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Library: Policy

340:50-3-1. The application process

Revised 5-22-20

(a) General.The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application process begins with a request for benefits and ends when the household's eligibility is determined and the household is notified of the decision.

(1) The application must be processed no later than 30-calendar days after the signed application is submitted to Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS).   • 1

(2) Expedited services must be made available to households in immediate need. Refer to Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:50-11-1 through 340:50-11-6 for expedited service criteria and procedures.

(3) Persons having lawful alien status must have their status verified through Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE), per OAC 340:65-3-4.

(4) Benefits must be provided retroactively to the application date for households who complete the application process and are determined eligible for the application month.

(b) Filing applications.Each household wishing to participate in SNAP must file a separate application.Refer to OAC 340:50-5-1 for household definition.The designated head of household is not required to make the food benefit application.Applications may be made by a responsible household member or authorized representative.A responsible household member or authorized representative completes an authorization for release of information at the time of application, when necessary.Applications may be submitted in person, online, or by fax, mail, or email.  2

(1) Right to same day filing.Because the time limit for providing benefits starts on the date OKDHS receives the application in the county office or online, the worker informs the household at first contact of its right to submit an application on the contact date and encourages the household to do so.The worker also informs the household it does not have to be interviewed before filing the application and that the household may file an incomplete application.At a minimum, an incomplete application must contain the applicant's name, address, an adult household member's signature or the household's authorized representative's signature.

(A) Form 08MP001E, Request for Benefits, is made readily accessible to potentially eligible households, groups, and organizations that assist persons in completing applications for food benefits.

(B) When the household requests food benefits:

(i) by phone, the worker first offers to submit an online application on behalf of the household (by proxy).When the household does not have time to submit the application by proxy, the worker informs the household it may submit an application online at www.okdhslive.orgor www.okbenefits.org, or the worker can email or mail Form 08MP001E to the household the same day; or

(ii) in writing and provides a phone number, the worker attempts to call the household to proxy the application.When the household did not provide a phone number or the worker is unable to reach the household, he or she mails Form 08MP001E to the household on the same day the written request is received.  3

(C) To facilitate SNAP participation for households in which all members are applying for a State Supplemental Payment (SSP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), these households must be allowed to apply for food benefits at the same time they apply for financial assistance.The household's eligibility and benefit level are based on food benefit eligibility criteria and the household is certified per SNAP rules.Refer to OAC 340:50-11-20 through 340:50-11-27 when processing food benefit applications for households approved for SSP and/or TANF.

(D) Immediately upon receipt in an OKDHS office, all applications are screened to determine if the household is entitled to expedited services.All initial applicant households that qualify, per OAC 340:50-11-1 must receive expedited processing when certified for food benefits whether requested by the household or not.

(2) Head of household. A household may select, as head of household, an adult parent of children of any age living in the food benefit household, or an adult who has parental control over children 17 years of age and younger living in the food benefit household, provided all adult household members agree to the selection.

(A) Households select their head of household at each certification action or when there is a change in household composition.

(B) When all adult members do not agree to the selection or decline to select an adult head of household, the household may select another head of household or the worker may designate a head of household.

(C) In no event does the failure to select an adult who has parental control of children delay the certification or result in the denial of benefits for an otherwise eligible household.

(3) Authorized representative.Per Section 273.2(n)(1) of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 C.F.R. § 273.2(n)(1)), an authorized representative is an adult non-household member who can act on behalf of the SNAP household.The authorized representative may complete the application process, report changes, obtain benefits, and/or purchase food for the household.  • 4

(A) The authorized representative designation must be made in writing and be signed by the head of household, spouse, or other responsible household member.The written designation must clearly state what actions the household wants the authorized representative to perform for it.The worker only allows the authorized representative access to the household's food benefits, when the written statement clearly grants such access.  5A household may allow any SNAP household member or non-household member, when authorized, to purchase food or meals for the SNAP household with the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, per 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(n)(3).  • 6

(B) A non-household member may be designated as an authorized representative for the application process provided the person is an adult who is knowledgeable of the relevant household circumstances. In the event the only adult member of the household is classified as a non-household member, per OAC 340:50-5-5, he or she may be designated as the authorized representative for minor household members.

(C) When a household member designates an authorized representative in writing to apply for SNAP benefits on the household's behalf, the worker informs the household it will be held liable for any over-issuance that results from erroneous information given by the authorized representative. When possible, the head of the household or spouse prepares or reviews the application, even though the authorized representative actually files the application and is interviewed.

(4) Restrictions on authorized representatives. The worker ensures an authorized representative is properly designated and has not been disqualified for an intentional program violation, per OAC 340:50-5-10.1 and 340:50-15-25 or is not restricted from serving as an authorized representative, per 7 C.F.R. § 273.2(n)(4) and information included in (A) through (E) of this subsection.

(A) Limits are not placed on the number of households an authorized representative may represent.The worker takes care to ensure the household:

(i) freely requested the authorized representative's assistance;

(ii) circumstances are correctly reported; and

(iii) receives the correct amount of benefits.

(B) OKDHS employees involved in certification or issuance processes and retailers authorized to accept food benefits may not act as authorized representatives without the specific written approval of the county director and only after the county director determines no one else is available to serve as the authorized representative.

(C) A person disqualified for an intentional program violation may not act as an authorized representative during the disqualification period unless the person disqualified is the only adult member of the household able to act on its behalf and the worker determines there is no one else available to serve as an authorized representative.The worker must separately determine if the person is needed to apply for or to obtain benefit on behalf of the household.  7

(D) An authorized representative is disqualified from serving as an authorized representative in SNAP for up to one year when evidence demonstrates he or she misrepresented a household's circumstances, knowingly provided false information pertaining to the household, or made improper use of benefits.

(i) Information indicating that a person should be disqualified as an authorized representative is forwarded to Adult and Family Services (AFS) SNAP, for a decision.The worker is notified in writing of the decision.

(ii) When the person is disqualified, appropriate notification is mailed to the household by AFS SNAP staff.

(iii) This provision does not apply to persons serving as authorized representatives for group homes or drug and alcoholic treatment centers.However, authorized representatives for group homes or drug and alcohol treatment centers who intentionally misrepresent household circumstances may be prosecuted under applicable federal and state statutes for their acts.

(E) Homeless meal providers, such as soup kitchens, temporary shelters, or contracted restaurants, are known as authorized or private, non-profit establishments.These authorized or private, non-profit establishments may not act as authorized representatives for homeless food benefit recipients.

(c) Processing initial applications.The application date for online submissions is the date the household submits the application to the OKDHSLive website at www.okdhslive.org or www.okbenefits.org.When the county office receives an application that contains the applicant's name and address, and is signed by a responsible member of the household or the househod's authorized representative, the household's application date is the date it is received and stamped into the county office except as stipulated, per OAC 340:50‑9‑1(c) and 340:50‑9‑6(e). When the application is signed by the responsible person or authorized representative for a household also applying for SSP or TANF, the application is processed, per OAC 340:50-11.   • 8

(1) Normal processing standard for initial applications.The worker must provide eligible households who complete the initial application process with food benefits within 30-calendar days following the date the initial application is submitted.

(2) Withdrawing application.A household may voluntarily withdraw its application at any time prior to the eligibility determination.   • 9

(d) Second 30-calendar day period.A new application is not needed when a household completes the application interview within 30-calendar days, is denied for failing to provide verification, and then provides the required verification within 60-calendar days.When the household waits until the second 30-calendar day period to provide the verification, there is a break in benefits and the worker changes the application and certification dates to the date the verification is provided.Refer to OAC 340:50-11-5 when the verification is postponed for an expedited certification.

Revised 5-22-20

1.The worker helps the household complete the application process by:

(1) making applications available;

(2) helping the household complete the application;

(3) interviewing members of the household or the authorized representative;

(4) making necessary collateral contacts or otherwise helping the household gather required verification as requested;

(5) providing Form 08MP006E, Information for Benefit Renewal, to the household and explaining benefit renewal procedures; and

(6) preparing necessary documents to authorize the household to receive and use food benefits.

2. Methods the applicant may use to apply for food benefits include:

(1) completing the application electronically by:

(A) accessingwww.okdhslive.org or okbenefits.org; or

(B) getting help from a community partner to submit the application on www.okdhslive.org;

(2) downloading a paper application from OKDHS - Forms and Applications for Service and completing, signing, and submitting it in person or faxing, mailing, or emailing it to an Oklahoma Human Services(OKDHS) office;

(3) going into an OKDHS county office to complete the application with a worker using the Family Assistance/Client Services (FACS) system; or

(4) calling OKDHSLive at 405-487-5483 to complete an application by proxy.

  3.(a) When a person verbally requests benefits and states he or she cannot come to the county office to file the application that day, the worker advises the person to file an application electronically at www.okdhslive.org or www.okbenefits.org or call 405-487-5483 to file by phone or, when the client has time, staff can proxy an application using www.okdhslive.org on the same day.

(b) The worker preserves the verbal request date as the application date when a hardship exists.A hardship exists when the household states no one can come to the OKDHS county office to file a signed application because of a situation beyond the household's control, such as illness, disability, or a lack of transportation.

(c) The worker must document in FACS case notes, why the verbal request date was used as the application date.

4.(a) The electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system only allows two persons to have a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program EBT card, the payee and another household member or an authorized representative.When another household member needs an EBT card, an authorized representative cannot be an EBT cardholder.The worker uses the EBTHL transaction by typing EBTHL space case number in the Information Management System (IMS) to determine if there is a second EBT cardholder on the case before adding a new cardholder.

(b) The household may restrict an authorized representative to completing the application process and reporting changes, purchasing food, or both.

(1) When the household chooses to allow the authorized representative to purchase food, the worker enters the authorized representative's name, date of birth, Social Security number, address, and phone number in IMS using the EBTU transaction before an EBT card can be issued to the authorized representative.The worker enters:

(A) the authorized representative's name in the 'extra address/guardian name' (block A32) and an 'R' in the 'extra address indicator field' (block A32) to designate the authorized representative in the FACS Case Information tab of the Interview Notebook; and

(B) a FACS case note explaining the SNAP household authorized this person to purchase food using their SNAP benefits.

(2) When the household wants the authorized representative to only complete the application and report changes, the worker completes the authorized representative information in the FACS SNAP tab and enters a case note in the FACS Case Information tab documenting the authorized representative's name and explaining the household appointed this person as a representative solely to complete the application and report changes.The worker does not enter authorized representative information in the IMS EBTU transaction or in blocks A32 and A33 of the FACS Case Information tab.

(3) When the household reports it no longer wants an authorized representative or requests a new authorized representative, the worker must remove the authorized representative's name from the FACS Case Information tab and deactivates the person on the EBTU transaction.Immediate card cancellation helps avoid misuse of the household's food benefits by the current authorized representative.

5.The written designation may be made using Form 08MP001E, Request for Benefits, or Form 08MP008E, Authorized Representative Request, or by signing a written statement.

 6.Example:The SNAP household consists of the client, spouse, and minor child.The client is ill at home and the spouse is working outside of the home.The client asks a neighbor to go to the store to get soup and gives the neighbor his or her SNAP EBT card to purchase the soup.Since the client gave the neighbor permission to use the EBT card to purchase food for the SNAP household, this is an allowed use of the SNAP benefits.

7.The worker uses the Food Stamp Disqualification (FSD) transaction in IMS to see if a person has an intentional program violation (IPV) by entering FSD space and the person's Social Security number.When the person has an IPV, the FSD transaction displays the disqualification start date and length of the disqualification period.

 8.(a) Initial month means the first month the household applies for food benefits following any period of time the household was not certified.

(b) When there is no existing case number, the application is registered on the computer system through case number assignment.

(c) When there is an existing case number, the worker uses the existing case number and immediately registers the application.

  9.The worker documents in FACS case notes the reason for withdrawal, if the household gave a reason, and that contact was made with the household to confirm or attempt to confirm the withdrawal.When the worker makes contact, he or she informs the household of its right to reapply at any time.

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