How To Apply For Maine Food Stamps
View the information below if you are interested in applying for food stamps in Maine. It is important that you have all the documentation and information needed so the application process is not delayed. If you still have questions or issues about applying for food stamps, known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), then you can call the Maine SNAP hotline at 800-442-6003. The department that handles this program is called the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Food Supplement Program benefits are intended for the purchase of eligible foods, including seeds and plants. Persons outside the household may be designated to purchase food. Households are not required to have cooking facilities or access to cooking facilities to participate.
Apply for Maine food stamps benefits
Before applying for food stamps you can use their pre-screening tool that will allow you to see if you qualify for food stamp benefits. This is not considered an application, it simply tells you if you can qualify or not. To apply for Maine SNAP benefits, first you need to download the application. In the application you only need to answer questions that concern the program(s) for which you are applying. For Food Supplement, to immediately file this application they must need at a minimum your name, address, and signature (or that of an authorized representative). If eligible, your benefits will begin from date of application. Once you have printed and completed your application for assistance, you can mail the application to:
114 Corn Shop Lane
Farmington, Maine 04938
Or if you prefer, you can submit the application in person at any DHHS office. If you have further questions or issues about the Maine food stamps program you can contact the Department of Health and Human Services office at 207-287-3707. They also an online contact form to email them directly. To view that and other additional contact information, click here.
Maine food stamps general information
Certain households have been authorized by Congress to use food stamps to obtain prepared meals. Some examples are:
- Communal dining facilities for the elderly, disabled, homeless, etc
- Meals on Wheels for the elderly or house-bound
- Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
- Group living arrangements for disabled persons
- Shelters for the homeless
As a general rule a household must satisfy certain conditions and number of individuals in the household must be established before financial eligibility can be determined. Factors affecting the composition of a household shall be verified, if questionable. Households must reside in the State of Maine. Households must not live in an institution which provides the majority of meals, except for:
- federally subsidized housing for elderly, built under either Section 202 or 236 of the National Housing Act
- Drug or alcohol treatment centers
- Approved group living arrangements for the disabled
- Shelters for battered persons
- Shelters for the homeless
A household may be:
- An individual living alone
- An individual or a group of individuals who live with others, but purchase and prepare meals separately. This includes roomers
- Individual who claim to be a separate household from those with whom they reside shall be responsible for proving that they are a separate household
- A group of individuals who live together and purchase and prepare the majority of their meals together, even if the food is eaten elsewhere
Household members may be away from home part of the certification period but can still be considered "living together". The deciding factor to consider an individual part of a household is "majority of meals" rule as stated above. Majority of meals can be determined by counting meals shared with the applicant household from the previous month. A longer past period may be used as needed but no longer than the previous certification period.
- An individual at least 60 years of age, and his or her spouse who are unable to prepare their own meals because of a permanent disability and who live with others whose gross income does not exceed 165% of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Poverty Level. Exclude the elderly individual and spouse when making this income determination.
The following shall be considered as customarily purchasing food and preparing meals together even if they actually do purchase food and prepare meals separately:
- Spouses residing together
- Parents living with their natural, adoptive or stepchildren 21 years of age or younger
Ties to biological parents are severed when a child is legally adopted by another person or can be temporarily severed when a child is placed under the guardianship of another person by the Court. Ties to a stepparent are severed when a parent's marriage to a stepparent is dissolved.
In joint custody situations, where physical custody, including the purchase and preparation of meals is shared equally, the household may choose which household will receive Food Supplement benefits for the shared child(ren). Assume that the household applying for the shared child(ren) is the household of choice unless the other household contacts the Food Supplement program with different information.
- Children under 18 years of age, excluding foster children, living in a household in which another member is assuming parental responsibility
- Boarders not paying an adequate amount for their meals. An adequate amount is determined by the Thrifty Food Plan. When a boarder eats two meals or less the adequate amount is at least two-thirds of the Thrifty Food Plan
Non-household members are:
- Boarders paying an adequate amount for their meals. The household can include such boarders as members of their household if they wish to do so
- Roomers, if purchasing and preparing meals separately from the household
- Live-in attendants
- Disqualified members
- Other individuals who live with the household, but purchase and prepare their meals separately
Do note, these individuals are not considered when determining household size.
To be able to determine household composition:
- Identify the total number of individuals who live together
- Determine the relationship of individuals who live together
- Identify members who
- Must be a member of the household
- Are members of the household by choice
- Are not members of the household
- Include as household members those who must be household members and those who choose to be
- Once the household is established, identify members who are ineligible or disqualified
Do note, these individuals income and assets receive special treatment. They are not eligible for benefits.
- If separate household status is claimed, the claimant shall be responsible for proving that he is a separate household as defined by Food Supplement Program rules
The head of household is that responsible adult household member selected by all adult members of the household. The household may designate its head of household each time the household is certified for participation in the Food Supplement Program, but may not change the designation during the certification period unless there is a change in the composition of the household.
That exception is, in situations where there are no children in the food assistance household, for purposes of failure to comply with work requirements, the head of household is the principal wage earner (that household member, including ineligible and disqualified members, who is the greatest source of earned income in the two months prior to the month the violation occurred in).
Only US citizens and certain aliens are eligible for benefits. An ineligible alien or individual with unverified status does not prohibit the remaining members of a household from being certified. If the Department has verifiable knowledge that an alien applicant or household member is in the United States illegally, this must be reported to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Verifiable knowledge would mean that the deportation notice has been seen. Field staff are to report to Central Office any information concerning verifiable knowledge of an illegal alien. Central Office is responsible for reporting such situations to INS. Do note, alien status must be verified. Non-citizens who are in the United States temporarily, including visitors, tourists, diplomats, students and undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Food Supplement benefits.
A household must be living in the state. Verification of identity and residence is required. Persons in the State solely for vacation, i.e. intend to return to their home in another state within 30 days, shall not be considered residents. Residing in a permanent dwelling or having a mailing address is not required. When applying the "residence" rule, understand that the individual must be able to be considered a resident for food stamp purposes somewhere in the United States. If the other state refuses to consider the individual a resident of that state because the individual is in Maine, consider the individual a resident of Maine.
When an applicant or recipient verifies that they are a certified participant in the Address Confidentiality Program, staff will accept the designated address as a program participant’s address when creating a food assistance record, unless the secretary has determined that:
- The agency has a bona fide statutory or administrative requirement for the use of the program participant's address or mailing address, such that it is unable to fulfill its statutory duties and obligations without the residential address and
- The program participant's address or mailing address will be used only for those statutory and administrative purposes. This may include situations involving caseload distribution, work registration requirements and Quality Assurance reviews
The responsibility for the household is to verify Maine residence and identity with rent and mortgage receipts, utility bills, tax receipts, driver's license, etc. If no documents are available, provide name and address of collateral contact.
With regards to Social Security Numbers, each household member must furnish a Social Security Number or provide proof of application for one before certification. If a member has more than one Social Security Number, all numbers must be provided. If the household is unable to provide proof of application for a Social Security number for a newborn, the household must provide the SSN or proof of application at its next recertification or within 6 months following the month the baby is born, whichever is later. If the household is unable to provide a SSN or proof of application for SSN at its next recertification within 6 months following the baby's birth, good cause shall be determined.
Failure to comply with this requirement the household shall be advised that refusal or failure to provide a Social Security Number will result in disqualification of the non-complying member, unless good cause exists. With regards to good cause, it exists if a "good faith" effort is being made by the household to fulfill its responsibility and cooperate with the Social Security Office and the agency. Individuals with good cause for failure to comply shall be allowed to participate for an additional month. A good cause determination must be made each month thereafter. A disqualified individual may become eligible by providing a Social Security Number or proof of application. Social Security Numbers shall be verified through computer cross matching with SSA.
For work requirements the greneral rule is within 30 days of any application and once every twelve months after being found eligible, each household member not exempt, must register and maintain an active Maine JobLink account with the Maine Department of Labor and must comply with the provisions of the Responsibilities of Registrants. Registration may be completed online, and may be prepared by someone acting on behalf of, and with consent of, the mandatory registrant.
An individual is not required to, but may voluntarily, participate, when the household member is:
- Under sixteen, or sixty or over
- Age sixteen or seventeen and not the principal wage earner, regardless of student status
- A student, regardless of age, who is enrolled at least half time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education
- Working an average of thirty or more hours per week or, if working fewer hours, earning an average of the weekly equivalent of thirty hours at the federal hourly minimum wage
- Subject to, and complying with, a TANF work requirement
- Receiving or applying for unemployment benefits
- Caring for a dependent child under age 6
Do note, "Dependent Child" is a child who resides with a parent or stepparent or, in the absence of residing with a parent, a child who resides with an adult who is assuming parental responsibility for the child.
- Caring for an incapacitated person who cannot provide his or her own care. The incapacitated person need not live with the Food Supplement household
- Physically or mentally unable to work thirty or more hours per week. When this is not apparent, or there is contradictory information, a doctor's statement or proof of disability benefits shall be required
- A regular participant in a substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation program
Work registrants must:
- When required by these or applicable federal rules, participate in an employment/training program
- Comply with the work participation requirements of other means-tested public assistance programs, such as TANF/ASPIRE and General Assistance, if the participant is a member of the other program(s) in addition to food stamps
- Respond to requests from the Department, the Maine JobLink, and/or a prospective employer about employment status or availability for work
- When referred by the Department or its designee, report for suitable employment
- Accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment
A job is not suitable for purposes of this section if:
- It pays less than the Maine minimum wage
- It is dangerous to health or safety
- Daily commuting time of more than two hours is required, or the distance is unreasonable, considering the wage, commuting time and costs, or lack of transportation
- The registrant is physically or mentally unable to do the job
- The registrant is required to join or quit a union
- There is a strike or lock-out at the work site
- It interferes with religious doctrine
- When the job is offered within thirty days of the initial registration, it is outside the registrant's major field of experience. A registrant is required to accept an otherwise suitable job when offered after the first thirty days.
When a household member does not comply with a registration requirement and cannot show good cause, that member shall be disqualified. The start date shall be the first of the month after normal procedures for closing or removal of the individual have taken place. Should a fair hearing delay the implementation, the period shall start the first of the month following the decision upholding the agency.
Disqualification Penalties and Ending Disqualification. Unless the member who was in violation becomes exempt for a reason other than TANF or PaS or UIB status, the disqualification period shall continue until the disqualified member complies with all registration requirements and serves a penalty period of at least one month for the first violation, three months for the second violation, and six months for the third violation which occurred 8/22/96 or later. If the person who caused the disqualification joins another household, the penalty follows him.
When a member who was exempt because of registration in TANF or UIB fails to comply with a work participation requirement, the household shall be treated as though that member violated the food stamp work requirements. The exception would be a purely procedural requirement, such as the submitting a monthly report form, shall not be considered a failure to meet work participation requirements.
When the work registrant has failed to comply with the work registration, employment and training, or voluntary quit requirements, a determination of whether or not good cause existed shall be made. All facts and circumstances shall be considered, including information submitted by the household member and the employer.
Good cause shall include circumstances beyond the member's control, such as, but not limited to illness, illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member, a household emergency, the unavailability of transportation or the lack of adequate child care for children between six and twelve years of age.
Time Limited Eligibility for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD). An Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) is an individual who is 18 through 49 years of age and who is in a Food Supplement household with no members under the age of eighteen (18). The individual is no longer an ABAWD beginning the month they turn fifty (50) years of age.
ABAWD Work requirements:
I. An ABAWD is not eligible for Food Supplement benefits if, during a "fixed" 36 month period, the ABAWD received Food Supplement benefits for three countable months or more and was not at the same time:
- Working in paid employment of at least 20 hours per week (averaged monthly) or
- Participating in and complying with the requirements of a work program under the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) or a work program under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TRA) for at least 20 hours per week (averaged monthly) or
- Participating in and complying with the requirements of an employment training program operated or supervised by the State or political sub-division of the State, other than a job search program or a job search training program, for at least 20 hours per week (averaged monthly) or
- Participating in and complying with the requirements of a workfare program or volunteer community service for a monthly maximum of the value of the household benefit divided by state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. Hourly requirements of a workfare program or volunteer community service are determined by dividing the SNAP household benefit allotment by the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. Pursuant to Section 20(c) of the Social Security Act, no member will be required to work in any workfare or volunteer position to the extent that such work exceeds in value the allotment to which the household is otherwise entitled or that such work, when added to any other hours worked during such week by such member for compensation (in cash or in kind) in any other capacity, exceeds thirty hours a week.
II. The fixed 36 month time period will begin October 1, 2014 and end September 30, 2017. Subsequent time periods will follow using the same beginning and ending months, so the next fixed 36 month time period would start October 1, 2017 and end September 30, 2020.
III. A countable month is a month during which an individual receives Food Supplement benefits for the full benefit month while not an exempt member.
IV. The work hours must be verified. In addition, ABAWDs must report when hours fall below 20 hours per week (averaged monthly), (except those working in a program). If self-employed, the ABAWD must be employed for 20 hours or more per week and receive weekly earnings at least equal to state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher, multiplied by 20 hours.
If an individual would have worked an average of 20 hours per week but missed some work for good cause, the individual shall be considered to have met the work requirement if the absence from work is temporary and the individual retains his or her job. Good cause shall include circumstances beyond the individual's control, such as, but not limited to, illness, illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member, a household emergency, or the unavailability of transportation. The individual is exempt from the above requirement if the individual is one or more of the following:
- Exempt from work requirements
- Physically or mentally unfit for employment
Do note, if not evident, medical certification is required. In lieu of a doctor's statement, statements from nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers or medical personnel may be sufficient.
- Receiving temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private resources
- Subject to and complying with a TANF or unemployment compensation system work requirement
- A student, regardless of age, who is enrolled at least half time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education
- Caring for an incapacitated person who cannot provide his own care
- A regular participant in a substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation program meeting the requirements of Title XIX of the Public Health Service Act
I. An ABAWD who is denied eligibility under this provision can regain eligibility if, during a 30-day period, the ABAWD:
- Works 80 or more hours
Do note, if self-employed, the ABAWD must be employed for 80 hours or more and must receive earnings at least equal to state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher, multiplied by 80 hours.
- Participates in and complies with the requirements of a work program under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) or a work program under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TRA) for at least 80 hours
- Participates in and complies with the requirements of an employment training program operated or supervised by the State or political sub-division of the State, other than a job search program or a job search training program, for at least 80 hours, or participates in and complies with the requirements of a workfare program or volunteer community service for a monthly maximum of the value of the household benefit divided by state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.
Hourly requirements of a workfare program or volunteer community service are determined by dividing the SNAP household benefit allotment by state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. Pursuant to Section 20(c) of the Social Security Act, no member will be required to work in any workfare or volunteer position to the extent that such work exceeds in value the SNAP allotment to which the household is otherwise entitled or that such work, when added to any other hours worked during such week by such member for compensation (in cash or in kind) in any other capacity, exceeds thirty hours a week.
As an example, if the SNAP household benefit is $150 per month, and the relevant minimum wage is $7.50 per hour, the hourly requirements would not exceed 20 hours per month. An ABAWD who regains eligibility remains eligible as long as he or she works 20 hours per week or participates in a work training program, workfare, or volunteer community service subject to the requirements above.
Additional 3 month period of eligibility
An individual ABAWD who regains eligibility for Food Supplement benefits subject to the requirements above and then loses his or her job, work training program, workfare, or volunteer community service position shall remain eligible to receive Food Supplement benefits, if otherwise eligible, for an additional period of three consecutive countable months without working or being in work training program, workfare program, or volunteer community service. Any additional three-month extension period of eligibility begins on the date the individual first notifies the state that he or she has lost his or her job; work training program, workfare, or volunteer community service position.
This additional three-month period of eligibility is available to an ABAWD only once in any 36 month period. However, there is no limit on the number of times an individual may regain and maintain eligibility by fulfilling the work requirement. As with initial allotments, a prorated month does not count as a countable month.
Filing an Application
All households have the right to file an application for food stamp benefits. The household should be encouraged to file the application the same day it expresses an interest in applying. Food stamp benefits will be calculated from the date the application is received by the Department except in the instance of a joint SSI/FS application by a resident of a public institution.
How to file food stamp application
To start the application process, the requesting household must file an application, and complete at least the following:
- Applicant's name and address
- Sign and date the application
Food stamp application process includes
- Providing applications the same day they are requested
- Assisting in completion
- Interviewing a responsible member of the household or an authorized representative. When a household fails to appear for an interview, reschedule within the thirty-day filing period
- Verifying information. When verification is incomplete, offer assistance
- Processing necessary documents to authorize receipt of food stamp benefits
Do note, the household may, at any time, voluntarily withdraw the application. The record shall be documented that the household wanted to withdraw and, if appropriate, the reason for withdrawal. To determine eligibility, the application form and applicable supplements must be completed and signed. The household or its authorized representative must be interviewed and certain information on the application and supplements must be verified. If the household refuses to cooperate, the application shall be denied at the time of refusal. For a determination of refusal to be made, the household must be able to cooperate, but clearly demonstrate that it will not take actions it can take and that are required to complete the application process.
The household shall also be determined ineligible if it refuses to cooperate in any subsequent review of its eligibility. Once denied or terminated for refusal to cooperate, the household shall not be determined eligible until it cooperates.
Food stamp expedited service
The following households, including residents of alcohol treatment centers and residents of group living arrangements, are entitled to expedited services:
- Households with gross monthly income less than $150, and with liquid assets of $100 or less
- Eligible households whose combined monthly gross income and liquid resources are less than the household's monthly rent/mortgage and utilities
Such households may use the standard utility allowance in lieu of actual utility costs to qualify for expedited services.
- Migrant farmworkers who meet the definition of "destitute"
"Destitute" means that the household's only income for the month of application was received prior to the date of application and the income was from a source which has been terminated; or the household's only income for the month of application is from a new source if income of more than $25.00 will not be received by the 10th day after the date of application.
Migrant farmworker households who meet this definition of "destitute" shall have their eligibility and benefit level calculated for the month of application by considering only income which is received between the first of the month and the date of application. Prior to issuance of any coupons, the applicant's identity shall be verified through available documents or a collateral contact. If all necessary additional verification has been provided, food stamp coupons shall be authorized the day the application was filed.
By State of Maine law, if all necessary additional verification has not been provided by the next work day, verification shall be postponed and coupons authorized before the close of business (the less restrictive federal standard is that coupons be made available to households entitled to expedited service by the 7th calendar day following the date the application was filed, the Maine standard will now always apply because it requires quicker service than the federal standard). The verification that they required must be provided before another month's allotment can be authorized.
Do note, expedited service does not apply to a recertification received before the end of a household's current certification period. However, a recertification received after the household's certification period ends is entitled to expedited service if otherwise eligible for such service.
- They applicant is the person whose name the application is made and in whose name the food stamps coupons will be mailed
- Authorized representative would be a responsible non-household member, designated by the head of the household, or another responsible adult member of the household, to act on behalf of the participating household
Do note, with the exception of residents of drug and alcohol treatment centers, an authorized representative must be designated in writing by a responsible household member. An authorized representative must be aware of relevant household circumstances.
People who cannot be an authorized representative
- State employees involved in the certification and/or issuance process
- Retailers who are authorized to accept food stamp coupons
- Individuals disqualified for an intentional program violation during their disqualification period, unless no one else is available
Food stamp interview process
The person interviewed may be any responsible household member or an authorized representative. For applications, all households, including those who apply by mail, shall have face-to-face interviews in a regional office or itinerant certification site prior to initial certification. For recertifications the interview requirement is as follows:
- All households must be interviewed at application and recertification
- All households must have a face-to-face interview once a year, with exceptions
Face to face interview exceptions
- A telephone interview shall be used instead of a face-to-face interview for households without earned income in which all household members are age 60 or older, or receive Social Security Disability benefits or SSI, or a combination of Social Security Disability benefits and SSI, unless the household chooses to have a face-to-face interview.
- The office or itinerant site interview shall be waived upon request by the household if an authorized representative cannot be appointed and no adult member is able to come to the appropriate location because of one of the following:
- They are elderly, or physically, or mentally handicapped
- Transportation difficulties
- Hardships due to residing in a rural area, illness, care of a household member, prolonged severe weather, work or training hours, or any other factor which places undue hardship on the household
Do note, applicants and recipients must be made aware of the fact that a face-to-face interview may be waived due to hardship situations as listed above. This is on a case-by-case basis. When the office or itinerant site interview is waived, the interview shall be conducted by telephone. In the instance where a phone interview cannot be arranged, a home visit will be made.
All interviews shall be scheduled as promptly as possible to insure that eligible households receive benefits within the appropriate time limits for processing. During the interview, the household shall be advised of its rights and responsibilities and the consequences of failure to comply with program requirements.
If the household fails to appear for the first interview, the household shall be notified in writing that it missed the interview appointment and that the household is responsible for rescheduling the missed interview. If the household contacts the Department within the 30 day application period, the Department shall schedule a second interview. If after 30 days from the application date the household has failed to appear for an interview, the application shall be denied.
During the Certification Period
Clients cannot be required to come into the office for a face-to-face interview during a certification period; however, a request for the interview can be made. In instances where issues need to be resolved, the client is to be given 10 days to respond to the request to resolve the issue. Failure to do so will result in closure procedures for failure to resolve the issue, not for failure to come into the office for an interview
Verification and Documentation
Certain financial and non-financial information must be verified to ensure accuracy.
- Alien Status
- Social Security Number
- Earned and Unearned Income
- Utility Expenses in Excess of Standard
- Terminated Income
- Deductible Medical Expenses
- Deductible Legally Obligated Child Support Payments
- "Disabled" Status
- Dependent Care Expenses
Documentary evidence shall be used as the primary source of verification for all items except residency and household size. Some examples of documentary evidence are wage stubs, rent receipts, and utility bills. Acceptable verification shall not be limited to any single type of document.
Whenever documentary evidence is insufficient to make a firm determination of eligibility or benefit level, or cannot be obtained, a collateral contact may be required. Generally, the agency shall rely on the household to provide the name of any collateral contact. The household may ask for help in designating a collateral contact. When the collateral contact, designated by the household, cannot provide an accurate third party verification, the agency shall do one of the following:
- Designate another collateral contact
- Ask the household to designate another collateral contact
- Provide an alternative form of verification
Do note, the agency is responsible for obtaining verification from acceptable contacts. A collateral contact is an oral confirmation of a household's circumstances by a person outside the household. The contact may be made by the agency either in person or by telephone. Written statements by collateral contacts shall not be required as a condition of eligibility. Some examples of acceptable collateral contacts include employers, landlords, social service agencies, and neighbors who can be expected to provide accurate third-party verification.
Before making any collateral contact, the household must be informed of the proposed contact, what information is required, and why the contact is needed. Households shall be provided a clear notice of their right to withdraw their application if they do not want the agency to pursue a collateral contact designated by the agency. All case files must be documented to support decisions of eligibility and/or benefit levels, the reasons for questioning non-mandatory items, the need to make collateral contacts, and the reasons for not accepting a client designated collateral contact.
The household has the primary responsibility for providing verification to support statements made on the application. The Eligibility Specialist shall assist the household in obtaining this verification. The household shall not be required to present verification in person at the Human Services office. The Eligibility Specialist shall accept any reasonable proof provided by the household and shall be primarily concerned with how adequately the verification proves the statement on the application form. When all other sources of income verification are unavailable, the amount to be used shall be based upon the best available information. The same verification procedures that are used for initial application will be used in all subsequent eligibility and benefit level decisions.
Refusal or failure to provide verification
- If the household refuses or fails to provide verification, deny the application, unless there is good cause
- If the household is receiving benefits and refuses or fails to provide verification, close the case, unless there is good cause
Do note, for a determination of refusal to be made, the household must be able to cooperate, but clearly demonstrate that it will not take actions that it can take and that are required to complete the certification process. For example, to be denied for refusal to cooperate, a household must refuse to be interviewed, not merely fail to show up. If there is any question as to whether the household has merely failed to cooperate the household shall not be denied or closed.
- The household shall not be determined ineligible when a person outside the household fails to cooperate with a request for verification. Individuals considered disqualified shall not be considered as a person outside the household
- If a household refuses to cooperate with a Quality Control reviewer, the household shall be denied or terminated for refusal to cooperate. The household shall not be determined eligible until it cooperates in the Quality Control review or unless it reapplies after the time limits described below. This applies to all households, including those eligible for expedited service
If a household which has been terminated for refusal to cooperate with a State Quality Control reviewer reapplies after 95 days beyond the annual review period for that Quality Control sample month, it may be found eligible but each eligibility factor must be verified, regardless of whether or not the information is questionable.
If such a household reapplies after 95 days from the end of the annual review period, and the household is eligible for expedited service, the household shall be provided benefits based on the expedited service processing requirements, including the provision that only identity must be verified. However, before the household may receive an issuance not processed under expedited service requirements, the household must provide verification of all eligibility requirements.
Verification of all eligibility requirements refers to any household circumstance that could affect eligibility. Required verification is not limited to those items required at the time of initial application or at recertification. Items such as household composition, citizenship or eligibility for the standard utility allowance that would normally only be verified if questionable, must be verified in these cases.
If a household which has been terminated for refusal to cooperate with a Federal Quality Control reviewer reapplies after 7 months beyond the annual review period for that Quality Control sample month, it may be found eligible but each eligibility factor must be verified. The annual review period refers to the federal Quality Control review period and runs from October 1 through September 30.
- In cases where verification is incomplete, the household must be provided with a written statement of required verification and an offer to assist in obtaining it. The household shall be allowed sufficient time to provide the missing verification
- When information from another source contradicts statements made by the household, a reasonable opportunity shall be given the household to resolve the discrepancy
- When the household fails to provide verification required to establish a deductible expense or income exclusion, determine eligibility without the deduction or exclusion. Do not deny or terminate benefits for failure to provide such verification
Eligible households that complete the initial application process shall be given an opportunity to participate as soon as possible but no later than 30 calendar days following the date the application was filed. The application date is the day that an application, containing the applicant's name and address and the signature of a responsible household member or its authorized representative, is received in any Maine Food Supplement Program office.
An opportunity to participate is assured by authorizing the allotment not later than the 27th day following the date the application was filed. Authorization any later than the 27th day will not provide the household an opportunity to participate within the 30 day standard.
Do note, the Department will use the same procedure when mailing a decision or allotment to the designated address of a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). The administrators of the Address Confidentiality Program will then forward the mail to the ACP participant. Therefore, the ACP participant will experience delays in receiving decisions and allotments.
Denying the application
Households that are determined to be ineligible shall be sent a notice of denial as soon as possible but not later than 30 days following the date the application was filed. If the household has failed to appear for a scheduled interview and has made no effort to reschedule the interview or pursue the application, a notice of denial shall be sent on the 30th day following the date of application.
In cases where the interview was conducted and all necessary verification was requested on the same day the application was filed, a notice of denial shall be sent no sooner than the 10th day or later than the 30th day if the household was provided assistance as outlined in Section 222-5, but it failed to provide the requested verification.
Delays in processing applications
If the agency does not determine eligibility and provide an opportunity to participate within 30 days following the application filed, the cause of the delay shall be determined using the following criteria:
- A delay shall be considered the fault of the household if it has failed to complete the application process and the agency has taken all of the required action to assist the household. The following actions must have been taken by the agency before a delay can be considered the fault of the household
- For failure to complete the application the agency must have offered or attempted to offer assistance in its completion
- For failure to comply with work registration requirements, the agency must have informed the household of the need to register and the household must have been given at least 10 days from the date of such notification to register these members
- Where verification is incomplete the agency must have offered assistance and the household must have been allowed sufficient time to provide the missing information (at least 10 days from the date of the initial request for the particular verification)
- For failure to appear for an interview, the agency must have attempted to reschedule the initial interview within 30 days following the application date by sending the notification of the missed interview (NOMI) letter to the household informing the household it missed the interview appointment and that it is the household’s responsibility to contact the agency to reschedule the interview
Do note, if the household failed to appear for the first interview and a subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request or cannot other wise be rescheduled until after the 20th day but before 30th day, the household must appear for the interview, bring verification, and register members for work/training by the 30th day, otherwise, the delay shall be the fault of the household. If the household has failed to appear for the first interview and a subsequent interview is postponed at the household's request until after the 30th day the delay shall be the fault of the household. If the household has missed both scheduled interviews and request another interview any delay shall be the fault of the household.
- Delays that are the fault of the agency include, but are not limited to, those cases where the agency failed to take the actions described above
Actions to be taken on processing delays
By the 30th day further action cannot be taken on the application due to the fault of the household, entitlement to benefits for the month of application shall be lost. The household shall be sent a notice of denial which advises the household that if the required action is taken within 60 days following the application date a new application is not necessary. If the household is found eligible, benefits will be authorized from the date the household takes the required action.
Whenever a delay in the initial 30 day period is the fault of the agency, action shall be taken immediately to correct the situation. The household shall be notified by the 30th day that its application is being held pending. The household shall also be notified of any action it must take to complete the application process. If the household is found to be eligible during the second 30 day period, it shall be entitled to benefits retroactive to the month of application.
For delays beyond 60 days, if the agency is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30 day period, and the case file is otherwise complete, the agency shall continue to process the original application until an eligibility determination is reached. If the household is determined eligible, and the agency was at fault for the delay in the first 30 days, benefits shall be authorized retroactively to the month of application. If, however, the initial delay was the household's fault, benefits shall be authorized retroactively only to the month following the month of application. The original application may be used to determine the household's eligibility in the months following the 60 day period.
If the agency is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30 day period but the case file is not complete enough to make an eligibility determination, the agency shall continue to process the original application.
If the household is at fault for not completing the application process by the end of the second 30 days, the application shall be denied and the household will be required to file a new application if it wishes to participate. The household shall not be entitled to any lost benefits even if the delay in the initial 30 day period was the fault of the agency.
Maximum Allowable Assets
Count assets of all household members, disqualified individuals and aliens. The Value of non excluded assets, except for licensed vehicles, shall be equity value (fair market value less encumbrances).
Do note, fair market value is the price a property would bring on the open market, assuming an informed buyer will buy, but is not compelled to buy; and an informed seller will sell, but is not compelled to sell. When the issue is raised, “fair market value” is established by the testimony of competent real estate appraisers or town tax appraisal at 100% valuation rate.
Maximum countable assets allowed
- $2,250.00 for all households with no members age sixty or over
- $3,500.00 for households with a member age sixty or over and/or with a member who is disabled, according to the food stamp definition of disables
- Households that qualify for broad-based categorical eligibility will be subject to a $5,000 asset limit
With exception, jointly owned assets. If the household demonstrates that it has access to only a portion of the asset, that portion is counted toward the household's assets. Ownership of a joint bank account is determined as follows: joint bank accounts shall be assumed to be owned by the household unless it presents convincing evidence that a non-household member has contributed all, or part, of the money. That portion proved to have been contributed by a non-household member shall be excluded. This exception does not apply to jointly owned vehicles. Consider jointly held assets inaccessible, regardless of ownership, to persons residing in shelters for battered women and children if agreement by spouse is required.
Basis of issuance
These tables are extended to meet the needs of certain categorically eligible households. Therefore, the amounts shown on the tables are higher than the net income limits for some household sizes. Households which are not categorically eligible must have incomes below the appropriate income limits. To determine a household's monthly benefit using the Basis of Issuance tables:
- Calculate the household's net monthly income. Households which are not categorically eligible will have net monthly incomes which are lower than or equal to the amounts shown in Column C below
- Find the allotment by reading in the attached tables down to the appropriate income and across to the appropriate household size
- Persons in household sizes one and two and which are categorically eligible will be eligible for benefits of at least $15, even if the tables do not show a benefit amount at their net income levels
- To calculate the benefit manually (in lieu of Step 2 above) or if the household is size 21 or larger:
- Multiply the net monthly income by 30 percent
- Round the product up to the next whole dollar if it ends in 1-99¢
- To obtain the household's allotment, subtract the result from the Maximum Benefit (Column D) for the appropriate household size. However, if the computation results in $1, $3, or $5, round up to $2, $4 or $6, respectively
- If the allotment is for a one or two-person household and is less than $15, or is a negative number, round to the minimum benefit of $15 for one- or two-person households.
*Maximum Gross and Net Monthly Income figures are not used for computing the benefit amount. They are included as a reference for determining the household's eligibility.
|Household Size||Monthly Income Elderly/Disabled Separate Household* 165% of Poverty||Maximum Gross Monthly Income* 130% of Poverty||Maximum Net Monthly Income* 100% of Poverty||Maximum Benefit|
|-||Column A||Column B||Column C||Column D|
|Each Additional Member||$575||$453||$349||$144|
*Maximum Gross and Net Monthly Income figures are not used for determining the benefit amount. They are included as a reference for determining the household's eligibility. Click here to view the full manual on the Maine food stamp program. The manual includes detailed information on the application process, income requirements, eligibility, administrative procedures and more.