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