Expanding your Knowledge of Household Composition And Shared Shelter
Refreshing the Basics • The Household Concept is located in Chapter VI of the SNAP guidance manual
When? • Household composition is evaluated as of the day of application.
Example 1 • Frank and Fran Farmer file an application for SNAP benefits on March 17, 2009 and are given an appointment on March 21, 2009. Fran comes in for the appointment and explains that Frank is no longer in the household as of March 19.
Example 1 • Because Frank was in the household as of the date of application, he must be included for the month of March.
Example 2 • Bonnie Bell is a SNAP recipient. On May 21, she calls to report the birth of her baby. The baby was born premature and will remain in the hospital for a few weeks.
Example 2 • The baby cannot be added to the SNAP household until he/she is physically in the home.
Who? • A household can be comprised of: • An individual living alone • A group of individuals who customarily purchase and prepare food together
Who? • Some people are required to purchase and prepare together even if they state another arrangement exists. They include: • A spouse of a member of the household
Who? • Children under 18 years of age who are under the parental control of an adult household member other than their parents.
Example 3 • John and Martha Smith have custody of their grandchildren, who are ages 11 and 7. Jodi Smith, the mother of the children, moves into the home and files an application for SNAP benefits for herself and the children.
Example 3 • Because the grandparents have legal custody of the children, they too must be included in the SNAP household
Who? • Children 21 years of age or younger who live with natural or adoptive parents or stepparents
Example 4 • 20-year-old Harry Harris applies for SNAP benefits for himself, his wife and their 1-year-old son. Harry and family live in the home with his mother and father.
Example 4 • Even though Harry is married and has his own family, because he lives with his parents and is under 22 years of age, he cannot be a separate household.
Who? • Households containing children in foster care have the option of including or excluding those children
Who? • Children in foster care can be included in another SNAP household provided they are not included in the household with the foster family
Residing Together Determinations • Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether or not required persons actually reside together. Ask the appropriate questions to resolve the issue.
Persons Frequently Away From Home Guidelines: • If the individual spends at least 15 days per month in the home and he/she otherwise meets the definition of a household member, consider the individual a household member
Persons Frequently Away From Home • If the individual spends less than 15 days per month in the home, is not certified for SNAP benefits elsewhere and is the spouse of a household member, and he/she otherwise meets the definition of a household member, consider that individual a household member
Example 5 • Tammy Tucker files an application for SNAP benefits. During the interview, she informs her eligibility worker that her husband Tommy goes on the road with the circus about 25 days out of the month.
Example 5 • Tommy is in the home only 5 days out of the month but because he is her spouse, he cannot be excluded from the household.
Persons Frequently Away From Home • If the individual spends less than 15 days per month in the home, is not certified for SNAP benefits elsewhere and is not the spouse of a household member, the applicant is to be given the option of considering the individual as part of the applicant’s household, provided the individual otherwise meets the definition of a household member
Example 6 • Tammy Tucker files an application for SNAP benefits. During the interview, Tammy informs the eligibility worker that her children, ages 15 and 12, live with their father but stay with her on weekends. She does not want to include them in her household.
Example 6 • She has that option because they are in the home less than 15 days per month and they are not the spouse of a household member
Example 6, cont. • Tammy could have opted to include the children as long as they are not included in another SNAP household. However, if the household that the children spend the majority of the time with were to apply for benefits, they would have to be removed from Tammy’s household
Non-household Members • Roomers, boarders or live-in attendants • Ineligible students: Students who are 18 years of age or older and enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education who fail to meet the special eligibility criteria • Other individuals who share living quarters with the household but who do not customarily purchase food and prepare meals with the household
Non-household MembersExcluded Persons • Ineligible Aliens • SSN Disqualified • Fraud Disqualified • FSET Disqualified • Fleeing Felons • Drug Felons
Head of Household • Designated at every initial application, reapplication and renewal • Can be made by the household or the local agency
Special Household CircumstancesElderly and Disabled • Elderly and disabled persons (both criteria must be met) who are living with others and purchasing and preparing meals together can be a separate household
Reminders • Persons in an ineligible institution are not eligible for SNAP.
Reminder • Be sure to add all household members to the ADAPT system. If they are to be disqualified or excluded, as long as they are coded properly, ADAPT will evaluate them properly.
Reminder • All members of an otherwise eligible household will not be eligible if the head of household voluntarily quits a job without good cause and is subsequently sanctioned for a period of time
Reminder • If identification has not been verified for the adult member that is applying, all members of the household will fail
Reminder • When a household member leaves the home, discontinue the person # in ADAPT.
Shared Shelter – Part 11, F, 13 • In some situations, SNAP households may share shelter expenses with others. Money may exchange hands between the units to facilitate bill paying. This exchange of money for the purposes of bill paying…is not considered income to the person receiving it.
Shared Shelter Arrangements • Each household is entitled to its share of the shelter expenses.
How to determine if it’s a Shared Shelter Arrangement • Allow the household to describe/define the arrangement and how the bills are paid. If the arrangement is for the purpose of splitting living costs, it may be shared shelter. • If one household elects to charge another household for shelter costs, it may be a rental arrangement, not shared shelter.
Shared Shelter • The arrangement that the client has with the person who lives with them must be discussed in depth. Based on what the client states, evaluate the situation.
Shared Shelter - Example • John Smith and Dean Jones share an apartment. They each pay 50% of the shelter costs. John applies for SNAP. He will be allowed a deduction for the portion of the bills that he is responsible for. Dean works late so he gives his portion of the rent to John to give to the landlord.
Shared Shelter Example • This money would not count as income to John because the money is exchanging hands to facilitate the paying of the bills.
Shared Shelter or Not?-Example • Mary Cole is a SNAP recipient. She owns her home and has a $1200.00 mortgage payment. She calls to report that her friend, Penny Lane has moved in. They will eat separately. She will charge Penny $400.00 per month for rent, which will include utilities.
Shared Shelter or Not? Example • Since Mary has stated that she is charging Penny for rent, this may not be a shared shelter arrangement. Mary will be allowed the entire $1200.00 deduction for mortgage. The $400.00 she receives as rent from Penny each month will count as income.
Shared Shelter-Example • Helen and Elaine are elderly sisters, living on fixed incomes. They come to their local agency and apply for SNAP. Because they purchase and prepare meals separately, they apply as separate households. Helen tells her intake worker during the interview, that she and Elaine equally share rent and utility expenses. Elaine gives Helen $200.00 per month so Helen can write one check to their landlord to pay the bill. Their total rent responsibility is $400.00 per month.
Shared Shelter Example • - This exchange of money for the purposes of bill paying is a shared shelter arrangement and each sister would be entitled to $200.00 per month in rent expenses.
Shared Shelter-Example • Wendy Doe filed a SNAP application and stated she lives in an apartment with a friend. They purchase and prepare meals separately. The eligibility worker should ask specific questions regarding who in the apartment contributes to the payment of the rent and utility expenses, and if the expenses are shared, what portion is each person responsible for.
Shared Shelter or Not? • Beatrice Cook owns her home outright. She is a SNAP recipient who calls her local agency to report her niece has moved in with her, but they will be purchasing and preparing their meals separately. The eligibility worker has a conversation with Beatrice regarding the arrangement, and determines Beatrice will be charging her niece $300.00 per month for rent.
Shared Shelter or Not - Example • This is not a shared shelter arrangement and the $300.00 would be counted as income to Beatrice.
Shared Shelter Arrangements Tip • Document your case well regarding your conversation with the customer and your determination of a shared shelter arrangement vs. rental/roomer income.