U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: Dec 05, 2023
(a) Ineligibility. No individual who receives supplemental security income (SSI) benefits and/or State supplementary payments as a resident of California is eligible to receive SNAP benefits. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that the SSI payments in California have been specifically increased to include the value of the SNAP allotment.
(b) Receipt of SSI benefits. In California, an individual must actually receive, not merely have applied for, SSI benefits to be determined ineligible for SNAP. If the State agency provides payments at least equal to the level of SSI benefits to individuals who have applied for but are awaiting an SSI eligibility determination, receipt of these substitute payments will terminate the individual's eligibility for SNAP benefits. Once SSI benefits are received, the individual will remain ineligible for SNAP benefits, even during months in which receipt of the SSI benefits is interrupted, or suspended, until the individual is terminated from the SSI program.
(c) Income and resources. In California, the income and resources of the SSI recipient living in a household shall not be considered in determining eligibility or level of benefits of the household, as specified in § 273.11(d).
(a) System design. This section provides for an MRRB system for determining household eligibility and benefits. For included households, this system replaces the prospective budgeting system provided in the preceding sections of this part. The MRRB system provides for the use of retrospective information in calculating household benefits, normally based on information submitted by the household in monthly reports. The State agency shall establish an MRRB system as follows:
(1) In establishing either a one-month or a two-month MRRB system, the State agency shall use the same system it uses in its TANF Program unless it has been granted a waiver by FNS. Differences between a one-month and a two-month system are described in paragraph (d) of this section.
(2) The State agency shall determine eligibility, either prospectively or retrospectively, on the same basis that it uses for its TANF program, unless it has been granted a waiver by FNS.
(3) Budgeting waivers. FNS may approve waivers of the budgeting requirements of this section to conform to budgeting procedures in the TANF program, except for households excluded from retrospective budgeting under paragraph (b) of this section.
(b) Included and excluded households. The establishment of either a monthly reporting or retrospective budgeting system is a State agency option. Certain households are specifically excluded from both monthly reporting and retrospective budgeting. A household that is included in a monthly reporting system must be retrospectively budgeted. Households not required to submit monthly reports may have their benefits determined on either a prospective or retrospective basis at the State agency's option, unless specifically excluded from retrospective budgeting.
(1) The following households are excluded from both monthly reporting and retrospective budgeting:
(i) Migrant or seasonal farmworker households.
(ii) Households in which all members are homeless individuals.
(iii) Households with no earned income in which all adult members are elderly or disabled.
(2) Households residing on an Indian reservation where there was no monthly reporting system in operation on March 25, 1994 are excluded from monthly reporting.
(c) Information on MRRB. At the certification and recertification interview, the State agency shall provide the household with the following:
(1) An oral explanation of the purpose of MRRB;
(2) A copy of the monthly report and an explanation of how to complete and file it;
(3) An explanation that information required to be reported on the monthly report is the only reporting requirement for such information;
(4) An explanation of what the household shall verify when it submits a monthly report and how it will verify it;
(5) A telephone number (toll-free number or a number where collect calls will be accepted outside the local calling area) which the household may call to ask questions or to obtain help in completing the monthly report; and
(6) Written explanations of this information.
(7) Special assistance. The State agency shall provide special assistance in completing and filing monthly reports to households whose adult members are all either mentally or physically handicapped or are non-English speaking or otherwise lacking in reading and writing skills such that they cannot complete and file the required reports.
(d) One and two-month systems. Each State agency shall adopt either a one-month or two-month MRRB system. A one-month system shall have either one or two beginning months in the certification period and a two-month system shall have two beginning months. Except for beginning months in sequence as described in the preceding sentence, the State agency shall not consider as a beginning month any month which immediately follows a month in which a household is certified.
(1) One-month system. In the one-month system, the issuance month immediately follows its corresponding budget month.
(2) Two-month system. In the two-month system, the issuance month is the second month following its corresponding budget month. There are two beginning months of participation in this system, the first month and the following month.
(e) Determining eligibility for households not certified under the beginning months' procedures of § 273.21(g). The State agency shall determine eligibility consistent with paragraph (a)(2) of this section and in accordance with either of the following options.
(1) Prospective eligibility. The State agency shall determine eligibility by considering all factors of eligibility prospectively for each of the issuance months.
(2) Retrospective eligibility. The State agency shall determine eligibility by considering all factors of eligibility retrospectively using the appropriate budget month except for residency and compliance with the requirements regarding social security numbers. Compliance with work registration provisions shall be considered as of the issuance month or month of application. The 60-day time frame for determining the applicability of the voluntary quit provision of § 273.7(n) shall be measured by the State agency from the date of application.
(f) Calculating allotments for households following the beginning months—(1) Household composition. (i) If eligibility is determined retrospectively the State agency shall determine the household's composition as of the last day of the budget month.
(ii) If eligibility is determined prospectively (during the beginning months or for households processed under paragraph (e)(1) of this section), the State agency shall determine the household's composition as of the issuance month.
(iii) In a two-month system, the following provisions shall apply with regard to a household which reports, in the month between the budget month and the corresponding issuance month, that it has gained a new member.
(A) The State agency shall use the same household composition for determining the household's eligibility that it uses for calculating the household's benefit level.
(B) If the new member is not already certified to receive SNAP benefits in another household participating within the State, the new member's income, deductible expenses, and resources from the issuance month shall be considered in determining the household's eligibility and benefit level. If the new member had been providing income to the household on an ongoing basis prior to becoming a member of the household, the State agency shall exclude the previously provided income in determining the household's issuance month benefits and eligibility.
(C) If the individual has moved out of one household receiving SNAP benefits within the State and into another, with no break in participation, the State agency shall use the individual's income, deductible expenses, and resources from the budget month in determining benefits to be provided in the issuance month. The State agency shall include such an individual and the individual's income, deductible expenses, and resources in determining the issuance month eligibility and benefit level of either the household from which the individual has moved or the household into which the individual has moved, but not both. In determining the issuance month eligibility and benefit level of the household into which the individual has moved, the State agency shall disregard budget month income received by the new member from a terminated source.
(D) The State agency may add new members to the household effective either the month the household reports the gain of a new household member or the first day of the issuance month following the month the household reports the gain of a new member. The benefits shall not be prorated.
(iv) The State agency shall add a previously excluded member who was disqualified for an intentional program violation or failure to comply with workfare or work requirements, was ineligible because of failure to comply with the social security number requirement, or was previously an ineligible alien retrospectively to the household the month after the disqualification period ends. All other previously excluded members shall be added in accordance with the procedures in paragraph (f)(1)(iii)(B) of this section, using the new member's issuance month income and expenses.
(2) Income and deductions. For the household members as determined in accordance with paragraph (f)(1) of this section, the State agency shall calculate the allotment using the household members' income and deductions from the budget month, except as follows:
(i) The State agency shall annualize self-employment income which is received other than monthly, in accordance with § 273.11(a). Such income shall be budgeted either prospectively or retrospectively and shall not affect more benefit months than the number of months in the period over which it is annualized or prorated. Except that, households which receive self-employment income from a farm operation monthly but incur irregular expenses to produce such self-employment farm income shall be given the option to annualize the self-employment farm income and expenses over a 12-month period.
(ii) The State agency shall prorate contract income received over a period of less than one year and either prospectively or retrospectively budget such income. Such income shall not effect more benefit months than the number of months in the period over which it is prorated.
(iii) Earned and unearned educational income shall be prorated over the period it is intended to cover in accordance with § 273.10(c)(3)(iii), and it shall be budgeted either prospectively or retrospectively. Such income shall not effect more benefit months than the number of months in the period over which it is prorated.
(iv) The State agency shall budget deductible expenses prorated over two or more months, except medical expenses, either prospectively or retrospectively, provided That such deductions are not budgeted over more months than they are intended to cover, and the total amount deducted does not exceed the total amount of the expenses. Medical expenses shall be budgeted prospectively. The State agency shall continue to allow deductions for expenses incurred even if billed on other than a monthly basis unless the household reports a change in the expense. The State agency may average the child support expense and budget it prospectively or retrospectively.
(v) The State agency shall budget income received on a recurring monthly or semimonthly basis for the month that it is intended to cover. The State agency shall not vary the budgeting of such income merely because it is received during another month as the result of changes in mailing cycles or pay dates, or because weekends or holidays result in an additional or missed payment.
(vi) The State agency may budget interest income using one of the following methods in paragraphs (f)(2)(vi) (A), (B), or (C) of this section. The State agency shall either establish categories of interest to be handled by each of the methods or shall offer each household the option of which method to budget the interest income.
(A) Actual interest income received in the budget month.
(B) Prorated interest income calculated by dividing the amount of interest anticipated during the certification period by the number of months in the certification period.
(C) An averaged amount adjusted for anticipated changes.
(vii) For a new household member described under paragraph (f)(1)(iii)(B) of this section, the State agency shall consider the new member's income and deductible expenses prospectively until the new member's first month living with the household becomes the budget month.
(viii) The options provided under paragraph (j)(1)(vii) of this section may affect the calculation of income and deductions.
(g) Determining eligibility and allotments in the beginning months. The State agency shall use the prospective budgeting procedures of this paragraph for determining the allotments and eligibility of households in the MRRB system during this first month, or first and second month of participation. The State agency shall not apply the procedures of this paragraph to the month(s) following the month of termination resulting from a temporary one-month change.
(1) Determining eligibility during the beginning months. The State agency shall determine eligibility prospectively in the beginning month(s).
(2) Calculating allotments during the beginning months. the State agency shall calculate allotments prospectively in the beginning month(s).
(3) The first months of retrospective budgeting following the beginning months. The State agency shall begin to base issuances to the household on retrospective budgeting during the first month for which the State's system can use the month of application as a budget month. In a one-month system, the first month for which the issuance is based on retrospective budgeting shall be the second month of participation. In a two-month system, the first month for which the issuance is based on retrospective budgeting shall be the third month of participation. If the State agency had been averaging income or converting weekly or biweekly income to a monthly amount in the beginning months, it may begin using the household's actual budget month income when the household becomes subject to retrospective budgeting. For purposes of this paragraph, any income received in either or both of the beginning months from a source which no longer provides income to the household (terminated income), which was included in the household's prospective budget, shall be disregarded when the beginning month becomes the budget month.
(h) The monthly report form—(1) General. (i) The State agency shall give the household a reasonable period of time after close of the budget month to submit the monthly reports.
(ii) The State agency shall require each household in the MRRB system to report on household circumstances on a monthly basis as a condition of continuing eligibility.
(iii) The State agency shall provide an individual or agency unit which a household may contact to receive prompt answers about the completion of the form. A telephone number (toll free for households outside the local calling area) which a household may use to obtain further information shall also be available.
(iv) The State agency shall ensure that households are informed about the availability and amount of the standard utility allowances, if the State agency offers them.
(2) Monthly report form. The State agency's monthly report form shall meet the following requirements:
(i) Be written in clear, simple language;
(ii) Meet the bilingual requirements described in § 272.4(b) of this chapter;
(iii) Specify the date by which the agency must receive the form and the consequences of a late or incomplete form, including whether the State agency shall delay payment if the form is not received by the specified date;
(iv) Specify the verification which the household must submit with the form, in accordance with § 273.21(i);
(v) Identify the individual or agency unit available to assist in completing the form:
(vi) Include a statement to be signed by a member of the household (in accordance with § 273.2(c)(7) regarding acceptable methods of signature), indicating his or her understanding that the provided information may result in changes in the level of benefits, including reduction and termination;
(vii) Include, in prominent and boldface lettering, an understandable description of the Act's civil and criminal penalties for fraud.
(viii) If the form requests Social Security numbers, include a statement of the State agency's authority to require Social Security numbers (SSN's) (including the statutory citation, the title of the statute, and the fact that providing SSN's is mandatory), the purpose of requiring SSN's, the routine uses for SSN's, and the effect of not providing SSN's. This statement may be on the form itself or included as an attachment to the form.
(3) Reported information. The State agency may determine the information relevant to eligibility and benefit determination to be included on the monthly report form except that the State agency shall not require households to monthly report medical expenses. Medical expenses may be reported in accordance with § 273.10(d)(4).
(4) Combined form. If the State agency uses a combined monthly report for SNAP benefits and TANF, the State agency shall clearly indicate on the form that non-TANF SNAP households need not provide TANF-only information.
(i) Verification. Each month the household shall verify information for those items designated by the State agency. The State agency may designate that verification be submitted for any item that has changed or appears questionable. 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) before acting on it if the change would increase the household's allotment. 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)(i) shall be obtained prior to the household's recertification.
(j) State agency action on reports—(1) Processing. Upon receiving a monthly report, the State agency shall:
(i) Review the report to ensure accuracy and completeness.
(ii) Consider the report incomplete only if:
(A) It is not signed by the head of the household, an authorized representative or a responsible member of the household;
(B) It is not accompanied by verification required by the State agency on the monthly report;
(C) It omits information required by the State agency on the monthly report necessary either to determine the household's eligibility or to compute the household's level of SNAP benefits.
(iii) Determine those items which will require additional verification, in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section.
(iv) Contact the household directly, and take action as needed, to obtain further information on specific items. These items include:
(A) The effect of a reported change in resources on a household's total resources; and
(B) The effect of a reported change in household composition or loss of a job or source of earned income on the applicability of the work registration requirement.
(v) Notify the household, in accordance with paragraph (j)(3)(ii) of this section, of the need to submit a report, correct an incomplete or inaccurate report, or submit the necessary verification within the extension period.
(vi) Determine the household's eligibility by considering all factors, including income, in accordance with paragraphs (e) or (g) of this section.
(vii) Determine the household's level of benefits in accordance with § 273.10(e) based on the household composition determined in accordance with paragraph (f)(1) of this section. For those household members the following (except as provided in paragraph (f)(2) of this section) income and deductions shall be considered:
(A) Earned and unearned income received in the corresponding budget month, including income that has been averaged in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section. The earned income of an elementary or secondary school student excluded in accordance with § 273.9(c)(7) shall be excluded until the budget month following the budget month in which the student turns 18. The State agency has the option of converting to a regular monthly amount the income that a household receives weekly or biweekly. If the State agency elects to convert weekly or biweekly income for MRRB households, it shall do so for all households in its MRRB caseload. The State agency may convert or average income in the beginning months and use actual earned or unearned income received in the budget month following the beginning months of participation.
(B) The PA grant paid in the corresponding budget month or the PA grant to be paid in the issuance month. If the State agency elects to use the PA grant to be paid in the issuance month, the State agency shall ensure that:
(1) Any additional or corrective payments are counted, either prospectively or retrospectively; and
(2) the State agency shall disregard income received in the budget month from a terminated source which results in an increase in the PA grant, provided the household has reported the termination of the income either in the monthly report for the budget month or in some other manner which, as determined by the State agency, allows the State agency sufficient time to process the change and affect the allotment in the issuance month.
(C) Deductions as billed or averaged from the corresponding budget month, including those shelter costs billed less often than monthly which the household has chosen to average.
(viii) Issue benefits in accordance with part 274 of this chapter and on the time schedule set forth in paragraph (k) of this section.
(ix) Provide specific information on how the State agency calculated the benefit level if it has changed since the preceding month, either with the issuance or in a separate notification.
(2) Notices. (i) All notices regarding changes in a household's benefits shall meet the definition of adequate notice as defined in § 271.2.
(ii) The State agency shall notify a household of any change from its prior benefit level and the basis for its determination. If the State agency reduces, suspends or terminates benefits, it shall send the notice so the household receives it no later than either the date the resulting benefits are to be received or in place of the benefits.
(iii) The State agency shall notify a household, in accordance with paragraph (j)(3)(iii), if its monthly report is late or incomplete, or further information is needed.
(3) Incomplete filing. (i) If a household fails to file a monthly report, or files an incomplete report, by the specified filing date, the State agency shall give the household at least ten more days, from the date the State agency mails the notice to file a complete monthly report.
(ii) The State agency shall notify the household within five days of the filing date:
(A) That the monthly report is either overdue or incomplete;
(B) What the household must do to complete the form;
(C) If any verification is missing and the lack of that verification will adversely affect the household's allotment;
(D) That the Social Security number of a new member must be reported, if the household has reported a new member but not the new member's Social Security number;
(E) What the extended filing date is;
(F) That the State agency will assist the household in completing the report.
(iii) When a State agency requires verification for the item listed and the household does not provide the verification, the State agency shall take the following actions:
(A) If the household does not verify earned income, the State agency shall regard the household's report as incomplete, take action in accordance with paragraphs (j)(3)(i) and (j)(3)(ii) of this section and, if appropriate, terminate the household in accordance with paragraph (m) of this section.
(B) If the household is using its actual utility costs to establish its shelter cost deduction in accordance with § 273.9(d) and it does not verify a change in its actual utility expenses, the State agency shall not allow a deduction for such costs.
(C) If a household fails to verify a change in reported medical expenses in accordance with § 273.2(f)(8), and that change would increase the household's allotment, the State agency shall not make the change. The State agency shall act on reported changes without requiring verification if the changes would decrease the household's allotment, or make the household ineligible.
(D) If the household does not verify other items for which verification is required, the State agency shall:
(1) Act on the reported change if it would decrease benefits.
(2) Not act on the reported change if it would increase benefits.
(E) If the household does not report or verify changes in child support, the State agency shall not allow a child support deduction.
(k) Issuance of benefits—(1) Timely issuance. (i) For an eligible household which has filed a complete monthly report by the scheduled filing date, the State agency shall provide an opportunity to participate within the month following the budget month in a one-month system, or within the second month following the budget month in a two-month system.
(ii) The State agency shall provide each household with an issuance cycle so that the household receives its benefits at about the same time each month and has an opportunity to participate before the end of each issuance month.
(2) Delayed issuance. (i) If an eligible household files a complete monthly report during its extension period, the State agency shall provide it with an opportunity to participate no later than ten days after its normal issuance date.
(ii) If an eligible household which has been terminated for failure to file a complete report files a complete report after its extended filing date, but before the end of the issuance month, the State agency may choose to reinstate the household by providing it with an opportunity to participate. If the household has requested a fair hearing on the basis that a complete monthly report was filed, the State agency shall reinstate the household if a completed monthly report is filed before the end of the issuance month.
(iii) If an eligible household files a complete report after the issuance month, the State agency shall not provide the household with an opportunity to participate for that month.
(l) Other reporting requirements—(1) Information reported on the monthly report. The monthly report shall be the sole reporting requirement for information required to be included in the monthly report. Changes in household circumstances not subject to monthly reporting shall be reported in accordance with § 273.12.
(2) Households excluded from monthly reporting. Households which are excluded from monthly reporting shall report changes in accordance with § 273.12.
(m) Termination. (1) The State agency shall terminate a household's SNAP participation if the household:
(i) Is ineligible for SNAP benefits, unless suspended in accordance with paragraph (n) of this section:
(ii) Fails to file a complete report by the extended filing date; or
(iii) Fails to comply with a nonfinancial eligibility requirement, such as registering for employment.
(2) The State agency shall issue a notice to the household which:
(i) Complies with the requirements of § 271.2 for adequate notice;
(ii) Informs the household of the reason for its termination;
(iii) If the State agency allows reinstatement under paragraph (k)(2)(ii), explains how the household may be reinstated;
(iv) Informs the household of its rights to request a fair hearing and to receive continued benefits. If termination is for failure to submit a monthly report and the household states that a monthly report has been filed, the notice must advise the household that a completed monthly report must be filed prior to the end of the issuance month as a condition for continued receipt of benefits.
(3) The State agency shall issue the notice to the household so that it receives the notice no later than the household's normal or extended issuance date.
(n) Suspension. The State agency may suspend a household's issuance in accordance with this paragraph. If the State agency does not choose this option, it shall instead terminate households in accordance with paragraph (m) of this section.
(1) The State agency may suspend a household's issuance for one month if the household becomes temporarily ineligible due to a periodic increase in recurring income or other change not expected to continue in the subsequent month. The State agency may on a Statewide basis either suspend the household's certification prospectively for the issuance month or retrospectively for the issuance month corresponding to the budget month in which the noncontinuing circumstance occurs.
(2) The State agency shall continue to supply monthly reports to the household for one month.
(3) If the suspended household again becomes eligible, the State agency shall issue benefits on the household's normal issuance date.
(4) If the suspended household does not become eligible after one month, the State agency shall terminate the household.
(o) If a household has been terminated or suspended based on an anticipated change in circumstances, the State agency shall not count any noncontinuing circumstances which caused the prospective ineligibility when calculating the household's benefits retrospectively in a subsequent month.
(p) Fair hearings—(1) Entitlement. All households participating in a MRRB system shall be entitled to fair hearings in accordance with § 273.15.
(2) Continuation of benefits. (i) Any household which requests a fair hearing and does not waive continuation of benefits, and is otherwise eligible for continuation of benefits, shall have its benefits continued until the end of the certification period or the resolution of the fair hearing, whichever is first. If the State agency did not receive a monthly report from the household by the extended filing date and the household states that a monthly report was submitted, the household is entitled to continued benefits, provided That a completed report is submitted no later than the last day of the issuance month.
(ii) The State agency shall provide continued benefits no later than five working days from the day it receives the household's request.
(iii) A household whose benefits have been continued shall file montly reports until the end of the certification period. If the fair hearing is with regard to termination for nonreceipt of the monthly report by the State agency, a completed monthly report for the month in question shall be submitted by the household no later than the last day of the issuance month.
(iv) During the fair hearing period the State agency shall adjust allotments to take into account reported changes, except for the factor(s) on which the fair hearing is based.
(q) Recertification—(1) Timeliness. The State agency shall recertify an eligible household which timely reapplies and provides it with an opportunity to participate in the household's normal issuance cycle.
(2) Retrospective Recertification. (i) The State agency shall recertify the household using retrospective information to determine the household's benefit level for the first month of the new certification period.
(ii) If the State agency is operating a two-month MRRB system, the State agency may delay reflecting information from the recertification interview in the household's eligibility and benefit level until the second month of the new certification period.
(iii) The State agency shall recertify households according to one of the three options set forth in paragraphs (q) (3), (4), or (5) of this section.
(3) Option One: Recertification form. (i) The State agency shall provide each household with a recertification form to obtain all necessary information about the household's circumstances for the budget month.
(ii) The State agency shall mail the form to the household, along with a notice of expiration, in place of the monthly report form. The State agency shall either: Mail the recertification form along with the notice of expiration; use a recertification form which contains a notice of expiration; or mail the recertification form and the notice of expiration separately, as long as the forms are mailed at the same time.
(iii) The household shall submit the form to the State agency in accordance with paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section.
(4) Option Two: Monthly report and addendum. (i) The State agency shall provide each household with a notice of expiration and monthly report form and an addendum to obtain all additional information necessary for recertification.
(ii) The State agency shall either: Mail the monthly report form along with the notice of expiration; use a monthly report form which contains a notice of expiration; or mail the monthly report form and the notice of expiration separately, as long as the forms are mailed at the same time.
(iii) The household shall submit the monthly report to the State agency in accordance with paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section.
(iv) The State agency shall deliver the recertification addendum to the household along with the monthly report form or obtain the necessary information from the household at the interview.
(v) The household shall submit the addendum to the State agency no later than the time of the interview.
(5) Option Three: Signed Statement. (i) The State agency shall recertify households based on the monthly report and the interview.
(ii) At the interview, the State agency shall obtain all of the information not provided in the monthly report which is necessary for recertification.
(iii) The State agency shall ensure that it has on file a statement signed by the appropriate household member that the household has applied for recertification.
(6) Interview. (1) The State agency shall conduct a complete interview with a household member or an authorized representative.
(ii) The State agency shall schedule the interview at any time during the last month of the old certification period.
(iii) If the State agency schedules the interview for a date on or before the normal filing due date of the monthly report, the State agency shall permit the household member and authorized representative to bring the recertification form or monthly report to the interview.
(r) Procedures for households that change their reporting and budgeting status. The State agency shall use one of the following procedures for households subject to change in reporting/budgeting status.
(1) Households which become subject to MRRB. The State agency may change the reporting/budgeting status of households which become subject to monthly reporting at any time following the change in household circumstances which results in the change in the household's reporting/budgeting status, subject to the following conditions:
(i) The State agency shall provide the household with information provided to MRRB households under paragraph (c) of this section. If the State agency elects to implement the change during the certification period, it may omit the oral explanation of MRRB required under paragraph (c)(1).
(ii) The State agency shall not require the household to submit a monthly report during any month in which the household was subject to the change reporting requirements of § 273.12.
(2) Households which are no longer subject to MRRB. The agency shall use one of the following procedures to remove households from the MRRB system.
(i) Procedures for households exempt from MRRB. For any household which becomes exempt from MRRB under paragraph (b) of this section, the State agency shall notify the household within 10 days of the date the State agency becomes aware of the change that the household has become exempt from monthly reporting and is no longer required to file any future monthly reports and has also become exempt from retrospective budgeting and when the change in budgeting will go into effect. The State agency shall begin determining the household's benefits prospectively no later than the first issuance month for which a household has not submitted a monthly report for the budget month.
(ii) Other households moving from MRRB to change reporting and prospective budgeting. When a household is no longer subject to MRRB under a State agency's system, the State agency may begin determining the household's benefits prospectively in any month following the month the State agency becomes aware of the changed circumstances which necessitate the need to change the household's reporting/budgeting status. If the State agency elects to change the household's reporting/budgeting status prior recertification it shall provide the household with a notice explaining the change in the month prior to the month the change is effective. If the State agency elects to change the household's status at recertification it shall advise the household at the recertification interview that its reporting/budgeting status is being changed.
(iii) Households moving from MRRB to retrospective budgeting and change reporting. If a household's status necessitates changing it from a monthly reporter to a change reporter while continuing to be budgeted retrospectively, the State agency may change the household's status at any time. If the State agency elects to change the household immediately, the State agency shall provide the household with a notice that it is no longer subject to monthly reporting. The notice shall include information about the household's reporting requirements under § 273.12.
(s) Implementation of Regulatory Changes. The State agency shall implement changes in regulatory provisions for households subject to MRRB prospectively based on the effective date and implementation time frame published in the
(t) Monthly reporting requirements for households residing on reservations. The following procedures shall be used for households which reside on reservations and are required to submit monthly reports:
(1) Definition of a reservation. For purposes of this section, the term “reservation” shall mean the geographically defined area or areas over which a tribal organization exercises governmental jurisdiction. The term “tribal organization” shall mean the recognized governing body of an Indian tribe (including the tribally recognized intertribal organization of such tribes), as well as any Indian tribe, band, or community holding a treaty with a State government.
(2) Benefit determination for missing reports. The State agency shall not delay, reduce, or suspend the allotment of a household that fails to submit a report by the issuance date.
(3) Reinstatement. If a household is terminated for failing to submit a monthly report, the household shall be reinstated without being required to submit a new application if a monthly report is submitted no later than the last day of the month following the month the household was terminated.
(4) Notices. (i) All notices regarding changes in a household's benefits shall meet the definition of adequate notice as defined in § 271.2 of this chapter.
(ii) If a household fails to file a monthly report by the specified filing date, the State agency shall notify the household within five days of the filing date:
(A) That the monthly report is either overdue or incomplete;
(B) What the household must do to complete the form;
(C) If any verification is missing;
(D) That the Social Security number of a new member must be reported, if the household has reported a new member but not the new member's Social Security number;
(E) What the extended filing date is;
(F) That the State agency will assist the household in completing the report; and
(G) That the household's benefits will be issued based on the previous month's submitted report without regard to any changes in the household's circumstances if the missing report is not submitted.
(iii) Simultaneously with the issuance, the State agency shall notify a household, if its report has not been received, that the benefits being provided are based on the previous month's submitted report and that this benefit does not reflect any changes in the household's circumstances. This notice shall also advise the household that, if a complete report is not filed timely, the household will be terminated.
(iv) If the household is terminated, the State agency shall send the notice so the household receives it no later than the date benefits would have been received. This notice shall advise the household of its right to reinstatement if a complete monthly report is submitted by the end of the month following termination.
(5) Supplements and claims. If the household submits the missing monthly report after the issuance date but in the issuance month, the State agency shall provide the household with a supplement, if warranted. If the household submits the missing monthly report after the issuance date or the State agency becomes aware of a change that would have decreased benefits in some other manner, the State agency shall file a claim for any benefits overissued.
(a) General. This subpart establishes rules under which Simplified Application and Standardized Benefit Projects shall operate. State agencies and political subdivisions chosen as project operators may designate households containing members receiving TANF, SSI, or Medicaid benefits as project eligible. Project eligible households shall have their SNAP eligibility determined using simplified application procedures. SNAP eligibility shall be determined using information contained in their TANF, or Medicaid application, or, in the case of SSI, on the State Data Exchange (SDX) tape, and any appropriate addendum. Project-eligible households shall be considered categorically SNAP resource eligible based on their eligibility for these other programs and shall be required to meet SNAP income eligibility standards. However, income definitions appropriate to the TANF, SSI or Medicaid programs shall be used instead of SNAP income definitions in determining eligibility. In addition, such households shall, as a condition of program eligibility, meet and/or fulfill all SNAP nonfinancial eligibility requirements. (Project-eligible households defined as categorically eligible in § 273.2 (j) and (k) of these regulations are not required to meet the income eligibility standards.) To further simplify program administration, benefits provided to such households may be standardized by category of assistance and household size.
(b) Program administration. (1) Simplified application and standardized benefit procedures are applicable in five States and five political subdivisions. For the purpose of this section, a political subdivision is a project area as defined in § 271.2 of these regulations.
(2) State agencies and political subdivisions seeking to operate a Simplified Application and Standardized Benefit Project shall submit Work Plans to FNS in accordance with the requirements of this section.
(3) FNS shall evaluate Work Plans according to the criteria set forth in the Simplified Application/Standardized Benefit Notice of Intent.
(4) Political subdivisions shall submit their Work Plans to FNS through their respective State agencies for review and approval.
(5) A State agency selected by FNS to operate a Simplified Application and Standardized Benefit Project shall include the Work Plan in its State Plan of Operations. A political subdivision chosen to operate a Simplified Application and Standardized Benefit Project shall assure that the responsible State agency include that political subdivision's project Work Plan in its own State Plan of Operations. The Work Plan shall be updated, as needed, to reflect changes in the benefit methodology, subject to prior FNS approval.
(c) Contents of the work plan. The Work Plan submitted by each applicant shall contain the following information:
(1) Background information on the proposed site's characteristics, current operating procedures, and a general description of the proposed procedures;
(2) A description of the proposed project design, including the benefit methodology, households which will be project eligible, operational procedures, and the need for waivers;
(3) An implementation and monitoring plan describing tasks, staffing and a timetable for implementation;
(4) An estimate of project impacts including implementation costs and, on an annual basis, operating costs, administrative costs, error reduction, and benefit changes; and
(5) A statement signed by the State official with authority to commit the State or political subdivisions to the project's operation.
(d) Project-eligible households. Each operating agency shall decide which of the following categories of household shall be eligible to participate in the project.
(1) Households all of whose members receive TANF benefits under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act;
(2) Households all of whose members receive SSI benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act;
(3) Households all of whose members receive Medicaid benefits under title XIX of the Social Security Act;
(4) Households each of whose members receive one or more of the following: TANF, SSI, or Medicaid benefits (multiple-benefit households); and
(5) Households only some of whose members receive TANF, SSI, and/or Medicaid benefits (mixed households).
(e) Determining SNAP eligibility. Under the Simplified Application and Standardized Benefit Project, project eligible households shall have their SNAP eligibility determined using the following criteria.
(1) Certain households, at the operating agency's option, which contain members receiving TANF, SSI, or Medicaid benefits, shall be designated project eligible and need not make separate application for SNAP benefits. Once such households indicate in writing a desire to receive SNAP benefits, their eligibility will be determined based on information contained in their application for TANF or Medicaid benefits or, in the case of SSI, on the State Data Exchange (SDX) tape. TANF or Medicaid applications may need to be modified, or be subject to an addendum in order to accommodate any additional information required by the operating agency.
(2) The income definitions and resource requirements prescribed under § 273.9 (b) and (c) and § 273.8 are inapplicable to project-eligible households. Project-eligible households which have met the resource requirements of the TANF, SSI, and/or Medicaid programs shall be considered to have satisfied the SNAP resource requirements. Gross income less any allowed exclusions, as defined by the appropriate categorical aid program, shall be used to determine SNAP income eligibility (unless the project household is categorically income eligible as defined in § 273.2 (j) and (k)) and benefit levels. Deemed income, as defined under TANF, SSI or Medicaid rules, shall be excluded to the extent that households with such income are part of the SNAP household providing the deemed income.
(3) Project-eligible households which are not categorically income eligible shall meet the gross and net income standards prescribed in § 273.9(a). Net income shall be determined by subtracting from gross income either actual or standardized deduction amounts. If standardized deduction amounts are used, they may be initially determined using recent historical data on deductions claimed by such households. Such deductions must be updated, as necessary, on at least an annual basis. Such deductions shall include:
(i) The current standard deduction for all households;
(ii) An excess shelter deduction and a dependent care deduction for households not containing an elderly or disabled member;
(iii) A dependent care deduction, an uncapped excess shelter deduction and a medical deduction for households containing a qualified elderly or disabled member; and
(iv) A standardized or actual earned income deduction for households containing members with earned income.
(4) All non-financial SNAP eligibility requirements shall be applicable to project-eligible households.
(f) Benefit levels. (1) In establishing benefits for project eligible households, either the appropriate State standard of need (maximum aid payment) or gross income as determined for the appropriate categorical aid program plus the value of any monetary categorical benefits received, if any, may be used as the gross income amount. If mixed households are designated project eligible, procedures shall be developed to include as household income the income of those household members not receiving categorical aid.
(2) If allotments are standardized, the average allotment for each category of household, by household size, shall be no less than average allotments would have been were the project not in operation.
(3) Benefit methodologies shall be constructed to ensure that benefits received by households having higher than average allotments under normal program rules are not significantly reduced as a result of standardization.
(4) Benefit methodologies shall be structured to ensure that decreases in household benefits are not reduced by more than $10 or 20%, whichever is less.
(5) The methodology to be used in developing benefit levels shall be determined by the operating agency but shall be subject to FNS approval.
(6) With FNS approval, operating agencies may develop an alternate methodology for standardizing allotments/deductions for specific sizes and categories of households where such size and category is so small as to make the use of average deductions and/or allotments impractical.
(7) FNS may require operating agencies to revise their standardized allotments during the course of the project to reflect changes in items such as household characteristics, the Thrifty Food Plan, deduction amounts, the benefit reduction rate, or benefit levels in TANF or SSI. Such changes will be documented by revising the Work Plan amendment to the State Plan of Operations.
(g) Household notification. All certified project-eligible households residing in the selected project sites shall be provided with a notice, prior to project commencement, informing them of the revised procedures and household requirements under the project. If household allotments are to be standardized, the notice shall also provide specific information on the value of the newly computed benefit and the formula used to calculate the benefit. The notice shall meet the requirements of a notice of adverse action as set forth in § 273.13(a)(2).
(h) Application processing procedures. (1) The operating agency shall allow project-eligible households to indicate in writing their desire to receive SNAP benefits. Such households shall be notified in writing, at the time such indication is made, that information contained in their TANF, SSI, or Medicaid application will be the basis of their SNAP eligibility determination. If mixed households are included in the project-eligible universe, the project operator shall develop a procedure to collect the necessary information on household members not receiving categorical aid.
(2) The operating agency may use simplified application and standardized benefit procedures only for those households containing at least one member certified to receive either TANF, SSI, or Medicaid benefits. If simplified procedures are to be used, the State agency shall make all eligibility determinations for households jointly applying for SNAP benefits and TANF, SSI, or Medicaid benefits within the 30-day SNAP processing period. If a household's eligibility for TANF, SSI, or Medicaid cannot be established within the 30-day period, normal SNAP application, certification, and benefit determination procedures shall be used and benefits shall be issued within 30 days if the household is eligible. Households which are jointly applying for TANF, SSI, or Medicaid, and which qualify for expedited service, shall be certified for SNAP benefits using procedures prescribed at § 273.2(i). However, if the State agency can process the application of an expedited service household for categorical assistance within the expedited period prescribed at § 273.2(i), it may use simplified application and standardized benefit procedures to certify the household for SNAP benefits.
(i) Regulatory requirements. (1) All SNAP regulations shall remain in effect unless they are expressly altered by the provisions of this section or the provisions contained within the approved SA/SB Work Plan.
(2) Certification periods for mixed households. At the option of the operating agency, mixed households may be assigned certification periods of up to one year. Such households, if circumstances warrant, may be required to attend a face-to-face interview on a schedule which would conform to certification periods normally assigned such households as specified in § 273.10(f). At the time of the interview, the household shall be required to complete a modified application and provide additional information in accordance with § 273.2(f). If the household fails to comply with the interview review requirement or if information obtained indicates a revision in household eligibility or benefits, action will be taken in accordance with§ 273.13, Notice of Adverse Action.
(j) Quality control. (1) Project eligible households selected for quality control review shall be reviewed by the State agency using special procedures, based on project requirements, which have been developed by the State agency and approved by FNS.
(2) The error rate(s) determined using the special quality control review procedures shall be included when determining the State agency's overall error rate.
(k) Funding. Operating agencies shall be reimbursed for project costs at the rates prescribed in § 277.4.
(l) Evaluation. Each project site shall conduct a self-evaluation of the project's impact on benefits, administrative costs and participation. Such evaluation shall be conducted within three months of project implementation. The results of the self-evaluation shall be sent to FNS within six months of project implementation. The impact of the project on project-eligible households' error rates shall be reported on an annual basis in accordance with § 273.23(m).
(m) Reporting requirements. Operating agencies shall be required to prepare and submit to FNS an annual report on the error rate attributable to project-eligible households. The timing of such reports shall coincide with the due date for the annual quality control report prescribed in § 275.21(d).
(n) State agency monitoring. Monitoring shall be undertaken to ensure compliance with these regulations and the Work Plan submitted to and approved by FNS. Project monitoring shall be conducted in accordance with the appropriate sections of part 275, Performance Reporting System, of these regulations. At a minimum, onsite reviews of the Simplified Application and Standardized Benefit Project shall be conducted once within six months of the project's implementation and then in accordance with the Management Evaluation review schedule for the project area.
(o) Termination. (1) FNS may terminate project operations for any reason and at any time on 60 days written notice to the administering State agency or political subdivision. State or local agencies may also choose to terminate their participation with 60 days written notice to FNS. In either such event, operating agencies shall be given sufficient time to return to normal operations in an orderly fashion.
(2) If termination occurs, FNS may select another site for project operations. Such selection shall be based on either previously received project proposals or proposals received under a new solicitation.
(a) Definitions. For purposes of the SNAP time limit, the terms below have the following meanings:
(1) Fulfilling the work requirement means:
(i) Working 20 hours per week, averaged monthly; for purposes of this provision, 20 hours a week averaged monthly means 80 hours a month;
(ii) Participating in and complying with the requirements of a work program 20 hours per week, as determined by the State agency;
(iii) Any combination of working and participating in a work program for a total of 20 hours per week, as determined by the State agency; or
(iv) Participating in and complying with a workfare program;
(2) Working means:
(i) Work in exchange for money;
(ii) Work in exchange for goods or services (“in kind” work); or
(iii) Unpaid work, verified under standards established by the State agency.
(iv) Any combination of paragraphs (a)(2)(i), (a)(2)(ii) and (a)(2)(iii) of this section.
(3) Work Program means:
(i) A program under title 1 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (Pub. L.113–128);
(ii) A program under section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2296);
(iii) An employment and training program operated or supervised by a State or political subdivision of a State agency that meets standards approved by the Chief Executive Office, including a SNAP E&T program under § 2 73.7(e) excluding any job search, supervised job search, or job search training program. However, a program under this clause may contain job search, supervised job search, or job search training as subsidiary activities as long as such activity is less than half the requirement. Participation in job search, supervised job search, or job search training as subsidiary activities that make up less than half the requirement counts for purposes of fulfilling the work requirement under paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section.
(iv) A program of employment and training for veterans operated by the Department of Labor or the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the purpose of this paragraph, any employment and training program of the Department of Labor or Veterans Affairs that serves veterans shall be an approved work program; or
(v) A workforce partnership under § 273.7(n)
(b) General Rule. Individuals are not eligible to participate in SNAP as a member of any household if the individual received SNAP benefits for more than three countable months during any three-year period, except that individuals may be eligible for up to three additional countable months in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section.
(1) Countable months. Countable months are months during which an individual receives SNAP benefits for the full benefit month while not:
(i) Exempt under paragraph (c) of this section;
(ii) Covered by a waiver under paragraph (f) of this section;
(iii) Fulfilling the work requirement as defined in paragraph (a)(1) of this section;
(iv) Receiving benefits that are prorated in accordance with § 273.10; or
(v) In the month of notification from the State agency of a provider determination in accordance with § 273.7(c)(18)(i).
(2) Good cause. As determined by the State agency, if an individual would have fulfilled the work requirement as defined in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, but missed some hours for good cause, the individual shall be considered to have fulfilled the work requirement if the absence from work, the work program, or the workfare program is temporary. Good cause shall include circumstances beyond the individual's control, such as, but not limited to, illness, illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member, a household emergency, or the unavailability of transportation. In addition, if the State agency grants an individual good cause under § 273.7(i) for failure or refusal to meet the mandatory E&T requirement, that good cause determination confers good cause under this paragraph, except in the case of § 273.7(i)(4), without the need for a separate good cause determination under this paragraph. Good cause granted under § 273.7(i)(4) only provides good cause to ABAWDs for failure or refusal to participate in a mandatory SNAP E&T program, and does not confer good cause for failure to fulfill the work requirement in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
(3) Measuring the three-year period. The State agency may measure and track the three-year period as it deems appropriate. The State agency may use either a “fixed” or “rolling” clock. If the State agency chooses to switch tracking methods it must inform FNS in writing. With respect to a State, the three-year period:
(i) Shall be measured and tracked consistently so that individuals who are similarly situated are treated the same; and
(ii) Shall not include any period before the earlier of November 22, 1996, or the date the State notified SNAP recipients of the application of Section 824 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104–193).
(4) Treatment of income and resources. The income and resources of an individual made ineligible under this paragraph (b) shall be handled in accordance with § 273.11(c)(2).
(5) Benefits received erroneously. If an individual subject to this section receives SNAP benefits erroneously, the State agency shall consider the benefits to have been received for purposes of this provision unless or until the individual pays it back in full.
(6) Verification. Verification shall be in accordance with § 273.2(f)(1) and (f)(8).
(7) Reporting. A change in work hours below 20 hours per week, averaged monthly, is a reportable change in accordance with § 273.12(a)(1)(viii). Regardless of the type of reporting system the State agency assigns to potential ABAWDs, the State agency must adhere to the statutory requirements of time-limited benefits for individuals who are subject to the work requirement. The State agency may opt to consider work performed in a job that was not reported according to the requirements of § 273.12 “work.”
(8) The State agency shall inform all ABAWDs of the ABAWD work requirement and time limit both in writing and orally in accordance with § 273.7(c)(1)(ii) and (iii).
(c) Exceptions. The time limit does not apply to an individual if he or she is:
(1) Under 18 or 50 years of age or older;
(2) Determined by the State agency to be medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment. An individual is medically certified as physically or mentally unfit for employment if he or she:
(i) Is receiving temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources;
(ii) Is obviously mentally or physically unfit for employment as determined by the State agency; or
(iii) If the unfitness is not obvious, provides a statement from a physician, physician's assistant, nurse, nurse practitioner, designated representative of the physician's office, a licensed or certified psychologist, a social worker, or any other medical personnel the State agency determines appropriate, that he or she is physically or mentally unfit for employment.
(3) Is a parent (natural, adoptive, or step) of a household member under age 18, even if the household member who is under 18 is not himself eligible for SNAP benefits;
(4) Is residing in a household where a household member is under age 18, even if the household member who is under 18 is not himself eligible for SNAP benefits;
(5) Is otherwise exempt from work requirements under section 6(d)(2) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as implemented in regulations at § 273.7(b); or
(6) Is pregnant.
(d) Regaining eligibility. (1) An individual denied eligibility under paragraph (b) of this section, or who did not reapply for benefits because he was not meeting the work requirements under paragraph (b) of this section, shall regain eligibility to participate in SNAP if, as determined by the State agency, during any 30 consecutive days, he or she:
(i) Worked 80 or more hours;
(ii) Participated in and complied with the requirements of a work program for 80 or more hours;
(iii) Any combination of work and participation in a work program for a total of 80 hours; or participated in and complied with a workfare program; or
(iv) At State agency option, verifies that the he or she will meet one of the requirements in paragraphs (d)(1)(i), (d)(1)(ii), (d)(1)(iii), or (d)(1)(v) of this section, within the 30 days subsequent to application; or
(v) Becomes exempt.
(2) An individual regaining eligibility under paragraph (d)(1) of this section shall have benefits calculated as follows:
(i) For individuals regaining eligibility by working, participating in a work program, or combining hours worked and hours participating in a work program, the State agency may either prorate benefits from the day the 80 hours are completed or from the date of application, or
(ii) For individuals regaining eligibility by participating in a workfare program, and the workfare obligation is based on an estimated monthly allotment prorated back to the date of application, then the allotment issued must be prorated back to this date.
(3) There is no limit on how many times an individual may regain eligibility and subsequently maintain eligibility by meeting the work requirement.
(e) Additional three-month eligibility. An individual who regained eligibility under paragraph (d) of this section and who is no longer fulfilling the work requirement as defined in paragraph (a) of this section is eligible for a period of three consecutive countable months (as defined in paragraph (b) of this section), starting on the date the individual first notifies the State agency that he or she is no longer fulfilling the work requirement, unless the individual has been satisfying the work requirement by participating in a work or workfare program, in which case the period starts on the date the State agency notifies the individual that he or she is no longer meeting the work requirement. An individual shall not receive benefits under this paragraph (e) more than once in any three-year period.
(f) Waivers—(1) General. On the request of a State agency, FNS may waive the time limit for a group of individuals in the State if we determine that the area in which the individuals reside:
(i) Has an unemployment rate of over 10 percent; or
(ii) Does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individuals.
(2) Required data. The State agency may submit whatever data it deems appropriate to support its request. However, to support waiver requests based on unemployment rates or labor force data, States must submit data that relies on standard Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data or methods. A non-exhaustive list of the kinds of data a State agency may submit follows:
(i) To support a claim of unemployment over 10 percent, a State agency may submit evidence that an area has a recent 12 month average unemployment rate over 10 percent; a recent three month average unemployment rate over 10 percent; or an historical seasonal unemployment rate over 10 percent; or
(ii) To support a claim of lack of sufficient jobs, a State may submit evidence that an area: Is designated as a Labor Surplus Area (LSA) by the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA); is determined by the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Service as qualifying for extended unemployment benefits; has a low and declining employment-to-population ratio; has a lack of jobs in declining occupations or industries; is described in an academic study or other publications as an area where there are lack of jobs; has a 24-month average unemployment rate 20 percent above the national average for the same 24-month period. This 24-month period may not be any earlier than the same 24-month period the ETA uses to designate LSAs for the current fiscal year.
(3) Waivers that are readily approvable. FNS will approve State agency waivers where FNS confirms:
(i) Data from the BLS or the BLS cooperating agency that shows an area has a most recent 12 month average unemployment rate over 10 percent;
(ii) Evidence that the area has been designated a Labor Surplus Area by the ETA for the current fiscal year; or
(iii) Data from the BLS or the BLS cooperating agency that an area has a 24 month average unemployment rate that exceeds the national average by 20 percent for any 24-month period no earlier than the same period the ETA uses to designate LSAs for the current fiscal year.
(4) Effective date of certain waivers. In areas for which the State certifies that data from the BLS or the BLS cooperating agency show a most recent 12 month average unemployment rate over 10 percent; or the area has been designated as a Labor Surplus Area by the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration for the current fiscal year, the State may begin to operate the waiver at the time the waiver request is submitted. FNS will contact the State if the waiver must be modified.
(5) Duration of waiver. In general, waivers will be approved for one year. The duration of a waiver should bear some relationship to the documentation provided in support of the waiver request. FNS will consider approving waivers for up to one year based on documentation covering a shorter period, but the State agency must show that the basis for the waiver is not a seasonal or short term aberration. We reserve the right to approve waivers for a shorter period at the State agency's request or if the data is insufficient. We reserve the right to approve a waiver for a longer period if the reasons are compelling.
(6) Areas covered by waivers. States may define areas to be covered by waivers. We encourage State agencies to submit data and analyses that correspond to the defined area. If corresponding data does not exist, State agencies should submit data that corresponds as closely to the area as possible.
(g) Discretionary exemptions. (1) For the purpose of establishing the discretionary exemptions for each State agency, the following terms are defined:
(i) Caseload means the average monthly number of individuals receiving SNAP benefits during the 12-month period ending the preceding June 30.
(ii) Covered individual means a SNAP recipient, or an applicant denied eligibility for benefits solely because he or she received SNAP benefits during the 3 months of eligibility provided under paragraph (b) of this section, who:
(A) Is not exempt from the time limit under paragraph (c) of this section;
(B) Does not reside in an area covered by a waiver granted under paragraph (f) of this section;
(C) Is not fulfilling the work requirements as defined in paragraph (a)(1) of this section; and
(D) Is not receiving SNAP benefits under paragraph (e) of this section.
(2) Subject to paragraphs (h) and (i) of this section, a State agency may provide an exemption from the 3-month time limit of paragraph (b) of this section for covered individuals. Exemptions do not count towards a State agency's allocation if they are provided to an individual who is otherwise exempt from the time limit during that month.
(3) For each fiscal year, a State agency may provide a number of exemptions such that the average monthly number of exemptions in effect during the fiscal year does not exceed 12 percent of the number of covered individuals in the State, as estimated by FNS, based on FY 1996 quality control data and other factors FNS deems appropriate, and adjusted by FNS to reflect changes in:
(i) The State agency's caseload; and
(ii) FNS's estimate of changes in the proportion of SNAP recipients covered by waivers granted under paragraph (f) of this section.
(4) State agencies must not discriminate against any covered individual for reasons of age, race, color, sex, disability, religious creed, national origin, or political beliefs. Such discrimination is prohibited by this part, the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 (Public Law 94–135), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 93–112, section 504), and title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d). Enforcement action may be brought under any applicable Federal law. Title VI complaints will be processed in accord with 7 CFR part 15.
(h) Adjustments. FNS will make adjustments as follows:
(1) Caseload adjustments. FNS will adjust the number of exemptions estimated for a State agency under paragraph (g)(2) of this section during a fiscal year if the number of SNAP recipients in the State varies from the State's caseload by more than 10 percent, as estimated by FNS.
(2) Exemption adjustments. During each fiscal year, FNS will adjust the number of exemptions allocated to a State agency based on the number of exemptions in effect in the State for the preceding fiscal year.
(i) If the State agency does not use all of its exemptions by the end of the fiscal year, FNS will increase the estimated number of exemptions allocated to the State agency for the subsequent fiscal year by the remaining balance.
(ii) If the State agency exceeds its exemptions by the end of the fiscal year, FNS will reduce the estimated number of exemptions allocated to the State agency for the subsequent fiscal year by the corresponding number.
(i) Reporting requirement. The State agency will track the number of exemptions used each month and report this number to the regional office on a quarterly basis as an addendum to the quarterly Employment and Training Report (Form FNS–583) required by § 273.7(c)(8).
(j) Other Program rules. Nothing in this section will make an individual eligible for SNAP benefits if the individual is not otherwise eligible for benefits under the other provisions of this part and the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008.
(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:
(1) Simplified SNAP (S–SNAP) means a program authorized under 7 U.S.C. 2035.
(2) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) means a State program of family assistance operated by an eligible State under its TANF plan as defined at 45 CFR 260.30.
(3) Pure-TANF household means a household in which all members receive assistance under a State program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).
(4) Mixed-TANF household means a household in which 1 or more members, but not all members, receive assistance under a State program funded under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).
(b) Limit on benefit reduction for mixed-TANF households under the S–SNAP. If a State agency chooses to operate an S–SNAP and includes mixed-TANF households in its program, the following requirements apply in addition to the statutory requirements governing the S–SNAP.
(1) If a State's S–SNAP reduces benefits for mixed-TANF households, then no more than 5 percent of these participating households can have benefits reduced by 10 percent of the amount they are eligible to receive under the regular SNAP and no mixed-TANF household can have benefits reduced by 25 percent or more of the amount it is eligible to receive under the regular SNAP. Reductions of $10 or less will be disregarded when applying this requirement.
(2) The State must include in its State S–SNAP plan an analysis showing the impact its program has on benefit levels for mixed-TANF households by comparing the allotment amount such households would receive using the rules and procedures of the State's S–SNAP with the allotment amount these households would receive if certified under regular SNAP rules and showing the number of households whose allotment amount would be reduced by 9.99 percent or less, by 10 to 24.99 percent, and by 25 percent or more, excluding those households with reductions of $10 or less. In order for FNS to accurately evaluate the program's impact, States must describe in detail the methodology used as the basis for this analysis.
(3) To ensure compliance with the benefit reduction requirement once an S–SNAP is operational, States must describe in their plan and have approved by FNS a methodology for measuring benefit reductions for mixed-TANF households on an on-going basis throughout the duration of the SFSP. In addition, States must report to FNS on a periodic basis the amount of benefit loss experienced by mixed-TANF households participating in the State's S–SNAP. The frequency of such reports will be determined by FNS taking into consideration such factors as the number of mixed-TANF households participating in the S–SNAP and the amount of benefit loss attributed to these households through initial or on-going analyses.
(c) Application processing standards. Under statutory requirements, a household is not eligible to participate in an S–SNAP unless it is receiving TANF assistance. If a household is not receiving TANF assistance (payments have not been authorized) at the time of its application for S–SNAP, the State agency must process the application using the regular SNAP requirements of § 273.2, including processing within the 30-day time frame, and screening for and provision of expedited service if eligible. The State agency must determine under regular SNAP rules the eligibility and benefits of any household that it has found ineligible for TANF assistance because of time limits, more restrictive resource standards, or other rules that do not apply to SNAP.
(d) Standards for shelter costs. Legislation governing the S–SNAP requires that State plans must address the needs of households with high shelter costs relative to their income. If a State chooses to standardize shelter costs under the S–SNAP, it must, therefore, use multiple standards that take into consideration households with high shelter costs versus those with low shelter costs. A State is prohibited from using a single standard based on average shelter costs for all households participating in an S–SNAP.
(e) Opportunity for public comment. States must provide an opportunity for public input on proposed S–SNAP plans (with special attention to changes in benefit amounts that are necessary in order to ensure that the overall proposal not increase Federal costs) through a public comment period, public hearings, or meetings with groups representing participants' interests. Final approval will be given after the State informs the Department about the comments received from the public. After the public comment period, the State agency must inform the Department about the comments received from the public and submit its final S–SNAP plan for Departmental approval.