Chapter 9 - Food Stamp Case Changes
Certain changes are initiated by the District or federal government which may affect the entire caseload or significant portions of the caseload. This chapter only applies to FS cases and those changes made by the Department which meet one of the following criteria:
- Simultaneously affect the entire caseload
- Affect a significant portion of the caseload
- Involve conducting individual desk reviews in place of a mass change
At a minimum, the District will publicize these mass changes through the news media; posters in certification offices, issuance locations, or other sites frequented by certified households; or general notices mailed to households (see Section 9.6: Required Notices for Mass Changes in this Chapter).
|Case Changes||FS: 7 CFR 273.12|
Certain changes are initiated by the District or federal government which may affect the entire caseload or significant portions of the caseload. These changes include but are not limited to adjustments to:
- Income eligibility standards
- shelter and dependent care deductions
- The Thrifty Food Plan which is the diet required to feed a family of four persons consisting of a man and a women 20 through 50, a child six through eight, and a child nine through eleven years of age which is the basis for uniform allotments for all households regardless of their actual composition
- The standard deduction
- Annual and seasonal adjustments to the utility standard
- Periodic COLAs to OASDI, SSI, and other federal benefits
- Periodic adjustments to TANF payments
- Other changes in the eligibility and benefit criteria based on legislative or regulatory changes.
The federal government periodically makes adjustments to eligibility standards, allotments, and certain deductions. These adjustments shall go into effect for all households at a specific time. Annual adjustments to federal standards such as the Thrifty Food Plan, the income-eligibility standard, the standard deduction, the shelter deduction, and the dependent care deduction shall be implemented prospectively. These adjustments shall be effective for all issuances as designated by FNS.
District annual adjustments which incorporate seasonal variations to the utility standard shall be effective for all issuances in the month of October or as specified by the Department. These adjustments in the utility standard shall be implemented for all households.
The Department is not required to send a notice of adverse action when the federal government mandates a mass change be made in certain FS program parameters, even if the change results in a reduction in FS benefits. The FS changes governed by this policy are the maximum allotment, the standard deduction, the shelter deduction, and income-eligibility guidelines. While a notice of adverse action is not required in these circumstances, an adequate and timely notice of adverse action must be sent prior to terminating a household from the FS program.
Congress passes (and the President signs) a law reducing the maximum FS allotment by five percent. While this change will negatively affect all FS households' benefits, the agency is not required to send a notice of adverse action. If the Department determines that the change will make 75 households ineligible for FS, these households must receive timely and adequate notice prior to benefit termination.
The Department, at its discretion, could decide to send a notice to all households affected by the reduction in the maximum FS allotment.
While a notice of adverse action is not required, prior publication of adjustments that will negatively affect FS households will be made:
- Through the news media
- By placing posters in certification offices and issuance locations or other type of written explanation of the change
- By mailing general notices to households or some other written explanation of the change.
If the Department adopts new FS policies that adversely affect some FS households, affected households must be notified. At a minimum, the IMA shall inform all households whose benefits will be reduced or terminated of the following:
- The general nature of the change
- The effect on the household's allotments
- The month in which the change will take effect
- The household's right to a fair hearing
- The household's right to continued benefits and under what circumstances benefits will be continued pending a fair hearing
- General information on whom to contact for additional information