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Policy Updates: Verification Clarifications and Questions about Over-Verification in Cash Assistance Cases; DTA Chart on "Assisting Persons"

"Over verification" in SNAP and Cash benefits:

At the June SNAP Coalition meeting, DTA reported on steps it is taking to track and address "over verification" - including working with individual workers or offices where they seem to demand excess or unnecessary verifications for information either available in data bases, where one document can satisfy multiple eligiblity factors, or where a verification in option. Attached also is a 6/28/17 DTA Operations Bulletin #2017-6 which highlights the problem of over verification and instructs workers that often ONE document can verify a range of eligibility factors.

Greater Boston Legal Services has also asked DTA to investigate the problem of over verification in cash assistance cases - both TAFDC (families with children) and EAEDC (elder and disabled) cash benefits. Attached is a letter from Lizbeth Gingsberg to DTA flagging a number of areas where excess verification has been problematic. 

Please flag for GBLS and MLRI any case examples of families or individuals seeking or getting cash assistance who have been asked for too many or unnecessary documents. It will help to know if this is a problem with particular workers or local offices (note that cash cases are assigned to local DTA Offices, vs the Centralized First Available Worker model).

DTA Job Aid on "Assisting Persons" and clarification on Authorized Representatives

DTA recently issued a Job Aid to workers describing the different roles and functions of "assisting persons." Most community-based organizations help individuals or families with filing a SNAP application, to follow up on an application, or try to resolve an outstanding problem. These roles are are not the same for "Authorized Representatives."

Here is what you need to know about "Assisting Persons" and contacting DTA about specific cases:

  • Helping agencies can talk to a DTA staff person if they have a signed client consent form that includes the client name, address, DOB and (ideally) the client Agency ID or last 4 of the SSN.

  • The form can be hand written or typed, there is NO special form. Attached is a sample form that MLRI uses.

  • The form should list the agency name, and NOT the name of the individual staff person. DTA Central agrees that consent forms need not identify individual staff within an organization. If a DTA worker tells you s/he cannot speak to you because "your name" is not on the consent statement, ask to speak with a supervisor immediately. Refer them to the DTA Job Aid!

What is an "Authorized Representatives"?

If your organizations is playing a bigger role in a client's DTA case, your client should sign the "Request for Authorized Representative" or IMAGE 10 form. This form should be used when your client has asked you or your organization to handle all communications with DTA and/or assist with food shopping.  For example, if the client signs this form, DTA would then send you copies of all DTA notices and verification checklists; you would receive the Interim Reports or Recertification forms  to fill out (this is much like an SSA Representative Payee or a Legal Guardian).  And the IMAGE-10 form also allows the client to appoint you to be a food shopper (get a second EBT). That is a very different role from following up on a SNAP application or sorting out what happened to a SNAP application or getting a case fixed. Don't use the IMAGE-10 form if you are seeking information on a case or trying to get it fixed (including going to a fair hearing). 

NEXT Boston SNAP Coalition Meeting: 

Tuesday, July 25th from 10-Noon, St Francis House, Boston. This will be the LAST SNAP Coalition meeting for the summer.

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