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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Section 829 - Failure to Comply with Other Means-tested Public Assistance Programs

Last Modified: 04/10/2014

Section 829 - Failure to Comply with Other Means-tested Public Assistance Programs

Q. Can this section be applied if the failure to perform a required action occurs at application or must the household have been receiving benefits in the other program at the time the failure occurs?

A. The individual, unit, or household must have been receiving assistance at the time of the violation and that assistance must be reduced, suspended or terminated because of the failure to perform an action required under the law or program.

Q. Is the provision that allows a percentage reduction in the food stamp allotment in addition to the prohibition on not increasing food stamp benefits as the result of a failure to take a required action in another program or is the percentage reduction a means of preventing an increase?

A. The percentage reduction may be in addition to or may be a means of preventing an increase.

Q. Are States required to establish systems to find this information or act upon it only when they become aware of it?

A. 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. We do expect the State agency to act on information that it has available. For example, State agencies should have information available on TANF cases.

Q. Can the Notice of Action serve as the required notification before penalty is imposed?

A. Yes. Regular due process standards must be applied. There are no special notice requirements for this section of the welfare reform law.

Q. If recouping for a public assistance overpayment, do the provisions of section 829 apply?

A. Yes. The recouped amount is to recover for a past overissuance which may or may not be related to the current reduction in the amount of the public assistance grant. For example, a household was getting $300 public assistance. The State determined that the person failed to report earned income in the months of February and March and that the person subsequently quit his or her job. Public assistance was overissued in February and March in the amount of $100 each month because of the unreported income. The total amount of the public assistance grant is being reduced for April through July in the amount of $50 during that period of time because the person was disqualified for quitting a job. The State agency should attribute $50 additional public assistance income for the months of April through July (or apply a percentage reduction to the food stamp allotment).

Q. Would the percentage reduction be applied to Title IV recouped amounts?

A. Set percentage reductions are based on the food stamp allotments.

If the State opts to prevent an increase in food stamps by increasing the PA grant by a percentage based on the percent an individual PA grant was reduced at the time of the failure to take an action, the individual percentage amount would be applied to the total PA grant before any recoupments are made.

Q. The food stamp office is recouping 20 percent of the allotment for a food stamp IPV. If the State chooses to reduce the food stamp allotment by 25 percent to prevent an increase due to a violation in another program, should the 25 percent amount be applied to the full allotment or the amount remaining after the food stamp recoupment?

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

Q. What programs are means tested?

A. There is no list of qualified means-tested programs. We will either address this in regulations or allow State flexibility in this area.

Q. Does this apply to new applicants who have never applied before?

A. We will either address this in regulations or allow State flexibility in this area.

Q. Does this apply to applicants who reapply after a break in participation?

A. We will either address this in regulations or allow State flexibility in this area.

Q. Does this follow the person from county to county?

A. We will either address this in regulations or allow State flexibility in this area.

Q. Will continued benefits be allowed pending a food stamp fair hearing on this issue?

A. Food stamp benefits may be continued in accordance with 273.15(k) if food stamp benefits are reduced or terminated because of the deemed income or application of a percentage amount.

Q. Will there be one fair hearing for all applicable programs?

A. When an action is planned to reduce food stamp benefits during the certification period, the State agency must notify the households of the planned action and advise them of their right to a fair hearing. The State agency may, but is not required, to combine fair hearings for multiple programs.

Q. How is Section 829 regarding the prohibition against increasing food stamp benefits for failure of a person to take an action required in another assistance program different from the 5/1/96 rule?

The violation no longer has to be "intentional," the food stamp allotment can be reduced by not more than 25 percent (rather than keeping track of the benefits the household would have gotten in the other program but for the disqualification), Title IV-A procedures can be used for Title IV-A penalties, and the implementation date is 8/22/96 rather than no later than 11/27/96.

Q. Can States decrease benefits by less than 25 percent, for example 15 percent?

A. Any percent through 25 percent may be used provided it is high enough to prohibit an increase in most cases.

Q. If a State opts to use a flat percentage, can it use this amount even if the actual assistance decrease would have been greater?

A. Yes. If a State opts to use a flat percentage, it should reduce the food stamp allotment by that percent even when the actual reductions in assistance would have been more or less.

For example, the State agency has chosen to reduce food stamp allotments by 20 percent for failure of a household member to comply with a particular requirement in another program. In one case, based on an individual computation, the household would have received a $10 increase in Title IV-A but for the disqualification and in another case a household would have received a $50 increase in Title IV-A but for the disqualification. In both cases, rather than attributing the actual amount of additional assistance the household would have received but for the disqualification and computing a new food stamp allotment, the food stamp allotment computed based on the amount of assistance the household actually received would be reduced by 20 percent.

Q. For purposes of the provision prohibiting an increase in food stamp benefits, does the failure to take a required action have to happen after enactment?

A. This will be addressed in the regulations since the 5/1/96 rule applied to disqualifications prior to 8/22/96.

Q. A person is disqualified under another assistance program for 2 months or until they comply whichever is longer. After 2 months the person applies for food stamps but does not reapply for AFDC to cure him or herself. Should this be considered a 2-month disqualification or a permanent disqualification? The person may not be eligible for the other assistance program for some other reason or may not choose to reapply. The person may not be given the chance to cure him or herself even if he or she reapplied for Title IV-A.

A. This is a category 1 inquiry that will be addressed in the regulations.

Q. Can State agencies define failure to comply with another assistance program requirement?

A. Yes, for purposes of the provision that prohibits an increase in food stamp benefits as long as the States do not define it so broadly as to permanently deny households food stamps because of provisions in other programs such as time-limited benefits or family cap provisions.