578.3 County Assistance Office Responsibility

The CAO will provide an Appointment Notice and Verification Checklist (PA 253), at application and renewal,  telling the household what verification must be submitted to be certified/ recertified for SNAP benefits.    

7 CFR § 273.2(c)(5)

The CAO will determine what information must be verified from:   

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(5)

NOTE:  Beginning October 1, 2010, if a birth certificate is required for any reason for a Puerto Rico-born individual, CAOs must only accept birth certificates issued on or after July 1, 2010.

PFS 18433-578; Verification of Terminated Income, April 18, 2017

PFS 18434-578; No Income Reported at Application and Renewal, April 18, 2017

The CAO must do the following:

  Example: The client indicates that they work at Giant Food Stores. The caseworker can request verification of income they receive from employment. The client provides a letter from their boss stating how much the client makes. This is acceptable verification.

Example: The client states that they are receiving Social Security Disability benefits.  The caseworker can request that the client provide verification of income they receive in Social Security Benefits if it can’t be verified through automated sources. The client provides a bank statement with deposits that indicate their Social Security benefits. This is acceptable verification.

Example: The client states that they are self-employed. The caseworker can request that the client provide verification of self-employment income by providing a copy of their tax return. The client provides copies of invoices and receipts for the past month instead. This is acceptable verification.

NOTE:  An Authorization for Release of Information (PA 4) is not a requirement for SNAP. A household cannot be denied benefits for failing to sign a blanket PA 4.  However, the CAO may use a PA 4 if a specific eligibility item needs a signed release form.

At the initial certification interview, the household will be given a minimum of 10 days from the request date to provide missing verification.   

7 CFR § 273.2(h)(1)(i)(C)

At the renewal interview, the household will be given 30 days from the request date to provide missing verification.   

55 Pa. Code § 501.9(i)

The CAO will help the household get proof of its statements, providing the household is cooperating, as specified in Section 504.15.  

 7 CFR § 273.2(f)(5)

The CAO will ensure the household, (who must sign the AAB), knows the impact of not reporting and/or verifying expenses.

The household must be informed of their right to report expenses to the CAO any time during the certification period.

The case record must clearly establish eligibility or ineligibility and benefit amount. The CAO will:    

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(6)

Important:  Once information which is not likely to change is verified and recorded in the case record, that information does not need to be verified again. Items such as the Social Security Number (SSN), birth date, and citizenship are not normally expected to change. However, the worker may require verification again if there has been a change or the original information was not correct. The decision to re-verify must be explained in the case record.   

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(8(

 

578.31 Joint Public Assistance/SNAP Households

The CAO will follow cash assistance verification requirements for information that needs to be verified for both cash assistance and SNAP.

7 CFR § 273.2(j)(1)(iii)  

If all SNAP verification requirements are met but cash requirements are not, the CAO may not delay issuing SNAP benefits beyond the 30-day application time frame.

578.32 At Application

The CAO will verify the following information before authorizing benefits:   

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(i)

Exception:  When an otherwise eligible applicant has cooperated but cannot verify income because a third party is late or not cooperating, the worker must use the best available information to authorize benefits.

Reminder:  Workers should check PACSES for child support or alimony (even if listed as voluntary on the application).

   7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ii))

Exception:  A noncitizen is certified up to six months until a federal agency verifies citizenship status.    

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(B)(3)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(iii) and 7 CFR § 273.9(d)(6)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(iv)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(v)

NOTE:  The CAO will not delay certification for and issuance of benefits to an otherwise eligible household solely to verify the SSN of a household member. Most SSNs can be verified through the Client Information System (CIS).

Exception:  The requirement to verify residence before authorization may be unreasonable in unusual cases. The CAO may postpone the requirement in situations such as homeless households, migrant or seasonal farm worker households, and households that have just moved into the state.    

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(vi)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(vii)

NOTE:  Any document that reasonably establishes identity must be accepted. The CAO will not require a specific type of document, such as a birth certificate. A collateral contact is acceptable verification.

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(viii)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(ix)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(xii)

NOTE:  If the child support is not verified but the household is otherwise eligible , the CAO will authorize benefits without including the child support deduction. The CAO must include in the case narrative the reason the deduction was not given. Failure to document in the case narrative may result in a quality control error.

All other information must be verified only if it is questionable and affects household eligibility and benefit level. The CAO will give the household the opportunity to resolve any discrepancies before determining eligibility and must explain in the case record why the information is questionable.    

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(2)(i)   

Information may be questionable in the following situations:

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(x)

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(2)(i)

The CAO will verify address and shelter/utility costs if:

At application, the CAO must verify shelter costs if the applicant:

• Provided questionable information.

To be considered questionable:

• Information on the application must be inconsistent with other information on the application or previous applications.

• Information is inconsistent with information received by the CAO, known in the case record, presented during the interview, or provided from other sources.

Verification should be requested when information provided by the applicant is incomplete, unclear, or contradictory.  When determining if information is questionable, the decision shall be based on each household’s individual circumstances.  

Determination of questionable information shall not be based on race, religion, ethnic background, or national origin.  CAOs should not target groups such as migrant farmworkers or American Indians for more intensive verification under this provision.  The rationale for determining information questionable should be entered in the narrative.

Example:  Ms. Smith applies for SNAP benefits.  She is not known as she has never received benefits.  Her shelter costs are reasonable based on her income reported.  No verification should be requested since the information Ms. Smith provided is NOT questionable.   

Example: Mr. Jones is renewing his SNAP benefits. He previously reported his rent as $350 per month. On this renewal, he reports living at the same address and reports a rent amount of $800 monthly. This information is considered questionable and verification should be requested. The CAO must narrate that information is questionable because client is reporting rent increase of $450 monthly with no change of address.

At SAR review or renewal and during the certification period, the CAO must verify shelter costs only if the information provided by the household is questionable.

Forms of acceptable verification for each allowable expense include, but are not limited to the following:

• Rent or mortgage

• Statement from the institution holding the mortgage

• Rent receipt

• Statement by the landlord or manager

• Current lease

• Property tax

• Bills or statements from the taxing authority

• Property insurance

• Bills or statements from the insurance company or a copy of a current receipt

• A copy of a current receipt.

NOTE:  Insurance premiums on personal property and furnishings are not included.

NOTE:  Should the household fail to provide required verification of the shelter expense, the CAO will compute the household eligibility and allotment

 

The CAO will verify dependent care expenses if:

The applicant or recipient:

Provides questionable information.

NOTE:  The CAO will always review the Pennsylvania Enterprise to Link Information across Networks (PELICAN) to verify whether the household is receiving subsidized childcare and has a co-pay.

578.33 Households that Are Eligible for Expedited Service

Only identity must be verified prior to authorizing expedited benefits. The CAO will make a reasonable effort to verify all other items within the expedited time frames. (See Chapter 506.)   

7 CFR § 273.2(i)(4)(i)

578.34 At Renewal

The CAO will verify:    

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(8)

       NOTE:  Check PACSES for changes in child support or alimony

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)(xii)

NOTE:  If child support is not verified but the household is otherwise eligible, the CAO will authorize benefits without including the child support deduction. The reason the deduction was not given must be included in the case notes. Failure to document in the case notes may result in a quality control error.

If the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent, or outdated, the CAO will verify:    

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(8)(i)(D)

NOTE:  The CAO will always review PELICAN for subsidized child care.

Other information, including unchanged information, is verified only if the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent, or outdated.

578.35 During the Semiannual or Certification Period

The CAO will verify changes using the same requirements as at renewal.   

7 CFR § 273.2(f)(8)(ii)

Exception:  For non-SAR households,  medical expenses must be verified if the total expense has changed by more than $25.

578.36 At the Semiannual Review

The CAO will verify:   

7 CFR § 273.12(a)(i)(vii)

      NOTE:  Check PACSES for changes in child support or alimony

Other information, including unchanged information, is only verified if the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent, or outdated.

 

 

 

Reissued July 1, 2021, Replacing April 13, 2021