SI CHI00830.605 Home Energy Assistance and Support and Maintenance Assistance (HEA/SMA) (RTN 422 -- 03/2016)

A. Background

SI 00830.605 and regulations 20 CFR 416.1157(c) provide for the exclusion of home energy assistance (HEA) and support and maintenance assistance (SMA) which has been certified by the appropriate state agency to be based on need, and is:

  • Provided in-kind by a private non-profit agency; or

  • Provided in cash or in-kind by a supplier of home heating oil or gas; or

  • A rate-of-return entity providing home energy; or

  • A municipal utility providing home energy.

HEA/SMA received by an SSI claimant/recipient/deemor is excluded from countable income only when the designated state agency certifies that the assistance provided is/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.

Four states in the Chicago Region, Indiana (IN), (Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), and Ohio (OH) have authorized SSA to certify whether agencies that provide home energy assistance or support and maintenance assistance meet the requirements for the HEA/SMA exclusion. SSA field offices can certify whether assistance from an agency located in one of these four states meets the requirements for the HEA/SMA exclusion. In Illinois (IL) and Wisconsin (WI), the field office must forward a request for certification to the Chicago Regional Office, which will in turn request certification from the appropriate state agency.

B. Procedure for Indiana (IN), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN) and Ohio (OH)

When you identify an agency in Indiana (IN), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), or Ohio (OH) that provides needs-based assistance as described in the four bullets in SI CHI00830.605A, check to see whether a precedent exists within your office or on the SSI Policy Team’s web page under HEA/SMA . If not, determine 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, contact the agency, determine whether the HEA/SMA criteria are met, and place a copy of the determination in the claims file and the office's precedent file. Also email or fax a copy of the new precedent to the Regional HEA/SMA Coordinator at ||CHI ARC MOS CRSI SSI or (312) 575-4245 (fax). The determination will be added to the Region’s precedent site accessed through the link from the SSI Policy Team’s Web page under HEA/SMA .

Always annotate the claims file with the following statement, “I certify, based on the authority granted by the State of   _____________  that the HEA (or SMA, as appropriate) was provided based on need by a qualified organization.” Since the States of Indiana (IN), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), and Ohio (OH) have authorized SSA to make the written certification on their behalf, putting this statement in file meets the regulatory requirement for a written certification.

C. Procedure for Illinois (IL) and Wisconsin (WI)

If an organization in Illinois (IL) or Wisconsin (WI) has not been certified, complete the HEA/SMA Form to Request Certification and email or fax it to Chicago Regional HEA/SMA coordinator, at ||CHI ARC MOS CRSI SSI or (312) 575–4245 (fax). The SSI Team will request certification from the appropriate state agency. If the state certifies the agency, it will be added to the Region’s HEA/SMA site. Exclude the assistance pending state certification.