To further streamline the application and verification processes, the Department now considers a self-declaration to be sufficient verification ofshelter and utility expenses for most NPA SNAP and SSI only households. Effective with the issuance of this Field Operations Memo, no other verification of shelter or utility expenses is needed unless the information provided appears to be questionable or contradictory (see 106 CMR 361.620).
Recent Quality Control error analyses indicate that very few errors are related solely to the shelter deduction. Since the shelter deduction is capped for most households, variances in shelter expenses often make no difference in the calculation of the benefit amount. Additionally, initiatives such as H-EAT and the Standard Medical Deduction have maximized benefits for many households, also with little or no error impact if a shelter expense is not accurate.
Clients who receive TAFDC benefits are still required to verify shelter costs in order for the Department to determine eligibility for the $40.00 rental allowance.
Purpose of the Memo
This memo provides guidance to case managers about:
- when a self-declaration of shelter/utility expenses is acceptable;
- when further verification may be necessary; and
- how to process these cases in BEACON.