387.8 Application process. The application process includes completing and filing an application form, being interviewed, and having certain information verified and processed in a manner appropriate to the household's needs.

    (a) Expedited service.

        (1) Households are entitled to expedited service provided liquid resources (i.e., cash on hand, checking or savings accounts, savings certificates, and lump sum payments) do not exceed $100 and either:

            (i) the household has less than $150 in monthly gross income, as computed by food stamp requirements; or

            (ii) is a migrant or seasonal farm worker household who is destitute as defined in this Part.

        (2) Benefits shall be issued to households eligible for expedited service according to the following processing standards:

            (i) (a) For all households entitled to expedited service as set forth in paragraph (1) of this subdivision, the food stamp coupons must be made available to the household no later than the fifth calendar day following the day the application was filed.

                (b) Households entitled to expedited service may include, but are not limited to, residents of shelters for battered women and children, households entitled to a waiver of the office interview, residents of drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation centers, residents of group living facilities, homeless individuals and residents of facilities for the homeless. However, such households must meet the requirements for expedited service set forth in paragraph (1) of this subdivision.

            (ii) For households which receive a waiver of the office interview requirements and are interviewed at home and meet the requirements of expedited service, the local department shall conduct the interview and process the application within the regular expedited service standards detailed in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph.

            (iii) For households which receive a waiver of the office interview requirement and meet the requirements for expedited service, but are interviewed by telephone, applicants shall be processed for expedited service as detailed in section 387.7(i) of this Part.

        (3) An expedited verification process shall be used in the certification of expedited applications. Using collateral contacts and readily available documents, the local department shall verify, in all cases, the applicant's identity. Also, by using reasonable effort within the expedited time standards, the local department shall verify the household's residency, income status, liquid resources and all other factors required in this Part through collateral contacts or readily available documentary evidence. However, benefits shall not be delayed beyond the expedited time standard solely because these eligibility factors have not been verified. Households entitled to expedited service will be asked to either furnish a social security number (SSN) for each person or to apply for one for each person before the first full month of participation. Those households unable to provide the required SSN's or who do not have one prior to their next authorization for food stamps shall be allowed 30 days from the first day of the first full month of participation to obtain the SSN. The applicant shall comply with the work registration requirements detailed in section 387.13 of this Part, unless the household is exempt or has designated an authorized representative.

    (b) Verification and documentation. Verification and documentation is required to establish the accuracy of statements made on the application.

        (1) (i) For households initially applying for food stamp benefits prior to certification, mandatory verification shall be completed regarding: gross nonexempt income, alien status, shelter expenses, medical expenses, residency, household size, social security number, identity, date of birth, utility expenses, resources, disability and, if questionable, household composition and citizenship and any other questionable information that has an effect on the household's eligibility and benefit level.

            (ii) To be considered questionable, the information on the application must be inconsistent with statements made by the applicant, inconsistent with other information on the application or previous applications. The local department shall determine if information is questionable based on the household's individual circumstances.

        (2) Written documentary evidence is to be used as the primary source of verification of all items except residency and household size. Residency and household size may be verified either through readily available documentary evidence or through a collateral contact. Residency is to be verified by the local department except where verification cannot reasonably be accomplished (such as in homeless cases). When verification is not accomplished, the local department must document efforts to obtain verification in the case file.

        (3) The household shall have the primary responsibility for providing documentary evidence to support its application and to resolve any questionable information. The local department, however, shall offer assistance in situations where the household cannot obtain the documentation in a timely manner. Such assistance may include using a collateral contact or home visit unless otherwise stated in this Part.

        (4) The applicant's/recipient's case folder shall contain appropriate written notations or photocopied documentation which supports eligibility, ineligibility and/or food stamp benefit levels. This documentation shall be in sufficient detail to assure the reasonableness and accuracy of the determination.

        (5) Changes reported during the certification period shall be subject to the same verification procedures which apply at initial certification. However, the local department is not required to verify income, medical expenses or actual utility expenses if the source has not changed and the amount has changed by $25 or less since the last time they were verified.

        (6) Recertification verification is required on changes in income; medical expenses; and actual utility costs claimed by the household whenever the source has changed, or the amount has changed by more than $25 since the last verification was completed, for any or all of these items. Newly obtained social security numbers, changes in household circumstance and any other information which is questionable are subject to the verification standards that apply at the initial certification of the households.

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