View History

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 Interview Process

2.1.3.1 Scheduling the Interview

7 CFR 273.2(e)(3)

 

Agencies must make every attempt to schedule interviews to ensure that an initial FoodShare eligibility determination can be completed within the 30-day processing time frame. Priority Service interviews must be completed unless postponed (2.1.4 Expedited Service at Application).

 

FoodShare applicants have the right to complete a face-to-face or phone interview (2.1.3.5 Telephone Interviews). If an applicant requests a face-to-face interview, the interview is typically held at the local office but may be held at a mutually acceptable location such as the applicant's residence.

 

Agencies are required to schedule and provide written notice of an interview for an initial FoodShare application. Notice of the interview must be in writing and mailed to the applicant 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 who received the verbal notice, the date and time of the interview, and whether the interview will 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.

 

The IM worker must make two attempts to contact the applicant or an adult member of the food unit at the time of the scheduled interview. If the first attempt to contact the food unit is unsuccessful, make a second attempt 15 minutes after the first call. If the second attempt is unsuccessful, the IM worker must document in case comments that he or she was unable to contact the food unit at the appointment time, that the follow-up call was made, and the length of time between calls. Send the Notice of Missed Interview (NOMI), directing the food unit to contact the agency to reschedule.

 

NOMI requirements must be met if the applicant or member misses the interview.

 

The agency must notify each applicant/member who misses the application or renewal interview that they missed the scheduled interview and that the applicant/member is responsible for rescheduling a missed interview. The use of Client Scheduling in CWW will ensure that the NOMI is generated by CWW and sent to the applicant/member, see Process Help 1.8.9.7 for details on the automated NOMI process. If Client Scheduling is not used, a NOMI must be manually issued by the local agency. A copy of the agency notice must be scanned to the electronic case file. Agencies may not deny an application prior to the 30th day after the application filing date if the applicant fails to appear for the first interview.

 

For applicants who miss a scheduled appointment and contact the agency to reschedule within the 30-day application processing period (2.1.2 Application Processing Time Frame), the agency must schedule another interview.

 

An application must not be denied prior to the 30th day, unless the interview has been completed, even if other information has been reported on the application that would make the FoodShare assistance group ineligible.

 

On-Demand Interviews

 

Wisconsin received federal approval for a waiver that allows IM consortia to implement an on-demand, or unscheduled, interview model. Under the on-demand interview model, FoodShare applicants and renewing members may call their IM agency to complete the required FoodShare interview during the agency-designated FoodShare on-demand hours.

 

A consortium must apply this model across all agencies within the consortium. An on-demand interview must be offered at both application and renewal. A consortium implementing the on-demand interview model must continue to provide scheduled face-to-face or telephone interviews upon request.

 

All FoodShare applications must be screened for expedited service. A consortium must meet the following application and renewal processing standards:

 

Note: IM workers must allow at least 15 minutes between the first and second attempt to contact the applicant/member.

 

Notice of Interview for On-Demand Interviews

 

If an IM worker is unable to complete the interview at the time he or she contacts a household as described above, the IM worker must send a Notice of Interview. For on-demand interviews, the Notice of Interview language will be generated on the verification checklist (VCL). The household has nine calendar days from the VCL mailing date to call and complete the FoodShare interview. The Notice of Interview provides instructions to complete the interview. If the last day of the on-demand interview time frame falls on a weekend or CARES holiday, the due date will be the next business day. The on-demand interview timeframe of “10 days to call to complete” will not be adjustable in CWW . Verification due dates for other types pended after the interview will continue to be based on policy requirements and IM worker action.

2.1.3.1.1 Notice of Missed Interview (NOMI) Requirements

Application:

 

Not expedited

The agency must send a separate 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 he or she 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.

 

Expedited regular

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

 

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).

 

On-demand interview

If an applicant does not complete the required FoodShare interview by the last day of the on-demand interview time frame specified on the VCL, a NOMI will automatically be generated from CWW . The NOMI will include the date by which the interview must be completed and will indicate that the household will not get FoodShare benefits if the interview is not completed.

 

If an interview is scheduled using Client Scheduling, the NOMI will be automatically generated when a scheduled interview appointment is missed.

 

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.

 

On-demand interview

If a member does not complete the required FoodShare interview or verification requirements before adverse action of the renewal month, a Notice of Termination with NOMI language will automatically be generated from CWW . The notice will include the date when the member’s FoodShare benefits will end due to not completing the required interview and will indicate that the member should call the agency to complete the interview.

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 applicants of their rights and responsibilities during the interview.

 

Although CWW provides a means for an individual to apply for several programs of assistance, FoodShare eligibility must be based solely on the requirements and regulations governing the FoodShare program. Applications for FoodShare may not be denied solely on the basis that an application to participate in another program has been denied. Similarly, ongoing FoodShare benefits may not be terminated solely because benefits from another program have been terminated. During an interview, the interviewer must advise applicants for joint W-2/FoodShare that W-2 requirements do not apply to FoodShare and households that lose or decline W-2 benefits may still qualify for FoodShare.

 

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

 

Providing Social Security numbers (SSNs) [3.13.1 Social Security Number (SSN) Requirements] for each household member is voluntary. However failure to provide an SSN will result in the denial of FoodShare benefits to each applicant failing to provide an SSN. Although SSN and immigrant 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 applicants' eligibility. If so, that information must be provided and verified in order to determine FoodShare eligibility for the applicant(s).

 

Required Interview Topics

All FoodShare interviews must include a discussion of these items in addition to standard financial and non-financial criteria:

 

It is not necessary for applicant signatures to be witnessed by an agency representative for a FoodShare 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 an applicant/member in the application process, obtaining FoodShare benefits, and/or using FoodShare benefits.

 

The local agency must inform applicants and prospective applicants who 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 adult 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 FoodShare 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 primary person must be verified.

2.1.3.4 Signature

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

A signature is required indicating that all the information provided is true and complete and that the food unit understands their rights and responsibilities. Only one signature is needed for a FoodShare application or request. The applicant or a responsible adult member of the food unit can provide a signature in written, verbal, or electronic format via:

 

A signature is required when a six-month report form is submitted. A telephonic signature is not allowable for six-month report forms.

 

It is not necessary for an applicant's written signature to be witnessed by an agency representative for a FoodShare application or renewal to be considered complete. A copy of the FoodShare applicant or member's case summary showing that a telephonic signature was collected will be stored in the electronic case file.

 

Any responsible adult food unit member or a food unit's authorized representative may sign the FoodShare application, renewal, or six month report form.

 

Example 1: Eve applies and sets the filing date for FoodShare. Jule, Eve’s roommate, who is also an adult, completes the intake interview and signs the case summary signature page. The FoodShare application is valid without Eve’s signature on the case summary signature page because Jule is a responsible FoodShare assistance group member.

2.1.3.5 Telephone Interviews

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

Applicants/members who request a face-to-face interview must be granted one.

 

IM agencies should be conducting most interviews by telephone unless an applicant/member requests a face-to-face interview.

 

Telephone interviews do not exempt the applicant/member from verification requirements (1.2.1 Verification Introduction).

 

2.1.3.6 Completing Telephone Interviews

A filing date must be set for all new FoodShare requests (2.1.1.4 Setting the Filing Date).

 

At the start of the telephone interview, explain that if a written or electronic signature is not on file, a signature will need to be collected in order to set the filing date for an application or to establish a request for continued benefits in the case of a renewal. If the member is not willing to provide a telephonic signature, a written signature will be accepted but the worker needs to inform the member this may cause a loss and delay of benefits until the signature is received by the agency. Document the agreement and understanding in case comments [2.2.1 Certification Periods (Renewals)].

 

A signature is needed before the agency can certify the food unit for benefits. The date the signature is received for an application sets the filing date. A signature is needed to recertify a food unit for continuation of benefits at the time of renewal.

 

See 2.1.3.2 Completing the Interview for required interview topics.

2.1.3.7 Post Interview Process

If verification is needed after the interview, mail out a verification checklist and send it to the applicant/member with instructions to provide the listed documents to the local agency within 10 calendar days or by the end of the application or renewal 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 (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, telephonic, or electronic signature, and then generate a copy of the case summary to be mailed to the applicant. The applicant must review the case summary and notify the agency within 10 calendar days if corrections are needed.

 

If a telephonic signature is not provided at the time of application, inform the applicant during the interview he or she must sign the case summary and return it to set the filing date for FoodShare. The filing date is the date the signature is received.

 

Renewals

At the end of the renewal interview, collect a telephonic signature if a written, telephonic, or electronic signature has not already been collected. If the member refuses to provide a telephonic signature, instruct the member that you will be mailing the printed case summary to him or her for his or her signature. In this situation, the case summary needs to be signed and returned to the agency within 10 calendar days or by the end of the renewal processing period, whichever is later. The renewal 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 10-day period or by the end of the renewal processing period, whichever is later, the case needs to be closed for failure to return the FoodShare renewal signature.

 

 

This page last updated in Release Number: 16-01

Release Date: 05/31/2016

Effective Date: 05/31/2016