Select SNAP Certification Periods Extended for 6 Months Due to COVID-19

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

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04/18/2020

Policy Memo

Summary

  • Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has granted waiver approval, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, that allows the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to extend approval periods an additional 6 months for SNAP households whose benefits are due to expire March 2020, April 2020, and May 2020. 
  • The waiver approval allows IDHS to extend certification periods for both Change Reporting households and Simplified Reporting households with an adjustment to the Mid-Point Reporting requirement. Mid-Point Reporting households will remain in Mid-Point Reporting status during the 6 month period.
  • During the period of the extension, staff will not have to process REDEs or Mid-Point Reports for the affected cases. This will allow staff to focus on the timely processing of initial SNAP applications ensuring that applicants receive the help they need with food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. SNAP applications must be approved and if eligible SNAP applicants must have their SNAP benefits by the 30th day from the date of application. If ineligible, SNAP applications must be denied by the 30th day from the date of application.
  • Redetermination Application (Form 1893) and Mid-Point Report (Form 2890) that have previously been issued, received and processed require no additional action by the HSC under the waiver. IES will suppress any future mailing of Form 1893 and Form 2890.
  • SNAP households whose certification period expires March and April due to not returning a REDE application will have their case reinstated with a 6 month extension.
  • SNAP households that did not return a Mid-Point Report in March and April will be reinstated and benefits will continue for 6 months.
  • Form 1893 and Form 2890 will not be mailed for May 2020. SNAP certification periods will be systematically extended for 6 months (see chart below). SNAP households that would have received Form 2890 will continue to receive SNAP benefits without interruption.
  • IES will systematically extend the certification periods of the applicable cases. This action is being handled by Central Office staff. FCRC staff should not leave cases in Change Mode as this will prevent the extension from occurring. No action is required by the FCRC staff for this extension process.
  • Client Notice CN 20.06/CN 20.06S (pdf) and CN 20.07/CN 20.07S (pdf) will be mailed to the applicable SNAP households to notify them of the 6 month extension period and their reporting requirements.
  • For Mid-Point Reports and REDEs that have already been issued to the client and have been or will be returned by the client in March or April, the FCRC is not required to processed those that are pending and have not yet been acted upon. However, for those Mid-Point Reports and REDEs that have already been processed, the processing and any resulting changes remain in effect.
  • For those Mid-Point Reports and REDEs received with reported information or attached verifications, the FCRC is not required to process or take any action on the information reported on or provided with a Mid-Point Report and REDE application.

In accordance with federal guidance to reduce office visits at the Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has approved a federal waiver to extend SNAP certification periods that are due to expire March 2020, April 2020, and May 2020 to an additional 6 months. In addition, SNAP households with Mid-Point Reports due in March, April, and May will continue to receive benefits without interruption.

This precaution is necessary to protect the health and safety of clients and staff by reducing contact through a local office visit. Extending the SNAP certification period prevents any interruption in SNAP benefits for a household that is due to recertify but may have limited access to completing the application process other than through a local office visit.

Pending Mid-Point Reports and REDES

  • For Mid-Point Reports and REDEs that have already been issued to the client and have been or will be returned by the client in March or April, the FCRC is not required to processed those that are pending and have not yet been acted upon. However, for those Mid-Point Reports and REDEs that have already been processed, the processing and any resulting changes remain in effect.
  • For those Mid-Point Reports and REDEs received with reported information or attached verifications, the FCRC is not required to process or take any action on the information reported on or provided with a Mid-Point Report and REDE application.

Client Notices

Two client notices will be mailed to customers to notify them of the extension and of their reporting requirements.

Notice of Extended Approval Period CN 20.06 (pdf)

This notice will be mailed to Simplified Reporting households. A Mid-Point Report will not be mailed to these households. CN 20.06 informs the household to report when the:

  • total gross monthly income exceeds the gross monthly income standard for the household size;
  • household contains an able-bodied adult without dependents who is subject to the time-limits and has work hours that drop below 20 hours per week, averaged monthly.
  • The change must be reported by the 10th day of the calendar month after the calendar month that the income exceeds the Gross Monthly Income Standard for the SNAP household size.

Notice of Extended Approval Period CN 20.07 (pdf)

This notice will be mailed to Change Reporting households. CN 20.07 informs the household to report within 10 days of any of the following changes when:

  • someone gets, changes, or loses a job, or when hours of work are reduced;
  • monthly earned income changes by more than $100;
  • the source of unearned income changes, or the amount changes by more than $100;
  • someone moves in or out;
  • a change of address and new shelter costs;
  • the court order to pay child support changes or ends;
  • household contains an able-bodied adult without dependents who is subject to the time-limits and has work hours that drop below 20 hours per week, averaged monthly.

Note: The SNAP Work Requirement policy is suspended temporarily. See Policy Memo, Temporary Suspension of SNAP Work Requirement Policy Due to COVID-19 Starting April 2020, dated 03/26/2020. Changes are still required to be reported according to the household's reporting status.

SNAP Extended Certification Periods

  • Change Reporting and Mid-Point Reporting SNAP households that have certification periods due to expire March 2020, April 2020, and May 2020 will be extended to an additional 6 months. Mid-Point Reporting households will remain in Mid-Point Reporting status during the 6 month period,
  • SNAP households whose certification period expired in March or will expire April due to not returning a REDE application will have their case reinstated with a 6 month extension.
  • For pending March and April SNAP REDEs, benefits will be systematically continued with a 6 month extension. The task will be removed automatically. 
  • REDEs that have previously been issued, received and processed require no additional action by the HSC under the waiver. IES will suppress any future mailing of Form 1893.
  • Form 1893 will not be mailed to SNAP households with a certification end date of May 2020. SNAP certification periods will be systematically extended for 6 months (see chart below).
  • IES will produce the central batch action to extend the certification period for each of the following months. The SNAP household will receive the same regular benefit amount for each month, unless the household qualifies for an emergency supplemental SNAP allotment for April and May. See Policy Memorandum, Emergency SNAP Allotments for April and May 2020, dated 04/01/2020.
SNAP Certification Period Expiring Certification Extended Through
03/31/2020 09/30/2020
04/30/2020 10/31/2020
05/31/2020 11/30/2020

Mid-Point Reports

  • Mid-Point Report (Form 2890) from March and April that have previously been issued, received and processed require no additional action by the HSC under the waiver.
  • For pending March and April Mid-Point Reports, benefits will be systematically continued without interruption The tasks will be removed automatically. 
  • SNAP households that did not return a Mid-Point Report in March and April will be systematically reinstated and benefits will continue without interruption.
  • SNAP households that would have a Mid-Point Report due in May will not be mailed Form 2890. IES will not mail Mid-Point Reports during the extension period to the affected households. SNAP households that would have received Form 2890 will continue to receive SNAP benefits without interruption

Example 1: Mr. T applied for SNAP on April 01, 2019. He was approved to receive SNAP in the amount of $194 through March 31, 2020 as a Change Reporter. Mr. T did not return his REDE application (Form 1893) and his certification expired at the end of March. Mr. T's SNAP EDG will be systematically reinstated by IES with a 6 month extension from April 2020 through September 2020. His benefit amount will be $194 each month. Mr. T will be sent Form 1893 to reapply for SNAP approximately 60 days prior to end of his certification period September 2020.

Example 2: Ms. J applied for SNAP on October 2019 and was approved in Simplified Reporting through September 2020. Ms. J's benefit amount is $35 per month. Ms. J was sent a Mid-Point Report (Form 2890) in February that was due March 02, 2020. Ms. J did not return the Mid-Point Report and her SNAP benefits were canceled effective April 2020. Under the FNS waiver for COVID-19, Ms. J's SNAP EDG will be systematically reinstated by IES effective April 2020 and benefits will continue for 6 months.

[signed copy on file]

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services

Forms referenced:

CN 20.06

CN 20.07

Form 1893

Form 2890