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