The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

2015 - DTA "Transitions" Newsletters

Date: 
01/01/2015
Author: 
DTA

DTA Transitions from 2015 are posted here.

January 2015 Quality Corner -- Ineligible LPR parent's earnings were entered in BEACON as non-countable, and resulted in overissuance as in fact they are countable - INS designation page should say legal FS disqualified, too. Application was denied for not submitting verifications but no VC-I sent and no interview or appointment letter or NOMI, so closing an error; Hotline -- “From the Hotline” Index for 2014.

February 2015 Quality Corner -- case managers should explore whether child who graduated high school and going to college who is removed from TAFDC case should remain in SNAP household, and whether has to meet SNAP employment/training. Workers, and first-available-worker, should give clients VC-1 at time of interview and whenever needed- late sending of VC-1 resulted in invalid denial of SNAP case for failure to submit verifications-- also, when verification entered in BEACON, auto determination of whether to send VC-1 or Pending Denial; Training Corner -- Federal mileage rate increase to $0.575/mile- use to calculate dependent care and medical transportation expenses; Hotline -- Dental care payments/dental insurance premiums, and prescription drug plan premiums and drug costs are all medical expenses for SNAP, and over-the-counter drugs only need be prescribed by a health professional. Special health diets are not allowable SNAP medical expenses but health-related dietary supplements are. Costs of feeding and caring for service animal are allowable SNAP medical expense. See SNAP Medical Deductions Job Aid. Cannot group client's SNAP medical expenses together when entering info in BEACON- must be entered under specific type.

March-April 2015 Quality Corner -- mortgage, homeowners insurance, property taxes and condo fee are all shelter expenses and should be entered, or will result in underissuance of SNAP; client must be given 10 days to return verifications for VC-1 before case is closed; From the DTA Mailbox -- clients who have Bay State CAP, some interim reporters and some elderly/disabled households may have their recert interviews waived; elderly/disabled households have to have interview if someone has new job or becomes self-employed or if any information is questionable, or the house wants an interview. SNAP client can use benefits out of state- case shouldn't be closed while MA resident. Any documents or collateral contacts that reasonably establish the applicant’s residency may be used, including info verifying expenses/other requirements; no specific proof can be required; FYI -- staff should do inter-agency matches for proofs when possible, and avoid over-verification from clients- when one form of proof can be used for multiple requirements, or has already been received, and is not inconsistent with other information, or where verification is optional, no more proofs should be required. Staff should make sure clients are correctly coded for work requirement and work requirement reason, so that exempt clients are not sanctioned, TAFDC ESP referrals can be made where needed, and all appropriate TAFDC work requirement components show. If employment is only component showing on ESP Component Eligibility Page for TAFDC, go to Work Requirements-FS page, change the Work Program Required Reason and FSET Required Reason to “Meets TAFDC/EAEDC requirement,” go back to ESP Component Eligibility, click "re-assess," and all components will now show for selection/enrollment.

May 2015 Quality Corner -- Case managers should make sure they enter the right wage information and pay frequency; should ask households about expenses the house is responsible for, versus overall cost of a service; and should check re actual expenses to make subsidized costs not included and no double counting. Applications are date stamped when received at the EDMC- that is the application start date, and case managers should update the application date to reflect the earlier date stamped if RFA created later. From the DTA Mailbox -- Anyone can request that hearing record be kept open to submit relevant documents; all documents must be sent to appellant, and appellant must be given time to respond to new documents; the hearing officer can also continue the hearing. Case action narratives (for any time you talk with client, update case folder, or take any action) should include: what learned about case; what changed about the case; what should happen next. Example of what narrative should look like after doing TAFDC/SNAP application interview.

June 2015 Quality Corner -- When SNAP client's employer switched names, caseworker should either delete record for the employer (that has the old name) and create a new record for the employer with the new name and FEIN, or add wages to existing record- not deleting an old record can cause underissuance; From the DTA Mailbox -- Caseworkers should let clients know about transportation benefits. Qualifying activities for transportation payments include work; basic edu including high school equivalency programs; post secondary edu; community college; young parent's program; Office for Refugees and Immigrants (MORI) Employment Ready; CIES component activities; Employment Ready (including those conducting self-directed job search; DTA Works; cost for transporting child to and from child care, for purposes of qualifying activity (also deductible dependent care expense). Fee based transportation services like taxis or carpooling qualify for transportation payments; FYI --  Participation and Attendance Form Data Entry Online Guide.

July 2015 Quality Corner -- Family Cap rules do not apply to SNAP, so child should be added to; Medical reimbursements, such as those provided by Veteran's benefits, are noncountable for SNAP; From the DTA Mailbox - discusses disability exemption to time limits; TAFDC work program requirements can be satisfied by housing search for those residing in EA shelter

August 2015 From the DTA Mailbox - SNAP medical expense deductions - statement from MD not needed for claiming OTC medications; no need to verify medical expemses at recert that have not changed or change does not change value of deduction; SNAP elder or disabled not need to make payments on medical expenses to claim deduction, only be liable; workers need to explore all possible medical expenses of households including incontinence supplies, OTC meds and transportaton; On-Line Guide Transmittals on use of DTA address for homeless clients, update to TPS non-citizen status, Nutrition Education and Sept 2015 clothing allowance. 

September 2015 Quality Corner -- During recertification, case managers must review all aspects of the case as the main objective of this process is to determine continued eligibility for a subsequent certification period. Some changes happen over time and may impact the eligibility of one or more household members. Once all changes are entered in BEACON, the case must be wrapped up for supervisory approval or the changes entered will not impact the SNAP benefit amount. From the DTA Mailbox -- SNAP clients who are conducting business in DTA offices can get help from the Department's Domestic Violence Specialists, even if they aren't receiving TAFDC. FYI -- The Fuel Assistance Program begins accepting applications on November 1, 2015.

October 2015 Quality Corner -- When a case manager is processing an application, recertification or case maintenance activity for any program, a Department of Revenue Child support inquiry should be done to determine if a household member is in receipt of child support. This is especially important for a household member who is not included in the TAFDC grant but whose income is countable for SNAP.

November 2015 Quality Corner -- When entering income or expenses in BEACON, it is important that the correct frequency of payment being made or income being received is selected. A brief review of Interview Wrap-up/EBC Results is often helpful to identify an amount that was erroneously entered. 

December 2015 From the DTA Policy/Procedure Mailbox -- Questions below focusing on the Able Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) work program (WP) requirement. Quality Corner - When processing a case, it is important that information is entered on the correct page in BEACON. Child support received must be entered on the Other Income Status page of BEACON. Conversely, child support paid must be entered on the Child Support Expense page which will generate a deduction in the SNAP calculation. A child support deduction is allowed only when a client verifies that he or she has a legal obligation to pay child support and that he or she is paying. 


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