1417 Applying for Food Assistance at Social Security Administration (SSA) Offices and Pre-release Applications from Public Institutions - The Department for Children and Families and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have entered into an agreement whereby food assistance applications and informational brochures will be available to the public. In addition, certain types of households will be able to actually file an application for food assistance at the SSA office, be interviewed by SSA staff, and have their application forwarded to the appropriate DCF certification office. In most cases, this will occur at the time an individual is applying for or being redetermined for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. For this reason, this service will be referred to as "joint processing" throughout this manual. In addition to this service, SSA staff shall complete SSI and food assistance applications for residents of public institutions per 4230 (5) and forward the food assistance application to the appropriate certification office.


SSA offices are also required to notify all Title II Social Security applicants/ recipients of the availability of Food Assistance Program benefits and that an application can be obtained at the SSA office. However, no SSA processing of the application is required, nor is SSA required to accept and forward these applications to the local DCF office.


1417.1 Eligibility for Joint Processing at SSA Offices - In order to apply for food assistance at SSA offices, the potential food assistance household must be made up entirely of SSI applicants and/or recipients. Most households eligible for this service will be those visiting the SSA office to apply for SSI benefits for the first time. Also taking advantage of this special food assistance application process will be many present SSI households that are not currently participating in the Food Assistance Program, as well as SSI households that have received a notice of expiration from DCF and wish to reapply at the SSA office. Current SSI recipients applying or reapplying for food assistance at SSA offices will, in most cases, be asked at the time of their visit or telephone interview to complete the SSI redetermination process as well.


1417.2 Duties of the SSA Interviewer - The SSA will make every effort to provide DCF with applications only for pure SSI households which contain all information presented through the interview and available in SSA files. The SSA interviewer will proceed in the following manner:


  1. Current Food Assistance Status Determination - Determine the current food assistance status of the household. It must be determined that the household is not currently receiving food assistance or, if so, has recently received a notice of expiration from DCF. It must also be determined that the household does not have a food assistance application for initial eligibility or review already filed and pending.

  2. Household Composition - Establish that the household is made up entirely of SSI applicants and/or recipients.

  3. Completion of the Application/Interview - Once the above two conditions are established, the SSA interviewer will complete the application form together with the applicant. This process constitutes the face-to-face food assistance interview. Telephone interviews done by SSA also meet the food assistance interview requirement. If the interviewer feels that expedited service for the household is a possibility, this service will be explained and the applicant will be advised that food assistance may be received sooner if he/she wishes to personally deliver the application to DCF.

  4. Forwarding of Application to DCF - The application will be placed in the mail (unless the local DCF office provides courier service) within one federal working day. Accompanying the application will be a transmittal form (SSA-4233) giving all important information known to SSA. For those households that appear to be eligible for expedited service, the first page of the application will be marked "EXPEDITED PROCESSING".

  5. Proof of Application With SSA - The SSA will keep a record of all food assistance applications forwarded to DCF. In the event one is lost in the mail, this record will constitute proof of the application's existence.

1417.3 Telephone Interviews by SSA - If the food assistance interview is handled by telephone, the interviewer will complete the application, mark it "TELEPHONE INTERVIEW" and mail it to the applicant for signature. The applicant will be asked to return it to the local DCF office by mail. If it is, instead, mailed back or delivered to the SSA office, that office will be responsible for forwarding it to DCF within one federal working day. The application resulting from a telephone interview is considered filed the day it is received by SSA or DCF, whichever agency to whom the applicant first returns it.


1417.4 DCF Action on Applications Filed with SSA staff - DCF has sole responsibility for determining eligibility of all households regardless of where the application was filed. Whenever an application is received from SSA, the local DCF office will determine eligibility based on normal eligibility criteria. There are, however, certain special procedures and rules which apply to jointly processed applications.


  1. Screening Applications - Applications received from SSA should be immediately screened to determine if the household is already receiving food assistance and is not due for review. The application should also be screened for possible eligibility for expedited treatment and should be screened to determine if the applicant is still residing in a public institution awaiting release.

  2. Processing Applications - If the application is appropriate (i.e., is not from a participating household not due for review), the local DCF office will process the application within the following guidelines:

    1. Except for applications taken for a resident of a public institution per 4230 (5), the first month of potential eligibility will be the calendar month in which the application was received by the SSA office. The 30-day processing period begins the day the application was received by the SSA office. If expedited, the 7-day processing period begins the day the application is received by DCF.

    2. For applicants residing in a public institution, the agency shall make an eligibility determination and issue benefits within 30 days following the date of the applicant's release from the institution. Expedited processing time standards shall also begin on the date of the applicant's release from the institution. SSA shall notify the appropriate office of the date of release of the applicant from the institution. If, for any reason, the agency is not notified on a timely basis of the applicant's release date, the agency shall restore benefits to such applicant back to the date of release.


1417.5 Waiver of DCF Interview - The SSA telephone or office interview is the only interview in which the applicant will be required to participate. The DCF worker may not request that the applicant visit the DCF office. The DCF worker may contact the applicant by telephone or mail only if:


  1. The application is improperly completed;

  2. Mandatory verification required by 1322.1 or 1322.2 is missing; or

  3. The worker believes that certain information on the application is questionable.


1417.6 Verification on File at SSA - Information contained in the SSI file which is necessary for both SSI and food assistance eligibility determinations will be noted on the SSA transmittal sheet.

Such information is considered acceptable verification for food assistance purposes even though it is not present in the food assistance case file. For this reason, all SSA transmittal forms must be retained in the food assistance file. Documentary evidence pertinent only to the Food Assistance Program will be forwarded with the application.

1417.7 Verification Required on SSA-Filed Applications - The worker shall ensure that all mandatory items are verified prior to certification. Verification for households eligible for expedited service shall be dealt with as explained in 1415.1 (4).

  1. Use of SDX and BENDEX - Benefits received through the Social Security Administration may be verified by using State Data Exchange (SDX) and Beneficiary Data Exchange (BENDEX). Both may be used without prior consent of the household. Information verified through SDX and BENDEX shall not be reverified unless it is questionable. Households shall be given the opportunity to provide verification from another source if all necessary information is not available on the SDX or BENDEX, or if the information obtained from these sources is contradictory to other household information.

  2. Information Verified by SSA - The SSA interviewer will indicate on the transmittal sheet any information that has already been verified for SSI program purposes. Any documentary evidence which is acceptable for the SSI program and is retained in SSA files will be acceptable for food assistance purposes. The worker should retain all such transmittal forms as proof of verification.


1417.8 Reserved

1417.9 Notice of Expiration (Pure SSI Households) - A face-to-face interview shall be waived if requested by a household consisting entirely of SSI participants unable to appoint an authorized representative. DCF shall provide SSI households with a notice of expiration as discussed in 9320. In addition to the regular information on that form, SSI households shall be informed of their entitlement to the waiver of a face-to-face interview.

 1417.10 Restoration of Lost Benefits - Lost benefits shall be restored to the household whenever the loss was caused by either the SSA or DCF through joint processing regulations. Such an error may include, but not be limited to, loss of the applicant's application after it has been filed with SSA. Lost benefits shall be restored in accordance with 11110.