Effective Date - April 1, 2007  

906                 Allowable Expenses/Deductions for Food Stamps

Food Stamps only - 7 CFR 273.9; ARW, Chapt. 1, Section 5

A.    Understand the standard Food Stamp deduction is based on Table II.

B.    Request completion of the Application for Allowable Deductions (DFS 300) when the following occurs but DO NOT deny benefits when the Assistance unit refuses to sign the form:

1.    At application, Recertification or when a change is reported which might affect the Assistance unit’s deduction;

2.    Adding a new person who might affect the previous deduction choices;

3.    Changing residence;

4.    Reinstating POWER from nonpayment status, as appropriate;

5.    Child Support is court ordered and not previously allowed;

6.    An assistance unit member attains age 60.

C.   Advise the assistance unit the eligibility level will be determined without deducting unverified expenses and without the appropriate utility standard when verifications are not provided within 30 days from the Date of application.

D.   Increase the benefit level, when appropriate, by the first allotment after the Verification of any expenses(s) is provided.

E.    Restore any disallowed benefits when the expenses could not be verified in time due to delays caused by DFS.

F.    Calculate expenses of the assistance unit based on the expenses the assistance unit will be billed for, and expected to make a money Payment to someone outside the assistance unit, during the certification period:

1.    Base the anticipation, except utility, on the following:

a.    The most recent Month's bills unless the assistance unit is reasonably certain a change will occur;

b.    A rental Verification form showing the amount of rent, what the heating and/or cooling utility is and who is responsible to pay the expense.

2.    Allow expenses only in the month the expense is billed or is otherwise due regardless of when the assistance unit intends to pay the bill;

3.    Disallow amounts carried forward from past billing periods even if:

a.    Included with the most recent billings; and

b.    Actually paid by the assistance unit.

4.    Allow all assistance units to elect to have fluctuating expenses averaged, excluding utility;

5.    Allow assistance units who have expenses billed less often than monthly to average the expense over the period it is intended to cover;

6.    Allow one-time expenses to be averaged over the entire Certification period, or a medical deduction over the remainder of the Certification period, or a one-time deduction at the option of the assistance unit;

7.    Convert expenses to a monthly amount whenever a full month's expense is anticipated but is billed on a weekly, biweekly or semimonthly basis as follows:

a.    Weekly - Multiply by 4.3;

b.    Biweekly - Multiply by 2.15;

c.    Semimonthly - Multiply by 2.

G.   Disallow an expense covered by an Exempt reimbursement or Vendor payment except LIEAP.

H.    See Section 507 for deductions for excluded, Disqualified or sanctioned individuals.

I.      Document why a deduction was not used when the assistance unit is entitled to a deduction.

J.    Allow monthly Shelter costs as follows:

1.    Allow an excess shelter deduction for the projected monthly shelter cost that exceeds 50% of the assistance unit's  monthly Income after all other applicable deductions when there is an Elderly or Disabled assistance unit member; and

2.   Limit the maximum excess shelter deduction as provided in Table II for nonelderly/nondisabled assistance units.

3.    Include the following when calculating the shelter deduction:

a.    Rent or mortgage (including second mortgages), excluding deposits;

b.    Other continuing charges leading to the ownership of a shelter such as repayments for a trailer or mobile Home;

c.    Interest on Loan or mortgage payments;

d.    Property taxes, state and local assessments, mortgage insurance, and insurance on the structure itself:

(1)   Exclude insurance for furniture and personal belongings if these costs can be separated;

(2)   Prorate the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance over the period it is intended to cover.

(3) Exclude life insurance.

e.    Shelter costs for the home if temporarily not occupied by the assistance unit because of Employment or training away from home, illness or Abandonment caused by a natural disaster or casualty when:

(1)   The assistance unit intends to return;

(2)   The current occupants of the home, if any, are not claiming the shelter’s costs; and

(3)   The home is not leased or rented during the Absence of the assistance unit.

f.          Charges for the repair of the home that was substantially damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster (such as fire or flood) unless reimbursed from another source;

g.    Condominium fees.

h.    Service fees (not a late charge fee). .

K.    The Standard Utility Allowance (SUA) expense must be entered next to an eligible assistance unit member to not have the SUA pro-rated.

L.    When it has been determined that an ineligible assistance unit member is “billed and pays” a shelter expense, other than the SUA, then the expense must be pro-rated;

1.   The expense must be entered next to the ineligible assistance unit member for the expense to be pro-rated.

M.    When it has been determined that an eligible assistance unit member is “billed and pays” a shelter expense, then the expense must not be pro-rated;

1. The expense must be entered next to the eligible assistance unit member for the expense to not be pro-rated.

N.    The assistance unit member that “claims” s/he is being billed and is paying a shelter expense must have the income to support her/his statement.

O.    Allow the Standard Utility Allowance (SUA), Utility Only Allowance (UOA), Telephone Only Allowance (TOA) or actual cost for one utility expense per the following Food Stamp Utility Deductions Chart.

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FOOD STAMP UTILITY DEDUCTIONS

Each assistance unit (AU) is allowed only one of the following utility standard/deductions.

TYPE OF

DEDUCTION

 

IF AU

 PAYS FOR:

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

č

HEATING AND/OR

COOLING COSTS

 

Includes gas, wood electric, coal, and air conditioning; OR

 

The AU receives LIEAP at that address.

 

Allow the use of the SUA for AU's in public housing with shared meters that are only charged for excess heating/cooling costs.

The SUA may be allowed to AU’s in private rental housing who are billed on the basis of actual use or flat rate separate from the rent.

 

Allow the full SUA for each AU when the expenses are shared.

DO NOT enter any other utility information.

 

 

 

 

 

č

AT LEAST TWO UTILITIES

Includes electricity and fuel for purposes other than heating or cooling, water, sewerage, well and septic tank installation and maintenance, telephone and garbage and trash collection.

 

 

 

 

 

Allow the full UOA for each AU when the expenses are shared.

 

DO NOT enter any other utility information.

 

 

 

 

 

č

 

 

CONVENTIONAL

TELEPHONE

OR CELLULAR PHONE

 

Allow the current telephone allowance (see Table II).

DO NOT enter any other utility information.

Actual cost for one utility expense  
ONLY ONE UTILITY

(Excluding telephone) i.e. water or sewer, etc.

Allow actual monthly billed amount.

DO NOT include past due amounts.

DO NOT enter any other utility information.


Utility Standards (AU = assistance unit)

Standard

AMOUNT

1.  One home, one AU pays heating or cooling.

SUA

*

2.  One home, shared by two AU’s paying heat.  One AU is paying a set amount to other AU for utilities.

SUA

*

3.  One home, shared by two AU’s paying lights and telephone (even when one AU pays a set amount to the other AU to pay the utilities).

UOA

*

4.  Apartment complex, client billed for actual heating costs.

SUA

*

5.  Apartment complex, heated by gas, client pays electricity and telephone.

UOA

*

6.  Apartment complex, AU receives LIEAP at the LIEAP address.

SUA

*

7.  One home, shared by two AU’s, each AU receives LIEAP due to LIEAP eligibility Error.

SUA

*

8.  AU’s main heating source is wood and the AU cuts their own wood and pays water and electricity.  

UOA

*

9.  AU’s main heating source is wood and the assistance unit purchases wood.

SUA

*

10. AU lives in their car and pays gas to heat or cool the car.

(None)

*

11. AU pays the cost of a swamp cooler or air conditioner for only 3 months out of the year. 

SUA (for 12 months)

*

12. AU pays electricity for lights which includes the cost of running a fan to cool the residence.  They do not pay heating and cooling costs but do pay telephone bill.

UOA

*

13. AU with a home temporarily unoccupied due to employ- ment/training.  Pays heating on unoccupied home and current home.

One SUA for both “homes”

*

14. Two AU living in two residential units. Each AU pays a portion of the gas and electric. 

SUA

*

15. AU residing in an apartment pays heating or cooling to the landlord who divides the bill by the number of units.

SUA

*

16. AU is billed a flat amount for heating expenses separate from the rent amount.

SUA

*

17. AU resides in a trailer house. Landlord pays a portion of the heating expense; excess is billed to the AU.

SUA

*

18. AU pays water and cell phone expenses and has no conventional telephone.

UOA

*

19. AU pays water expenses only. They have no other utility expenses.

___________ Actual cos

19. AU has no utility expense except cellular phone.

TL

see Table II

20. AU has no utility expense except conventional phone.

TL

see Table II

*  Benefit Specialist enters $00 and EPICS automatically uses the correct standard.


P.    Allow a medical deduction on current, not past due, medical expenses as follows:

1.    Deduct the portion of non-reimbursable medical expenses (not to include the costs of special diets), that are in excess of $35 per month, for an assistance unit member who is:

a.    Elderly; or

b.    Disabled.

2.    Understand assistance units entitled to a medical deduction shall have the nonreimbursable portion considered at the time the reimbursement is received or verified.

3.    Allow a deduction for medical expense based on a Best estimate at the time of certification or recertification as follows:

a.    Use a history of expenses paid to determine average monthly medical expenses providing the history is reflective of future expenses; or

b.    Use expenses Reasonably expected to occur during the certification period if no history exists or the history is not reflective of the future; or

c.    Allow expenses Reasonably expected to occur during the certification period based upon Available information about the Recipient’s medical condition;

d.    Allow one-time medical expenses to be averaged over the remainder of the certification period or a one-time deduction at the option of the assistance unit;

e.    Assure the Applicant/recipient understands the deduction will not change during the certification period unless a change is reported and verification of the change is provided;

f.     Document your best estimate rationale in the Case record.

4.    Allow the following medical costs when nonreimbursable:

a.    Medical and dental care including psychotherapy and rehabilitation services provided by a licensed practitioner authorized by state law;

b.    Hospitalization or out-patient treatment, nursing care and home nursing care to include payments by the assistance unit for an individual who was a Household member immediately prior to entering a hospital or nursing home licensed by the state;

c.    Medication, supplies and equipment, including:

(1)   Prescription drugs and other over-the-counter medication (including insulin) when approved by a licensed practitioner or other qualified health professional;

(2)   Costs of medical supplies; and

(3)   Sickroom equipment (including rentals) or other prescribed equipment.

d.    Health and hospitalization insurance policy premiums, except health and accident policies, such as those payable in Lump sum settlements for death or dismemberment, or income Maintenance policies;

e.    Medicare premiums related to coverage under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act:

(1)   Allow any cost sharing or spend-down expenses incurred by a Medicaid and/or PDA recipient;

(2)   DO NOT allow the Medicare premium when the client is not responsible for payment of the premium, such as when the state pays the premium through the "Buy-In" agreement.

f.     The costs of dentures, hearing aids and prosthetics;

g.    Costs of securing and maintaining service animals specially trained to assist handicapped individuals, i.e. a seeing guide dog or a hearing guide dog, including the cost of dog food and veterinarian bills;

h.    The cost of eyeglasses prescribed by a qualified health practitioner;

i.     The reasonable cost of transportation and lodging to obtain medical treatment or services;

j.     The mileage reimbursement for medical treatment or services, when using a privately owned vehicle, should be calculated by using the current “state” rate;

k.    The postage/shipping charges for mail-order prescription drugs;

i.    The costs of maintaining an attendant, homemaker, home health aide, child care or housekeeper, necessary due to age, infirmity, illness or disability and in addition:

(1) Deduct an amount equal to the one person benefit allotment, if the assistance unit furnishes over 50% of the attendant's meals; and

(2) Treat the cost as a medical expense when the assistance unit has attendant care costs that could qualify under both the medical and dependent care deductions.

 

Q.   Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card Program – effective January 1, 2006.
An eligible elderly and/or disabled individual with medical expenses greater than $138.00 has the option to verify and claim all their medical expenses or take the standard deduction.
1.     The standard medical deduction is not mandatory;
2.     To be eligible for the standard medical deduction of $103.00 ($138.00 - $35.00 = $103.00) the following two stipulations must be met:


a. A client must verify, at each initial application, that they have incurred more than $35.00 (i.e. $35.01) a month in qualifying medical expenses.
b. A client must declare at each re-certification that they still have medical expenses in excess of $35.00.

(1) Declaration is a verbal statement, no further verification is required.

R.    Allow the best estimate of expenses for dependent care not to exceed $200 per month for each child under two, and $175 per month for each individual over two, as follows:

1.    When necessary for an assistance unit member to:

a.        Accept or continue employment; or

b.    Seek employment in compliance with job search criteria (or an equivalent effort by those not subject to job search); or

c.    Attend training or pursue education preparatory to employment.

2.    Do not allow any amount allowed as a deduction from educational income;

3.    Do not allow a deduction for an amount previously exempted;

Example: If $60 per month was exempted and the cost is $100, $40 could still be used as a deduction.

4. Document in the case narrative the dependent care deduction was offered and the client chose to use or not use the deduction;

S.    Allow the legally obligated (court ordered) child support actually paid by an assistance unit member on behalf of a child to a non-assistance unit member.

1.    Enter the amount on the child support window;

2.    Allow child support which may include:

a.        Legally obligated monetary payment; and

b.    Legally obligated payments to a third party such as rent and/or medical expenses; and

c.    Legally obligated Arrearages being paid.

3.    Use a history of at least three months and:

a.    Average the payments to arrive at the child support deduction;

b.    Adjust for any anticipated changes which would affect the payment, i.e., a child becoming of age whereby the Legal obligation would cease;

c.    Act on changes reported by the client during the certification period.

4.    Establish a best estimate of anticipated payments when there is not a record of at least three months of legally obligated child support paid.

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