MR #17.15: Fugitive Felon/Parole Violator Verification Requirements for SNAP

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

Illinois Department of Human Services

08/17/17

Summary:

  • The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 requires the USDA to define the terms "fleeing" and "actively seeking" to ensure that State agencies use consistent procedures when disqualifying a fleeing felon.
  • A person is ineligible to receive SNAP benefits if they are determined to be a fleeing felon or probation/parole violator.  In addition, law enforcement must be actively seeking the individual to enforce these conditions.  Law enforcement must both present a valid felony arrest warrant and inform the State agency of its intent to apprehend the individual.
  • Actively seeking is defined as: 
    • a law enforcement agency presenting to the State agency an arrest warrant which is identified by one of the following National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Uniform Offense Classification Codes:
      • Escape (4901);
      • Flight to Avoid (prosecution, confinement, etc.) (4902); or
      • Flight-Escape (4999); and
    • a determination by the State agency that law enforcement is actively seeking to arrest the fugitive felon within 20 days (if law enforcement approaches the State agency) or 30 days (if the State agency initiates the inquiry with law enforcement).
  • For SNAP benefits, a fugitive felon is a person fleeing to avoid prosecution or to avoid incarceration as a result of their involvement in a felony case.  Consider a person who has escaped from a correctional facility to be a fugitive felon. 
  • If an individual self-declares they are a fleeing felon, whether on the application, at the interview, or otherwise, the State agency must verify the information from an independent source before accepting the statement as true since the applicant may not understand the question or law enforcement may not be actively seeking the individual.
  • Probation/parole violators must meet the following two conditions:
    • the person must have violated a condition of his or her probation or parole; and
    • a law enforcement agency must be actively seeking the individual to enforce the conditions of the probation or parole.
  • If an individual is determined to be ineligible due to being a fleeing felon, the case file should include a copy of the felony arrest warrant, clear indication of the appropriate NCIC classification code, documentation of whether law enforcement or the State agency initiated presentment of the warrant, and that law enforcement informed the State agency that it intended to enforce the warrant within the appropriate time frame.
  • SNAP applications must be processed with the normal 30-day processing time frame.  If verification from law enforcement of fleeing felon or probation/parole violation status has not been verified by day 30, include the customer in the SNAP unit.  If eligible, process the application.
  • When IES Phase 2 is implemented, FCRC's will use IES to process this information.  The felon/probation/parole question is located in Data Collection/Individual Information/Individual demographics/Record Conviction/rehabilitation. 
    • If a customer meets the conditions for being a fleeing felon or violator of probation or parole, answer the individual demographics question "Yes".
    • SNAP applications must be processed within the normal 30-day processing time frame.  If verification of fleeing felon or probation/parole violation status has not been verified by day 30, the worker must answer "No", the customer is not a fleeing felon or probation/parole violator, then determine eligibility.

The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 required the USDA to define the terms "fleeing" and "actively seeking" to ensure that State agencies use consistent procedures when disqualifying a fleeing felon. A person is ineligible to receive SNAP benefits if they are determined to be a fleeing felon or probation/parole violator.  In addition, law enforcement must be actively seeking the individual to enforce these conditions.  Law enforcement must both present a valid felony arrest warrant and inform the State agency of its intent to apprehend the individual.

Fugitive Felon Definition

For SNAP benefits, a fugitive felon is a person fleeing to avoid prosecution or to avoid incarceration as a result of their involvement in a felony case.  Consider a person who has escaped from a correctional facility to be a fugitive felon. 

If an individual self-declares they are a fleeing felon, whether on the application, at the interview, or otherwise, the State agency must verify the information from an independent source before accepting the statement as true since the applicant may not understand the question or law enforcement may not be actively seeking the individual.

Who is a Probation/Parole Violator

A household member is considered a probation/parole violator if they were released from prison on condition of future good behavior for any type of conviction and violated a condition of their probation or parole imposed under Federal or State law.

Probation/parole violators must meet the following two conditions:

  • the person must have violated a condition of his/her probation or parole; and
  • a law enforcement agency must be actively seeking the individual to enforce the conditions of the probation or parole. 

Actively seeking is defined as:

  • a law enforcement agency which presents an arrest warrant to the State agency identified by one of the following National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Uniform Offense Classification Codes:
    • Escape (4901);
    • Flight to Avoid (prosecution, confinement, etc.) (4902); or
    • Flight-Escape (4999); and
  • a determination by the State agency that law enforcement is actively seeking to arrest the probation/parole violator within 20 days (if law enforcement approaches the State agency) or 30 days (if the State agency initiates the inquiry with law enforcement), or

Law Enforcement Response

If the State agency has reason to suspect that an individual is intentionally fleeing active pursuit from law enforcement, the FCRC must contact the authorities to determine if law enforcement is pursuing legal action, or if a warrant was issued for a matter that is not being actively pursed.

The State agency must allow the law enforcement agency 20 days to respond to a request for information about the conditions of the warrant or a probation/parole violation and whether the law enforcement agency intends to actively pursue the customer.

If the law enforcement agency does not respond or indicates that it does not intend to enforce the warrant or arrest the customer for the probation/parole violation within 30 days:

  • do not consider the customer a fleeing felon or probation/parole violator.  Document the law enforcement contact, then determine eligibility.

If the law enforcement agency does indicate that it intends to enforce the warrant within 30 days:

  • postpone taking any action on the case until the 30-day period has expired.  Once the 30-day period has expired, the State agency must verify with the law enforcement agency whether it has attempted to execute the warrant.  Document the law enforcement contact, then determine eligibility.

FCRC Action

  • If the law enforcement agency has executed the warrant, document this information and take the appropriate action to deny or terminate SNAP eligibility for the customer.
  • If the law enforcement agency has not attempted to execute the warrant, do not consider the individual to be a fugitive felon or a probation/parole violator. 
    •  Document this information in the case file.
  • SNAP applications must be processed within the normal 30-day processing time frame.  If verification of fugitive felon or probation/parole violation status has not been verified by day 30, the worker must answer "No", the customer is not a fugitive felon or probation/parole violator, then determine eligibility.
  • If an individual is determined to be ineligible due to being a fleeing felon, the case file should include a copy of the felony arrest warrant, clear indication of the appropriate NCIC classification code, documentation of whether law enforcement or the State agency initiated presentment of the warrant, and that law enforcement informed the State agency that it intended to enforce the warrant within the appropriate time frame.

When IES Phase 2 is implemented, FCRC's will use IES to process this information.  The felon/probation/parole question is located in Data Collection/Individual Information/Individual demographics/Record Conviction/rehabilitation. 

  • If a customer meets the conditions for being a fleeing felon or violator of probation or parole, answer the individual demographics question "Yes".
  • SNAP applications must be processed within the normal 30-day processing time frame.  If verification of fleeing felon or probation/parole violation status has not been verified by day 30, the worker must answer "No", the customer is not a fleeing felon or probation/parole violator, then determine eligibility.
  • If this question is not answered, the field defaults to no, which may result in an error if is not answered accurately by the worker.

For more information on how to complete this screen, see the Record Conviction/Rehabilitation Wizard.

Manual Revisions

[signed copy on file]

James T. Dimas

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services