Questions and Answers Regarding the Food Stamp Program (FSP) Certification
Provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill- Food Security and Rural Investment Act
of 2002 (P.L. 107-171)
Attached are questions and answers in response to issues raised by States since the issuance of our two earlier sets of questions and answers, clarifying the certification provisions of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Public Law 107-171, (Farm Bill), which was enacted on May 13, 2002. These questions and answers were issued 3/29/04.
Simplified Reporting and Changes:
Question 4109-26: When a household reports new income, does the State
deal with the possibility of a new household member?
Answer: Yes. As part of its normal handling of the new information
the State would determine whose income it was, whether the income should be
counted, and if benefits are affected. In making these determinations the
State would inevitably learn whether the income belongs to a new member of
Question 4109-27: It is our understanding that any income that
belongs to the new household member would not be countable for the original
FS household; therefore the household would not be required to report the
income. Is our understanding correct?
Answer: No, this understanding is not correct. When Simplified
Reporting was first implemented some States suggested addressing the issue
of the income of new household members by providing the household a chart
with the gross income limit of various household sizes. FNS expects
households to report when their income exceeds the gross income limits for
the household size; however, we do not expect households to know who is a
household member and who is not. This is the job of the eligibility worker.
Accordingly, we said that the better approach would be to provide the
household with the gross income limit for the current household size.
Households should be advised to total up the income at the end of the month.
If new individuals are present, their income must be included. If
individuals have left, their income is not included. If the income of all
those present exceeds the original reporting amount, then the household has
a duty to report. It is the State agencyís responsibility to determine:
- If the new individual is a household member (taking into account
that some individuals may require special treatment under 7 CFR
- If the income countable, determine the new household size and
new reporting threshold, if the household remains eligible; and
- If the new individual is not a household member, then thereís no
action for the State agency to take.
There was never any stated or implied policy that the income of new
individuals would not be considered until the next redetermination.
Question 4109-28: What if the income of the new household member
isnít countable? What would the State do when the income has been
Answer: Because the State agency is aware that the income that
has been reported is from a new household member, the State must act
because the addition of the new household member would result in an
increase in the food stamp householdís benefits.
Question 4109-29: What if a Simplified Reporting food stamp
household moves into another household that has income? Would a
Simplified Reporting household have to report if the householdís income
exceeds the 130 percent threshold?
Answer: Yes. Of course, if the State agency finds that the two
households are purchasing and preparing meals separately and that there
are no mandatory household members to add to the current food stamp
household, no action would be taken.
Question 4109-30: We have a State agency that received a wage
match that a household member was working and the income exceeded the
130 percent threshold. The State has a waiver to act on all changes. The
State agency subsequently discovered that the household member who had
been working had moved out of the home and hadnít started working until
after he had moved. What, if anything, should the household have
reported in this case?
Answer: Nothing. Households under Simplified Reporting have no
obligation to report the income of those individuals who are no longer
part of the household, even if the former household member is still
technically receiving benefits. Also, Simplified Reporting households do
not have to report changes in household composition. In this case,
because the State agency has a waiver to act on all changes, it would
remove the household member who no longer lived in the home.
Question 4109-31: We have a case where the client got married and
didnít report it. The husbandís income would have put the household over
the 130 percent gross income for the original household size. Since the
client is not obligated to report the new household member, can we
require the client to report the new household memberís income?
Answer: Yes. See Question/Answer 4109-27 above.
Information on this page is provided for historical reference
and may not reflect recent policy or legislative changes. Please refer to
http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/government/Policy.htm for the latest information on SNAP policy and legislative changes.