"Illinois Legal Name Change"
2005 Pro Bono Training on Food Stamps By Jessica Price Public Benefits Advocate Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago 11/21/2010 1 Private Attorney Involvement Clients call Public Benefits Hotline Food Stamp-only Cases Offered by E- mail Advocate Accepts and Receives Cases by Fax Consult Manual or Call with Questions Provide Weekly Updates on Progress Fax Closed Case back to Hotline 11/21/2010 2 What are Food Stamps? Not Stamps Debit Card (LINK) to purchase Food Items Amount is based on household size, income, rent, and utilities not included in rent. Cannot be used for non-food items (e.g. soap, tobacco, or alcohol) or hot food for immediate consumption. 11/21/2010 3 Where Do You Apply? Illinois Department of Human Services Approx. 24 offices in Cook County Office based on Zip Code Can locate office from Manual or IDHS web page http://www.dhs.state.il.us/officelocator/ 11/21/2010 4 How do clients access their benefits? Link Card Before a card is issued the client must attend a training session, select a PIN number, and provide proof of identity. Disabled individuals can request that a proxy attend the training session or have a PIN pack mailed to them. Clients can use benefits at stores that accept the Link card. Must be withdrawal at least once every 90 days. Stale accounts are moved off-line, and client must contact caseworker. 11/21/2010 5 Applications Application must be taken the same day client requests services Only a legible name and signature required One application is for all programs Applications are given a return date for eligibility appointment and to bring back documents Individuals must be screened for emergency Food Stamps on the day they apply 11/21/2010 6 Emergency Food Stamps Food Stamps available on expedited basis 5 calendar days from date of application Household eligible if: The food stamp unit has no more than $100 in cash or other liquid assets, and no more than $150 in gross income in the fiscal month of application, or The food stamp unit’s combined gross countable income and liquid assets are less than the household’s monthly rent or mortgage payments plus utilities. Applicant only needs to verify identity Applicant must provide all verifications for regular Food Stamps! 11/21/2010 7 Food Stamp “Households” Individuals who live together, and purchase and prepare together, are considered a household Required household members include: Spouses living together Children under age 22 sharing any living space with a parent Any person under 18 who is under the parental control of an adult, and who resides with that adult 11/21/2010 8 Financial Requirements Assets Savingsand other property that a household owns Income Allmoney that the household receives or expects to receive each month 11/21/2010 9 Exemptions Exempt assets include: Any assets of a unit member who receives TANF or SSI Personal and household goods The dwelling where the unit lives One licensed motor vehicle per household Up to $2,000 of otherwise countable assets Exempt income includes: In-kind gifts (food, clothing, and shelter) Payments made directly to creditors (such as landlords) Earnings of elementary and secondary school students under age 17 Loans (some student loans are not exempt) 11/21/2010 10 Non-Financial Requirements Residence Clients must have residence in Illinois. Clients must provide information on how to contact them. Citizenship or Qualifying Status: Refugees/Asylees Legal Permanent Residents if: They have lived in the U.S. 5 years with this status or They are under 18, disabled/blind, a veteran, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work Certain abused non-citizens qualify 11/21/2010 11 Other Non-Financial Requirements Cooperation A food stamp household must cooperate with IDHS in determining eligibility. Generally, the household has 10 days to provide requested information. May have good cause if not able to cooperate (I.e. the applicant was not able to get wage information from the employer) Can request extra time to submit 11/21/2010 documents 12 General Food Stamp Deadlines If you do not qualify for expedited Food Stamps, IDHS must determine eligibility within 30 calendar days from the application date. Food Stamps are payable from the date of application. 11/21/2010 13 Continuing Eligibility for Food Stamps Food Stamp eligibility is redetermined on a periodic basis. These redeterminations (recertifications) may be done on a 3, 6, or 12 month basis. A redetermination is treated like a new application and benefits will be terminated if the redetermination is not completed by the end of the previous food stamp eligibility period. 11/21/2010 14 Quitting a job If client quit a job within 60 days of application or while receiving Food Stamps 2 month sanction Exceptions Good Cause (illness, emergency, lack of transportation or child care for ages 6-11) Job was less than 20 hours per week Responsible for the care of someone under 6 or incapacitated Receiving Unemployment Benefits 11/21/2010 15 Common Problems and Solutions Food Stamp Calculations Go to illinoislegaladvocate.org Need to know unit information Approximate amount Advise client to appeal, call Caseworker Failure to file a Redetermination Ifit is within 30 days of end of approval period, client must go to office ASAP to do Redetermination Benefits may be prorated Otherwise client must reapply 11/21/2010 16 More Common Problems and Solutions Failure to provide necessary information Client should appeal within 90 days of notice of adverse action Assist the client in turning in missing verification Get CW to agree to backdate benefits based on eligibility and the information given (PM 01-07-08) Changes in income/household structure Should be processed immediately, do not have to wait for next recertification The more “households” under one roof, the more Food Stamps clients will receive. Problem Workers Grievance Procedure to create a record 11/21/2010 17 Appeals Clients may appeal notices or inactions on their case 90 days to appeal Food Stamp decision Appeal on or before the date of change Clients can reapply and appeal Appeal at local office or call 800-435-0774 11/21/2010 18 Advocacy Tips Be persistent Know what outcome the client should get Do not expect the Caseworker to be familiar with rules If Caseworker facts conflict with client facts, get verification from client and continue If you leave a message, Do not expect a call back Skip the caseworker, call the supervisor Do not expect a call back Every supervisor has a supervisor Don’t be afraid to call the Local Office Administrator 11/21/2010 19 Working on a Case If you have any questions while working on a case, Consult the Policy Manual: http://188.8.131.52/pmwag/internet.html Callthe Legal Assistance Foundation Public Benefits Advocate (312) 347-8362 11/21/2010 20 Good Luck! 11/21/2010 21