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62a. Moving

 

When only part of the household moves

A household can apply for food stamps at the new county or state food stamp office, even if it already got food stamps for the month, provided the household tells the new food stamp office that it already got food stamps.  A recipient cannot get food stamps twice for the same month, unless she was abused and has fled the home of the abuser or fled to a shelter for battered women and children. [7 C.F.R. § 273.3(a); MPP § 63-401.2.]  If the EBT card is lost or stolen during a move, the recipient must call in the information to the EBT vendor. The vendor will replace the card within 3 business days. MPP §16-517.

Within the county:

If a household moves within the same county it is best to tell both the new and old office so the case can be transferred to the new office, and so notices are not delayed or lost. There should be no loss of food stamps. The address change must be reported either on the change reporting form within 10 days or on the QR 7, when next due.

Within California:

Welfare and Institutions Code 11053.2 now provides for inter-county transfers of CalFresh benefits.  All-County Letter 11-22 sets out the process; All-County Letter 13-78 provides clarification and the form for the sending county to use to initiate the transfer.

CalWORKs/CalFresh ICT and Medi-Cal/CalFresh ICTs

The county is to use the existing linked program process.  For CalWORKs, the ICT process is set forth at MPP § 40-187 through 40-197. For Medi-Cal, see All County Welfare Directors Letters 03-12 and 04-14. The sending county is responsible for informing the recipient that the case will be transferred (form NA 1268). The receiving county must contact the former county of residence to initiate an ICT if a recipient seeks benefits while still active in the former county. The receiving county informs the recipient that the case has been transferred (NA 1267). If only some of the household moves, they’d be added to existing households (if applicable) or must apply on their own.  See the e-ICT process for more information.  See also ACL 13-78 for updated information.

CalFresh only cases

The sending county notifies the receiving county of the initiation of a case transfer via the CF 215 form, and sends the NA 1268 notice to the recipient.  Within seven working days from the date that the sending county notifies the receiving county of a case transfer, the sending county is to provide all the necessary documentation (listed in ACL 11-22 and 13-78).  The sending county will determine continuing eligibility and amount of CalFresh benefits from the most recent Change Report submitted, or QR 7/SAR 7 due during the transfer period, and continue to be issue benefits until the expiration of the transfer period. If only some of the household moves, they’d be added to existing households (if applicable) or must apply on their own.

The receiving county must contact the former county of residence to initiate an ICT if a recipient seeks benefits while still active in the former county.  It also must notify the sending county of the outcome of the ICT, provide the sending county with any information which might affect eligibility or the amount of CalFresh benefits during the transfer period; utilize existing CalFresh requirements for requesting residency verification when the head of household (HH) moves; and inform the recipient that the case has transferred and the new benefits amounts going forward.  See the e-ICT process and ACL 13-78 for more information.

ABAWDs

California is currently under a statewide waiver for the ABAWD work rule for FFY 2011. If the rule is reinstated, when an ABAWD person who moves to another county, the county of residence is responsible to check if the participant is meeting the ABAWD work rule.

SFIS (Finger Imaging)

CalFresh no longer requires SFIS.  ACL 11-83.  When a person moves, this should not be part of their inter-county transfer.

Transitional CalFresh and ICT

Although all County Letter 11-22 states that there is no ICT process for Transitional CalFresh households, this is no longer accurate.  FNS final regulations on transitional benefits require states to transitional households back to regular CalFresh benefits.  California has chosen the option of using the existing recertification process to do so. The state has agreed that transitional households therefore will go through an ICT process.  The instructional letter will be coming out soon, probably in July 2011.

If aid gets discontinued

If the household has its benefits terminated for any reason during the ICT, it is potentially eligible for a restoration of aid. (See ACL 10-32) If, in the month following the discontinuance, the household either appears in or contacts the CWD in a new county of residence, the CWD must whether the household would benefit from having the case restored or by completing a new application (in the event the household is eligible for expedited service). If it is more advantageous to the household to have the case restored, the receiving county must provide any information needed by the first county to complete the restoration and the first county is responsible for restoring the case per ACL 10-32. If  the household is better served by completing a new application, the second county will notify the household and assist in the completion of the application. ACL 11-22.

Out of State:

If someone moves to another state, the food stamp office cannot transfer the case. Households which want to keep getting SNAP benefits must apply for food stamps in the new state. [7 C.F.R. § 273.3(a); MPP § 63-401.] Households moving from one state into another and applying for food stamps in the new state should not be required to establish that they did not receive food stamps in their former residence before receiving expedited service. [See, e.g., Villegas v. Concannon, 742 F.Supp. 1083 (D.Or. 1990) (Expedited service requires only verification of identity, and refusal to accept affidavit that benefits not received in prior state was improper).]  Applicants should offer to sign an affidavit of non-receipt if they did not get the benefits.  If benefits were issued and available for use, the county should still accept the application, but benefits would be pro-rated from the month after the prior state’s benefits stop.

Advocates should be aware that requirements denying public benefits to people moving between states may be unconstitutional. The leading case in this area, which originated from California, is the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Saenz v. Roe, 526 U.S. 489 (1999) (striking down as unconstitutional the discriminatory, less favorable treatment in California’s TANF program [CalWORKs] of recently arrived residents, as opposed to existing residents). See also, Eddleman v. Marion County, 723 F.Supp. 85 (S.D. Ind. 1989). See also Sanchez v. Department of Human Services, 713 A.2d 1056 (N.J. App.Div. 1998) (holding two-tier welfare system in New jersey infringed upon fundamental right guaranteed by federal Constitution, and violated equal protection clauses of state and federal constitutions).

Whereabouts unknown

If mail is returned or the county otherwise suspects the person has moved, the county would send a “whereabouts unknown” termination notice. CalFresh, however, has no such basis for discontinuance.  The discontinuance must be based on loss of residency gained from reliable information which indicates a move out of county. ACL 10-01 reviews how to handle cases where mail is returned. Transitional CalFresh households are not required to report changes, including address change. [MPP
Section 63-504.132 (b); ACIN I-21-04 at #17.] The CWD should never terminate TFS benefits solely because the address is not known. ACL 10-01.