On February 17, 2009, the President signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The weekend of March 14, 2009, an April Food Stamp Stimulus mass adjustment will occur due to the increase in Food Stamp benefits resulting from the ARRA. This memorandum addresses the following issues related to the mass adjustment:
- Increased Allotments;
- Update Process;
- Decreased Benefits or Case Closings;
- Conflict of Actions;
- Cases Not Adjusted;
- Manual Revisions;
- Customer Flyer; and
- Claim Calculations.
The following changes will be made during the mass adjustment:
- the Food Stamp allotments are increased, and
- the minimum allotment is $16.
The standard deductions and shelter standards are not changed.
The Food Stamp Budget Summary (FM4A) screen and the Worker Initiated Budget Calculation Area - WIBCA (FMXN) are updated with the new amounts for April 2009 budgets effective March 14, 2009. While the updates are being completed, FAMIS will be in inquiry mode only and no actions can be taken until March 16, 2009.
After the eligibility determination is run during the mass adjustment, the following actions on active Food Stamp cases may be displayed in FAMIS, depending on the action taken during the mass adjustment:
- if the benefits are increased, the EU Action Log (FM40) displays the action INCR, action date of March 14, 2009, and benefit month 042009;
- if there is no change to the benefits, the EU Action Log (FM40) displays the action NOCH, action date March 14, 2009, and the benefit month 042009; and
- if there is a decrease in benefits or closing, the EU Action Log (FM40) displays the action AABR for a reduction and AACL for a closing, action date March 14, 2009, and the benefit month 042009. For more information regarding EUs whose benefits decrease or cases close, refer to the Decrease Benefits or Case Closings section of this memorandum.
The reason field on the Action Authorization (FM3H) screen displays TUA - Table Update Adjustments (system) for the mass adjustment. To inquire why an action is taken, on the EU Action Log (FM40), select the action, and press F17=INQAUTH. The Action Authorization (FM3H) screen appears. Press F19=REASON. The reason code and the code description appear. After payroll closing on March 21, 2009, the Payment History (FM5F) screen displays the appropriate allotment for each EU.
Decreased Benefits or Case Closings
Some EUs receive adverse actions to decrease benefits or close the EU after the mass adjustment. This happens if the EU is subject to simplified reporting and there are disregarded changes in FAMIS. As the mass adjustment is considered a change that must be acted on, and all cases are required to be adjusted to accurately reflect deductions and benefit amounts, all information known to FAMIS at the time of the mass adjustment is used to determine eligibility. There will be no 10 day waiting period prior to authorization of the adverse action, as this is a change that must not be disregarded.
An FA-510 Adverse Action notice will be sent to the EU notifying them of the proposed reduction or closing action.
Conflict of Actions
FAMIS adjusts active Food Stamp cases during the mass adjustment even if the case has a pending adverse action. If there is a pending adverse action when the mass adjustment is completed, there is a conflict of actions. The eligibility specialist receives the alert “Adverse Action Needs Resolving”. Void the pending adverse action and process the mass adjustment adverse action following these steps:
- void the first (pending) adverse action on the Action Resolution (FM50 or ACTRES) screen,
- complete the eligibility determination on the Eligibility Determination Resolution screen (FM3Y or EDRES), and
- authorize the new action, even if the action is a benefit reduction or closing.
Refer to FAMIS user guide Changing an Adverse Action Status for instructions.
Cases Not Adjusted
Some cases cannot be adjusted during the mass adjustment. The cases are either pending applications or pending changes that require the eligibility specialist to take an action. When the eligibility specialist completes the appropriate action, the case will be automatically adjusted. The following EUs will not be adjusted during the mass adjustment.
- Expedited EUs that are active with postponed verification (APV status).
- Any EU with an incomplete eligibility determination, such as a change entered but the eligibility determination resolution is not run, or there is insufficient data (ISD).
- Any EU in the controlled flow. FAMIS sets Food-Stamp-only EUs in recertification application controlled flow to RTA status on the EU Action Log (FM40). However, FAMIS does not authorize these actions. The eligibility specialist must complete the controlled flow and authorize actions during the normal process. If an application is pending in the controlled flow for Temporary Assistance or Child Care, FAMIS sets the Food Stamp action to RTA status on the EU Action Log (FM40). FAMIS does not authorize these actions during the mass adjustment. When the eligibility specialist completes the controlled flow, the correct determination is made for Food Stamp benefits. If the MA case is in the controlled flow, including the conversion controlled flow, the active Food Stamp case is adjusted.
An unacceptable or blank verification code is entered for a program element.
EXAMPLE: The Income Amount (FMX3) screen has a blank verification code for income.
During the mass adjustment, FAMIS sets the status to PEN (Pending) for the case until the eligibility specialist enters an acceptable form of verification. The eligibility specialist receives the alert “Action Not Authorized”.
If no action is taken by the eligibility specialist, FAMIS will send an FA-510 Adverse Action notice to reduce or close as appropriate, as the unacceptable or blank verification code has not been resolved. Take the following actions to correct these cases.
- Review the case file. If the verification is provided, update the verification code, run an Eligibility Determination Resolution (FM3Y or EDRES) and authorize the action. If the verification is not provided or requested, complete the steps below to request verification.
- Type OUTVERF on the command line and press enter. The Outstanding Verification (FM3M) screen is displayed.
- Select the outstanding verification, press F23=PRINT.
- Press F17=DOCQUE. The FA-325 Request for Information appears with RDPRT (ready to print).
- Tab to the FA-325, type “P” on the Com line and press F23=PRNT. The FA-325 Request for Information is printed locally.
- Mail the FA-325 to the EU to request the verification.
- Once verification is received, update FAMIS with the verification and complete an eligibility determination.
All EUs with an allotment that increases are sent an FA-150 Action Notice. The notices are dated March 27, 2009, to allow for mail processing. The notice informs EUs of the following:
- the issuance amounts have increased, and
- the EU Food Stamp allotment for April.
EUs with cases that are closing or with an allotment decrease will receive an FA-510 Adverse Action notice, for changes effective for April 2009. The notice informs EUs of the following:
- the issuance amounts have increased, and
- the cumulative effect of the mass adjustment changes, changes previously disregarded or effect the current changes have on the Food Stamp allotment for April.
Staff may view the notices on the Document Queue (FMVM) screen.
The Food Stamp Manual section 1115.099.00 Maximum Allowable Monthly Income Limits And Allotment is updated.
The following charts are revised:
- Food Stamp Changes Flyer;
- Standards History Chart;
- Food Stamps Basis of Issuance Tables; and
- Manually Calculating a Food Stamp Budget.
An informational handout for individuals has been developed to assist States with efforts to raise awareness of the ARRA. Attached to this memorandum is a new customer flyer in English and Spanish announcing the increase in Food Stamp benefits as a result of the ARRA. Post this flyer in each county office and share with community groups.
For claim periods from April 1, 2009, to September 30, 2009, the difference in the increase in the allotment amounts due to the ARRA and the allotment amounts in effect on March 30, 2009, will be excluded from claim determinations. A separate memorandum explaining the processing of these claims will be issued. Do not process claims for April 1, 2009, and ongoing until the memorandum is issued.
- Review this memorandum with appropriate staff.