5101:4-5-03 Food assistance: establishing certification periods.

(A) What is a certification period?

A certification period is the amount of time an assistance group is authorized to receive food assistance benefits. The county agency must certify each eligible assistance group for a definite period of time. The county agency shall not require an assistance group to report for an interview during their certification period.

(B) What is the first month of the certification period?

The first month of the certification period is the first month for which the assistance group is eligible to participate including an initial month in which no benefit is issued due to the initial proration being less than ten dollars. The certification period cannot exceed a total of twelve months, except as specified in paragraph (C)(1) of this rule.

(C) How long is the certification period?

At application or reapplication the county agency must assign the longest certification period possible based on the predictability of the assistance group's circumstances. Assistance groups shall be assigned a twelve month certification period unless an assistance group meets one of the following exceptions:

(1) All members of the assistance group are elderly or disabled and the assistance group has no earned income;

(2) The assistance group has unstable circumstances such as assistance groups with zero net income, assistance groups with an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) who has no countable earned income, or assistance groups that are homeless;

(3) The assistance group anticipates changes that will make the assistance group ineligible for food assistance benefits in the near future;

(4) The assistance group contains a migrant or seasonal farm worker; or

(5) The case has an assistance group that is receiving other public benefits that require a shorter reapplication date.

(D) How long should the certification period be when all assistance group members are elderly or disabled and have no earned income?

All members of an assistance group that are elderly or disabled and have no earned income shall be certified for twenty-four months.

(E) How long should the certification period be when the assistance group has unstable circumstances, anticipated changes or is a migrant or seasonal farm worker?

These assistance groups should be assigned certification periods consistent with their circumstances. The certification period options are four, five, six or twelve months.

(F) When can food assistance benefits stop prior to the end of the certification period?

The county agency shall end an assistance group's benefits earlier than its certification expiration date when one of the following is true:

(1) The county agency receives information that the assistance group has become ineligible;

(2) The assistance group fails to return the interim report as set forth in rule 5101:4-7-01 of the Administrative Code by the end of the sixth month for assistance groups with twelve month certification periods or the twelfth month for assistance groups with a twenty-four month certification period;

(3) The assistance group reports a change or fails to respond to a request for contact when information reported to the county agency is unclear in accordance with paragraph (J)(5) of rule 5101:4-7-01 of the Administrative Code. The county agency may also adjust the assistance group's benefit amount in response to a reported change.

(G) What notification is required when a certification period is ended earlier than the expiration date?

Prior notice of adverse action must be provided by mail or personal delivery as described in rule 5101:6-2-04 of the Administrative Code unless the assistance group's situation meets one of the exceptions to the prior notice provisions as specified in rule 5101:6-2-05 of the Administrative Code.

Effective: 7/2/2015
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 03/31/2015 and 07/02/2020
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/2/80, 10/1/81, 7/20/88 (Emer.), 10/16/88, 4/1/97 (Emer.), 6/6/97, 2/1/99, 6/1/01 (Emer.), 8/27/01, 5/13/02, 7/1/02 (Emer.), 8/1/02, 7/10/03, 11/1/03, 12/01/04, 08/1/05, 4/1/10, 3/1/11