SI BOS01801.301 Application for Food Stamps - Maine - (TN 5-257 - 10/2005)

A. Introduction

The Food Stamp Act of 1977 requires SSA to take food stamp applications from SSI applicants and SSI recipients who live in pure SSI households. In addition, under the prerelease process, residents of public institutions may apply for food stamps at the same time they file for SSI benefits, if they expect to live in a pure SSI household upon release.

B. Policy

Per SI 01801.060 a pure SSI household is defined as follows:

  • An individual who lives alone and is applying for or receiving SSI, or

  • A household (as defined for food assistance purposes) where everyone has applied for or is receiving SSI.

For food assistance purposes, it is important to remember that more than one household can live under one roof, if separate purchase and preparation of food is declared. If other persons who are not SSI applicants/recipients physically live in the same household with the SSI claimant/recipient and he/she purchases and prepares food separately from the rest of the household, he/she meets the definition of a pure SSI household. For food assistance purposes he/she is considered to be in his/her own household. Do not confuse the living arrangement determination for SSI payment purposes with the living arrangement determination needed for food assistance purposes.

Consider individuals who live in public/private nonprofit shelters for the homeless as individual households for food stamp application purposes. (See SI 01801.040.)

SSA must use State designed food stamp applications. The State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services (ME DHHS) must provide SSA field offices (FOs) with sufficient food stamp application forms for FO use. The State must also provide SSA with informational material to distribute to food stamp applicants.

C. Procedure

1. Completing the Application

Complete the Maine food stamp application for an individual who:

  • Is a Maine resident,

  • Is an SSI applicant/recipient,

  • Resides in a pure SSI household as defined for food assistance purposes or is in a public institution and filing for SSI benefits under the pre-release program, and

  • Wishes to apply for food stamps at the SSA FO. Interviewers must encourage members of a pure SSI household to file for food assistance at SSA. Refer to SI 01801.015, if an individual in a pure SSI household is reluctant to file for food stamps in the SSA FO.

Complete the “MaineCare” application, the BFI IMS01 (R05/04), for all disabled and aged applicants. This application covers both food stamp and Medicaid benefits.

To complete the MaineCare Application:

  • Check off the food stamp block and one of the MaineCare blocks as appropriate if the applicant wishes to file for medical benefits.

  • Complete the applicant information on the first page of the application form.

  • A “Yes” answer to any one of the questions on the first page is an indication the applicant is eligible for expedited service (SI 01801.150).

  • Complete the remaining questions on the form.

  • Have the applicant sign the first page of the form.

  • Sign your name in the space labeled “Signature of person filling out this form.” Annotate “SSA” next to your signature.

  • Do not complete sections labeled “For office use only.”

  • Write the word “PRERELEASE,” if appropriate, in large letters in red ink across the top of the first page of the completed food stamp application.

  • Obtain from the food stamp applicant the documentation needed by the food stamp agency to process the claim. (See SI 01801.300C.)

2. Providing Informational Material to the Applicant

Provide the applicant the ME DHHS brochure, “How to Apply For and Use Food Stamps.” This material informs the applicant of the basic eligibility requirements, the 30-day application processing requirement, the remaining actions to be taken in the application process and basic reporting responsibilities. When the ME DHHS approves and processes the application, it will send the applicant printed reporting requirements, rights and responsibilities for his/her specific household. Provide the applicant the local food stamp office address and telephone number.