Mid Certification Reviews
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Mid Certification Reviews


Revised February 11, 2014



WAC 388-418-0011What is a mid-certification review, and do I have to complete one in order to keep receiving benefits?

WAC 388-418-0011

WAC 388-418-0011

Effective October 1, 2007

WAC 388-418-0011 What is a mid-certification review, and do I have to complete one in order to keep receiving benefits?

  1. mid-certification review (MCR) is a form we send you to ask about your current circumstances. We use the answers you give us to decide if you are still eligible for benefits and to calculate your monthly benefits.
  2. If you receive cash assistance or Basic Food benefits, you must complete a mid-certification review unless you meet one of the exceptions below:

          a.  You do not have to complete a mid-certification review for cash assistance if you:

i.  Only receive Refugee Cash Assistance as described under WAC 388-400-0030; or

ii. Have a review period of six months or less.

b. You do not have to complete a mid-certification review for Basic food if:

i.  Your assistance unit has a certification period of six months or less; or

ii.  All adults in your assistance unit are elderly or disabled and have no earned income.

3.  When we send the review form:

If you must complete a MCR... 

We send your review form... 

a.        For one program such as Basic Food. 

In the fifth month of your certification or review period. You must complete your review by the 10th day of month six. 

b.        For two or more programs, and all programs have a 12-month certification or review period. 

In the fifth month of your certification or review period. You must complete your review by the 10th day of month six. 

c.        For Basic Food and another program when either program has a certification or review period between six and twelve months. 

In the fifth month of your Basic Food certification period when you receive Basic Food and another program. You must complete your review by the 10th day of month six of your Basic Food certification. 

 

4.  If you must complete a mid-certification review, we send you the review form with questions about your current circumstances. You can

     choose to complete the review in one of the following ways:

a.    Complete the form and return it to us. For us to count your mid-certification review as complete, you must take all of the steps below:

i.  Complete the review form, telling us about changes in your circumstances we ask about;

 

ii. Sign and date the form;

 

iii. Give us proof of any changes you report. If you report a change that will increase your benefits without giving proof of this change, we will not increase your benefits;

 

iv.  If you receive temporary assistance for needy families and you are working or self employed, you must give us proof of your income even if it has not changed;  and

 

v.  Mail or turn in the completed form and any required proof to us by the due date on the review.

b.   Complete the mid-certification review over the phone. For us to count your mid-certification review as complete, you must take all of the steps below:

i.  Contact us at the phone number on the review form, telling us about changes in your circumstances we ask about;

 

ii. Give us proof of any changes you report. We may be able to verify some information over the phone. If you report a change that will increase your benefits without

    giving proof of this change, we will not increase your benefits;

 

iii.  If you receive temporary assistance for needy families and you are working or self employed, you must give us proof of your income even if it has not changed;  and

 

iv.  Mail or turn in any required proof to us by the due date on the review.

c.    Complete the application process for another program. If we approve an application for another program in the month you must complete your mid-certification

       review, we use the application to complete your review when the same person is head of household for the application and the mid-certification review.

5. If your benefits change because of what we learned in your mid-certification review, the change takes effect the next month even if this does not give you ten days notice

    before we change your benefits.

 

6.  If you do not complete your required mid-certification review, we stop your benefits at the end of the month the review was due.

 

7.  Late reviews. If you complete the mid-certification review after the last day of the   month the review was due, we process the review as described below based on when

     we receive the review:

a. Mid-certification reviews you complete by the last day of the month after the month the review was due:  We determine your eligibility for ongoing benefits.

    If you are eligible, we reinstate your benefits based on the information in the review.

 

b. Mid-certification reviews you complete after the last day of the month after the month the review was due:  We treat this review as a request to send you an

    application. For us to determine if you are eligible for benefits, you must complete the application process as described in chapter 388-406 WAC.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

CLARIFYING INFORMATION


NOTE: If you approve an application on a related AU after deadline for the month a mid-certification review is due, the benefits covered in the MCR will still close. Even though processing the application meets the requirement for the review, you must reinstate the benefits that closed for no mid-certification review.

  1. Required proof for the mid-certification review: What proof a person must give us for us to count a mid-certification review as complete depends on the benefits they receive:
  • To complete the MCR for Basic Food, the person does not have to answer questions about pregnancy, individuals with disabilities, health insurance, cash resources, vehicles, or utility costs.  These questions are not included on the Food-Only version of the MCR which is mailed to Basic Food and FAP households not receiving any cash benefits that require an MCR.

  • If someone receives Basic Food only, there is no requirement to provide verification of reported changes before we act on the changes unless there is a change in income that will increase the Basic Food benefit.  If the person does not provide verification of income that will increase the benefit, do not make the income change, let the benefit continue at the current amount, and verify the income change during the next recertification.

  • If someone receives cash and Basic Food, the form instructs to give us proof of the changes they tell us about on the MCR, except increases in deductions.  If a person does not include the verification with the MCR, consider whether the change affects benefits or is questionable before pending for more information.

  • If a person reports an increase in their deductions, such as shelter or dependent care costs, we only require proof of the higher deduction if the income deduction is questionable.
  • If someone receives TANF, they must give us proof of their income on mid-certification review even if their income hasn't changed.

  • If you are processing a mid-certification review where the person reports no changes for Basic Food and TANF and the person did not give proof of their income, process the review as complete for Basic Food.
  • If someone receives Basic Food only, the person has the option to complete the process by using the new Food-Only MCR form with questions relating to food benefits only or the multi-program MCR form and only answer the questions needed for the food benefits.

NOTE: 

Even though we do not require TANF households to verify employment hours as a condition of eligibility, we must still verify and record employment hours.

See Income Budgeting for information on how to record income and employment hours for TANF households.

 


NOTE:  The no-change function in ACES online will process the MCR as complete for all associated AUs. If you do not have the required proof for the cash portion of the review to be counted as complete, you must use the mainframe system to process the MCR for each AU.

NOTE:

We no longer require proof of an increase in income deductions unless the deduction is questionable. 

  • If the client's reported deduction isn't questionable, treat the MCR as complete if you have all other needed proof and allow the increased expense.
  • If the deduction is questionable, treat the mid-certification review as complete (provided you have all of the mandatory verification), and add text to the letter informing the person that to give proof of the change if they want it to be counted for their benefits.

2.    Mid-certification reviews completed late: If someone does not complete the mid-certification review on time, ACES closes the benefits covered in the MCR at the end of the month the review was due.  We treat mid-certification reviews completed after the month the review was due as described below: 

  • Completed by the last day of the month after the month the MCR was due:  Process the review to determine ongoing eligibility for benefits and reinstate benefits if appropriate.

NOTE:

If the head of household submits an Application for Benefits or an Eligibility Review by the last day of the month after the month the MCR was due and no other assistance program is being requested, you may treat the Application or Eligibility Review as a MCR.


  • Received later than the month after the month the MCR was due: Document that you received the MCR after the end of the month after the month the review was due and send the person an application for benefits.

EXAMPLE

Dee receives her MCR for Basic Food and TANF due on August 10th. She does not complete review as required. Dee's benefits end on August 31st. On September 8th, Dee completes her mid-certification review over the phone and her worker gets proof of the changes she reports. Her worker reinstates Basic Food and TANF benefits effective September 1st.


EXAMPLE

The Smiths have an MCR due on January 10th. They do not return the review form or complete the review over the phone. ACES closes Basic Food on January 31st.

On March 4th, Mr. Smith turns in an MCR stating that there were no changes in their circumstances. He has also attached proof of their income.

Because they completed the review later than the end of February, we treat the MCR as a request for an application and send them a new application.

The AU is not eligible for benefits for February. To receive benefits, the AU must complete the application process as described under chapter 388-406 WAC.


3.   Applications or Eligibility Reviews received after benefits are closed for no MCR, but before the end of the seventh month: If we close benefits for no mid-certification review and the AU turns in an application for benefits or an eligibility review, they may:

  • Complete their mid-certification review as described under WAC 388-418-0011 and withdraw their application for benefits; or
  • Have us process the form as an application. This may include receiving expedited service for Basic Food under WAC 388-406-0015

See WORKER RESPONSIBILITIES below for information on screening the application or eligibility review if the household wishes to treat the document as a new application.


EXAMPLE

Steve's Basic Food benefits closed June 30th because he did not complete and return a MCR. On July 20th, he turns in a new application for Basic Food.

When Steve's worker Doug receives the application on July 21st, he contacts Steve with the option to complete mid-certification review instead of going through the application process.

Steve chooses to complete the MCR and Doug gets proof of Steve's changes over the phone. Doug reinstates Basic Food back to July 1st.


NOTE:

If someone wants to complete the application process, or we cannot complete the mid-certification review with the information we have available, we must act on the application for benefits.


4. Requests to add a person on the MCR:

The MCR asks about people moving into the household and whether or not they want benefits for this person. See below to decide if you need an application or Eligibility Review (ER) form to add the new person to the current benefits:

Cash assistance:

If someone asks to add an adult to their cash benefits, have the person complete an application or ER.

  • For cash, the responsible adult members of the AU must sign the application or ER.
  • We do not need a new application / ER form to add a child to TANF/SFA AU.

Basic Food:

We do not need a new application / ER form to add someone to the AU.

5.   Requests to add a program / program change on the MCR:

For all programs, a person must complete a new application or ER form to add a program or change programs.

6.   Completing the mid-certification review over the phone:

  • You do not need a signed MCR form to count the MCR process as complete as long as you review the following "Signature and Date" block disclosures with the client wherever they appear on the form: 

 

By signing this form I state the information I provide in this document is true, correct, and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand the information I give on this form may stop or reduce my benefits.

It is a crime to incorrectly receive food benefits by making a false statement on purpose or failing to report something you know you should report. If you give information you know is incorrect, you could be criminally prosecuted. The penalties for intentionally breaking food assistance rules include disqualification, fines, or imprisonment.  If you don't provide proof of income changes that could increase your food benefits, changes will not be used to determine your benefits.  

  • Make sure you explain any information provided to update the case may reduce or stop their Basic Food benefit.  This is a federal requirement for the Basic Food (SNAP) periodic (mid-certification) reporting process.  Make a case note to document that the person acknowledged their understanding.
  • The requirements for the MCR vary by program. See below for elements that must be reviewed and updated at MCR:

CASH

BASIC FOOD

  • Address
  • Address
  • Deductions (legally obligated child support)
  • Deductions (child support and shelter expenses) Optional:  medical expenses and child care expenses
  • Disability
  • Household Composition
  • Household Composition
  • Income (new source, start, stop, change in rate or hours)
  • Make sure client understands the information provided for the MCR may stop or reduce the food benefits.
  • Income
  • Insurance
  • Pregnancy
  • Resources
  •  Get the required proof to complete the review:
    • Update the case record; and
    • Document the actions you took.

 

7.   Mid-Certification Reviews completed in the local office:

We process MCRs completed in the local office based on the way we receive the report:

1.   Completed Forms:

An MCR form completed on paper or electronically is processed the same way we would process one received by mail or fax.  The client must sign the form to acknowledge that they understand the information they provided for the MCR may reduce or stop their benefits.

2.   Phone MCRs:

Since federal rules require us to treat changes reported by phone the same way we treat changes reported on an MCR, we can complete MCRs over the phone even though we don't have a signature.  Staff should document that they informed the household that the information reported may impact their benefits and process the MCR.

3.   In Person Reports:

The in-person verbal report can't be used to complete the MCR requirement unless they also complete and sign an MCR form or sign the Statement of Understanding Form 02-611.

 

8.   Mid-Certification Reviews with conflicting information:

  • Any information on the MCR or absent from the MCR report that conflicts with information found on various data matches such as SPIDER or SOLQ must be resolved before the MCR can be considered complete.
  • For conflicting wage information, the worker should check TALX and/or attempt to contact the client by telephone to clarify and verify ESD information found in SPIDER.
  • If the client telephone contact attempt fails, the worker should mark the MCR as incomplete and send a termination letter (0033-03) and add appropriate text explaining what would be needed to consider the MCR complete. See the Procedures Handbook for MCRs.
  • Since the worker found out information that may affect the case, the worker must pursue the conflicting information found through SPIDER and determine the effect on the case.


WORKER RESPONSIBILITIES

 1.     Working alerts, Barcode tickles, and checking other systems as part of processing the MCR:

To reduce the risk of payment errors, work related Alerts in ACES, Barcode tickles, and review systems such as SEMS as appropriate to ensure that the income you budget is based on the best available information.


NOTE:

Households do not have to report changes in the amount of their child support or child support pass-through payments between application and MCR.  However, we must update this information as a part of completing the MCR. 

When working on a MCR for a case that could have child support income, be sure to check SEMS for recent payment information to determine what would be appropriate to estimate as income for ongoing months. 


EXAMPLE

Bill's mid-certification review is due in June. Sandy, his WorkFirst Program specialist verified his income and hours of work recently when Bill reported that his hours were reduced.

If Sandy verified the income and hours to impact June benefits, we do not need to re-verify this information to complete the June MCR.

If she verified the income and hours to impact an earlier month, we must re-verify the income and hours to complete the June MCR for TANF.

 


ACES PROCEDURES

 See Eligibility Review / Recertification Process - Mid-certification reviews.
Modification Date: February 11, 2014