subsequent to that application. Except for residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and SNAP benefits prior to their release from a public institution in accordance with § 273.11(i), benefits shall be paid from the beginning of the period for which PA or SSI benefits are paid, the original SNAP application date, or December 23, 1985 whichever is later. Residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and SNAP benefits prior to their release from the institution shall be paid benefits from the date of their release from the institution. In situations where the State agency must update and reevaluate the original application of a denied case, the State agency shall not reinterview the household, but shall use any available information to update the application. The State agency shall then contact the household by phone or mail to explain and confirm changes made by the State agency and to determine if other changes in household circumstances have occurred. If any information obtained from the household differs from that which the State agency obtained from available information or the household provided additional changes in information, the State agency shall arrange for the household or it authorized representative to initial all changes, re-sign and date the updated application and provide necessary verification. In no event can benefits be provided prior to the date of the original SNAP application filed on or after December 23, 1985. Any household that is determined to be eligible to receive PA benefits for a period of time within the 30-day SNAP processing time, shall be provided SNAP benefits back to the date of the SNAP application. However, in no event shall SNAP benefits be paid for a month for which such household is ineligible for receipt of any PA benefits for the month, unless the household is eligible for SNAP benefits and an NPA case. Benefits shall be prorated in accordance with § 273.10(a)(1)(ii) and (e)(2)(ii)(B). Household that file joint applications that are found categorically eligible after being denied NPA SNAP benefits shall have their benefits for the initial month prorated from the date from which the PA benefits are payable, or the date of the original SNAP application, whichever is later. The State agency shall act on reevaluating the original application either at the household's request or when it becomes otherwise aware of the household's PA and/or SSI eligibility. The household shall be informed on the notice of denial required by § 273.10(g)(1)(ii) to notify the State agency if its PA or SSI benefits are approved.

(v) The State agency may not require households which file a joint PA/SNAP application and whose PA applications are denied to file new SNAP applications. Rather, the State agency must determine or continue their SNAP eligibility on the basis of the original applications filed jointly for PA and SNAP purposes. In addition, the State agency must use any other documented information obtained subsequent to the application which may have been used in the PA determination and which is relevant to SNAP eligibility or level of benefits.

(2) Categorically eligible PA and SSI households.

(i) The following households are categorically eligible for SNAP benefits unless the entire household is institutionalized as defined in § 273.1(e) or disqualified for any reason from receiving SNAP benefits.

(A) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive cash through a PA program funded in full or in part with Federal money under Title IV-A or with State money counted for maintenance of effort (MOE) purposes under Title IV-A;

(B) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind benefits or services from a program that is more than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to forward purposes one and two of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L. 104-193.

(C) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind benefits or services from a program that is more than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to further purposes three and four of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L. 104-193, and requires participants to have a gross monthly income at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level.

(D) Any household in which all members receive or are authorized to receive SSI benefits, except that residents of public institutions who apply jointly for SSI and SNAP benefits prior to their release from the institution in accordance with § 273.11(i), are not categorically eligible upon a finding by SSA of potential SSI eligibility prior to such release. The State agency must consider the individuals categorically eligible at such time as SSA makes a final SSI eligibility and the institution has released the individual.

(E) Any household in which all members receive or are authorized to receive PA and/or SSI benefits in accordance with paragraphs (j)(2)(i)(A) through (j)(2)(i)(D) of this section.

(ii) The State agency, at its option, may extend categorical eligibility to the following households only if doing so will further the purposes of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008:

(A) Any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind services from a program that is less than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to further purposes one and two of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L. 104-193. States must inform FNS of the TANF services under this paragraph that they are determining to confer categorical eligibility.

(B) Subject to FNS approval, any household (except those listed in paragraph (j)(2)(vii) of this section) in which all members receive or are authorized to receive non-cash or in-kind services from a program that is less than 50 percent funded with State money counted for MOE purposes under Title IV-A or Federal money under Title IV-A and that is designed to further purposes three and four of the TANF block grant, as set forth in Section 401 of P.L 104-193, and requires participants to have a gross monthly income at or below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level.

(iii) Any household in which one member receives or is authorized to receive benefits according to paragraphs (j)(2)(i)(B), (j)(2)(i)(C), (j)(2)(ii)(A) and (j)(2)(ii)(B), of this section and the State agency determines that the whole household benefits.

(iv) For purposes of paragraphs (j)(2)(i), (j)(2)(ii),and (j)(2)(iii) of this section, “authorized to receive” means that an individual has been determined eligible for benefits and has been notified of this determination, even if the benefits have been authorized but not received, authorized but not accessed, suspended or recouped, or not paid because they are less than a minimum amount.

(v) The eligibility factors which are deemed for SNAP eligibility without the verification required in paragraph (f) of this section because of PA/SSI status are the resource, gross and net income limits; social security number information, sponsored alien information, and residency. However, the State agency must collect and verify factors relating to benefit determination that are not collected and verified by the other program if these factors are required to be verified under paragraph (f) of this section. If any of the following factors are questionable, the State agency must verify, in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section, that the household which is considered categorically eligible:

(A) Contains only members that are PA or SSI recipients as defined in the introductory paragraph (j) of this section;

(B) Meets the household definition in § 273.1(a);

(C) Includes all persons who purchase and prepare food together in one SNAP household regardless of whether or not they are separate units for PA or SSI purposes; and

(D) Includes no persons who have been disqualified as provided for in paragraph (j)(2)(vi) of this section.

(vi) Households subject to retrospective budgeting that have been suspended for PA purposes as provided for in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) regulations, or that receive zero benefits shall continue to be considered as authorized to receive benefits from the appropriate agency. Categorical eligibility shall be assumed at recertification in the absence of a timely PA redetermination. If a recertified household is subsequently terminated from PA benefits, the procedures in § 273.12(f)(3), (4), and (5) shall be followed, as appropriate.

(vii) Under no circumstances shall any household be considered categorically eligible if:

(A) Any member of that household is disqualified for an intentional Program violation in accordance with § 273.16 or for failure to comply with monthly reporting requirements in accordance with § 273.21;

(B) The entire household is disqualified because one or more of its members failed to comply with workfare in accordance with § 273.22; or

(C) The head of the household is disqualified for failure to comply with the work requirements in accordance with § 273.7.

(D) Any member of that household is ineligible under § 273.11(m) by virtue of a conviction for a drug-related felony, under § 273.11(n) for being a fleeing felon or a probation or parole violator, or under § 273.11(s) for having a conviction of certain crimes and not being in compliance with the sentence.

(viii) These households are subject to all SNAP eligibility and benefits provisions (including the provisions of § 273.11(c)) and cannot be reinstated in the Program on the basis of categorical eligibility provisions.

(ix) No person shall be included as a member in any household which is otherwise categorically eligible if that person is:

(A) An ineligible alien as defined in § 273.4;

(B) Ineligible under the student provisions in § 273.5;

(C) An SSI recipient in a cash-out State as defined in § 273.20; or

(D) Institutionalized in a nonexempt facility as defined in § 273.1(e).

(E) Ineligible because of failure to comply with a work requirement of § 273.7.

(x) For the purposes of work registration, the exemptions in § 273.7(b) shall be applied to individuals in categorically eligible households. Any such individual who is not exempt from work registration is subject to the other work requirements in § 273.7.

(xi) When determining eligibility for a categorically eligible household all provisions of this subchapter except for those listed below shall apply:

(A) Section 273.8 except for the last sentence of paragraph (a).

(B) Section 273.9(a) except for the fourth sentence in the introductory paragraph.

(E) Section 273.10(c) for the purposes of eligibility.

(3) Applicant GA households.

(i) State agencies may use the joint application processing procedures in paragraph (j)(1) of this section for GA households, except for the effective date of categorical eligibility, when the criteria in paragraphs (j)(3)(i) (A) and (B) of this section are met. Benefits for GA households that are categorically eligible, as provided in paragraph (j)(4) of this section, shall be provided from the date of the original SNAP application, the beginning of the period for which GA benefits are authorized, or the effective date of State GA categorical eligibility (February 1, 1991) or local GA categorical eligibility (August 1, 1992), whichever is later:

(A) The State agency administers a GA program which uses formalized application procedures and eligibility criteria that test levels of income and resources; and,

(B) Administration of the GA program is integrated with the administration of the PA or SNAP programs, in that the same eligibility workers process applications for GA benefits and PA or SNAP benefits.

(ii) State agencies in which different eligibility workers process applications for GA benefits and PA or SNAP benefits, but procedures otherwise meet the criteria in paragraph (j)(3)(i) of this section may, with FNS approval, jointly process GA and SNAP applications. If approved, State agencies shall adhere to the joint application processing procedures in paragraph (j)(1) of this section, except for the effective date of categorical eligibility for GA households. Benefits shall be provided GA households that are categorically eligible, as provided in paragraph (j)(4) of this section, from the date of the original SNAP application, the beginning of the period for which GA benefits are authorized, or the effective date of State GA categorical eligibility (February 1, 1992) or local GA categorical eligibility (August 1, 1992), whichever is later.

(4) Categorically eligible GA households. Households in which each member receives benefits from a State or local GA program which meets the criteria for conferring categorical eligibility in paragraph (j)(4)(i) of this section shall be categorically eligible for SNAP benefits unless the individual or household is ineligible as specified in paragraph (j)(4)(iv) and (j)(4)(v) of this section.

(i) Certification of qualifying programs. Recipients of benefits from programs that meet the criteria in paragraphs (j)(4)(i)(A) through (j)(4(i)(C) of this section shall be considered categorically eligible to receive benefits from SNAP. If a program does not meet all of these criteria, the State agency may submit a program description to the appropriate FNS regional office for a determination. The description should contain, at a minimum, the type of assistance provided, the income eligibility standard, and the period for which the assistance is provided.

(A) The program must have income standards which do not exceed the gross income eligibility standard in § 273.9(a)(1). The rules of the GA program apply in determining countable income.

(B) The program must provide GA benefits as defined in § 271.2 of this part.

(C) The program must provide benefits which are not limited to one-time emergency assistance.

(ii) Verification requirements. In determining whether a household is categorically eligible, the State agency shall verify that each member receives PA benefits, SSI, or GA from a program that meets the criteria in paragraph (j)(4)(i) section or that has been certified by FNS as an appropriate program and that it includes no individuals who have been disqualified as provided in paragraph (j)(4)(iv) or (j)(2)(v) of this section. The State agency shall also verify household composition if it is questionable, in accordance with § 273.2(f), in order to determine that the household meets the definition of a household in § 273.1(a).

(iii) Deemed eligibility factors. When determining eligibility for a categorically eligible household, all SNAP requirements apply except the following:

(A) Resources. None of the provisions of § 273.8 apply to categorically eligible households except the second sentence of § 273.8(a) pertaining to categorical eligibility and § 273.8(i) concerning transfer of resources. The provision in § 273.10(b) regarding resources available the time of the interview does not apply to categorically eligible households.

(B) Gross and net income limits. None of the provisions in § 273.9(a) relating to income eligibility standards apply to categorically eligible households, except the fourth sentence pertaining to categorical eligibility. The provisions in §§ 273.10(a)(1)(i) and 273.10(c) relating to the income eligibility determination also do not apply to categorically eligible households.

(C) Zero benefit households. All eligible households of one or two persons must be provided the minimum benefit, as required by § 273.10(e)(2)(ii)(C).

(D) Residency.

(E) Sponsored alien information.

(iv) Ineligible household members. No person shall be included as a member of an otherwise categorically eligible household if that person is:

(A) An ineligible alien, as defined in § 273.4;

(B) An ineligible student, as defined in § 273.5;

(C) Disqualified for failure to provide or apply for an SSN, as required by § 273.6;

(D) A household member, not the head of household, disqualified for failure to comply with a work requirement of § 273.7;

(E) Disqualified for intentional program violation, as required by § 273.16;

(F) An SSI recipient in a cash-out State, as defined in § 273.20; or

(G) An individual who is institutionalized in a nonexempt facility, as defined in § 273.1(e).

(v) Ineligible households. A household shall not be considered categorically eligible if:

(A) It refuses to cooperate in providing information to the State agency that is necessary for making a determination of its eligibility or for completing any subsequent review of its eligibility, as described in §§ 273.2(d) and 273.21(m)(1)(ii);

(B) The household is disqualified because the head of household fails to comply with a work requirement of § 273.7;

(C) The household is ineligible under the striker provisions of § 273.1(g); or

(D) The household is ineligible because it knowingly transferred resources for the purpose of qualifying or attempting to qualify for the Program, as provided in § 273.8(i).

(vi) Combination households. Households consisting entirely of recipients of PA, SSI and/or GA from a program that meets the requirements of § 273.2(j)(4)(i) shall be categorically eligible in accordance with the provisions for paragraphs (j)(2)(iii) and (j)(2)(v) of this section for members receiving PA and SSI or provisions of paragraphs (j)(4) (iv) and (v) of this section for members receiving GA.

(5) Households with some PA or GA recipients. State agencies that use the joint application processing procedures in paragraphs (j)(1) and (j)(3) of this section may apply these procedures to a SNAP applicant household in which some, but not all, members are in the PA/GA filing unit, except for procedures concerning categorical eligibility. If the State agency decides not to use the joint application procedures for these households, the households shall file separate applications for PA/GA and SNAP benefits. This decision shall not be made on a case-by-case basis, but shall be applied uniformly to all households of this type in a project area.

(k) SSI households. For purposes of this paragraph, SSI is defined as Federal SSI payments made under title XVI of the Social Security Act, federally administered optional supplementary payments under section 1616 of that Act, or federally administered mandatory supplementary payments made under section 212(a) of Pub. L. 93-66. Except in cashout States (§ 273.20), households which have not applied for SNAP benefits in the thirty preceding days, and which do not have applications pending, may apply and be certified for SNAP benefits in accordance with the procedures described in § 273.2(k)(1)(i) or § 273.2(k)(1)(ii) and with the notice, procedural and timeliness requirements of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and its implementing regulations. Households applying simultaneously for SSI and SNAP benefits shall be subject to SNAP eligibility criteria, and benefit levels shall be based solely on SNAP eligibility criteria until the household is considered categorically eligible. However, households in which all members are either PA or SSI recipients or authorized to receive PA or SSI benefits (as discussed in § 273.2(j)) shall be SNAP eligible based on their PA/SSI status as provided for in § 273.2(j)(1)(iv) and (j)(2). Households denied NPA SNAP benefits that have an SSI application pending shall be informed on the notice of denial of the possibility of categorical eligibility if they become SSI recipients. The State agency shall make an eligibility determination based on information provided by SSA or by the household.

(1) Initial application and eligibility determination. At each SSA office, the State agency shall either arrange for SSA to complete and forward SNAP applications, or the State agency shall outstation State SNAP eligibility workers at the SSA Offices with SSA's concurrence, based upon an agreement negotiated between the State agency and the SSA.

(i) If the State agency arranges with the SSA to complete and forward SNAP applications the following actions shall be taken:

(A) Whenever a member of a household consisting only of SSI applicants or recipients transacts business at an SSA office, the SSA shall inform the household of:

(1) Its right to apply for SNAP benefits at the SSA office without going to the SNAP office; and

(2) Its right to apply at a SNAP office if it chooses to do so.

(B) The SSA will accept and complete SNAP applications received at the SSA Office from SSI households and forward them, within one working day after receipt of a signed application, to a designated office of the State agency. SSA shall also forward to the State agency a transmittal form which will be approved by SSA and FNS. The SSA will use the national SNAP application form for joint processing. State agencies may substitute a State SNAP application, provided that prior approval is received from both FNS and SSA. SSA shall approve, deny, or comment upon FNS-approved State SNAP applications within thirty days of their submission to SSA.

(C) SSA will accept and complete SNAP applications from SSI households received by SSA staff in contact stations. SSA will forward all SNAP applications from SSI households to the designated SNAP office.

(D) The SSA staff shall complete joint SSI and SNAP applications for residents of public institutions in accordance with § 273.11(i).

(E) The State agency shall designate an address for the SSA to forward SNAP applications and accompanying information to the State agency for eligibility determination. Applications and accompanying information must be forwarded to the agreed upon address in accordance with the time standards contained in § 273.2(k)(1)(i)(B).

(F) Except for applications taken in accordance with paragraph (k)(1)(i)(D) of this section, the State agency shall make an eligibility determination and issue SNAP benefits to eligible SSI households within 30 days following the date the application was received by the SSA. Applications shall be considered filed for normal processing purposes when the signed application is received by SSA. The expedited processing time standards shall begin on the date the State agency receives a SNAP application. The State agency shall make an eligibility determination and issue SNAP benefits to a resident of a public institution who applies jointly for SSI and SNAP benefits within 30 days following the date of the applicant's release from the institution. Expedited processing time standards for an applicant who has applied for SNAP benefits and SSI prior to release shall also begin on the date of the applicant's release from the institution in accordance with § 273.2 (i)(3)(i). SSA shall notify the State agency of the date of release of the applicant from the institution. If, for any reason, the State agency is not notified on a timely basis of the applicant's release date, the State agency shall restore benefits in accordance with § 273.17 to such applicant back to the date of release. SNAP applications and supporting documentation sent to an incorrect SNAP office shall be sent to the correct office, by the State agency, within one working day of their receipt in accordance with § 273.2(c)(2)(ii).

(G) Households in which all members are applying for or participating in SSI will not be required to see a State eligibility worker, or otherwise be subjected to an additional State interview. The SNAP application will be processed by the State agency. The State agency shall not contact the household further in order to obtain information for certification for SNAP benefits unless: the application is improperly completed; mandatory verification required by § 273.2(f)(1) is missing; or, the State agency determines that certain information on the application is questionable. In no event would the applicant be required to appear at the SNAP office to finalize the eligibility determination. Further contact made in accordance with this paragraph shall not constitute a second SNAP certification interview.

(H) SSA shall refer non-SSI households to the correct SNAP office. The State agencies shall process those applications in accordance with the procedures noted in § 273.2. Applications from such households shall be considered filed on the date the signed application is taken at the correct State agency office, and the normal and expedited processing time standards shall begin on that date.

(I) The SSA shall prescreen all applications for entitlement to expedited services on the day the application is received at the SSA office and shall mark “Expedited Processing” on the first page of all households' applications that appear to be entitled to such processing. The SSA will inform households which appear to meet the criteria for expedited service that benefits may be issued a few days sooner if the household applies directly at the SNAP office. The household may take the application from SSA to the SNAP office for screening, an interview, and processing of the application. This provision does not apply to applications described in paragraph (k)(1)(i)(D) of this section.

(J) The State agency shall prescreen all applications received from the SSA for entitlement to expedited service on the day the application is received at the correct SNAP office. All SSI households entitled to expedited service shall be certified in accordance with § 273.2(i) except that the expedited processing time standard shall begin on the date the application is received at the correct State agency office, unless the applicant is a resident of a public institution as described in § 273.11(i).

(K) The State agency shall develop and implement a method to determine if members of SSI households whose applications are forwarded by the SSA are already participating in SNAP directly through the State agency.

(L) If SSA takes an SSI application or redetermination on the telephone from a member of a pure SSI household, a SNAP application shall also be completed during the telephone interview. In these cases, the SNAP application shall be mailed to the claimant for signature for return to the SSA office or to the State agency. SSA shall then forward any SNAP applications it receives to the State agency. The State agency may not require the household to be interviewed again in the SNAP office. The State agency shall not contact the household further in order to obtain information for certification for SNAP benefits except in accordance with § 273.2(k)(1)(i)(F).

(M) To SSI recipients redetermined for SSI by mail, the SSA shall send a stuffer informing them of their right to file a SNAP application at the SSA office (if they are members of a pure SSI household) or at their local SNAP office, and their right to an out-of-office SNAP interview to be performed by the State agency if the household is unable to appoint an authorized representative.

(N) Section 272.4 bilingual requirements shall not apply to the Social Security Administration.

(O) State agencies shall provide and SSA shall distribute an information sheet or brochure to all households processed under this paragraph. This material shall inform the household of the following: The address and telephone number of the household's correct SNAP office, the remaining actions to be taken in the application process, and a statement that a household should be notified of the SNAP determinations within thirty days and can contact the SNAP office if it receives no notification within thirty days, or has other questions or problems. It shall also include the client's rights and responsibilities (including fair hearings, authorized representatives, out-of-office interviews, reporting changes and timely reapplication), information on how and where to obtain an EBT card and PIN and how to use an EBT card and PIN (including the commodities clients may purchase with SNAP benefits.

(P) As part of the SSA-State agency joint SNAP processing agreement, States may negotiate, on behalf of project areas, to have SSA provide initial eligibility and payment data where the local area is unable to access accurate and timely data through the State's SDX. However, in negotiating such agreements, SSA may challenge a State's determination that it does not have the computer capability to use SDX data. If SSA, FNS, and the State are unable to resolve this matter, and SSA determines that a State does have the capability to provide accurate and timely SDX data to the SNAP project area, SSA is not required to provide alternate means of transmitting initial SSI eligibility and payment data.

(ii) If the State agency chooses to outstation eligibility workers at SSA offices, with SSA's concurrence, the following actions shall be completed.

(A) SSA will provide adequate space for State SNAP eligibility workers in SSA offices.

(B) The State agency shall have at least one outstationed worker on duty at all time periods during which households will be referred for SNAP application processing. In most cases this would require the availability of an outstationed worker throughout normal SSA business hours.

(C) The following households shall be entitled to file SNAP applications with, and be interviewed by an outstationed eligibility worker:

(1) Households containing an applicant for or recipient of SSI;

(2) Households which do not have an applicant for or recipient of SSI, but which contain an applicant for or recipient of benefits under title II of the Social Security Act, if the State agency and SSA have an agreement to allow the processing of such households at SSA offices.

(D) Households shall be interviewed for SNAP benefits on the day of application unless there is insufficient time to conduct an interview. The State agency shall arrange for the outstationed worker to interview applicants as soon as possible.

(E) The State agency shall not refuse to provide service to persons served by the SSA office because they do not reside in the county or project area in which the SSA office is located, provided, however, that they reside within the jurisdictions served by the SSA office and the State agency. The State agency is not required to process the applications of persons who are not residing within the SSA office jurisdiction but who do reside within the State agency's jurisdiction, other than to forward the forms to the correct SNAP offices.

(F) The State agency may permit the eligibility worker outstationed at the SSA to determine the eligibility of households, or may require that completed applications be forwarded elsewhere for the eligibility determination.

(G) Applications from households entitled to joint processing through an outstationed eligibility worker shall be considered filed on the date they are submitted to that worker. Both the normal and expedited service time standards shall begin on that date.

(H) Households not entitled to joint processing shall be entitled to obtain and submit applications at the SSA office. The outstationed eligibility worker need not process these applications except to forward them to the correct SNAP office where they shall be considered filed upon receipt (any activities beyond acceptance and referral of the application would require SSA concurrence). Both the normal and expedited service time standards shall begin on that date.

(iii) Regardless of whether the State agency or SSA conducts the SNAP interview, the following actions shall be taken:

(A) Verification.

(1) The State agency shall ensure that information required by § 273.2(f) is verified prior to certification for households initially applying. Households entitled to expedited certification services shall be processed in accordance with § 273.2(i).

(2) The State agency has the option of verifying SSI benefit payments through the State Data Exchange (SDX), the Beneficiary Data Exchange (BENDEX) and/or through verification provided by the household.

(3) State agencies may verify other information through SDX and BENDEX but only to the extent permitted by data exchange agreements with SSA. Information verified through SDX or BENDEX shall not be reverified unless it is questionable. Households shall be given the opportunity to provide verification from another source if all necessary information is not available on the SDX or the BENDEX, or if the SDX/BENDEX information is contradictory to other household information.

(B) Certification period.

(1) State agencies shall certify households under these procedures for up to twelve months, according to the standards in § 273.10(f), except for State agencies which must assign the initial certification period to coincide with adjustments to the SSI benefit amount as designated in § 273.10(f)(3)(iii).

(2) In cases jointly processed in which the SSI determination results in denial, and the State agency believes that SNAP eligibility or benefit levels may be affected, the State agency shall send the household a notice of expiration advising that the certification period will expire the end of the month following the month in which the notice is sent and that it must reapply if it wishes to continue to participate. The notice shall also explain that its certification period is expiring because of changes in circumstances which may affect SNAP eligibility or benefit levels and that the household may be entitled to an out-of-office interview, in accordance with § 273.2(e)(2).

(C) Changes in circumstances.

(1) Households shall report changes in accordance with the requirements in § 273.12. The State agency shall process changes in accordance with § 273.12.

(2) Within ten days of learning of the determination of the application for SSI through SDX, the household, advisement from SSA where SSA agrees to do so for households processed under § 273.2(k)(1)(i), or from any other source, the State agency shall take required action in accordance with § 273.12. State agencies are encouraged to monitor the results of the SSI determination through SDX and BENDEX to the extent practical.

(3) The State agency shall process adjustments to SSI cases resulting from mass changes, in accordance with provisions of § 273.12(e).

(D) SSI households applying at the SNAP office. The State agency shall allow SSI households to submit SNAP applications to local SNAP offices rather than through the SSA if the household chooses. In such cases all verification, including that pertaining to SSI program benefits, shall be provided by the household, by SDX or BENDEX, or obtained by the State agency rather than being provided by the SSA.

(E) Restoration of lost benefits. The State agency shall restore to the household benefits which were lost whenever the loss was caused by an error by the State agency or by the Social Security Administration through joint processing. Such an error shall include, but not be limited to, the loss of an applicant's SNAP application after it has been filed with SSA or with a State agency's outstationed worker. Lost benefits shall be restored in accordance with § 273.17.

(2) Recertification.

(i) The State agency shall complete the application process and approve or deny timely applications for recertification in accordance with § 273.14 of the SNAP regulations. A face-to-face interview shall be waived if requested by a household consisting entirely of SSI participants unable to appoint an authorized representative. The State agency shall provide SSI households with a notice of expiration in accordance with § 273.14(b), except that such notification shall inform households consisting entirely of SSI recipients that they are entitled to a waiver of a face-to-face interview if the household is unable to appoint an authorized representative.

(ii) Households shall be entitled to make a timely application (in accordance with § 273.14(b)(3)) for SNAP recertification at an SSA office under the following conditions.

(A) In SSA offices where § 273.2(k)(1)(i) is in effect, SSA shall accept the application of a pure SSI household and forward the completed application, transmittal form and any available verification to the designated SNAP office. Where SSA accepts and refers the application in such situations, the household shall not be required to appear at a second office interview, although the State agency may conduct an out-of-office interview, if necessary.

(B) In SSA offices where § 273.2(k)(1)(ii) is in effect, the outstationed worker shall accept the application and interview the recipient and the State agency shall process the application according to § 273.14.

(l) Households applying for or receiving social security benefits. An applicant for or recipient of social security benefits under title II of the Social Security Act shall be informed at the SSA office of the availability of benefits under SNAP and the availability of a SNAP application at the SSA office. The SSA office is not required to accept applications and conduct interviews for title II applicants/recipients in the manner prescribed in § 273.2(k) for SSI applicants/recipients unless the State agency has chosen to outstation eligibility workers at the SSA office and has an agreement with SSA to allow the processing of such households at SSA offices. In these cases, processing shall be in accordance with § 273.2(k)(1)(ii).

(m) Households where not all members are applying for or receiving SSI. An applicant for or recipient of SSI shall be informed at the SSA office of the availability of benefits under SNAP and the availability of a SNAP application at the SSA office. The SSA office is not required to accept applications or to conduct interviews for SSI applicants or recipients who are not members of households in which all are SSI applicants or recipients unless the State agency has chosen to outstation eligibility workers at the SSA office. In this case, processing shall be in accordance with § 273.2(k)(1)(ii).

(n) Authorized representatives. Representatives may be authorized to act on behalf of a household in the application process, in obtaining SNAP benefits, and in using SNAP benefits.

(1) Application processing and reporting. The State agency shall inform applicants and prospective applicants that indicate that they may have difficulty completing the application process, that a nonhousehold member may be designated as the authorized representative for application processing purposes. The household member or the authorized representative may complete work registration forms for those household members required to register for work. The authorized representative designated for application processing purposes may also carry out household responsibilities during the certification period, such as reporting changes in the household's income or other household circumstances in accordance with §§ 273.12(a) and 273.21. Except for those situations in which a drug and alcohol treatment center or other group living arrangement acts as the authorized representative, the State agency must inform the household that the household will be held liable for any overissuance that results from erroneous information given by the authorized representative.

(i) A nonhousehold member may be designated as an authorized representative for the application process provided that the person is an adult who is sufficiently aware of relevant household circumstances and the authorized representative designation has been made in writing by the head of the household, the spouse, or another responsible member of the household. Paragraph (n)(4) of this section contains further restrictions on who can be designated an authorized representative.

(ii) Residents of drug or alcohol treatment centers must apply and be certified through the use of authorized representatives in accordance with § 273.11(e). Residents of group living arrangements have the option to apply and be certified through the use of authorized representatives in accordance with § 273.11(f).

(2) Obtaining SNAP benefits. An authorized representative may be designated to obtain benefits. Even if the household is able to obtain benefits, it should be encouraged to name an authorized representative for obtaining benefits in case of illness or other circumstances which might result in an inability to obtain benefits. The name of the authorized representative must be recorded in the household's case record. The authorized representative for obtaining benefits may or may not be the same individual designated as an authorized representative for the application process or for meeting reporting requirements during the certification period.

(3) Using benefits. A household may allow any household member or nonmember to use its EBT card to purchase food or meals, if authorized, for the household. Drug or alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements which act as authorized representatives for residents of the facilities must use SNAP benefits for food prepared and served to those residents participating in SNAP (except when residents leave the facility as provided in § 273.11(e) and (f)).

(4) Restrictions on designations of authorized representatives.

(i) The State agency must restrict the use of authorized representatives for purposes of application processing and obtaining SNAP benefits as follows:

(A) State agency employees who are involved in the certification or issuance processes and retailers who are authorized to accept SNAP benefits may not act as authorized representatives without the specific written approval of a designated State agency official and only if that official determines that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative.

(B) An individual disqualified for an intentional Program violation cannot act as an authorized representative during the disqualification period, unless the State agency has determined that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative. The State agency must separately determine whether the individual is needed to apply on behalf of the household, or to obtain benefits on behalf of the household.

(C) If a State agency has determined that an authorized representative has knowingly provided false information about household circumstances or has made improper use of benefits, it may disqualify that person from being an authorized representative for up to one year. The State agency must send written notification to the affected household(s) and the authorized representative 30 days prior to the date of disqualification. The notification must specify the reason for the proposed action and the household's right to request a fair hearing. This provision is not applicable in the case of drug and alcoholic treatment centers and those group homes which act as authorized representatives for their residents. However, drug and alcohol treatment centers and the heads of group living arrangements that act as authorized representatives for their residents, and which intentionally misrepresent households circumstances, may be prosecuted under applicable Federal and State statutes for their acts.

(D) Homeless meal providers, as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter, may not act as authorized representatives for homeless SNAP recipients.

(ii) In order to prevent abuse of the program, the State agency may set a limit on the number of households an authorized representative may represent.

(iii) In the event employers, such as those that employ migrant or seasonal farmworkers, are designated as authorized representatives or that a single authorized representative has access to a large number of EBT accounts, the State agency should exercise caution to assure that each household has freely requested the assistance of the authorized representative, the household's circumstances are correctly represented, the household is receiving the correct amount of benefits and that the authorized representative is properly using the benefits.

(o) Each State agency shall require the individual applying for SNAP benefits to attest to whether the individual or any other member of the household has been convicted of a crime as an adult as described in § 273.11(s) and whether the convicted member is complying with the terms of the sentence.

(1) The State agency shall update its application process, including certification and recertification procedures, to include the attestation requirement. Attestations may be done in writing, verbally, or both, provided that the attestation requirement shall be explained to the applicant household during the interview and the attestation is legally binding in the law of the State. Whatever procedure a State chooses to implement must be reasonable and consistent for all households applying for SNAP benefits. However, no individual shall be required to come to the SNAP office solely for an attestation.

(2) The State agency shall document this attestation in the case file.

(3) The State agency shall establish standards for verification of only those attestations that are questionable, as described in § 273.2(f)(2). When verifying an attestation, the State agency must verify any conviction for a crime described in § 273.11(s) and that the individual is not in compliance with the terms of the sentence.

(4) Application processing shall not be delayed beyond required processing timeframes solely because the State agency has not obtained verification of an attestation. The State agency shall continue to process the application while awaiting verification. If the State agency is required to act on the case without being able to verify an attestation in order to meet the time standards in § 273.2(g) or § 273.2(i)(3), the State agency shall process the application without consideration of the individual's felony and compliance status.

[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47889, Oct. 17, 1978]

Subpart B - Residency and Citizenship
§ 273.3 Residency.

(a) A household shall live in the State in which it files an application for participation. The State agency may also require a household to file an application for participation in a specified project area (as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter) or office within the State. No individual may participate as a member of more than one household or in more than one project area, in any month, unless an individual is a resident of a shelter for battered women and children as defined in § 271.2 and was a member of a household containing the person who had abused him or her. Residents of shelters for battered women and children shall be handled in accordance with § 273.11(g). The State agency shall not impose any durational residency requirements. The State agency shall not require an otherwise eligible household to reside in a permanent dwelling or have a fixed mailing address as a condition of eligibility. Nor shall residency require an intent to reside permanently in the State or project area. Persons in a project area solely for vacation purposes shall not be considered residents.

(b) When a household moves within the State, the State agency may require the household to reapply in the new project area or it may transfer the household's casefile to the new project area and continue the household's certification without reapplication. If the State agency chooses to transfer the case, it shall act on changes in household circumstances resulting from the move in accordance with § 273.12(c) or § 273.21. It shall also ensure that duplicate participation does not occur in accordance with § 272.4(f) of this chapter, and that the transfer of a household's case shall not adversely affect the household.

[46 FR 60166, Dec. 8, 1981, as amended by Amdt. 211, 47 FR 53317, Nov. 26, 1982; Amdt. 269, 51 FR 10785, Mar. 28, 1986; Amdt. 274, 51 FR 18750, May 21, 1986; Amdt. 364, 61 FR 54317, Oct. 17, 1996]

§ 273.4 Citizenship and alien status.

(a) Household members meeting citizenship or alien status requirements. No person is eligible to participate in the Program unless that person is:

(1) A U.S. citizen[1] ;

(2) A U.S. non-citizen national1

(3) An individual who is:

(i) An American Indian born in Canada who possesses at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race to whom the provisions of section 289 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1359) apply; or

(ii) A member of an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)) which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the U.S. to Indians because of their status as Indians;

(4) An individual who is:

(i) Lawfully residing in the U.S. and was a member of a Hmong or Highland Laotian tribe at the time that the tribe rendered assistance to U.S. personnel by taking part in a military or rescue operation during the Vietnam era beginning August 5, 1964, and ending May 7, 1975;

(ii) The spouse, or surviving spouse of such Hmong or Highland Laotian who is deceased, or

(iii) An unmarried dependent child of such Hmong or Highland Laotian who is under the age of 18 or if a full-time student under the age of 22; an unmarried child under the age of 18 or if a full time student under the age of 22 of such a deceased Hmong or Highland Laotian provided the child was dependent upon him or her at the time of his or her death; or an unmarried disabled child age 18 or older if the child was disabled and dependent on the person prior to the child's 18th birthday. For purposes of this paragraph (a)(4)(iii), child means the legally adopted or biological child of the person described in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section, or

(5) An individual who is:

(i) An alien who has been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons and who is certified by the Department of Health and Human Services, to the same extent as an alien who is admitted to the United States as a refugee under Section 207 of the INA; or

(ii) An alien who has been subjected to a severe form of trafficking in persons and who is under the age of 18, to the same extent as an alien who is admitted to the United States as a refugee under Section 207 of the INA;

(iii) The spouse, child, parent or unmarried minor sibling of a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons under 21 years of age, and who has received a derivative T visa, to the same extent as an alien who is admitted to the United States as a refugee under Section 207 of the INA; or

(iv) The spouse or child of a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons 21 years of age or older, and who has received a derivative T visa, to the same extent as an alien who is admitted to the United States as a refugee under Section 207 of the INA; or

(6) An individual who is both a qualified alien as defined in paragraph (a)(6)(i) of this section and an eligible alien as defined in paragraph (a)(6)(ii) or (a)(6)(iii) of this section.

(i) A qualified alien is:

(A) An alien who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the INA;

(B) An alien who is granted asylum under section 208 of the INA;

(C) A refugee who is admitted to the United States under section 207 of the INA;

(D) An alien who is paroled into the U.S. under section 212(d)(5) of the INA for a period of at least 1 year;

(E) An alien whose deportation is being withheld under section 243(h) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1997, or whose removal is withheld under section 241(b)(3) of the INA;

(F) An alien who is granted conditional entry pursuant to section 203(a)(7) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1980;

(G) An alien who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the U.S. by a spouse or a parent or by a member of the spouse or parent's family residing in the same household as the alien at the time of the abuse, an alien whose child has been battered or subjected to battery or cruelty, or an alien child whose parent has been battered;[2] or

(H) An alien who is a Cuban or Haitian entrant, as defined in section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980.

(ii) A qualified alien, as defined in paragraph (a)(6)(i) of this section, is eligible to receive SNAP benefits and is not subject to the requirement to be in qualified status for 5 years as set forth in paragraph (a)(6)(iii) of this section, if such individual meets at least one of the criteria of this paragraph (a)(6)(ii):

(A) An alien age 18 or older lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the INA who has 40 qualifying quarters as determined under Title II of the SSA, including qualifying quarters of work not covered by Title II of the SSA, based on the sum of: quarters the alien worked; quarters credited from the work of a parent of the alien before the alien became 18 (including quarters worked before the alien was born or adopted); and quarters credited from the work of a spouse of the alien during their marriage if they are still married or the spouse is deceased.

(1) A spouse may not get credit for quarters of a spouse when the couple divorces prior to a determination of SNAP eligibility. However, if the State agency determines eligibility of an alien based on the quarters of coverage of the spouse, and then the couple divorces, the alien's eligibility continues until the next recertification. At that time, the State agency must determine the alien's eligibility without crediting the alien with the former spouse's quarters of coverage.

(2) After December 31, 1996, a quarter in which the alien actually received any Federal means-tested public benefit, as defined by the agency providing the benefit, or actually received SNAP benefits is not creditable toward the 40-quarter total. Likewise, a parent's or spouse's quarter is not creditable if the parent or spouse actually received any Federal means-tested public benefit or actually received SNAP benefits in that quarter. The State agency must evaluate quarters of coverage and receipt of Federal means-tested public benefits on a calendar year basis. The State agency must first determine the number of quarters creditable in a calendar year, then identify those quarters in which the alien (or the parent(s) or spouse of the alien) received Federal means-tested public benefits and then remove those quarters from the number of quarters of coverage earned or credited to the alien in that calendar year. However, if the alien earns the 40th quarter of coverage prior to applying for SNAP benefits or any other Federal means-tested public benefit in that same quarter, the State agency must allow that quarter toward the 40 qualifying quarters total;

(B) An alien admitted as a refugee under section 207 of the INA;

(C) An alien granted asylum under section 208 of the INA;

(D) An alien whose deportation is withheld under section 243(h) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1997, or whose removal is withheld under section 241(b)(3) or the INA;

(E) An alien granted status as a Cuban or Haitian entrant (as defined in section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980);

(F) An Amerasian admitted pursuant to section 584 of Public Law 100-202, as amended by Public Law 100-461;

(G) An alien with one of the following military connections:

(1) A veteran who was honorably discharged for reasons other than alien status, who fulfills the minimum active-duty service requirements of 38 U.S.C. 5303A(d), including an individual who died in active military, naval or air service. The definition of veteran includes an individual who served before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines while such forces were in the service of the Armed Forces of the U.S. or in the Philippine Scouts, as described in 38 U.S.C. 107;

(2) An individual on active duty in the Armed Forces of the U.S. (other than for training); or

(3) The spouse and unmarried dependent children of a person described in paragraphs (a)(6)(ii)(G)(1) or (a)(6)(ii)(G)(2) of this section, including the spouse of a deceased veteran, provided the marriage fulfilled the requirements of 38 U.S.C. 1304, and the spouse has not remarried. An unmarried dependent child for purposes of this paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(G)(3) is: a child who is under the age of 18 or, if a full-time student, under the age of 22; such unmarried dependent child of a deceased veteran provided such child was dependent upon the veteran at the time of the veteran's death; or an unmarried disabled child age 18 or older if the child was disabled and dependent on the veteran prior to the child's 18th birthday. For purposes of this paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(G)(3), child means the legally adopted or biological child of the person described in paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(G)(1) or (a)(6)(ii)(G)(2) of this section.

(H) An individual who is receiving benefits or assistance for blindness or disability (as specified in § 271.2 of this chapter).

(I) An individual who on August 22, 1996, was lawfully residing in the U.S., and was born on or before August 22, 1931; or

(J) An individual who is under 18 years of age.

(iii) The following qualified aliens, as defined in paragraph (a)(6)(i) of this section, must be in a qualified status for 5 years before being eligible to receive SNAP benefits. The 5 years in qualified status may be either consecutive or nonconsecutive. Temporary absences of less than 6 months from the United States with no intention of abandoning U.S. residency do not terminate or interrupt the individual's period of U.S. residency. If the resident is absent for more than 6 months, the agency shall presume that U.S. residency was interrupted unless the alien presents evidence of his or her intent to resume U.S. residency. In determining whether an alien with an interrupted period of U.S. residency has resided in the United States for 5 years, the agency shall consider all months of residency in the United States, including any months of residency before the interruption:

(A) An alien age 18 or older lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the INA.

(B) An alien who is paroled into the U.S. under section 212(d)(5) of the INA for a period of at least 1 year;

(C) An alien who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty in the U.S. by a spouse or a parent or by a member of the spouse or parent's family residing in the same household as the alien at the time of the abuse, an alien whose child has been battered or subjected to battery or cruelty, or an alien child whose parent has been battered;

(D) An alien who is granted conditional entry pursuant to section 203(a)(7) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1980.

(iv) Each category of eligible alien status stands alone for purposes of determining eligibility. Subsequent adjustment to a more limited status does not override eligibility based on an earlier less rigorous status. Likewise, if eligibility expires under one eligible status, the State agency must determine if eligibility exists under another status.

(7) For purposes of determining eligible alien status in accordance with paragraphs (a)(4) and (a)(6)(ii)(I) of this section “lawfully residing in the U.S.” means that the alien is lawfully present as defined at 8 CFR 103.12(a).

(b) Reporting illegal aliens.

(1) The State agency must inform the local USCIS office immediately whenever personnel responsible for the certification or recertification of households determine that any member of a household is ineligible to receive SNAP benefits because the member is present in the U.S. in violation of the INA. The State agency may meet this requirement by conforming with the Interagency Notice providing guidance for compliance with PRWORA section 404 published on September 28, 2000 (65 FR 58301).

(2) When a household indicates inability or unwillingness to provide documentation of alien status for any household member, the State agency must classify that member as an ineligible alien. When a person indicates inability or unwillingness to provide documentation of alien status, the State agency must classify that person as an ineligible alien. In such cases the State agency must not continue efforts to obtain that documentation.

(c) Households containing sponsored alien members -

(1) Definition. A sponsored alien is an alien for whom a person (the sponsor) has executed an affidavit of support (USCIS Form I-864 or I-864A) on behalf of the alien pursuant to section 213A of the INA.

(2) Deeming of sponsor's income and resources. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(2), only in the event a sponsored alien is an eligible alien in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section will the State agency consider available to the household the income and resources of the sponsor and spouse. For purposes of determining the eligibility and benefit level of a household of which an eligible sponsored alien is a member, the State agency must deem the income and resources of sponsor and the sponsor's spouse, if he or she has executed USCIS Form I-864 or I-864A, as the unearned income and resources of the sponsored alien. The State agency must deem the sponsor's income and resources until the alien gains U. S. citizenship, has worked or can receive credit for 40 qualifying quarters of work as described in paragraph (a)(6)(ii)(A) of this section, or the sponsor dies.

(i) The monthly income of the sponsor and sponsor's spouse (if he or she has executed USCIS Form I-864 or I-864A) deemed as that of the eligible sponsored alien must be the total monthly earned and unearned income, as defined in § 273.9(b) with the exclusions provided in § 273.9(c) of the sponsor and sponsor's spouse at the time the household containing the sponsored alien member applies or is recertified for participation, reduced by:

(A) A 20 percent earned income amount for that portion of the income determined as earned income of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse; and

(B) An amount equal to the Program's monthly gross income eligibility limit for a household equal in size to the sponsor, the sponsor's spouse, and any other person who is claimed or could be claimed by the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse as a dependent for Federal income tax purposes.

(ii) If the alien has already reported gross income information on his or her sponsor in compliance with the sponsored alien rules of another State agency administered assistance program, the State agency may use that income amount for SNAP deeming purposes. However, the State agency must limit allowable reductions to the total gross income of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse prior to attributing an income amount to the alien to amounts specified in paragraphs (c)(2)(i)(A) and (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section.

(iii) The State agency must consider as income to the alien any money the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse pays to the eligible sponsored alien, but only to the extent that the money exceeds the amount deemed to the eligible sponsored alien in accordance with paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section.

(iv) The State agency must deem as available to the eligible sponsored alien the total amount of the resources of the sponsor and sponsor's spouse as determined in accordance with § 273.8, reduced by $1,500.

(v) If a sponsored alien can demonstrate to the State agency's satisfaction that his or her sponsor is the sponsor of other aliens, the State agency must divide the income and resources deemed under the provisions of paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (c)(2)(iii) of this section by the number of such sponsored aliens. The State agency must use the same procedure to determine the amount of deemed income and resources to exclude in the case of a sponsored alien or a citizen child of a sponsored alien who is exempt from deeming in accordance with paragraphs (c)(3)(vi) or (c)(3)(vii) of this section.

(3) Exempt aliens. The provisions of paragraph (c)(2) of this section do not apply to:

(i) An alien who is a member of his or her sponsor's SNAP household;

(ii) An alien who is sponsored by an organization or group as opposed to an individual;

(iii) An alien who is not required to have a sponsor under the Immigration and Nationality Act, such as a refugee, a parolee, an asylee, or a Cuban or Haitian entrant;

(iv) An indigent alien that the State agency has determined is unable to obtain food and shelter taking into account the alien's own income plus any cash, food, housing, or other assistance provided by other individuals, including the sponsor(s). Prior to determining whether an alien is indigent, the State agency must explain the purpose of the determination to the alien and/or household representative and provide the alien and/or household representative the opportunity to refuse the determination. If the household refuses the determination, the State agency will not complete the determination and will deem the sponsor's income and resources to the alien's household in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section. The State agency must inform the sponsored alien of the consequences of refusing this determination. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(3)(iv), the phrase “is unable to obtain food and shelter” means that the sum of the eligible sponsored alien's household's own income, the cash contributions of the sponsor and others, and the value of any in-kind assistance the sponsor and others provide, does not exceed 130 percent of the poverty income guideline for the household's size. The State agency must determine the amount of income and other assistance provided in the month of application. If the alien is indigent, the only amount that the State agency must deem to such an alien will be the amount actually provided for a period beginning on the date of such determination and ending 12 months after such date. Each indigence determination is renewable for additional 12-month periods. The State agency must notify the Attorney General of each such determination, including the names of the sponsor and the sponsored alien involved. State agencies may develop an administrative process under which information about the sponsored alien is not shared with the Attorney General or the sponsor without the sponsored alien's consent. The State agency must inform the sponsored alien of the consequences of failure to provide such consent. If the sponsored alien fails to provide consent, he or she shall be ineligible pursuant to paragraph (c)(5) of this section, and the State agency shall determine the eligibility and benefit level of the remaining household members in accordance with § 273.11(c).

(v) A battered alien spouse, alien parent of a battered child, or child of a battered alien, for 12 months after the State agency determines that the battering is substantially connected to the need for benefits, and the battered individual does not live with the batterer.[3] After 12 months, the State agency must not deem the batterer's income and resources if the battery is recognized by a court or the USCIS and has a substantial connection to the need for benefits, and the alien does not live with the batterer.

(vi) A sponsored alien child under 18 years of age of a sponsored alien.

(vii) A citizen child under age 18 of a sponsored alien.

(4) Eligible sponsored alien's responsibilities. During the period the alien is subject to deeming, the eligible sponsored alien is responsible for obtaining the cooperation of the sponsor and for providing the State agency at the time of application and at the time of recertification with the information and documentation necessary to calculate deemed income and resources in accordance with paragraphs (c)(2)(i) through (c)(2)(v) of this section. The eligible sponsored alien is responsible for providing the names and other identifying factors of other aliens for whom the alien's sponsor has signed an affidavit of support. The State agency must attribute the entire amount of income and resources to the applicant eligible sponsored alien until he or she provides the information specified under this paragraph (c)(4). The eligible sponsored alien is also responsible for reporting the required information about the sponsor and sponsor's spouse should the alien obtain a different sponsor during the certification period and for reporting a change in income should the sponsor or the sponsor's spouse change or lose employment or die during the certification period. The State agency must handle such changes in accordance with the timeliness standards described in § 273.12 or § 273.21, as appropriate.

(5) Awaiting verification. Until the alien provides information or verification necessary to carry out the provisions of paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the sponsored alien is ineligible. The State agency must determine the eligibility of any remaining household members. The State agency must consider available to the remaining household members the income and resources of the ineligible alien (excluding the deemed income and resources of the alien's sponsor and sponsor's spouse) in determining the eligibility and benefit level of the remaining household members in accordance with § 273.11(c). If the sponsored alien refuses to cooperate in providing information or verification, other adult members of the alien's household are responsible for providing the information or verification required in accordance with the provisions of § 273.2(d). If the State agency subsequently receives information or verification, it must act on the information as a reported change in household membership in accordance with the timeliness standards in § 273.12 or § 273.21, as appropriate. If the same sponsor is responsible for the entire household, the entire household is ineligible until such time as the household provides the needed sponsor information or verification. The State agency must assist aliens in obtaining verification in accordance with the provisions of § 273.2(f)(5).

(6) Demands for restitution. The State agency must exclude any sponsor who is participating in the Program from any demand made under 8 CFR 213a.4(a) for the value of SNAP benefits issued to an eligible sponsored alien he or she sponsors.

[Amdt. 388, 65 FR 70200, Nov. 21, 2000, as amended at 75 FR 4947, Jan. 29, 2010]

Subpart C - Education and Employment
§ 273.5 Students.

(a) Applicability. An individual who is enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education shall be ineligible to participate in SNAP unless the individual qualifies for one of the exemptions contained in paragraph (b) of this section. An individual is considered to be enrolled in an institution of higher education if the individual is enrolled in a business, technical, trade, or vocational school that normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment in the curriculum or if the individual is enrolled in a regular curriculum at a college or university that offers degree programs regardless of whether a high school diploma is required.

(b) Student Exemptions. To be eligible for the program, a student as defined in paragraph (a) of the section must meet at least one of the following criteria.

(1) Be age 17 or younger or age 50 or older;

(2) Be physically or mentally unfit;

(3) Be receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families under Title IV of the Social Security Act;

(4) Be enrolled as a result of participation in the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills program under Title IV of the Social Security Act or its successor program;

(5) Be employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week and be paid for such employment or, if self-employed, be employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week and receiving weekly earnings at least equal to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 20 hours. The State agency may choose to determine compliance with this requirement by calculating whether the student worked an average of 20 hours per week over the period of a month, quarter, trimester or semester. State agencies may choose to exclude hours accrued during academic breaks that do not exceed one month. A State agency that chooses to average student work hours must specify this choice and specify the time period over which the work hours will be averaged in its State plan of operation;

(6) Be participating in a State or federally financed work study program during the regular school year.

(i) To qualify under this provision, the student must be approved for work study at the time of application for SNAP benefits, the work study must be approved for the school term, and the student must anticipate actually working during that time. The exemption shall begin with the month in which the school term begins or the month work study is approved, whichever is later. Once begun, the exemption shall continue until the end of the month in which the school term ends, or it becomes known that the student has refused an assignment.

(ii) The exemption shall not continue between terms when there is a break of a full month or longer unless the student is participating in work study during the break.

(7) Be participating in an on-the-job training program. A person is considered to be participating in an on-the-job training program only during the period of time the person is being trained by the employer;

(8) Be responsible for the care of a dependent household member under the age of 6;

(9) Be responsible for the care of a dependent household member who has reached the age of 6 but is under age 12 when the State agency has determined that adequate child care is not available to enable the student to attend class and comply with the work requirements of paragraph (b)(5) or (b)(6) of this section;

(10) Be a single parent enrolled in an institution of higher education on a full-time basis (as determined by the institution) and be responsible for the care of a dependent child under age 12.

(i) This provision applies in those situations where only one natural, adoptive or stepparent (regardless of marital status) is in the same SNAP household as the child.

(ii) If no natural, adoptive or stepparent is in the same SNAP household as the child, another full-time student in the same SNAP household as the child may qualify for eligible student status under this provision if he or she has parental control over the child and is not living with his or her spouse.

(11) Be assigned to or placed in an institution of higher education through or in compliance with the requirements of one of the programs identified in paragraphs (b)(11)(i) through (b)(11)(iv) of this section. Self-initiated placements during the period of time the person is enrolled in one of these employment and training programs shall be considered to be in compliance with the requirements of the employment and training program in which the person is enrolled provided that the program has a component for enrollment in an institution of higher education and that program accepts the placement. Persons who voluntarily participate in one of these employment and training programs and are placed in an institution of higher education through or in compliance with the requirements of the program shall also qualify for the exemption. The programs are:

(i) A program under the Job Training Partnership Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1501, et seq.);

(ii) An employment and training program under § 273.7, subject to the condition that the course or program of study, as determined by the State agency:

(A) Is part of a program of career and technical education as defined in section 3 of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2302) designed to be completed in not more than 4 years at an institution of higher education as defined in section 102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 2296); or

(B) is limited to remedial courses, basic adult education, literacy, or English as a second language.

(iii) A program under section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2296); or

(iv) An employment and training program for low-income households that is operated by a State or local government where one or more of the components of such program is at least equivalent to an acceptable SNAP employment and training program component as specified in § 273.7(e)(1). Using the criteria in § 273.7(e)(1), State agencies shall make the determinations as to whether or not the programs qualify.

(c) The enrollment status of a student shall begin on the first day of the school term of the institution of higher education. Such enrollment shall be deemed to continue through normal periods of class attendance, vacation and recess, unless the student graduates, is suspended or expelled, drops out, or does not intend to register for the next normal school term (excluding summer school).

(d) The income and resources of an ineligible student shall be handled as outlined in § 273.11(d).

[46 FR 43025, Aug. 25, 1981, as amended by Amdt. 235, 47 FR 55908, Dec. 14, 1982; Amdt. 269, 51 FR 10785, Mar. 28, 1986; Amdt. 274, 51 FR 18750, May 21, 1986; Amdt. 277, 51 FR 30048, Aug. 22, 1986; Amdt. 370, 60 FR 48869, Sept. 21, 1995; 67 FR 41603, June 19, 2002; 82 FR 2308, Jan. 6, 2017; 84 FR 15094, Apr. 15, 2019]

§ 273.6 Social security numbers.

(a) Requirements for participation. The State agency shall require that a household participating or applying for participation in SNAP provide the State agency with the social security number (SSN) of each household member or apply for one before certification. If individuals have more than one number, all numbers shall be required. The State agency shall explain to applicants and participants that refusal or failure without good cause to provide an SSN will result in disqualification of the individual for whom an SSN is not obtained.

(b) Obtaining SSNs for SNAP household members.

(1) For those individuals who provide SSNs prior to certification, recertification or at any office contact, the State agency shall record the SSN and verify it in accordance with § 273.2(f)(1)(v).

(2) For those individuals who do not have an SSN, the State agency shall:

(i) If an enumeration agreement with SSA exists, complete the application for an SSN, Form SS-5. To complete Form SS-5, the State agency must document the verification of identity, age, and citizenship or alien status as required by SSA and forward the SS-5 to SSA.

(ii) If no enumeration agreement exists, an individual must apply at the SSA, and the State agency shall arrange with SSA to be notified directly of the SSN when it is issued. The State agency shall inform the household where to apply and what information will be needed, including any which may be needed for SSA to notify the State agency of the SSN. The State agency shall advise the household member that proof of application from SSA will be required prior to certification. SSA normally uses the Receipt of Application for a Social Security Number, Form SSA-5028, as evidence that an individual has applied for an SSN. State agencies may also use their own documents for this purpose.

(3) The State agency shall follow the procedures described in paragraphs (b)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section for individuals who do not know if they have an SSN, or are unable to find their SSN.

(4) If the household is unable to provide proof of application for an SSN for a newborn, the household must provide the SSN or proof of application at its next recertification or within 6 months following the month the baby is born, whichever is later. If the household is unable to provide an SSN or proof of application for an SSN at its next recertification within 6 months following the baby's birth, the State agency shall determine if the good cause provisions of paragraph (d) of this section are applicable.

(c) Failure to comply. If the State agency determines that a household member has refused or failed without good cause to provide or apply for an SSN, then that individual shall be ineligible to participate in SNAP. The disqualification applies to the individual for whom the SSN is not provided and not to the entire household. The earned or unearned income and resources of an individual disqualified from the household for failure to comply with this requirement shall be counted as household income and resources to the extent specified in § 273.11(c) of these regulations.

(d) Determining good cause. In determining if good cause exists for failure to comply with the requirement to apply for or provide the State agency with an SSN, the State agency shall consider information from the household member, SSA and the State agency (especially if the State agency was designated to send the SS-5 to SSA and either did not process the SS-5 or did not process it in a timely manner). Documentary evidence or collateral information that the household member has applied for an SSN or made every effort to supply SSA with the necessary information to complete an application for an SSN shall be considered good cause for not complying timely with this requirement. Good cause does not include delays due to illness, lack of transportation or temporary absences, because SSA makes provisions for mail-in applications in lieu of applying in person. If the household member can show good cause why an application for a SSN has not been completed in a timely manner, that person shall be allowed to participate for one month in addition to the month of application. If the household member applying for an SSN has been unable to obtain the documents required by SSN, the State agency caseworker should make every effort to assist the individual in obtaining these documents. Good cause for failure to apply must be shown monthly in order for such a household member to continue to participate. Once an application has been filed, the State agency shall permit the member to continue to participate pending notification of the State agency of the household member's SSN.

(e) Ending disqualification. The household member(s) disqualified may become eligible upon providing the State agency with an SSN.

(f) Use of SSNs. The State agency is authorized to use SSNs in the administration of SNAP. To the extent determined necessary by the Secretary and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, State agencies shall have access to information regarding individual SNAP applicants and participants who receive benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act to determine such a household's eligibility to receive assistance and the amount of assistance, or to verify information related to the benefit of these households. State agencies shall use the State Data Exchange (SDX) to the maximum extent possible. The State agency should also use the SSNs to prevent duplicate participation, to facilitate mass changes in Federal benefits as described in § 273.12(e)(3) and to determine the accuracy and/or reliability of information given by households. In particular, SSNs shall be used by the State agency to request and exchange information on individuals through the IEVS as specified in § 272.8.

(g) Entry of SSNs into automated data bases. State agencies with automated SNAP data bases containing household information shall enter all SSNs obtained in accordance with § 273.6(a) into these files.

[Amdt. 264, 51 FR 7206, Feb. 28, 1986; Amdt. 364, 61 FR 54317, Oct. 17, 1996]

§ 273.7 Work provisions.

(a) Work requirements.

(1) As a condition of eligibility for SNAP benefits, each household member not exempt under paragraph (b)(1) of this section must comply with the following SNAP work requirements:

(i) Register for work or be registered by the State agency at the time of application and every 12 months after initial registration. The member required to register need not complete the registration form.

(ii) Participate in a Food Stamp Employment and Training (E&T) program if assigned by the State agency, to the extent required by the State agency;

(iii) Participate in a workfare program if assigned by the State agency;

(iv) Provide the State agency or its designee with sufficient information regarding employment status or availability for work;

(v) Report to an employer to whom referred by the State agency or its designee if the potential employment meets the suitability requirements described in paragraph (h) of this section;

(vi) Accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment, as defined in paragraph (h) of this section, at a site or plant not subject to a strike or lockout, at a wage equal to the higher of the Federal or State minimum wage or 80 percent of the wage that would have governed had the minimum hourly rate under section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act been applicable to the offer of employment.

(vii) Do not voluntarily and without good cause quit a job of 30 or more hours a week or reduce work effort to less than 30 hours a week, in accordance with paragraph (j) of this section.

(2) The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has defined the meaning of “good cause,” and “voluntary quit,” and “reduction of work effort” as used in paragraph (a)(1)(vii) of this section. See paragraph (i) of this section for a discussion of good cause; see paragraph (j) of this section for a discussion of voluntary quit and reduction of work effort.

(3) Each State agency will determine the meaning of any other terms used in paragraph (a)(1) of this section; the procedures for establishing compliance with SNAP work requirements; and whether an individual is complying with SNAP work requirements. A State agency must not use a meaning, procedure, or determination that is less restrictive on SNAP recipients than is a comparable meaning, procedure, or determination under the State agency's program funded under title IV-A of the Social Security Act.

(4) Strikers whose households are eligible under the criteria in § 273.1(e) are subject to SNAP work requirements unless they are exempt under paragraph (b)(1) of this section at the time of application.

(5) State agencies may request approval from FNS to substitute State or local procedures for work registration for PA households not subject to the work requirements under title IV of the Social Security Act or for GA households. However, the failure of a household member to comply with State or local work requirements that exceed the requirements listed in this section must not be considered grounds for disqualification. Work requirements imposed on refugees participating in refugee resettlement programs may also be substituted, with FNS approval.

(6) Household members who are applying for SSI and for SNAP benefits under § 273.2(k)(1)(i) will have SNAP work requirements waived until they are determined eligible for SSI and become exempt from SNAP work requirements, or until they are determined ineligible for SSI, at which time their exemptions from SNAP work requirements will be reevaluated.

(b) Exemptions from work requirements.

(1) The following persons are exempt from SNAP work requirements:

(i) A person younger than 16 years of age or a person 60 years of age or older. A person age 16 or 17 who is not the head of a household or who is attending school, or is enrolled in an employment training program, on at least a half-time basis, is also exempt. If the person turns 16 (or 18 under the preceding sentence) during a certification period, the State agency must register the person as part of the next scheduled recertification process, unless the person qualifies for another exemption.

(ii) A person physically or mentally unfit for employment. For the purposes of this paragraph (b), a State agency will define physical and mental fitness; establish procedures for verifying; and will verify claimed physical or mental unfitness when necessary. However, the State agency must not use a definition, procedure for verification, or verification that is less restrictive on SNAP recipients than a comparable meaning, procedure, or determination under the State agency's program funded under title IV-A of the Social Security Act.

(iii) A person subject to and complying with any work requirement under title IV of the Social Security Act. If the exemption claimed is questionable, the State agency is responsible for verifying the exemption.

(iv) A parent or other household member responsible for the care of a dependent child under 6 or an incapacitated person. If the child has his or her 6th birthday during a certification period, the State agency must work register the individual responsible for the care of the child as part of the next scheduled recertification process, unless the individual qualifies for another exemption.

(v) A person receiving unemployment compensation. A person who has applied for, but is not yet receiving, unemployment compensation is also exempt if that person is complying with work requirements that are part of the Federal-State unemployment compensation application process. If the exemption claimed is questionable, the State agency is responsible for verifying the exemption with the appropriate office of the State employment services agency.

(vi) A regular participant in a drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program.

(vii) An employed or self-employed person working a minimum of 30 hours weekly or earning weekly wages at least equal to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours. This includes migrant and seasonal farm workers under contract or similar agreement with an employer or crew chief to begin employment within 30 days (although this will not prevent individuals from seeking additional services from the State employment services agency). For work registration purposes, a person residing in areas of Alaska designated in § 274.10(a)(4)(iv) of this chapter, who subsistence hunts and/or fishes a minimum of 30 hours weekly (averaged over the certification period) is considered exempt as self-employed. An employed or self-employed person who voluntarily and without good cause reduces his or her work effort and, after the reduction, is working less than 30 hours per week, is ineligible to participate in SNAP under paragraph (j) of this section.

(viii) A student enrolled at least half-time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education. Students enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education must meet the student eligibility requirements listed in § 273.5. A student will remain exempt during normal periods of class attendance, vacation, and recess. If the student graduates, enrolls less than half-time, is suspended or expelled, drops out, or does not intend to register for the next normal school term (excluding summer), the State agency must work register the individual, unless the individual qualifies for another exemption.

(2)

(i) Persons losing exemption status due to any changes in circumstances that are subject to the reporting requirements of § 273.12 must register for employment when the change is reported. If the State agency does not use a work registration form, it must annotate the change to the member's exemption status. If a work registration form is used, the State agency is responsible for providing the participant with a work registration form when the change is reported. Participants are responsible for returning the completed form to the State agency within 10 calendar days from the date the form was handed to the household member reporting the change in person, or the date the State agency mailed the form. If the participant fails to return the completed form, the State agency must issue a notice of adverse action stating that the participant is being terminated and why, but that the termination can be avoided by returning the form.

(ii) Those persons who lose their exemption due to a change in circumstances that is not subject to the reporting requirements of § 273.12 must register for employment at their household's next recertification.

(c) State agency responsibilities.

(1)

(i) The State agency must register for work each household member not exempted by the provisions of paragraph (b)(1) of this section. The State agency must permit the applicant to complete a record or form for each household member required to register for employment in accordance with paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section. Household members are considered to have registered when an identifiable work registration form is submitted to the State agency or when the registration is otherwise annotated or recorded by the State agency.

(ii) During the certification process, the State agency must provide a written notice and oral explanation to the household of all applicable work requirements for all members of the household, and identify which household member is subject to which work requirement. These work requirements include the general work requirement in paragraph (a) of this section, mandatory E&T in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, and the ABAWD work requirement at § 273.24. The written notice and oral explanation must be provided in accordance with (c)(1)(iii) of this section. This written notice and oral explanation must also be provided to the household when a previously exempt household member or new household member becomes subject to these work requirements, and at recertification.

(iii) The consolidated written notice must include all pertinent information related to each of the applicable work requirements, including: An explanation of each applicable work requirement; which individuals are subject to which work requirement; exemptions from each applicable work requirement; an explanation of the process to request an exemption (including contact information to request an exemption); the rights and responsibilities of each applicable work requirement; what is required to maintain eligibility under each applicable work requirement; pertinent dates by which an individual must take any actions to remain in compliance with each applicable work requirement; the consequences for failure to comply with each applicable work requirement; an explanation of the process for requesting good cause (including examples of good cause circumstances and contact information to initiate a good cause request); and any other information the State agency believes would assist the household members with compliance. If an individual is subject to mandatory E&T, the written notice must also explain the individual's right to receive participant reimbursements for allowable expenses related to participation in E&T, up to any applicable State cap, and the responsibility of the State agency to exempt the individual from the requirement to participate in E&T if the individual's allowable expenses exceed what the State agency will reimburse, as provided in paragraph (d)(4) of this section. In addition, as stated in paragraph (c)(2) of this section and § 273.24(b)(8), the State agency must provide a comprehensive oral explanation to the household of each applicable work requirement pertaining to individuals in the household.

(2) The State agency is responsible for screening each work registrant to determine whether or not it is appropriate, based on the State agency's criteria, to refer the individual to an E&T program. If the State agency determines the individual is required to participate in an E&T program, as defined in paragraph (e) of this section and § 271.2, the State agency must provide the participant with the written notice and the comprehensive oral explanation described in paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section. The State agency must refer participants to E&T, this referral may vary from participant to participant, but in all cases E&T participants must receive both case management services and at least one E&T component while participating in E&T. The State agency must determine the order in which the participant will receive the elements of an E&T program (e.g., case management followed by a component, case management embedded within a component, etc.). The State agency must explain to the participant next steps for accessing the E&T program. If there is not an appropriate and available opening in an E&T program, the State agency must determine the participant has good cause for failure to comply with the mandatory E&T requirement in accordance with paragraph (i)(4) of this section. The State agency may, with FNS approval, use intake and sanction systems that are compatible with its title IV-A work program. Such systems must be proposed and explained in the State agency's E&T State Plan.

(3) After learning of an individual's non-compliance with SNAP work requirements, the State agency must issue a notice of adverse action to the individual, or to the household if appropriate, within 10 days of establishing that the noncompliance was without good cause. The notice of adverse action must meet the timeliness and adequacy requirements of § 273.13. If the individual complies before the end of the advance notice period, the State agency will cancel the adverse action. If the State agency offers a conciliation process as part of its E&T program, it must issue the notice of adverse action no later than the end of the conciliation period. Mandatory E&T participants who have received a provider determination in accordance with paragraph (c)(18)(i) of this section shall not be subject to disqualification for refusal without good cause to participate in a mandatory E&T program until after the State has taken one of the four actions in paragraph (c)(18)(i)(B) of this section, and the individual subsequently refuses to participate without good cause.

(4) The State agency must design and operate an E&T program that consists of case management services in accordance with paragraph (e)(1) of this section and at least one or more, or a combination of, employment and/or training components as described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. The State agency must ensure that it is notified by the agency or agencies operating its E&T components within 10 days if an E&T mandatory participant fails to comply with E&T requirements.

(5) The State agency must design its E&T program in consultation with the State workforce development board, or with private employers or employer organizations if the State agency determines the latter approach is more effective and efficient. Each component of the State agency's E&T program must be delivered through its statewide workforce development system, unless the component is not available locally through such a system.

(6) In accordance with § 272.2(d) and (e) of this chapter, the State agency must prepare and submit an E&T Plan to its appropriate FNS Regional Office. The E&T Plan must be available for public inspection at the State agency headquarters. In its E&T Plan, the State agency will detail the following:

(i) The nature of the E&T components the State agency plans to offer and the reasons for such components, including cost information. The methodology for State agency reimbursement for education components must be specifically addressed. If a State agency plans to offer supervised job search in accordance with paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section, the State agency must also include in the E&T plan a summary of the State guidelines implementing supervised job search. This summary of the State guidelines, at a minimum, must describe: The criteria used by the State agency to approve locations for supervised job search, an explanation of why those criteria were chosen, and how the supervised job search component meets the requirements to directly supervise the activities of participants and track the timing and activities of participants;

(ii) A description of the case management services and models, how participants will be referred to case management, how the participant's case will be managed, who will provide case management services, and how the service providers will coordinate with E&T providers, the State agency, and other community resources, as appropriate. The State plan should also discuss how the State agency will ensure E&T participants are provided with targeted case management services through an efficient administrative process;

(iii) An operating budget for the Federal fiscal year with an estimate of the cost of operation for one full year. Any State agency that requests 50 percent Federal reimbursement for State agency E&T administrative costs, other than for participant reimbursements, must include in its plan, or amendments to its plan, an itemized list of all activities and costs for which those Federal funds will be claimed, including the costs for case management and casework to facilitate the transition from economic dependency to self-sufficiency through work. Costs in excess of the Federal grant will be allowed only with the prior approval of FNS and must be adequately documented to assure that they are necessary, reasonable and properly allocated;

(iv) The categories and types of individuals the State agency intends to exempt from E&T participation, the estimated percentage of work registrants the State agency plans to exempt, and the frequency with which the State agency plans to reevaluate the validity of its exemptions;

(v) The characteristics of the population the State agency intends to place in E&T;

(vi) The estimated number of volunteers the State agency expects to place in E&T;

(vii) The geographic areas covered and not covered by the E&T Plan and why, and the type and location of services to be offered;

(viii) The method the State agency uses to count all work registrants as of the first day of the new fiscal year;

(ix) The method the State agency uses to report work registrant information on the quarterly Form FNS-583;

(x) The method the State agency uses to prevent work registrants from being counted twice within a Federal fiscal year. If the State agency universally work registers all SNAP applicants, this method must specify how the State agency excludes those exempt from work registration under paragraph (b)(1) of this section. If the State agency work registers nonexempt participants whenever a new application is submitted, this method must also specify how the State agency excludes those participants who may have already been registered within the past 12 months as specified under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section;

(xi) The organizational relationship between the units responsible for certification and the units operating the E&T program, including units of the statewide workforce development system, if available. FNS is specifically concerned that the lines of communication be efficient and that noncompliance be reported to the certification unit within 10 working days after the noncompliance occurs;

(xii) The relationship between the State agency and other organizations it plans to coordinate with for the provision of services, including organizations in the statewide workforce development system, if available. Copies of contracts must be available for inspection. The State agency must document how it consulted with the State workforce development board. If the State agency consulted with private employers or employer organizations in lieu of the State workforce development board, it must document this consultation and explain the determination that doing so was more effective or efficient. The State agency must include in its E&T State plan a description of any outcomes from the consultation with the State workforce development board or private employers or employer organizations. The State agency must also address in the E&T State plan the extent to which E&T activities will be carried out in coordination with the activities under title I of WIOA;

(xiii) The availability, if appropriate, of E&T programs for Indians living on reservations;

(xiv) If a conciliation process is planned, the procedures that will be used when an individual fails to comply with an E&T program requirement. Include the length of the conciliation period;

(xv) The payment rates for child care established in accordance with the Child Care and Development Block Grant provisions of 45 CFR 98.43, and based on local market rate surveys;

(xvi) The combined (Federal/State) State agency reimbursement rate for transportation costs and other expenses reasonably necessary and directly related to participation incurred by E&T participants. If the State agency proposes to provide different reimbursement amounts to account for varying levels of expenses, for instance for greater or lesser costs of transportation in different areas of the State, it must include them here;

(xvii) Information about expenses the State agency proposes to reimburse. FNS must be afforded the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed reimbursements before they are implemented;

(xviii) For each component that is expected to include 100 or more participants, reporting measures that the State will collect and include in the annual report in paragraph (c)(17) of this section. Such measures may include:

(A) The percentage and number of program participants who received E&T services and are in unsubsidized employment subsequent to the receipt of those services;

(B) The percentage and number of participants who obtain a recognized credential, a registered apprenticeship, or a regular secondary school diploma (or its recognized equivalent), while participating in, or within 1 year after receiving E&T services;

(C) The percentage and number of participants who are in an education or training program that is intended to lead to a recognized credential, a registered apprenticeship an on-the-job training program, a regular secondary school diploma (or its recognized equivalent), or unsubsidized employment;

(D) Measures developed to assess the skills acquisition of E&T program participants that reflect the goals of the specific components including the percentage and number of participants who are meeting program requirements or are gaining skills likely to lead to employment; and

(E) Other indicators approved by FNS in the E&T State plan; and

(xix) Any State agency that will be requesting Federal funds that may become available for reallocation in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(A), (B), or (D) of this section should include this request in the E&T State plan for the year the State agency would plan to use the reallocated funds. The request must include a separate budget and narrative explaining how the State agency intends to use the reallocated funds. FNS will review all State agency requests for reallocated funds and notify State agencies of the approval of any reallocated funds in accordance with regulations at (d)(1)(iii)(E) of this section. FNS' approval or denial of requests for reallocated funds will occur separately from the approval or denial of the rest of the E&T State plan.

(7) A State agency interested in receiving additional funding for serving able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) subject to the 3-month time limit, in accordance with paragraph (d)(3) of this section, must include in its annual E&T plan:

(i) Its pledge to offer a qualifying activity to all at-risk ABAWD applicants and recipients;

(ii) Estimated costs of fulfilling its pledge;

(iii) A description of management controls in place to meet pledge requirements;

(iv) A discussion of its capacity and ability to serve at-risk ABAWDs;

(v) Information about the size and special needs of its ABAWD population; and

(vi) Information about the education, training, and workfare components it will offer to meet the ABAWD work requirement.

(8) The State agency will submit its E&T Plan annually, at least 45 days before the start of the Federal fiscal year. The State agency must submit plan revisions to the appropriate FNS regional office for approval if it plans to alter the nature or location of its components or the number or characteristics of persons served. The proposed changes must be submitted for approval at least 30 days prior to planned implementation.

(9) The State agency will submit an E&T Program Activity Report to FNS no later than 45 days after the end of each Federal fiscal quarter. The report will contain monthly figures for:

(i) Participants newly work registered;

(ii) Number of ABAWD applicants and recipients participating in qualifying components;

(iii) Number of all other applicants and recipients (including ABAWDs involved in non-qualifying activities) participating in components; and

(iv) ABAWDs subject to the 3-month time limit imposed in accordance with § 273.24(b) who are exempt under the State agency's discretionary exemptions under § 273.24(g).

(10) The State agency will submit annually, on its first quarterly report, the number of work registrants in the State on October 1 of the new fiscal year.

(11) The State agency will submit annually, on its final quarterly report:

(i) A list of E&T components it offered during the fiscal year and the number of ABAWDs and non-ABAWDs who participated in each;

(ii) The number of ABAWDs and non-ABAWDs who participated in the E&T Program during the fiscal year. Each individual must be counted only once;

(iii) Number of SNAP applicants and participants required to participate in E&T by the State agency and of those the number who begin participation in an E&T program and the number who begin participation in an E&T component. An E&T participant begins to participate in an E&T program when the participant commences at least one part of an E&T program including an orientation, assessment, case management, or a component. An E&T participant begins to participate in an E&T component when the participant commences the first activity in the E&T component; and

(iv) Number of mandatory E&T participants who were determined ineligible for failure to comply with E&T requirements.

(12) Additional information may be required of the State agency, on an as needed basis, regarding the type of components offered and the characteristics of persons served, depending on the contents of its E&T Plan.

(13) The State agency must ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that E&T programs are provided for Indians living on reservations.

(14) If a benefit overissuance is discovered for a month or months in which a mandatory E&T participant has already fulfilled a work component requirement, the State agency must follow the procedure specified in paragraph (m)(6)(v) of this section for a workfare overissuance.

(15) If a State agency fails to efficiently and effectively administer its E&T program, the provisions of § 276.1(a)(4) of this chapter will apply.

(16) FNS may require a State agency to make modifications to its SNAP E&T plan to improve outcomes if FNS determines that the E&T outcomes are inadequate.

(17) The State agency shall submit an annual E&T report by January 1 each year that contains the following information for the Federal fiscal year ending the preceding September 30.

(i) The number and percentage of E&T participants and former participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after completion of participation in E&T.

(ii) The number and percentage of E&T participants and former participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after completion of participation in E&T.

(iii) Median average quarterly earnings of the E&T participants and former participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after completion of participation in E&T.

(iv) The total number and percentage of participants that completed an educational, training work experience or an on-the-job training component.

(v) The number and percentage of E&T participants who:

(A) Are voluntary vs. mandatory participants;

(B) Have received a high school degree (or GED) prior to being provided with E&T services;

(C) Are ABAWDs;

(D) Speak English as a second language;

(E) Are male vs. female; and

(F) Are within each of the following age ranges: 16-17, 18-35, 36-49, 50-59, 60 or older.

(vi) Of the number and percentage of E&T participants reported in paragraphs (c)(17)(i) through (iv) of this section, a disaggregation of the number and percentage of those participants and former participants by the characteristics listed in paragraphs (c)(17)(v)(A), (B), and (C) of this section.

(vii) Reports for the measures identified in a State's E&T plan related to components that are designed to serve at least 100 participants a year; and

(viii) States that have committed to offering all at-risk ABAWDs participation in a qualifying activity and have received an additional allocation of funds as specified in paragraph (d)(3) of this section shall include:

(A) The monthly average number of individuals in the State who meet the conditions in paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section;

(B) The monthly average number of individuals to whom the State offers a position in a program described in § 273.24(a)(3) and (4);

(C) The monthly average number of individuals who participate in such programs; and

(D) A description of the types of employment and training programs the State agency offered to at risk ABAWDs and the availability of those programs throughout the State.

(ix) States may be required to submit the annual report in a standardized format based upon guidance issued by FNS.

(x) State agencies certifying workforce partnerships for operation in their State in accordance with paragraph (n) of this section may report relevant data to demonstrate the number of program participants served by the workforce partnership, and of those how many were mandatory E&T participants.

(18)

(i) The State agency must ensure E&T providers are informed of their authority and responsibility to determine if an individual is ill-suited for a particular E&T component. Such determinations shall be referred to as provider determinations. For purposes of this paragraph, an E&T provider is the provider of an E&T component. The E&T provider must notify the State agency of a provider determination within 10 days of the date the determination is made and inform the State agency of the reason for the provider determination. The E&T provider may also provide input on the most appropriate next step, as outlined in paragraph (c)(18)(i)(B) of this section, for the individual with a provider determination. If the State agency is unable to obtain the reason for the provider determination from the E&T provider, the State agency must continue to act on the provider determination in accordance with this section. If an E&T provider finds an individual is ill-suited for one component, but the E&T provider determines the individual may be suitable for another component offered by the E&T provider, at State agency option, the E&T provider may switch the individual to the other component and inform the State agency of the new component without the need for the State agency to act further on the provider determination. The E&T provider has the authority to determine if an individual is ill-suited for the E&T component from the time an individual is referred to an E&T component until completion of the component. When a State agency receives notification that an individual has received a provider determination, and the individual is not exempt from the work requirement as specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the State agency must:

(A) Notify the mandatory or voluntary E&T participant, within 10 days of receiving notification from the E&T provider, of the provider determination including the following information, as applicable. The State agency must explain what a provider determination is, the next steps the State agency will take as a result of the provider determination, and contact information for the State agency. In the case of either a mandatory or voluntary E&T participant with a provider determination, the State agency must also notify the individual that they are not being sanctioned as a result of the provider determination. In the case of an ABAWD who has received a provider determination, the State agency must also notify the ABAWD that the ABAWD will accrue countable months toward their three-month participation time limit the next full benefit month after the month during which the State agency notifies the ABAWD of the provider determination, unless the ABAWD fulfills the work requirements in accordance with § 273.24, or the ABAWD has good cause, lives in a waived area, or is otherwise exempt. The State agency may make such notification either verbally or in writing, but must, at a minimum, document when the notification occurs in the participant's case file; and

(B) Take the most suitable action from among the following options no later than the date of the individual's recertification. If an individual with a provider determination requests that the State agency take one of the following actions sooner than the next recertification, the State agency must take the most suitable action as soon as possible:

(1) Refer the individual to an appropriate E&T program component in accordance with paragraph (e)(2) of this section. Before making this referral, the State agency must screen the individual for participation in the E&T program in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section, and determine that it is appropriate to refer the individual to an E&T component, considering the suitability of the individual for any available E&T components. In accordance with paragraph (e)(1) of this section, all E&T participants must receive case management services along with at least one E&T component;

(2) Refer the individual to an appropriate workforce partnership as defined in paragraph (n) of this section, if available. Before making this referral, the State agency must provide information about workforce partnerships to assist the individual in making an informed decision about whether to voluntarily participate in the workforce partnership, in accordance with paragraph (n)(10) of this section;

(3) Reassess the physical and mental fitness of the individual. If the individual is not found to be physically or mentally fit, the individual is exempt from the work requirement in accordance with paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. If the individual is found to be physically or mentally fit, and the State agency determines the individual is not otherwise exempt from the general work requirements the State agency must consider if one of the other available actions in paragraph (c)(18)(i)(B) of this section would be appropriate for the individual. If the State agency determines the individual should not be required to participate in E&T, the State agency must exempt the individual from mandatory E&T; or

(4) Coordinate, to the maximum extent practicable, with other Federal, State, or local workforce or assistance programs to identify work opportunities or assistance for the individual. If the State agency chooses this option, the State agency must not require the individual to participate in E&T.

(ii) From the time an E&T provider determines an individual is ill-suited for an E&T component until after the State agency takes one of the actions in paragraph (c)(18)(i)(B) of this section, the individual shall not be found to have refused without good cause to participate in mandatory E&T. In the case of an ABAWD who has received a provider determination, the ABAWD will accrue countable months toward their three-month participation time limit the next full benefit month after the month during which the State agency notifies the ABAWD of the provider determination, unless the ABAWD fulfills the work requirements in accordance with § 273.24, or the ABAWD has good cause, lives in a waived area, or is otherwise exempt.

(d) Federal financial participation -

(1) Employment and training grants -

(i) Allocation of grants. Each State agency will receive a 100 percent Federal grant each fiscal year to operate an E&T program in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section. The grant requires no State matching.

(A) In determining each State agency's 100 percent Federal E&T grant, FNS will apply the percentage determined in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(i)(B) of this section to the total amount of 100 percent Federal funds authorized under section 16(h)(1)(A) of the Act for each fiscal year.

(B) FNS will allocate the funding available each fiscal year for E&T grants using a formula designed to ensure that each State agency receives its appropriate share.

(1) Ninety percent of the annual 100 percent Federal E&T grant will be allocated based on the number of work registrants in each State as a percentage of work registrants nationwide. FNS will use work registrant data reported by each State agency on the FNS-583, Employment and Training Program Activity Report, from the most recent Federal fiscal year.

(2) Ten percent of the annual 100 percent Federal E&T grant will be allocated based on the number of ABAWDs in each State, as determined by SNAP QC data for the most recently available completed fiscal year, which provide a breakdown of each State's population of adults age 18 through 49 who are not disabled and who do not live with children.

(C) No State agency will receive less than $100,000 in Federal E&T funds. To ensure this, FNS will, if necessary, reduce the grant of each State agency allocated more than $100,000. In order to guarantee an equitable reduction, FNS will calculate grants as follows. First, disregarding those State agencies scheduled to receive less than $100,000, FNS will calculate each remaining State agency's percentage share of the fiscal year's E&T grant. Next, FNS will multiply the grant - less $100,000 for every State agency under the minimum - by each remaining State agency's same percentage share to arrive at the revised amount. The difference between the original and the revised amounts will represent each State agency's contribution. FNS will distribute the funds from the reduction to State agencies initially allocated less than $100,000.

(ii) Use of funds.

(A) A State agency must use E&T program grants to fund the administrative costs of planning, implementing and operating its SNAP E&T program in accordance with its approved State E&T plan. E&T grants must not be used for the process of determining whether an individual must be work registered, the work registration process, or any further screening performed during the certification process, nor for sanction activity that takes place after the operator of an E&T program reports noncompliance without good cause. For purposes of this paragraph (d), the certification process is considered ended when an individual is referred to an E&T program for assessment or participation. E&T grants may be used to subsidize wages in accordance with paragraph (e)(2)(iv)(2) of this section, and may not be used to reimburse participants under paragraph (d)(4) of this section.

(B) A State agency's receipt of its 100 percent Federal E&T grant is contingent on FNS's approval of the State agency's E&T plan. If an adequate plan is not submitted, FNS may reallocate a State agency's grant among other State agencies with approved plans. Non-receipt of an E&T grant does not release a State agency from its responsibility under paragraph (c)(4) of this section to operate an E&T program.

(C) Federal funds made available to a State agency to operate an educational component under paragraph (e)(2)(vi) of this section must not be used to supplant nonfederal funds for existing educational services and activities that promote the purposes of this component. Education expenses are approvable to the extent that E&T component costs exceed the normal cost of services provided to persons not participating in an E&T program.

(D) In accordance with section 6(d)(4)(K) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, and notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph (d), the amount of Federal E&T funds, including participant and dependent care reimbursements, a State agency uses to serve participants who are receiving cash assistance under a State program funded under title IV-A of the Social Security Act must not exceed the amount of Federal E&T funds the State agency used in FY 1995 to serve participants who were receiving cash assistance under a State program funded under title IV-A of the Social Security Act.

(1) Based on information provided by each State agency, FNS established claimed Federal E&T expenditures on this category of recipients in fiscal year 1995 for the State agencies of Colorado ($318,613), Utah ($10,200), Vermont ($1,484,913), and Wisconsin ($10,999,773). These State agencies may spend up to a like amount each fiscal year to serve SNAP recipients who also receive title IV assistance.

(2) All other State agencies are prohibited from expending any Federal E&T funds on title IV cash assistance recipients.

(iii) If a State agency will not obligate or expend all of the funds allocated to it for a fiscal year under paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section, FNS will reallocate the unobligated, unexpended funds to other State agencies during the fiscal year or subsequent fiscal year. FNS will allocate carryover funding to meet some or all of the State agencies' requests, as it considers appropriate and equitable in accordance with the following process:

(A) Not less than 50 percent shall be reallocated to State agencies requesting funding to conduct employment and training programs and activities for which the State agency had previously received funding under the pilots authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79) that FNS determines have the most demonstrable impact on the ability of participants to find and retain employment that leads to increased household income and reduced reliance on public assistance.

(B) Not less than 30 percent shall be reallocated to State agencies requesting funding for E&T programs and activities under paragraph (e)(1) or (2) of this section that FNS determines have the most demonstrable impact on the ability of participants to find and retain employment that leads to increased household income and reduced reliance on public assistance, including activities targeted to:

(1) Individuals 50 years of age or older;

(2) Formerly incarcerated individuals;

(3) Individuals participating in a substance abuse treatment program;

(4) Homeless individuals;

(5) People with disabilities seeking to enter the workforce;

(6) Other individuals with substantial barriers to employment, including disabled veterans; or

(7) Households facing multi-generational poverty, to support employment and workforce participation through an integrated and family-focused approach in providing supportive services.

(C) State agencies who receive reallocated funds under paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(A) of this section may also be considered to receive reallocated funds under paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(B) of this section.

(D) Any remaining funds not accounted for with the reallocations specified in paragraphs (d)(1)(iii)(A) or (B) of this section shall be reallocated to State agencies requesting such funds for E&T programs and activities under paragraph (e)(1) or (2) of this section that FNS determines have the most demonstrable impact on the ability of participants to find and retain employment that leads to increased household income and reduced reliance on public assistance.

(E) State agencies requesting the reallocated funds specified in paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(A), (B), or (D) of this section, shall make their request for those funds in their E&T State plans submitted for the upcoming fiscal year. FNS will determine the amount of reallocated funds each requesting State agency shall receive and provide the reallocated funds to those State agencies within a timeframe that allows each State agency to which funds are reallocated at least 270 days to expend the reallocated funds. When making the reallocations, FNS will also consider the size of the request relative to the level of the State agency's E&T spending in prior years, the specificity of the State agency's plan for spending carryover funds, and the quality of program and scope of impact for the State's E&T program.

(F) Unobligated, unexpended funds not reallocated in the process specified in paragraph (E) of this section, shall be reallocated to State agencies upon request for E&T programs and activities under paragraph (e)(1) or (2) of this section that FNS determines have the most demonstrable impact on the ability of participants to find and retain employment that leads to increased household income and reduced reliance on public assistance. In making these reallocations FNS will also consider the size of the request relative to the level of the State agency's E&T spending in prior years, the specificity of the State agency's plan for spending carryover funds, and the quality of program and scope of impact for the State's E&T program.

(2) Additional administrative costs. Fifty percent of all other administrative costs incurred by State agencies in operating E&T programs, above the costs referenced in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, will be funded by the Federal Government.

(3) Additional allocations. In addition to the E&T program grants discussed in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, FNS will allocate $20 million in Federal funds each fiscal year to State agencies that ensure availability of education, training, or workfare opportunities that permit ABAWDs to remain eligible beyond the 3-month time limit.

(i) To be eligible, a State agency must make and comply with a commitment, or “pledge,” to use these additional funds to defray the cost of offering a position in an education, training, or workfare component that fulfills the ABAWD work requirement, as defined in § 273.24(a), to each applicant and recipient who is:

(A) In the last month of the 3-month time limit described in § 273.24(b);

(B) Not eligible for an exception to the 3-month time limit under § 273.24(c);

(C) Not a resident of an area of the State granted a waiver of the 3-month time limit under § 273.24(f); and

(D) Not included in each State agency's 15 percent ABAWD exemption allotment under § 273.24(g).

(ii) While a participating pledge State may use a portion of the additional funding to provide E&T services to ABAWDs who do not meet the criteria discussed in paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section, it must guarantee that the ABAWDs who do meet the criteria are provided the opportunity to remain eligible.

(iii) State agencies will have one opportunity each fiscal year to take the pledge described in paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section. An interested State agency, in its E&T Plan for the upcoming fiscal year, must include the following:

(A) A request to be considered as a pledge State, along with its commitment to comply with the requirements of paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section;

(B) The estimated costs of complying with its pledge;

(C) A description of management controls it has established to meet the requirements of the pledge;

(D) A discussion of its capacity and ability to serve vulnerable ABAWDs;

(E) Information about the size and special needs of the State's ABAWD population; and

(F) Information about the education, training, and workfare components that it will offer to allow ABAWDs to remain eligible.

(iv) If the information provided in accordance with paragraph (d)(3)(iii) of this section clearly indicates that the State agency will be unable to fulfill its commitment, FNS may require the State agency to address its deficiencies before it is allowed to participate as a pledge State.

(v) If the State agency does not address its deficiencies by the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1, it will not be allowed to participate as a pledge State.

(vi) No pledges will be accepted after the beginning of the fiscal year.

(vii)

(A) Once FNS determines how many State agencies will participate as pledge States in the upcoming fiscal year, it will, as early in the fiscal year as possible, allocate among them the $20 million based on the number of ABAWDs in each participating State, as a percentage of ABAWDs in all the participating States. FNS will determine the number of ABAWDs in each participating State using SNAP QC data for the most recently available completed fiscal year, which provide a breakdown of each State's population of adults age 18 through 49 who are not disabled and who do not live with children.

(B) Each participating State agency's share of the $20 million will be disbursed in accordance with paragraph (d)(6) of this section.

(C) Each participating State agency must meet the fiscal recordkeeping and reporting requirements of paragraph (d)(7) of this section.

(viii) If a participating State agency notifies FNS that it will not obligate or expend its entire share of the additional funding allocated to it for a fiscal year, FNS will reallocate the unobligated, unexpended funds to other participating State agencies during the fiscal year, as it considers appropriate and equitable, on a first come-first served basis. FNS will notify other pledge States of the availability of additional funding. To qualify, a pledge State must have already obligated its entire annual 100 percent Federal E&T grant, excluding an amount that is proportionate to the number of months remaining in the fiscal year, and it must guarantee in writing that it intends to obligate its entire grant by the end of the fiscal year. A State's annual 100 percent Federal E&T grant is its share of the regular 100 percent Federal E&T allocation plus its share of the additional $20 million (if applicable). Interested pledge States must submit their requests for additional funding to FNS. FNS will review the requests and, if they are determined reasonable and necessary, will reallocate some or all of the unobligated, unspent ABAWD funds.

(ix) Unlike the funds allocated in accordance with paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the additional pledge funding will not remain available until obligated or expended. Unobligated funds from this grant must be returned to the U.S. Treasury at the end of each fiscal year.

(x) The cost of serving at-risk ABAWDs is not an acceptable reason to fail to live up to the pledge. A slot must be made available and the ABAWD must be served even if the State agency exhausts all of its 100 percent Federal E&T funds and must use State funds to guarantee an opportunity for all at-risk ABAWDs to remain eligible beyond the 3-month time limit. State funds expended in accordance with the approved State E&T Plan are eligible for 50 percent Federal match. If a participating State agency fails, without good cause, to meet its commitment, it may be disqualified from participating in the subsequent fiscal year or years.

(4) Participant reimbursements. The State agency must provide payments to participants in its E&T program, including applicants and volunteers, for expenses that are reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the E&T program. The Federal Government will fund 50 percent of State agency payments for allowable expenses, except that Federal matching for dependent care expenses is limited to the maximum amount specified in paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section. These payments may be provided as a reimbursement for expenses incurred or in advance as payment for anticipated expenses in the coming month. The State agency must inform each E&T participant that allowable expenses up to the amounts specified in paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section will be reimbursed by the State agency upon presentation of appropriate documentation. Reimbursable costs may include, but are not limited to, dependent care costs, transportation, and other work, training or education related expenses such as uniforms, personal safety items or other necessary equipment, and books or training manuals. These costs must not include the cost of meals away from home. If applicable, any allowable costs incurred by a noncompliant E&T participant after the expiration of the noncompliant participant's minimum mandatory disqualification period, as established by the State agency, that are reasonably necessary and directly related to reestablishing eligibility, as defined by the State agency, are reimbursable under paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section. The State agency may reimburse participants for expenses beyond the amounts specified in paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section; however, only costs that are up to but not in excess of those amounts are subject to Federal cost sharing. Reimbursement must not be provided from E&T grants allocated under paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section. Any expense covered by a reimbursement under this section is not deductible under § 273.10(d)(1)(i).

(i) The State agency will reimburse the cost of dependent care it determines to be necessary for the participation of a household member in the E&T program up to the actual cost of dependent care, or the applicable payment rate for child care, whichever is lowest. The payment rates for child care are established in accordance with the Child Care and Development Block Grant provisions of 45 CFR 98.43, and are based on local market rate surveys. The State agency will provide a dependent care reimbursement to an E&T participant for all dependents requiring care unless otherwise prohibited by this section. The State agency will not provide a reimbursement for a dependent age 13 or older unless the dependent is physically and/or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself or is under court supervision. The State agency must provide a reimbursement for all dependents who are physically and/or mentally incapable of caring for themselves or who are under court supervision, regardless of age, if dependent care is necessary for the participation of a household member in the E&T program. The State agency will obtain verification of the physical and/or mental incapacity for dependents age 13 or older if the physical and/or mental incapacity is questionable. Also, the State agency will verify a court-imposed requirement for the supervision of a dependent age 13 or older if the need for dependent care is questionable. If more than one household member is required to participate in an E&T program, the State agency will reimburse the actual cost of dependent care or the applicable payment rate for child care, whichever is lowest, for each dependent in the household, regardless of the number of household members participating in the E&T program. An individual who is the caretaker relative of a dependent in a family receiving cash assistance under title IV-A of the Social Security Act in a local area where an employment, training, or education program under title IV-A is in operation is not eligible for such reimbursement. An E&T participant is not entitled to the dependent care reimbursement if a member of the E&T participant's SNAP household provides the dependent care services. The State agency must verify the participant's need for dependent care and the cost of the dependent care prior to the issuance of the reimbursement. The verification must include the name and address of the dependent care provider, the cost and the hours of service (e.g., five hours per day, five days per week for two weeks). A participant may not be reimbursed for dependent care services beyond that which is required for participation in the E&T program. In lieu of providing reimbursements for dependent care expenses, a State agency may arrange for dependent care through providers by the use of purchase of service contracts, by providing vouchers to the household or by other means. A State agency may require that dependent care provided or arranged by the State agency meet all applicable standards of State and local law, including requirements designed to ensure basic health and safety protections (e.g., fire safety). An E&T participant may refuse available appropriate dependent care as provided or arranged by the State agency, if the participant can arrange other dependent care or can show that such refusal will not prevent or interfere with participation in the E&T program as required by the State agency.

(ii) The State agency will reimburse the actual costs of transportation and other costs (excluding dependent care costs) it determines to be necessary and directly related to participation in the E&T program up the maximum level of reimbursement established by the State agency. Such costs are the actual costs of participation unless the State agency has a method approved in its E&T Plan for providing allowances to participants to reflect approximate costs of participation. If a State agency has an approved method to provide allowances rather than reimbursements, it must provide participants an opportunity to claim actual expenses up to the maximum level of reimbursements established by the State agency.

(iii) No participant cost that has been reimbursed under a workfare program under paragraph (m)(7)(i) of this section, title IV of the Social Security Act or other work program will be reimbursed under this section.

(iv) Any portion of dependent care costs that are reimbursed under this section may not be claimed as an expense and used in calculating the dependent care deduction under § 273.9(d)(4) for determining benefits.

(v) The State agency must inform all mandatory E&T participants that they may be exempted from E&T participation if their monthly expenses that are reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the E&T program, including participation in case management services and E&T components, exceed the allowable reimbursement amount. Persons for whom allowable monthly expenses in an E&T component exceed the amounts specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section are not required to participate in that component. These individuals will be placed, if possible, in another suitable component in which the individual's monthly E&T expenses would not exceed the allowable reimbursable amount paid by the State agency. If a suitable component is not available, these individuals will be exempt from E&T participation until a suitable component is available or the individual's circumstances change and his/her monthly expenses do not exceed the allowable reimbursable amount paid by the State agency. Dependent care expenses incurred that are otherwise allowable but not reimbursed because they exceed the reimbursable amount specified under paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section will be considered in determining a dependent care deduction under § 273.9(d)(4).

(5) Workfare cost sharing. Enhanced cost-sharing due to placement of workfare participants in paid employment is available only for workfare programs funded under paragraph (m)(7)(iv) of this section at the 50 percent reimbursement level and reported as such.

(6) Funding mechanism. E&T program funding will be disbursed through States' Letters of Credit in accordance with § 277.5 of this chapter. The State agency must ensure that records are maintained that support the financial claims being made to FNS.

(7) Fiscal recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Total E&T expenditures are reported on the Financial Status Report (SF-425 using FNS-778/FNS-778A worksheet) in the column containing “other” expenses. E&T expenditures are also separately identified in an attachment to the SF-425 using FNS-778/FNS-778A worksheet to show, as provided in instructions, total State and Federal E&T expenditures; expenditures funded with the unmatched Federal grants; State and Federal expenditures for participant reimbursements; State and Federal expenditures for E&T costs at the 50 percent reimbursement level; and State and Federal expenditures for optional workfare program costs, operated under section 20 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and paragraph (m)(7) of this section. Claims for enhanced funding for placements of participants in employment after their initial participation in the optional workfare program will be submitted in accordance with paragraph (m)(7)(iv) of this section.

(e) Employment and training programs. Work registrants not otherwise exempted by the State agency are subject to the E&T program participation requirements imposed by the State agency. Such individuals are referred to in this section as E&T mandatory participants or mandatory E&T participants. Requirements may vary among participants. Failure to comply without good cause with the requirements imposed by the State agency will result in disqualification as specified in paragraph (f)(2) of this section. Mandatory E&T participants who receive an E&T provider determination in accordance with paragraph (c)(18)(i) of this section shall not be subject to disqualification for refusal without good cause to participate in mandatory E&T during the time specified in (c)(18)(ii) of this section.

(1) Case management. The State E&T program must provide case management services such as comprehensive intake assessments, individualized service plans, progress monitoring, or coordination with service providers which are provided to all E&T participants. The purpose of case management services shall be to guide the participant towards appropriate E&T components and activities based on the participant's needs and interests, support the participant in the E&T program, and to provide activities and resources that help the participant achieve program goals. Case management services and activities must directly support an individual's participation in the E&T program. Case management may include referrals to activities and supports outside of the E&T program, but State agencies can only use E&T funds for allowable components, activities, and participant reimbursements. The provision of case management services must not be an impediment to the participant's successful participation in E&T. In addition, if the case manager determines a mandatory E&T participant may meet an exemption from the requirement to participate in an E&T program, may have good cause for non-compliance with a work requirement, or both, the case manager must inform the appropriate State agency staff. Also, if the case manager is unable to identify an appropriate and available opening in an E&T component for a mandatory E&T participant, the case manager must inform the appropriate State agency staff.

(2) Components. To be considered acceptable by FNS, any component offered by a State agency must entail a certain level of effort by the participants. The level of effort should be comparable to spending approximately 12 hours a month for two months making job contacts (less in workfare or work experience components if the household's benefit divided by the minimum wage is less than this amount). However, FNS may approve components that do not meet this guideline if it determines that such components will advance program goals. An initial screening by an eligibility worker to determine whom to place in an E&T program does not constitute a component. The State agency may require SNAP applicants to participate in any component it offers in its E&T program at the time of application. The State agency must screen applicants to determine if it is appropriate to participate in E&T in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section, provide the applicant with participant reimbursements in accordance with (d)(4) of this section, and inform the applicant of E&T participation requirements including how to access the component and consequences for failing to participate. The State agency must not impose requirements that would delay the determination of an individual's eligibility for benefits or in issuing benefits to any household that is otherwise eligible. In accordance with section 6(o)(1)(C) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and § 273.24, supervised job search and job search training, when offered as components of an E&T program, are not qualifying activities relating to the participation requirements necessary to fulfill the ABAWD work requirement under § 273.24. However, job search, including supervised job search, or job search training activities, when offered as part of other E&T program components, are acceptable as long as those activities comprise less than half the total required time spent in the components. An E&T program offered by a State agency must include one or more of the following components:

(i) A supervised job search program. Supervised job search programs are those that occur at State-approved locations at which the activities of participants shall be directly supervised and the timing and activities of participants tracked in accordance with guidelines issued by the State agency and summarized in their E&T State plan in accordance with paragraph (c)(6)(i) of this section. State-approved locations include any location deemed suitable by the State agency where the participant has access to the tools and materials they need to perform supervised job search. Tools used in the supervised job search program may include virtual tools, including, but not limited to, websites, portals, or web applications to access supervised job search services. State agencies are encouraged to offer a variety of locations and formats to best meet participant needs, and to the extent practicable, allow participants to choose their preferred location. Supervision can occur asynchronously with respect to the participant's job search activities, but must be provided by skilled staff, either remotely or in-person, who provide meaningful guidance and support with at least monthly check-ins, and must be provided in such a way so as to best support the participant. State agencies have discretion to develop tracking methods that best meet the needs of the participant. Supervised job search activities must have a direct link to increasing the employment opportunities of individuals engaged in the activity. Job search that does not meet the definition of supervised job search is allowed as a subsidiary activity of another E&T component, so long as the job search activity comprises less than half of the total time spent in the component. The State agency may require an individual to participate in supervised job search from the time an application is filed for an initial period established by the State agency, so long as the criteria for serving applicants in this paragraph (e)(2) are satisfied. Following this initial period (which may extend beyond the date when eligibility is determined) the State agency may require an additional supervised job search period in any period of 12 consecutive months. The first such period of 12 consecutive months will begin at any time following the close of the initial period. The State agency may establish a supervised job search period that, in its estimation, will provide participants a reasonable opportunity to find suitable employment. The State agency should not, however, establish a continuous, year-round supervised job search requirement. If a reasonable period of supervised job search does not result in employment, placing the individual in a training or education component to improve job skills will likely be more productive. In accordance with section 6(o)(1)(C) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and § 273.24, a supervised job search program is not a qualifying E&T activity relating to the participation requirements necessary to maintain SNAP eligibility for ABAWDs. However, a job search program, supervised or otherwise, when operated under title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), under section 236 of the Trade Act, or a program of employment and training for veterans operated by the Department of Labor or the Department of Veterans Affairs, is considered a qualifying activity relating to the participation requirements necessary to maintain SNAP eligibility for ABAWDs.

(ii) A job search training program that includes reasonable job search training and support activities. Such a program may consist of employability assessments, training in techniques to increase employability, job placement services, or other direct training or support activities, including educational programs determined by the State agency to expand the job search abilities or employability of those subject to the program. Job search training activities are approvable if they directly enhance the employability of the participants. A direct link between the job search training activities and job-readiness must be established for a component to be approved. In accordance with section 6(o)(1)(C) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and § 273.24, a job search training program is not a qualifying activity relating to the participation requirements necessary to maintain SNAP eligibility for ABAWDs. However, such a program, when operated under title I of WIOA, under section 236 of the Trade Act, or a program of employment and training for veterans operated by the Department of Labor or the Department of Veterans Affairs, is considered a qualifying activity relating to the participation requirements necessary to maintain SNAP eligibility for ABAWDs.

(iii) A workfare program as described in paragraph (m) of this section.

(A) The participation requirements of section 20(b) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and paragraphs (m)(5)(i)(A) and (B) of this section for individuals exempt from SNAP work requirements under paragraphs (b)(1)(iii) and (v) of this section, are not applicable to E&T workfare components.

(B) In accordance with section 20(e) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and paragraph (m)(6)(ii) of this section, the State agency may establish a job search period of up to 30 days following certification prior to making a workfare assignment. This job search activity is part of the workfare assignment, and not a job search “program.” Participants are considered to be participating in and complying with the requirements of workfare, thereby meeting the participation requirement for ABAWDs.

(C) The sharing of workfare savings authorized under section 20(g) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and paragraph (m)(7)(iv) of this section are not available for E&T workfare components.

(iv) A work experience program designed to improve the employability of household members through actual work experience or training, or both, and to enable individuals employed or trained under such programs to move promptly into regular public or private employment. Work experience is a planned, structured learning experience that takes place in a workplace for a limited period of time. Work experience may be paid or unpaid, as appropriate, and consistent with other laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. Work experience may be arranged within the private for-profit sector, the non-profit sector, or the public sector. Labor standards apply in any work experience setting where an employee/employer relationship, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act, exists.

(A) A work experience program may include:

(1) A work activity performed in exchange for SNAP benefits that provides an individual with an opportunity to acquire the general skills, knowledge, and work habits necessary to obtain employment. The purpose of work activity is to improve the employability of those who cannot find unsubsidized full-time employment.

(2) A work-based learning program, which, for the purposes of SNAP E&T, are sustained interactions with industry or community professionals in real world settings to the extent practicable, or simulated environments at an educational institution that foster in-depth, firsthand engagement with the tasks required in a given career field, that are aligned to curriculum and instruction. Work-based learning emphasizes employer engagement, includes specific training objectives, and leads to regular employment. Work-based learning can include internships, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, customized training, transitional jobs, incumbent worker training, and on-the-job training as defined under WIOA. Work-based learning can include both subsidized and unsubsidized employment models.

(B) A work experience program must:

(1) Not provide any work that has the effect of replacing the employment of an individual not participating in the employment or training experience program; and

(2) Provide the same benefits and working conditions that are provided at the job site to employees performing comparable work for comparable hours.

(v) A project, program or experiment such as a supported work program aimed at accomplishing the purpose of the E&T program.

(vi) Educational programs or activities to improve basic skills, build work readiness, or otherwise improve employability including educational programs determined by the State agency to expand the job search abilities or employability of those subject to the program.

(A) Allowable educational programs or activities may include, but are not limited to, courses or programs of study that are part of a program of career and technical education (as defined in section 3 of the Carl D. Perkins Act of 2006), high school or equivalent educational programs, remedial education programs to achieve a basic literacy level, and instructional programs in English as a second language.

(B) Only educational components that directly enhance the employability of the participants are allowable. A direct link between the education and job-readiness must be established for a component to be approved.

(vii) A program designed to improve the self-sufficiency of recipients through self-employment. Included are programs that provide instruction for self-employment ventures.

(viii) Job retention services that are designed to help achieve satisfactory performance, retain employment and to increase earnings over time. The State agency may offer job retention services, such as case management, job coaching, dependent care assistance and transportation assistance, for up to 90 days to an individual who has secured employment. State agencies must make a good faith effort to provide job retention services for at least 30 days. The State agency may determine the start date for job retention services provided that the individual is participating in SNAP in the month of or the month prior to beginning job retention services. The State agency may provide job retention services to households leaving SNAP up to the 90-day limit unless the individual is leaving SNAP due to a disqualification in accordance with § 273.7(f) or § 273.16. The participant must have secured employment after or while receiving other employment/training services under the E&T program offered by the State agency. There is no limit to the number of times an individual may receive job retention services as long as the individual has re-engaged with E&T prior to obtaining new employment. An otherwise eligible individual who refuses or fails to accept or comply with job retention services offered by the State agency may not be disqualified as specified in paragraph (f)(2) of this section.

(ix) Programs and activities conducted under the pilots authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79) that the Secretary determines, based on the results from the independent evaluations conducted for those pilots, have the most demonstrable impact on the ability of participants to find and retain employment that leads to increased household income and reduced reliance on public assistance.

(3) Exemptions. Each State agency may, at its discretion, exempt individual work registrants and categories of work registrants from E&T participation. Each State agency must periodically reevaluate its individual and categorical exemptions to determine whether they remain valid. Each State agency will establish the frequency of its periodic evaluation.

(4) Time spent in an employment and training program.

(i) Each State agency will determine the length of time a participant spends in case management or any E&T component it offers. The State agency may also determine the number of successive components in which a participant may be placed.

(ii) The time spent by the members of a household collectively each month in an E&T work program (including, but not limited to, those carried out under paragraphs (e)(2)(iii) and (iv) of this section) combined with any hours worked that month in a workfare program under paragraph (m) of this section must not exceed the number of hours equal to the household's allotment for that month divided by the higher of the applicable Federal or State minimum wage. The total hours of participation in an E&T program for any household member individually in any month, together with any hours worked in a workfare program under paragraph (m) of this section and any hours worked for compensation (in cash or in kind), must not exceed 120.

(5) Voluntary participation.

(i) A State agency may operate an E&T program in which individuals elect to participate.

(ii) A State agency must not disqualify voluntary participants in an E&T program for failure to comply with E&T requirements.

(iii) Voluntary participants are not subject to the restrictions in paragraph (e)(4)(ii) of this section, as long as the voluntary participants are paid a wage at least equal to the higher of the applicable Federal or State minimum wage for all hours spent in an E&T work program or workfare.

(f) Failure to comply -

(1) Ineligibility for failure to comply. A nonexempt individual who refuses or fails without good cause, as defined in paragraphs (i)(2), (3), and (4) of this section, to comply with SNAP work requirements listed under paragraph (a)(1) of this section is ineligible to participate in SNAP, and will be considered an ineligible household member, pursuant to § 273.1(b)(7).

(i) As soon as the State agency learns of the individual's noncompliance it must determine whether good cause for the noncompliance exists, as discussed in paragraph (i) of this section. Within 10 days of establishing that the noncompliance was without good cause, the State agency must provide the individual with a notice of adverse action, as specified in § 273.13. If the State agency offers a conciliation process as part of its E&T program, it must issue the notice of adverse action no later than the end of the conciliation period.

(ii) The notice of adverse action must contain the particular act of noncompliance committed and the proposed period of disqualification. The notice must also specify that the individual may, if appropriate, reapply at the end of the disqualification period. Information must be included on or with the notice describing the action that can be taken to avoid the disqualification before the disqualification period begins. The disqualification period must begin with the first month following the expiration of the 10-day adverse notice period, unless a fair hearing is requested.

(iii) An E&T disqualification may be imposed after the end of a certification period. Thus, a notice of adverse action must be sent whenever the State agency becomes aware of an individual's noncompliance with SNAP work requirements, even if the disqualification begins after the certification period expires and the household has not been recertified.

(2) Disqualification periods. The following disqualification periods will be imposed:

(i) For the first occurrence of noncompliance, the individual will be disqualified until the later of:

(A) The date the individual complies, as determined by the State agency;

(B) One month; or

(C) Up to three months, at State agency option.

(ii) For the second occurrence, until the later of:

(A) The date the individual complies, as determined by the State agency;

(B) Three months; or

(C) Up to six months, at State agency option.

(iii) For the third or subsequent occurrence, until the later of:

(A) The date the individual complies, as determined by the State agency;

(B) Six months;

(C) A date determined by the State agency; or

(D) At the option of the State agency, permanently.

(3) Record retention. In accordance with § 272.1(f) of this chapter, State agencies are required to retain records concerning the frequency of noncompliance with FSP work requirements and the resulting disqualification actions imposed. These records must be available for inspection and audit at any reasonable time to ensure conformance with the minimum mandatory disqualification periods instituted.

(4) Disqualification plan. In accordance with § 272.2(d)(1)(xiii) of this chapter, each State agency must prepare and submit a plan detailing its disqualification policies. The plan must include the length of disqualification to be enforced for each occurrence of noncompliance, how compliance is determined by the State agency, and the State agency's household disqualification policy.

(5) Household ineligibility.

(i) If the individual who becomes ineligible to participate under paragraph (f)(1) of this section is the head of a household, the State agency, at its option, may disqualify the entire household from SNAP participation.

(ii) The State agency may disqualify the household for a period that does not exceed the lesser of:

(A) The duration of the ineligibility of the noncompliant individual under paragraph (f)(2) of this section; or

(B) 180 days.

(iii) A household disqualified under this provision may reestablish eligibility if:

(A) The head of the household leaves the household;

(B) A new and eligible person joins the household as the head of the household, as defined in § 273.1(d)(2); or

(C) The head of the household becomes exempt from work requirements during the disqualification period.

(iv) If the head of the household joins another household as its head, that household will be disqualified from participating in SNAP for the remaining period of ineligibility.

(6) Fair hearings. Each individual or household has the right to request a fair hearing, in accordance with § 273.15, to appeal a denial, reduction, or termination of benefits due to a determination of nonexempt status, or a State agency determination of failure to comply with SNAP work requirements. Individuals or households may appeal State agency actions such as exemption status, the type of requirement imposed, or State agency refusal to make a finding of good cause if the individual or household believes that a finding of failure to comply has resulted from improper decisions on these matters. The State agency or its designee operating the relevant component or service of the E&T program must receive sufficient advance notice to either permit the attendance of a representative or ensure that a representative will be available for questioning over the phone during the hearing. A representative of the appropriate agency must be available through one of these means. A household must be allowed to examine its E&T program casefile at a reasonable time before the date of the fair hearing, except for confidential information (that may include test results) that the agency determines should be protected from release. Confidential information not released to a household may not be used by either party at the hearing. The results of the fair hearing are binding on the State agency.

(7) Failure to comply with a work requirement under title IV of the Social Security Act, or an unemployment compensation work requirement. An individual exempt from SNAP work requirements by paragraph (b)(1)(iii) or (v) of this section because he or she is subject to work requirements under title IV-A or unemployment compensation who fails to comply with a title IV-A or unemployment compensation work requirement will be treated as though he or she failed to comply with SNAP work requirement.

(i) When a SNAP household reports the loss or denial of title IV-A or unemployment compensation benefits, or if the State agency otherwise learns of a loss or denial, the State agency must determine whether the loss or denial resulted when a household member refused or failed without good cause to comply with a title IV-A or unemployment compensation work requirement.

(ii) If the State agency determines that the loss or denial of benefits resulted from an individual's refusal or failure without good cause to comply with a title IV or unemployment compensation requirement, the individual (or household if applicable under paragraph (f)(5) of this section) must be disqualified in accordance with the applicable provisions of this paragraph (f). However, if the noncomplying individual meets one of the work registration exemptions provided in paragraph (b)(1) of this section (other than the exemptions provided in paragraph (b)(1)(iii) or (v) of this section) the individual (or household if applicable under paragraph (f)(5) of this section) will not be disqualified.

(iii) If the State agency determination of noncompliance with a title IV-A or unemployment compensation work requirement leads to a denial or termination of the individual's or household's SNAP benefits, the individual or household has a right to appeal the decision in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (f)(6) of this section.

(iv) In cases where the individual is disqualified from the title IV-A program for refusal or failure to comply with a title IV-A work requirement, but the individual meets one of the work registration exemptions provided in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, other than the exemption in paragraphs (b)(1)(iii) of this section, the State agency may, at its option, apply the identical title IV-A disqualification on the individual under SNAP. The State agency must impose such optional disqualifications in accordance with section 6(i) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and with the provisions of § 273.11(1).

(g) Ending disqualification. Except in cases of permanent disqualification, at the end of the applicable mandatory disqualification period for noncompliance with SNAP work requirements, participation may resume if the disqualified individual applies again and is determined by the State agency to be in compliance with work requirements. A disqualified individual may be permitted to resume participation during the disqualification period (if otherwise eligible) by becoming exempt from work requirements.

(h) Suitable employment.

(1) Employment will be considered suitable unless:

(i) The wage offered is less than the highest of the applicable Federal minimum wage, the applicable State minimum wage, or eighty percent (80%) of the Federal minimum wage if neither the Federal nor State minimum wage is applicable.

(ii) The employment offered is on a piece-rate basis and the average hourly yield the employee can reasonably be expected to earn is less than the applicable hourly wages specified under paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section.

(iii) The household member, as a condition of employment or continuing employment, is required to join, resign from, or refrain from joining any legitimate labor organization.

(iv) The work offered is at a site subject to a strike or lockout at the time of the offer unless the strike has been enjoined under section 208 of the Labor-Management Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 78) (commonly known as the Taft-Hartley Act), or unless an injunction has been issued under section 10 of the Railway Labor Act (45 U.S.C. 160).

(v) It fails to meet additional suitability criteria established by State agencies.

(2) In addition, employment will be considered suitable unless the household member involved can demonstrate or the State agency otherwise becomes aware that:

(i) The degree of risk to health and safety is unreasonable.

(ii) The member is physically or mentally unfit to perform the employment, as documented by medical evidence or by reliable information from other sources.

(iii) The employment offered within the first 30 days of registration is not in the member's major field of experience.

(iv) The distance from the member's home to the place of employment is unreasonable considering the expected wage and the time and cost of commuting. Employment will not be considered suitable if daily commuting time exceeds 2 hours per day, not including the transporting of a child to and from a child care facility. Nor will employment be considered suitable if the distance to the place of employment prohibits walking and neither public nor private transportation is available to transport the member to the jobsite.

(v) The working hours or nature of the employment interferes with the member's religious observances, convictions, or beliefs.

(i) Good cause.

(1) The State agency is responsible for determining good cause when a SNAP recipient fails or refuses to comply with SNAP work requirements. Since it is not possible for the Department to enumerate each individual situation that should or should not be considered good cause, the State agency must take into account the facts and circumstances, including information submitted by the employer and by the household member involved, in determining whether or not good cause exists.

(2) Good cause includes circumstances beyond the member's control, such as, but not limited to, illness, illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member, a household emergency, the unavailability of transportation, or the lack of adequate child care for children who have reached age six but are under age 12.

(3) Good cause for leaving employment includes the good cause provisions found in paragraph (i)(2) of this section, and resigning from a job that is unsuitable, as specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (2) of this section. Good cause for leaving employment also includes:

(i) Discrimination by an employer based on age, race, sex, color, handicap, religious beliefs, national origin or political beliefs;

(ii) Work demands or conditions that render continued employment unreasonable, such as working without being paid on schedule;

(iii) Acceptance of employment by the individual, or enrollment by the individual in any recognized school, training program or institution of higher education on at least a half time basis, that requires the individual to leave employment;

(iv) Acceptance by any other household member of employment or enrollment at least half-time in any recognized school, training program or institution of higher education in another county or similar political subdivision that requires the household to move and thereby requires the individual to leave employment;

(v) Resignations by persons under the age of 60 which are recognized by the employer as retirement;

(vi) Employment that becomes unsuitable, as specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (2) of this section, after the acceptance of such employment;

(vii) Acceptance of a bona fide offer of employment of more than 30 hours a week or in which the weekly earnings are equivalent to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours that, because of circumstances beyond the individual's control, subsequently either does not materialize or results in employment of less than 30 hours a week or weekly earnings of less than the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours; and

(viii) Leaving a job in connection with patterns of employment in which workers frequently move from one employer to another such as migrant farm labor or construction work. There may be some circumstances where households will apply for SNAP benefits between jobs particularly in cases where work may not yet be available at the new job site. Even though employment at the new site has not actually begun, the quitting of the previous employment must be considered as with good cause if it is part of the pattern of that type of employment.

(4) Good cause includes circumstances where the State agency determines that there is not an appropriate and available opening within the E&T program to accommodate the mandatory participant. Good cause for circumstances where there is not an appropriate or available opening within the E&T program shall extend until the State agency identifies an appropriate and available E&T opening, and the State agency informs the SNAP participant. In addition, good cause for circumstances where there is not an appropriate and available opening within the E&T program shall only apply to the requirement to participate in E&T and shall not provide good cause to ABAWDs who fail to fulfill the ABAWD work requirement in accordance with § 273.24.

(5) Verification. To the extent that the information given by the household is questionable, as defined in § 273.2(f)(2), State agencies must request verification of the household's statements. The primary responsibility for providing verification, as provided in § 273.2(f)(5), rests with the household.

(j) Voluntary quit and reduction of work effort -

(1) Period for establishing voluntary quit and reduction of work effort. For the purpose of establishing that a voluntary quit without good cause or reduction in work effort without good cause occurred prior to applying for SNAP benefits, a State agency may, at its option, choose a period between 30 and 60 days before application in which to determine voluntary quit or reduction in work effort.

(2) Individual ineligibility. An individual is ineligible to participate in SNAP if, in a period established by the State agency between 30 and 60 day before applying for SNAP benefits or at any time thereafter, the individual:

(i) Voluntarily and without good cause quits a job of 30 hours a week or more; or

(ii) Reduces his or her work effort voluntarily and without good cause and, after the reduction, is working less than 30 hours per week.

(3) Determining whether a voluntary quit or reduction of work effort occurred and application processing.

(i) When a household files an application for participation, or when a participating household reports the loss of a source of income or a reduction in household earnings, the State agency must determine whether any household member voluntarily quit his or her job or reduced his or her work effort. Benefits must not be delayed beyond the normal processing times specified in § 273.2 pending the outcome of this determination.

(ii) The voluntary quit provision applies if the employment involved 30 hours or more per week or provided weekly earnings at least equivalent to the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours; the quit occurred within a period established by the State agency between 30 to 60 days prior to the date of application or anytime thereafter; and the quit was without good cause. Changes in employment status that result from terminating a self-employment enterprise or resigning from a job at the demand of the employer will not be considered a voluntary quit for purposes of this paragraph (j). An employee of the Federal Government, or of a State or local government who participates in a strike against such government, and is dismissed from his or her job because of participation in the strike, will be considered to have voluntarily quit his or her job without good cause. If an individual quits a job, secures new employment at comparable wages or hours and is then laid off or, through no fault of his own, loses the new job, the individual must not be disqualified for the earlier quit.

(iii) The reduction of work effort provision applies if, before the reduction, the individual was employed 30 hours or more per week; the reduction occurred within a period established by the State agency between 30 and 60 days prior to the date of application or anytime thereafter; and the reduction was voluntary and without good cause. If the individual reduces his or her work hours to less than 30 a week, but continues to earn weekly wages that exceed the Federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours, the individual remains exempt from Program work requirements, in accordance with paragraph (b)(1)(vii) of this section, and the reduction in work effort provision does not apply. Minor variations in the number of hours worked or in the weekly minimum wage equivalent wages are inevitable and must be taken into consideration when assessing a recipient's compliance with Program work rules.

(iv) In the case of an applicant household, the State agency must determine if any household member subject to SNAP work requirements voluntarily quit his or her job or reduced his or her work effort within a period established by the State agency between 30 and 60 days prior to date of application. If the State agency learns that a household has lost a source of income or experienced a reduction in income after the date of application but before the household is certified, the State agency must determine whether a voluntary quit or reduction in work effort occurred.

(v) Upon determining that an individual voluntarily quit employment or reduced work effort, the State agency must determine if the voluntary quit or reduction of work effort was with good cause as defined in paragraph (i) of this section.

(vi) In the case of an individual who is a member of an applicant household, if the voluntary quit or reduction in work effort was without good cause, the individual will be determined ineligible to participate and will be disqualified according to the State agency's established minimum mandatory sanction schedule. The ineligible individual must be considered an ineligible household member, pursuant to § 273.1(b)(7). The disqualification is effective upon the determination of eligibility for the remaining household members. If the individual who becomes ineligible is the head of the household, as defined in § 273.1(d)(2), the State agency may choose to disqualify the entire household, in accordance with paragraph (f)(5) of this section. If the State agency chooses to disqualify the household, the State agency must provide the applicant household with a notice of denial in accordance with § 273.2(g)(3). The notice must inform the household of the proposed period of disqualification; its right to reapply at the end of the disqualification period; and of its right to a fair hearing. The household's disqualification is effective upon the issuance of the notice of denial.

(vii) In the case of an individual who is a member of a participating household, if the State agency determines that the individual voluntarily quit his or her job or reduced his or her work effort without good cause while participating in the program or discovers that the individual voluntarily quit his or her job or reduced his or her work effort without good cause during a period established by the State agency between 30 and 60 days prior to the date of application for benefits or between application and certification, the State agency must provide the individual with a notice of adverse action as specified in § 273.13 within 10 days after the determination of a quit or reduction in work effort. The notification must contain the particular act of noncompliance committed, the proposed period of ineligibility, the actions that may be taken to avoid the disqualification, and it must specify that the individual, if otherwise eligible, may resume participation at the end of the disqualification period if the State agency determines the individual to be in compliance with Program work requirements. The individual will be disqualified according to the State agency's established minimum mandatory sanction schedule. The ineligible individual must be considered an ineligible household member, pursuant to § 273.1(b)(7). The disqualification period will begin the first month following the expiration of the 10-day adverse notice period, unless the individual requests a fair hearing. If a voluntary quit or reduction in work effort occurs in the last month of a certification period, or is determined in the last 30 days of the certification period, the individual must be denied recertification for a period equal to the appropriate mandatory disqualification period, beginning with the day after the last certification period ends and continuing for the length of the disqualification, regardless of whether the individual reapplies for SNAP benefits. Each individual has a right to a fair hearing to appeal a denial or termination of benefits due to a determination that the individual voluntarily quit his or her job or reduced his or her work effort without good cause. If the participating individual's benefits are continued pending a fair hearing and the State agency determination is upheld, the disqualification period must begin the first of the month after the hearing decision is rendered.

(viii) If the individual who voluntarily quit his or her job, or who reduced his or her work effort without good cause is the head of a household, as defined in § 273.1(d), the State agency, at its option, may disqualify the entire household from SNAP participation in accordance with paragraph (f)(5) of this section.

(4) Ending a voluntary quit or a reduction in work disqualification. Except in cases of permanent disqualification, following the end of the mandatory disqualification period for voluntarily quitting a job or reducing work effort without good cause, an individual may begin participation in the program if he or she reapplies and is determined eligible by the State agency. Eligibility may be reestablished during a disqualification and the individual, if otherwise eligible, may be permitted to resume participation if the individual becomes exempt from Program work requirements under paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(5) Application in the final month of disqualification. Except in cases of permanent disqualification, if an application for participation in the Program is filed in the final month of the mandatory disqualification period, the State agency must, in accordance with § 273.10(a)(3), use the same application for the denial of benefits in the remaining month of disqualification and certification for any subsequent month(s) if all other eligibility criteria are met.

(k) Employment initiatives program -

(1) General. In accordance with section 17(d)(1)(B) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, qualified State agencies may elect to operate an employment initiatives program, in which an eligible household can receive the cash equivalent of its SNAP benefit allotment.

(2) State agency qualification. A State agency qualifies to operate an employment initiatives program if, during the summer of 1993, at least half of its SNAP households also received cash benefits from a State program funded under title IV-A of the Social Security Act.

(3) Qualified State agencies. The State agencies of Alaska, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Wisconsin meet the qualification. These 10 State agencies may operate an employment initiatives program.

(4) Eligible households. A SNAP household in one of the 10 qualified State agencies may receive cash benefits in lieu of a SNAP benefit allotment if it meets the following requirements:

(i) The SNAP household elects to participate in an employment initiatives program;

(ii) An adult member of the household:

(A) Has worked in unsubsidized employment for the last 90 days, earning a minimum of $350 per month;

(B) Is receiving cash benefits under a State program funded under title IV-A of the Social Security Act; or

(C) Was receiving cash benefits under the State program but, while participating in the employment initiatives program, became ineligible because of earnings and continues to earn at least $350 a month from unsubsidized employment.

(5) Program Provisions.

(i) Cash benefits provided in an employment initiatives program will be considered an allotment, as defined at § 271.2 of this chapter.

(ii) An eligible household receiving cash benefits in an employment initiatives program will not receive any other SNAP benefit during the period for which cash assistance is provided.

(iii) A qualified State agency operating an employment initiatives program must increase the cash benefit to participating households to compensate for any State or local sales tax on food purchases, unless FNS determines that an increase is unnecessary because of the limited nature of items subject to the State or local sales tax.

(iv) Any increase in cash assistance to account for a State or local sales tax on food purchases must be paid by the State agency.

(6) Evaluation. After two years of operating an employment initiatives program, a State agency must evaluate the impact of providing cash assistance in lieu of a SNAP benefit allotment to participating households. The State agency must provide FNS with a written report of its evaluation findings. The State agency, with the concurrence of FNS, will determine the content of the evaluation.

(l) Work supplementation program. In accordance with section 16(b) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, States may operate work supplementation (or support) programs that allow the cash value of SNAP benefits and public assistance, such as cash assistance authorized under title IV-A of the Social Security Act or cash assistance under a program established by a State, to be provided to employers as a wage subsidy to be used for hiring and employing public assistance recipients. The goal of these programs is to promote self-sufficiency by providing public assistance recipients with work experience to help them move into unsubsidized jobs. In accordance with § 272.2(d)(1)(xiv) of this chapter, State agencies that wish to exercise their option to implement work supplementation programs must submit to FNS for approval a plan that complies with the provisions of this paragraph (l). Work supplementation programs may not be implemented without prior approval from FNS.

(1) Plan -

(i) Assurances. The plan must contain the following assurances:

(A) The individual participating in a work supplementation program must not be employed by the employer at the time the individual enters the program;

(B) The wage subsidy received under the work supplementation program must be excluded from household income and resources during the term the individual is participating in work supplementation;

(C) The household must not receive a separate SNAP allotment while participating in the work supplementation program;

(D) An individual participating in a work supplementation program is excused from meeting any other work requirements;

(E) The work supplementation program must not displace any persons currently employed who are not supplemented or supported;

(F) The wage subsidy must not be considered income or resources under any Federal, State or local laws, including but not limited to, laws relating to taxation, welfare, or public assistance programs, and the household's SNAP allotment must not be decreased due to taxation or any other reason because of its use as a wage subsidy;

(G) The earned income deduction does not apply to the subsidized portion of wages received in a work supplementation program; and

(H) All work supplemented or supported employees must receive the same benefits (sick and personal leave, health coverage, workmen's compensation, etc.) as similarly situated coworkers who are not participating in work supplementation and wages paid under a wage supplementation or support program must meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act and other applicable employment laws.

(ii) Description. The plan must also describe:

(A) The procedures the State agency will use to ensure that the cash value of SNAP benefits for participating households are not subject to State or local sales taxes on food purchases. The costs of increasing household SNAP allotments to compensate for such sales taxes must be paid from State funds;

(B) State agency, employer and recipient obligations and responsibilities;

(C) The procedures the State agency will use to provide wage subsidies to employers and to ensure accountability;

(D) How public assistance recipients in the proposed work supplementation program will, within a specified period of time, be moved from supplemented or supported employment to employment that is not supplemented or supported;

(E) Whether the SNAP allotment and public assistance grant will be frozen at the time a recipient begins a subsidized job; and

(F) The procedures the State agency will use to ensure that work supplementation program participants do not incur any Federal, State, or local tax liabilities on the cash value of their SNAP benefits.

(2) Budget. In addition to the plan described in paragraph (l)(1) of this section, an operating budget for the proposed work supplementation program must be submitted to FNS.

(3) Approval. FNS will review the initial plan and any subsequent amendments. Upon approval by FNS, the State agency must incorporate the approved work supplementation program plan or subsequent amendment into its State Plan of Operation and its operating budget must be included in the State agency budget. No plan or amendment may be implemented without approval from FNS.

(4) Reporting. State agencies operating work supplementation and support programs are required to comply with all FNS reporting requirements, including reporting the amount of benefits contributed to employers as a wage subsidy on the FNS-388, State Issuance and Participation Estimates; FNS-388A, Participation and Issuance by Project Area; FNS-46, Issuance Reconciliation Report; and SF-425, using FNS-778 worksheet, Addendum Financial Status Report. State agencies are also required to report administrative costs associated with work supplementation programs on the FNS-366A, Budget Projection and SF-425 using FNS-778/FNS-778A worksheet, Financial Status Report. Special codes for work supplementation programs will be assigned for reporting purposes.

(5) Funding. FNS will pay the cash value of a participating household's SNAP benefits to a State agency with an approved work supplementation program to pay to an employer as a wage subsidy, and will also reimburse the State agency for related administrative costs, in accordance with Section 16 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.

(6) Quality control. Cases in which a household member is participating in a work supplementation program will be coded as not subject to review.

(m) Optional workfare program -

(1) General. This paragraph (m) contains the rules to be followed in operating a SNAP workfare program. In workfare, nonexempt SNAP recipients may be required to perform work in a public service capacity as a condition of eligibility to receive the benefit allotment to which their household is normally entitled. The primary goal of workfare is to improve employability and enable individuals to move into regular employment.

(2) Program administration.

(i) A SNAP workfare program may be operated as a component of a State agency's E&T program, or it may be operated independently. If the workfare program is part of an E&T program it must be included as a component in the State agency's E&T plan in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (c)(4) of this section. If it is operated independent of the E&T program, the State agency must submit a workfare plan to FNS for its approval. For the purpose of this paragraph (m), a political subdivision is any local government, including, but not limited to, any county, city, town or parish. A State agency may implement a workfare program statewide or in only some areas of the State. The areas of operation must be identified in the State agency's workfare or E&T plan.

(ii) Political subdivisions are encouraged, but not required, to submit their plans to FNS through their respective State agencies. At a minimum, however, plans must be submitted to the State agencies concurrent with their submission to FNS. Workfare plans and subsequent amendments must not be implemented prior to their approval by FNS.

(iii) When a State agency chooses to sponsor a workfare program by submitting a plan to FNS, it must incorporate the approved plan into its State Plan of Operations. When a political subdivision chooses to sponsor a workfare program by submitting a plan to FNS, the State agency is responsible as a facilitator in the administration of the program by disbursing Federal funding and meeting the requirements identified in paragraph (m)(4) of this section. When it is notified that FNS has approved a workfare plan submitted by a political subdivision in its State, the State agency must append that political subdivision's workfare plan to its own State Plan of Operations.

(iv) The operating agency is the administrative organization identified in the workfare plan as being responsible for establishing job sites, assigning eligible recipients to the job sites, and meeting the requirements of this paragraph (m). The operating agency may be any public or private, nonprofit organization. The State agency or political subdivision that submitted the workfare plan is responsible for monitoring the operating agency's compliance with the requirements of this paragraph (m) or of the workfare plan. The Department may suspend or terminate some or all workfare program funding, or withdraw approval of the workfare program from the State agency or political subdivision that submitted the workfare plan upon finding that that State agency or political subdivision, or their respective operating agencies, have failed to comply with the requirements of this paragraph (m) or of the workfare plan.

(v) State agencies or other political subdivisions must describe in detail in the plan how the political subdivision, working with the State agency and any other cooperating agencies that may be involved in the program, will fulfill the provisions of this paragraph (m). The plan will be a one-time submittal, with amendments submitted as needed to cover any changes in the workfare program as they occur.

(vi) State agencies or political subdivisions submitting a workfare plan must submit with the plan an operating budget covering the period from the initiation of the workfare program's implementation schedule to the close of the Federal fiscal year. In addition, an estimate of the cost for one full year of operation must be submitted together with the workfare plan. For subsequent fiscal years, the workfare program budget must be included in the State agency's budget.

(vii) If workfare plans are submitted by more than one political subdivision, each representing the same population (such as a city within a county), the Department will determine which political subdivision will have its plan approved. Under no circumstances will a SNAP recipient be subject to more than one SNAP workfare program. If a political subdivision chooses to operate a workfare program and represents a population which is already, at least in part, subject to a SNAP workfare program administered by another political subdivision, it must establish in its workfare plan how SNAP recipients will not be subject to more than one SNAP workfare program.

(3) Operating agency responsibilities.

(i) General. The operating agency, as designated by the State agency or other political subdivision that submits a plan, is responsible for establishing and monitoring job sites, interviewing and assessing eligible recipients, assigning eligible recipients to appropriate job sites, monitoring participant compliance, making initial determinations of good cause for household noncompliance, and otherwise meeting the requirements of this paragraph (m).

(ii) Establishment of job sites. Workfare job slots may only be located in public or private nonprofit agencies. Contractual agreements must be established between the operating agency and organizations providing jobs that include, but are not limited to, designation of the slots available and designation of responsibility for provision of benefits, if any are required, to the workfare participant.

(iii) Notifying State agency of noncompliance. The operating agency must notify the State agency of noncompliance by an individual with a workfare obligation when it determines that the individual did not have good cause for the noncompliance. This notification must occur within five days of such a determination so that the State agency can make a final determination as provided in paragraph (m)(4)(iv) of this section.

(iv) Notifications.

(A) State agencies must establish and use notices to notify the operating agency of workfare-eligible households. The notice must include the case name, case number, names of workfare-eligible household members, address of the household, certification period, and indication of any part-time work. If the State agency is calculating the hours of obligation, it must also include this in the notice. If the operating agency is computing the hours to be worked, include the monthly allotment amount.

(B) Operating agencies must establish and use notices to notify the workfare participant of where and when the participant is to report, to whom the participant is to report, a brief description of duties for the particular placement, and the number of hours to be worked.

(C) Operating agencies must establish and use notices to notify the State agency of failure by a household to meet its workfare obligation.

(v) Recordkeeping requirements.

(A) Files that record activity by workfare participants must be maintained. At a minimum, these records must contain job sites, hours assigned, and hours completed.

(B) Program records must be maintained, for audit and review purposes, for a period of 3 years from the month of origin of each record. Fiscal records and accountable documents must be retained for 3 years from the date of fiscal or administrative closure of the workfare program. Fiscal closure, as used in this paragraph (m), means that workfare program obligations for or against the Federal government have been liquidated. Administrative closure, as used in this paragraph (m), means that the operating agency or Federal government has determined and documented that no further action to liquidate the workfare program obligation is appropriate. Fiscal records and accountable records must be kept in a manner that will permit verification of direct monthly reimbursements to recipients, in accordance with paragraph (m)(7)(iii) of this section.

(vi) Reporting requirements. The operating agency is responsible for providing information needed by the State agency to fulfill the reporting requirements contained in paragraph (m)(4)(v) of this section.

(vii) Disclosure. The provisions of § 272.1(c) of this chapter restricting the use and disclosure of information obtained from SNAP households is applicable to the administration of the workfare program.

(4) State agency responsibilities.

(i) If a political subdivision chooses to operate a workfare program, the State agency must cooperate with the political subdivision in developing a plan.

(ii) The State agency must determine at certification or recertification which household members are eligible for the workfare program and inform the household representative of the nature of the program and of the penalties for noncompliance. If the State agency is not the operating agency, each member of a household who is subject to workfare under paragraph (m)(5)(i) of this section must be referred to the organization which is the operating agency. The information identified in paragraph (m)(3)(iv)(A) of this section must be forwarded to the operating agency within 5 days after the date of household certification. Computation of hours to be worked may be delegated to the operating agency.

(iii) The State agency must inform the household and the operating agency of the effect of any changes in a household's circumstances on the household's workfare obligation. This includes changes in benefit levels or workfare eligibility.

(iv) Upon notification by the operating agency that a participant has failed to comply with the workfare requirement without good cause, the State agency must make a final determination as to whether or not the failure occurred and whether there was good cause for the failure. If the State agency determines that the participant did not have good cause for noncompliance, a sanction must be processed as provided in paragraphs (f)(1)(i) and (f)(1)(ii) of this section. The State agency must immediately inform the operating agency of the months during which the sanction will apply.

(v) The State agency must submit quarterly reports to FNS within 45 days of the end of each quarter identifying for that quarter for that State:

(A) The number of households with workfare-eligible recipients referred to the operating agency. A household will be counted each time it is referred to the operating agency;

(B) The number of households assigned to jobs each month by the operating agency;

(C) The number of individuals assigned to jobs each month by the operating agency;

(D) The total number of hours worked by participants; and

(E) The number of individuals against which sanctions were applied. An individual being sanctioned over two quarters should only be reported as sanctioned for the earlier quarter.

(vi) The State agency may, at its option, assume responsibility for monitoring all workfare programs in its State to assure that there is compliance with this section and with the plan submitted and approved by FNS. Should the State agency assume this responsibility, it would act as agent for FNS, which is ultimately responsible for ensuring such compliance. Should the State agency determine that noncompliance exists, it may withhold funding until compliance is achieved or FNS directs otherwise.

(5) Household responsibilities.

(i) Participation requirement. Participation in workfare, if assigned by the State agency, is a SNAP work requirement for all nonexempt household members, as provided in paragraph (a) of this section. In addition:

(A) Those recipients exempt from SNAP work requirements because they are subject to and complying with any work requirement under title IV of the Social Security Act are subject to workfare if they are currently involved less than 20 hours a week in title IV work activities. Those recipients involved 20 hours a week or more may be subject to workfare at the option of the political subdivision; and

(B) Those recipients exempt from SNAP work requirements because they have applied for or are receiving unemployment compensation are subject to workfare.

(ii) Household obligation. The maximum total number of hours of work required of a household each month is determined by dividing the household's benefit allotment by the Federal or State minimum wage, whichever is higher. Fractions of hours of obligation may be rounded down. The household's hours of obligation for any given month may not be carried over into another month.

(6) Other program requirements.

(i) Conditions of employment.

(A) A participant may be required to work a maximum of 30 hours per week. This maximum must take into account hours worked in any other compensated capacity (including hours of participation in a title IV work program) by the participant on a regular or predictable part-time basis. With the participant's consent, the hours to be worked may be scheduled in such a manner that more than 30 hours are worked in one week, as long as the total for that month does not exceed the weekly average of 30 hours.

(B) No participant will be required to work more than eight hours on any given day without his or her consent.

(C) No participant will be required to accept an offer of workfare employment if it fails to meet the criteria established in paragraphs (h)(1)(iii), (h)(1)(iv), (h)(2)(i), (h)(2)(ii), (h)(2)(iv), and (h)(2)(v) of this section.

(D) If the workfare participant is unable to report for job scheduling, to appear for scheduled workfare employment, or to complete the entire workfare obligation due to compliance with Unemployment Insurance requirements; other SNAP work requirements established in paragraph (a)(1) of this section; or the job search requirements established in paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section, that inability must not be considered a refusal to accept workfare employment. If the workfare participant informs the operating agency of the time conflict, the operating agency must, if possible, reschedule the missed activity. If the rescheduling cannot be completed before the end of the month, that must not be considered as cause for disqualification.

(E) The operating agency must assure that all persons employed in workfare jobs receive job-related benefits at the same levels and to the same extent as similar non-workfare employees. These are benefits related to the actual work being performed, such as workers' compensation, and not to the employment by a particular agency, such as health benefits. Of those benefits required to be offered, any elective benefit that requires a cash contribution by the participant will be optional at the discretion of the participant.

(F) The operating agency must assure that all workfare participants experience the same working conditions that are provided to non-workfare employees similarly employed.

(G) The provisions of section 2(a)(3) of the Service Contract Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-286), relating to health and safety conditions, apply to the workfare program.

(H) Operating agencies must not place a workfare participant in a work position that has the effect of replacing or preventing the employment of an individual not participating in the workfare program. Vacancies due to hiring freezes, terminations, or lay-offs must not be filled by workfare participants unless it can be demonstrated that the vacancies are a result of insufficient funds to sustain former staff levels.

(I) Workfare jobs must not, in any way, infringe upon the promotional opportunities that would otherwise be available to regular employees.

(J) Workfare jobs must not be related in any way to political or partisan activities.

(K) The cost of workers' compensation or comparable protection provided to workfare participants by the State agency, political subdivision, or operating agency is a matchable cost under paragraph (m)(7) of this section. However, whether or not this coverage is provided, in no case is the Federal government the employer in these workfare programs (unless a Federal agency is the job site). The Department does not assume liability for any injury to or death of a workfare participant while on the job.

(L) The nondiscrimination requirement provided in § 272.6(a) of this chapter applies to all agencies involved in the workfare program.

(ii) Job search period. The operating agency may establish a job search period of up to 30 days following certification prior to making a workfare assignment during which the potential participant is expected to look for a job. This period may only be established at household certification, not at recertification. The potential participant would not be subject to any job search requirements beyond those required under this section during this time.

(iii) Participant reimbursement. The operating agency must reimburse participants for transportation and other costs that are reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the program. These other costs may include the cost of child care, or the cost of personal safety items or equipment required for performance of work if these items are also purchased by regular employees. These other costs may not include the cost of meals away from home. No participant cost reimbursed under a workfare program operated under Title IV of the Social Security Act or any other workfare program may be reimbursed under the SNAP workfare program. Only reimbursement of participant costs up to but not in excess of $25 per month for any participant will be subject to Federal cost sharing as provided in paragraph (m)(7) of this section. Reimbursed child care costs may not be claimed as expenses and used in calculating the child care deduction for determining household benefits. In accordance with paragraph (m)(4)(i) of this section, a State agency may decide what its reimbursement policy shall be.

(iv) Failure to comply. When a workfare participant is determined by the State agency to have failed or refused without good cause to comply with the requirements of this paragraph (m), the provisions of paragraph (f) of this section will apply.

(v) Benefit overissuances. If a benefit overissuance is discovered for a month or months in which a participant has already performed a workfare or work component requirement, the State agency must apply the claim recovery procedures as follows:

(A) If the person who performed the work is still subject to a work obligation, the State must determine how may extra hours were worked because of the improper benefit. The participant should be credited those extra hours toward future work obligations; and

(B) If a workfare or work component requirement does not continue, the State agency must determine whether the overissuance was the result of an intentional program violation, an inadvertent household error, or a State agency error. For an intentional program violation a claim should be established for the entire amount of the overissuance. If the overissuance was caused by an inadvertent household error or State agency error, the State agency must determine whether the number of hours worked in workfare are more than the number which could have been assigned had the proper benefit level been used in calculating the number of hours to work. A claim must be established for the amount of the overissuance not “worked off,” if any. If the hours worked equal the amount of hours calculated by dividing the overissuance by the minimum wage, no claim will be established. No credit for future work requirements will be given.

(7) Federal financial participation -

(i) Administrative costs. Fifty percent of all administrative costs incurred by State agencies or political subdivisions in operating a workfare program will be funded by the Federal government. Such costs include those related to recipient participation in workfare, up to $25 per month for any participant, as indicated in paragraph (m)(6)(iii) of this section. Such costs do not include the costs of equipment, capital expenditures, tools or materials used in connection with the work performed by workfare participants, the costs of supervising workfare participants, the costs of reimbursing participants for meals away from home, or reimbursed expenses in excess of $25 per month for any participant. State agencies must not use any portion of their annual 100 percent Federal E&T allocations to fund the administration of optional workfare programs under section 20 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and this paragraph (m).

(ii) Funding mechanism. The State agencies have responsibility for disbursing Federal funds used for the workfare program through the State agencies' Letters of Credit. The State agency must also assure that records are being maintained which support the financial claims being made to FNS. This will be for all programs, regardless of who submits the plan. Mechanisms for funding local political subdivisions which have submitted plans must be established by the State agencies.

(iii) Fiscal recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Workfare-related costs must be identified by the State agency on the Financial Status Report (Form SF-269) as a separate column. All financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, negotiated contracts, and all other records pertinent to workfare program funds must be maintained in accordance with § 277.12 of this chapter.

(iv) Sharing workfare savings -

(A) Entitlement. A political subdivision is entitled to share in the benefit reductions that occur when a workfare participant begins employment while participating in workfare for the first time, or within thirty days of ending the first participation in workfare.

(1) To begin employment means to appear at the place of employment and to begin working.

(2) First participation in workfare means performing work for the first time in a particular workfare program. The only break in participation that does not end the first participation will be due to the participant's taking a job which does not affect the household's allotment by an entire month's wages and which is followed by a return to workfare.

(B) Calculating the benefit reductions. The political subdivision will calculate benefit reductions from each workfare participant's employment as follows.

(1) Unless the political subdivision knows otherwise, it will presume that the benefit reduction equals the difference between the last allotment issued before the participant began the new employment and the first allotment that reflects a full month's wages, earned income deduction, and dependent care deduction attributable to the new job.

(2) If the political subdivision knows of other changes besides the new job that affect the household's allotment after the new job began, the political subdivision will obtain the first allotment affected by an entire month's wages from the new job. The political subdivision will then recalculate the allotment to account for the wages, earned income deduction, and dependent care deduction attributable to the new job. In recalculating the allotment the political subdivision will also replace any benefits from a State program funded under title IV-A of the Social Security Act received after the new job with benefits received in the last month before the new job began. The difference between the first allotment that accounts for the new job and the recalculated allotment will be the benefit reduction.

(3) The political subdivision's share of the benefit reduction is three times this difference, divided by two.

(4) If, during these procedures, an error is discovered in the last allotment issued before the new employment began, that allotment must be corrected before the savings are calculated.

(C) Accounting. The reimbursement from workfare will be reported and paid as follows:

(1) The political subdivision will report its enhanced reimbursement to the State agency in accordance with paragraph (m)(7)(iii) of this section.

(2) The Food and Nutrition Service will reimburse the political subdivision in accordance with paragraph (m)(7)(ii) of this section.

(3) The political subdivision will, upon request, make available for review sufficient documentation to justify the amount of the enhanced reimbursement.

(4) The Food and Nutrition Service will reimburse only the political subdivision's reimbursed administrative costs in the fiscal year in which the workfare participant began new employment and which are acceptable according to paragraph (m)(7)(i) of this section.

(8) Voluntary workfare program. State agencies and political subdivisions may operate workfare programs whereby participation by SNAP recipients is voluntary. In such a program, the penalties for failure to comply, as provided in paragraph (f) of this section, will not apply for noncompliance. The amount of hours to be worked will be negotiated between the household and the operating agency, though not to exceed the limits provided under paragraph (m)(5)(ii) of this section. In addition, all protections provided under paragraph (m)(6)(i) of this section shall continue to apply. Those State agencies and political subdivisions choosing to operate such a program shall indicate in their workfare plan how their staffing will adapt to anticipated and unanticipated levels of participation. The Department will not approve plans which do not show that the benefits of the workfare program, in terms of hours worked by participants and reduced SNAP allotments due to successful job attainment, are expected to exceed the costs of such a program. In addition, if the Department finds that an approved voluntary program does not meet this criterion, the Department reserves the right to withdraw approval.

(9) Comparable workfare programs. In accordance with section 6(o)(2)(C) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, State agencies and political subdivisions may establish programs comparable to workfare under this paragraph (m) for the purpose of providing ABAWDs subject to the time limits specified at § 273.24 a means of fulfilling the work requirements in order to remain eligible for SNAP benefits. While comparable to workfare in that they require the participant to work for his or her household's SNAP allotment, these programs may or may not conform to other workfare requirements. State agencies or political subdivisions desiring to operate a comparable workfare program must meet the following conditions:

(i) The maximum number of hours worked weekly in a comparable workfare activity, combined with any other hours worked during the week by a participant for compensation (in cash or in kind) in any other capacity, must not exceed 30;

(ii) Participants must not receive a fourth month of SNAP benefits (the first month for which they would not be eligible under the time limit) without having secured a workfare position or without having met their workfare obligation. Participation must be verified timely to prevent issuance of a month's benefits for which the required work obligation is not met;

(iii) The State agency or political subdivision must maintain records to support the issuance of benefits to comparable workfare participants beyond the third month of eligibility; and

(iv) The State agency or political subdivision must provide a description of its program, including a methodology for ensuring compliance with (m)(9)(ii) of this section. The description should be submitted to the appropriate Regional office, with copies forwarded to SNAP National office.

(n) Workforce partnerships. Workforce partnerships must meet the following requirements.

(1) Workforce partnerships are programs operated by:

(i) A private employer, an organization representing private employers, or a nonprofit organization providing services relating to workforce development; or

(ii) An entity identified as an eligible provider of training services under section 122(d) of WIOA (29 U.S.C. 3152(d)).

(2) Workforce partnerships may include multi-State programs.

(3) Workforce partnerships must be in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 201 et seq), as applicable.

(4) Certification of workforce partnerships. All workforce partnerships must be certified by the Secretary or by the State agency to the Secretary to indicate all of the following. The workforce partnership must:

(i) Assist SNAP households in gaining high-quality, work-relevant skills, training, work, or experience that will increase the ability of the participants to obtain regular employment;

(ii) Provide participants with not less than 20 hours per week, averaged monthly of training, work, or experience; for the purposes of this provision, 20 hours a week averaged monthly means 80 hours a month;

(iii) Not use any funds authorized to be appropriated under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008;

(iv) Provide sufficient information to the State agency, on request, to determine whether members of SNAP households who are subject to the work requirement in 7 CFR 273.7(a), the ABAWD work requirements in 7 CFR 273.24, or both are fulfilling the work requirement through the workforce partnership;

(v) Be willing to serve as a reference for participants who are members of SNAP households for future employment or work-related programs.

(5) In certifying that a workforce partnership meets the criteria in paragraphs (n)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section to be certified as a workforce partnership, the Secretary or the State agency shall require that the program submit to the Secretary or the State agency sufficient information that describes both:

(i) The services and activities of the program that would provide participants with not less than 20 hours per week of training, work, or experience; and

(ii) How the workforce partnership would provide services and activities described in paragraph (n)(5)(i) of this section that would directly enhance the employability or job readiness of the participant.

(6) Application to employment and training.

(i) Workforce partnerships may not use any funds authorized to be appropriated by the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.

(ii) If a member of a SNAP household is required to participate in an employment and training program in accordance with paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, the State shall consider an individual participating in a workforce partnership certified in accordance with paragraph (n)(4) of this section to be in compliance with the employment and training requirements. The State agency cannot disqualify an individual for no longer participating in a workforce partnership. When a State agency learns that an individual is no longer participating in a workforce partnership, and the individual had been subject to mandatory E&T in accordance with paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, the State agency must re-screen the individual to determine if the individual qualifies for an exemption from the work requirements in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, and re-screen the individual to determine if the individual meets State criteria for referral to an E&T program or component in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section. After this re-screening, if it is appropriate to require the individual to participate in an E&T program, the State agency may refer the individual to an E&T program or workforce partnership, as applicable.

(7) Supplement, Not Supplant. A state agency may use a workforce partnership to supplement, not to supplant, the employment and training program of the State agency.

(8) Application to work programs. Workforce partnerships certified in accordance with paragraph (n)(4) of this section are included in the definition of a work program under 7 CFR 273.24(a)(3) for the purposes of fulfilling the ABAWD work requirement.

(9) The State agency shall not require any member of a household participating in SNAP to participate in a workforce partnership.

(10) List of workforce partnerships. A State agency shall maintain a list of workforce partnerships certified in accordance with paragraph (n)(4) of this section. A State agency must also inform any SNAP participant whom the State agency has determined is likely to benefit from participation in a workforce partnership of the availability of the workforce partnership, and provide the participant with all available pertinent information regarding the workforce partnership to enable the participant to make an informed choice about participation. The information must include, if available: contact information for the workforce partnership; the types of activities the participant would be engaged in through the workforce partnership, screening criteria used by the workforce partnership to select individuals, the location of the workforce partnership, the work schedule or schedules, any special skills required to participate, and wage and benefit information, if applicable.

(11) Participation in a workforce partnership shall not replace the employment or training of an individual not participating in a workforce partnership.

(12) A workforce partnership may select individuals for participation in the workforce partnership who may or may not meet the criteria for the general work requirement at 7 CFR 273.7(a), including participation in E&T, or the ABAWD work requirement at 7 CFR 273.24(a)(1).

(13) Reporting. Workforce partnership reporting requirements to the State agency are limited to the following:

(i) On notification that an individual participating in the workforce partnership is receiving SNAP benefits, notifying the State agency that the individual is participating in a workforce partnership;

(ii) Identifying participants who have completed or are no longer participating in the workforce partnership;

(iii) Identifying changes to the workforce partnership that result in the workforce partnership no longer meeting the certification requirements in accordance with paragraph (n)(4) of this section; and

(iv) Providing sufficient information, on request by the State agency, for the State agency to verify that a participant is fulfilling the applicable work requirements in paragraph (a) of this section or 7 CFR 273.24.

[67 FR 41603, June 19, 2002, as amended at 71 FR 33382, June 9, 2006; 81 FR 15622, Mar. 24, 2016; 81 FR 66497, Sept. 28, 2016; 82 FR 2038, Jan. 6, 2017; 84 FR 15094, Apr. 15, 2019; 86 FR 398, Jan. 5, 2021]

Subpart D - Eligibility and Benefit Levels
§ 273.8 Resource eligibility standards.

(a) Uniform standards. The State agency shall apply the uniform national resource standards of eligibility to all applicant households, including those households in which members are recipients of federally aided public assistance, general assistance, or supplemental security income. Households which are categorically eligible as defined in § 273.2(j)(2) or 273.2(j)(4) do not have to meet the resource limits or definitions in this section.

(b) Maximum allowable financial resources. The maximum allowable liquid and non-liquid financial resources of all members of a household without members who are elderly or have a disability shall not exceed $2,000, as adjusted for inflation in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section. For households including one or more member who is elderly or has a disability, such financial resources shall not exceed $3,000, as adjusted for inflation in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section.

(1) Beginning October 1, 2008, and each October 1 thereafter, the maximum allowable financial resources shall be adjusted and rounded down to the nearest $250 to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index for the All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor (for the 12-month period ending the preceding June).

(2) Each adjustment shall be based on the unrounded amount for the prior 12-month period.

(c) Definition of resources. In determining the resources of a household, the following shall be included and documented by the State agency in sufficient detail to permit verification:

(1) Liquid resources, such as cash on hand, money in checking and savings accounts, saving certificates, stocks or bonds, and lump sum payments as specified in § 273.9(c)(8); and

(2) Nonliquid resources, personal property, licensed and unlicensed vehicles, buildings, land, recreational properties, and any other property, provided that these resources are not specifically excluded under paragraph (e) of this section. The value of nonexempt resources, except for licensed vehicles as specified in paragraph (f) of this section, shall be its equity value. The equity value is the fair market value less encumbrances.

(3) For a household containing a sponsored alien, the State agency must deem the resources of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse in accordance with § 273.4(c)(2).

(d) Jointly owned resources. Resources owned jointly by separate households shall be considered available in their entirety to each household, unless it can be demonstrated by the applicant household that such resources are inaccessible to that household. If the household can demonstrate that it has access to only a portion of the resource, the value of that portion of the resource shall be counted toward the household's resource level. The resource shall be considered totally inaccessible to the household if the resource cannot practically be subdivided and the household's access to the value of the resource is dependent on the agreement of a joint owner who refuses to comply. For the purpose of this provision, ineligible aliens or disqualified individuals residing with the household shall be considered household members. Resources shall be considered inaccessible to persons residing in shelters for battered women and children, as defined in § 271.2, if

(1) The resources are jointly owned by such persons and by members of their former household; and

(2) The shelter resident's access to the value of the resources is dependent on the agreement of a joint owner who still resides in the former household.

(e) Exclusions from resources. In determining the resources of a household, only the following shall be excluded:

(1) The home and surrounding property which is not separated from the home by intervening property owned by others. Public rights of way, such as roads which run through the surrounding property and separate it from the home, will not affect the exemption of the property. The home and surrounding property shall remain exempt when temporarily unoccupied for reasons of employment, training for future employment, illness, or uninhabitability caused by casualty or natural disaster, if the household intends to return. Households that currently do not own a home, but own or are purchasing a lot on which they intend to build or are building a permanent home, shall receive an exclusion for the value of the lot and, if it is partially completed, for the home.

(2) Household goods, personal effects, the cash value of life insurance policies, one burial plot per household member, and the value of one funeral agreement per household member. The cash value of pension plans or funds shall be excluded. The following retirement accounts shall be excluded:

(i) Funds in a plan, contract, or account that meets the requirements that is described in one of the following sections of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986:

(A) Section 401(a), which includes funds commonly known as “tax qualified retirement plans,” including “401(k) plans”;

(B) Section 403(a), which includes funds that are similar to 401(a) plans but are funded through annuity contracts;

(C) Section 403(b), which includes tax-sheltered annuities, custodial accounts, and retirement income accounts retirement plans for some employees of public schools and tax exempt organizations;

(D) Section 408, which includes traditional Individual Retirement Accounts and traditional Individual Retirement Annuities (IRAs);

(E) Section 408A, which includes plans commonly known as “Roth IRAs” (including the “myRA”);

(F) Section 457(b), which includes plans commonly known as “eligible deferred compensation plans” for employees of state or local government or tax-exempt entities; or

(G) Section 501(c)(18), which includes plans funded by employee contributions.

(ii) Funds in a Section 529A, which includes funds in a qualified ABLE program.

(iii) Funds in the Federal Thrift Savings Fund within the meaning of that term as used in section 7701(j) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. as defined by 5 U.S.C. 8439.

(iv) Any other retirement plan or arrangement that is designated as tax-exempt under a successor or similar provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(iv) Any other retirement account determined by FNS to be appropriate for exclusion.

(3)

(i) Licensed vehicles that meet the following conditions:

(A) Used for income-producing purposes such as, but not limited to, a taxi, truck, or fishing boat, or a vehicle used for deliveries, to call on clients or customers, or required by the terms of employment. Licensed vehicles that have previously been used by a self-employed household member engaged in farming but are no longer used in farming because the household member has terminated his/her self-employment from farming must continue to be excluded as a resource for one year from the date the household member terminated his/her self-employment farming;

(B) Annually producing income consistent with its fair market value, even if used only on a seasonal basis;

(C) Necessary for long-distance travel, other than daily commuting, that is essential to the employment of a household member (or ineligible alien or disqualified person whose resources are being considered available to the household) - for example, the vehicle of a traveling sales person or a migrant farm worker following the work stream;

(D) Used as the household's home and, therefore, excluded under paragraph (e)(1) of this section;

(E) Necessary to transport a physically disabled household member (or physically disabled ineligible alien or physically disabled disqualified person whose resources are being considered available to the household) regardless of the purpose of such transportation (limited to one vehicle per physically disabled household member). The vehicle need not have special equipment or be used primarily by or for the transportation of the physically disabled household member; or

(F) Necessary to carry fuel for heating or water for home use when the transported fuel or water is anticipated to be the primary source of fuel or water for the household during the certification period. Households must receive this resource exclusion without having to meet any additional tests concerning the nature, capabilities, or other uses of the vehicle. Households must not be required to furnish documentation, as mandated by § 273.2(f)(4), unless the exclusion of the vehicle is questionable. If the basis for exclusion of the vehicle is questionable, the State agency may require documentation from the household, in accordance with § 273.2(f)(4).

(G) The value of the vehicle is inaccessible, in accordance with paragraph (e)(18) of this section, because its sale would produce an estimated return of not more than $1,500.

(ii) On those Indian reservations that do not require vehicles driven by tribal members to be licensed, such vehicles must be treated as licensed vehicles for the purpose of this exclusion.

(iii) The exclusions in paragraphs (e)(3)(i)(A) through (e)(3)(i)(C) of this section will apply when the vehicle is not in use because of temporary unemployment, such as when a taxi driver is ill and cannot work, or when a fishing boat is frozen in and cannot be used.

(4) Property which annually produces income consistent with its fair market value, even if only used on a seasonal basis. Such property shall include rental homes and vacation homes.

(5) Property, such as farm land or work related equipment, such as the tools of a tradesman or the machinery of a farmer, which is essential to the employment or self-employment of a household member. Property essential to the self-employment of a household member engaged in farming shall continue to be excluded for one year from the date the household member terminates his/her self-employment from farming.

(6) Installment contracts for the sale of land or buildings if the contract or agreement is producing income consistent with its fair market value. The exclusion shall also apply to the value of the property sold under the installment contract, or held as security in exchange for a purchase price consistent with the fair market value of that property.

(7) Any governmental payments which are designated for the restoration of a home damaged in a disaster, if the household is subject to a legal sanction if the funds are not used as intended; for example, payments made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development through the individual and family grant program or disaster loans or grants made by the Small Business Administration.

(8) Resources having a cash value which is not accessible to the household, such as but not limited to, irrevocable trust funds, security deposits on rental property or utilities, property in probate, and real property which the household is making a good faith effort to sell at a reasonable price and which has not been sold. The State agency may verify that the property is for sale and that the household has not declined a reasonable offer. Verification may be obtained through a collateral contact or documentation, such as an advertisement for public sale in a newspaper of general circulation or a listing with a real estate broker. Any funds in a trust or transferred to a trust, and the income produced by that trust to the extent it is not available to the household, shall be considered inaccessible to the household if:

(i) The trust arrangement is not likely to cease during the certification period and no household member has the power to revoke the trust arrangement or change the name of the beneficiary during the certification period;

(ii) The trustee administering the funds is either:

(A) A court, or an institution, corporation, or organization which is not under the direction or ownership of any household member, or

(B) an individual appointed by the court who has court imposed limitations placed on his/her use of the funds which meet the requirements of this paragraph;

(iii) Trust investments made on behalf of the trust do not directly involve or assist any business or corporation under the control, direction, or influence of a household member; and

(iv) The funds held in irrevocable trust are either:

(A) Established from the household's own funds, if the trustee uses the funds solely to make investments on behalf of the trust or to pay the educational or medical expenses of any person named by the household creating the trust, or

(B) established from non-household funds by a nonhousehold member.

(9) Resources, such as those of students or self-employed persons, which have been prorated as income. The treatment of student income is explained in § 273.10(c) and the treatment of self-employment income is explained in § 273.11(a).

(10) Indian lands held jointly with the Tribe, or land that can be sold only with the approval of the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs; and

(11) Resources which are excluded for SNAP purposes by express provision of Federal statute.

(12) Earned income tax credits shall be excluded as follows:

(i) A Federal earned income tax credit received either as a lump sum or as payments under section 3507 of the Internal Revenue Code for the month of receipt and the following month for the individual and that individual's spouse.

(ii) Any Federal, State or local earned income tax credit received by any household member shall be excluded for 12 months, provided the household was participating in SNAP at the time of receipt of the earned income tax credit and provided the household participates continuously during that 12-month period. Breaks in participation of one month or less due to administrative reasons, such as delayed recertification or missing or late monthly reports, shall not be considered as nonparticipation in determining the 12-month exclusion.

(13) Where an exclusion applies because of use of a resource by or for a household member, the exclusion shall also apply when the resource is being used by or for an ineligible alien or disqualified person whose resources are being counted as part of the household's resources. For example, work related equipment essential to the employment of an ineligible alien or disqualified person shall be excluded (in accordance with paragraph (e)(5) of this section), as shall one burial plot per ineligible alien or disqualified household member (in accordance with paragraph (e)(2) of this section).

(14) Energy assistance payments or allowances excluded as income under § 273.9(c)(11).

(15) Non-liquid asset(s) against which a lien has been placed as a result of taking out a business loan and the household is prohibited by the security or lien agreement with the lien holder (creditor) from selling the asset(s).

(16) Property, real or personal, to the extent that it is directly related to the maintenance or use of a vehicle excluded under paragraphs (e)(3)(i)(A), (e)(3)(i)(B) or (e)(3)(i)(C) of this section. Only that portion of real property determined necessary for maintenance or use is excludable under this provision. For example, a household which owns a produce truck to earn its livelihood may be prohibited from parking the truck in a residential area. The household may own a 100-acre field and use a quarter-acre of the field to park and/or service the truck. Only the value of the quarter-acre would be excludable under this provision, not the entire 100-acre field.

(17) The resources of a household member who receives SSI or PA benefits. A household member is considered a recipient of these benefits if the benefits have been authorized but not received, if the benefits are suspended or recouped, or if the benefits are not paid because they are less than a minimum amount. For purposes of this paragraph (e)(17), if an individual receives non-cash or in-kind services from a program specified in §§ 273.2(j)(2)(i)(B), 273.2(j)(2)(i)(C), 273.2(j)(2)(ii)(A), or 273.2(j)(2)(ii)(B), the State agency must determine whether the individual or the household benefits from the assistance provided, in accordance with § 273.2(j)(2)(iii). Individuals entitled to Medicaid benefits only are not considered recipients of SSI or PA.

(18) The State agency must develop clear and uniform standards for identifying kinds of resources that, as a practical matter, the household is unable to sell for any significant return because the household's interest is relatively slight or the costs of selling the household's interest would be relatively great. The State agency must so identify a resource if its sale or other disposition is unlikely to produce any significant amount of funds for the support of the household or the cost of selling the resource would be relatively great. This provision does not apply to financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, and negotiable financial instruments. The determination of whether any part of the value of a vehicle is included as a resource must be made in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (e)(3) and (f) of this section. The State agency may require verification of the value of a resource to be excluded if the information provided by the household is questionable. The State agencies must use the following definitions in developing these standards:

(i) “Significant return” means any return, after estimating costs of sale or disposition, and taking into account the ownership interest of the household, that the State agency determines are more than $1,500; and

(ii) “Any significant amount of funds” means funds amounting to more than $1,500.

(19) At State agency option, any resources that the State agency excludes when determining eligibility or benefits for TANF cash assistance, as defined by 45 CFR 260.31 (a)(1) and (a)(2), or medical assistance under Section 1931 of the SSA. Resource exclusions under TANF and Section 1931 programs that do not evaluate the financial circumstances of adults in the household and programs grandfathered under Section 404(a)(2) of the SSA shall not be excluded under this paragraph (e)(19). Additionally, licensed vehicles not excluded under Section 5(g)(2)(C) or (D) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2014(g)(2)(C) or (D)), cash on hand, amounts in any account in a financial institution that are readily available to the household including money in checking or savings accounts, savings certificates, stocks, or bonds shall also not be excluded. The term “readily available” applies to resources that the owner can simply withdraw from a financial institution. State agencies may exclude deposits in individual development accounts (IDAs). A State agency that chooses to exclude resources under this paragraph (e)(19) must specify in its State plan of operation that it has selected this option and provide a description of the resources that are being excluded.

(20) The following education accounts are excluded from allowable financial resources:

(i) Funds in a qualified tuition program, as defined by section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(ii) Funds in a Coverdell education savings account, as defined by section 530 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and

(iii) Funds in any other education savings account determined by FNS to be appropriate for exclusion.

(f) Determining the value of non-excluded vehicles.

(1) The State agency must:

(i) Individually evaluate the fair market value of each licensed vehicle that is not excluded under paragraph (e)(3) of this section;

(ii) Count in full toward the household's resource level, regardless of any encumbrances on the vehicle, that portion of the fair market value that exceeds $4,650 beginning October 1, 1996;

(iii) Evaluate such licensed vehicles as well as all unlicensed vehicles for their equity value (fair market value less encumbrances), unless specifically exempt from the equity value test; and

(iv) Count as a resource only the greater of the two amounts if the vehicle has a countable fair market value of more than $4,650 after October 1, 1996, and also has a countable equity value.

(2) Only the following vehicles are exempt from the equity value test outlined in paragraph (f)(1)(iii) of this section:

(i) Vehicles excluded under paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section;

(ii) One licensed vehicle per adult household member (or an ineligible alien or disqualified household member whose resources are being considered available to household), regardless of the use of the vehicle; and

(iii) Any other vehicle a household member under age 18 (or an ineligible alien or disqualified household member under age 18 whose resources are being considered available to household) drives to commute to and from employment, or to and from training or education which is preparatory to employment, or to seek employment. This equity exclusion applies during temporary periods of unemployment to a vehicle which a household member under age 18 customarily drives to commute to and from employment.

(3) State agencies will be responsible for establishing methodologies for determining the fair market value of vehicles. In establishing such methodologies, the State agency must not increase the basic value of a vehicle by adding the value of low mileage or other factors such as optional equipment or special apparatus for the handicapped. Any household that claims that the State agency's determination of the value of its vehicle(s) is not accurate must be given the opportunity to acquire verification of the true value of the vehicle from a reliable source.

(4) A State agency may substitute for the vehicle evaluation provisions in paragraphs (f)(1) through (f)(3) of this section the vehicle evaluation provisions of a program in that State that uses TANF or State or local funds to meet TANF maintenance of effort requirements and provides benefits that meet the definition of “assistance” according to TANF regulations at 45 CFR 260.31, where doing so results in a lower attribution of resources to the household. States electing this option must:

(i) Apply the substituted TANF vehicle rules to all SNAP households in the State, whether or not they receive or are eligible to receive TANF assistance of any kind;

(ii) Exclude from household resources any vehicles excluded by either the substituted TANF vehicle rules or the SNAP vehicle rules at paragraphs (e)(3), (e)(5), (e)(11) and (f) of this section;

(iii) Apply either the substituted TANF rules or the SNAP vehicle rules to each of a household's vehicles in turn, using whichever set of rules produces the lower attribution of resources to the household;

(iv) Apply any vehicle exclusions allowed by their TANF vehicle rules to the vehicles with the highest values; and

(v) Exclude any vehicle owned by any household in the State if it selects TANF vehicle rules that exclude all vehicles completely or contain no resource provisions at all.

(g) Handling of excluded funds. Excluded funds that are kept in a separate account, and that are not commingled in an account with nonexcluded funds, shall retain their resource exclusion for an unlimited period of time. The resources of students and self-employment households which are excluded as provided in paragraph (e)(9) of this section and are commingled in an account with nonexcluded funds shall retain their exclusion for the period of time over which they have been prorated as income. All other excluded moneys which are commingled in an account with nonexcluded funds shall retain their exemption for six months from the date they are commingled. After six months from the date of commingling, all funds in the commingled account shall be counted as a resource.

(h) Transfer of resources.

(1) At the time of application, households shall be asked to provide information regarding any resources which any household member (or ineligible alien or disqualified person whose resources are being considered available to the household) had transferred within the 3-month period immediately preceding the date of application. Households which have transferred resources knowingly for the purpose of qualifying or attempting to qualify for SNAP benefits shall be disqualified from participation in the program for up to 1 year from the date of the discovery of the transfer. This disqualification period shall be applied if the resources are transferred knowingly in the 3-month period prior to application or if they are transferred knowingly after the household is determined eligible for benefits. An example of the latter would be assets which the household acquires after being certified and which are then transferred to prevent the household from exceeding the maximum resource limit.

(2) Eligibility for the program will not be affected by the following transfers:

(i) Resources which would not otherwise affect eligibility, for example, resources consisting of excluded personal property such as furniture or of money that, when added to other nonexempt household resources, totaled less at the time of the transfer than the allowable resource limits;

(ii) Resources which are sold or traded at, or near, fair market value;

(iii) Resources which are transferred between members of the same household (including ineligible aliens or disqualified persons whose resources are being considered available to the household); and

(iv) Resources which are transferred for reasons other than qualifying or attempting to qualify for SNAP benefits, for example, a parent placing funds into an educational trust fund described in paragraph (e)(9) of this section.

(3) In the event the State agency establishes that an applicant household knowingly transferred resources for the purpose of qualifying or attempting to qualify for SNAP benefits, the household shall be sent a notice of denial explaining the reason for and length of the disqualification. The period of disqualification shall begin in the month of application. If the household is participating at the time of the discovery of the transfer, a notice of adverse action explaining the reason for and length of the disqualification shall be sent. The period of disqualification shall be made effective with the first allotment to be issued after the notice of adverse action period has expired, unless the household has requested a fair hearing and continued benefits.

(4) The length of the disqualification period shall be based on the amount by which nonexempt transferred resources, when added to other countable resources, exceeds the allowable resource limits. The following chart will be used to determine the period of disqualification.

Amount in excess of the resource limit Period of disqualification (months)
$0 to 249.99 1
250 to 999.99 3
1,000 to 2999.99 6
3,000 to 4,999.99 9
5,000 or more 12

(i) Resources of non-household members.

(1) The resources of non-household members, as defined in § 273.1(b)(7)(i) and (ii), must be handled as outlined in § 273.11(d).

(2) The resources of non-household members, as defined in § 273.1(b)(7)(iii) through (vi), must be handled as outlined in § 273.11(c) and (d), as appropriate.

[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47889, Oct. 17, 1978]

§ 273.9 Income and deductions.

(a) Income eligibility standards. Participation in the Program shall be limited to those households whose incomes are determined to be a substantial limiting factor in permitting them to obtain a more nutritious diet. Households which contain an elderly or disabled member shall meet the net income eligiblity standards for SNAP. Households which do not contain an elderly or disabled member shall meet both the net income eligibility standards and the gross income eligibility standards for SNAP. Households which are categorically eligible as defined in § 273.2(j)(2) or 273.2(j)(4) do not have to meet either the gross or net income eligibility standards. The net and gross income eligibility standards shall be based on the Federal income poverty levels established as provided in section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)).

(1) The gross income eligibility standards for SNAP shall be as follows:

(i) The income eligibility standards for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands shall be 130 percent of the Federal income poverty levels for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia.

(ii) The income eligibility standards for Alaska shall be 130 percent of the Federal income poverty levels for Alaska.

(iii) The income eligibility standards for Hawaii shall be 130 percent of the Federal income poverty levels for Hawaii.

(2) The net income eligibility standards for SNAP shall be as follows:

(i) The income eligibility standards for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia, Guam and the Virgin Islands shall be the Federal income poverty levels for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia.

(ii) The income eligibility standards for Alaska shall be the Federal income poverty levels for Alaska.

(iii) The income eligibility standard for Hawaii shall be the Federal income poverty levels for Hawaii.

(3) The income eligibility limits, as described in this paragraph, are revised each October 1 to reflect the annual adjustment to the Federal income poverty guidelines for the 48 States and the District of Columbia, for Alaska, and for Hawaii.

(i) 130 percent of the annual income poverty guidelines shall be divided by 12 to determine the monthly gross income standards, rounding the results upwards as necessary. For households greater than eight persons, the increment in the Federal income poverty guidelines is multiplied by 130 percent, divided by 12, and the results rounded upward if necessary.

(ii) The annual income poverty guidelines shall be divided by 12 to determine the monthly net income eligibility standards, rounding the results upward as necessary. For households greater than eight persons, the increment in the Federal income poverty guidelines is divided by 12, and the results rounded upward if necessary.

(4) The monthly gross and net income eligibility standards for all areas will be prescribed in tables posted on the FNS web site, at www.fns.usda.gov/snap

(b) Definition of income. Household income shall mean all income from whatever source excluding only items specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

(1) Earned income shall include:

(i) All wages and salaries of an employee.

(ii) The gross income from a self-employment enterprise, including the total gain from the sale of any capital goods or equipment related to the business, excluding the costs of doing business as provided in paragraph (c) of this section. Ownership of rental property shall be considered a self-employment enterprise; however, income derived from the rental property shall be considered earned income only if a member of the household is actively engaged in the management of the property at least an average of 20 hours a week. Payments from a roomer or boarder, except foster care boarders, shall also be considered self-employment income.

(iii) Training allowances from vocational and rehabilitative programs recognized by Federal, State, or local governments, such as the work incentive program, to the extent they are not a reimbursement. Training allowances under Workforce Investment Act of 1998, other than earnings as specified in paragraph (b)(1)(v) of this section, are excluded from consideration as income.

(iv) Payments under Title I (VISTA, University Year for Action, etc.) of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973 (Pub. L. 93-113 Stat., as amended) shall be considered earned income and subject to the earned income deduction prescribed in § 273.10(e)(1)(i)(B), excluding payments made to those households specified in paragraph (c)(10)(iii) of this section.

(v) Earnings to individuals who are participating in on-the-job training programs under Title 1 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. This provision does not apply to household members under 19 years of age who are under the parental control of another adult member, regardless of school attendance and/or enrollment as discussed in paragraph (c)(7) of this section. For the purpose of this provision, earnings include monies paid under the Workforce Investment Act and monies paid by the employer.

(vi) Educational assistance which has a work requirement (such as work study, an assistantship or fellowship with a work requirement) in excess of the amount excluded under § 273.9(c)(3). Earned income from work study programs that are funded under section 20 U.S.C. 1087uu of the Higher Education Act is excluded.

(2) Unearned income shall include, but not be limited to:

(i) Assistance payments from Federal or federally aided public assistance programs, such as supplemental security income (SSI) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); general assistance (GA) programs (as defined in § 271.2); or other assistance programs based on need. Such assistance is considered to be unearned income even if provided in the form of a vendor payment (provided to a third party on behalf of the household), unless the vendor payment is specifically exempt from consideration as countable income under the provisions of paragraph (c)(1) of this section. Assistance payments from programs which require, as a condition of eligibility, the actual performance of work without compensation other than the assistance payments themselves, shall be considered unearned income.

(ii) Annuities; pensions; retirement, veteran's, or disability benefits; worker's or unemployment compensation including any amounts deducted to repay claims for intentional program violations as provided in § 272.12; old-age, survivors, or social security benefits; strike benefits; foster care payments for children or adults who are considered members of the household; gross income minus the cost of doing business derived from rental property in which a household member is not actively engaged in the management of the property at least 20 hours a week.

(iii) Support or alimony payments made directly to the household from nonhousehold members.

(iv) Scholarships, educational grants, deferred payment loans for education, veteran's educational benefits and the like, other than educational assistance with a work requirement, in excess of amounts excluded under § 273.9(c).

(v) Payments from Government-sponsored programs, dividends, interest, royalties, and all other direct money payments from any source which can be construed to be a gain or benefit.

(vi) Monies which are withdrawn or dividends which are or could be received by a household from trust funds considered to be excludable resources under § 273.8(e)(8). Such trust withdrawals shall be considered income in the month received, unless otherwise exempt under the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section. Dividends which the household has the option of either receiving as income or reinvesting in the trust are to be considered as income in the month they become available to the household unless otherwise exempt under the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section.

(3) The earned or unearned income of an individual disqualified from the household for intentional Program violation, in accordance with § 273.16, or as a result of a sanction imposed while he/she was participating in a household disqualified for failure to comply with workfare requirements, in accordance with § 273.22, shall continue to be attributed in their entirety to the remaining household members. However, the earned or unearned income of individuals disqualified from households for failing to comply with the requirement to provide an SSN, in accordance with § 273.6, or for being an ineligible alien, in accordance with § 273.4, shall continue to be counted as income, less a pro rata share for the individual. Procedures for calculating this pro rata share are described in § 273.11(c).

(4) For a household containing a sponsored alien, the income of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse must be deemed in accordance with § 273.4(c)(2).

(5) Income shall not include the following:

(i) Moneys withheld from an assistance payment, earned income, or other income source, or moneys received from any income source which are voluntarily or involuntarily returned, to repay a prior overpayment received from that income source, provided that the overpayment was not excludable under paragraph (c) of this section. However, moneys withheld from assistance from another program, as specified in § 273.11(k), shall be included as income.

(ii) Child support payments received by TANF recipients which must be transferred to the agency administering title IV-D of the Social Security Act, as amended, to maintain TANF eligibility.

(c) Income exclusions. Only the following items shall be excluded from household income and no other income shall be excluded:

(1) Any gain or benefit which is not in the form of money payable directly to the household, including in-kind benefits and certain vendor payments. In-kind benefits are those for which no monetary payment is made on behalf of the household and include meals, clothing, housing, or produce from a garden. A vendor payment is a money payment made on behalf of a household by a person or organization outside of the household directly to either the household's creditors or to a person or organization providing a service to the household. Payments made to a third party on behalf of the household are included or excluded as income as follows:

(i) Public assistance (PA) vendor payments. PA vendor payments are counted as income unless they are made for:

(A) Medical assistance;

(B) Child care assistance;

(C) Energy assistance as defined in paragraph (c)(11) of this section;

(D) Emergency assistance (including, but not limited to housing and transportation payments) for migrant or seasonal farmworker households while they are in the job stream;

(E) Housing assistance payments made through a State or local housing authority;

(F) Emergency and special assistance. PA provided to a third party on behalf of a household which is not specifically excluded from consideration as income under the provisions of paragraphs (c)(1)(i)(A) through (c)(1)(i)(E) of this section shall be considered for exclusion under this provision. To be considered emergency or special assistance and excluded under this provision, the assistance must be provided over and above the normal PA grant or payment, or cannot normally be provided as part of such grant or payment. If the PA program is composed of various standards or components, the assistance would be considered over and above the normal grant or not part of the grant if the assistance is not included as a regular component of the PA grant or benefit or the amount of assistance exceeds the maximum rate of payment for the relevant component. If the PA program is not composed of various standards or components but is designed to provide a basic monthly grant or payment for all eligible households and provides a larger basic grant amount for all households in a particular category, e.g., all households with infants, the larger amount is still part of the normal grant or benefit for such households and not an “extra” payment excluded under this provision. On the other hand, if a fire destroyed a household item and a PA program provides an emergency amount paid directly to a store to purchase a replacement, such a payment is excluded under this provision. If the PA program is not composed of various standards, allowances, or components but is simply designed to provide assistance on an as-needed basis rather than to provide routine, regular monthly benefits to a client, no exclusion would be granted under this provision because the assistance is not provided over and above the normal grant, it is the normal grant. If it is not clear whether a certain type of PA vendor payment is covered under this provision, the State agency shall apply to the appropriate FNS Regional Office for a determination of whether the PA vendor payments should be excluded. The application for this exclusion determination must explain the emergency or special nature of the vendor payment, the exact type of assistance it is intended to provide, who is eligible for the assistance, how the assistance is paid, and how the vendor payment fits into the overall PA benefit standard. A copy of the rules, ordinances, or statutes which create and authorize the program shall accompany the application request.

(ii) General assistance (GA) vendor payments. Vendor payments made under a State or local GA program or a comparable basic assistance program are excluded from income except for some vendor payments for housing. A housing vendor payment is counted as income unless the payment is for:

(A) Energy assistance (as defined in paragraph (c)(11) of this section);

(B) Housing assistance from a State or local housing authority;

(C) Emergency assistance for migrant or seasonal farmworker households while they are in the job stream;

(D) Emergency or special payments (as defined in paragraph (c)(1)(i)(F) of this section; or

(E) Assistance provided under a program in a State in which no GA payments may be made directly to the household in the form of cash.

(iii) Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) vendor payments. Rent or mortgage payments made to landlords or mortgagees by HUD are excluded.

(iv) Educational assistance vendor payments. Educational assistance provided to a third party on behalf of the household for living expenses shall be treated the same as educational assistance payable directly to the household.

(v) Vendor payments that are reimbursements. Reimbursements made in the form of vendor payments are excluded on the same basis as reimbursements paid directly to the household in accordance with paragraph (c)(5) of this section.

(vi) Demonstration project vendor payments. In-kind or vendor payments which would normally be excluded as income but are converted in whole or in part to a direct cash payment under a federally authorized demonstration project or waiver of provisions of Federal law shall be excluded from income.

(vii) Other third-party payments. Other third-party payments shall be handled as follows: moneys legally obligated and otherwise payable to the household which are diverted by the provider of the payment to a third party for a household expense shall be counted as income and not excluded. If a person or organization makes a payment to a third party on behalf of a household using funds that are not owed to the household, the payment shall be excluded from income. This distinction is illustrated by the following examples:

(A) A friend or relative uses his or her own money to pay the household's rent directly to the landlord. This vendor payment shall be excluded.

(B) A household member earns wages. However, the wages are garnished or diverted by the employer and paid to a third party for a household expense, such as rent. This vendor payment is counted as income. However, if the employer pays a household's rent directly to the landlord in addition to paying the household its regular wages, the rent payment shall be excluded from income. Similarly, if the employer provides housing to an employee in addition to wages, the value of the housing shall not be counted as income.

(C) A household receives court-ordered monthly support payments in the amount of $400. Later, $200 is diverted by the provider and paid directly to a creditor for a household expense. The payment is counted as income. Money deducted or diverted from a court-ordered support or alimony payment (or other binding written support or alimony agreement) to a third party for a household's expense shall be included as income because the payment is taken from money that is owed to the household. However, payments specified by a court order or other legally binding agreement to go directly to a third party rather than the household are excluded from income because they are not otherwise payable to the household. For example, a court awards support payments in the amount of $400 a month and in addition orders $200 to be paid directly to a bank for repayment of a loan. The $400 payment is counted as income and the $200 payment is excluded from income. Support payments not required by a court order or other legally binding agreement (including payments in excess of the amount specified in a court order or written agreement) which are paid to a third party on the household's behalf shall be excluded from income.

(2) Any income in the certification period which is received too infrequently or irregularly to be reasonably anticipated, but not in excess of $30 in a quarter.

(3)

(i) Educational assistance, including grants, scholarships, fellowships, work study, educational loans on which payment is deferred, veterans' educational benefits and the like.

(ii) To be excluded, educational assistance referred to in paragraph (c)(3)(i) must be:

(A) Received under 20 CFR 1087uu. This exemption includes student assistance received under part E of subchapter IV of Chapter 28 of title 20 and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42, or under Bureau of Indian Affairs student assistance programs.

(B) Awarded to a household member enrolled at a:

(1) Recognized institution of post-secondary education (meaning any public or private educational institution which normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment or admits persons who are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the institution is located, provided that the institution is legally authorized or recognized by the State to provide an educational program beyond secondary education in the State or provides a program of training to prepare students for gainful employment, including correspondence schools at that level),

(2) School for the handicapped,

(3) Vocational education program,

(4) Vocational or technical school,

(5) Program that provides for obtaining a secondary school diploma or the equivalent;

(C) Used for or identified (earmarked) by the institution, school, program, or other grantor for the following allowable expenses:

(1) Tuition,

(2) Mandatory school fees, including the rental or purchase of any equipment, material, and supplies related to the pursuit of the course of study involved,

(3) Books,

(4) Supplies,

(5) Transportation,

(6) Miscellaneous personal expenses, other than normal living expenses, of the student incidental to attending a school, institution or program,

(7) Dependent care,

(8) Origination fees and insurance premiums on educational loans,

(9) Normal living expenses which are room and board are not excludable.

(10) Amounts excluded for dependent care costs shall not also be excluded under the general exclusion provisions of paragraph § 273.9(c)(5)(i)(C). Dependent care costs which exceed the amount excludable from income shall be deducted from income in accordance with paragraph § 273.9(d)(4) and be subject to a cap.

(iii) Exclusions based on use pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(C) must be incurred or anticipated for the period the educational income is intended to cover regardless of when the educational income is actually received. If a student uses other income sources to pay for allowable educational expenses in months before the educational income is received, the exclusions to cover the expenses shall be allowed when the educational income is received. When the amounts used for allowable expense are more than amounts earmarked by the institution, school, program or other grantor, an exclusion shall be allowed for amounts used over the earmarked amounts. Exclusions based on use shall be subtracted from unearned educational income to the extent possible. If the unearned educational income is not enough to cover the expense, the remainder of the allowable expense shall be excluded from earned educational income.

(iv) An individual's total educational income exclusions granted under the provisions of paragraph (c)(3)(i) through (c)(3)(iii) of this section cannot exceed that individual's total educational income which was subject to the provisions of paragraph (c)(3)(i) through (c)(3)(iii) of this section.

(v) At its option, the State agency may exclude any educational assistance that must be excluded under its State Medicaid rules that would not already be excluded under this section. A State agency that chooses to exclude educational assistance under this paragraph (c)(3)(v) must specify in its State plan of operation that it has selected this option and provide a description of the educational assistance that is being excluded. The provisions of paragraphs (c)(3)(ii), (c)(3)(iii) and (c)(3)(iv) of this section do not apply to income excluded under this paragraph (c)(3)(v).

(4) All loans, including loans from private individuals as well as commercial institutions, other than educational loans on which repayment is deferred. Educational loans on which repayment is deferred shall be excluded pursuant to the provisions of § 273.9(c)(3)(i). A loan on which repayment must begin within 60 days after receipt of the loan shall not be considered a deferred repayment loan.

(5) Reimbursements for past or future expenses, to the extent they do not exceed actual expenses, and do not represent a gain or benefit to the household. Reimbursements for normal household living expenses such as rent or mortgage, personal clothing, or food eaten at home are a gain or benefit and, therefore, are not excluded. To be excluded, these payments must be provided specifically for an identified expense, other than normal living expenses, and used for the purpose intended. When a reimbursement, including a flat allowance, covers multiple expenses, each expense does not have to be separately identified as long as none of the reimbursement covers normal living expenses. The amount by which a reimbursement exceeds the actual incurred expense shall be counted as income. However, reimbursements shall not be considered to exceed actual expenses, unless the provider or the household indicates the amount is excessive.

(i) Examples of excludable reimbursements which are not considered to be a gain or benefit to the household are:

(A) Reimbursements or flat allowances, including reimbursements made to the household under § 273.7(d)(3), for job- or training-related expenses such as travel, per diem, uniforms, and transportation to and from the job or training site. Reimbursements which are provided over and above the basic wages for these expenses are excluded; however, these expenses, if not reimbursed, are not otherwise deductible. Reimbursements for the travel expenses incurred by migrant workers are also excluded.

(B) Reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses of volunteers incurred in the course of their work.

(C) Medical or dependent care reimbursements.

(D) Reimbursements received by households to pay for services provided by Title XX of the Social Security Act.

(E) Any allowance a State agency provides no more frequently than annually for children's clothes when the children enter or return to school or daycare, provided the State agency does not reduce the monthly TANF payment for the month in which the school clothes allowance is provided. State agencies are not required to verify attendance at school or daycare.

(F) Reimbursements made to the household under § 273.7(d)(3) for expenses necessary for participation in an education component under the E&T program.

(ii) The following shall not be considered a reimbursement excludable under this provision:

(A) No portion of benefits provided under title IV-A of the Social Security Act, to the extent such benefits are attributed to an adjustment for work-related or child care expenses (except for payments or reimbursements for such expenses made under an employment, education or training program initiated under such title after September 19, 1988), shall be considered excludable under this provision.

(B) No portion of any educational assistance that is provided for normal living expenses (room and board) shall be considered a reimbursement excludable under this provision.

(6) Moneys received and used for the care and maintenance of a third-party beneficiary who is not a household member. If the intended beneficiaries of a single payment are both household and nonhousehold members, any identifiable portion of the payment intended and used for the care and maintenance of the nonhousehold member shall be excluded. If the nonhousehold member's portion cannot be readily identified, the payment shall be evenly prorated among intended beneficiaries and the exclusion applied to the nonhousehold member's pro rata share or the amount actually used for the nonhousehold member's care and maintenance, whichever is less.

(7) The earned income (as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section) of any household member who is under age 18, who is an elementary or secondary school student, and who lives with a natural, adoptive, or stepparent or under the parental control of a household member other than a parent. For purposes of this provision, an elementary or secondary school student is someone who attends elementary or secondary school, or who attends classes to obtain a General Equivalency Diploma that are recognized, operated, or supervised by the student's state or local school district, or who attends elementary or secondary classes through a home-school program recognized or supervised by the student's state or local school district. The exclusion shall continue to apply during temporary interruptions in school attendance due to semester or vacation breaks, provided the child's enrollment will resume following the break. If the child's earnings or amount of work performed cannot be differentiated from that of other household members, the total earnings shall be prorated equally among the working members and the child's pro rata share excluded.

(8) Money received in the form of a nonrecurring lump-sum payment, including, but not limited to, income tax refunds, rebates, or credits; retroactive lump-sum social security, SSI, public assistance, railroad retirement benefits, or other payments; lump-sum insurance settlements; or refunds of security deposits on rental property or utilities. TANF payments made to divert a family from becoming dependent on welfare may be excluded as a nonrecurring lump-sum payment if the payment is not defined as assistance because of the exception for non-recurrent, short-term benefits in 45 CFR 261.31(b)(1). These payments shall be counted as resources in the month received, in accordance with § 273.8(c) unless specifically excluded from consideration as a resource by other Federal laws.

(9) The cost of producing self-employment income. The procedures for computing the cost of producing self-employment income are described in § 273.11.

(10) Any income that is specifically excluded by any other Federal statute from consideration as income for the purpose of determining eligibility for SNAP. The following laws provide such an exclusion:

(i) Reimbursements from the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970 (Pub. L. 91-646, section 216).

(ii) Payments received under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (Pub. L. 92-203, section 21(a));

(iii) Any payment to volunteers under Title II (RSVP, Foster Grandparents and others) of the Domestic Volunteer Services Act of 1973 (Pub. L. 93-113) as amended. Payments under title I of that Act (including payments from such title I programs as VISTA, University Year for Action, and Urban Crime Prevention Program) to volunteers shall be excluded for those individuals receiving SNAP benefits or public assistance at the time they joined the title I program, except that households which were receiving an income exclusion for a Vista or other title I Subsistence allowance at the time of conversion to the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 shall continue to receive an income exclusion for VISTA for the length of their volunteer contract in effect at the time of conversion. Temporary interruptions in SNAP participation shall not alter the exclusion once an initial determination has been made. New applicants who were not receiving public assistance or SNAPs at the time they joined VISTA shall have these volunteer payments included as earned income. The FNS National Office shall keep FNS Regional Offices informed of any new programs created under title I and II or changes in programs mentioned above so that they may alert State agencies.

(iv) Income derived from certain submarginal land of the United States which is held in trust for certain Indian tribes (Pub. L. 94-114, section 6).

(v) Allowances, earnings, or payments (including reimbursements) to individuals participating in programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, except as provided for under paragraph (b)(1)(v) of this section.

(vi) Income derived from the disposition of funds to the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians (Pub. L. 94-540).

(vii) Earned income tax credits received as a result of Pub. L. 95-600, the Revenue Act of 1978 which are received before January 1, 1980.

(viii) Payments by the Indian Claims Commission to the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Indian Nation or the Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation (Pub. L. 95-433).

(ix) Payments to the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the Penobscot Nation or any of their members received pursuant to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-420, section 5).

(x) Payments of relocation assistance to members of the Navajo and Hopi Tribes under Pub. L. 93-531.

(11) Energy assistance as follows:

(i) Any payments or allowances made for the purpose of providing energy assistance under any Federal law other than part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), including utility reimbursements made by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rural Housing Service, or

(ii) A one-time payment or allowance applied for on an as-needed basis and made under a Federal or State law for the costs of weatherization or emergency repair or replacement of an unsafe or inoperative furnace or other heating or cooling device. A down-payment followed by a final payment upon completion of the work will be considered a one-time payment for purposes of this provision.

(12) Cash donations based on need received on or after February 1, 1988 from one or more private nonprofit charitable organizations, but not to exceed $300 in a Federal fiscal year quarter.

(13) Earned income tax credit payments received either as a lump sum or payments under section 3507 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to advance payment of earned income tax credits received as part of the paycheck or as a reduction in taxes that otherwise would have been paid at the end of the year).

(14) Any payment made to an E&T participant under § 273.7(d)(3) for costs that are reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the E&T program. These costs include, but are not limited to, dependent care costs, transportation, other expenses related to work, training or education, such as uniforms, personal safety items or other necessary equipment, and books or training manuals. These costs shall not include the cost of meals away from home. Also, the value of any dependent care services provided for or arranged under § 273.7(d)(3)(i) would be excluded.

(15) Governmental foster care payments received by households with foster care individuals who are considered to be boarders in accordance with § 273.1(c).

(16) Income of an SSI recipient necessary for the fulfillment of a plan for achieving self-support (PASS) which has been approved under section 1612(b)(4)(A)(iii) or 1612(b)(4)(B)(iv) of the Social Security Act. This income may be spent in accordance with an approved PASS or deposited into a PASS savings account for future use.

(17) Legally obligated child support payments paid by a household member to or for a nonhousehold member, including payments made to a third party on behalf of the nonhousehold member (vendor payments) and amounts paid toward child support arrearages. However, at its option, the State agency may allow households a deduction for such child support payments in accordance with paragraph (d)(5) of this section rather than an income exclusion.

(18) At the State agency's option, any State complementary assistance program payments excluded for the purpose of determining eligibility under section 1931 of the SSA for a program funded under Title XIX of the SSA. A State agency that chooses to exclude complementary assistance program payments under this paragraph (c)(18) must specify in its State plan of operation that it has selected this option and provide a description of the types of payments that are being excluded.

(19) At the State agency's option, any types of income that the State agency excludes when determining eligibility or benefits for TANF cash assistance as defined by 45 CFR 260.31(a)(1) and (a)(2), or medical assistance under Section 1931 of the SSA, (but not for programs that do not evaluate the financial circumstances of adults in the household and programs grandfathered under Section 404(a)(2) of the SSA). The State agency must exclude for SNAP purposes the same amount of income it excludes for TANF or Medicaid purposes. A State agency that chooses to exclude income under this paragraph (c)(19) must specify in its State plan of operation that it has selected this option and provide a description of the resources that are being excluded. The State agency shall not exclude:

(i) Wages or salaries;

(ii) Gross income from a self-employment enterprise, including the types of income referenced in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. Determining monthly income from self-employment must be calculated in accordance with § 273.11(a)(2);

(iii) Benefits under Title I, II, IV, X, XIV or XVI of the SSA, including supplemental security income (SSI) benefits, TANF benefits, and foster care and adoption payments from a government source;.

(iv) Regular payments from a government source. Payments or allowances a household receives from an intermediary that are funded from a government source are considered payments from a government source;

(v) Worker's compensation;

(vi) Child support payments, support or alimony payments made to the household from a nonhousehold member;

(vii) Annuities, pensions, retirement benefits;

(viii) Disability benefits or old age or survivor benefits; and

(ix) Monies withdrawn or dividends received by a household from trust funds considered to be excludable resources under § 273.8(e)(8).

(20) Income received by a member of the United States Armed Forces under Chapter 5 of Title 37 of the United States Code that is:

(i) Received in addition to the service member's basic pay;

(ii) Received as a result of the service member's deployment to or service in an area designated as a combat zone as determined pursuant to Executive Order or Public Law; and

(iii) Not received by the service member prior to the service member's deployment to or service in a Federally-designated combat zone.

(d) Income deductions. Deductions shall be allowed only for the following household expenses:

(1) Standard deduction -

(i) 48 States, District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands. Effective October 1, 2002, in the 48 States and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands, the standard deduction for household sizes one through six shall be equal to 8.31 percent of the monthly net income eligibility standard for each household size established under paragraph (a)(2) of this section rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. For household sizes greater than six, the standard deduction shall be equal to the standard deduction for a six-person household.

(ii) Guam. Effective October 1, 2002, in Guam, the standard deduction for household sizes one through six shall be equal to 8.31 percent of double the monthly net income eligibility standard for each household size for the 48 States and the District of Columbia established under paragraph (a)(2) of this section rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. For household sizes greater than six, the standard deduction shall be equal to the standard deduction for a six-person household.

(iii) Minimum deduction levels. Notwithstanding paragraphs (d)(1)(i) and (d)(1)(ii) of this section, the standard deduction for FY 2009 for each household in the 48 States and the District of Columbia, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands shall not be less than $144, $246, $203, $289, and $127, respectively. Beginning FY 2010 and each fiscal year thereafter, the amount of the minimum standard deduction is equal to the unrounded amount from the previous fiscal year adjusted to the nearest lower dollar increment to reflect changes for the 12-month period ending on the preceding June 30 in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, for items other than food.

(2) Earned income deduction. Twenty percent of gross earned income as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. Earnings excluded in paragraph (c) of this section shall not be included in gross earned income for purposes of computing the earned income deduction, except that the State agency must count any earnings used to pay child support that were excluded from the household's income in accordance with the child support exclusion in paragraph (c)(17) of this section.

(3) Excess medical deduction. That portion of medical expenses in excess of $35 per month, excluding special diets, incurred by any household member who is elderly or disabled as defined in § 271.2. Spouses or other persons receiving benefits as a dependent of the SSI or disability and blindness recipient are not eligible to receive this deduction but persons receiving emergency SSI benefits based on presumptive eligibility are eligible for this deduction. Allowable medical costs are:

(i) Medical and dental care including psychotherapy and rehabilitation services provided by a licensed practitioner authorized by State law or other qualified health professional.

(ii) Hospitalization or outpatient treatment, nursing care, and nursing home care including payments by the household for an individual who was a household member immediately prior to entering a hospital or nursing home provided by a facility recognized by the State.

(iii) Prescription drugs, when prescribed by a licensed practitioner authorized under State law, and other over-the-counter medication (including insulin), when approved by a licensed practitioner or other qualified health professional.

(A) Medical supplies and equipment. Costs of medical supplies, sick-room equipment (including rental) or other prescribed equipment are deductible;

(B) Exclusions. The cost of any Schedule I controlled substance under The Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq., and any expenses associated with its use, are not deductible.

(iv) Health and hospitalization insurance policy premiums. The costs of health and accident policies such as those payable in lump sum settlements for death or dismemberment or income maintenance policies such as those that continue mortgage or loan payments while the beneficiary is disabled are not deductible;

(v) Medicare premiums related to coverage under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act; any cost-sharing or spend down expenses incurred by Medicaid recipients;

(vi) Dentures, hearing aids, and prosthetics;

(vii) Securing and maintaining a seeing eye or hearing dog including the cost of dog food and veterinarian bills;

(viii) Eye glasses prescribed by a physician skilled in eye disease or by an optometrist;

(ix) Reasonable cost of transportation and lodging to obtain medical treatment or services;

(x) Maintaining an attendant, homemaker, home health aide, or child care services, housekeeper, necessary due to age, infirmity, or illness. In addition, an amount equal to the one person benefit allotment shall be deducted if the household furnishes the majority of the attendant's meals. The allotment for this meal related deduction shall be that in effect at the time of initial certification. The State agency is only required to update the allotment amount at the next scheduled recertification; however, at their option, the State agency may do so earlier. If a household incurs attendant care costs that could qualify under both the medical deduction of § 273.9(d)(3)(x) and the dependent care deduction of § 273.9(d)(4), the costs may be deducted as a medical expense or a dependent care expense, but not both.

(4) Dependent care. Payments for dependent care when necessary for a household member to search for, accept or continue employment, comply with the employment and training requirements as specified under § 273.7(e), or attend training or pursue education that is preparatory to employment, except as provided in § 273.10(d)(1)(i). Costs that may be deducted are limited to the care of an individual for whom the household provides dependent care, including care of a child under the age of 18 or an incapacitated person of any age in need of care. The costs of care provided by a relative may be deducted so long as the relative providing care is not part of the same SNAP household as the child or dependent adult receiving care. Dependent care expenses must be separately identified, necessary to participate in the care arrangement, and not already paid by another source on behalf of the household. If a household incurs attendant care costs that could qualify under both the medical deduction of § 273.9(d)(3)(x) and dependent care deduction of § 273.9(d)(4), the costs may be deducted as a medical expense or a dependent care expense, but not both. Allowable dependent care costs include:

(i) The costs of care given by an individual care provider or care facility;

(ii) Transportation costs to and from the care facility; and

(iii) Activity or other fees associated with the care provided to the dependent that are necessary for the household to participate in the care.

(5) Optional child support deduction. At its option, the State agency may provide a deduction, rather than the income exclusion provided under paragraph (c)(17) of this section, for legally obligated child support payments paid by a household member to or for a nonhousehold member, including payments made to a third party on behalf of the nonhousehold member (vendor payments) and amounts paid toward child support arrearages. Alimony payments made to or for a nonhousehold member shall not be included in the child support deduction. A State agency that chooses to provide a child support deduction rather than an exclusion in accordance with this paragraph (d)(5) must specify in its State plan of operation that it has chosen to provide the deduction rather than the exclusion.

(6) Shelter costs -

(i) Homeless shelter deduction. A State agency may provide a standard homeless shelter deduction of $143 a month to households in which all members are homeless individuals but are not receiving free shelter throughout the month. The deduction must be subtracted from net income in determining eligibility and allotments for the households. The State agency may make a household with extremely low shelter costs ineligible for the deduction. A household receiving the homeless shelter deduction cannot have its shelter expenses considered under paragraphs (d)(6)(ii) or (d)(6)(iii) of this section. However, a homeless household may choose to claim actual costs under paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section instead of the homeless shelter deduction if actual costs are higher and verified. A State agency that chooses to provide a homeless household shelter deduction must specify in its State plan of operation that it has selected this option.

(ii) Excess shelter deduction. Monthly shelter expenses in excess of 50 percent of the household's income after all other deductions in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(5) of this section have been allowed. If the household does not contain an elderly or disabled member, as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter, the shelter deduction cannot exceed the maximum shelter deduction limit established for the area. For fiscal year 2001, effective March 1, 2001, the maximum monthly excess shelter expense deduction limits are $340 for the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia, $543 for Alaska, $458 for Hawaii, $399 for Guam, and $268 for the Virgin Islands. FNS will set the maximum monthly excess shelter expense deduction limits for fiscal year 2002 and future years by adjusting the previous year's limits to reflect changes in the shelter component and the fuels and utilities component of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the 12 month period ending the previous November 30. FNS will notify State agencies of the amount of the limit. Only the following expenses are allowable shelter expenses:

(A) Continuing charges for the shelter occupied by the household, including rent, mortgage, condo and association fees, or other continuing charges leading to the ownership of the shelter such as loan repayments for the purchase of a mobile home, including interest on such payments.

(B) Property taxes, State and local assessments, and insurance on the structure itself, but not separate costs for insuring furniture or personal belongings.

(C) The cost of fuel for heating; cooling (i.e., the operation of air conditioning systems or room air conditioners); electricity or fuel used for purposes other than heating or cooling; water; sewerage; well installation and maintenance; septic tank system installation and maintenance; garbage and trash collection; all service fees required to provide service for one telephone, including, but not limited to, basic service fees, wire maintenance fees, subscriber line charges, relay center surcharges, 911 fees, and taxes; and fees charged by the utility provider for initial installation of the utility. One-time deposits cannot be included.

(D) The shelter costs for the home if temporarily not occupied by the household because of employment or training away from home, illness, or abandonment caused by a natural disaster or casualty loss. For costs of a home vacated by the household to be included in the household's shelter costs, the household must intend to return to the home; the current occupants of the home, if any, must not be claiming the shelter costs for SNAP purposes; and the home must not be leased or rented during the absence of the household.

(E) Charges for the repair of the home which was substantially damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster such as a fire or flood. Shelter costs shall not include charges for repair of the home that have been or will be reimbursed by private or public relief agencies, insurance companies, or from any other source.

(iii) Standard utility allowances.

(A) With FNS approval, a State agency may develop the following standard utility allowances (standards) to be used in place of actual costs in determining a household's excess shelter deduction: an individual standard for each type of utility expense; a standard utility allowance for all utilities that includes heating or cooling costs (HCSUA); and, a limited utility allowance (LUA) that includes electricity and fuel for purposes other than heating or cooling, water, sewerage, well and septic tank installation and maintenance, telephone, and garbage or trash collection. The LUA must include expenses for at least two utilities. However, at its option, the State agency may include the excess heating and cooling costs of public housing residents in the LUA if it wishes to offer the lower standard to such households. The State agency may use different types of standards but cannot allow households the use of two standards that include the same expense. In States in which the cooling expense is minimal, the State agency may include the cooling expense in the electricity component. The State agency may vary the allowance by factors such as household size, geographical area, or season. Only utility costs identified in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(C) of this section must be used in developing standards.

(B) The State agency must review the standards annually and make adjustments to reflect changes in costs, rounded to the nearest whole dollar. State agencies must provide the amounts of standards to FNS when they are changed and submit methodologies used in developing and updating standards to FNS for approval when the methodologies are developed or changed.

(C) A standard with a heating or cooling component must be made available to households that incur heating or cooling expenses separately from their rent or mortgage and to households that receive direct or indirect assistance under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 (LIHEAA). A heating or cooling standard is available to households in private rental housing who are billed by their landlords on the basis of individual usage or who are charged a flat rate separately from their rent. However, households in public housing units which have central utility meters and which charge households only for excess heating or cooling costs are not entitled to a standard that includes heating or cooling costs based only on the charge for excess usage unless the State agency mandates the use of standard utility allowances in accordance with paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(E) of this section. Households that receive direct or indirect energy assistance that is excluded from income consideration (other than that provided under the LIHEAA) are entitled to a standard that includes heating or cooling only if the amount of the expense exceeds the amount of the assistance. Households that receive direct or indirect energy assistance that is counted as income and incur a heating or cooling expense are entitled to use a standard that includes heating or cooling costs. A household that has both an occupied home and an unoccupied home is only entitled to one standard.

(D) At initial certification, recertification, and when a household moves, the household may choose between a standard or verified actual utility costs for any allowable expense identified in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(C) of this section (except the telephone standard), unless the State agency has opted, with FNS approval, to mandate use of a standard. The State agency may require use of the telephone standard for the cost of basic telephone service even if actual costs are higher. Households certified for 24 months may also choose to switch between a standard and actual costs at the time of the mandatory interim contact required by § 273.10(f)(1)(i), if the State agency has not mandated use of the standard.

(E) A State agency may mandate use of standard utility allowances for all households with qualifying expenses if the State has developed one or more standards that include the costs of heating and cooling and one or more standards that do not include the costs of heating and cooling, the standards will not result in increased program costs, and FNS approves the standard. The prohibition on increasing Program costs does not apply to necessary increases to standards resulting from utility cost increases. If the State agency chooses to mandate use of standard utility allowances, it must provide a standard utility allowance that includes heating or cooling costs to residents of public housing units which have central utility meters and which charge the households only for excess heating or cooling costs. The State agency also must not prorate a standard utility allowance that includes heating or cooling costs provided to a household that lives and shares heating or cooling expenses with others. In determining whether the standard utility allowances increase program costs, the State agency shall not consider any increase in costs that results from providing a standard utility allowance that includes heating or cooling costs to residents of public housing units which have central utility meters and which charge the households only for excess heating or cooling costs. The State agency shall also not consider any increase in costs that results from providing a full (i.e., not prorated) standard utility allowance that includes heating or cooling costs to a household that lives and shares heating or cooling expenses with others. Under this option households entitled to the standard may not claim actual expenses, even if the expenses are higher than the standard. Households not entitled to the standard may claim actual allowable expenses. Requests to use an LUA should include the approximate number of SNAP households that would be entitled to the nonheating and noncooling standard, the average utility costs prior to use of the mandatory standard, the proposed standards, and an explanation of how the standards were computed.

(F) If a household lives with and shares heating or cooling expenses with another individual, another household, or both, the State agency shall not prorate the standard for such households if the State agency mandates use of standard utility allowances in accordance with paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(E) of this section. The State agency may not prorate the SUA if all the individuals who share utility expenses but are not in the SNAP household are excluded from the household only because they are ineligible.

[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47889, Oct. 17, 1978]

§ 273.10 Determining household eligibility and benefit levels.

(a) Month of application -

(1) Determination of eligibility and benefit levels.

(i) A household's eligibility shall be determined for the month of application by considering the household's circumstances for the entire month of application. Most households will have the eligibility determination based on circumstances for the entire calendar month in which the household filed its application. However, State agencies may, with the prior approval of FNS, use a fiscal month if the State agency determines that it is more efficient and satisfies FNS that the accounting procedures fully comply with certification and issuance requirements contained in these regulations. A State agency may elect to use either a standard fiscal month for all households, such as from the 15th of one calendar month to the 15th of the next calendar month, or a fiscal month that will vary for each household depending on the date an individual files an application for the Program. Applicant households consisting of residents of a public institution who apply jointly for SSI and SNAP benefits prior to release from the public institution in accordance with § 273.11(i) will have their eligibility determined for the month in which the applicant household was released from the institution.

(ii) A household's benefit level for the initial months of certification shall be based on the day of the month it applies for benefits and the household shall receive benefits from the date of application to the end of the month unless the applicant household consists of residents of a public institution. For households which apply for SSI prior to their release from a public institution in accordance with § 273.11(i), the benefit level for the initial month of certification shall be based on the date of the month the household is released from the institution and the household shall receive benefits from the date of the household's release from the institution to the end of the month. As used in this section, the term “initial month” means the first month for which the household is certified for participation in SNAP following any period during which the household was not certified for participation, except for migrant and seasonal farmworker households. In the case of migrant and seasonal farmworker households, the term “initial month” means the first month for which the household is certified for participation in SNAP following any period of more than 1 month during which the household was not certified for participation. Recertification shall be processed in accordance with § 273.10(a)(2). The State agency shall prorate a household's benefits according to one of the two following options:

(A) The State agency shall use a standard 30-day calendar or fiscal month. A household applying on the 31st of a month will be treated as though it applied on the 30th of the month.

(B) The State agency shall prorate benefits over the exact length of a particular calendar or fiscal month.

(iii) To determine the amount of the prorated allotment, the State agency shall use either the appropriate Food Stamp Allotment Proration Table provided by FNS or whichever of the following formulae is appropriate:

(A) For State agencies which use a standard 30-day calendar or fiscal month the formula is as follows, keeping in mind that the date of application for someone applying on the 31st of a month is the 30th:

(B) For State agencies which use the exact number of days in a month, the formula is:

(C) If after using the appropriate formula the result ends in 1 through 99 cents, the State agency shall round the product down to the nearest lower whole dollar. If the computation results in an allotment of less than $10, then no issuance shall be made for the initial month.

(2) Application for recertification. Eligibility for recertification shall be determined based on circumstances anticipated for the certification period starting the month following the expiration of the current certification period. The level of benefits for recertifications shall be based on the same anticipated circumstances, except for retrospectively budgeted households which shall be recertified in accordance with § 273.21(f)(2). If a household, other than a migrant or seasonal farmworker household, submits an application after the household's certification period has expired, that application shall be considered an initial application and benefits for that month shall be prorated in accordance with paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section. If a household's failure to timely apply for recertification was due to an error of the State agency and therefore there was a break in participation, the State agency shall follow the procedures in § 273.14(e). In addition, if the household submits an application for recertification prior to the end of its certification period but is found ineligible for the first month following the end of the certification period, then the first month of any subsequent participation shall be considered an initial month. Conversely, if the household submits an application for recertification prior to the end of its certification period and is found eligible for the first month following the end of the certification period, then that month shall not be an initial month.

(3) Anticipated changes. Because of anticipated changes, a household may be eligible for the month of application, but ineligible in the subsequent month. The household shall be entitled to benefits for the month of application even if the processing of its application results in the benefits being issued in the subsequent month. Similarly, a household may be ineligible for the month of application, but eligible in the subsequent month due to anticipated changes in circumstances. Even though denied for the month of application, the household does not have to reapply in the subsequent month. The same application shall be used for the denial for the month of application and the determination of eligibility for subsequent months, within the timeliness standards in § 273.2.

(4) Changes in allotment levels. As a result of anticipating changes, the household's allotment for the month of application may differ from its allotment in subsequent months. The State agency shall establish a certification period for the longest possible period over which changes in the household's circumstances can be reasonably anticipated. The household's allotment shall vary month to month within the certification period to reflect changes anticipated at the time of certification, unless the household elects the averaging techniques in paragraphs (c)(3) and (d)(3) of this section.

(b) Determining resources. Available resources at the time the household is interviewed shall be used to determine the household's eligibility.

(c) Determining income -

(1) Anticipating income.

(i) For the purpose of determining the household's eligibility and level of benefits, the State agency shall take into account the income already received by the household during the certification period and any anticipated income the household and the State agency are reasonably certain will be received during the remainder of the certification period. If the amount of income that will be received, or when it will be received, is uncertain, that portion of the household's income that is uncertain shall not be counted by the State agency. For example, a household anticipating income from a new source, such as a new job or recently applied for public assistance benefits, may be uncertain as to the timing and amount of the initial payment. These moneys shall not be anticipated by the State agency unless there is reasonable certainty concerning the month in which the payment will be received and in what amount. If the exact amount of the income is not known, that portion of it which can be anticipated with reasonable certainty shall be considered as income. In cases where the receipt of income is reasonably certain but the monthly amount may fluctuate, the household may elect to income average. Households shall be advised to report all changes in gross monthly income as required by § 273.12.

(ii) Income received during the past 30 days shall be used as an indicator of the income that is and will be available to the household during the certification period. However, the State agency shall not use past income as an indicator of income anticipated for the certification period if changes in income have occurred or can be anticipated. If income fluctuates to the extent that a 30-day period alone cannot provide an accurate indication of anticipated income, the State agency and the household may use a longer period of past time if it will provide a more accurate indication of anticipated fluctuations in future income. Similarly, if the household's income fluctuates seasonally, it may be appropriate to use the most recent season comparable to the certification period, rather than the last 30 days, as one indicator of anticipated income. The State agency shall exercise particular caution in using income from a past season as an indicator of income for the certification period. In many cases of seasonally fluctuating income, the income also fluctuates from one season in one year to the same season in the next year. However, in no event shall the State agency automatically attribute to the household the amounts of any past income. The State agency shall not use past income as an indicator of anticipated income when changes in income have occurred or can be anticipated during the certification period.

(2) Income only in month received.

(i) Income anticipated during the certification period shall be counted as income only in the month it is expected to be received, unless the income is averaged. Whenever a full month's income is anticipated but is received on a weekly or biweekly basis, the State agency shall convert the income to a monthly amount by multiplying weekly amounts by 4.3 and biweekly amounts by 2.15, use the State Agency's PA conversion standard, or use the exact monthly figure if it can be anticipated for each month of the certification period. Nonrecurring lump-sum payments shall be counted as a resource starting in the month received and shall not be counted as income.

(ii) Wages held at the request of the employee shall be considered income to the household in the month the wages would otherwise have been paid by the employer. However, wages held by the employer as a general practice, even if in violation of law, shall not be counted as income to the household, unless the household anticipates that it will ask for and receive an advance, or that it will receive income from wages that were previously held by the employer as a general practice and that were, therefore, not previously counted as income by the State agency. Advances on wages shall count as income in the month received only if reasonably anticipated as defined in paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(iii) Households receiving income on a recurring monthly or semimonthly basis shall not have their monthly income varied merely because of changes in mailing cycles or pay dates or because weekends or holidays cause additional payments to be received in a month.

(3) Income averaging.

(i) Income may be averaged in accordance with methods established by the State agency to be applied Statewide for categories of households. When averaging income, the State agency shall use the household's anticipation of monthly income fluctuations over the certification period. An average must be recalculated at recertification and in response to changes in income, in accordance with § 273.12(c), and the State agency shall inform the household of the amount of income used to calculate the allotment. Conversion of income received weekly or biweekly in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section does not constitute averaging.

(ii) Households which, by contract or self-employment, derive their annual income in a period of time shorter than 1 year shall have that income averaged over a 12-month period, provided the income from the contract is not received on an hourly or piecework basis. These households may include school employees, sharecroppers, farmers, and other self-employed households. However, these provisions do not apply to migrant or seasonal farmworkers. The procedures for averaging self-employed income are described in § 273.11. Contract income which is not the household's annual income and is not paid on an hourly or piecework basis shall be prorated over the period the income is intended to cover.

(iii) Earned and unearned educational income, after allowable exclusions, shall be averaged over the period which it is intended to cover. Income shall be counted either in the month it is received, or in the month the household anticipates receiving it or receiving the first installment payment, although it is still prorated over the period it is intended to cover.

(d) Determining deductions. Deductible expenses include only certain dependent care, shelter, medical and, at State agency option, child support costs as described in § 273.9.

(1) Disallowed expenses.

(i) Any expense, in whole or part, covered by educational income which has been excluded pursuant to the provisions of § 273.9(c)(3) shall not be deductible. For example, the portion of rent covered by excluded vendor payments shall not be calculated as part of the household's shelter cost. In addition, an expense which is covered by an excluded vendor payment that has been converted to a direct cash payment under the approval of a federally authorized demonstration project as specified under § 273.9(c)(1) shall not be deductible. However, that portion of an allowable medical expense which is not reimbursable shall be included as part of the household's medical expenses. If the household reports an allowable medical expense at the time of certification but cannot provide verification at that time, and if the amount of the expense cannot be reasonably anticipated based upon available information about the recipient's medical condition and public or private medical insurance coverage, the household shall have the nonreimbursable portion of the medical expense considered at the time the amount of the expense or reimbursement is reported and verified. A dependent care expense which is reimbursed or paid for by the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program under title IV-F of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 681) or the Transitional Child Care (TCC) program shall not be deductible. A utility expense which is reimbursed or paid by an excluded payment, including HUD or FmHA utility reimbursements, shall not be deductible.

(ii) Expenses shall only be deductible if the service is provided by someone outside of the household and the household makes a money payment for the service. For example, a dependent care deduction shall not be allowed if another household member provides the care, or compensation for the care is provided in the form of an inkind benefit, such as food.

(2) Billed expenses. Except as provided in paragraph (d)(3) of this section a deduction shall be allowed only in the month the expense is billed or otherwise becomes due, regardless of when the household intends to pay the expense. For example, rent which is due each month shall be included in the household's shelter costs, even if the household has not yet paid the expense. Amounts carried forward from past billing periods are not deductible, even if included with the most recent billing and actually paid by the household. In any event, a particular expense may only be deducted once.

(3) Averaging expenses. Households may elect to have fluctuating expenses averaged. Households may also elect to have expenses which are billed less often than monthly averaged forward over the interval between scheduled billings, or, if there is no scheduled interval, averaged forward over the period the expense is intended to cover. For example, if a household receives a single bill in February which covers a 3-month supply of fuel oil, the bill may be averaged over February, March, and April. The household may elect to have one-time only expenses averaged over the entire certification period in which they are billed. Households reporting one-time only medical expenses during their certification period may elect to have a one-time deduction or to have the expense averaged over the remaining months of their certification period. Averaging would begin the month the change would become effective. For households certified for 24 months that have one-time medical expenses, the State agency must use the following procedure. In averaging any one-time medical expense incurred by a household during the first 12 months, the State agency must give the household the option of deducting the expense for one month, averaging the expense over the remainder of the first 12 months of the certification period, or averaging the expense over the remaining months in the certification period. One-time expenses reported after the 12th month of the certification period will be deducted in one month or averaged over the remaining months in the certification period, at the household's option.

(4) Anticipating expenses. The State agency shall calculate a household's expenses based on the expenses the household expects to be billed for during the certification period. Anticipation of the expense shall be based on the most recent month's bills, unless the household is reasonably certain a change will occur. When the household is not claiming the utility standard, the State agency may anticipate changes during the certification period based on last year's bills from the same period updated by overall price increases; or, if only the most recent bill is available, utility cost increases or decreases over the months of the certification period may be based on utility company estimates for the type of dwelling and utilities used by the household. The State agency shall not average past expenses, such as utility bills for the last several months, as a method of anticipating utility costs for the certification period. At certification and recertification, the household shall report and verify all medical expenses. The household's monthly medical deduction for the certification period shall be based on the information reported and verified by the household, and any anticipated changes in the household's medical expenses that can be reasonably expected to occur during the certification period based on available information about the recipient's medical condition, public or private insurance coverage, and current verified medical expenses. The household shall not be required to file reports about its medical expenses during the certification period. If the household voluntarily reports a change in its medical expenses, the State agency shall verify the change in accordance with § 273.2(f)(8)(ii) if the change would increase the household's allotment. The State agency has the option of either requiring verification prior to acting on the change, or requiring the verification prior to the second normal monthly allotment after the change is reported. In the case of a reported change that would decrease the household's allotment, or make the household ineligible, the State agency shall act on the change without requiring verification, though verification which is required by § 273.2(f)(8) shall be obtained prior to the household's recertification. If a child in the household reaches his or her second birthday during the certification period, the $200 maximum dependent care deduction defined in § 273.9(d)(4) shall be adjusted in accordance with this section not later than the household's next regularly scheduled recertification.

(5) Conversion of deductions. The income conversion procedures in paragraph (c)(2) of this section shall also apply to expenses billed on a weekly or biweekly basis.

(6) Energy Assistance Payments. Except for payments made under the Low Income Energy Assistance Act of 1981, the State agency shall prorate energy assistance payments as provided for in § 273.9(d) over the entire heating or cooling season the payment is intended to cover.

(7) Households which contain a member who is a disabled SSI recipient in accordance with paragraphs (2), (3), (4) or (5) of the definition of a disabled member in § 271.2 or households which contain a member who is a recipient of SSI benefits and the household is determined within the 30-day processing standard to be categorically eligible (as discussed in § 273.2(j)) or determined to be eligible as an NPA household and later becomes a categorically eligible household, shall be entitled to the excess medical deduction of § 273.9(d)(3) and the uncapped excess shelter expense deduction of § 273.9(d)(5) for the period for which the SSI recipient is authorized to receive SSI benefits or the date of the SNAP application, whichever is later, if the household incurs such expenses. Households, which contain an SSI recipient as discussed in this paragraph, which are determined ineligible as an NPA household and later become categorically eligible and entitled to restored benefits in accordance with § 273.2(j)(1)(iv), shall receive restored benefits using the medical and excess shelter expense deductions from the beginning of the period for which SSI benefits are paid, the original SNAP application date or December 23, 1985, whichever is later, if the household incurs such expenses.

(8) Optional child support deduction. If the State agency opts to provide households with an income deduction rather than an income exclusion for legally obligated child support payments in accordance with § 273.9(d)(5), the State agency may budget such payments in accordance with paragraphs (d)(2) through (d)(5) of this section, or retrospectively, in accordance with § 273.21(b) and § 273.21(f)(2), regardless of the budgeting system used for the household's other circumstances.

(e) Calculating net income and benefit levels -

(1) Net monthly income.

(i) To determine a household's net monthly income, the State agency shall:

(A) Add the gross monthly income earned by all household members and the total monthly unearned income of all household members, minus income exclusions, to determine the household's total gross income. Net losses from the self-employment income of a farmer shall be offset in accordance with § 273.11(a)(2)(iii).

(B) Multiply the total gross monthly earned income by 20 percent and subtract that amount from the total gross income; or multiply the total gross monthly earned income by 80 percent and add that to the total monthly unearned income, minus income exclusions. If the State agency has chosen to treat legally obligated child support payments as an income exclusion in accordance with § 273.9(c)(17), multiply the excluded earnings used to pay child support by 20 percent and subtract that amount from the total gross monthly income.

(C) Subtract the standard deduction.

(D) If the household is entitled to an excess medical deduction as provided in § 273.9(d)(3), determine if total medical expenses exceed $35. If so, subtract that portion which exceeds $35.

(E) Subtract allowable monthly dependent care expenses, if any, as specified under § 273.9(d)(4) for each dependent.

(F) If the State agency has chosen to treat legally obligated child support payments as a deduction rather than an exclusion in accordance with § 273.9(d)(5), subtract allowable monthly child support payments in accordance with § 273.9(d)(5).

(G) Subtract the homeless shelter deduction, if any, up to the maximum of $143.

(H) Total the allowable shelter expenses to determine shelter costs, unless a deduction has been subtracted in accordance with paragraph (e)(1)(i)(G) of this section. Subtract from total shelter costs 50 percent of the household's monthly income after all the above deductions have been subtracted. The remaining amount, if any, is the excess shelter cost. If there is no excess shelter cost, the net monthly income has been determined. If there is excess shelter cost, compute the shelter deduction according to paragraph (e)(1)(i)(I) of this section.

(I) Subtract the excess shelter cost up to the maximum amount allowed for the area (unless the household is entitled to the full amount of its excess shelter expenses) from the household's monthly income after all other applicable deductions. Households not subject to a capped shelter expense shall have the full amount exceeding 50 percent of their net income subtracted. The household's net monthly income has been determined.

(ii) In calculating net monthly income, the State agency shall use one of the following two procedures:

(A) Round down each income and allotment calculation that ends in 1 through 49 cents and round up each calculation that ends in 50 through 99 cents; or

(B) Apply the rounding procedure that is currently in effect for the State's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. If the State TANF program includes the cents in income calculations, the State agency may use the same procedures for SNAP income calculations. Whichever procedure is used, the State agency may elect to include the cents associated with each individual shelter cost in the computation of the shelter deduction and round the final shelter deduction amount. Likewise, the State agency may elect to include the cents associated with each individual medical cost in the computation of the medical deduction and round the final medical deduction amount.

(2) Eligibility and benefits.

(i)

(A) Households which contain an elderly or disabled member as defined in § 271.2, shall have their net income, as calculated in paragraph (e)(1) of this section (except for households considered destitute in accordance with paragraph (e)(3) of this section), compared to the monthly income eligibility standards defined in § 273.9(a)(2) for the appropriate household size to determine eligibility for the month.

(B) In addition to meeting the net income eligibility standards, households which do not contain an elderly or disabled member shall have their gross income, as calculated in accordance with paragraph (e)(1)(i)(A) of this section, compared to the gross monthly income standards defined in § 273.9(a)(1) for the appropriate household size to determine eligibility for the month.

(C) For households considered destitute in accordance with paragraph (e)(3) of this section, the State agency shall determine a household's eligibility by computing its gross and net income according to paragraph (e)(3) of this section, and comparing, as appropriate, the gross and/or net income to the corresponding income eligibility standard in accordance with § 273.9(a) (1) or (2).

(D) If a household contains a member who is fifty-nine years old on the date of application, but who will become sixty before the end of the month of application, the State agency shall determine the household's eligibility in accordance with paragraph (e)(2)(i)(A) of this section.

(E) If a household contains a student whose income is excluded in accordance with § 273.9(c)(7) and the student becomes 18 during the month of application, the State agency shall exclude the student's earnings in the month of application and count the student's earnings in the following month. If the student becomes 18 during the certification period, the student's income shall be excluded until the month following the month in which the student turns 18.

(ii)

(A) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(1), (e)(2)(iii) and (e)(2)(vi) of this section, the household's monthly allotment shall be equal to the maximum SNAP allotment for the household's size reduced by 30 percent of the household's net monthly income as calculated in paragraph (e)(1) of this section. If 30 percent of the household's net income ends in cents, the State agency shall round in one of the following ways:

(1) The State agency shall round the 30 percent of net income up to the nearest higher dollar; or

(2) The State agency shall not round the 30 percent of net income at all. Instead, after subtracting the 30 percent of net income from the appropriate Thrifty Food Plan, the State agency shall round the allotment down to the nearest lower dollar.

(B) If the calculation of benefits in accordance with paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(A) of this section for an initial month would yield an allotment of less than $10 for the household, no benefits shall be issued to the household for the initial month.

(C) Except during an initial month, all eligible one-person and two-person households shall receive minimum monthly allotments equal to the minimum benefit. The minimum benefit is 8 percent of the maximum allotment for a household of one, rounded to the nearest whole dollar.

(iii) For an eligible household with three or more members which is entitled to no benefits (except because of the proration requirements of paragraph (a)(1) and the provision precluding issuances of less than $10 in an initial month of paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(B)) of this section:

(A) The State agency shall deny the household's application on the grounds that its net income exceeds the level at which benefits are issued; or

(B) The State agency shall certify the household but suspend its participation, subject to the following conditions:

(1) The State agency shall inform the suspended household, in writing, of its suspended status, and of its rights and responsibilities while it is in that status.

(2) The State agency shall set the household's change reporting requirements and the manner in which those changes will be reported and processed.

(3) The State agency shall specify which changes shall entitle the household to have its status converted from suspension to issuance, and which changes shall require the household to reapply for participation.

(4) The household shall retain the right to submit a new application while it is suspended.

(5) The State agency shall convert a household from suspension to issuance status, without requiring an additional certification interview, and issue its initial allotment, within ten days of the date the household reports the change.

(6) The State agency shall prorate the household's benefits, in the first month after the suspension period, from the date the household reports a change, in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(7) The State agency may delay the work registration of the household's members until the household is determined to be entitled to benefits.

(iv) For those eligible households which are entitled to no benefits in their initial month of application, in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) or (e)(2)(ii)(B) of this section, but are entitled to benefits in subsequent months, the State agency shall certify the households beginning with the month of application.

(v) When a household's circumstances change and it becomes entitled to a different income eligibility standard, the State agency shall apply the different standard at the next recertification or whenever the State agency changes the household's eligibility, benefit level or certification period, whichever occurs first.

(vi) During a month when a reduction, suspension or cancellation of allotments has been ordered pursuant to the provisions of § 271.7, eligible households shall have their benefits calculated as follows:

(A) If a benefit reduction is ordered, State agencies shall reduce the maximum SNAP allotment amounts for each household size by the percentage ordered in the Department's notice on benefit reductions. State agencies shall multiply the maximum SNAP allotment amounts by the percentage specified in the FNS notice; if the result ends in 1 through 99 cents, round the result up to the nearest higher dollar; and subtract the result from the normal maximum SNAP allotment amount. In calculating benefit levels for eligible households, State agencies would follow the procedures detailed in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section and substitute the reduced maximum SNAP allotment amounts for the normal maximum SNAP allotment amounts.

(B) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(1), (e)(2)(ii)(B), and (e)(2)(vi)(C) of this section, one- and two-person households shall be provided with at least the minimum benefit.

(C) In the event that the national reduction in benefits is 90 percent or more of the benefits projected to be issued for the affected month, the provision for a minimum benefit for households with one or two members only may be disregarded and all households may have their benefits lowered by reducing maximum SNAP allotment amounts by the percentage specified by the Department. The benefit reduction notice issued by the Department to effectuate a benefit reduction will specify whether minimum benefits for households with one or two members only are to be provided to households.

(D) If the action in effect is a suspension or cancellation, eligible households shall have their allotment levels calculated according to the procedures in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section. However, the allotments shall not be issued for the month the suspension or cancellation is in effect. The provision for the minimum benefit for households with one or two members only shall be disregarded and all households shall have their benefits suspended or cancelled for the designated month.

(E) In the event of a suspension or cancellation, or a reduction exceeding 90 percent of the affected month's projected issuance, all households, including one and two-person households, shall have their benefits suspended, cancelled or reduced by the percentage specified by FNS.

(3) Destitute households. Migrant or seasonal farmworker households may have little or no income at the time of application and may be in need of immediate food assistance, even though they receive income at some other time during the month of application. The following procedures shall be used to determine when migrant or seasonal farmworker households in these circumstances may be considered destitute and, therefore, entitled to expedited service and special income calculation procedures. Households other than migrant or seasonal farmworker households shall not be classified as destitute.

(i) Households whose only income for the month of application was received prior to the date of application, and was from a terminated source, shall be considered destitute households and shall be provided expedited service.

(A) If income is received on a monthly or more frequent basis, it shall be considered as coming from a terminated source if it will not be received again from the same source during the balance of the month of application or during the following month.

(B) If income is normally received less often than monthly, the nonreceipt of income from the same source in the balance of the month of application or in the following month is inappropriate to determine whether or not the income is terminated. For example, if income is received on a quarterly basis (e.g., on January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1), and the household applies in mid-January, the income should not be considered as coming from a terminated source merely because no further payments will be received in the balance of January or in February. The test for whether or not this household's income is terminated is whether the income is anticipated to be received in April. Therefore, for households that normally receive income less often than monthly, the income shall be considered as coming from a terminated source if it will not be received in the month in which the next payment would normally be received.

(ii) Households whose only income for the month of application is from a new source shall be considered destitute and shall be provided expedited service if income of more than $25 from the new source will not be received by the 10th calendar day after the date of application.

(A) Income which is normally received on a monthly or more frequent basis shall be considered to be from a new source if income of more than $25 has not been received from that source within 30 days prior to the date the application was filed.

(B) If income is normally received less often than monthly, it shall be considered to be from a new source if income of more than $25 was not received within the last normal interval between payments. For example, if a household applies in early January and is expecting to be paid every 3 months, starting in late January, the income shall be considered to be from a new source if no income of more than $25 was received from the source during October or since that time.

(iii) Households may receive both income from a terminated source prior to the date of application, and income from a new source after the date of application, and still be considered destitute if they receive no other income in the month of application and income of more than $25 from the new source will not be received by the 10th day after the date of application.

(iv) Destitute households shall have their eligibility and level of benefits calculated for the month of application by considering only income which is received between the first of the month and the date of application. Any income from a new source that is anticipated after the day of application shall be disregarded.

(v) Some employers provide travel advances to cover the travel costs of new employees who must journey to the location of their new employment. To the extent that these payments are excluded as reimbursements, receipt of travel advances will not affect the determination of when a household is destitute. However, if the travel advance is by written contract an advance of wages that will be subtracted from wages later earned by the employee, rather than a reimbursement, the wage advance shall count as income. In addition, the receipt of a wage advance for travel costs of a new employee shall not affect the determination of whether subsequent payments from the employer are from a new source of income, nor whether a household shall be considered destitute. For example, if a household applies on May 10, has received a $50 advance for travel from its new employer on May 1 which by written contract is an advance on wages, but will not receive any other wages from the employer until May 30, the household shall be considered destitute. The May 30 payment shall be disregarded, but the wage advance received prior to the date of application shall be counted as income.

(vi) A household member who changes jobs but continues to work for the same employer shall be considered as still receiving income from the same source. A migrant farmworker's source of income shall be considered to be the grower for whom the migrant is working at a particular point in time, and not the crew chief. A migrant who travels with the same crew chief but moves from one grower to another shall be considered to have moved from a terminated income source to a new source.

(vii) The above procedures shall apply at initial application and at recertification, but only for the first month of each certification period. At recertification, income from a new source shall be disregarded in the first month of the new certification period if income of more than $25 will not be received from this new source by the 10th calendar day after the date of the household's normal issuance cycle.

(4) Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) and Maximum SNAP Allotments.

(i) Maximum SNAP allotment level. Maximum SNAP allotments shall be based on the TFP as defined in § 271.2, and they shall be uniform by household size throughout the 48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia. The TFP for Hawaii shall be the TFP for the 48 States and DC adjusted for the price of food in Honolulu. The TFPs for urban, rural I, and rural II parts of Alaska shall be the TFP for the 48 States and DC adjusted by the price of food in Anchorage and further adjusted for urban, rural I, and rural II Alaska as defined in § 272.7(c). The TFPs for Guam and the Virgin Islands shall be adjusted for changes in the cost of food in the 48 States and DC, provided that the cost of these TFPs may not exceed the cost of the highest TFP for the 50 States. The TFP amounts and maximum allotments in each area are adjusted annually and will be prescribed in a table posted on the FNS web site, at www.fns.usda.gov/fsp.

(ii) Adjustment. Effective October 1, 1996, the maximum SNAP allotments must be based on 100% of the cost of the TFP as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter for the preceding June, rounded to the nearest lower dollar increment, except that on October 1, 1996, the allotments may not fall below those in effect on September 30, 1996.

(f) Certification periods. The State agency must certify each eligible household for a definite period of time. State agencies must assign the longest certification period possible based on the predictability of the household's circumstances. The first month of the certification period will be the first month for which the household is eligible to participate. The certification period cannot exceed 12 months except to accommodate a household's transitional benefit period and as specified in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this section.

(1) Households in which all adult members are elderly or disabled. The State agency may certify for up to 24 months households in which all adult members are elderly or disabled. The State agency must have at least one contact with each household every 12 months. The State agency may use any method it chooses for this contact.

(2) Households residing on a reservation. The State agency must certify for 24 months those households residing on a reservation which it requires to submit monthly reports in accordance with § 273.21, unless the State agency obtains a waiver from FNS. In the waiver request the State agency must include justification for a shorter period and input from the affected Indian tribal organization(s). When households move off the reservation, the State agency must either continue their certification periods until they would normally expire or shorten the certification periods in accordance with paragraph (f)(4) of this section.

(3) Certification period length. The State agency should assign each household the longest certification period possible, consistent with its circumstances.

(i) Households should be assigned certification periods of at least 6 months, unless the household's circumstances are unstable or the household contains an ABAWD.

(ii) Households with unstable circumstances, such as households with zero net income, and households with an ABAWD member should be assigned certification periods consistent with their circumstances, but generally no less than 3 months.

(iii) Households may be assigned 1- or 2-month certification periods when it appears likely that the household will become ineligible for SNAP benefits in the near future.

(4) Shortening certification periods. The State agency may not end a household's certification period earlier than its assigned termination date, unless the State agency receives information that the household has become ineligible, the household has not complied with the requirements of § 273.12(c)(3), or the State agency must shorten the household's certification period to comply with the requirements of § 273.12(a)(5). Loss of public assistance or a change in employment status is not sufficient in and of itself to meet the criteria necessary for shortening the certification period. The State agency must close the household's case or adjust the household's benefit amount in accordance with § 273.12(c)(1) or (c)(2) in response to reported changes. The State agency must issue a notice of adverse action as provided in § 273.13 to shorten a participating household's certification period in connection with imposing the simplified reporting requirement. The State agency may not use the Notice of Expiration to shorten a certification period, except that the State agency must use the Notice of Expiration to shorten a household's certification period when the household is receiving transitional benefits under Subpart H, has not reached the maximum allowable number of months in its certification period during the transitional period, and the State agency has chosen to recertify the household in accordance with § 273.28(b). If the transition period results in a shortening of the household's certification period, the State agency shall not issue a household a notice of adverse action but shall specify in the transitional notice required under § 273.29 that the household must be recertified when it reaches the end of the transitional benefit period or if it returns to TANF during the transitional period.

(5) Lengthening certification periods. State agencies may lengthen a household's current certification period once it is established, as long as the total months of the certification period do not exceed 24 months for households in which all adult members are elderly or disabled, or 12 months for other households. If the State agency extends a household's certification period, it must advise the household of the new certification ending date with a notice containing the same information as the notice of eligibility set forth in paragraph (g)(1)(i)(A) of this section.

(g) Certification notices to households -

(1) Initial applications. State agencies shall provide applicants with one of the following written notices as soon as a determination is made, but no later than 30 days after the date of the initial application:

(i) Notice of eligibility.

(A) If an application is approved, the State agency shall provide the household with written notice of the amount of the allotment and the beginning and ending dates of the certification period. The household shall also be advised of variations in the benefit level based on changes anticipated at the time of certification. If the initial allotment contains benefits for both the month of application and the current month's benefits, the notice shall explain that the initial allotment includes more than 1 month's benefits, and shall indicate the monthly allotment amount for the remainder of the certification period. The notice shall also advise the household of its right to a fair hearing, the telephone number of the SNAP office (a 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. 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 services. The State agency may also include in the notice a reminder of the household's obligation to report changes in circumstance and of the need to reapply for continued participation at the end of the certification period. Other information which would be useful to the household may also be included.

(B) In cases where a household's application is approved on an expedited basis without verification, as provided in § 273.2(i), the notice shall explain that the household must provide the verification which was waived. If the State agency has elected to assign a longer certification period to some households certified on an expedited basis, the notice shall also explain the special conditions of the longer certification period, as specified in § 273.2(i), and the consequences of failure to provide the postponed verification.

(C) For households provided a notice of expiration at the time of certification, as required in § 273.14(b), the notice of eligibility may be combined with the notice of expiration or separate notices may be sent.

(ii) Notice of denial. If the application is denied, the State agency shall provide the household with written notice explaining the basis for the denial, the household's right to request a fair hearing, the telephone number of the SNAP office (a 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. 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 household which is potentially categorically eligible but whose SNAP application is denied shall be asked to inform the State agency if it is approved to receive PA and/or SSI benefits or benefits from a State or local GA program. In cases where the State agency has elected to use a notice of denial when a delay was caused by the household's failure to take action to complete the application process, as provided in § 273.2(h)(2), the notice of denial shall also explain: The action that the household must take to reactivate the application; that the case will be reopened without a new application if action is taken within 30 days of the date the notice of denial was mailed; and that the household must submit a new application if, at the end of the 30-day period, the household has not taken the needed action and wishes to participate in the program. If the State agency chooses the option specified in § 273.2(h)(2) of reopening the application in cases where verification is lacking only if household provides verification within 30 days of the date of the initial request for verification, the State agency shall include on the notice of denial the date by which the household must provide the missing verification.

(iii) Notice of pending status. If the application is to be held pending because some action by the State is necessary to complete the application process, as specified in § 273.2(h)(2), or the State agency has elected to pend all cases regardless of the reason for delay, the State agency shall provide the household with a written notice which informs the household that its application has not been completed and is being processed. If some action by the household is also needed to complete the application process, the notice shall also explain what action the household must take and that its application will be denied if the household fails to take the required action within 60 days of the date the application was filed. If the State agency chooses the option specified in § 273.2(h) (2) and (3) of holding the application pending in cases where verification is lacking only until 30 days following the date verification was initially requested, the State agency shall include on the notice of pending status the date by which the household must provide the missing verification.

(2) Applications for recertification. The State agency shall provide households that have filed an application by the 15th of the last month of their certification period with either a notice of eligibility or a notice of denial by the end of the current certification period if the household has complied with all recertification requirements. The State agency shall provide households that have received a notice of expiration at the time of certification, and have timely reapplied, with either a notice of eligibility or a notice of denial not later than 30 days after the date of the household's initial opportunity to obtain its last allotment.

[Amdt. 132, 43 FR 47889, Oct. 17, 1978]

§ 273.11 Action on households with special circumstances.

(a) Self-employment income. The State agency must calculate a household's self-employment income as follows:

(1) Averaging self-employment income.

(i) Self-employment income must be averaged over the period the income is intended to cover, even if the household receives income from other sources. If the averaged amount does not accurately reflect the household's actual circumstances because the household has experienced a substantial increase or decrease in business, the State agency must calculate the self-employment income on the basis of anticipated, not prior, earnings.

(ii) If a household's self-employment enterprise has been in existence for less than a year, the income from that self-employment enterprise must be averaged over the period of time the business has been in operation and the monthly amount projected for the coming year.

(iii) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(1)(ii) of this section, households subject to monthly reporting and retrospective budgeting who derive their self-employment income from a farming operation and who incur irregular expenses to produce such income have the option to annualize the allowable costs of producing self-employment income from farming when the self-employment farm income is annualized.

(2) Determining monthly income from self-employment.

(i) For the period of time over which self-employment income is determined, the State agency must add all gross self-employment income (either actual or anticipated, as provided in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section) and capital gains (according to paragraph (a)(3) of this section), exclude the costs of producing the self-employment income (as determined in paragraph (a)(4) of this section), and divide the remaining amount of self-employment income by the number of months over which the income will be averaged. This amount is the monthly net self-employment income. The monthly net self-employment income must be added to any other earned income received by the household to determine total monthly earned income.

(ii) If the cost of producing self-employment income exceeds the income derived from self-employment as a farmer (defined for the purposes of this paragraph (a)(2)(ii) as a self-employed farmer who receives or anticipates receiving annual gross proceeds of $1,000 or more from the farming enterprise), such losses must be prorated in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and then offset against countable income to the household as follows:

(A) Offset farm self-employment losses first against other self-employment income.

(B) Offset any remaining farm self-employment losses against the total amount of earned and unearned income after the earned income deduction has been applied.

(iii) If a State agency determines that a household is eligible based on its monthly net income, the State may elect to offer the household an option to determine the benefit level by using either the same net income which was used to determine eligibility, or by unevenly prorating the household's total net income over the period for which the household's self-employment income was averaged to more closely approximate the time when the income is actually received. If income is prorated, the net income assigned in any month cannot exceed the maximum monthly income eligibility standards for the household's size.

(3) Capital gains. The proceeds from the sale of capital goods or equipment must be calculated in the same manner as a capital gain for Federal income tax purposes. Even if only 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of capital goods or equipment is taxed for Federal income tax purposes, the State agency must count the full amount of the capital gain as income for SNAP purposes. For households whose self-employment income is calculated on an anticipated (rather than averaged) basis in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the State agency must count the amount of capital gains the household anticipates receiving during the months over which the income is being averaged.

(b) Allowable costs of producing self-employment income.

(1) Allowable costs of producing self-employment income include, but are not limited to, the identifiable costs of labor; stock; raw material; seed and fertilizer; payments on the principal of the purchase price of income-producing real estate and capital assets, equipment, machinery, and other durable goods; interest paid to purchase income-producing property; insurance premiums; and taxes paid on income-producing property.

(2) In determining net self-employment income, the following items are not allowable costs of doing business:

(i) Net losses from previous periods;

(ii) Federal, State, and local income taxes, money set aside for retirement purposes, and other work-related personal expenses (such as transportation to and from work), as these expenses are accounted for by the 20 percent earned income deduction specified in § 273.9(d)(2);

(iii) Depreciation; and

(iv) Any amount that exceeds the payment a household receives from a boarder for lodging and meals.

(3) When calculating the costs of producing self-employment income, State agencies may elect to use actual costs for allowable expenses in accordance with paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section or determine self-employment expenses as follows:

(i) For income from day care, use the current reimbursement amounts used in the Child and Adult Care Food Program or a standard amount based on estimated per-meal costs.

(ii) For income from boarders, other than those in commercial boarding houses or from foster care boarders, use:

(A) The maximum SNAP allotment for a household size that is equal to the number of boarders; or

(B) A flat amount or fixed percentage of the gross income, provided that the method used to determine the flat amount or fixed percentage is objective and justifiable and is stated in the State's SNAP manual.

(iii) For income from foster care boarders, refer to § 273.1(c)(6).

(iv) Use the standard amount the State uses for its TANF program.

(v) Use an amount approved by FNS. State agencies may submit a proposal to FNS for approval to use a simplified self-employment expense calculation method that does not result in increased Program costs. Different methods may be proposed for different types of self-employment. The proposal must include a description of the proposed method, the number and type of households and percent of the caseload affected, and documentation indicating that the proposed procedure will not increase Program costs.

(c) Treatment of income and resources of certain nonhousehold members. During the period of time that a household member cannot participate for the reasons addressed in this section, the eligibility and benefit level of any remaining household members shall be determined in accordance with the procedures outlined in this section.

(1) Intentional Program violation, felony drug conviction, or fleeing felon disqualifications, and workfare or work requirement sanctions. The eligibility and benefit level of any remaining household members of a household containing individuals determined ineligible because of a disqualification for an intentional Program violation, a felony drug conviction, their fleeing felon status, noncompliance with a work requirement of § 273.7, imposition of a sanction while they were participating in a household disqualified because of failure to comply with workfare requirements, or certain convicted felons as provided at § 273.11(s) shall be determined as follows:

(i) Income, resources, and deductible expenses. The income and resources of the ineligible household member(s) shall continue to count in their entirety, and the entire household's allowable earned income, standard, medical, dependent care, child support, and excess shelter deductions shall continue to apply to the remaining household members.

(ii) Eligibility and benefit level. The ineligible member shall not be included when determining the household's size for the purposes of:

(A) Assigning a benefit level to the household;

(B) Assigning a standard deduction to the household;

(C) Comparing the household's monthly income with the income eligibility standards; or

(D) Comparing the household's resources with the resource eligibility limits. The State agency shall ensure that no household's coupon allotment is increased as a result of the exclusion of one or more household members.

(2) SSN disqualifications, comparable disqualifications, child support disqualifications, and ineligible ABAWDs. The eligibility and benefit level of any remaining household members of a household containing individuals determined to be ineligible for refusal to obtain or provide an SSN, for meeting the time limit for able-bodied adults without dependents or for being disqualified under paragraphs (k), (o), (p), or (q) of this section shall be determined as follows:

(i) Resources. The resources of such ineligible members shall continue to count in their entirety to the remaining household members.

(ii) Income. A pro rata share of the income of such ineligible members shall be counted as income to the remaining members. This pro rata share is calculated by first subtracting the allowable exclusions from the ineligible member's income and dividing the income evenly among the household members, including the ineligible members. All but the ineligible members' share is counted as income for the remaining household members.

(iii) Deductible expenses. The 20 percent earned income deduction shall apply to the prorated income earned by such ineligible members which is attributed to their households. That portion of the households' allowable child support payment, shelter and dependent care expenses which are either paid by or billed to the ineligible members shall be divided evenly among the households' members including the ineligible members. All but the ineligible members' share is counted as a deductible child support payment, shelter or dependent care expense for the remaining household members.

(iv) Eligibility and benefit level. Such ineligible members shall not be included when determining their households' sizes for the purposes of:

(A) Assigning a benefit level to the household;

(B) Assigning a standard deduction to the household;

(C) Comparing the household's monthly income with the income eligibility standards; or

(D) Comparing the household's resources with the resource eligibility limits.

(3) Ineligible alien. The State agency must determine the eligibility and benefit level of any remaining household members of a household containing an ineligible alien as follows:

(i) The State agency must count all or, at the discretion of the State agency, all but a pro rata share, of the ineligible alien's income and deductible expenses and all of the ineligible alien's resources in accordance with paragraphs (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this section. In exercising its discretion under this paragraph (c)(3)(i), the State agency may count all of the alien's income for purposes of applying the gross income test for eligibility purposes while only counting all but a pro rata share to apply the net income test and determine level of benefits. This paragraph (c)(3)(i) does not apply to an alien:

(A) Who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the INA;

(B) Who is granted asylum under section 208 of the INA;

(C) Who is admitted as a refugee under section 207 of the INA;

(D) Who is paroled in accordance with section 212(d)(5) of the INA;

(E) Whose deportation or removal has been withheld in accordance with section 243 of the INA;

(F) Who is aged, blind, or disabled in accordance with section 1614(a)(1) of the Social Security Act and is admitted for temporary or permanent residence under section 245A(b)(1) of the INA; or

(G) Who is a special agricultural worker admitted for temporary residence under section 210(a) of the INA.

(ii) For an ineligible alien within a category described in paragraphs (c)(3)(i)(A) through (c)(3)(i)(G) of this section, State agencies may either:

(A) Count all of the ineligible alien's resources and all but a pro rata share of the ineligible alien's income and deductible expenses; or

(B) Count all of the ineligible alien's resources, count none of the ineligible alien's income and deductible expenses, count any money payment (including payments in currency, by check, or electronic transfer) made by the ineligible alien to at least one eligible household member, not deduct as a household expense any otherwise deductible expenses paid by the ineligible alien, but cap the resulting benefit amount for the eligible members at the allotment amount the household would receive if the household member within the one of the categories described in paragraphs (c)(3)(i)(A) through (c)(3)(i)(G) of this section were still an eligible alien. The State agency must elect one State-wide option for determining the eligibility and benefit level of households with members who are aliens within the categories described paragraphs (c)(3)(i)(A) through (c)(3)(i)(G) of this section.

(iii) For an alien who is ineligible under § 273.4(a) because the alien's household indicates inability or unwillingness to provide documentation of the alien's immigration status, the State agency must count all or, at the discretion of the State agency, all but a pro rata share of the ineligible alien's income and deductible expenses and all of the ineligible alien's resources in accordance with paragraphs (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this section. In exercising its discretion under this paragraph (c)(3)(iii), the State agency may count all of the alien's income for purposes of applying the gross income test for eligibility purposes while only counting all but a pro rata to apply the net income test and determine level of benefits.

(iv) The State agency must compute the income of the ineligible aliens using the income definition in § 273.9(b) and the income exclusions in § 273.9(c).

(v) For purposes of this paragraph (c)(3), the State agency must not include the resources and income of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse in determining the resources and income of an ineligible sponsored alien.

(4) Reduction or termination of benefits within the certification period. Whenever an individual is determined ineligible within the household's certification period, the State agency shall determine the eligibility or ineligibility of the remaining household members based, as much as possible, on information in the case file.

(i) Excluded for intentional Program violation disqualification. If a household's benefits are reduced or terminated within the certification period because one of its members was excluded because of disqualification for intentional Program violation, the State agency shall notify the remaining members of their eligibility and benefit level at the same time the excluded member is notified of his or her disqualification. The household is not entitled to a notice of adverse action but may request a fair hearing to contest the reduction or termination of benefits, unless the household has already had a fair hearing on the amount of the claim as a result of consolidation of the administrative disqualification hearing with the fair hearing. However, a participating household is entitled to a notice of adverse action prior to any action to reduce, suspend or terminate its benefits, if a State agency determines that it contains an individual who was disqualified in another State and is still within the period of disqualification.

(ii) Disqualified or determined ineligible for reasons other than intentional Program violation. If a household's benefits are reduced or terminated within the certification period for reasons other than an Intentional Program Violation disqualification, the State agency shall issue a notice of adverse action in accordance with § 273.13(a)(2) which informs the household of the ineligibility, the reason for the ineligibility, the eligibility and benefit level of the remaining members, and the action the household must take to end the ineligibility.

(d) Treatment of income and resources of other nonhousehold members.

(1) For all other nonhousehold members defined in § 273.1 (b)(1) and (b)(2) who are not specifically mentioned in paragraph (c) of this section, the income and resources of such individuals shall not be considered available to the household with whom the individual resides. Cash payments from the nonhousehold member to the household will be considered income under the normal income standards set in § 273.9(b). Vendor payments, as defined in § 273.9(c)(1), shall be excluded as income. If the household shares deductible expenses with the nonhousehold member, only the amount actually paid or contributed by the household shall be deducted as a household expense. If the payments or contributions cannot be differentiated, the expenses shall be prorated evenly among persons actually paying or contributing to the expense and only the household's pro rata share deducted.

(2) When the earned income of one or more household members and the earned income of a nonhousehold member are combined into one wage, the income of the household members shall be determined as follows:

(i) If the household's share can be identified, the State agency shall count that portion due to the household as earned income.

(ii) If the household's share cannot be identified the State agency shall prorate the earned income among all those whom it was intended to cover and count that prorated portion to the household.

(3) Such nonhousehold members shall not be included when determining the size of the household for the purposes of:

(i) Assigning a benefit level to the household;

(ii) Comparing the household's monthly income with the income eligibility standards; or

(iii) Comparing the household's resources with the resource eligibility limits.

(e) Residents of drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation programs.

(1) Narcotic addicts or alcoholics who regularly participate in publicly operated or private non-profit drug addict or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs (DAA treatment centers) on a resident basis may voluntarily apply for SNAP. Applications must be made through an authorized representative who is employed by the DAA treatment center and designated by the center for that purpose. The State agency may require the household to designate the DAA treatment center as its authorized representative for the purpose of receiving and using an allotment on behalf of the household. Residents must be certified as one-person households unless their children are living with them, in which case their children must be included in the household with the parent.

(2)

(i) Prior to certifying any residents for SNAP, the State agency must verify that the DAA treatment center is authorized by FNS as a retailer in accordance with § 278.1(e) of this chapter or that it comes under part B of title XIX of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 300x et seq., (as defined in “Drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program” in § 271.2 of this chapter).

(ii) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (e)(2), the State agency must certify residents of DAA treatment centers by using the same provisions that apply to all other households, including, but not limited to, the same rights to notices of adverse action and fair hearings.

(iii) The DAA treatment center must notify the State agency of changes in the household's circumstances as provided in § 273.12(a).

(3) The DAA treatment center must provide the State agency a list of currently participating residents that includes a statement signed by a responsible center official attesting to the validity of the list. The State agency must require submission of the list on either a monthly or semimonthly basis. In addition, the State agency must conduct periodic random on-site visits to the center to assure the accuracy of the list and that the State agency's records are consistent and up to date.

(4) The State agency may issue allotments on a semimonthly basis to households in DAA treatment centers.

(5) DAA treatment centers may redeem benefits in various ways depending on the State's EBT system design. The designs may include DAA treatment center use of individual household EBT cards at authorized stores, authorization of DAA treatment centers as retailers with EBT access via POS at the center, DAA treatment center use of a center EBT card that is an aggregate of individual household benefits, and other designs. Regardless of the process elected, the State must ensure that the EBT design or DAA treatment center procedures prohibit the DAA treatment center from obtaining more than one-half of the household's allotment prior to the 16th of the month or permit the return of benefits to the household's EBT account through a refund, transfer, or other means. Guidelines for approval of EBT systems are contained in part 274 of this chapter.

(6) When a household leaves the DAA treatment center, the center must perform the following:

(i) Notify the State agency. If possible, the center must provide the household with a change report form to report to the State agency the household's new address and other circumstances after leaving the center and must advise the household to return the form to the appropriate office of the State agency within 10 days. After the household leaves the DAA treatment center, the center can no longer act as the household's authorized representative for certification purposes or for obtaining or using benefits.

(ii) Provide the household with its EBT card if it was in the possession of the DAA treatment center. The DAA treatment center must return to the State agency any EBT card not provided to departing residents by the end of each month.

(iii) If no benefits have been spent on behalf of the individual household, the center must return the full value of any benefits already debited from the household's current monthly allotment back into the household's EBT account at the time the household leaves the center.

(iv) If the benefits have already been debited from the EBT account and any portion spent on behalf of the household, the following procedures must be followed.

(A) If the household leaves prior to the 16th day of the month, the center must ensure that the household has one-half of its monthly benefit allotment remaining in its EBT account unless the State agency issues semi-monthly allotments and the second half has not been posted yet.

(B) If the household leaves on or after the 16th day of the month, the State agency, at its option, may require the center to give the household a portion of its allotment. If the center is authorized as a retailer, the State agency may require the center to provide a refund for that amount back to the household's EBT account at the time that the household leaves the center. Under an EBT system where the center has an aggregate EBT card, the State agency may, but is not required to, transfer a portion of the household's monthly allotment from a center's EBT account back to the household's EBT account. In either case, the household, not the center, must be allowed to have sole access to any benefits remaining in the household's EBT account at the time the household leaves the center.

(v) If the household has already left the DAA treatment center, and as a result, the DAA treatment center is unable to return the benefits in accordance with this paragraph (e)(6), the DAA treatment center must advise the State agency, and the State agency must effect the return instead. These procedures are applicable at any time during the month.

(7) The organization or institution shall be responsible for any misrepresentation or intentional Program violation which it knowingly commits in the certification of center residents. As an authorized representative, the organization or institution must be knowledgeable about household circumstances and should carefully review those circumstances with residents prior to applying on their behalf. The DAA treatment center shall be strictly liable for all losses or misuse of benefits and/or EBT cards held on behalf of resident households and for all overissuances which occur while the households are residents of the DAA treatment center.

(8) The organization or institution authorized by FNS as a retail food store may be penalized or disqualified, as described in § 278.6, if it is determined administratively or judicially that coupons were misappropriated or used for purchases that did not contribute to a certified household's meals. The State agency shall promptly notify FNS when it has reason to believe that a DAA treatment center is misusing benefits and/or EBT cards in its possession. However, the State agency shall take no action prior to FNS action against the organization or institution. The State agency shall establish a claim for overissuances of benefits held on behalf of resident clients as stipulated in paragraph (e)(7) of this section if any overissuances are discovered during an investigation or hearing procedure for redemption violations. If FNS disqualifies an organization or institution as an authorized retail food store, the State agency shall suspend its authorized representative status for the same period.

(f) Residents of a group living arrangement.

(1) Disabled or blind residents of a group living arrangement (GLA) (as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter) may apply either through use of an authorized representative employed and designated by the group living arrangement or on their own behalf or through an authorized representative of their choice. The GLA must determine if a resident may apply on his or her own behalf based on the resident's physical and mental ability to handle his or her own affairs. Some residents of the GLA may apply on their own behalf while other residents of the same GLA may apply through the GLA's representative. Prior to certifying any residents, the State agency must verify that the GLA is authorized by FNS or is certified by the appropriate agency of the State (as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter) including the agency's determination that the center is a nonprofit organization.

(i) If the residents apply on their own behalf, the household size must be in accordance with the definition in § 273.1. The State agency must certify these residents using the same provisions that apply to all other households. If FNS disqualifies the GLA as an authorized retail food store, the State agency must suspend its authorized representative status for the same time; but residents applying on their own behalf will still be able to participate if otherwise eligible.

(ii) If the residents apply through the use of the GLA's authorized representative, their eligibility must be determined as a one-person household.

(2) Each group living arrangement shall provide the State agency with a list of currently participating residents. This list shall include a statement signed by a responsible center official attesting to the validity of the list. The State shall require the list on a periodic basis. In addition, the State agency shall conduct periodic random onsite visits to assure the accuracy of the list and that the State agency's records are consistent and up to date.

(3) The same provisions applicable in § 273.11(e)(3) to residents of treatment centers also apply to blind or disabled residents of group living arrangements when the facility acts as the resident's authorized representative.

(4) If the resident has made application on his/her own behalf, the household is responsible for reporting changes to the State agency as provided in § 273.12(a). If the GLA is acting in the capacity of an authorized representative, the GLA shall notify the State agency, as provided in § 273.12(a), of changes in the household's income or other household circumstances and when the household leaves the GLA.

(5) When the household leaves the facility, the GLA, either acting as an authorized representative or retaining use of the EBT card and benefits on behalf of the residents (regardless of the method of application), shall return the EBT card (if applicable) to the household. The household, not the GLA, shall have sole access to any benefits remaining in the household's EBT account at the time the household leaves the facility. The State agency must ensure that the EBT design or procedures for GLAs permit the GLA to return unused benefits to the household through a refund, transfer, or other means.

(6) If, at the time the household leaves, no benefits have been spent on behalf of that individual household, the facility must return the full value of any benefits already debited from the household's current monthly allotment back into the household's EBT account. These procedures are applicable at any time during the month. However, if the facility has already debited benefits and spent any portion of them on behalf of the individual, the facility shall do the following:

(i) If the household leaves the GLA prior to the 16th day of the month, the facility shall provide the household with its EBT card (if applicable) and one-half of its monthly benefit allotment. Where a group of residents has been certified as one household and a member of the household leaves the center:

(A) The facility shall return a pro rata share of one-half of the household's benefit allotment to the EBT account and advise the State agency that the individual is entitled to that pro rata share; and

(B) The State agency shall create a new EBT account for the individual, issue a new EBT card and transfer the pro rata share from the original household's EBT account to the departing individual's EBT account. The facility will instruct the individual on how to obtain the new EBT card based on the State agency's card issuance procedures.

(ii) If the household or an individual member of the group household leaves on or after the 16th day of the month and the benefits have already been debited and used, the household or individual does not receive any benefits.

(iii) The GLA shall return to the State agency any EBT cards not provided to departing residents at the end of each month. Also, if the household has already left the facility and as a result, the facility is unable to perform the refund or transfer in accordance with this paragraph (f)(5), the facility must advise the State agency, and the State agency must effect the return or transfer instead.

(iv) Once the resident leaves, the GLA no longer acts as his/her authorized representative. The GLA, if possible, shall provide the household with a change report form to report to the State agency the individual's new address and other circumstances after leaving the GLA and shall advise the household to return the form to the appropriate office of the State agency within 10 days.

(7) The same provisions applicable to DAA treatment centers in paragraphs (e)(7) and (8) of this section also apply to GLAs when acting as an authorized representative. These provisions, however, are not applicable if a resident has applied on his/her own behalf. The resident applying on his/her own behalf shall be responsible for overissuances as would any other household as discussed in § 273.18.

(8) If the residents are certified on their own behalf, the benefits may either be debited by the GLA to be used to purchase meals served either communally or individually to eligible residents or retained by the residents and used to purchase and prepare food for their own consumption. The GLA may purchase and prepare food to be consumed by eligible residents on a group basis if residents normally obtain their meals at a central location as part of the GLA's service or if meals are prepared at a central location for delivery to the individual residents. If personalized meals are prepared and paid for with SNAP, the GLA must ensure that the resident's SNAP benefits are used for meals intended for that resident.

(g) Shelters for battered women and children.

(1) Prior to certifying its residents under this paragraph, the State agency shall determine that the shelter for battered women and children meets the definition in § 271.2 and document the basis of this determination. Shelters having FNS authorization to redeem at wholesalers shall be considered as meeting the definition and the State agency is not required to make any further determination. The State agency may choose to require local project area offices to maintain a list of shelters meeting the definition to facilitate prompt certification of eligible residents following the special procedures outlined below.

(2) Many shelter residents have recently left a household containing the person who has abused them. Their former household may be certified for participation in the Program, and its certification may be based on a household size that includes the women and children who have just left. Shelter residents who are included in such certified households may nevertheless apply for and (if otherwise eligible) participate in the Program as separate households if such certified household which includes them is the household containing the person who subjected them to abuse. Shelter residents who are included in such certified households may receive an additional allotment as a separate household only once a month.

(3) Shelter residents who apply as separate households shall be certified solely on the basis of their income and resources and the expenses for which they are responsible. They shall be certified without regard to the income, resources, and expenses of their former household. Jointly held resources shall be considered inaccessible in accordance with § 273.8. Room payments to the shelter shall be considered as shelter expenses.

(4) Any shelter residents eligible for expedited service shall be handled in accordance with § 273.2(i).

(5) State agencies must take prompt action to ensure that the former household's eligibility or allotment reflects the change in the household's composition. Such action must include acting on the reported change in accordance with § 273.12 or § 273.21, as appropriate, by issuing a notice of adverse action in accordance with § 273.13.

(h) Homeless SNAP households. Homeless SNAP households shall be permitted to use their SNAP benefits to purchase prepared meals from homeless meal providers authorized by FNS under § 278.1(h).

(i) Prerelease applicants. A household which consists of a resident or residents of a public institution(s) which applies for SSI under SSA's Prerelease Program for the Institutionalized shall be allowed to apply for SNAP benefits jointly with their application for SSI prior to their release from the institution. Such households shall be certified in accordance with the provisions of § 273.1(e), § 273.2(c), (g), (i), (j) and (k), and § 273.10(a), as appropriate.

(j) Reduction of public assistance benefits. If the benefits of a household that is receiving public assistance are reduced under a Federal, State, or local means-tested public assistance program because of the failure of a SNAP household member to perform an action required under the assistance program or for fraud, the State agency shall not increase the household's SNAP allotment as the result of the decrease in income. In addition to prohibiting an increase in SNAP benefits, the State agency may impose a penalty on the household that represents a percentage of the SNAP allotment that does not exceed 25 percent. The 25 percent reduction in SNAP benefits must be based on the amount of SNAP benefits the household should have received under the regular SNAP benefit formula, taking into account its actual (reduced) income. However, under no circumstances can the SNAP benefits be allowed to rise. Reaching a time limit for time-limited benefits, having a child that is not eligible because of a family cap, failing to reapply or complete the application process for continued assistance under the other program, failing to perform an action that the individual is unable to perform as opposed to refusing to perform, or failing to comply with a purely procedural requirement, shall not be considered a failure to perform an action required by an assistance program for purposes of this provision. A procedural requirement, which would not trigger a SNAP sanction, is a step that an individual must take to continue receiving benefits in the assistance program such as submitting a monthly report form or providing verification of circumstances. A substantive requirement, which would trigger a SNAP sanction, is a behavioral requirement in the assistance program designed to improve the well being of the recipient family, such as participating in job search activities. The State agency shall not apply this provision to individuals who fail to perform a required action at the time the individual initially applies for assistance. The State agency shall not increase SNAP benefits, and may reduce SNAP benefits only if the person is receiving such assistance at the time the reduction in assistance is imposed or the reduction in assistance is imposed at the time of application for continued assistance benefits if there is no break in participation. The individual must be certified for SNAP benefits at the time of the failure to perform a required action for this provision to apply. Assistance benefits shall be considered reduced if they are decreased, suspended, or terminated.

(1) For purposes of this provision a Federal, State or local “means-tested public assistance program” shall mean public or general assistance as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter, and is referred to as “assistance”. This provision must be applied to all applicable cases. If a State agency is not successful in obtaining the necessary cooperation from another Federal, State or local means-tested welfare or public assistance program to enable it to comply with the requirements of this provision, the State agency shall not be held responsible for noncompliance as long as the State agency has made a good faith effort to obtain the information. The State agency, rather than the household, shall be responsible for obtaining information about sanctions from other programs and changes in those sanctions.

(2) The prohibition on increasing SNAP benefits applies for the duration of the reduction in the assistance program. If at any time the State agency can no longer ascertain the amount of the reduction, then the State agency may terminate the SNAP sanction. However, the sanction may not exceed the sanction in the other program. If the sanction is still in effect at the end of one year, the State agency shall review the case to determine if the sanction continues to be appropriate. If, for example, the household is not receiving assistance, it would not be appropriate to continue the sanction. Sanctions extended beyond one year must be reviewed at least annually but may be ended by the State agency at any time. It shall be concurrent with the reduction in the other assistance program to the extent allowed by normal SNAP change processing and notice procedures.

(3) The State agency shall determine how to prevent an increase in SNAP benefits. Among other options, the State agency may increase the assistance grant by a flat percent, not to exceed 25 percent, for all households that fail to perform a required action in lieu of computing an individual amount or percentage for each affected household.

(4) If the allotment of a household is reduced under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act, the State agency may use the same procedures that apply under Title IV-A to prevent an increase in SNAP benefits as the result of the decrease in Title IV-A benefits. For example, the same budgeting procedures and combined notices and hearings may be used, but the SNAP allotment may not be reduced by more than 25 percent.

(5) The State agency must lift the ban on increasing SNAP benefits if it becomes aware that the person has become ineligible for the assistance program during the disqualification period for some other reason, or the person's assistance case is closed.

(6) If an individual moves within the State, the prohibition on increasing SNAP benefits shall be applied to the gaining household unless that person is ineligible for the assistance program for some other reason. If such individual moves to a new State the prohibition on increasing benefits shall not be applied.

(7) The State agency must restore lost benefits when necessary in accordance with § 273.17 if it is later determined that the reduction in the public assistance grant was not appropriate.

(8) The State agency must act on changes which are not related to the assistance violation and that would affect the household's benefits.

(9) The State agency must include in its State Plan of Operations any options it has selected in this paragraph (j).

(k) Comparable disqualifications. If a disqualification is imposed on a member of a household for failure to perform an action required under a Federal, State or local means-tested public assistance program, the State agency may impose the same disqualification on the member of the household under SNAP. The program must be authorized by a Federal, State, or local law, but the provision itself does not have to be specified in the law. A State agency may choose to apply this provision to one or more of these programs, and it may select the types of disqualifications within a program that it wants to impose on SNAP recipients. The State agency shall be responsible for obtaining information about sanctions from other programs and changes in those sanctions. In the case of disqualification from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) for an intentional program violation as described under § 253.8 of this chapter, the State agency shall impose the same disqualification on the member of the household under SNAP. The State agency must, in cooperation with the appropriate FDPIR agency, develop a procedure that ensures that these household members are identified.

(1) For purposes of this section Federal, State or local “means-tested public assistance program” shall mean public and general assistance as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter.

(2) The State agency shall not apply this provision to individuals who are disqualified at the time the individual initially applies for assistance benefits. It may apply the provision if the person was receiving such assistance at the time the disqualification in the assistance program was imposed and to disqualifications imposed at the time of application for continued assistance benefits if there is no break in participation with the following exceptions: Reaching a time limit for time-limited benefits, having a child that is not eligible because of a family cap, failing to reapply or complete the application process for continued assistance, failing to perform an action that the individual is unable to perform as opposed to refusing to perform, and failing to perform purely procedural requirements, shall not be considered failures to perform an action required by an assistance program. A procedural requirement, which would not trigger a SNAP sanction, is a step that an individual must take to continue receiving benefits in the assistance program such as submitting a monthly report form or providing verification of circumstances. A substantive requirement, which would trigger a SNAP sanction, is a behavioral requirement in the assistance program designed to improve the well being of the recipient family, such as participating in job search activities. The individual must be receiving SNAP at the time of the disqualification in the assistance program to be disqualified from SNAP under this provision.

(3) The State agency must stop the SNAP disqualification when it becomes aware that the person has become ineligible for assistance for some other reason, or the assistance case is closed.

(4) If a disqualification is imposed for a failure of an individual to perform an action required under a program under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act, the State may use the rules and procedures that apply under the Title IV-A program to impose the same disqualification under SNAP.

(5) Only the individual who committed the violation in the assistance program may be disqualified for SNAP purposes even if the entire assistance unit is disqualified for Title IV-A purposes.

(6) A comparable disqualification for SNAP purposes shall be imposed concurrently with the disqualification in the assistance program to the extent allowed by normal SNAP processing times and notice requirements. The State agency may determine the length of the disqualification, providing that the disqualification does not exceed the disqualification in the other program. If the sanction is still in effect at the end of one year, the State agency shall review the case to determine if the sanction continues to be appropriate. If, for example, the household is not receiving assistance, if would not be appropriate to continue the sanction. Sanctions extended beyond one year must be reviewed at least annually but may be ended by the State agency at any time. In instances where the disqualification is a reciprocal action based on disqualification from the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the length of disqualification shall mirror the period prescribed by the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

(7) If there is a pending disqualification for a SNAP violation and a pending comparable disqualification, they shall be imposed concurrently to the extent appropriate. For example, if the household is disqualified for June for a SNAP violation and an individual is disqualified for June and July for an assistance program violation, the whole household shall be disqualified for June and the individual shall be disqualified for July for SNAP purposes.

(8) The State agency must treat the income and resources of the disqualified individual in accordance with § 273.11(c)(2).

(9) After a disqualification period has expired, the person may apply for SNAP benefits and shall be treated as a new applicant or a new household member, except that a current disqualification based on a SNAP work requirement shall be considered in determining eligibility.

(10) A comparable SNAP disqualification may be imposed in addition to any coupon allotment reductions made in accordance with paragraph (j) of this section.

(11) State agencies shall state in their Plan of Operation if they have elected to apply comparable disqualifications, identify which sanctions in the other programs this provision applies to, and indicate the options and procedures allowed in paragraphs (k)(1), (k)(2), (k)(3), (k)(4), and (k)(10) of this section which they have selected.

(12) The State agency must act on changes which are not related to the assistance violation and that would affect the household's benefits.

(13) The State agency must restore lost benefits when necessary in accordance with 7 CFR 273.17 if it is later determined that the reduction in the public assistance grant was not appropriate.

(l) School Attendance. Section 404(i) of Part A of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 601, et seq., provides that any state receiving a TANF block grant cannot be prohibited from sanctioning a family that includes an adult who has received assistance financed with federal TANF dollars or provided from SNAP if such adult fails to ensure that the minor dependent children of such adult attend school as required by the law of the State in which the minor children reside. Section 404(j) of Part A of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 601, et seq., provides that States shall not be prohibited from sanctioning a family that includes an adult who is older than 20 and younger than 51 and who has received assistance that is either financed with federal TANF funds or provided through SNAP if such adult does not have, or is not working toward attaining, a secondary school diploma or recognized equivalent. These provisions do not provide independent authority for SNAP sanctions beyond any that may apply through paragraphs (j) and (k) of this section.

(m) Individuals convicted of drug-related felonies. An individual convicted (under Federal or State law) of any offense which is classified as a felony by the law of the jurisdiction involved and which has as an element the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance (as defined in section 102(6) of the Controlled Substance Act, 21 U.S.C. 802(6)) shall not be considered an eligible household member unless the State legislature of the State where the individual is domiciled has enacted legislation exempting individuals domiciled in the State from the above exclusion. If the State legislature has enacted legislation limiting the period of disqualification, the period of ineligibility shall be equal to the length of the period provided under such legislation. Ineligibility under this provision is only limited to convictions based on behavior which occurred after August 22, 1996. The income and resources of individuals subject to disqualification under this paragraph (m) shall be treated in accordance with the procedures at paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(n) Fleeing felons and probation or parole violators. Individuals who are fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a crime, or an attempt to commit a crime, that would be classified as a felony (or in the State of New Jersey, a high misdemeanor) or who are violating a condition of probation or parole under a Federal or State law shall not be considered eligible household members. The income and resources of the ineligible member shall be handled in accordance with (c)(1) of this section.

(1) Fleeing felon. An individual determined to be a fleeing felon shall be an ineligible household member. To establish an individual as a fleeing felon, a State agency must verify that an individual is a fleeing felon as provided in paragraph (n)(1)(i) of this section, or a law enforcement official acting in his or her official capacity must have provided the State agency with a felony warrant as provided in paragraph (n)(1)(ii) of this section. The State shall specify in its State plan of operation which fleeing felon test it has adopted as required at § 272.2(d)(1)(xvii) of this chapter.

(i) Four-part test to establish fleeing felon status. To establish that an individual is a fleeing felon, the State agency must verify that:

(A) There is an outstanding felony warrant for the individual by a Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency, and the underlying cause for the warrant is for committing or attempting to commit a crime that is a felony under the law of the place from which the individual is fleeing or a high misdemeanor under the law of New Jersey;

(B) The individual is aware of, or should reasonably have been able to expect that, the felony warrant has already or would have been issued;

(C) The individual has taken some action to avoid being arrested or jailed; and

(D) The Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency is actively seeking the individual as provided in paragraph (n)(3) of this section.

(ii) Alternative test to establish fleeing felon status. Alternatively, a State agency may establish that an individual is a fleeing felon when a Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity presents an outstanding felony arrest warrant that conforms to one of the following National Crime Information Center Uniform Offense Classification Codes, to the State agency to obtain information on the location of and other information about the individual named in the warrant:

(A) Escape (4901);

(B) Flight to Avoid (prosecution, confinement, etc.) (4902); or

(C) Flight-Escape (4999).

(2) Probation and parole violator. An individual determined a parole or probation violator shall not be considered to be an eligible household member. To be considered a probation or parole violator, an impartial party, as designated by the State agency, must determine that the individual violated a condition of his or her probation or parole imposed under Federal or State law and that Federal, State, or local law enforcement authorities are actively seeking the individual to enforce the conditions of the probation or parole, as provided in paragraph (n)(3) of this section.

(3) Actively seeking. For the purposes of this paragraph (n), actively seeking is defined as follows:

(i) A Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency informs a State agency that it intends to enforce an outstanding felony warrant or to arrest an individual for a probation or parole violation within 20 days of submitting a request for information about the individual to the State agency;

(ii) A Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency presents a felony arrest warrant as provided in paragraph (n)(1)(ii) of this section; or

(iii) A Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency states that it intends to enforce an outstanding felony warrant or to arrest an individual for a probation or parole violation within 30 days of the date of a request from a State agency about a specific outstanding felony warrant or probation or parole violation.

(4) Response time. The State agency shall give the law enforcement agency 20 days to respond to a request for information about the conditions of a felony warrant or a probation or parole violation, and whether the law enforcement agency intends to actively pursue the individual. If the law enforcement agency does not indicate that it intends to enforce the felony warrant or arrest the individual for the probation or parole violation within 30 days of the date of the State agency's request for information about the warrant, the State agency shall determine that the individual is not a fleeing felon or a probation or parole violator and document the household's case file accordingly. If the law enforcement agency indicates that it does intend to enforce the felony warrant or arrest the individual for the probation or parole violation within 30 days of the date of the State agency's request for information, the State agency will postpone taking any action on the case until the 30-day period has expired. Once the 30-day period has expired, the State agency shall verify with the law enforcement agency whether it has attempted to execute the felony warrant or arrest the probation or parole violator. If it has, the State agency shall take appropriate action to deny an applicant or terminate a participant who has been determined to be a fleeing felon or a probation or parole violator. If the law enforcement agency has not taken any action within 30 days, the State agency shall not consider the individual a fleeing felon or probation or parole violator, shall document the case file accordingly, and take no further action.

(5) Application processing. The State agency shall continue to process the application while awaiting verification of fleeing felon or probation or parole violator status. If the State agency is required to act on the case without being able to determine fleeing felon or probation or parole violator status in order to meet the time standards in § 273.2(g) or § 273.2(i)(3), the State agency shall process the application without consideration of the individual's fleeing felon or probation or parole violator status.

(o) Custodial parent's cooperation with the State Child Support Agency. For purposes of this provision, a custodial parent is a natural or adoptive parent who lives with his or her child, or other individual who is living with and exercises parental control over a child under the age of 18.

(1) Option to disqualify custodial parent for failure to cooperate. At the option of a State agency, subject to paragraphs (o)(2) and (o)(4) of this section, no natural or adoptive parent or, at State agency option, other individual (collectively referred to in this paragraph (o) as “the individual”) who is living with and exercising parental control over a child under the age of 18 who has an absent parent shall be eligible to participate in SNAP unless the individual cooperates with the agency administering a State Child Support Enforcement Program established under Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.), hereafter referred to as the State Child Support Agency.

(i) If the State agency chooses to implement paragraph (o)(1) of this section, it must notify all individuals of this requirement in writing at the time of application and reapplication for continued benefits.

(ii) If the State agency chooses to implement paragraph (o)(1) of this section, it must refer all appropriate individuals to the State Child Support Agency.

(iii) If the individual is receiving TANF or Medicaid, or assistance from the State Child Support Agency, and has already been determined to be cooperating, or has been determined to have good cause for not cooperating, then the State agency shall consider the individual to be cooperating for SNAP purposes.

(iv) The individual must cooperate with the State Child Support Agency in establishing paternity of the child, and in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a support order with respect to the child and the individual in accordance with section 454(29) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 654(29)).

(v) Pursuant to Section 454(29)(E) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 654(29)(E) the State Child Support Agency will notify the individual and the State agency whether or not it has determined that the individual is cooperating in good faith.

(2) Claiming good cause for non-cooperation. Prior to requiring cooperation under paragraph (o)(1) of this section, the State agency will notify the household in writing at initial application and at application for continued benefits of the right to good cause as an exception to the cooperation requirement and of all the requirements applicable to a good cause determination. Paragraph (o)(1) of this section shall not apply to the individual if good cause is found for refusing to cooperate, as determined by the State agency:

(i) Circumstances under which cooperation may be “against the best interests of the child.” The individual's failure to cooperate is deemed to be for “good cause” if:

(A) The individual meets the good cause criteria established under the State program funded under Part A of Title IV or Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601, et seq, or 42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.) (whichever agency is authorized to define and determine good cause) for failing to cooperate with the State Child Support Agency; or

(B) Cooperating with the State Child Support Agency would make it more difficult for the individual to escape domestic violence or unfairly penalize the individual who is or has been victimized by such violence, or the individual who is at risk of further domestic violence. For purposes of this provision, the term “domestic violence” means the individual or child would be subject to physical acts that result in, or are threatened to result in, physical injury to the individual; sexual abuse; sexual activity involving a dependent child; being forced as the caretaker relative of a dependent child to engage in nonconsensual sexual acts or activities; threats of, or attempts at physical or sexual abuse; mental abuse; or neglect or deprivation of medical care.

(C) The individual meets any other good cause criteria identified by the State agency. These criteria will be defined in consultation with the Child Support Agency or TANF program, whichever is appropriate, and identified in the State plan according to § 272.2(d) (xiii).

(ii) Proof of good cause claim.

(A) The State agency will accept as corroborative evidence the same evidence required by Part A of Title IV or Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601, et seq. or 42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.) to corroborate a claim of good cause.

(B) The State agency will make a good cause determination based on the corroborative evidence supplied by the individual only after it has examined the evidence and found that it actually verifies the good cause claim.

(iii) Review by the State Child Support or TANF Agency. Prior to making a final determination of good cause for refusing to cooperate, the State agency will afford the State Child Support Agency or the agency which administers the program funded under Part A of the Social Security Act the opportunity to review and comment on the findings and the basis for the proposed determination and consider any recommendation from the State Child Support or TANF Agency.

(iv) Delayed finding of good cause. The State agency will not deny, delay, or discontinue assistance pending a determination of good cause for refusal to cooperate if the applicant or recipient has complied with the requirements to furnish corroborative evidence and information. In such cases, the State agency must abide by the normal processing standards according to § 273.2(g).

(3) Individual disqualification. If the State agency has elected to implement this provision and determines that the individual has not cooperated without good cause, then that individual shall be ineligible to participate in SNAP. The disqualification shall not apply to the entire household. The income and resources of the disqualified individual shall be handled in accordance with paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(4) Fees. A State electing to implement this provision shall not require the payment of a fee or other cost for services provided under Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.)

(5) Terminating the disqualification. The period of disqualification ends once it has been determined that the individual is cooperating with the State Child Support Agency. The State agency must have procedures in place for re-qualifying such an individual.

(p) Non-custodial parent's cooperation with child support agencies. For purposes of this provision, a “non-custodial parent” is a putative or identified parent who does not live with his or her child who is under the age of 18.

(1) Option to disqualify non-custodial parent for refusal to cooperate. At the option of a State agency, subject to paragraphs (p)(2) and (p)(4) of this section, a putative or identified non-custodial parent of a child under the age of 18 (referred to in this subsection as “the individual”) shall not be eligible to participate in SNAP if the individual refuses to cooperate with the State agency administering the program established under Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.), hereafter referred to as the State Child Support Agency, in establishing the paternity of the child (if the child is born out of wedlock); and in providing support for the child.

(i) If the State agency chooses to implement paragraph (p)(1) of this section, it must notify all individuals in writing of this requirement at the time of application and reapplication for continued benefits.

(ii) If the individual is receiving TANF, Medicaid, or assistance from the State Child Support Agency, and has already been determined to be cooperating, or has been determined to have good cause for not cooperating, then the State agency shall consider the individual is cooperating for SNAP purposes.

(iii) If the State agency chooses to implement paragraph (p)(1) of this section, it must refer all appropriate individuals to the State Child Support Agency established under Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.).

(iv) The individual must cooperate with the State Child Support Agency in establishing the paternity of the child (if the child is born out of wedlock), and in providing support for the child.

(v) Pursuant to Section 454(29)(E) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 654(29)(E)), the State Child Support Agency will notify the individual and the State agency whether or not it has determined that the individual is cooperating in good faith.

(2) Determining refusal to cooperate. If the State Child Support Agency determines that the individual is not cooperating in good faith, then the State agency will determine whether the non-cooperation constitutes a refusal to cooperate. Refusal to cooperate is when an individual has demonstrated an unwillingness to cooperate as opposed to an inability to cooperate.

(3) Individual disqualification. If the State agency determines that the non-custodial parent has refused to cooperate, then that individual shall be ineligible to participate in SNAP. The disqualification shall not apply to the entire household. The income and resources of the disqualified individual shall be handled according to paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(4) Fees. A State electing to implement this provision shall not require the payment of a fee or other cost for services provided under Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.)

(5) Privacy. The State agency shall provide safeguards to restrict the use of information collected by a State agency administering the program established under Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651, et seq.) to purposes for which the information is collected.

(6) Termination of disqualification. The period of disqualification ends once it has been determined that the individual is cooperating with the child support agency. The State agency must have procedures in place for re-qualifying such an individual.

(q) Disqualification for child support arrears -

(1) Option to disqualify. At the option of a State agency, no individual shall be eligible to participate in SNAP as a member of any household during any month that the individual is delinquent in any payment due under a court order for the support of a child of the individual. The State agency may opt to apply this provision to only non-custodial parents.

(2) Exceptions. A disqualification under paragraph (q)(1) of this section shall not apply if:

(i) A court is allowing the individual to delay payment;

(ii) The individual is complying with a payment plan approved by a court or the State agency designated under Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C., 651 et seq.) to provide support of a child of the individual; or

(iii) The State agency determines the individual has good cause for non-support.

(3) Individual disqualification. If the State agency has elected to implement this provision and determines that the individual should be disqualified for child support arrears, then that individual shall be ineligible to participate in SNAP. The disqualification shall not apply to the entire household. The income and resources of the disqualified individual shall be handled according to paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(4) Collecting claims. State agencies shall initiate collection action as provided for in § 273.18 for any month a household member is disqualified for child support arrears by sending the household a written demand letter which informs the household of the amount owed, the reason for the claim and how the household may pay the claim. The household should also be informed as to the adjusted amount of income, resources, and deductible expenses of the remaining members of the household for the month(s) a member is disqualified for child support arrears.

(r) Disqualification for Substantial Lottery or Gambling Winnings. Any household certified to receive benefits shall lose eligibility for benefits immediately upon receipt by any individual in the household of substantial lottery or gambling winnings, as defined in paragraph (r)(2) of this section. The household shall report the receipt of substantial winnings to the State agency in accordance with the reporting requirements contained in § 273.12(a)(5)(iii)(G)(3) and within the time-frames described in § 273.12(a)(2). The State agency shall also take action to disqualify any household identified as including a member with substantial winnings in accordance with § 272.17.

(1) Regaining Eligibility. Such households shall remain ineligible until they meet the allowable resources and income eligibility requirements described in §§ 273.8 and 273.9, respectively.

(2) Substantial Winnings -

(i) In General. Substantial lottery or gambling winnings are defined as a cash prize equal to or greater than the maximum allowable financial resource limit for elderly or disabled households as defined in § 273.8(b) won in a single game before taxes or other withholdings. For the purposes of this provision, the resource limit defined in § 273.8(b) applies to all households, including non-elderly/disabled households, with substantial lottery and gambling winnings. If multiple individuals shared in the purchase of a ticket, hand, or similar bet, then only the portion of the winnings allocated to the member of the SNAP household would be counted in the eligibility determination.

(ii) Adjustment. The value of substantial winnings shall be adjusted annually in accordance with § 273.8(b)(1) and (2).

(s) Disqualification for certain convicted felons. An individual shall not be eligible for SNAP benefits if:

(1) The individual is convicted as an adult of:

(i) Aggravated sexual abuse under section 2241 of title 18, United States Code;

(ii) Murder under