This SNAP eligibility policy webinar recording allows the Head Start community to hear from the nation’s leading experts on SNAP policy, the Food Research and Action Center (frac.org), about how to maximize the inclusion of SNAP enrolled families through the newly-created Head Start categorical eligibility pathway. Additionally the recording busts myths about SNAP and raises opportunities to reduce bureaucracy for eligible families (and programs), strengthen services and outreach to food insecure children and build effective state and local partnerships.
The presenters also walk you through how to use our SNAP Eligibility Implementation Toolkit.
Slide deck: NHSA & FRAC discussion about SNAP
Q and A from Webinar
Q: What are some ways to verify current receipt of benefits when there is no expiration date on the SNAP ID or there are other issues with the card?
A couple of key points. One, the IM noted that a SNAP card with a SNAP ID number is sufficient. Second, you only need 1 of the 3 approved forms of SNAP eligibility documentation, so there are alternatives to the card. A number of attendees noted some creative ways they are working to verify the current receipt of or approval of SNAP benefits, including:
- “Families can take a picture of the (SNAP) portal or get a printout of their balance.”
- “We have a form parents can sign giving us permission to ask the local (SNAP) Assistance offices to confirm.”
- “They (families) can call the number on the back of the card with their pin number while in the presence of staff who are verifying eligibility to confirm they have current benefits or had a recent benefit added.”
- “Utah is planning on using the SNAP eligibility letter.”
Q: Can I look up whether someone is currently receiving SNAP benefits or approved to get benefits?
Many state Head Start associations and state Head Start Collaboration Office directors are currently working to develop ways for programs to easily and confidentially look up and verify an applicant is a current SNAP recipient or approved. Such data agreements are common among SNAP state agencies and schools and other human service agencies. Please touch base with your state association about whether they are considering such an agreement.
Q: Do we still need to collect income information from SNAP recipients?
No, with documentation of SNAP benefits, programs do not need to verify income eligibility. SNAP enrolled families are categorically eligible.
Q: How would we prioritize among families who qualify through the SNAP pathway?
You do not need to and should not as a practice be collecting income information from families that qualify through SNAP. You should organically integrate SNAP usage into your selection criteria by reviewing your community assessment to determine where SNAP use fits into your program’s prioritization.
Q: Should families qualifying through the SNAP pathway be redetermined when their SNAP benefits are set to expire?
No, SNAP receipt at time of eligibility is sufficient. No additional redetermination requirements apply to families that qualify through SNAP.
Q: Our program thought that since we can take previous 12 month income that we can say that if a family has been on SNAP within the last 12 months that we can count them as being automatically eligible. Is this okay?
No, when the program is determining whether a child is categorically eligible under SNAP, the family must submit proof that they are currently receiving SNAP or are determined eligible to receive SNAP benefits. This means a family could submit a copy of a notice of approval, other documentation of eligibility or benefits from the SNAP agency, or an Electronic Benefit Transfer Card with a SNAP ID number.
A special thank you to our partners at FRAC!