- How will we know if clients are eligible for federal or state SNAP? We cannot determine any eligibility issues. We can only do outreach, screen and help people who appear to be eligible to complete their applications. We are not allowed to tell people they are if eligible or what amount of benefit to expect. These determinations can only be made by DSS. The information that comes back from the screening tool sometimes changes based on what happens during the interview and/or what DSS can verify through their connection to other government systems. Of course, if a client does not participate in the interview within 30 days of the application being received by DSS, that person will automatically be considered ineligible.
- How does net income work for people 60+ or disabled? While the normal procedure is to use gross (pre-tax) income, for those 60+ and/or disabled, we count only the income they actually receive into their households if their gross income is above the cut off used for everyone else. In addition to the regular shelter and utility allowances, these people can also deduct medical expenses for out of pocket costs above $35 per month. In this case, there is also a $3250 asset limit, which includes money in bank accounts and other assets that can be liquidated quickly.
- If a client pays for utilities that are not in their name, can they claim the expense? If the client pays at least $1 in rent, in most cases DSS will automatically deduct the standard utility allowance when determining the benefit amount. Information on utilities should still be filled out, as DSS will ask about that information during the interview. If a client is unable to get utilities in his/her own name, DSS will accept a signed affidavit from someone else stating that the client is paying them for utilities that are in the that person’s name.
- Do we have to deduct 20% from their gross income before looking up the income limits? No. For SNAP, we really go by the gross income of the household, which is people who buy and prepare food together. People under the age of 22 are automatically considered part of a household if they reside in the same dwelling. For people 22+, the determination of whether to include them in a household will be made based on whether they purchase and prepare food together with the applicant.
- If a couple is not legally married does the income count differently? What if they have a child? No, it doesn’t. SNAP goes by household, not family. The key question is whether the people living at that address purchase and prepare their food together. The legal and/or familial relationship of the people involved does not matter, except that having a child automatically ties parents living in the same household together.
- The DSS MY Account function now has a community partner field. Should we be using this? The community partner option is not functioning at this point in time. It is going to be tested, which is slated to begin tomorrow, and then will be rolled out. This option will only allow partners to submit applications on behalf of clients.
We are continuing to use ABO because the DSS system does not yet provide any reporting or storage capabilities. So, if for some reason, you needed another copy of the application, you would not be able to access it through this function. You will also not be able to track how many screenings and applications you have completed, or look up the application status of anyone you have assisted.
DSS is expecting to connect ABO to ConneCT. At this time, it is slated to occur in Jan. 2014. This date is dependent on everything prior to that rolling out smoothly. I expect it will be pushed back a little bit. Work on linking ABO to the DSS system will not begin until the DSS system is functioning, connected to Access Health CT properly and they are confident they have found and removed any bugs from the system. A full partner log in to the ConneCT system is not expected in the foreseeable future.
Please submit any other questions or concerns to Heidi Elsinger.