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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Section 819 - Comparable Treatment for Disqualification

Last Published: 08/26/2015

Section 819 - Comparable Treatment for Disqualification

Q. A joint Title IV-A and food stamp initial application is taken. The State agency denies Title IV-A benefits because the household is a teen parent who does not live at home without good cause. Can food stamps be denied at the same time based on the comparable disqualification provision?

A. Since this is a discretionary provision and the final regulations have not yet been published, the State agency may apply its own interpretation for the time being. However, our preliminary position, subject to change during the regulatory process, is that the household must be receiving Title IV-A benefits before there can be a Title IV-A disqualification. Therefore, we do not think that the comparable disqualification provision should be applied at the time of initial application for Title IV-A. (We interpret Section 11(i)(2) of the Food Stamp Act, as amended, to only apply to joint applications for recertification when there has been no break in participation.)

Q. In Section 819 regarding comparable disqualifications, does the disqualification have to happen after enactment?

A. Yes.

Q. Does the comparable disqualification period have to be for the same period of time as the disqualification in the assistance program?

A. The food stamp disqualification should be concurrent with the assistance program disqualification to the extent possible. A food stamp disqualification period should never be imposed before the disqualification is imposed for purposes of the assistance program. It may not always be possible to impose the full disqualification period for food stamp purposes because of advance notice of adverse action requirements during the certification period.

Q. Can comparable disqualifications include permanent disqualifications? For example, a person may be permanently disqualified in a public assistance program after the third violation.

A. Yes. If another assistance program disqualifies a person permanently for failure to take a required action, he or she may be disqualified permanently for food stamp purposes.

Q. Can States set limits on the length of permanent or indefinite disqualifications?

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

Q. Must States develop their own systems to keep track of disqualifications in other programs?

A. States must develop their own system.

Q. The law provides that Title IV-A rules and procedures can be used. If Title IV-A disqualifies the whole household, can the whole household be disqualified for food stamps?

A. Disqualifications should only be applied to the individual. *

Q. Can food stamps disqualify the whole household under the comparable disqualification provision although the food stamp work requirement only disqualifies an individual for some offense?

A. No. *

Q. If a person fails to perform an action required by a general assistance program and the whole household is disqualified, can the whole household be disqualified for food stamp purposes?

A. Only the individual can be disqualified under the comparable disqualification provision. *

Q. If a person is disqualified under a HUD Section 8 housing program, can the person be disqualified for food stamps?

A. Yes, a person may be disqualified under the comparable disqualification provision.

Q. Must the household be given a notice before the person can be disqualified for food stamps during the certification period?

A. Yes, the household must be given a notice of adverse action in accordance with 7 CFR 273.12(c)(2).