5101:4-7-03 Food assistance: Mass change during the certification period.

What is a mass change?

A mass change is initiated by the state or federal government which may affect the entire caseload or significant portions of the caseload. These changes include, but are not limited to, adjustments to the income eligibility standards, the shelter and dependent care deduction, the maximum food assistance allotment, and the standard deduction; annual and seasonal adjustments to the state's utility standards; periodic cost-of-living adjustments to retirement, survivors, and disability insurance (RSDI), supplemental security income (SSI), and other federal benefits; periodic adjustments to Ohio work first (OWF) or disability financial assistance (DFA) payments; and other changes in the eligibility and benefit criteria based on legislative or regulatory changes. Federal adjustments to the eligibility standards, allotments and deductions, and state adjustments to utility standard shall go into effect for all assistance groups at a specific point in time. State annual adjustments of the utility standards shall go into effect for all affected assistance groups at the same time.

(A) What are the notice requirements for a mass change?

County agencies shall publicize these mass changes through the news media, through posters in certification offices, issuance locations, or other sites frequented by certified assistance groups, or through general notices mailed to assistance groups. The county agency shall notify adversely affected assistance groups of these mass changes in accordance with Chapter 5101:6-2 of the Administrative Code. In addition, any assistance group whose certification period overlaps an annual adjustment in the utility standard shall be advised at the time of initial certification of when the adjustment will occur and what the variation in the benefit level will be, if known.

(B) What are the requirements for mass changes on public assistance cases?

When the state agency makes an overall adjustment to public assistance payments, corresponding adjustments in the assistance group's food assistance benefits shall be handled as a mass change.

(1) More than thirty days advance knowledge

When the county agency has at least thirty days advance knowledge of the amount of the public assistance adjustment, the county agency shall recompute food assistance benefits to be effective in the same month as the public assistance change.

(2) Less than thirty days advance knowledge

If the county agency does not have sufficient notice, the food assistance change shall be effective no later than the month following the month in which the public assistance change was made.

(C) What are the mass change requirements for federal benefits?

The county agency shall establish procedures for making mass changes to reflect cost-of-living adjustments in benefits and any other mass changes under RSDI, SSI, and other programs such as veterans' assistance under Title 38 of the United States Code, (3/2011) and the black lung program, where information on cost-of-living adjustments is readily available and is applicable to all or a majority of those programs' beneficiaries.

(D) What is an assistance group's responsibility for reporting a change made in accordance with this rule?

Assistance groups shall not be responsible for reporting these changes. The county agency shall be responsible for automatically adjusting an assistance group's food assistance benefit level. These changes shall be reflected no later than the second allotment issued after the month in which the change becomes effective.

Effective: 6/1/2015
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 02/27/2015 and 06/01/2020
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, 10/1/81, 9/24/83, 8/16/85 (Emer.), 11/1/85 (Emer.), 1/1/86, 8/20/86 (Emer.), 11/15/86, 4/10/87 (Emer.), 6/22/87, 4/1/89, 5/1/91 (Emer.), 6/1/91, 2/3/92, 8/1/95 (Emer.), 10/13/95, 5/1/99, 5/22/04, 9/1/09