387.5 General application process.
(a) Any household has the right to make application for food stamps either in person, through an authorized representative or through the mail. Such application shall be completed on the State-prescribed form which shall be filed with the local department on the day the application is requested or at a later date at the discretion of the household. The household shall be advised that it does not need to be interviewed before filing an application and may file an incomplete application form so long as the form contains the applicant's name and address, and is signed by a responsible member of the household or the household's authorized representative.
(b) All local departments shall act promptly on all applications and shall provide food stamp benefits retroactively to the day of application to those households that have completed the application process and have been determined eligible.
(c) The date of application filing is the date the signed form containing at least the applicant's name and address is received through the mail or in person by the social services district. An address may consist of a mailing address provided a reasonable explanation is presented by the applicant which explains the use of such a mailing address. An interview with the applicant/authorized representative is not required prior to the filing of an application. The date of application filing for a resident of a public institution who applies jointly for Supplemental Security Income and food stamps as part of the federal Social Security Administration's Pre-release Program for the Institutionalized is the date the applicant is released from the institution.
(d) A social service district must provide each household, at the time of application, with a written statement explaining what action the household must take to cooperate with the district in obtaining verification of appropriate information and otherwise completing the application process.
(e) Application procedures must be designed to identify each household eligible for expedited food stamp service at the time the household requests assistance. Expedited service must be available to the following households:
(1) households with less than $150 in monthly gross income, provided their liquid resources do not exceed $100;
(2) migrant or seasonal farmworker households which are destitute households, as defined in section 387.1(k) of this Part, provided their liquid resources do not exceed $100;
(3) eligible households in which all members are homeless individuals as defined in section 387.1(v) of this Part; and
(4) eligible households whose combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than the household's monthly rent or mortgage and utilities.
(f) Except as provided in this Part, a face-to-face interview is required with the applicant or authorized representative to establish eligibility for food stamps. A completed application form and verification of information is also required. Eligibility interviews for all applications must be scheduled on a timely basis to assure a determination of eligibility and benefit issuance within 30 days of filing an application.
(g) The food stamp eligibility interview for public assistance applicants shall be conducted at the same time the eligibility worker does the interviewing for the public assistance (Aid to Dependent Children and Home Relief) programs.
(h) As a result of differences in public assistance and food stamp application processing procedures and timeliness standards, the local department may have to determine food stamp eligibility for expedited service prior to determining eligibility for public assistance.
(i) (1) Social services districts may request the applicant to complete a Personal Identification Number (PIN) selection form prior to determining the applicant's eligibility for food stamps. However, the completion of the PIN selection form is not required in order for the social services district to determine the applicant's eligibility for food stamps. Social services districts must not withhold or delay the determination of an applicant's eligibility because the PIN selection form has not been completed.
(2) After a PIN code has been registered, the social services district must dispose of the PIN selection form in accordance with department procedures. The social serivces district must not record the PIN code in the case record. Social services districts must not maintain a separate file of PIN codes unless directed to do so by the department.
(j)(1) A nonhousehold member may be designated as an authorized representative for application processing purposes and(or to carry out household responsibilities during the certification period, such as reporting changes in the household s income or other household circumstances, only under the following conditions:
(a) The authorized representative has been designated in writing by the head of household or spouse or another responsible member of the household; and
(b) The authorized representative is an adult who is sufficiently aware of relevant household circumstances.
(2) Residents of drug or alcohol treatment centers must apply and be certified through the use of authorized representatives.
(3) The designation of an authorized representative does not relieve the household of the obligation to cooperate with all aspects of initial and continuing eligibility for food stamp benefits and to provide timely and accurate information to the social services district. The household is liable for any overissuance of food stamp benefits that results from erroneous information given by the authorized representative.
(k) Restrictions on designations of
Social services districts must restrict the use of authorized representatives for purposes of applying for and using food stamp benefits as follows:
(1) Social services district employees who are involved in the certification or issuance processes and retailers who are authorized to accept food stamp benefits may not act as authorized representatives without the specific written approval of the local social services commissioner or his or her designee and only if that official determines that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative;
(2) An individual disqualified for an intentional program violation cannot act as an authorized representative during the disqualification period, unless the social services district has determined that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative. The social services district must separately determine whether the individual is needed to apply on behalf of the household or to use benefits on behalf of the household;
(3) If the social services district determines that an authorized representative has knowingly provided false information about household circumstances or has made improper use of food stamp benefits, it may disqualify that person from being an authorized representative for up to one year. The social services district must send written notification to the affected household(s) and the authorized representative 30 days prior to the date of the disqualification. The notification must specify the reason for the proposed action and the household's right to a fair hearing. Drug and alcohol treatment centers and those group homes which act as authorized representatives for their residents are not subject to disqualification under this paragraph. However, anyone, including drug and alcohol treatment centers and heads of group living arrangements, that acts as an authorized representative and intentionally misrepresents household circumstances is subject to disqualification for an intentional program violation or prosecution under applicable federal and State statutes and regulations for their actions.
(4) Homeless meal providers may not act as authorized representatives for homeless food stamp recipients.
(5) In order to prevent abuse of the program, a social services district may set a limit on the number of households an authorized representative may represent at any given time and the total number of households an authorized representative may represent within a specific time period for purposes of applying for food stamp benefits and for reporting changes in household circumstances during the certification period. The limit on the number of households that an authorized representative may represent must be applied equally to all authorized representatives in a district, but does not apply to drug and alcohol treatment centers, group homes and those who represent households only for purposes for using food stamp benefits. Prior to limiting the number of households an authorized representative may represent, a social services district must request and obtain written approval from this Office. The request must state the number of households an authorized representative may represent at any given time and the total number of households an authorized representative may represent within a specific time period
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