SI ATL00830.605 Home Energy Assistance And Support And Maintenance Assistance
SI 00830.605 and regulation 20 CFR 416.1157 (c) provide for the exclusion of home energy assistance (HEA) and support and maintenance assistance (SMA) which has been certified in writing by the appropriate State agency to be based on need, and is:
Provided in kind by a private nonprofit agency; or
Provided in cash or in kind by a supplier of home heating oil or gas, a rate-of-return entity providing home energy, or a municipal utility providing home energy.
This HEA/SMA received by an SSI claimant/recipient/deemor is excluded from countable income only when the designated state agency certifies that the assistance was based on need. State certification may be in the form of an individual certification of a particular case, or a "blanket" certification of a program or organization. A blanket certification serves as a precedent for assistance from the certified agency or program.
All of the States in the Atlanta Region have authorized SSA to certify whether agencies that provide energy assistance or support and maintenance meet the requirements for the HEA/SMA exclusion. An authorization letter from each of those States is on file in the Atlanta Regional Office. Based on the State's authorization, SSA field offices in the designated States in the Atlanta Region can certify whether an agency providing assistance meets the requirements for exclusion.
B. Procedure for the Atlanta Region HEA/SMA Determinations
The State Agencies providing HEA/SMA certifications for all of our states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, have authorized SSA to do the certifications. When you identify an agency in those States providing need-based assistance as described in the two bullets in SI ATL00830.605A, that is not already listed in the Atlanta Precedents and Contacts (APAC) website, make a determination as to whether the HEA/SMA exclusion criteria are met:
If you are familiar with the agency (e.g., well-known churches, charitable organizations, utility companies, food banks, etc.) and know that the assistance is based on need, you may certify that the HEA/SMA meets the criteria to be excluded.
If the agency is not well known, or there is a question about whether the assistance is based on need and there is no office precedent, contact the agency, determine whether the criteria are met, document the claims folder as described below and update the Atlanta Precedents and Contacts (APAC) website.
C. Documentation Requirements for Atlanta Region HEA/SMA Certifications
1. Precedent exists on the Atlanta Precedents and Contacts Website (HEA/SMA Certifications)
If an organization is listed on the Atlanta Precedent and Contact (APAC) website this means that the agency was previously established as meeting the “based on need” criteria. Therefore, no further development of the organization is needed per SI 00830.605.
2. Precedent determination established (Organization not listed on the Atlanta Precedent and Contacts (APAC) website)
Once you make a determination regarding the excludability of the assistance provided by the organization, the determination must be documented as a precedent.
If you determine that the assistance can be excluded, the precedent must contain the following statement: "I certify, based on the authority granted by the State of (fill in the name of the State) that the HEA (or SMA, as appropriate) was provided based on need by a qualified organization."
Field offices must update the Atlanta Precedent and Contact (APAC) website with any new precedent determinations. The addition of the new precedents will serve as blanket determinations and minimize field office contacts with the support and maintenance assistance agencies for the purpose of establishing a precedent.
3. Case Documentation
If the certification exists as a precedent on the APAC website and is in the form of an “Individual” or a “Blanket” certification, or you established a new precedent on the APAC website following instructions in SI ATL00830.605C.2, then proceed in documenting the information in the MSSICS path on the LISM screen:
Input the name and address of the agency providing the support;
Indicate “No” when answering whether or not the funds being provided are countable;
Under “If no, reason:” insert, “HEA per regional precedent” or “SMA per regional precedent;”
If you are unable to document the information within the application path on MSSICS proceed in posting the information on a locked DROC; and
For non-MSSICS claims/PE, put the statement on a 5002 and fax it into EDCS or NDRed.
Since all of the states in the Atlanta Region have authorized SSA to make the written certification on their behalf, putting this statement in file meets the regulatory requirement for a written certification.