COMMENT DUE DATE:
March 18, 2011
March 8, 2011
Laura Brown FSSD (405) 521-4396
Dena Thayer OIRP Programs Administrator (405) 521-4326
Pat McCracken OIRP (405) 522-1017
Non APA WF 11-F
The proposed policy is Non-APA . This proposal is not subject to the Administrative Procedures Act
The proposed effective date is 04-01-11.
CHAPTER 65. PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROCEDURES
Subchapter 3. Eligibility for Benefits
OAC 340:65-3-6.1 [INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF ONLY REVISED]
SUMMARY: OAC 340:65-3-6.1 Instructions to staff is revised to: (1) change when food benefits are issued from once to three staggered issuance dates each month based on the last digit of the household's case number; (2) remove outdated language regarding stale and expunged food benefits; and (3) clarify how long food benefits remain in active status.
340:65-3-6.1. Electronic Benefits Transfer
Food and child care benefits are delivered by a statewide Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system.¢ 1
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:65-3-6.1
1.(a) Electronic benefits transfer (EBT).
(1) EBT provides an electronic method to deliver benefits to clients eligible for food and child care benefits.The EBT system credits benefits to the client's food benefit account.It is also a time and attendance tracking and provider payment system for clients receiving child care benefits.EBT provides access to these benefits through the use of a debit card called Access Oklahoma and a personal identification number (PIN).
(2) The county director or designee orders Access Oklahoma cards by calling Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) at 405-947-2743 or 405-947‑2700.Cards are sent Federal Express two-day delivery.In emergencies the cards are sent by overnight mail.
(3) All cards must be kept in a secure location.The designated EBT specialist completes Form 10EB001E, Daily Card Count, and Form 10EB002E, Daily Card Issuance Report, each day.These forms are kept for audit and review purposes for a period of three years.
(b) Training.EBT training is provided to clients and designated authorized representatives through the use of OKDHS Access Oklahoma Client Training Videos DVD 2007.The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Child Care Subsidy Program have different training videos on the same digital versatile disc (DVD).When the client is applying for both programs, he or she must view both DVD videos.The DVD videos are available in English, Spanish, and open-caption English.The county director or designee orders the DVD videos from the Finance Division Electronic Payment Systems (EPS) Unit.
(1) Effective training is the best defense against repeated card replacements.County directors are encouraged to monitor EBT training to determine its effectiveness.
(2) Finance Division EPS staff are available to visit human services centers (HSC) to assist in training new EBT specialists in the use of the Administrative Terminal (AT) system.HSC training of clients may be conducted by any staff member familiar with EBT.
(A) If a client has a particular problem with using his or her EBT card appropriately, such as when the client's EBT card number is continually entered manually, the client may be asked to view the video again.
See Refer to OAC 340:40-10-3 when a client receiving child care benefits misuses an EBT card.
(B) An authorized representative may be designated by the client in writing for the food or child care benefits on the application or review form or by signing a statement to this effect.
(C) To review or enter information concerning an additional card holder, refer to the EBTU transaction by viewing M space EBTU.An authorized representative or additional card holder attends training and is issued his or her own card.
(c) Access Oklahoma card.The EBT specialist issues an Access Oklahoma card to the person whose name appears on the card after the EBT specialist verifies the identity of that person.Government-issued identification with a photograph is best but not required as any method used to identify a person for program purposes is acceptable.The person selects his or her own PIN when an initial or replacement card is issued.
(1) The EBT specialist issues an initial EBT card for food or child care benefits after these benefits are placed in application status and the client views the EBT video.There is no requirement to view the EBT video again unless the client is having problems using the EBT card appropriately or the EBT video has been revised since the last time the client was approved for benefits.
(2) The EBT specialist issues an initial EBT card for an authorized representative after the worker completes the EBTU transaction and the authorized representative views the EBT video.
(3) Since providers are not paid until the worker approves the application for child care benefits, authorizations must be completed in a timely manner.Child care providers have the right to decline serving children receiving Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) child care benefits until an approval is received.
(4) The person whose name appears on the EBT card must be the person who requests a replacement card.OKDHS staff must issue a replacement card within two business days of the client's request.The two business day time frame starts after the client requests card cancellation and asks HSC staff to issue another card.Replacement cards may take up to one hour before they are activated.
(A) When the EBT card is lost, stolen, or destroyed, the client must go to the local HSC to obtain a replacement card.The EBT specialist only gives the replacement card to the person whose name appears on the EBT card.
(B) When the EBT card is stolen, it is recommended that the client calls ACS Customer Call Center at 1-888-328-6551 to cancel the EBT card before going to the HSC to request a replacement card.When the client goes to the HSC first, the EBT specialist cancels the EBT card through the AT before issuing a new EBT card.When the client calls ACS first, in addition to cancelling the EBT card, ACS staff records:
(i) the reason and circumstances for the request for cancellation and the exact date and time the call is received.This provides a tracking mechanism for any disputes which could arise if the client claims that benefits were taken from the account after the card was reported stolen; and
(ii) what information the client provided to identify himself or herself.The client is frequently asked about the last place he or she used the card, the amount of the purchase, and where he or she usually shops.This further documents the report and assists law enforcement officials in efforts to determine if EBT card trafficking is involved.
(C) When the client requests a new authorized representative for food benefits, the worker or EBT specialist immediately deactivates the current authorized representative's EBT card using transaction EBTU.Immediate card cancellation helps avoid misuse of the client's food benefits by the current authorized representative.
(D) For child care benefits, the EBT specialist cancels and replaces the EBT card for the client or authorized representative.If the authorized representative has been deactivated on EBTU, the client must designate an authorized representative in writing again before the EBT specialist issues a replacement card.
(E) The county director may require a client receiving food benefits, except a client who returns an unusable card, to view the training video again before the EBT specialist issues a replacement card.
(i) Cards that are demagnetized or in an unusable condition are replaced the day the cards are returned to the HSC.
(ii) Cards reported as demagnetized or unusable that are not returned to the HSC are replaced within two business days.
(F) When the client requests a replacement card but leaves prior to receiving the printed card and does not return before the end of the business day, the EBT specialist destroys and logs the card that same day on Form 10EB002E.A new card is issued when the client returns to the HSC.
(d) Misuse of EBT card.When OKDHS becomes aware that the client or the authorized representative is misusing his or her EBT card, the EBT card may be cancelled by EPS Unit staff in the Finance Division.
(1) Misuse of the EBT card for child care subsidy benefits may occur when the client or authorized representative gives his or her EBT card to another person, such as the child care provider, to swipe attendance or the client knowingly swipes incorrect attendance dates and times.
See Refer to OAC 340:40-10-3 for child care procedures.
(2) Misuse of the EBT card for food benefits occurs when the client's EBT card number is continually entered manually.The Finance Division EPS Unit receives a report showing when this occurs.When the Finance Division EPS Unit receives this report, staff in the unit:
(A) notifies the client by letter that the client's EBT card is being deactivated within 30 calendar days because only manually entered transactions are being used.The letter advises the client to obtain a new EBT card from the HSC and watch the training video prior to reissuance of the EBT card; and
(B) deactivates the EBT card 30 calendar days from the date the letter is sent to the client unless the client has obtained a new EBT card.
(e) Food benefit issuance.
Regular roll food benefits are issued on the 1st day of the month.The date food benefits issue varies.
OKDHS sends emergency food benefits to ACS on-line when the case is certified.OKDHS sends regular roll benefits to ACS after deadline each month.Regular roll food benefit issuance is staggered and issued over three days each month to improve SNAP households' access to fresh food products, particularly in rural areas with smaller grocery stores.The date food benefits issue for a household is determined by the last digit of the household's case number.Food benefits issue on the:
(A) first day of the month for case numbers ending with zero through three;
(B) fifth day of the month for case numbers ending with four through six; and
(C) tenth day of the month for case numbers ending with seven through nine.
OKDHS sends regular roll benefits to ACS after deadline each month.Food benefits certified for the current month issue based on the staggered schedule in (1) of this Instruction when:
(A) the household is not eligible for expedited service; and
(B) the regular roll issuance date is a future date.
Benefits for cases certified during the 1-1 period between deadline and the first of the following month are sent the night of certification for the month of certification.Benefits for the next month are not sent until the night of the first working day of the month.Food benefits issue immediately:
(A) for the first month of certification when the household is eligible for expedited food benefits or the regular roll issuance dates have already occurred for the month.Benefits for the next month are issued based on the information in (1) of this Instruction;
(B) when the household is certified for a retro month; and
(C) when the household is approved for supplemental or replacement food benefits.
4) When benefits are sent to ACS, the status block on the BN screen changes from T to Z.Refer to the BN transaction by entering M space BN. When benefits are posted by ACS, the status block changes to P.Refer to the BN transaction by entering M space BN.
(f) Payee change.When the payee changes on a case, the worker determines whether to give the new payee access to the current account balance before the change is made.
(1) When the new payee needs access to the balance in the food benefit account, he or she must be shown as the authorized representative first on the Family Assistance/Client Services (FACS) system and then on the EBTU screen.
(2) A card must be issued to the authorized representative.FACS is then updated to show the new payee.
(3) Once the old benefits are depleted, the new payee is removed as the authorized representative and another card is issued.
(4) As soon as an authorized representative is removed from FACS, his or her card is deactivated automatically.
(5) A payee removed from a case is able to access past benefits in the EBT account that have not been used as long as his or her card is active.
Food Active status of food benefits not used within the last 90 calendar days. Food benefits which have not been used within the last 90 calendar days are considered stale benefits.The client may have access to these food benefits for 365 days from the issuance date of the benefits. (h) Expunged benefits.OKDHS expunges food benefits that have not been accessed by the household within 365 days.Expunged benefits may be reloaded if requested within 365 days of the date of issuance.Request for reloading is made by contacting the FSSD Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Section. (1) If an account needs to be reactivated, the local HSC EBT specialist must contact the Finance Division EPS Unit. (2) The worker updates FACS Case Notes to explain why benefits were not used when originally issued.
ih) Out-of-state moves.The Access Oklahoma card may be used to access food benefits in most states.Most major retailers accept the Access Oklahoma card.
(1) If a client notifies the worker he or she is moving or has moved to another state, the worker informs the client to use the Access Oklahoma card in Oklahoma before leaving the state or contact the state agency where he or she has moved to locate a retailer that will accept the Access Oklahoma card.
(2) The worker may contact the Finance Division EPS Unit to assist the household in locating a retailer that accepts the Access Oklahoma card.
ji) Separation of duties.Federal regulations require a separation of duties between persons who certify benefits, issue EBT cards, and have access to the EBT AT.This protects employees from any appearance of inappropriate conduct in benefit issuance.
(1) If the HSC does not have sufficient staff to maintain a separation of duties for these tasks, the Finance Division EPS Unit may provide Off-Site EBT specialists (OSS) to assist in card issuance.
(2) To implement this process, the county director must contact the Finance Division EPS Unit director to make the request.
(3) The county director is notified of the approval decision.A description of responsibilities and instructions for the EBT specialists and OSS is provided along with the name and phone number of the OSS assigned.EBT specialists:
(A) continue to train clients, authorized representatives, and additional card holders;
(B) operate the EBT AT with inquiry only access;
(C) maintain card inventory records;
(D) operate the embosser; and
(E) assist in PIN selection.
kj) Timely reporting of changes.The worker must explain to clients the necessity of reporting timely changes of address and shelter expense so the correct amount of benefits are issued.In addition to updating computer fields when a change of address or shelter expense is reported, the worker must also update the FACS Case Notes to record reported changes to ensure the provision of services to clients and case accuracy.