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2.1.3 Interviews

2.1.3.1 Scheduling the Interview

2.1.3.1.1 Notice of Missed Interview (NOMI) Requirements

2.1.3.2 Completing the Interview

2.1.3.3 Use of an Authorized Representative

2.1.3.4 Signature

2.1.3.5 Telephone Interviews

2.1.3.6 Completing Telephone Interviews

2.1.3.7 Post Telephone Interview Process

2.1.3.1 Scheduling the Interview

7 CFR 273.2(e)(3)

Local agencies must make every attempt to schedule interviews to ensure that an initial FS eligibility determination can be completed within the 30 day processing timeframe. Priority Service interviews must be completed unless postponed (2.1.4) and benefits must be issued no later than the 7th calendar day following the file date.

 

FoodShare applicants have the right to complete a face-to-face (FTF) or phone interview (2.1.3.5). If an applicant requests an FTF interview, the interview is typically held at the local office but may be held at a mutually acceptable location including the food unit’s residence . If an interview is scheduled at a residence, it must be scheduled in advance.

 

Agencies are required to schedule and provide written notice of an interview for an initial FoodShare application. Notice of the application interview must be in writing and mailed to the household unless the notice cannot be received by the applicant prior to the date of the interview. Verbal notification of the interview is only allowable if an interview letter cannot be received prior to the interview and only if the agency provides this information directly to a responsible adult household member. If verbal notice is provided the agency must document in case comments that a verbal notice was provided, the name of the person that received the verbal notice, the date and time of the interview and whether the interview would be conducted by telephone or face to face. If the applicant is physically present when the appointment is scheduled, the agency must provide the applicant a print out of the written notice. Notice Of Missed Interview (NOMI) requirements must be met if the applicant misses the interview.

 

Local agencies must notify each household that misses their initial application interview or review appointment that they missed the scheduled interview and that the household is responsible for rescheduling a missed interview. The use of Client Scheduling in CWW will ensure that households receive this notice. See Process Help 1.8.9.7 for details on the Automated NOMI process. If Client Scheduling is not used, notices of missed interview appointments and client responsibility to reschedule must be issued by the local agency. A copy of the agency notice must be scanned to the ECF. Agencies may not deny a household's application prior to the 30th day after the application filing date if the household fails to appear for the first interview.

 

For households that miss a scheduled appointment and contact the agency to re-schedule within the 30-day application processing period (2.1.2), the agency must schedule another interview.

2.1.3.1.1 Notice of Missed Interview (NOMI) Requirements

Application (not expedited)

The agency must send a separate Notice of Missed Interview (NOMI) letter to each applicant who does not meet the criteria for expedited issuance and misses the scheduled interview appointment. The NOMI letter must inform the applicant that s/he missed the scheduled appointment and is responsible for rescheduling the interview. If the applicant contacts the agency within the 30-day application processing period, the agency must schedule a second interview. The application may not be denied due to an incomplete interview prior to the 30th day after the application filing date.

 

Application (expedited regular)

A NOMI must be sent when: the household misses the interview that was scheduled and a second interview can’t be scheduled within the seven day expedited processing period due to household delay.

 

Application (expedited with postponed interview)

A NOMI is not needed when a household misses the scheduled interview for ongoing benefits after there has been a postponed interview (expedited benefits issued already).

 

Renewal

Language contained in the CARES generated Renewal Notice and closure notice meets NOMI requirements, therefore an additional NOMI letter does not have to be sent if the member misses the scheduled interview appointment.

2.1.3.2 Completing the Interview

7 CFR 273.2(e)(1); 7 CFR 273.2 (b)(4)(iv)

 

During an interview, the agency must not simply review the information that appears on the application but must explore and resolve with the applicant all unclear information. The interviewer must also advise households of their rights and responsibilities during the interview.

 

Although CWW provides a means for an individual to apply for several programs of assistance, FS eligibility must be based solely on the requirements and regulations governing the FS Program. Applications for FS may not be denied solely on the basis that an application to participate in another program has been denied. Similarly, ongoing FS benefits may not be terminated solely because benefits from another program have been terminated.  During an interview, the interviewer must advise applicants for joint W2/FS that W2 requirements do not apply to FS andhouseholds that lose or decline W2 benefits may still qualify for FS.

 

The agency must ask the applicant to identify all household members and their relationship to each other, and if they share food.

 

Providing SSNs (3.13.1) for each household member is voluntary. However failure to provide an SSN will result in the denial of FoodShare benefits to each individual failing to provide an SSN. Although SSN and alien status information is not required for household members not applying for benefits, the agency must determine if the non-applicant household member has income or assets that affect the applying household members' eligibility. If so, that information must be provided and verified in order to determine FS eligibility for the applicant household members.

 

Advise the FS applicant of their change reporting requirements (6.1.1) at the time of the interview.  If the food unit will be subject to six-month reporting (6.1.2), explain the six-month report form and process to the applicant as well.

 

It is not necessary for applicant signatures to be witnessed by an agency representative for a FS application to be considered complete.

2.1.3.3 Use of an Authorized Representative

7 CFR 273.2(n)

Representatives may be authorized to act on behalf of a food unit in the application process, in obtaining FS benefits, and/or in using FS benefits.  

 

The local agency must inform applicants and prospective applicants that indicate that they may have difficulty completing the application process, that a non-food unit member may be designated as the authorized representative for application processing purposes.  The authorized representative designated for application processing purposes may also carry out food unit responsibilities during the certification period such as reporting changes in the food unit’s circumstances.

 

A non-food unit member may be designated as an authorized representative for the food unit provided that the person is:

  1. An adult who is sufficiently aware of relevant food unit circumstances, and

  2. The authorized representative designation has been made in writing by the primary person, spouse , or another responsible member of the food unit. The authorized representative designation may be made in ACCESS or by completing the form F-10126.

 

Individuals who are disqualified for an Intentional Program Violation ( IPV ) (3.14.1) cannot serve as authorized representatives during the disqualification period, unless the agency has determined that no one else is available to serve as an authorized representative.

 

Residents of drug and alcohol treatment centers must apply and be certified for FS eligibility through the use of an authorized representative.

 

When an authorized representative applies on behalf of a household, the identity of both the authorized representative and the head of the household must be verified.

2.1.3.4 Signature

7 CFR 273.2 (b)(1)(iii)

The FoodShare applicant must provide a telephonic signature, an electronic signature on an ACCESS RFA or application or sign the completed CWW generated Application Summary or FoodShare Wisconsin Application ( F-1609A or F-16019B ) indicating that all the information provided is true and complete and that they understand their rights and responsibilities. A signature is required when a 6 month report form is submitted. A telephonic signature is not allowable for 6 month report forms.

 

It is not necessary for an applicant's written signature to be witnessed by an agency representative for a FS application or review to be considered complete. A FS applicant or recipient's telephonic signature is recorded by the agency and stored in the electronic case file.

 

Any responsible adult FS AG member or a households’ authorized representative may sign the FS application, review or 6 month report form.

 

 

Example 1: Eve applies and sets the filing date for FS. Jule, Eve’s roommate, who is also an adult, completes the intake interview and signs the Case Summary signature page. The FS application is valid without Eve’s signature on the Case Summary signature page because Jule is a responsible adult AG household member.

2.1.3.5 Telephone Interviews

7CFR273.2(e)(2)(i - ii)

Households who request a Face-To-Face (FTF) interview must be granted one.

  

Local agencies should be conducting most of their interviews by telephone unless the household requests a FTF interview.

 

Telephone interviews do not exempt the household from verification requirements (1.2.1 Verification Introduction).

 

2.1.3.6 Completing Telephone Interviews

A filing date must be set prior to conducting a telephone interview for all new FS applicants. See 2.1.1.4 Setting the Filing Date.

 

At the start of the telephone interview, make a verbal agreement with the client that s/he will complete the application or recertification (2.2.1) interview over the phone. Document the agreement in case comments.

 

Go over the application with the client using the intake or review driver flows in the CWW system. Access the data exchange information for the case in the CWW system and act on any information that you find.  If there are discrepancies in the information, resolve those differences during the interview and/or verification process. At the end of the interview, advise the client about EBT training available through your local agency.

2.1.3.7 Post Telephone Interview Process

After the interview, if verification is needed, mail out a verification checklist and send it to the client with instructions to provide the listed documents to the FS worker within 10 calendar days or by the end of the application or review processing period, whichever is later.

 

If the food unit claims deductible expenses during the interview, the food unit must verify certain claimed deductions or the deduction will not be allowed (See 1.2.4.5 Expense Verification). If verification of the deductions is not provided, do not allow the deduction and do not close the case.  

 

Applications

At the end of the telephone interview, the agency must record the telephonic signature if they do not already have a written or electronic signature and then generate a copy of the Case Summary to be mailed to the household. The applicant must review the Case Summary and notify the agency within 10 calendar days if corrections are needed.

 

Reviews

At the end of the review interview, collect a telephonic signature. If the household refuses to provided a telephonic signature, instruct the member that you will be mailing the printed Case Summary to them for their signature. The Case Summary should be signed and returned to the agency within 10 calendar days or by the end of the review processing period, whichever is later. The application or review is not complete until the signed Case Summary signature page is returned to the agency.

 

If the signed Case Summary is not returned within the ten day period, or by the end of the review processing period, whichever is later, close the case for failure to sign the application.

 

 

 

 

 

This page last updated in Release Number: 13-02

Release Date: 10/29/13

Effective Date: 10/29/13