SI BOS01801.302 Application for Food Stamps – Massachusetts (TN 5-252 -- 02/2005)

A. Introduction

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

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and the Social Security Administration (SSA) developed the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Combined Application Project, known as Bay State CAP. The purpose of Bay State CAP is to provide a streamlined food assistance application process for certain Massachusetts SSI applicants/recipients by using the SSI application/redetermination as the application/recertification and information source for food assistance. Bay State CAP is effective February 1, 2005.

In addition, DTA has developed a new one-page food assistance application for SSI applicants/recipients who live in a pure SSI household but who do not meet the Bay State CAP eligibility requirements.

B. Policy

1. Pure SSI Household

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

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

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

NOTE: 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 or she purchases and prepares his or her food separately from the rest of the household, he or she meets the definition of a pure SSI household. He or she may be eligible for regular or Bay State CAP food assistance. However, if the individual lives with a spouse and/or children he or she cannot be eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance.

EXAMPLE:

An individual lives with others who are neither eligible for nor applying for SSI. He or she meets the criteria for federal living arrangement category A and optional state supplemental living arrangement category B (sharing). This individual states that he or she purchases food and prepares it separately from the others in the household. Although this individual lives with others, for food assistance purposes he or she is considered to be in his or her own household. Do not confuse the living arrangement determination needed for SSI payment purposes with the living arrangement determination needed for food assistance purposes.

2. Bay State CAP Food Assistance

a. General

Some SSI applicants/recipients who live in pure SSI households are eligible to receive food assistance via Bay State CAP. For these individuals the SSI application/redetermination serves as the application for food assistance. The evidence and documentation submitted to establish SSI eligibility or continuing eligibility establish the individual's eligibility for Bay State CAP food assistance. The SSI applicant/recipient need not go to the food assistance office to present additional documentation or evidence. All necessary information will be provided to DTA by means of the State Data Exchange (SDX). Generally, an individual will receive more food assistance through Bay State CAP than through the regular food assistance program. In 2005, the Bay State CAP food assistance benefits range from $44 to $149. In addition, the individual's Bay State CAP food assistance eligibility need not be recertified for 36 months. An SSI redetermination which establishes continuing SSI eligibility constitutes recertification for food assistance eligibility. Bay State CAP food assistance recipients' contacts are with the DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Offices.

Follow the procedures outlined in SI BOS01801.302D. for an SSI applicant/recipient who meets the Bay State CAP eligibility requirements in SI BOS01801.302B.2.b.

b. Bay State CAP Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for participation in Bay State CAP, individuals must:

  • Be eligible for SSI benefits, AND

  • Be at least 18 years old, AND

  • Not live with a spouse or children, AND

  • Be in federal living arrangement A, AND

  • Be in state living arrangement A or B, AND

  • Not have earned income, AND

  • Declare to purchase and prepare food separately from any other people who reside at the same address.

NOTE: Any individual who is in a “suspense” or “terminated” SSI payment status will not be considered for participation in Bay State CAP unless he or she is in suspense due to a pending representative payee issue (S08), or, in some cases, in a suspense status due to earnings (N01). In order to qualify for Bay State CAP food assistance, an individual must have NO earned income at the time of application. However, once an SSI recipient is determined eligible for Bay State CAP, he or she may work for up to three consecutive months without losing Bay State CAP eligibility.

c. Bay State CAP Application Date

The Bay State CAP date of application is the date the SSI application is approved or the date a redetermination is completed. Bay State CAP food assistance benefits will be issued to the individual the month after the month of SSI approval. Prorated benefits will not be issued. Therefore, an individual who is eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance can choose to apply for regular food assistance while his or her SSI application is pending. If the SSA eligibility determination or redetermination will exceed 30 days, offer the SSI applicant/recipient the opportunity to apply for regular food assistance.

d. Criteria for Choosing Regular Food Assistance Benefits instead of Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits

The SSI applicant/recipient may choose to get regular food assistance if he or she would receive greater benefits under the regular food assistance program. The situations in which a person may receive greater benefits under the regular food assistance program are:

  • Payment of a higher amount in shelter costs; or

  • Payment of more than $35 a month in out-of-pocket medical expenses; or

  • Payment of heating or cooling costs separately from rent/mortgage; or

  • Payment of child support for a child outside the applicant's home, or

  • Payment for child or adult dependent care.

Advise a food assistance beneficiary who wishes to receive regular food assistance benefits to contact the DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office (not the DTA local Transitional Assistance Office). (See Exhibit 1.)

3. Regular Food Assistance

a. General

SSA is still required to take food assistance applications from SSI applicants and SSI recipients who live in a pure SSI household, but who do not meet the Bay State CAP eligibility criteria. The new one-page Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005), is used for this purpose. DTA will follow up with a phone or face-to-face interview if appropriate. The certification period for these individuals can be as frequent as every six months. Prorated benefits may be issued. Regular food assistance recipients' contacts are with the local DTA Transitional Assistance Offices.

Follow the procedures outlined in SI BOS01801.302E. for an SSI applicant/recipient who lives in a pure SSI household but who does not meet the Bay State CAP eligibility requirements in SI BOS01801.302B.2.b.

b. Regular Food Assistance Program Criteria

The new one-page application for regular food assistance must be completed when the applicant/recipient lives in a pure SSI household and one of the two criteria below is met.

  • The applicant appears to be eligible for Bay State CAP and states that he or she wishes to file with SSA for regular food assistance while the SSI application is pending.
    or

  • The applicant/recipient is not eligible for Bay State CAP but wishes to file with SSA for food assistance through the regular food assistance program.

c. Regular Food Assistance Application Date

The regular food assistance date of application is the date the Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005), is received in the DTA office. Once DTA makes a determination of food assistance eligibility, DTA issues benefits for a portion of the month in which the application is filed.

C. Procedure - Interviewing

Interviewers must tell SSI applicants/recipients that they may apply for food assistance benefits at SSA if they are members of a pure SSI household. Interviewers must encourage members of a pure SSI household to file for food assistance at SSA. When completing a full application, a PERC or a redetermination, interviewers must discuss the Bay State CAP and explain its advantages with applicants/recipients who are Massachusetts residents and who appear eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance.

D. Procedure - Bay State CAP Application

1. General

Follow the procedures outlined below when completing a full application or a PERC for an SSI applicant/recipient who is eligible for and wishes to file for Bay State CAP food assistance. Do not use these procedures when completing a deferred application as you cannot determine if the SSI applicant is eligible for food assistance through Bay State CAP at this point. When completing a redetermination follow the instructions in SI BOS01801.302D.10. Follow these procedures to establish eligibility to Bay State CAP food assistance even if the SSI applicant/recipient is already receiving regular food assistance.

2. Explain the Bay State CAP

Explain to the applicant/recipient:

  • the benefits of Bay State CAP as described in SI BOS01801.302B.2.a above;

  • the criteria for choosing regular food stamp benefits as described in SI BOS01801.302B.2.d.;

  • the possibility of filing for regular food assistance while the SSI application is pending; and

  • expedited service, if appropriate.

3. Complete the Department of Transitional Assistance Bay State CAP Food Assistance Statement (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/BSC-1 (2/2005)

Enter the applicant/recipient's name and SSN and the current date. Check the appropriate box to indicate whether the applicant's housing costs are $450 or more a month or less than $450 per month. Review the statements at the bottom of the Department of Transitional Assistance Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits Statement (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/BSC-1 (2/2005) with the applicant.

The following items are included in housing costs:

  • rent,

  • mortgage,

  • other continuing charges leading to the ownership of shelter such as loan repayments including interest for the purchase of a mobile home,

  • property taxes,

  • state and local assessments,

  • mandatory homeowner association/condo fees, and

  • homeowner's/renter's insurance.

Give the applicant the completed Department of Transitional Assistance Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits Statement (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/BSC-1 (2/2005).

4. Provide Applicant Informational Material

Give the applicant the “Your Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits,” FSP/BSC-2 (2/2005) brochure. This material describes the project and explains participants' rights and responsibilities.

5. Record the Shelter Cost Information - Non-MSSICS Cases

For non-MSSICS cases, annotate on the remarks section of the paper SSA-8000 the amount of claimant's shelter cost.

6. System Coding - MSSICS Cases

Complete page 2 of the BFDS Screen as follows:

  • Answer “Y” to the question, “May I take your food stamp application today.”

  • Answer the question, “Shelter cost at or above State standard.” Enter

  • “Y” if the individual's shelter cost is $450 or more a month, or

  • “N” if the individual's shelter cost is less than $450 a month.

  • Enter the interview date in the receipt field in the FOOD STAMPS issue on the DW01.

Complete input instructions are in MSOM MSSICS 019.011.

NOTE: In order to receive proper work credit for the food stamp application, you MUST receipt in the food stamp issue with the actual date that you discussed food stamps with the individual. Do not receipt the FOOD STAMPS issue on the DW01 with XXXXXX. Receipt in the FOOD STAMPS issue using the date of the interview. Since applications are now signed by signature proxy in most cases, the receipt date should equal the date of the interview.

7. System Coding - Non-MSSICS Cases

Code the 450S/1719B FS field as follows:

  • Q1 = “Y” if the applicant/recipient is currently receiving food assistance or applied for food assistance within the last 60 days but has not received notification of eligibility or ineligibility
    or
    “N” if the applicant/recipient is not currently receiving food assistance and no food assistance application was filed within the last 60 days which is awaiting a DTA determination on eligibility

  • Q2 = “A” if shelter cost is at or above $450
    or
    “B” if shelter cost is below $450.

Complete input instructions are in SM 01301.855 and SM 01005.360.

8. Complete Regular Food Assistance Application

If the applicant qualifies for expedited service or if he or she chooses to receive regular food stamps while the SSI application is pending, follow the procedures in SI BOS01801.302E. and SI BOS01801.302F and complete the Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005).

9. Reports of Changes in Shelter Costs

If a Bay State CAP food assistance recipient contacts SSA to report a change in shelter costs that do not affect his or her SSI benefit, tell the recipient to contact the DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office. (See Exhibit 1.) If the change affects the recipient's SSI benefit, follow regular processing instructions.

10. Redeterminations/Recertifications

The initial certification period for Bay State CAP participants is 36 months. An SSI redetermination of continuing eligibility serves as the recertification for Bay State CAP food assistance. If SSA completes a redetermination of a recipient's SSI eligibility during the 36-month certification period, DTA considers the recipient recertified for Bay State CAP food assistance for another 36 months.

If an SSI recipient is not receiving food assistance or is receiving regular food assistance, the SSI redetermination can serve as the initial application for Bay State CAP food assistance.

When conducting a redetermination of SSI eligibility, review the FS coding in the RCRD segment of the SSR to determine if the individual is currently receiving Bay State CAP food assistance. The RCRD segment contains the following food stamp fields:

FSD:MM/YY FS1:X FS2:X FS3:X FS4:X

When an SSI recipient is receiving Bay State CAP food assistance, the FS3 field in the RCRD segment of the SSR will contain a “Y” when the individual's shelter expenses are at or above $450. The FS3 field will contain an “N” when the individual's shelter costs are less than $450.

During the redetermination, determine if the individual is still eligible for food assistance through Bay State CAP, ask the recipient if he or she still purchases and prepares his or her food separately from other members of the household, and determine shelter costs.

To update the SSR and DTA, answer “Y” to the question on the BFDS screen, “Recertification notice received within past 30 days.”

If the recipient remains eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance:

  • Answer the remaining questions on the BFDS screen based on the applicant/recipient's answers.

  • Enter the interview date in the receipt field in the FOOD STAMPS issue on the DW01.

  • For a non-MSSICS case, annotate the shelter costs in the Remarks section of the SSA-8203. Code the 450S/1719B FS Q1 and Q2 fields as described above in SI BOS01801.302D.7., and SM 01005.360 or SM 01301.855.

  • Complete the Department of Transitional Assistance Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits Statement (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/BSC-1 (2/2005).

  • Give the recipient the completed Department of Transitional Assistance Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits Statement (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/BSC-1 (2/2005).

  • Give the recipient the “Your Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits,” FSP/BSC-2 (2/2005) brochure.

If the recipient is no longer eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance, delete the answer to the “SHELTER COST AT OR ABOVE STATE STANDARD” question on the BFDS screen to terminate Bay State CAP food stamp eligibility. For a non-MSSICS case, code the 450S/1719B FS Q1 and Q2 field as described above in SI BOS01801.302D.6. Do not enter A or B in the Q2 field. If the recipient is no longer eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance, but lives in a pure SSI household, follow the instructions in SI BOS01801.302E. below to establish regular food assistance eligibility.

When an SSI recipient is not receiving Bay State CAP food assistance, the FS3 field in the RCRD segment of the SSR will not be present. Determine if the SSI recipient is eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance. If yes, follow the instructions in 2 - 8 above to establish Bay State CAP food assistance eligibility. If the SSI recipient is not eligible for Bay State CAP food assistance, but lives in a pure SSI household follow the instructions in SI BOS01801.302E. below to establish regular food assistance eligibility.

E. Procedure - Regular Food Assistance

1. General

Follow the procedures outlined below when completing an application for food assistance for an SSI applicant/recipient who is in a pure SSI household and wishes to file for regular food assistance. There may be situations where you complete both an application for regular food assistance and for Bay State CAP food assistance.

2. Complete the Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005)

Answer all questions on the Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005). Obtain the applicant's signature on the form during in-office interviews. For telephone interviews, mail the Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005) to the applicant/recipient for signature. If the applicant/recipient must submit evidence or documents to SSA, request that he/she return the Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005) to SSA with the requested evidence or documents. If the applicant/recipient is not submitting evidence or documents to SSA, offer him or her the option of returning the Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005) to SSA or the local DTA office.

3. Fax the Food Assistance Application to DTA

On the day of an in-person interview, fax the completed food assistance application with any pertinent documentation to the servicing local DTA Transitional Assistance Office (not the DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office). (See Exhibit 2.) Fax a food assistance application completed during a telephone interview to the local DTA Transitional Assistance Office on the day the signed food assistance application is received in the SSA field office. Fax any pertinent documentation with the application. It is not necessary to use the SSA-4233, SSA Transmittal for Food Stamp Applications described in SI 01801.310.

NOTE: If expedited service is requested, fax both sides of the FSP/SSA-1 2/2005 to the local DTA office.

4. Give the Applicant the Completed Application

Give/mail the applicant/recipient the completed Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005).

5. Provide Applicant Informational Material

Provide the applicant the “Your Right to Know” and “Food Stamp Program” brochures. This material informs the applicant of the remaining actions to be taken in the application process, the 30-day application processing requirement, and reporting requirements.

6. System Coding - MSSICS Cases

Complete page 2 of the BFDS Screen as follows:

  • Answer “Y” to the question, “May I take your food stamp application today.”

  • Answer the shelter cost question only if the applicant is also applying for Bay State CAP food stamp benefits.

  • Enter the interview date in the receipt field in the FOOD STAMPS issue on the DW01.

Complete input instructions are in MSOM MSSICS 019.011.

7. System Coding - Non-MSSICS Cases

Code the 450S/1719B FS field as follows:

  • Q1 = “Y” if the applicant/recipient is currently receiving food assistance or applied for food assistance within the last 60 days but has not received notification of eligibility or ineligibility
    or
    “N” if the applicant/recipient is not currently receiving food assistance and no food assistance application was filed within the last 60 days which is awaiting a DTA determination on eligibility

  • Q2 = “Y” if the applicant/recipient wishes to file for regular food assistance and an SSA employee took an application
    or
    “N” if the applicant/recipient did not take an application and the applicant/recipient is not applying for Bay State CAP food assistance
    or
    “A” if the applicant is applying for Bay State CAP food assistance and shelter cost is at or above $450
    or
    “B” if the applicant is applying for Bay State CAP food assistance and shelter costs is below $450.

NOTE: Enter “A” or “B” in the Q2 field only if the applicant is also applying for Bay State CAP food assistance.

Complete input instructions are in SM 01301.855 and SM 01005.360

F. Expedited Service

Explain expedited service (7-day decision) when the SSI applicant/recipient meets the criteria in SI 01801.150. Expedited service cannot be obtained via Bay State CAP. For each SSI applicant/recipient who meets the expedited service criteria, complete the one-page application for regular food assistance and check the Expedited Service block in the upper left corner of the form. Check the box on the back of the form which indicates which of the expedited service criteria is/are met. Give the “Your Right to Know” and “Food Stamp Program” brochures to the applicant. Give the one-page application to the applicant to bring to his or her local DTA Transitional Assistance Office. (See Exhibit 2.) If the applicant is unable to visit his or her local DTA office that day, fax both sides of the one-page application to the Local DTA office and give the application to the applicant

NOTE: Although an applicant/recipient must use the regular food assistance application (FSP/SSA-1 (2/2005)) to establish food assistance eligibility through the expedited service, an applicant/recipient may file for Bay State CAP food assistance at the same time he or she is applying for food assistance using the expedited service.

G. State Reported Changes to Bay State CAP Eligibility

When the State determines that a change in Bay State CAP eligibility or in shelter costs has occurred, the State notifies SSA via an automated exchange. This automated process will update the SSR and the BFDS screen. There will be some cases that the automated exchange cannot process. These cases will be sent to the SSA servicing field office for correction via MSSICS or CICS.

H. Obtaining Additional Applications and Informational Material

Contact the DTA Distribution Center by FAX at (617) 727-0167 for supplies of:

  • “Your Right to Know” (brochure for regular food assistance program participants)

  • “Food Stamp Program” (brochure for regular food assistance program participants)

  • “Your Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits, FSP/BSC-2 (2/2005)” (brochure for Bay State CAP food assistance participants)

  • Department of Transitional Assistance APPLICATION FOR FOOD STAMP BENEFITS (For Pure SSI Households) FSP/SSA-12/2005 (one-page regular food assistance application form)

  • Department of Transitional Assistance Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits Statement (For Pure SSI Households), FSP/BSC-1 (2/2005) (one page handout for Bay State CAP food assistance participants)

Your request should include your address, name and phone number of a contact person, and the quantity of applications and/or brochures requested.

I. Exhibits

Exhibits 1 and 2 are found below. Exhibits 3 through 5 are links to the documents located on BOSNET under Programs, SSI Subject Index, Food Stamps.

  1. DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office

  2. Massachusetts DTA Transitional Assistance Offices (Local Offices)

  3. http://sharepoint.ba.ssa.gov/dco/bo/center/cps/SSI/CAP/Forms and Brochures/FSP_BSC-1.pdf

  4. Department of Transitional Assistance Application For Food Stamp Benefits (For Pure SSI Household

  5. “Your Bay State CAP Food Assistance Benefits, ” FSP/BSC-2 (2/2005), (Brochure)

1. Exhibit 1 - DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Offices

The DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office serves all Bay State CAP recipients in Massachusetts. The DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office is located at:

DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office
80 Everett Ave
Chelsea, MA 02150
MA 02150

The phone number for the DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office is 800-590-4820.

The fax number for the DTA Chelsea Centralized SSI Office is 617–551–1841.

2. Exhibit 2 - Massachusetts DTA Transitional Assistance Offices (Local Offices)

To determine the Massachusetts DTA Transitional Assistance Office (local office) that services a particular city or town, go to the Massachusetts DTA Office Locations website. Scroll to the first “List of Towns” which is labeled “Transitional Assistance Offices.” Select the appropriate city/town. The response provides the address of the DTA Transitional Assistance Office.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501801302BOS
SI BOS01801.302 - Application for Food Stamps - Massachusetts (TN 5-252 -- 02/2005) - 03/25/2014
Batch run: 03/25/2014
Rev:03/25/2014