Volume II OMTL-368 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program R. 8/1/10 MS 5500 TREATMENT OF UTILITY EXPENSES A. Households who are eligible to use the SUA or BUA, MUST use the appropriate standard. Only households who are not entitled to use the SUA or BUA are allowed to use their actual utility expense. In the following instances the household may be required to change between standards or to use their actual utility expense. 1. The household moves from a residence which qualifies it for use of the SUA into a residence which qualifies it for the BUA; 2. The household moves from a residence which qualifies it for use of the BUA into a residence which qualifies it for use of the SUA; 3. The household is approved for LIHEAP which qualifies it for use of the SUA, and the SUA is not currently used in the food benefits case; or 4. The household moves from a residence which qualifies it for the SUA or BUA to a residence that qualifies it for the actual utility expense. Example: If a household moves from a residence where they were eligible for the SUA or BUA to a residence where they are billed for garbage only. B. If a household is eligible to use the SUA, apply the policy as follows: 1. Question food benefits applicants/recipients regarding receipt or approval of LIHEAP benefits at application, reapplication and recertification. 2. If the recipient indicates they are in receipt of HEAP benefits or have been approved for LIHEAP at their current address, explain SUA policy and give the recipient the SUA. 3. The deduction is allowed through their certification period beginning the first month following the month of HEAP approval. 4. If questionable, approval of LIHEAP benefits for the household's current address should be verified by the HEPRE105 RPT HEAP MASTER list. 5. Review entitlement to the SUA at every recertification/reapplication. If a household has both an occupied and an unoccupied home, only one SUA can be used. C. HEPRE105 RPT HEAP MASTER displays to RDS and DocumentDirect and provides a statewide listing of all individuals that were approved for LIHEAP during the current heating season. The report contains the applicant's last name, first name, SSN, county of residence and month/year of the approval. The report is listed in alphabetical order within the county. If client statement is questionable use this report to verify if a food benefits applicant or recipient has been approved for LIHEAP during the current heating season. D. A spot check HEAP APPROVAL/CHECK SUA posts to the worker's DCSR advising that the food benefits recipient was approved for LIHEAP, but the household is not receiving the SUA as a shelter deduction. All households in receipt of LIHEAP benefits at their current address are eligible to use the SUA and MUST use it. The spot check is considered verified upon receipt. Each month when the spot check is received: 1. Review the food benefits case to determine if the SUA is already being used. 2. Determine if LIHEAP was received at the household’s current residence. 3. If the SUA is not being used, change the food benefits case effective the next month. It is not necessary to wait until recertification to make this change. Document in the case record the household was eligible for the SUA based on receipt of LIHEAP, verified with the HEAP Master Listing. [E. If a household is only responsible for a telephone expense, allow the household the telephone standard of $31 regardless of the actual cost (this includes prepaid cell phones).] F. If two or more households live in the same residence and share utility expenses, do the following regardless of whether each household participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): 1. Each household is ELIGIBLE for and must use the SUA, if EITHER of the households is billed for heating/cooling costs. If neither household is billed for heating/cooling costs, but billed for two allowable non-heating/non-cooling costs, the household is ELIGIBLE for and must use the BUA. 2. Additional applicant households living in the same residence MUST use the type of expense used by the first household, as long as they contribute to the utility expenses. 3. If the household is entitled to use actual expenses, allow the household the actual amount of the utility expense for which it was responsible if verified. G. If two or more households live in the same residence and separate the cost of utilities then determine the utility deduction according to the bills each household pays. Example: Two roommates maintain a separate household. Roommate A states he pays the phone and water bill and roommate B pays the utility bill which includes heating and cooling. Roommate A would receive the BUA and roommate B would receive the SUA. H. Households which live in separate residences but share the same utility meter device, may both be allowed the SUA. The SUA is not prorated and each household is allowed the full SUA for their respective household sizes.
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