SI SF01415.140 California Optional State Supplement (OSS) C - Independent Living Without Cooking Facilities (RTN 01, 05/2015)

A. General

Certain SSI recipients residing in California may be eligible for OSS C (also commonly referred to as the “Restaurant Meals Allowance” (RMA) or “No Cooking Facilities” OSS) when they:

  • do not have access to adequate cooking and food storage facilities as part of their living arrangement

                         AND

  • are not provided any meals as part of their living arrangement

NOTE: Blind recipients and children under age 18 are not eligible for OSS C.

B. Eligibility

1. An individual/couple qualifies for OSS C if any of the following situations exist:

  1. The individual/couple's immediate living quarters do not have adequate cooking or food storage facilities with which the individual/couple or another person (who is responsible for preparing the individual/couple's meals) can prepare meals on a daily basis.

  2. The individual/couple does not have access to adequate cooking or food storage facilities as part of the living arrangement (including cooking or food storage facilities that are outside the immediate living quarters) for the purpose of preparing meals or having them prepared on their behalf.

  3. The individual/couple lives in a boarding house that does not have a communal kitchen with adequate cooking or food storage facilities to which they have access for preparation of meals.

  4. The individual/couple lives in private living quarters within a home or in separate living quarters (e.g., "over the garage"), or in a similar situation, and does not have access to the cooking or food storage facilities in the main residence for preparation of meals.

  5. The individual/couple lives in a room and board facility and does not contract with the facility to have meals prepared and provided as part of the living arrangement (e.g., the SSI applicant's/recipient's living arrangement with the facility is to purchase only shelter on a monthly basis).

The following examples illustrate situations in which a recipient is considered to be contracting with the facility for meals and is not, therefore, eligible for OSS C:

  • Conventional room and board situations in which a recipient purchases meals through the facility on a periodic basis (generally monthly) or on a per meal basis.

  • Situations in which a recipient has two separate agreements with a facility; one covers shelter and the other covers meals.

  • Situations in which the facility, which provides shelter, contracts with a food preparation service to provide meals. (This does not include situations in which meals are either obtained at a discount or brought into the recipient's living arrangement, e.g., "Meals on Wheels" Program, provided the shelter facility is not involved in obtaining them).

2. Adequate cooking and food storage facilities

An individual/couple must have both adequate cooking facilities and food storage facilities.

  1. “Adequate cooking facilities" consist of any of the following:

    • A stove without a working oven, but which has at least two working burners.

                OR

    • A hot plate with at least two burners with separate temperature controls or two one-burner hot plates with temperature controls, (Hot plates without temperature controls are not adequate cooking facilities).

               OR

    • A stove with a working oven in combination with:

      1. At least one working burner, or

      2. A one-burner hot plate with a temperature control.

                 OR

    • A microwave or toaster oven in combination with:

      1. One working burner on a stove, or

      2. One-burner hotplate with a temperature control.

  2. "Adequate food storage facilities" consist of either a working refrigerator or icebox to which the individual has access. Capacity of the refrigerator or icebox is not a factor of consideration. An ice chest is not considered adequate storage.

3. Eligibility effective date

  1. Eligibility for OSS C begins in the month the individual applies for this supplement rate provided he or she anticipates, at the point the application is filed, being without cooking or food storage facilities throughout the month.

  2. The applicant's intent at the point the Application for Restaurant Meals Allowance (RMA) is filed is critical, since we make a determination based upon the applicant's expectation. If an applicant expects to be without adequate facilities throughout the month at the point the restaurant meals application is filed, OSS C is appropriate, even if the applicant gains access to adequate facilities later in the month. However, if the recipient does not expect to be without adequate food storage facilities for the entire month, or is no longer without adequate facilities at the point the restaurant meals application is filed, then OSS C is not appropriate.

  3. For purpose of OSS C, "throughout a month" does not mean the applicant/recipient must lack adequate cooking or food storage facilities from the very first moment of the month. He or she need only lack them from some time on the first day of the month (see example in SI SF01415.140B.5).

  4. Eligibility for this supplemental payment ceases the month following the month in which meals are provided or adequate cooking and food storage facilities are available.

  5. If eligibility is based on temporary loss or non-functioning of an appliance (including temporary removal of appliances and/or turn-off of utilities pending repair or replacement), the individual should be advised of his/her responsibility to report immediately when the temporary condition has ceased. If the individual provides an expected date on which the appliance will be replaced/repaired, diary the case for recontact.

4. Miscellaneous

  • Transients/homeless individuals: To rule out OSS C eligibility, an individual must receive meals or have access to adequate cooking and food storage facilities as part of a living arrangement. A transient by definition does not have a permanent living arrangement, i.e., no fixed place of residence. Therefore, receipt of meals or access to cooking and food storage facilities does not preclude OSS C (see Example SI SF01415.140B.5 step 5.). NOTE: Development of ISM for the value of meals is still necessary.

  • For a couple, comprised of an aged or disabled individual and a blind individual, whose living arrangement lacks adequate cooking or food storage facilities, pay the SSI/SSP level for blind/aged or blind/disabled couple plus the restaurant meals allowance for the aged/disabled member of the couple. Force due (M02) is required in this living arrangement.

  • Individuals who have adequate cooking and food storage, but whose disability prevents them from preparing meals should be referred to IHSS.

5. Examples:

  1. Ms. Ambrose lives in a commercial boarding house. Her monthly rent includes both food and shelter. The boarding house owner contracts with a restaurant to have one meal per day provided for the boarder. Ms. Ambrose is not eligible for OSS C.

  2. Mr. Larson rents a room above his cousin's automobile repair shop and has only a one-burner hotplate to prepare his meals. The FO completes a RMA application to establish OSS C eligibility.

  3. Mr. Thomas moves into a hotel on the afternoon of March 1, 2012. He reports his change of address on March 7, 2012. At that time, he alleges he has no cooking facilities and completes a RMA application. Mr. Thomas is eligible for OSS C effective March 2012.

  4. Ms. Pantaleon moves into a hotel that has a communal kitchen available for residents’ use on Mondays through Saturdays. The kitchen has a stove with an oven and working burners as well as a refrigerator. Even though her hotel room does not have cooking facilities, she is not eligible for OSS C because she has access to the kitchen for meal preparation. The lack of access for one day out of the week is considered temporary, i.e., not throughout the month.

  5. Ms. Nkobi is a homeless individual who receives lunch daily at St Anthony’s Church. Since receipt of these meals is not part of a living arrangement, she is eligible for OSS C. In this case, ISM is potentially excludable and should be developed following SI 00830.605, if a Support and Maintenance Assistance (SMA) precedent does not already exist.

  6. Mr. Smithers has no fixed place of residence. He frequently spends one or two nights at the homes of various relatives. Although each of his relatives’ homes have cooking facilities, he is determined to be a transient because he does not have a fixed place of residence. Therefore, he is eligible for OSS C. If Mr. Smithers also alleges receipt of meals from his relatives, ISM development is needed.

  7. Mr. Sebastian lives in an apartment with cooking facilities. On February 24, 2015, he reports that his refrigerator has stopped working and the landlord does not expect it to be repaired or replaced until sometime in April. He applies for RMA and is approved for OSS C beginning March 2015. The landlord purchases a refrigerator on March 29, 2015. Since Mr. Sebastian expected to be without adequate food storage facilities throughout the month of March, OSS C was appropriate for that month. OSS A applies effective April 2015.

  8. Ms. Belladonna rents a room from her cousin and is determined to be in a separate household after developing the living arrangement following SI 00835.120E. Her cousin does not allow her to use the stove or refrigerator and does not prepare nor provide meals for her. Since Ms. Belladonna does not have access to cooking and food storage facilities, she is eligible for OSS C.

C. Development and Documentation

  1. Ask the individual if he or she has adequate cooking and food storage facilities (SI SF01415.190, Exhibit 1) for:

    • all initial claims

    • FO initiated redeterminations (redeterminations transferred from the Data Operations Center (DOC) do not require this development and documentation unless a change in the living arrangement or address is involved)

    • reports of a change in residence

    • reports of living arrangement changes

    Record the information on the LCAO screen in MSSICS. For non-MSSICS cases, record the information in the remarks section of the application/redetermination or on an SSA-795.

    If the answer is "No," determine eligibility for OSS C based on a California Application for Restaurant Meals Allowance (SI SF01415.190, Exhibit 3) signed by the eligible individual/couple. An SSA employee's signature on the application form is preferable but not a documentation requirement. Store the application form in the electronic file.

  2. A protective writing as defined in GN 00204.010 protects eligibility for this supplement payment provided the answer to the lead question when obtained is "No." This is true even though the lead question and/or Application for California Restaurant Meals Allowance are completed in a month after the month in which the protective writing is received.

    If the RMA application is not completed when the lead question about adequate cooking/food storage facilities is asked, a “No” answer to the question protects the recipient’s eligibility for OSS C. The recipient is also afforded protection if the interviewer neglects to ask the lead question.

    If a claimant reports a change of address or living arrangement and was not asked the lead question regarding cooking and food storage facilities, retroactivity for OSS C should be granted to the date the change was reported to SSA. The date the change was reported must be supported by evidence in file. Under no circumstances can retroactivity be granted earlier than the date the move was reported or for a reason other than failure to ask about cooking and food storage facilities.

    Examples:

    1. Mr. Turner stated on his application that he has adequate cooking and food storage facilities. The claim was denied for excess resources. He appealed the denial and the denial was reversed at the hearing level. While the hearing request was pending, he moved to a living arrangement where he does not have adequate cooking and food storage facilities. The claimant did not report the change until the "update" was conducted; at which time he answered the lead question "No." The claimant signed the Application for California Restaurant Meals Allowance on the date of the "update" and is eligible for this supplemental payment only from the month in which the "update" is conducted.

    2. b. Ms. Chao was previously determined to be in an AC living arrangement because the hotel in which she resided did not have cooking or food storage facilities available for the residents’ use. She reported in August 2013 that she moved to another hotel without cooking facilities in January 2013, but failed to report the move. Since she failed to report her move timely, her living arrangement for February through July 2013 is determined to be AA. She is again eligible for OSS C beginning August 2013, the month she signed a Restaurant Meals Allowance application based on her new residence.

  3. Under the agreement with the State of California, the applicant’s/recipient's statement of fact on the Application for California Restaurant Meals Allowance that he/she has inadequate cooking and food storage facilities is acceptable proof and shall not be verified by the FO. When or if the facts as presented on the claimant's statement and the Application for California Restaurant Meals Allowance are incomplete, unclear, or in conflict with other evidence, refer the case to the Regional Office, Center for Programs Support, SSI Team (SSIT) via vHelp.

    SSIT will refer the case to the State of California for investigation if appropriate. The FO should not make field visits to investigate these cases. In initial claims and posteligibility situations not currently being paid the OSS C rate, do not pay the OSS C rate until the State completes its investigation. In posteligibility situations currently in OSS C, continue to pay this rate pending the State's investigation. The SSIT will notify the FO of the outcome of the investigation.

    SSIT will refer the case to the State of California for investigation if appropriate. The FO should not make field visits to investigate these cases. In initial claims and posteligibility situations not currently being paid the OSS C rate, do not pay the OSS C rate until the State completes its investigation. In posteligibility situations currently in OSS C, continue to pay this rate pending the State's investigation. The SSIT will notify the FO of the outcome of the investigation.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501415140SF
SI SF01415.140 - California Optional State Supplement (OSS) C - Independent Living Without Cooking Facilities (RTN 01, 05/2015) - 05/07/2015
Batch run: 05/07/2015
Rev:05/07/2015