Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Section 801 - Definition of Certification Period

Last Modified: 04/11/2014

Section 801 - Definition of Certification Period

Q. Can FNS still waive the certification period requirement in the law?

A. The amendment to section 3(c) of the Food Stamp Act made by section 801 of the PRWORA removed the authority to grant waivers of the certification period requirements of the law. Waiver authority still exists under the demonstration project provisions of section 17(b). FCS may also grant waivers of the 2-year certification period for monthly reporting households on reservations, as provided in section 6(c)(1)(C)(iv).

Q. What kind of contact is needed at the end of 12 months for elderly and disabled households?

A. State agencies may determine what kind of contact to require, such as a face-to-face interview, a telephone interview, or completion of a form.

Q. Are States required to certify everyone for 12 months?

A. State agencies are no longer required to certify certain types of households for specific periods. However, no certification periods can be longer than 12 months except for households in which all adult members are elderly or disabled and households on reservations that are required to report monthly.

Q. Section 805 puts a 90-day limit on the time a household living with others can be considered homeless. Does this mean that the certification period for this type of household cannot exceed 3 months?

A. State agencies can determine how long the certification period should be for these households.

Q. Regarding the definition of a certification period, what is meant by contact? Must this be a face-to-face or would a telephone or mail contact suffice?

A. We will either address this in the regulations or allow State flexibility in this area. In the interim, States may use their discretion.

Q. Some States now have waivers to allow households other than those with elderly or disabled members to have certification periods longer than 12 months. Since the waiver authority has been removed from the law, what does this mean for current and future waivers in this area?

A. You will receive further guidance in this area.