TN 19 (08-17)

SI 01801.300 Completing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Application

Each state designs its own Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application form. Refer to your regional or local instructions for supplemental information related to each state, if applicable.

NOTE: The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) does not maintain a national SNAP application form.

A. Complete the SNAP application

Complete the SNAP application for members of a pure Supplemental Security Income (SSI) household (except in a cash-out state). This section provides guidance on how to complete questions that commonly appear on most state SNAP applications.

REMINDER: Under the terms of the Manchaca settlement agreement, you may ask the applicant or an authorized representative, during the SNAP interview, only for information that is not readily available in our automated or paper files. To prevent improper disclosures by SSA, ask the applicant or authorized representative to supply information about other household members.

1. Expedited service

If an applicant appears to meet the expedited service criteria, see SI 01801.150.

2. Establish the identity of the applicant

In most cases, you probably verified the applicant’s identity as part of the SSI application process. If so, do not verify identity again for purposes of SNAP. For additional guidance on how to establish identity for a person, see GN 00203.020. Examples of acceptable evidence include a driver’s license, identification card from another public assistance program, voter registration card, birth certificate, or wage statement.

IMPORTANT: Do not request verification of a report of income and resources for SNAP purposes unless these items are questionable for SSI claims purposes.

3. Contact with third parties

Do not make contact with third parties outside the household to verify the applicant's allegations unless you make the contact for SSI purposes. Forward a copy of the SSA-5002 (Report of Contact) along with the SNAP application to the SNAP office if you contact a third party.

4. How to handle questionable items

Document in Item 7 (REMARKS) of the SSA-4233 (Social Security Administration Transmittal for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Application) if you think that the applicant provides information during the SSI or SNAP interview that is questionable or inconsistent with:

  • other statements that he or she made during the interview;

  • other information provided in the claim; or

  • information elsewhere in our records.

Also, if you believe there may be an issue concerning the applicant’s physical or mental fitness, document this in Item 7 (REMARKS) of the SSA-4233. The SNAP office asks for this information to help determine whether the applicant would be unfit for employment if he or she were entitled to SNAP.

NOTE: States may have different criteria to determine whether information or items are questionable and to resolve inconsistencies.

5. SNAP applications taken during a teleclaim

If you take a SNAP application over the telephone, ask the applicant if he or she prefers to return the application to SSA or the local SNAP office.

IMPORTANT: Advise the applicant that his or her application may be processed faster if returned directly to the SNAP office only when the applicant appears to be entitled to expedited service or raises an unsolicited question during the course of a telephone interview, which would reasonably require referral directly to the SNAP office for faster service.

After you complete the SNAP application, prepare to mail the application for signature:

  • Write “SSA TELEPHONE INTERVIEW” on the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the application; and

  • Attach a copy of an informational brochure (if one is published by the state), which outlines the remaining steps in the SNAP process. Include the telephone number and address of the local servicing SNAP office.

  • If the applicant wishes to return the signed application to the local SNAP office, attach to the application a postage-paid envelope addressed to the servicing office.

  • If the applicant prefers to return the completed application to SSA, upon receipt of the signed application, complete an SSA-4233 (see SI 01801.310).

  • Mail the application, brochure, and envelope along with the SSI application (or redetermination form) to the applicant for signature.

6. Questions asked on most state SNAP applications

This section includes guidance on how to answer general questions on most state SNAP applications.

NOTE: Indicate on the application if the answers pertain only to the applicant or, when applicable, to other household members.

a. Applicant's name

If the SNAP applicant is:

  • an adult SSI claimant or recipient, annotate the applicant's name;

  • a child SSI claimant or recipient, annotate the head of household's name; or

  • an authorized representative, annotate the head of household's name followed by “represented by” and then the name of the authorized representative. For a definition of an authorized representative, see SI 01801.005B.4.

b. Telephone number

If the telephone number provided is:

  • the applicant's or the authorized representative's, annotate the phone number of the applicant, the authorized representative, or both; or

  • not the applicant's or the authorized representative's, annotate the phone number of someone with whom the applicant's household has regular contact. Note the name of the telephone contact and his or her relationship to the applicant.

NOTE: If the applicant, authorized representative, or other contact person who answers the phone does not speak English, indicate this on the application. If you can tell what language the person who answered the phone spoke, indicate the language on the application.

c. Social Security Number (SSN) of household members

Use our records to add the other household members’ SSN information. If the SSN information is unknown, list the names of the household members in Item 1 of the SSA-4233 (Social Security Administration Transmittal for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Applications).

d. Drug-related felony information

Some states ask if any household members have been convicted of a drug-related felony. If this is applicable, but the applicant cannot or refuses to provide details about a household member’s conviction, make a note about this in the “REMARKS” section (Item 7) of the SSA-4233 transmittal form.

e. Resources

Applicants are asked to report any resources to which the applicant or any household member has access. Examples of common resources to which an applicant or household member may have access include a vehicle, bank account, and non-recurring lump sum payment.

REMINDER: Use as much as possible of the current resource information reported during the SSI interview, if applicable, or current information in our records.

f. Income

Applicants are asked to report any income that they (or any household member) receives from work or from any other source. This includes payments to vendors made by a third party on behalf of the household to the household’s creditors or to a person or organization providing a service to the household. However, do not include information about in-kind support and maintenance provided from within the household or information about non-recurring lump sum payments or income in the certification period that is received too infrequently or irregularly to anticipate.

If the applicant or anyone in the household stopped working within the last 60 days, document the reason why he or she is not working.

REMINDER: Use the current income information reported during the SSI interview, if applicable, or current information in our records.

g. Utility expenses for the household

Requirements to verify monthly utility expenses for SNAP eligibility vary by state. Determine the requirement in your state. If the SNAP applicant provides proof of utility expenses during his or her SSI application or redetermination interview, forward this information to the SNAP office along with the signed application. If the applicant reports estimates of the household expenses, but does not have proof, clearly document in the application that the report is an estimate, and complete Item 5 of the SSA-4233 transmittal form.

h. Medical bills

Indicate on the SNAP application the amount billed to, and due from, the household for medical services, unless:

  • the applicant knows what portion of the bill the insurance company will pay; or

  • the bill indicates what amount the insurance company is expected to cover.

If there are no medical bills, write “none.”

i. Penalty of perjury statement

Read the penalty of perjury statement to the applicant.

j. Sign the application

Review the information on the application with the applicant and add other relevant information necessary. If the applicant agrees with the information provided and indicates that he or she understands the penalty of perjury statement, ask him or her to sign the application.

B. Supporting evidence or documentation associated with SNAP application

If the applicant has available evidence of non-mandatory information or items, such as rent or mortgage payments, dependent care payments, or student status, accept this evidence and forward it to the SNAP office, along with the application, via the SSA-4233 transmittal form.

1. When to send a copy of evidence to the SNAP office

Annotate the SSA-4233 to document any evidence that is maintained in our records. If certain evidence is not in our records because it is certified in the Modernized Supplemental Security Income Claims System (MSSICS), send copies to the SNAP office. If the applicant submits the evidence after the SNAP interview, see SI 01801.300B.3. in this subsection.

IMPORTANT: Do not delay sending the application to the SNAP office pending receipt of evidence.

Attach or fax any supporting evidence or documents via the SSA-4233 when you send the application to the SNAP office. For detailed information about how to use or complete the SSA-4233, see SI 01801.310.

2. When you do not send a copy of evidence to the SNAP office

Annotate the SSA-4233 as “IN SSI FILE” for items that we maintain in our records. Generally, you do not have to send copies of documents in our records to the SNAP office.

EXCEPTION: Send proof of alien status if the applicant provides this information to you, even if the information is in our records.

3. Evidence received after the SNAP interview

If the applicant submits evidence to you after the interview, take the necessary action(s) to send the documentation to the SNAP office.

a. Application is still pending at the FO

If the application is still at the FO, complete or amend the existing SSA-4233 and include the additional evidence along with the application and other documentation.

b. Application is at the SNAP office and FO will not maintain the evidence

If the SNAP application is no longer at the FO and we determine that it is not necessary to maintain the evidence for our records, complete a new SSA-4233 transmittal form.

  • Fill in all the blocks above Item 1;

  • Write “EVIDENCE ONLY” at the top of the page; and

  • Forward copies of the evidence along with the transmittal form to the local SNAP office.

c. Application is at the SNAP office and FO will maintain the evidence

If the SNAP application is no longer at the FO and we determine that it is necessary to maintain the evidence for our records, complete a new SSA-4233 transmittal form.