19. After the household files its application
After an application is filed, the applicant must satisfy the interview requirements and cooperate with accomplishing the verification requirements. Even while these activities are occurring, the “clock” is ticking.
Once a county receives a minimally completed application (i.e., name, address and signature), the clock begins ticking. Counties are then held to one of two application processing standards:
- The “normal” 30-Day processing standard
- Once the food stamp office that serves the applicant’s county gets the application, it should determine eligibility “as soon as possible” but cannot take more than 30 days to act on the application and issue food stamps, if eligible. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(g)(1); MPP § 63-301.1.] For a review of the various timely application processing rules, see ACIN I-14-11.
- The 3-Day Expedited Standard
- If eligible for emergency (expedited) food stamps, the county welfare office has three days to give applicants food stamps. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(i)(2); MPP § 63-301.5.] For a review of the expedited services timely processing rules, see ACIN I-14-11.
Applicants should be reminded that the earlier they sign an application and turn it in to the food stamp office, the more food stamps they will get. They will get food stamps for the days in the month that are left when they apply. This is called “pro-rating” and is described in various sections of this guide about calculating benefits.