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2.1.1 Initial Certifications (Applications)

7 CFR 273.2(d)

2.1.1.1 Application Forms

2.1.1.2 Application Process

2.1.1.3 Break in Service

2.1.1.4 Setting the Filing Date

2.1.1.4.1 Telephonic Signatures

2.1.1.4.2 Faxed Application Registrations

2.1.1.4.3 Application Registrations at the Wrong Agency Consortia

2.1.1.5 SSA Participation in FoodShare Applications

 

Local agencies must encourage individuals to file an application or set a filing date for FoodShare on the same day they express an interest in FoodShare or concerns about food insecurity. Local agencies must not discourage individuals from applying for FoodShare if their application or benefits for another program have been denied or terminated. In this situation, the local agency shall encourage the individuals to continue with the FoodShare application process.

2.1.1.1 Application Forms

Wisconsin provides an online application for FoodShare through ACCESS Apply for Benefits. The ACCESS application can be found at access.wi.gov.

 

The paper application for FoodShare has been developed for use when the CARES system is unavailable. It can also be given to applicants who request a paper application form and for SSA staff when they accept applications from individuals where all household members are applying for or receiving SSI. The form can be found on the Eligibility Management webpage at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/em/forms-foodshare.htm and is available in the following formats:

 

Registration Form: This section will be completed by the applicant and must include the minimum information (name, address, and signature). This section of the form is designed to be separated from the other sections so that it can be mailed, faxed, or hand-delivered to the agency to set the FoodShare application filing date. This form can also be used to determine eligibility for expedited services if completed beyond the minimum information (name, address, and signature).

 

Important Information Form: This section describes the applicant/member's rights and responsibilities. It is designed to be separated from the Registration and/or the Application Form so that the applicant/member can keep this information for his or her records.

 

Application Form: This section gathers the information necessary to determine FoodShare benefit eligibility. It is designed to be separated from the other sections so that it can be submitted to the agency.

2.1.1.2 Application Process

A new application for FoodShare benefits is required whenever an individual or family makes a request for FoodShare benefits and:

  1. They have not received FoodShare benefits in Wisconsin in the current or past month, or

  2. They have received FoodShare benefits, but benefits have been denied/terminated beyond the calendar month following the month of closure.

 

The FoodShare application process includes:

  1. Submitting an application in one of the following ways:

    1. Submitting a signed RFA following the client registration process,

    2. Submitting a FoodShare request with at least the minimum information required (name, address, and signature) using the FoodShare Registration or Application forms (F-16019A or F-16019B),

    3. Completing an ACCESS application with an electronic signature, or

    4. Completing a request over the phone using a telephonic signature (2.1.4.4.1 Telephonic Signatures).

  2. Completing an interview. (2.1.3.5 Telephone Interviews),

  3. Verifying certain information (1.2.1 Verification Introduction),

  4. Resolving any identified EPPs (Process Help 70.1), and

  5. Confirming the FoodShare eligibility determination in CARES (2.1.7 Confirming the FoodShare Eligibility Determination in CARES).

 

Assistance completing the application process, such as providing an interpreter, meeting disability needs, etc., must be provided at no cost to the applicant.

 

Important Note: The agency should not create an RFA and also have the applicant apply online or by phone. The agency may only require one signature for an application regardless of how the application was submitted. The application should be submitted one way or the other, but not both. Submitting duplicate applications only delays application processing and benefit issuance.

2.1.1.3 Break in Service

A break in service means that the FoodShare assistance group has closed for at least one day. Failure to provide timely verification is a common cause for FoodShare closure.

 

The FoodShare assistance group closes effective the last day of the month following adverse action if a requested action is not taken by the assistance group. To open the case without a new application, the reason for closure must be fully resolved during the calendar month following the closure. The date the closure is fully resolved by the member is the date used to re-establish eligibility and issue prorated benefits.

 

Example 1: Verification of income was due November 26. FoodShare closed for lack of verification on December 31. Verification is submitted on January 7. FoodShare benefits are prorated from the date all required verifications are received by the agency (January 7). A new application is not needed.

 

If the reason for closure is not fully resolved the month following the month of closure, a new application must be completed.

 

Example 2: Verification of income was due November 26. FoodShare closed for lack of verification on December 31. Verification is submitted on February 7. A new application is required.

 

Allow FoodShare to reopen at renewal if the requested action is completed in the month following the end of the current certification period, as long as the interview was completed before the end of the renewal month.

 

 

Example 3: Sam requests an appointment to renew his FoodShare benefits on September 25. His benefits end on September 30. The first available appointment is October 3. Sam meets with his IM worker on October 3. The IM worker documents in case comments the reason for the late certification. Benefits begin the first of the month.

 

2.1.1.4 Setting the Filing Date

An applicant must provide the minimum information necessary in order to set a FoodShare filing date. This includes name, address, and signature. Local agencies must encourage applicants to file an application or set a filing date for FoodShare on the same day they express an interest in FoodShare or indicate food insecurity. If an applicant chooses not to set a filing date the same day that they contact the agency, the FoodShare application (F-16019A) must be provided if they request it.

 

The filing date is set the same day, or the next business day if received after the regularly scheduled business hours, when the agency receives one of the following:

 

 

Note: ACCESS uses the CARES holiday schedule on the CARES Mainframe table TDHY when setting the filing date for holidays. Agencies may be closed on some days that are not CARES holidays such as the day after Thanksgiving, Veteran’s Day, and Christmas Eve. ACCESS submissions will have filing dates set on these days even though the agency may be closed. When processing these requests, IM workers should update the filing date to the next business day for their agency and document in case comments that the agency was closed on that date.

 

An applicant may verbally request FoodShare, but must also provide a signature through one of the formats listed above in order to set a filing date.

 

Note: The agency may not certify a FoodShare assistance group for benefits without a signed application on file, and a signed application may be any of the above listed.

 

Example 4: A FoodShare case has been open since March. The 12-month renewal was due by February 28. The member did not complete an interview in the renewal month. It is now March 3 and the member is calling to complete the interview and renewal. In this scenario, the member would need to reapply for FoodShare, and benefits would be prorated from the date the member provided a signature setting the new filing date (2.1.1.4.1 Telephonic Signature). This case would also require an evaluation for expedited services (2.1.4 Expedited Service at Application).

 

The FoodShare Application Registration Form can be used when:

 

This procedure was established to ensure applicants have the opportunity to set a filing date the first day they contact the agency. In some instances, the applicant may request to take this form or a FoodShare Application with them. These materials should be made available for the applicant to take. However, it is important for the agency representative to explain the importance of setting the filing date, how it is set, expedited benefits, and verification policies.

 

The agency should always attempt to set the filing date the same day of contact with the applicant.

 

In order for the application to set the filing date, the signature must be valid. Signatures can be collected in writing, telephonically, or via ACCESS. To be considered valid, the signature must be completed by an adult household member, an authorized representative, emancipated minor, or by a minor that does not have someone exercising parental authority over them. If an application is signed by a minor and it turns out that someone has parental authority over them, a new signature would be required and the date upon which the new signature is collected would establish a new application filing date. Be sure to ask about all individuals living in the home during the interview. Do not approve eligibility if there is a parental authority living with the minor, until a valid signature is obtained.

2.1.1.4.1 Telephonic Signatures

7 CFR 273.2(c)(2)

An applicant may verbally request FoodShare and sign an RFA or application by providing a telephonic signature. A telephonic signature is the same as a written or electronic signature and it sets the filing date for FoodShare.

 

Applicants must attest that the information they provided is complete and accurate when providing their telephonic signature. A case summary must be sent to the applicant following the interview, but does not require a signature unless changes are made to the summary. The applicant will have 10 days to notify the agency if corrections are needed.

 

The agency must have Call Center Anywhere (CCA) or Genesys in order to record a telephonic signature. A copy of the case summary showing that a telephonic signature was collected is stored in the electronic case file. The IM worker must record the signature in CCA or Genesys.

 

Only one signature is needed for an application request. If a telephonic signature is completed through the CWW client registration process (or a signature is collected through an ACCESS or paper application), a second signature should not be collected when processing through the Generate Summary page in CWW.

2.1.1.4.2 Faxed Application Registrations

7 CFR 273.2(c)(1)

IM agencies should accept faxed application registrations to initiate the application process and set the filing date. No benefits should be issued, nor should any final determination of an applicant's eligibility be made until an interview is completed. Faxed application registrations received on weekends, holidays, or after hours should be considered received on the first working day following receipt of the application registration.

2.1.1.4.3 Application Registrations at the Wrong Agency Consortia

7 CFR 273.2(c)(2)(ii)

As of June 15, 2009, FoodShare applicants are no longer required to apply for assistance in the county in which they reside. The filing date for FoodShare will be set wherever an application is submitted, regardless of whether the applicant submits the application in the county in which he or she resides. In January of 2012, IM program administration was taken over by Milwaukee Enrollment Services (MilES), tribal agencies, and 10 consortia groups made up of local county agencies. Each consortium has a call/change center that is responsible for processing and updating cases for all agencies within the consortium.

 

When an ACCESS application or RFA is submitted to the wrong consortia, the consortia that received the application or RFA should transfer it to the correct consortia inbox the same day that it is submitted to allow the consortia time to review for potential expedited service. The filing date will not be reset when the application or RFA is transferred.

 

Mailed or faxed applications received by the wrong consortia should be entered into CARES and then transferred to the correct consortia for processing.

2.1.1.5 SSA Participation in FoodShare Applications

7 CFR 273.2(k)

Currently, SSA does not participate in a joint FoodShare application process.

 

This page last updated in Release Number: 20-02

Release Date: 08/03/2020

Effective Date: 08/03/2020