The Department of Transitional Assistance has issued guidance to expand the use of the “categorical eligibility rule” to ELIMINATE he Food Stamp asset test most FS households with income below 200% FPL, unless the household has a work or IPV sanction. (The 130% gross income tests will still apply to FS applicants age 18 – 60, if no children and no disability.)
Elimination of the asset requirement was a recommendation of several advocacy groups. This policy change brings Massachusetts in line with a growing number of states that have used the categorical eligibility rules to eliminate asset requirements. Elimination of the asset test is also consistent with many of the asset exclusion provisions(non-countable retirement and pension accounts) included in the 2008 Farm
Bill recently passed by Congress.
For a number of years there has been NO asset test in Food Stamps for families with children (or pregnant women) with income is below 200% of the FPL. This has not changed. The NEW policy directs DTA workers to NOT ask questions about assets or ask for verification of assets for any households with an elder (age 60 +) or person with disabilities if the household income is below 200% of the FPL. For elder/disabled
households with income above 200% FPL, DTA will ask about assets. Note: for any household seeking “expedited” (fast) food stamps, DTA will continue to ask about assets (less than $150) to determine expedited issuance, but this will not affect ongoing eligibility if the household fails to provide the information.
Congratulations and thanks to Commissioner Kehoe, FS Director Phuoc Cao and his staff for their very hard work on this policy change! This policy change will make a HUGE difference for so many elder and disabled households. Spread the word!!!!