WAG 06-04-03: Homeless Benefits

PM 06-04-03

A homeless SNAP household may be an individual or several members living together.

Mailing Address

  1. Obtain approval of the LOA to use the Family Community Resource Center address for a customer with no permanent address.
  2. Enter the Family Community Resource Center address on the IES Address Information Screen.

Example: Ms. A and her 3 children moved to Illinois from another state and applied for TANF. The family is living in a 1970 station wagon parked on a street near a filling station.

Upon case approval, the MediPlan card is sent to the Family Community Resource Center. SNAP and the IPE check are sent to the Illinois Link account.

Separate Household Status

A homeless person provided temporary shelter in another person's residence is allowed to claim separate SNAP household status if they qualify under SNAP unit policy. Persons are considered homeless for no more than 90 days when they are temporarily residing in the home of another person.

Example: Ms. G and her minor children are homeless. The family temporarily moves in with Ms. G's brother. Since the Gs are homeless, regard them as buying food and preparing meals apart from the brother. Because of this, the Gs qualify for separate SNAP household status.

Do not grant separate SNAP household status if the persons don't qualify because of relationship (see PM 04-05-00).

See PM 17-05-00 to assign an SNAP approval period.

SNAP Homeless Households

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A homeless SNAP household (all members are homeless) that incurs or expects to incur shelter costs during the month qualifies for either the:

  • Homeless Shelter Standard revised manual text($159), if shelter expenses are less than or equal to the standard. Accept the customers statement. Verification of the expense is not required. Do not allow a utility standard allowance (including cell phone); or
  • Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses, if shelter expenses must exceed the Homeless Shelter Standard and must be verified. A utility allowance may be allowed if a utility expense is incurred. Verification of actual costs may include but not limited to receipts, contact with a third party, or a statement by the household providing temporary lodging.
    • Example 1: A homeless SNAP household pays to stay at a homeless shelter. The FCRC may make a telephone call to the shelter or the customer may provide a written statement from the shelter verifying the customer's name, the expense type and the amount. Consider the household's circumstances and accept any reasonable verification.
    • Example 2: Mr. H and his family are homeless. Mr. H receives SSA for himself and his children of $1800 monthly. They are living at the Circle Ranch camp ground that charges $25 daily to stay there plus an additional $35 daily for electric and water. Mr. H has receipts for the payments that he has made to the camp ground. He may use his actual shelter expenses as a deduction for SNAP. Mr. H qualifies for the Actual Homeless Shelter Expense of $750 = ($25 x 30 days). Because he pays for electric (not air or heat) and water, the Limited Utility Standard is allowed.

Note: The SNAP EDG is NOT denied or canceled due to failure to provide proof of their  actual expenses. If not verified allow the Homeless Shelter Standard.

Homeless Shelter Expenses

Homeless shelter expenses are expenses that a homeless household incurs due to being homeless. Examples of homeless shelter expenses include current payments to a:

  • homeless shelter facility; or
  • hotel for temporary lodging; or
  • payments to family or friends in exchange for temporary housing (must be less than 90 days).

Note: To qualify for the Homeless Shelter Standard or the use of Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses, all members in the SNAP household must be homeless, living together and incur shelter expenses during the month.

Determining What to Allow (Homeless Shelter Standard or Actual Shelter Expenses)

  1. Review the application or Mid-Point Report to identify a homeless household.
    1. At the initial application or REDE interview, ask if homeless shelter expenses will be incurred at any time during a month. The shelter expenses do not need to be for a full month or for every single month. If expenses are incurred, explain the Homeless Shelter Standard and the use of Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses to the customer. If the customer indicates homeless shelter expenses are incurred of less than or equal to the Homeless Shelter Standard and all other eligibility requirements are met, no further action is needed. The household qualifies for the Homeless Shelter Standard. The customer's statement of the expense is sufficient. A Utility Standard allowance is not given because it has already been considered in the Homeless Shelter Standard.
    2. At the Mid-Point Report, review the responses to a reported address change and if homeless is indicated, send Verification Checklist (Form 267) to the customer if verification of Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses are needed.
  2. If the customer indicates they have shelter expenses that exceed the Homeless Shelter Standard, determine which option would be most beneficial to the customer. Using Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses may not always calculate out to the customer receiving more SNAP benefits than if they had used the Homeless Shelter Standard. If the customer opts to use Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses and does not have proof of the expense with them, issue Verification Checklist (Form 267) and request that proof be provided within 10 calendar days.
  3. If verification of the actual expense is not provided, change the Shelter Expense Detail Screen from Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses to Homeless Shelter Deduction and remove the actual dollar amount in the Amount field. See chart above. Do not deny or cancel a SNAP EDG for failure to verify the actual expenses. In general, a SNAP household is not allowed an expense deduction if the required verification is not returned within the 10-day timeframe. For SNAP homeless households, the Homeless Shelter Standard is used if verification of Actual Shelter Expenses are not provided. The customer has already indicated that they have expenses that would qualify them for at least the Homeless Shelter Standard.
  4. Determine eligibility using only the expenses that the homeless SNAP household incurs. Do not include back payments on previously owed shelter expenses.
  5. Notice of Decision (Form 360c) is generated upon approval, including the SNAP calculation.

IES Screens and Error Messages

In order for IES to perform the SNAP calculation correctly the appropriate information must be entered in IES. The following table shows the IES screens and the error messages when information is not entered correctly.

IES Screens Worker Action Validation Field IES Results
Household Address Screen If both the address AND living arrangement are marked as a type homeless. Allows the Homeless Shelter Standard or Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses in the SNAP calculation.
Answers (Yes) to the question " Is the primary applicant homeless?"

If the living arrangement is not marked as one of the living arrangement type, displays validation message:

"You have indicated that the primary applicant is homeless. Please update the Living Arrangement screen with one of the following living arrangement types: Halfway House, Homeless, Homeless Shelter, Temporarily Living with a Friend or Relative."

Answers "Is the primary applicant homeless?" as "Yes" for a physical address type.

Upon click of Save + Continue, Save + Previous, or Save + Add Address, displays hard stop message:

"A physical address cannot be saved if the primary applicant is homeless, please update the address type to mailing."

Answers "Is the primary applicant homeless?" as "Yes" for the mailing address.

"Displays the following message upon click of Save + Continue, Save + Previous, Save + Add Address (this does not prevent the user from advancing):

"You have indicated that the primary applicant is homeless. Please update the Living Arrangement screen with one of the following living arrangement types: Halfway House, Homeless, Homeless Shelter, Temporarily Living with Friend or Relative."

Changes the response to the question "Is the primary applicant homeless?' from "Yes" to "No".

Displays the following message upon click of Save + Continue, Save + Previous, Save + Add Address:

"You have indicated that the primary applicant is no longer homeless. Please update the Living Arrangement to be no longer homeless and end date any homeless shelter expenses."

Living Arrangement Screen Select one of the following Living Arrangement Types for the head of household: "Halfway House", "Homeless", Homeless Shelter", "Temporarily Living with a friend or relative"

If the household address is not homeless, displays validation message once the record is saved:

"The living arrangement chosen indicates that the individual is homeless. Please verify on the Household Address screen that the question "Is the primary applicant homeless?" is marked as "Yes."

Shelter Expense Detail Screen Circumstance Start/Change Date must be 9/1/21 or after to chose Homeless Shelter Standard or Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses.

If the shelter expense type is "Actual Homeless Shelter Expense" or "Homeless Shelter Standard" and Circumstances Start Change Date is before September 1, 2021, displays message:

"The CSCD date cannot be before 09/01/2021 for homeless shelter expenses."

Allows the Homeless Shelter Standard or Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses in the SNAP calculation.
Under Expense Information, select Expense Type as either "Homeless Shelter Standard" or "Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses", whichever is applicable to the SNAP household.

If the shelter expense type is "Actual Homeless Shelter Expense" or "Homeless Shelter Standard" and the household is not indicated as homeless on the Household Address screen, displays message:

"A homeless shelter expense cannot be added unless the question " Is the primary applicant homeless?" is (Yes) on the Household Address screen."

If the shelter expense type is "Actual Homeless Shelter Expense" or "Homeless Shelter Standard" and living arrangement is not set as " Halfway House", "Homeless", "Homeless Shelter", or "Temporarily Living with a friend or relative", displays message:

"A homeless shelter expense cannot be added unless the head of household living arrangement is set as "Halfway Household", "Homeless",  "Homeless Shelter", or "Temporarily Living with a friend or relative" on the Living Arrangement screen."

Defaults to "Monthly" if the shelter expense type is "Homeless Shelter Standard."
If actual homeless shelter expenses are used, enter the amount in the "Amount" field.

If the worker adds the Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses and enters an amount less than or equal to the Homeless Shelter Standard, displays message:

"Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses must be greater than (the amount of the Homeless Shelter Standard). Please add the Homeless Shelter Standard if expenses are (amount of Homeless Shelter Standard or less)."

If the household already has the Homeless Shelter Standard OR Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses saved, and the worker tries to add another shelter expense type for the same EDM. (this applies when adding multiple expenses  to the same individual, or different individuals in the same household), displays message:

"Additional expense types cannot be added if the Homeless Shelter Standard or Actual Homeless Shelter Expense already applies for the household in a given month."

Defaults to the Homeless Shelter Standard, if the shelter expense type is "Standard Homeless Shelter."
Select customer statement in the "Verification" field

Worker adds expense type for Actual Homeless Shelter Expense, and adds the following verification types: Leaser/Rent  Receipt, Phone call to landlord, Lease Mortgage Statement, Insurance Document, Property Tax Bill, Conversion, displays hard stop message:

"This is not an acceptable verification for the Actual Homeless Shelter Expense."

Defaults to "Client Statement" if the shelter expense type is "Homeless Shelter Standard."
The HSC has existing shelter expenses and tries to add Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses or Homeless Shelter Standard to the same EDM.

Displays message upon click or Save + Add Shelter Expenses:

"Please end date all other shelter types before adding homeless shelter expenses for the same time period."

Utility Standard Screen The SNAP Homeless Shelter Standard is saved as an expense on the Shelter Expenses Screen for any given eligibility determination period and HSC navigates to this screen.

Displays the following message upon loading this screen (this does not prevent HSC from entering utility expenses or navigating past screen):

"Utility expenses entered on this page will not be budgeted before (end date of Homeless Shelter Standard) for SNAP because the household is receiving the Homeless Shelter Standard. (If there is no end date for the Homeless Shelter Standard, an end date will not display in the message)."

Standard Allowance Details Summary Screen

If the SNAP household claims "Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses" and a utility expense is incurred as a shelter cost, select the applicable expenses.

IES applies the appropriate Utility Standard in the SNAP calculation based on the utilities the worker selects.

The Homeless Shelter Standard is saved as an expense on the Shelter Expense page for the same time period as the utility expenses are added to IES. If the worker tries to enter utility expenses with the Homeless Shelter Standard, displays message:

"Utility expenses entered on this page will not be budgeted for SNAP because the household is receiving the Homeless Shelter Standard."

SNAP EDG Summary Screens
  • Only displays on SNAP EDG Summary. Does not show on Cash and Medical EDG screens.
  • Displays "SNAP Homeless Household" if the SNAP household is homeless based on the Living Arrangement and Household Address Screen.
  • Displays "SNAP Standard Homeless Shelter Deduction" if the SNAP household qualifies for the Homeless Shelter Deduction.
  • Displays 'Y' if the SNAP Household qualifies for the Homeless Shelter Standard and 'N' if the household does not qualify for the Homeless Shelter Standard.
EDG Net Income Results
  • When "Homeless Shelter Standard" is selected as an expense type, displays "Homeless Shelter Standard" in the field description.
  • When "Actual Homeless Shelter" is selected as an expense type and an amount that is more than the Homeless Shelter Standard is entered, displays as an "Excess Shelter Deduction" in the field description. HSC clicks on the hyperlink to see what expenses were used.

SNAP Homeless Household Calculations

Homeless Shelter Standard

A homeless SNAP household is not entitled to their actual shelter expenses or a utility standard when determining eligibility and calculating the SNAP benefit amount if the Homeless Shelter Standard is allowed.

Example: Mr. B files an initial SNAP application on September 2, 2021. He indicates on the application that he is homeless. At the interview, the HSC asks Mr. B about his homeless situation. Mr. B states he is a homeless veteran and receives $600 per month in Veterans' benefits. He states that during the month he sometimes stays in a shelter for adult men and sometimes stays in his car. He states his stay at the shelter is usually the first 6 days of every month after he receives his VA check. He is charged $20 per night. His homeless shelter expenses are $120 per month. He spends the remainder of the month sleeping in his car. The HSC explains the Homeless Shelter Standard of revised manual text$159 and the use of Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses to Mr. B. Mr. B states his only expense is $120 to the adult shelter. Mr. B qualifies for the Homeless Shelter Standard of revised manual text$159 for September. No verification of his shelter expense is needed as it is less than revised manual text$159. If all other eligibility factors are met, the HSC can certify Mr. B's SNAP benefits effective September 2021. The SNAP calculation using the Homeless Shelter Standard for September is as follows:

GROSS INCOME CALCULATION September 2021
Unearned income $600
Noncompliance amount $0
Gross adjusted unearned income $600
Gross earned income + $0
Total Earned Income + Unearned Income = $600
Child support deduction - $0
Total Gross Income = $600
Gross Monthly Income Standard for Household of 1 =revised manual text$1,755
NET INCOME CALCULATION
Earned Income Deduction:
Gross earned income x .80 (round up) $0
Gross adjusted unearned income + $600
Total Adjusted Income = $600
OTHER INCOME DEDUCTION:
Standard deduction revised manual text$170
Dependent care deduction $0
QM's excess medical expense $0
Child support deduction $0
Total Other Income Deductions revised manual text- $170
Adjusted Net Income revised manual text= $430
HOMELESS SHELTER STANDARD revised manual text- $159
SHELTER DEDUCTION
Rent or Mortgage Expense $0
Property Insurance/Taxes + $0
Total Housing Costs (drop cents) = $0
ACTUAL HOMELESS SHELTER EXPENSES $0
UTILITY STANDARD + $0
Total Shelter Expenses = $0
1/2 of Adjusted Net Income - $0
Excess Shelter Expense* = $0
NET SNAP INCOME revised manual text= $271
SNAP BENEFIT AMOUNT revised manual text$ 112

Note: Mr. B is not allowed the excess shelter deduction or a utility standard. Mr. B is eligible for revised manual text$112 in SNAP benefits. The Homeless Shelter Standard is revised manual text$159.

Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses

A homeless SNAP Household can choose to use actual shelter expenses if more than the Homeless Shelter Standard amount and it is verified.

Example: Ms. J files an application for SNAP on September 2, 2021. At the interview Ms. J states she works part time at the local diner earning an average of $400 a month. Ms. J marked on her application that she is homeless and explains that she is temporarily staying with a friend in her apartment. When asked by the HSC how long she would be staying with the friend, Ms. J anticipated her stay to be less than 90 days. Ms. J states she sleeps on the couch and is expected to pay her friend $200 monthly. Part of the payment ($50) is used towards Ms. J's use of the utilities which includes electricity (air conditioning). The HSC explains the Homeless Shelter Standard to the customer and the option to use Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses, if the expense exceeds revised manual text$159. In this example, the customer would qualify for the Actual Homeless Shelter Expense of $150 and the Air Conditioning Heating Standard, if actual expenses are verified. If the customer opts to use actuals. the HSC gives Ms. J, Verification Checklist, (Form 267) requesting that verification of the actual expense amount and what the expense covers be returned within 10 calendar days. Ms. J provides the verification within the 10 day time frame. Her SNAP benefits are calculated using the Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses is as follows:

GROSS INCOME CALCULATION September 2021
Unearned income $0
Noncompliance amount $0
Gross adjusted unearned income $0
Gross earned income + $400
Total Earned Income + Unearned Income = $400
Child support deduction - $0
Total Gross Income = $400
Gross Monthly Income Standard for Household of 1 revised manual text=$1,771
NET INCOME CALCULATION
Earned Income Deduction:
Gross earned income x .80 (round up) $320
Gross adjusted unearned income + $0
Total Adjusted Income = $320
OTHER INCOME DEDUCTION:
Standard deduction revised manual text$170
Dependent care deduction $0
QM's excess medical expense $0
Child support deduction $0
Total Other Income Deductions revised manual text- $170
Adjusted Net Income revised manual text= $150
HOMELESS SHELTER STANDARD $0
SHELTER DEDUCTION
Rent or Mortgage Expense $0
Property Insurance/Taxes + $0
Total Housing Costs (drop cents) = $0
ACTUAL HOMELESS SHELTER EXPENSES revised manual text$150
UTILITY STANDARD revised manual text+$529
Total Shelter Expenses revised manual text=$679
1/2 of Adjusted Net Income revised manual text- 75
Excess Shelter Expense* revised manual text- $604
NET SNAP INCOME = $0
SNAP BENEFIT AMOUNT revised manual text$250

Note: Ms.J is eligible for revised manual text$250 in SNAP benefits using her Actual Homeless Shelter Expenses. If she had not returned the verification, the Homeless Shelter Standard would be used in the calculation. Do not deny or cancel a SNAP EDG for failure to verify actual expenses. In general, a SNAP household is not allowed an expense deduction if the required verification is not returned within the 10 day time-frame. For SNAP homeless households, the Homeless Shelter Standard is used if verification of Actual Shelter Expenses are not provided. The customer has already indicated that they have expenses of at least revised manual text$159.