CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES

Department for Community Based Services

Division of Family Support

(Amendment)

 

††††† 921 KAR 3:035. Certification process.

 

††††† RELATES TO: 7 C.F.R. 271.2, 273.1, 273.2, 273.4, 273.5, 273.10, 273.11, 273.12, 273.14, 274, 280.1, 7 U.S.C. 2014, 42 U.S.C. 5122, 5179

††††† STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 194A.050(1), 7 C.F.R. 271.4

††††† NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: 7 C.F.R. 271.4 requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to administer a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) within the state. KRS 194A.050(1) requires the secretary to promulgate administrative regulations necessary to implement programs mandated by federal law or to qualify for the receipt of federal funds and necessary to cooperate with other state and federal agencies for the proper administration of the cabinet and its programs. This administrative regulation establishes the certification process used by the cabinet in the administration of SNAP.

 

††††† Section 1. Eligibility and Benefit Levels. (1) Eligibility and benefit levels shall be determined by the cabinet by considering a household's circumstance for the entire period for which each household is certified.

††††† (2) Certification criteria shall be applicable to all households.

††††† (3) Certain households shall require special or additional certification procedures as specified in Section 5 of this administrative regulation.

 

††††† Section 2. Certification Periods. (1) In accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.10(f), the cabinet shall establish a definite period of time within which a household shall be eligible to receive benefits.

††††† (2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, a household shall be certified for at least:

††††† (a) Six (6) months; or

††††† (b) Twelve (12) months if all members:

††††† 1. Are elderly or have a disability as defined in 921 KAR 3:010; and

††††† 2. Have no earned income.

††††† (3)(a) A household shall be certified for one (1) or two (2) months if the household meets criteria to:

††††† 1. Expedite benefits in accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.2(i)(1); and

††††† 2. Postpone verification.

††††† (b) At the end of a one (1) or two (2) month certification, a household may be recertified for a six (6) month or twelve (12) month certification as specified in subsection (2) of this section.

††††† (4)(a) In accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.12, a household, in which all members are elderly or have a disability as defined in 921 KAR 3:010 and have no earned income, shall complete an interim report using Form FS-2, SNAP 6-Month Review[Report], during the[sixth (6) month of the] householdís certification period if the household reports[unless all household members]:

††††† 1. A new household member who is non-elderly or non-disabled; or[Are elderly or have a disability as defined in 921 KAR 3:010; and]

††††† 2. A gain of[Have no] earned income.

††††† (b) If a household fails to return a completed FS-2[, SNAP 6-Month Report,] or the required income verification, the cabinet shall take action in accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.12(a)(5).

 

††††† Section 3. Certification Notices to Households. In accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.10(g), the cabinet shall provide an applicant with one (1) of the following written notices as soon as a determination is made, but no later than thirty (30) days after the date of the initial application:

††††† (1) Notice of eligibility;

††††† (2) Notice of denial; or

††††† (3) Notice of pending status.

 

††††† Section 4. Application for Recertification. The cabinet shall process an application for recertification as specified in 921 KAR 3:030, Section 1, as follows:

††††† (1) If a household files the application:

††††† (a) By the 15th day of the last month of the certification, the cabinet shall:

††††† 1. Allow the household to return verification or complete a required action through the last calendar day of the application month; and

††††† 2. Provide uninterrupted benefits, if the household is otherwise eligible; or

††††† (b) After the 15th day, but prior to the last day of the last month of the certification, the cabinet shall allow the household thirty (30) days to return verification or complete a required action; or

††††† (2) If the household fails to provide information required for the cabinet to process the application for recertification within a time period established in subsection (1) of this section, the cabinet shall take action in accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.14(e)(2).

 

††††† Section 5. Certification Process for Specific Households. Pursuant to 7 C.F.R. 273.11, certain households have circumstances that are substantially different from other households and therefore shall require special or additional certification procedures.

††††† (1) A household with a self-employed member shall have its case processed as follows:

††††† (a) Income is annualized over a twelve (12) month period, if self-employment income:

††††† 1. Represents a household's annual income; or

††††† 2. Is received on a monthly basis which represents a household's annual support.

††††† (b) Self-employment income, which is intended to meet the household's needs for only part of the year, shall be averaged over the period of time the income is intended to cover.

††††† (c) Income from a household's self-employment enterprise that has been in existence for less than one (1) year shall be averaged over the period of time the business has been in operation and a monthly amount projected over the coming year.

††††† (d) The cabinet shall calculate the self-employment income on anticipated earnings if the:

††††† 1. Averaged annualized amount does not accurately reflect the household's actual circumstances; and

††††† 2. Household has experienced a substantial increase or decrease in business.

††††† (2) A household with a boarder shall have its case processed as follows:

††††† (a) Income from the boarder shall:

††††† 1. Be treated as self-employment income; and

††††† 2. Include all direct payments to the household for:

††††† a. Room;

††††† b. Meals; and

††††† c. Shelter expenses.

††††† (b) Deductible expenses shall include:

††††† 1. Cost of doing business;

††††† 2. Twenty (20) percent of the earned income; and

††††† 3. Shelter costs.

††††† (3) A household with a member ineligible due to an intentional program violation, or failure to comply with the work requirements or work registration requirements, shall be processed as follows:

††††† (a) Income and resources of the ineligible member shall be counted in their entirety as income available to the remaining household members.

††††† (b) Remaining household members shall receive standard earned income, medical, dependent care, and excess shelter deductions.

††††† (c) The ineligible member shall not be included if:

††††† 1. Assigning benefit levels;

††††† 2. Comparing monthly income with income eligibility standards; and

††††† 3. Comparing household resources with resource eligibility standards.

††††† (4) A household with a member ineligible due to failure to provide a Social Security number, or ineligible alien status, shall be processed as follows:

††††† (a) All resources of an ineligible member shall be considered available to the remaining household members.

††††† (b) A pro rata share, as described in 7 C.F.R. 273.11(c)(2)(ii), of the ineligible member's income shall be attributed to remaining household members.

††††† (c) The twenty (20) percent earned income deduction shall be applied to the pro rata share of earnings.

††††† (d) The ineligible member's share of dependent care and shelter expenses shall not be counted.

††††† (e) The ineligible member shall not be included as specified in subsection (3)(c) of this section.

††††† (5) A household with a nonhousehold member shall be processed as follows:

††††† (a) With the exception of an ineligible member, the income and resources of a nonhousehold member shall not be considered available to the household with whom they reside.

††††† (b) If the earned income of a household member and a nonhousehold member are combined into one (1) wage, the cabinet shall:

††††† 1. Count that portion due to the household as earned income, if identifiable; or

††††† 2. Count a pro rata share of earned income, if the nonhousehold member's share cannot be identified.

††††† (c) A nonhousehold member shall not be included in the household size, if determining the eligibility and benefits for the household.

††††† (6) The cabinet shall process the case of a drug or alcoholic treatment program resident, as described in 7 C.F.R. 271.2, as follows:

††††† (a) An eligible household shall include:

††††† 1.a. A narcotic addict; or

††††† b. An alcoholic; and

††††† 2. A child of the narcotic addict or alcoholic.

††††† (b) Certification shall be accomplished through use of the treatment programís authorized representative.

††††† (c) SNAP processing standards and notice provisions shall apply to a resident recipient.

††††† (d) A treatment program shall notify the cabinet of a change in a resident's circumstance.

††††† (e) Upon departure of the treatment program, the resident shall be eligible to receive remaining benefits, if otherwise eligible.

††††† (f) The treatment program shall be responsible for knowingly misrepresenting a household circumstance.

††††† (7) The following case processing procedures shall apply to residents of a group living arrangement, as defined in 7 C.F.R. 271.2:

††††† (a) Application shall be made by a resident or through use of the group living arrangementís authorized representative.

††††† (b) Certification provisions applicable to all other households shall be applied.

††††† (c) Responsibility for reporting changes shall depend upon who files the application:

††††† 1. If a resident applies, the household shall report a change in household circumstance to the cabinet; or

††††† 2. If the group living arrangement acts as authorized representative, the group living arrangement shall report a change in household circumstance.

††††† (d) Eligibility of the resident shall continue after departure from the group living arrangement, if otherwise eligible.

††††† (e) Unless the household applied on its own behalf, the group living arrangement shall be responsible for knowingly misrepresenting a household circumstance.

††††† (8) A case of a resident in a shelter for battered women and children shall be processed as follows:

††††† (a) The shelter shall:

††††† 1. Have FNS authorization to redeem SNAP benefits at wholesalers; or

††††† 2. Meet the federal definition of a shelter as defined in 7 C.F.R. 271.2.

††††† (b) A shelter resident shall be certified for benefits as established in 7 C.F.R. 273.11(g).

††††† (c) The cabinet shall promptly remove the resident from the former household's case, upon notification.

††††† (9) The case of an SSI recipient shall be processed as follows:

††††† (a) An Application may be filed at the:

††††† 1. Social Security Administration (SSA) Office; or

††††† 2. Local Department for Community Based Services office.

††††† (b) The cabinet shall not require an additional interview for applications filed at the SSA.

††††† (c) The cabinet shall obtain all necessary verification prior to approving benefits.

††††† (d) Certification periods shall conform to Section 2 of this administrative regulation.

††††† (e) A household change in circumstance shall conform to Section 7 of this administrative regulation.

††††† (10) A household with a member who is on strike shall have its eligibility determined by:

††††† (a) Comparing the striking member's income the day prior to the strike, to the striker's current income;

††††† (b) Adding the higher of the prestrike income or current income to other current household income; and

††††† (c) Allowing the appropriate earnings deduction.

††††† (11) Sponsored aliens.

††††† (a) Income of a sponsored alien, as defined in 7 C.F.R. 273.4(c)(2), shall be:

††††† 1. Deemed income from a sponsor and sponsorís spouse which shall:

††††† a. Include total monthly earned and unearned income; and

††††† b. Be reduced by:

††††† (i) The twenty (20) percent earned income disregard, if appropriate; and

††††† (ii) The SNAP gross income eligibility limit for a household equal in size to the sponsorís household;

††††† 2. Subject to appropriate income exclusions as specified in 921 KAR 3:020, Section 3; and

††††† 3. Reduced by the twenty (20) percent earned income disregard, if appropriate.

††††† (b) If the sponsor is financially responsible for more than one (1) sponsored alien, the sponsorís income shall be prorated among each sponsored alien.

††††† (c) A portion of income, as specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection, of the sponsor and of the sponsor's spouse shall be deemed unearned income until the sponsored alien:

††††† 1. Becomes a naturalized citizen;

††††† 2. Is credited with forty (40) qualifying quarters of work;

††††† 3. Meets criteria to be exempt from deeming, in accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.4(c)(3);

††††† 4. Is no longer considered lawfully admitted for permanent residence and leaves the United States; or

††††† 5. Dies, or the sponsor dies.

††††† (d) Effective October 1, 2003, deeming requirements shall no longer apply to sponsored alien children under eighteen (18) years of age, in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2014.

 

††††† Section 6. Disaster Certification. The cabinet shall distribute emergency SNAP benefits, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 5122, to a household residing in a county determined to be a disaster area in accordance with 42 U.S.C. 5179 and 7 C.F.R. 280.1.

 

††††† Section 7. Reporting Changes. (1) Within ten (10) days of the end of the month in which the change occurs, a household shall report a change which causes:

††††† (a) The household's gross monthly income to exceed 130 percent of poverty level based on household size; or

††††† (b) A household member, who does not have an exemption from work requirements, as specified in 921 KAR 3:025, Section 3(8)(b), to work less than twenty (20) hours per week.

††††† (2) An applying household shall report a change related to its SNAP eligibility and benefits:

††††† (a) At the certification interview; or

††††† (b) Within ten (10) days of the date of the notice of eligibility, if the change occurs after the interview, but prior to receipt of the notice.

 

††††† Section 8. Incorporation by Reference. (1) The "FS-2, SNAP 6-Month Review", 10/14[edition 7/12], is incorporated by reference.

††††† (2) This material may be inspected, copied, or obtained, subject to applicable copyright law, at the Department for Community Based Services, 275 East Main Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40621, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

TERESA C. JAMES, LCSW, Commissioner

AUDREY TAYSE HAYNES, Secretary

††††† APPROVED BY AGENCY: June 11, 2014

††††† FILED WITH LRC: June 13, 2014 at 9 a.m.

††††† PUBLIC HEARING AND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: A public hearing on this administrative regulation shall, if requested, be held on July 21, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in the Health Services Auditorium, Health Services Building, First Floor, 275 East Main Street, Frankfort, Kentucky. Individuals interested in attending this hearing shall notify this agency in writing by July 14, 2014, five (5) workdays prior to the hearing, of their intent to attend. If no notification of intent to attend the hearing is received by that date, the hearing may be canceled. The hearing is open to the public. Any person who attends will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposed administrative regulation. A transcript of the public hearing will not be made unless a written request for a transcript is made. If you do not wish to attend the public hearing, you may submit written comments on the proposed administrative regulation. You may submit written comments regarding this proposed administrative regulation until July 31, 2014. Send written notification of intent to attend the public hearing or written comments on the proposed administrative regulation to:

††††† CONTACT PERSON: Tricia Orme, Office of Legal Services, 275 East Main Street 5 W-B, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601, phone 502-564-7905, fax 502-564-7573, email tricia.orme@ky.gov.

 

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS AND TIERING STATEMENT

 

Contact Person: Elizabeth Caywood

††††† (1) Provide a brief summary of:

††††† (a) What this administrative regulation does: This administrative regulation establishes the certification process used by the cabinet in the administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

††††† (b) The necessity of this administrative regulation: This administrative regulation establishes the certification process necessary to determine SNAP eligibility.

††††† (c) How this administrative regulation conforms to the content of the authorizing statutes: This administrative regulation conforms to the authorizing statutes by establishing the certification process for SNAP eligibility determination.

††††† (d) How this administrative regulation currently assists or will assist in the effective administration of the statutes: This administrative regulation assists in the effective administration of the statutes by establishing the certification process for SNAP.

††††† (2) If this is an amendment to an existing administrative regulation, provide a brief summary of:

††††† (a) How the amendment will change this existing administrative regulation: The amendment to this administrative regulation will adjust the twelve (12) month certification period to a six (6) month certification period for SNAP households with the exception of households in which all members are elderly or have a disability and have no earned income. This amendment will also revise material incorporated by reference, form FS-2, SNAP 6 Month Review, to comply with federal regulations by updating the nondiscrimination statement as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Office of Civil Rights. Other technical corrections were made in accordance with KRS Chapter 13A.

††††† (b) The necessity of the amendment to this administrative regulation: The amendment to this administrative regulation is necessary to decrease the SNAP benefit error rate and the number of improper payments through improved accuracy in the eligibility determination process. In addition, the amendment updates the nondiscrimination statement included on incorporated material to conform with federal requirements. FNS revised the nondiscrimination statement in 2013. If federal requirements are not met, including conformity with nondiscrimination requirements, the state risks corrective action up to and including federal penalties and sanctions.

††††† (c) How the amendment conforms to the content of the authorizing statutes: The amendment conforms to the authorizing statutes by aligning with federal performance and practice requirements.

††††† (d) How the amendment will assist in the effective administration of the statutes: The amendment to this administrative regulation will assist in the effective administration of the statutes by assuring compliance with federal requirements and affording public assistance recipients with more accurate SNAP benefits and adequate notice of their rights regarding nondiscrimination.

††††† (3) List the type and number of individuals, businesses, organizations, or state and local governments affected by this administrative regulation: All SNAP recipients and potential applicants are affected by this administrative regulation. During March 2014, approximately 828,244 individuals in 400,366 households participated in SNAP and over 47,000 SNAP applications were received in Kentucky.

††††† (4) Provide an analysis of how the entities identified in question (3) will be impacted by either the implementation of this administrative regulation, if new, or by the change, if it is an amendment, including:

††††† (a) List the actions that each of the regulated entities identified in question (3) will have to take to comply with this administrative regulation or amendment: This amendment will require SNAP recipients to complete a six month renewal interview with the exception of households in which all members are elderly or have a disability and have no earned income. SNAP recipients can conduct these interviews through the agencyís call services; the interviews do not necessitate that the recipients make appointments or appear in a local departmental office.

††††† (b) In complying with this administrative regulation or amendment, how much will it cost each of the entities identified in question (3): The amendment to this administrative regulation will not impose a new cost to the entities identified in question (3). If there is any new burden placed upon SNAP recipients, it will be minimal. Any burden should be offset by the benefits outlined in (c) of this item.

††††† (c) As a result of compliance, what benefits will accrue to the entities identified in question (3): The Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) implemented a twelve month certification period for all SNAP households in 2011. The longer certification period necessitated a six-month review process. The six-month review process--actualized through the mailing, completion, and return of the FS-2--did not realize benefits to SNAP recipients or the agency; rather the process became error prone resulting in the issuance of inaccurate benefits to SNAP recipients or their discontinuation from the program in the event the FS-2 was lost, not returned, or returned untimely. DCBS was also limited by federal regulation regarding the information that could be re-verified or solicited from SNAP households during the review process. The six month certification process, as proposed in the amendment to this administrative regulation, will reduce errors on the part of the agency and the SNAP heads of household. Interviews better assure that accurate information and a fuller array of information are elicited from the SNAP recipient and are properly documented. Increased accuracy will reduce the need for claims due to improper payments, preserve the full federal share of the agencyís eligibility determination costs, and enhance the overall integrity of the program.

††††† (5) Provide an estimate of how much it will cost the administrative body to implement this administrative regulation:

††††† (a) Initially: The changes to the incorporated material are technical and conforming in nature. The changes to the certification period may necessitate minimal information technology costs initially, though these costs will be offset by reduced mailing costs and improved accuracy. Better accuracy will prevent the need to establish and collect claims for improper payments and help the state avoid federal corrective action and/or financial penalty.

††††† (b) On a continuing basis: There is no new continuing cost to the agency to implement this administrative regulation.

††††† (6) What is the source of the funding to be used for the implementation and enforcement of this administrative regulation: SNAP benefits are 100 percent federally funded. Administrative functions are funded at a fifty (50) percent state and fifty (50) percent federal match rate. The funding has been appropriated in the enacted budget.

††††† (7) Provide an assessment of whether an increase in fees or funding will be necessary to implement this administrative regulation if new, or by the change if it is an amendment: There is no increase in fees or funding required to implement this administrative regulation amendment.

††††† (8) State whether or not this administrative regulation established any fees or directly or indirectly increased any fees: This administrative regulation does not establish any fees or directly or indirectly increase any fees.

††††† (9) TIERING: Is tiering applied? Tiering is not applied, because this administrative regulation will be applied in a like manner statewide.

 

FEDERAL MANDATE ANALYSIS COMPARISON

 

††††† 1. Federal statute or regulation constituting the federal mandate. 7 C.F.R. 271.2, 273.1, 273.2, 273.4, 273.5, 273.10, 273.11, 273.12, 273.14, 274, 280.1, 7 U.S.C. 2014, 42 U.S.C. 5122, 5179

††††† 2. State compliance standards. KRS 194A.050(1)

††††† 3. Minimum or uniform standards contained in the federal mandate. The provisions of the administrative regulation comply with the federal mandate.

††††† 4. Will this administrative regulation impose stricter requirements, or additional or different responsibilities or requirements, than those required by the federal mandate? This administrative regulation does not impose stricter, additional or different responsibilities or requirements, than those required by the federal mandate.

††††† 5. Justification for the imposition of the stricter standard, or additional or different responsibilities or requirements. Justification for the imposition of a stricter standard, or additional or different responsibilities or requirements, is not applicable.

 

FISCAL NOTE ON STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

††††† (1) What units, parts, or divisions of state or local government (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) will be impacted by this administrative regulation? The Department for Community Based Services will be impacted by this administrative regulation.

††††† (2) Identify each state or federal statute or federal regulation that requires or authorizes the action taken by the administrative regulation. KRS 194A.050(1), 7 C.F.R. 271.2, 273.1, 273.2, 273.4, 273.5, 273.10, 273.11, 273.12, 273.14, 274, 280.1, 7 U.S.C. 2014, 42 U.S.C. 5122, 5179

††††† (3) Estimate the effect of this administrative regulation on the expenditures and revenues of a state or local government agency (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) for the first full year the administrative regulation is to be in effect.

††††† (a) How much revenue will this administrative regulation generate for the state or local government (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) for the first year? This administrative regulation will not generate any additional revenue in the first year.

††††† (b) How much revenue will this administrative regulation generate for the state or local government (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) for subsequent years? This administrative regulation will not generate any additional revenue in subsequent years.

††††† (c) How much will it cost to administer this program for the first year? The administrative regulation will not require any additional cost in the first year.

††††† (d) How much will it cost to administer this program for subsequent years? The administrative regulation will not require any additional costs in subsequent years.

††††† Note: If specific dollar estimates cannot be determined, provide a brief narrative to explain the fiscal impact of the administrative regulation.

††††† Revenues (+/-):

††††† Expenditures (+/-):

††††† Other Explanation: