Chapter 5101:4-2 Application Process

5101:4-2-01 Food assistance: initial application process.

(A) How does an individual apply for food assistance benefits?

(1) The application process begins with a request for food assistance. Upon request, the county agency must provide the individual with:

(a) A JFS 07200, "Request for Cash, Food, and Medical Assistance" (rev. 12/12);

(b) A JFS 07217 "Voter Registration Notice of Rights and Declination" (08/09) and a voter registration form (for requirements and procedures of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 refer to rule 5101:1-2-15 of the Administrative Code); and

(c) A JFS 07501 "Program Enrollment and Benefit Information" (rev. 10/12).

(2) The JFS 07200 requires the individual making the request to provide his or her name, address and signature.

(3) Assistance groups wishing to participate in the program must file a JFS 07200.

(4) The county agency shall assist an assistance group in the completion of its JFS 07200.

(5) The county agency shall provide a means for the applicant to immediately begin the application process whether the process is paper or electronic.

(B) What are the methods for filing a JFS 07200?

(1) Assistance groups must be able to file a JFS 07200 by submitting the form to the county agency:

(a) In person;

(b) Through an authorized representative;

(c) By fax;

(d) By electronic transmission; or

(e) By mail.

(2) Pure supplemental security income (SSI) assistance groups, in which all members are applicants for or recipients of SSI, may apply at either the social security administration (SSA) district office or the county agency.

(3) Individuals scheduled for release from a public institution who are applying for SSI benefits will also be permitted to apply for participation in the food assistance program in accordance with rule 5101:4-6-19 of the Administrative Code.

(C) Who must sign the JFS 07200?

(1) The JFS 07200 application must be signed by all individuals who helped complete the form. This includes the assistance group name, the authorized representative if one has been designated, an interpreter or a social worker.

(2) If an application is not signed by the necessary individuals then the application for benefits for that assistance group is considered incomplete. The county agency must contact the individuals listed and attempt to obtain a valid signature.

(3) The signature of a responsible adult person on the application certifies, under penalty of perjury, the truth of the information contained on the application, including the information concerning citizenship and alien status of the members applying for benefits.

(D) When can the JFS 07200 be filed?

(1) Assistance groups shall be advised of their right to file a JFS 07200 on the same day they contact the county agency during office hours. The county agency:

(a) Shall encourage assistance groups to file a JFS 07200 the same day the assistance group or its representative contacts the county agency in person or by telephone and expresses interest in obtaining food assistance or expresses concerns which indicate food insecurity.

(b) Shall post signs which explain the application processing standards and the right to file a JFS 07200 on the day of initial contact.

(c) May include information about same-day filing in outreach materials and on the JFS 07200.

(2) The assistance group shall also be advised that it does not have to be interviewed before filing its JFS 07200 and that it may file an incomplete JFS 07200 as long as the form contains the applicant's name, address, and the signature of the appropriate individuals as defined in paragraph (C)(1) of this rule.

(E) What is the date of application?

(1) The date of application is the date the agency receives the JFS 07200 application either in person, mail or via electronic transmission with a name, address, and signature. When an assistance group is determined eligible benefits shall be provided from the date the application was received to the end of the month.

(2) If an assistance group is currently receiving cash assistance and decides to apply for food assistance at reapplication, the JFS 07204 "Request to Reapply for Cash and Food Assistance" (rev.06/12) with a name, address and signature shall establish the date of application.

(3) County agencies shall document the date the JFS 07200 was filed by recording the date of receipt.

(4) The filing date of the JFS 07200 to be recorded by the county agency is the date of release of the applicant from the institution when a resident of an institution is applying for food assistance benefits prior to leaving the institution.

(F) How many applications can be filed by a household?

(1) One application can be submitted for all assistance groups within a household although there may be situations in which more than one application will be completed.

(2) When more than one assistance group resides in a household, each assistance group has the right to complete its own separate application. Rule 5101:4-2-03 of the Administrative Code must be followed to determine the composition of assistance groups within the residence.

(3) The household shall not be required to complete more than one application when applying for medicaid, cash and/or food assistance.

(G) What happens if an assistance group contacts the wrong county certification agency?

(1) If an assistance group contacts the wrong county certification agency within a county, either in person or by telephone, the county office shall give the assistance group the address and telephone number of the appropriate office. The county office shall offer to forward the assistance group's JFS 07200 to the appropriate office that same day if the assistance group has completed enough information on the JFS 07200 to file. The county office shall forward the application the next day by any means that ensures the JFS 07200 arrives at the office the day it is forwarded. The assistance group shall be informed that its JFS 07200 will not be considered filed and the processing standards shall not begin until the JFS 07200 is received by the appropriate office.

(2) If the assistance group has mailed or electronically submitted the JFS 07200 to the wrong office within the county, the county agency shall mail, fax or electronically send the JFS 07200 to the appropriate office on the same day or forward it the next day by any means that ensures the JFS 07200 arrives at the office the day it is forwarded.

(3) If an assistance group contacting the county agency by telephone does not wish to come to the appropriate office to file the JFS 07200 that same day and instead prefers receiving a JFS 07200 through the mail, the county agency shall mail a JFS 07200 to the assistance group on the same day the telephone request is received. A JFS 07200 shall also be mailed on the same day a written request for food assistance is received.

(H) What happens when an assistance group refuses to cooperate with the application process?

(1) If the assistance group refuses to cooperate with the county agency in completing any part of the application process, the application shall be denied at the time of refusal. For a determination of refusal to be made, the assistance group must be able to cooperate, but clearly demonstrate it will not take the actions required to complete the application process. For example, to be denied for refusal to cooperate, an assistance group must refuse to be interviewed, not merely fail to appear for the interview.

(2) If there is any question as to whether the assistance group has merely failed to cooperate, as opposed to refused to cooperate, the assistance group shall not be denied, and the agency shall provide assistance in obtaining required verification.

(3) The assistance group shall also be determined ineligible if it refuses to cooperate in any subsequent review of its eligibility, including reviews generated by reported changes and reapplications.

(4) Once denied or terminated for refusal to cooperate, the assistance group may reapply but shall not be determined eligible until it cooperates with the county agency.

(5) The county agency shall not determine the assistance group ineligible when a person outside the assistance group fails to cooperate with a request for verification. The county agency shall not consider individuals identified as non-assistance group members under rule 5101:4-2-03 of the Administrative Code as individuals outside the assistance group.

(I) How are assistance groups handled when they reapply after refusing to cooperate with a quality control review?

(1) If the assistance group refused to cooperate with a state quality control reviewer and reapplies within ninety-five days after the annual review period ended, the assistance group must cooperate with the quality control reviewer before being determined eligible.

(2) If the assistance group refused to cooperate with a state quality control reviewer and reapplies after ninety-five days of the annual review period, the assistance group must provide verification as mandated in rule 5101:4-2-09 of the Administrative Code prior to being determined eligible to participate.

(3) If the assistance group refused to cooperate with a federal quality control reviewer and reapplies within seven months after the annual review period, the assistance group must cooperate with the quality control reviewer before being determined eligible.

(4) If the assistance group refused to cooperate with a federal quality control reviewer and reapplies after seven months of the annual review period, the assistance group must provide verification as mandated in rule 5101:4-2-09 of the Administrative Code prior to being determined eligible to participate.

(J) What is the time limit for processing an application?

(1) The assistance group must be given an opportunity to participate no later than thirty days after the JFS 07200 is filed. Expedited service shall be available to assistance groups in immediate need as set forth in rule 5101:4-6-09 of the Administrative Code.

(2) The county agency shall determine the eligibility and benefit amount within the first thirty days based on the circumstances for the entire month. Even if the application is filed late in the month, the assistance group's circumstances for the entire month shall be considered.

(K) How is a voluntary withdrawal of a JFS 07200 processed?

An assistance group may voluntarily withdraw its JFS 07200 at any time before the county agency determines it to be eligible. "Voluntary withdrawal" means the assistance group, on its own initiative, has contacted the county agency, either orally or in writing, and requested that its JFS 07200 not be processed any further. The county agency shall document in the case file the reason for withdrawal, if given, and that contact was made with the assistance group to confirm the withdrawal. The county agency shall advise the assistance group of its right to reapply at any time and shall notify the assistance group via a CRIS-E generated notice of the denial of benefits due to voluntary withdrawal.

(L) How is an application for food assistance processed when the assistance group is applying for other benefits?

(1) All food assistance applications, regardless of whether they are joint applications or separate applications, must be processed in accordance with food assistance procedural timeliness standards, notice requirements, and fair hearing requirements specified in Chapters 5101:4-2, 5101:4-5, 5101:4-6, and 5101:6-2 of the Administrative Code. No assistance group shall have its food assistance benefits denied solely on the basis that its application to participate in another program has been denied or its benefits under another program have been terminated without a separate determination that the assistance group failed to satisfy a food assistance eligibility requirement.

(2) Assistance groups that file a joint application for food assistance and another program and are denied benefits for the other program shall not be required to resubmit another application for food assistance but shall have food assistance eligibility determined in accordance with the food assistance processing time frames from the date the joint application was initially accepted by the county agency.

(3) To facilitate participation in the program, the county agency shall notify assistance groups in which members are applying for other types of assistance that they may file a separate application for food assistance benefits independent of their application for benefits for any other program.

(M) When is an application considered an inquiry?

An application is considered an inquiry when it is signed by one assistance group containing multiple potential assistance groups:

(1) And the individual signing the application is not the authorized representative for all the assistance groups, and thirty days have passed; or

(2) The potential assistance group does not complete the interactive interview and thirty days have passed.

Effective: 02/01/2013
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 11/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/20/80, 12/1/80, 6/18/81, 2/12/82, 6/17/83, 8/16/85 (Emer), 11/1/85 (Emer), 1/1/86, 1/16/87 (Emer), 4/6/87, 10/29/87 (Emer), 1/1/88 (Emer), 2/26/88, 3/24/88 (Emer), 6/18/88, 1/5/90 (Emer), 3/22/90, 2/3/92, 7/1/92, 8/1/92 (Emer), 10/30/92, 7/1/94, 8/1/95 (Emer), 10/13/95, 9/22/96 (Emer), 12/21/96, 5/2/98, 7/15/99, 6/1/01 (Emer), 8/27/01, 3/01/02 (Emer), 5/13/02, 5/2/05, 7/1/06, 10/2/08, 3/1/11, 7/1/11, 9/1/12

5101:4-2-02 Food assistance: categorically eligible assistance groups.

There are assistance groups that have eligibility factors waived due to receiving specific public benefits or services. These assistance groups are considered categorically eligible for the food assistance program. If each assistance group member receives or is authorized to receive Ohio works first (OWF), supplemental security income (SSI), disability financial assistance (DFA) or a temporary assistance to needy families (TANF) funded service as defined in this rule, or any combination of these benefits the assistance group is categorically eligible.

(A) Who is considered an OWF or SSI recipient?

An OWF or SSI recipient is any person:

(1) Who receives an OWF or SSI money payment;

(2) Whose entire grant is being recouped;

(3) Whose grant is in suspended status;

(4) Who is eligible for the benefit but is not receiving it because the monthly grant is below a minimum amount for a check to be issued; or

(5) Whose OWF or SSI has been authorized and the individual has been notified of the decision but payment has yet to be received.

(B) Who is considered a DFA recipient?

A person is considered to be in receipt of DFA benefits if:

(1) The person receives a money payment;

(2) The person's entire DFA grant is suspended or recouped; or

(3) The person has been authorized for DFA and has been notified of the decision but has yet to receive benefits.

(C) Who is considered an assistance group receiving a TANF-funded service or benefit?

(1) Ohio benefit bank:

(a) An assistance group in which any member has been provided information of the services available through the Ohio benefit bank is categorically eligible for the food assistance program. The Ohio benefit bank offers application assistance and outreach for low and moderate income Ohioans for existing benefits and services, including cash assistance, food assistance, medicaid, child care, income tax credits, student financial aid, and fatherhood programs.

(b) Assistance groups without an elderly or disabled member shall pass the gross income test as defined in rule 5101:4-4-11 of the Administrative Code to be authorized to receive information about Ohio benefit bank services. The gross income of assistance groups with an elderly or disabled member, as defined in rule 5101:4-1-03 of the Administrative Code, shall be at or below two hundred per cent of the federal poverty level according to their assistance group size to be authorized to receive information about Ohio benefit bank services.

(c) All applicants and recipients are provided information about the Ohio benefit bank services on approval notices received at application and reapplication. The approval notice includes information about the services offered and how they can access those services.

(2) Prevention, retention, and contingency (PRC) benefits:

(a) An assistance group in which any member is authorized to receive or is receiving benefits or services under the PRC program is categorically eligible for the food assistance program. An assistance group is considered authorized to receive PRC as of the date of approval and/or notification of approval.

(b) An assistance group that is authorized to receive or receiving PRC benefits or services shall be categorically eligible for food assistance benefits only for the number of months any member of the assistance group is authorized to receive or is receiving PRC benefits or services. Certification periods for food assistance benefits shall continue to be assigned in accordance with rule 5101:4-5-03 of the Administrative Code.

(c) An ineligible member of the assistance group authorized to receive or receiving PRC benefits or services cannot be included in the assistance group size when determining the benefit amount. The income and resources of the ineligible member shall be determined in accordance with rules 5101:4-6-13 and 5101:4-6-15 of the Administrative Code.

(3) Other TANF-funded services:

(a) TANF funds transferred to Title XX or child care development block grant (CCDBG) for child care services are not considered funded under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act of 1935 as amended (SSA), and are thus not subject to categorical eligibility.

(b) All other TANF funds are considered funded under Title IV-A of the SSA, regardless of which agency administers the funds and may grant categorical eligibility to assistance groups receiving benefits or services from these agencies.

(D) What eligibility factors are waived for assistance groups determined categorically eligible?

(1) For an assistance group determined categorically eligible because of receipt of OWF, SSI, PRC or DFA the following factors are waived and do not require verification as set forth in rule 5101:4-2-09 of the Administrative Code:

(a) Resources;

(b) Gross and net income limits;

(c) Social security number;

(d) Sponsored alien information; and

(e) Residency.

(2) For an assistance group determined categorically eligible because of the notification of the Ohio benefit bank services the following factors are waived and do not require verification as set forth in rule 5101:4-2-09 of the Administrative Code:

(a) Resources; and

(b) Net income limit.

(3) Any other required verification such as allowable expenses and factors that are questionable shall be verified in accordance with rule 5101:4-2-09 of the Administrative Code.

(E) What are the exceptions to categorical eligibility for OWF, SSI, PRC and Ohio benefit bank assistance groups?

(1) No person shall be included as a member in an assistance group which is otherwise categorically eligible if that person is:

(a) An ineligible alien as defined in rule 5101:4-3-07 of the Administrative Code;

(b) An ineligible student as defined in rule 5101:4-6-04 of the Administrative Code;

(c) Institutionalized in a non-exempt facility as defined in rule 5101:4-2-03 of the Administrative Code;

(d) Ineligible because of violating a condition of probation or parole or fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody or confinement as defined in rule 5101:4-2-03 of the Administrative Code; or

(e) Ineligible under the able-bodied adults without dependents provisions in rule 5101:4-3-20 of the Administrative Code.

(2) Under no circumstances shall an assistance group be considered categorically eligible if:

(a) Any member of the assistance group is disqualified for an intentional program violation in accordance with division 5101:6 of the Administrative Code;

(b) Any member of the assistance group is ineligible because of a failure to comply with an employment and training requirement of rules 5101:4-3-11.1 and 5101:4-3-19 of the Administrative Code and the requirements of rule 5101:4-3-09 of the Administrative Code.

(c) The assistance groups defined in paragraphs (F)(2)(a) and (F)(2)(b) of this rule are subject to all food assistance eligibility requirements and cannot be reinstated in the program on the basis of categorical eligibility.

(F) What are the exceptions to categorical eligibility for DFA assistance groups?

(1) No person shall be included as a member of an otherwise categorically eligible assistance group if that person is:

(a) An ineligible alien as defined in rule 5101:4-3-07 of the Administrative Code;

(b) An ineligible student as defined in rule 5101:4-6-04 of the Administrative Code;

(c) Disqualified for failure to provide or apply for a social security number as required by rule 5101:4-3-22 of the Administrative Code;

(d) An assistance group member disqualified for failure to comply with a work requirement as set forth in rules 5101:4-3-09 , 5101:4-3-11 and 5101:4-3-19 of the Administrative Code;

(e) Disqualified for an intentional program violation as required by division 5101:6 of the Administrative Code;

(f) An individual who is institutionalized in a nonexempt facility as defined in rule 5101:4-2-03 of the Administrative Code;

(g) Ineligible because of violating a condition of probation or parole or fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody or confinement as defined in rule 5101:4-2-03 of the Administrative Code; or

(h) Ineligible under the able-bodied adults without dependents provisions in rule 5101:4-3-20 of the Administrative Code.

(2) Under no circumstances shall an assistance group be considered categorically eligible if:

(a) The assistance group refuses to cooperate in providing information to the county agency that is necessary for making a determination of its eligibility or for completing any subsequent review of its eligibility as described in rule 5101:4-2-01 of the Administrative Code;

(b) The assistance group is ineligible under the striker provisions of rules 5101:4-2-03 and 5101:4-6-07 of the Administrative Code;

(c) The assistance group is ineligible because it knowingly transferred resources for the purpose of qualifying or attempting to qualify for the program as provided in rule 5101:4-4-09 of the Administrative Code.

(G) How is the monthly benefit determined?

Categorically eligible assistance groups shall have their level of benefits calculated using the method described in paragraphs (A) and (B) of rule 5101:4-4-39 of the Administrative Code using the assistance group's net monthly income.

(H) How is a potentially categorically eligible assistance group handled?

An assistance group is considered to have potential categorical eligibility if all members of the assistance group have applied for benefits that would make the assistance group categorically eligible.

(1) If all the assistance group members have applied for benefits that will make the assistance group categorically eligible and the county agency determines that the assistance group is ineligible for food assistance benefits because it does not meet the gross or net income tests, or exceeds the resource limits, the county agency shall pend the assistance group until it is established that all assistance group members have gained categorical eligibility. If categorical eligibility has not been established by the thirtieth day from the date of application, the county agency shall deny the assistance group the following day.

(2) If the assistance group establishes categorical eligibility within the thirty days from the date of application, the agency shall determine the level of benefits from the date of application. If the assistance group's net income is high enough to result in ineligibility for a monthly allotment, the county agency shall indicate on the denial notice that the net income exceeds the level at which benefits are issued.

(I) What happens when a potentially categorically eligible assistance group is denied food assistance benefits?

(1) A potentially categorically eligible assistance group shall be informed on the denial notice that its application can be reopened if it gains categorical eligibility. The assistance group shall be provided a change reporting form in accordance with rule 5101:4-7-01 of the Administrative Code.

(2) If the application of a potentially categorical eligible assistance group was denied because of failure to meet the gross or net income test, or being over resources, and the assistance group later reports that all assistance group members have become recipients of benefits which make the assistance group categorically eligible the county agency shall have the assistance group update their application. The assistance group shall provide any required verification or information on the change since the previous application was completed and have the application signed again by an assistance group member or authorized representative.

(3) If the application was made via an interactive interview and there are open public assistance benefits with the food assistance benefit being denied, the county agency shall enter the reported changes on the appropriate CRIS-E screens and determine eligibility using the date the assistance group gained categorical eligibility as the signature date. A new interactive interview or JFS 07200 "Request for Cash, Food, and Medical Assistance" (rev. 12/12) may be requested if deemed necessary by the eligibility worker but is not a requirement.

(4) When an assistance group gains categorical eligibility status, restored benefits shall be paid from the date the assistance group was authorized to receive OWF, SSI, DFA, or TANF-funded services or benefits (e.g. Ohio benefit bank or PRC) or the date of the food assistance application whichever is later. See rule 5101:4-4-23 of the Administrative Code regarding SSI recipients who may be eligible for use of excess medical expenses and the uncapped shelter deduction in determining restored benefits. The county agency shall issue restored benefits within ten days, if necessary, and begin regular issuances. A certification period shall be established in accordance with rule 5101:4-5-03 of the Administrative Code.

(5) If the assistance group has not complied with the requirements listed in paragraphs (I)(1) to (I)(4) of this rule, the county agency shall issue a denial notice on the day after the assistance group was to have complied, and issue a new change report form if necessary.

(6) If an assistance group reports a change which results in the assistance group becoming eligible for food assistance, but the change does not result in categorical eligibility, the assistance group shall be advised it must file a new application before benefits can be approved.

(J) What happens when an assistance group is approved for benefits while awaiting a determination of categorical eligibility?

If an assistance group is approved for food assistance benefits within the thirty-day processing time and later gains categorical eligibility, the assistance group may be eligible for restored benefits in a situation where an SSI recipient incurs excess medical expenses and/or shelter expenses. Restored benefits shall be paid from the beginning of the period for which SSI benefits are paid or the original food assistance application date, whichever is later.

Effective: 02/01/2013
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 1/16/87 (Emer.), 4/6/87, 1/1/88 (Emer.), 2/26/88, 1/5/90 (Emer.), 3/22/90, 1/1/91, 7/1/92, 8/1/92 (Emer.), 10/30/92, 5/1/95, 8/1/95 (Emer.), 10/13/95, 2/1/97 (Emer.), 4/13/97, 5/2/98, 7/15/99, 10/9/00, 9/30/01 (Emer.), 11/16/01, 7/1/03 (Emer), 7/10/03, 12/01/04, 11/01/08, 3/1/10, 3/1/11

5101:4-2-03 Food assistance: assistance group definitions.

(A) An assistance group is composed of one of the following individuals or groups of individuals provided they are not residents of an institution, are not residents of a commercial boarding house, or are not boarders, except as otherwise specified in paragraphs (E) to (H) of this rule.

(1) Individual: An individual living alone or who, while living with others, customarily purchases food and prepares meals for home consumption separate and apart from the others.

(2) Groups: a group of individuals living together and customarily purchase food and prepare meals together for home consumption.

(3) Spouses: a person living with his or her spouse, as defined in rule 5101:4-1-03 of the Administrative Code, shall be considered as customarily purchasing food and preparing meals together, even if they do not do so.

(4) Children living with their parents: an adult child under the age of twenty-two who lives with the parent(s) (natural, adopted, or step) must be included in the same assistance group with the parent(s). If an adult child under the age of twenty-two has a spouse and/or child(ren) of his or her own, the spouse and child(ren) of the adult child also must be included in the same assistance group as the adult child.

(5) Person under parental control: persons (excluding foster children) under eighteen years of age and unmarried living with and are under the parental control of another household member who is not their natural, adoptive, or step parent shall be treated as customarily purchasing and preparing meals together for home consumption even if they do not do so. Note: "parental control" refers to unmarried minors who are dependents-financial or otherwise-of another household member as opposed to independent units. Persons under age eighteen who are married are considered emancipated and are not to be automatically considered as customarily purchasing and preparing meals together unless they state they are actually doing so.

(6) Elderly and disabled individual: although a group of individuals living together and purchasing and preparing meals together constitutes a single assistance group based on paragraph (A) (2) of this rule, an otherwise eligible member of such an assistance group who is sixty years of age or older and unable to purchase and prepare meals because he/she suffers from a disability considered permanent under the Social Security Act of 1935 as amended or suffers from a non disease-related, severe, permanent disability may be a separate assistance group from the others, other than his spouse, provided the income (all income included in rule 5101:4-4-19 of the Administrative Code) of the others with whom the individual resides (excluding the income of the spouse of the elderly and disabled individual) does not exceed one hundred sixty-five per cent of the poverty level (FSP-14 "Separate Assistance Group Income Standards-Elderly and Disabled Assistance Groups Only").

(B) Individuals who claim to be a separate assistance group from those with whom they reside shall be responsible for providing verification that they are a separate assistance group to the satisfaction of the county agency. Final determinations of living arrangements shall be made on a case-by-case basis, using reasonable judgment based on the circumstances of the particular living arrangement, and need not be reflective of these guidelines should other more conclusive factors be involved. For the purpose of determining whether people are living together, consideration shall be given to, but not limited to the following:

(1) Separate address

The county agency shall consider whether the persons involved have addresses that are commonly recognized as separate in the community.

(2) Separate utilities

The county agency shall consider whether the persons involved have separate utility meters and are, therefore, billed separately by the utility companies.

(3) Separate entrances

The county agency shall consider whether the persons involved have separate entrances to their living quarters, and whether such entrances require passing through one living quarter in order to gain access to another.

(4) Opinion of the landlord

The county agency shall consider whether the owner of the property considers the property to contain separate units.

(C) Non- assistance group members eligible to participate as separate assistance groups.

For the purpose of defining an assistance group under paragraph (A) of this rule, the following individuals shall not be included as a member of the assistance group unless specifically included as an assistance group member under paragraph (A) (3) (spouses), (A) (4) (parents living with their children), or (A) (5) (person under parental control) of this rule, and shall not be included as a member of the assistance group for the purposes of determining assistance group size, eligibility, or benefit level. The income and resources of such individuals shall be handled in accordance with rule 5101:4-6-15 of the Administrative Code. The following individuals (if otherwise eligible) may participate as separate assistance groups:

(1) Roomers

Individuals to whom an assistance group furnishes lodging for compensation, but not meals.

(2) Live-in attendants

Individuals who reside with an assistance group to provide medical, housekeeping, child care, or other similar personal services.

(3) Other

Other individuals who share living quarters with the assistance group but who do not customarily purchase food and prepare meals with the assistance group. For example, if an applicant family shares living quarters with another family to save on rent, but does not purchase and prepare food together with that family, the members of the other family are not members of the applicant assistance group.

(D) Non-assistance group members ineligible to participate as separate assistance groups.

Some assistance group members are ineligible to receive benefits under the provisions of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008. Others may become ineligible for such reasons as being disqualified for committing an intentional program violation or refusing to comply with a regulatory requirement. These individuals shall be included as a member of the assistance group for the purpose of defining an assistance group in accordance with this rule. However, such individuals shall not be included as eligible members of the assistance group when determining the assistance group's size for the purpose of comparing the assistance group's monthly income with an income eligibility standard or assigning a benefit level by assistance group size. These individuals are not eligible to participate as separate assistance groups. Ineligible individuals include the following:

(1) Ineligible aliens are those individuals who do not meet the citizenship or eligible alien status. See rule 5101:4-6-13 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

(2) A person disqualified for intentional program violation is one who has been disqualified in accordance with Chapter 5101:6-20 of the Administrative Code. See rule 5101:4-6-13 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

(3) Persons who have been disqualified for failure to provide a social security number as provided for in rule 5101:4-3-24 of the Administrative Code are ineligible to participate. See rule 5101:4-6-13 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

(4) An individual who is disqualified for refusing or failing to comply with a work requirement of rule 5101:4-3-11 of the Administrative Code. See rule 5101:4-6-13 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

(5) Persons enrolled in an institution of higher education on at least a half-time basis who fail to meet the eligibility criteria in accordance with rule 5101:4-6-04 of the Administrative Code are ineligible to participate. See rule 5101:4-6-15 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

(6) No member of an assistance group who is otherwise eligible to participate in the food assistance program shall be eligible to participate as a member of that or any other assistance group during any period during which the individual is fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a crime, or attempt to commit a crime, that would be classified as a felony (or in the state of New Jersey, a high misdemeanor), or is violating a condition of probation or parole imposed under a federal or state law for a felony. See rule 5101:4-6-13 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

The county agency will utilize the following procedure when it has information that an individual may be ineligible under this paragraph:

(a) The county agency will contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to give the law enforcement agency thirty days to determine if the individual is fleeing and to arrest or extradite the individual.

(b) If within the thirty days the law enforcement agency arrests or extradites the individual, the county agency will take appropriate action to remove the individual from the assistance group if he or she is no longer a member of the household.

(c) If by the end of the thirty days the law enforcement agency has not been able to arrest or extradite the individual, the county agency will take appropriate action to impose ineligibility under this paragraph for as long as the law enforcement agency continues to take appropriate action to arrest or extradite the individual.

(d) If within the thirty days the law enforcement agency indicates it will not attempt to arrest or extradite the individual or that the individual is not fleeing, the county will not impose ineligibility under this paragraph.

(7) For individual(s) who have failed to perform an action required under rule 5101:4-3-09 of the Administrative Code, see rule 5101:4-6-13 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

(8) For persons ineligible under rule 5101:4-3-20 of the Administrative Code, the time limit for able-bodied adults without dependents, see rule 5101:4-6-13 of the Administrative Code for how to treat the income, resources, and expenses of these individuals.

(E) Ineligible assistance groups.

(1) Boarders and individuals in foster care

Boarders are defined as individuals or groups of individuals residing with others and paying reasonable compensation to the others for lodging and meals (excluding residents of a commercial boarding house). Boarders are also defined as adults or children who have been placed in foster care by a government agency. Boarders are ineligible to participate in the program as independent assistance groups. They may, however, participate as members of the assistance group providing the boarder services to them, at such assistance group's request pursuant to rule 5101:4-6-03 of the Administrative Code. In no event shall boarder status be granted to those individuals or groups of individuals described in paragraphs (A)(2) to (A)(5) of this rule.

(2) Residents of institutions

Residents of public institutions who apply for SSI prior to their release from an institution under the social security administration's prerelease program for the institutionalized shall be permitted to apply for food assistance at the same time they apply for SSI. Individuals shall be considered residents of an institution if the institution provides them with the majority of their meals (over fifty per cent of three meals daily) as part of the institution's normal services. Residents of institutions are not eligible for participation in the program, with the following exceptions:

(a) Residents of federally subsidized housing for the elderly built under either section 202 of the National Housing Act of 1959 ( 12 U.S.C. 1701 ) or section 236 of the National Housing Act ( 12 U.S.C 1701 ).

(b) Narcotic addicts or alcoholics together with their children who, for the purposes of regular participation in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program, reside at a facility or treatment center.

(c) Disabled or blind individuals, as defined in rule 5101:4-1-03 of the Administrative Code, who are residents of group homes, as described in rule 5101:4-1-03 of the Administrative Code. (See rule 5101:4-6-26 of the Administrative Code for full details on certification of group home residents.)

(d) Women or women with their children temporarily residing in a shelter for battered women and children. Such persons temporarily residing in shelters for battered women and children shall be considered individual assistance group units for the purpose of applying for and participating in the food assistance program.

(e) Residents of public or private shelters for homeless persons.

(3) Strikers

Assistance groups with striking members shall be ineligible to participate unless the assistance group was eligible for benefits the day prior to the strike and is otherwise eligible at the time of application. Assistance groups where the member on strike is exempt from work registration requirements the day prior to the strike (other than those exempt solely on the grounds that they are employed) would not be affected by the striker provisions and could be eligible for program benefits.

Replaces: 5101:4-3-05

Effective: 09/01/2012
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 12/01/2014
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/2/80, 12/1/80, 4/1/81, 10/1/81, 2/12/82, 7/1/82, 9/27/82, 5/20/83, 6/1/83, 7/1/83 (Temp.), 8/19/83, 9/24/83, 11/17/83 (Temp.), 2/1/84, 8/20/86 (Emer.), 11/15/86, 7/1/87 (Emer.), 9/28/87, 12/14/87 (Emer.), 1/1/88 (Emer.), 2/26/88, 3/24/88 (Emer.), 6/18/88, 10/1/89 (Emer.), 12/21/89, 1/5/90 (Emer.), 3/22/90, 1/11/91, 11/1/92, 8/1/93, 9/1/94, 7/1/96, 9/22/96 (Emer.), 10/1/96 (Emer.), 12/21/96, 2/1/97 (Emer.), 4/1/97 (Emer.), 4/13/97, 4/25/97, 6/6/97, 7/1/97 (Emer.), 8/14/97, 9/3/97 (Emer.), 10/1/97, 10/24/97, 5/2/98, 5/14/98 (Emer.), 7/24/98, 5/1/99, 10/1/99 (Emer.), 12/16/99, 3/01/01 (Emer.), 5/31/01, 10/11/01, 5/1/03, 8/1/05, 11/1/07, 12/1/09, 8/1/11

5101:4-2-05 Food assistance: authorized representatives.

(A) What is an authorized representative?

An authorized representative is a representative who the assistance group chooses to act on their behalf. An authorized representative may be used to take care of one or more of the following:

(1) Complete the application process,

(2) Obtain food assistance benefits, or

(3) Use food assistance benefits.

(B) How is an authorized representative identified?

(1) An assistance group may identify and use an authorized representative at any time.

(2) If an applicant or recipient indicates that he or she may have difficulty completing the application process, the county agency shall explain that a non-assistance group member may be designated as the authorized representative for the application process.

(3) If the applicant or recipient selects an authorized representative, the county agency shall explain to the assistance group that it will remain responsible for any overpayment that results from any information given by the authorized representative except for those situations described in paragraphs (E)(1) and (E)(2) of this rule.

(4) The name of the authorized representative must be recorded in the assistance group's case record.

(5) The assistance group may have more than one authorized representative selected for different case responsibilities.

(6) The county agency must develop a system that allows an assistance group to select an emergency authorized representative in writing for a particular month's benefits. An assistance group may identify and use an authorized representative for a one time emergency situation. A separate written designation is needed each time an emergency authorized representative is used.

(C) Who can be an authorized representative?

(1) Any adult aware of the assistance group's circumstances may serve as an authorized representative. An adult member of the assistance group must indicate in writing who will be the authorized representative for the assistance group.

(2) County agency employees who are involved in the certification or issuance processes and retailers who are authorized to accept food assistance benefits may not act as authorized representatives without the specific written approval of a county agency official after determining that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative.

(3) An individual who is disqualified for an intentional program violation cannot act as an authorized representative during the disqualification period unless the county agency has determined that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative. The county agency must separately determine whether the individual is needed to apply on behalf of the assistance group or to obtain benefits on behalf of the assistance group.

(4) Homeless meal providers may not act as authorized representatives for homeless food assistance recipients.

(D) What can an authorized representative do?

(1) Complete the application process;

(2) Carry out the responsibilities during the certification period such as reporting changes in the assistance group's income or other assistance group circumstances; and

(3) Receive and use the food assistance benefits. Even if the assistance group is able to obtain its own food assistance benefits, it should be encouraged to name an authorized representative for obtaining benefits in case of illness or other circumstances which might result in the inability to obtain benefits.

(E) How are authorized representatives utilized in drug and alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements?

(1) Residents of drug or alcohol treatment centers must apply and be certified through the use of an authorized representative. Residents shall be responsible for complying with requirements set forth in rule 5101:4-6-01 of the Administrative Code.

(2) Residents of group living arrangements have the option to apply and be certified through the use of an authorized representative as described in rule 5101:4-6-26 of the Administrative Code.

(3) Drug or alcohol treatment centers and group living arrangements which act as authorized representatives for residents of the facilities must use food assistance benefits for food prepared and served to those residents participating in the food assistance program except when the residents leave the facility as specified in rules 5101:4-6-01 and 5101:4-6-26 of the Administrative Code.

(F) What limitations are set for an authorized representative?

(1) The county agency may set a limit on the number of households an authorized representative can represent.

(2) If the county agency has confirmed that an authorized representative has knowingly provided false information or improperly used food assistance benefits, the authorized representative may be disqualified to serve as an authorized representative for up to one year. The assistance group and authorized representative must be notified in writing thirty days prior to the date of disqualification. The notification must include the reason for the proposed action and include the assistance group's right to a state hearing.

(3) The representatives of the drug and alcohol treatment centers or group living arrangements that act as authorized representatives for their residents, and intentionally misrepresent an assistance group's circumstances, may be prosecuted under applicable federal and state statutes for their acts.

(4) In the event employers such as those that employ migrant or seasonal farm workers are designated as authorized representatives or a single authorized representative has access to a large number of authorization documents, the county agency should exercise caution to assure that each assistance group has freely requested the assistance of the authorized representative, the assistance group's circumstances are correctly represented, and that the authorized representative is properly using the benefits.

Replaces: 5101:4-2-05

Effective: 03/01/2010
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/2/80, 12/01/80, 1/18/82, 7/1/82, 9/27/82, 2/15/85 (Emer.), 5/12/85, 8/16/85 (Emer.), 11/1/85 (Emer.), 1/1/86, 6/15/86 (Emer.), 9/13/86, 1/1/88 (Emer.), 2/26/88, 3/24/88 (Emer.), 6/18/88, 7/1/92, 12/1/94, 7/1/96, 5/2/98, 5/1/99, 6/1/01, 12/1/04

5101:4-2-05.1 [Rescinded]Food assistance: primary information person.

Effective: 09/01/2012
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 05/22/2012
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 1/1/88 (Emer.), 2/26/88, 7/1/92, 7/1/94, 5/2/98, 5/1/03, 11/1/07, 11/1/12

5101:4-2-07 Food assistance: initial interview process.

(A) What is the process for an initial interview?

(1) Upon receipt of the JFS 07200 "Request for Cash, Food, and Medical Assistance" (rev. 12/12), the county agency shall conduct an interactive interview with a member of the household or an authorized representative for the assistance group making application.

(2) The county agency shall schedule an interview for all applicant assistance groups who are not interviewed on the day they submit an application. The interview notice shall contain the date and time of the interview. The notice shall also list the phone number the county agency will call if completing a phone interview.

(3) If separate applications are filed for assistance groups residing in the same household, each assistance group which has applied on its own application shall be interviewed or scheduled for an interview.

(4) The county agency shall consider and attempt to accommodate any special circumstances or requests from an assistance group when scheduling an interview including the assistance group's work schedule.

(5) The county agency shall schedule all interviews as promptly as possible to ensure eligible assistance groups receive an opportunity to participate within thirty days after the application is filed.

(B) What are the options for conducting an initial interview?

(1) The county agency may conduct an:

(a) Office interview;

(b) Telephone interview; or

(c) Home visit (as long as it is scheduled in advance with the assistance group).

(2) The type of interview conducted is left to the county agency's discretion unless the applicant requests a face-to-face interview. The county agency shall grant a face-to-face interview to any assistance group which requests one.

(C) What are the standard interview practices?

(1) The interview may be conducted with the head of the assistance group, spouse, any other responsible member of the assistance group or an authorized representative.

(2) When it is obvious the applicant is not mentally competent or due to a language barrier is not able to understand his/her hearing rights, the applicant shall be required to name an authorized representative to receive notices.

(3) An applying assistance group shall report all changes related to its food assistance eligibility and benefits at the certification interview.

(4) The JFS 01846, "Case Worksheet- Cash, Food Stamp, and Medical Assistance Interview" (5/05), shall be completed by the county agency if the system is down for an extended period of time or a home visit is necessary.

(D) What are the county agency's responsibilities during an interview?

(1) Review the information appearing on the application, and explore and resolve unclear and incomplete information.

(2) Perform necessary collateral contacts and collect required verifications.

(3) Advise assistance groups of their rights and responsibilities during the interview, including the appropriate application processing standard and the assistance group's responsibility to report changes.

(4) Conduct the interview as an official and confidential discussion of assistance group circumstances.

(5) Protect the applicant's right to privacy during the interview. Facilities shall be adequate to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of the interview.

(6) Advise assistance groups that are also applying for or receiving Ohio works first (OWF) cash assistance benefits that time limits and other requirements that apply to the receipt of OWF benefits do not apply to the receipt of food assistance, and that assistance groups which stop receiving OWF benefits because they have reached a time limit, have begun working, or for other reasons, may still qualify for food assistance benefits.

(7) Confirm the assistance group is not subject to an intentional program violation.

(E) What happens if an assistance group misses its interview?

(1) The county agency shall notify an assistance group of its missed interview appointment by using the JFS 04218 "Notice of Missed Interview" (rev. 9/11) or its CRIS-E equivalent, in accordance with rule 5101:4-5-07 of the Administrative Code and inform the assistance group they are responsible for rescheduling a missed interview.

(2) If the assistance group contacts the county agency within the thirty-day application processing period, the county agency shall schedule a second interview.

(3) The county agency shall not deny an assistance group's application prior to the thirtieth day if the assistance group fails to appear for the first scheduled interview.

(4) If the assistance group requests a second interview during the thirty-day application processing period and is determined eligible, the county agency shall issue prorated benefits from the date of application.

Effective: 07/01/2013
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 11/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/20/80, 10/1/81, 9/27/82, 7/15/84 (Emer.), 9/10/84, 8/1/87 (Emer.), 10/25/87, 10/1/89 (Emer.), 12/21/89, 1/5/90 (Emer.), 3/22/90, 7/1/92, 6/1/93, 7/1/94, 1/1/95, 5/2/98, 10/1/01 (Emer.), 10/11/01, 03/01/02 (Emer.), 5/13/02, 08/01/05, 05/1/09, 8/1/10, 3/1/11, 9/1/12

5101:4-2-09 Food assistance: verification procedure.

(A) What is verification?

Verification is used to support and document what was reported on the JFS 07200, "Request for Cash, Food, and Medical Assistance" (rev. 11/09) during the application process and to provide clarification on any questionable information. The county agency shall allow assistance groups at least ten days to provide required verification.

(B) Whose responsibility is it to provide verification?

(1) The assistance group has primary responsibility for providing verification to support its statements on the application and resolve any questionable information. An assistance group may supply verification in person, through the mail, by fax, electronically, or through an authorized representative. The county agency shall not require the assistance group to present verification in person.

(2) The county agency shall assist the assistance group in obtaining verification provided the assistance group has not refused to cooperate as specified in rule 5101:4-2-01 of the Administrative Code. If it would be difficult or impossible for the assistance group to obtain verification in a timely manner, or the county agency can obtain the verification faster, the county agency shall offer assistance in obtaining the verification.

(3) The county agency is not required to assist an assistance group in obtaining verification of alien status except when the documentation is unclear and the county agency receives the applicant's permission to contact the U.S. citizenship and immigration service (USCIS). The county agency is also not required to assist the assistance group in obtaining verification of shelter costs for an unoccupied home if verification would have to be obtained from sources outside of the county.

(C) What are the mandatory verifications for expedited service certifications?

(1) Identity is the only verification required prior to the authorization of expedited benefits. All other verifications can be postponed if they cannot be submitted within the expedited timeframe. If an authorized representative applies on behalf of the assistance group, the identity of both the authorized representative and the assistance group name shall be verified.

(2) The county agency shall require the applicant to register for work if an exemption is not met. The agency may attempt to register other assistance group members, but it shall not prevent the authorization of an eligible expedited assistance group.

(D) What verification is necessary for normal application processing?

Assistance groups certified under normal processing standards (as opposed to expedited processing standards) shall provide verification of all the following items:

(1) Gross income.

(2) Rent or mortgage payment. Homeless assistance groups claiming shelter expenses shall provide verification of their shelter expense to qualify for the homeless shelter deduction. If a homeless assistance group has difficulty in obtaining traditional types of verification of shelter costs, the county agency shall obtain alternate types of verification that accurately verify the expense.

(3) Utility and shelter expenses.

(4) Non-reimbursable medical expenses. Non-reimbursable medical expenses only apply to assistance group members who are age sixty or over, or who meet the definition of disabled as defined in rule 5101:4-1-03 of the Administrative Code.

(5) Dependent care expenses.

(6) Eligible alien status as defined in rule 5101:4-3-07 of the Administrative Code.

(7) Social security numbers (SSN). Providing a social security number for each assistance group member is voluntary. However, failure to provide a SSN will result in the denial of food assistance benefits for that individual. SSNs provided will be used in accordance with rule 5101:4-3-22 of the Administrative Code. If a SSN has been verified, the county agency shall document the information in the assistance group's file to prevent the unnecessary re-verification of the SSN in the future. The county agency shall accept that a SSN is verified if it was already verified through the OWF or medicaid programs. A verified SSN shall be re-verified only if the identity of the individual or the SSN becomes questionable.

(8) Residency. Residency shall be verified except in unusual cases such as homeless assistance groups, some migrant farm worker assistance groups, or an assistance group just moving into the county where verification of residency cannot reasonably be provided.

(9) Identity. Identity applies to the person making the application. Where an authorized representative applies on behalf of an assistance group, the identity of both the authorized representative and the assistance group name shall be verified. Identity may be verified through readily available documentary evidence or, if unavailable, through a collateral contact. Any documents reasonably establishing the applicant's identity must be accepted, and no requirement for a specific type of document may be imposed.

(10) Disability. The county agency shall verify disability as defined in rule 5101:4-1-03 of the Administrative Code.

(11) Student income. Student income shall be verified in accordance with rule 5101:4-4-13 of the Administrative Code.

(12) Physical or mental disability: student exemption. If a person claims to be physically or mentally unfit for purposes of the student exemption contained in paragraph (B)(2) of rule 5101:4-6-04 of the Administrative Code, verification may be required. Appropriate verification may consist of receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources, or a statement from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist. If the individual's physical or mental disability is evident to the county worker verification is not required but the disability should be noted in the case record.

(13) Child support payments. The county agency shall obtain verification of the assistance group's legal obligation to pay child support, the amount of the obligation, and the monthly amount of child support the assistance group actually pays. Documents accepted as verification of the assistance group's legal obligation to pay child support shall not be accepted as verification of the assistance group's actual monthly child support payments. County agencies are strongly encouraged to obtain information regarding an assistance group member's child support obligation and payments from child support enforcement agency files. The county agency shall give the assistance group an opportunity to resolve any discrepancy between assistance group verification and child support enforcement agency records.

(14) Able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs): hours worked. For individuals subject to the food assistance time limit in rule 5101:4-3-20 of the Administrative Code who are satisfying the work requirement by working, by combining work and participation in a work program, or by participating in a work program that is not operated or supervised by the state or county agency, the individuals' work hours shall be verified.

(15) ABAWDs: countable months in another state. For individuals subject to the food assistance time limit of rule 5101:4-3-20 of the Administrative Code, the county agency must verify the number of countable months an individual has used in another state if there is an indication the individual participated in that state as defined in rule 5101:4-3-20 of the Administrative Code. The normal processing standards of paragraph (A) of rule 5101:4-2-11 of the Administrative Code apply. The county agency may accept another state agency's assertion as to the number of countable months an individual has used in another state.

(16) Assistance group composition: the county agency shall verify factors affecting the composition of an assistance group only if questionable.

(E) What is the standard verification for categorically eligible assistance groups?

(1) For an assistance group determined categorically eligible because of receipt of Ohio works first (OWF), supplemental security income (SSI), prevention retention contingency (PRC) or disability financial assistance (DFA) the following factors are waived and do not require verification as set forth in paragraph (D) of this rule (gross and net income are waived factors for benefit determination but still must be verified):

(a) Resources;

(b) Social security number;

(c) Sponsored alien information; and

(d) Residency.

(2) For an assistance group determined categorically eligible because of the notification of the Ohio benefit bank services resources are waived from the benefit determination and do not require verification as set forth in paragraph (D) of this rule. Net income is a waived factor for benefit determination but still must be verified.

(F) When may an application be approved without verification?

The county agency shall not delay the certification for benefit issuance beyond thirty days:

(1) To an otherwise eligible assistance group to only verify the SSN of an assistance group member.

(2) To verify a claimed but unverified expense as described in paragraph (J) of rule 5101:4-4-23 of the Administrative Code. As soon as all other steps necessary to certify an assistance group are completed, the county agency shall certify the benefits.

(G) What should be done when questionable information is received?

(1) If the applicant provides information that is questionable and may affect the eligibility or benefit level, the county agency shall require verification. The information may be determined to be questionable if what is reported on the JFS 07200 is different from what the applicant reported during the interview, different from the information the agency had already obtained, or different from what may have been reported on a previous JFS 07200.

(2) An example of something that may be determined questionable is if the applicant's expenses exceed the assistance group's income. The county agency shall request additional verification to determine how the expenses are being met. If the applicant does not submit supporting documentation on how the expenses are being met, that alone is not grounds to deny the application. The county agency shall then explore if the applicant receives any additional income or if there are resources from which they may be paying the expense. The agency shall verify how long the applicant has been managing their finances in this manner and then document the verification in the case file.

(H) What type of verification shall be documented in the case file?

The county agency shall include all information in the case file documenting and supporting the actions taken in determining eligibility. All requests for additional verification shall be documented in the case file. Any actions taken because of the additional verification shall also be included.

(I) What are acceptable forms of verification?

There are four types of verification: documentary evidence, collateral contacts, client statements and home visits. If documentary evidence is not able to be obtained a collateral contact should be acceptable if available. In the event a collateral contact is not available a client statement or home visit may be used. A client statement or home visit should be a county agency's last option; however, when determining benefits the best available information should be used. Further information explaining each verification is below:

(1) Documentary evidence

(a) Documentary evidence can be used as a primary source of verification. Documentary evidence consists of a written confirmation of the applicant's circumstances. Examples of documentary evidence include but are not limited to: pay stubs, rent receipts, utility bills, etc. If the agency uses pay stubs and they are not included in the case file, the agency must include the name, address, dates, and gross amounts listed on the pay stubs in the case file.

(b) Although documentary evidence shall be a primary source of verification, acceptable verification shall not be limited to any single type of document. The verification may be obtained through the applicant or another source. If documentary evidence cannot be obtained or if what was obtained is insufficient to be able to make a determination, the county agency shall pursue a collateral contact.

(2) Collateral contact

(a) A collateral contact is an oral confirmation of the assistance group's circumstance by a person not included in the assistance group. The confirmation could be made in person or over the phone. The contact cannot be limited to any one particular person but may be anyone who can provide an accurate third-party verification.

Examples of acceptable collateral contacts include but are not limited to: employers, community action groups, migrant service agencies, landlords, social services agencies, neighbors of the applicant, or other persons not included in the assistance group.

(b) When the county agency is attempting to obtain information from a collateral contact they shall only disclose the necessary information in order to obtain the verification without disclosing the applicant has applied for food assistance. The agency cannot disclose any information the applicant provided nor can there be any information provided to the collateral contact suggesting that the applicant provided any incorrect information.

(c) The county agency shall rely on the applicant to provide the name for a collateral contact. The county agency may select a collateral contact if the applicant fails to select one. A signed release is not required. The applicant may request assistance in selecting a collateral contact. The county agency is not required to use the collateral contact provided by the applicant if there is reason to believe they will be unable to provide accurate third party verification. The county agency may request an alternate collateral contact from the applicant, select an alternate collateral contact themselves, use another method in obtaining the necessary verification, or conduct a home visit.

(3) Client statement

(a) On a case-by-case basis client statement may be acceptable verification when no other verification is available.

(b) When client statement is used as verification, it must be documented in the case record.

(4) Home visits

(a) Home visits may be used on a case-by-case basis as verification only when documentary evidence is insufficient, a collateral contact is unavailable and the client statement is insufficient or questionable.

(b) The home visit must be scheduled in advance with the applicant.

(c) If the assistance group's circumstances appear to be error prone, that alone does not mean a home visit is the most appropriate method of verification.

(J) How are discrepancies in information handled?

(1) If the agency receives unverified information from a source other than the assistance group, the agency shall allow the assistance group a reasonable opportunity to resolve the discrepancy prior to taking any action on the case.

(2) The county agency may attempt to verify the information with a third party and contact the assistance group only if the agency cannot obtain the verification.

(3) If the county agency is notified of information by the income eligibility verification system, the county agency may obtain verification from a third party as specified in rule 5101:4-7-09 of the Administrative Code.

(K) What verification is required at reapplication?

At reapplication the county agency does not have to verify unchanged information unless the information is questionable. The county agency shall verify:

(1) Income if the source has changed or the amount has changed by fifty dollars or more;

(2) Utility expenses if they were not verified previously;

(3) Medical expenses if they were not reported and verified previously, or if the amount changed by twenty-five dollars or more. The county agency is not required to verify medical expenses if the source has not changed and the amount has changed by twenty-five dollars or less since the last time they were verified;

(4) Newly obtained social security numbers;

(5) Any changes in the legal obligation to pay child support, the obligated amount, and the amount of legally obligated child support a household member is ordered to pay to a non-household member;

(6) Work hours for individuals subject to the food assistance time limit of rule 5101:4-3-20 of the Administrative Code who are satisfying the work requirement by working, by combining work and participation in a work program, or by participating in a work program that is not operated or supervised by a state or county agency.

(L) What verification is needed for reported changes?

Changes reported during the certification period shall be subject to the same verification procedures that apply at initial certification.

Replaces: 5101:4-3-05

Effective: 09/01/2012
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 06/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/2/80, 4/1/81, 6/18/81, 10/1/81, 1/22/82, 2/1/82, 5/1/82, 1/1/83, 5/20/83, 6/1/83, 9/24/83 (Temp.), 11/11/83, 2/1/84 (Temp.), 4/1/84, 10/1/84 (Emer.), 11/17/84, 8/16/85 (Emer.), 11/1/85 (Emer.), 1/1/86, 4/6/86, 5/1/86 (Emer.), 6/15/86 (Emer.), 8/1/86 (Emer.), 8/20/86 (Emer.), 10/22/86 (Emer.), 10/30/86, 11/15/86, 11/28/86, 1/16/87 (Emer.), 4/10/87 (Emer.), 6/22/87, 8/1/87 (Emer.), 10/25/87 (Emer.), 10/29/87 (Emer.), 1/22/88, 3/24/88 (Emer.), 6/18/88, 9/1/88 (Emer.), 11/22/88, 10/1/89 (Emer.), 12/21/89, 1/5/90 (Emer.), 3/22/90, 10/1/90 (Emer.), 10/1/90, 11/8/90, 10/1/91 (Emer.), 5/1/91 (Emer.), 6/1/91, 12/1/91, 12/20/91, 7/1/92, 8/1/92 (Emer.), 10/1/92 (Emer.), 10/30/92, 6/1/93, 10/1/93, 11/15/93, 7/1/94, 9/1/94 (Emer.), 9/1/94, 10/1/94, 12/1/94 (Emer.), 1/1/95, 5/1/95, 8/1/95, 2/1/96, 7/1/96 (Emer.), 8/25/96, 9/22/96 (Emer.), 12/21/96, 4/1/97 (Emer.), 6/6/97, 10/1/97, 3/1/98 (Emer.), 6/1/98, 6/1/01 (Emer.), 8/27/01, 5/1/03, 11/1/03, 07/1/06, 8/1/10, 3/1/11

5101:4-2-10 Food stamps: Montgomery county work advancement and support center (WASC) project. [Rescinded].

Rescinded eff 4-1-09

5101:4-2-11 Food assistance: timeliness standard and benefit issuance.

(A) What are the general standards for application processing?

(1) An assistance group's eligibility shall be determined and benefits shall be authorized for an eligible assistance group as soon as possible but no later than thirty calendar days after the assistance group or its representative files the application. Applications for residents of public institutions must follow the standards set forth in rule 5101:4-2-01 of the Administrative Code.

(2) Assistance groups who apply for benefits after the fifteenth day of the month shall receive their prorated allotment for the initial month of application and their first full month allotment at the same time. Assistance groups not entitled to a combined allotment are as follows:

(a) An assistance group whose initial month prorated benefits are less than ten dollars.

(b) An assistance group determined ineligible to receive benefits for the initial month of application.

(c) An assistance group determined ineligible to receive benefits the month following the initial month's prorated benefits.

(d) An assistance group which has not provided necessary verification to determine eligibility.

(3) Each assistance group within a case will have the same reapplication date. When different reapplication dates are found within a case, the earliest reapplication date will become the date for all categories of assistance in that case. For example, if a case contains assistance groups with different categories of assistance such as Ohio works first (OWF) cash assistance, medicaid, disability financial assistance (DFA) and food assistance, the reapplication date follows the shortest certification timeframe.

(B) When should a case be denied?

(1) An assistance group found to be ineligible shall be sent a notice of denial as soon as possible, but no later than thirty days following the date the application was filed. If the assistance group failed to appear for a scheduled interview and has made no contact with the county agency to express interest in pursuing the application, the county agency shall send the assistance group a notice of denial on the thirtieth day following the date of application.

(2) In cases when the county agency conducted an interview, the requested verifications as set forth in rule 5101:4-2-09 of the Administrative Code were not received, and the applicant did not ask for assistance in obtaining the verifications the county agency may deny the application on the thirtieth day. The county agency must assist the assistance group with obtaining verifications if requested.

(C) How are benefits issued?

Food assistance benefits will be issued to assistance groups on an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card using a direct access system known as an EBT on-line system. The county agency shall inform an assistance group of the date the benefits will be available in accordance with Chapter 5101:6-2 of the Administrative Code.

(D) How are adjustments made when an error has occurred in a benefit transaction?

(1) The assistance group name shall request an adjustment through the EBT vendor within ninety calendar days of the error transaction. A recipient requests an adjustment by contacting the vendor through the customer service department which is listed on the back of the EBT card.

(2) Adjustments requested within ninety calendar days shall be investigated, have a decision made and funds moved within ten business days of the error being reported.

(E) How does the assistance group dispute a decision from the adjustment request?

(1) The assistance group has ninety days from the date of the notice to request a fair hearing.

(2) If the assistance group disputes an adjustment and requests a hearing within ten days of the notice, a provisional credit must be made to the assistance group's account.

(F) What happens if the assistance group's EBT card is lost, stolen or not received?

If the EBT card is lost, stolen or not received, the assistance group must contact the EBT card vendor's customer service center to request a replacement card. The vendor under contract with ODJFS shall replace EBT cards within five business days.

Effective: 10/01/2011
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 03/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/2/80, 5/1/82, 6/17/83, 1/1/88 (Emer.), 2/26/88, 10/1/89 (Emer.), 12/21/89, 7/1/92, 2/1/93, 4/1/97 (Emer.), 6/6/97, 5/2/98, 5/1/00, 6/1/01 (Emer.), 8/27/01, 12/01/04, 08/01/05, 3/23/06, 3/1/10, 3/1/11