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72. Homeless persons’ rights in the food stamp program

The homeless have all the same rights under the Food Stamp Program that any other people do. Homeless people also have some special rights. This includes homeless youth.  ACIN I-39-13.

Who is homeless?

An individual is homeless if s/he:

  • has no fixed, regular place you sleep at night; or
  • lives in a shelter, an armory, or a welfare hotel: or
  • lives in a half-way house; or
  • is living for less than 90 days in someone else’s home; or
  • lives somewhere that people do not usually live, such as a doorway, a lobby, a bus station, a hallway, a car, or a subway.

[7 C.F.R. § 271.2; MPP §63-102(h)(2)(a)-(d) (definition of “homeless individual”).]

Here’s the basic drill:

No Address is necessary: The food stamp office cannot make homeless people give a mailing address if they do not have one. [7 C.F.R. §§ 273.2, 273.3(a) ; MPP § 63-401.5.]  Homeless people can get benefits even if they have no fixed mailing address or live on the street. [7 C.F.R. § 273.3(a); MPP §63-401.5.]

Food stamps for shelter residents: Homeless people can get food stamps even if they live in a shelter and get free meals there. [7 C.F.R. § 273.1(b)(7)(vi)(E); MPP §63-402.46.]  A homeless person does not have to have any place to cook or store food to get food stamps. [7 C.F.R. § 273.3(a); MPP §63-402.46.]

No Semi-Annual Reports: Homeless individuals do not have to file a SAR 7” (semi-annual report). But to get this exception, the entire household must be homeless. [7 U.S.C. § 2015(c) (1) (A) (ii); 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(b) (1) (ii); MPP §63-505.214.]

Youth: DSS has issued a letter on the rights of Homeless Youth. ACL 13-104.