New York Pilots Telephone Interviews for Food Stamp Recertifications

By Judith Thompson,2014-05-26 22:55
32 views 0
New York Pilots Telephone Interviews for Food Stamp Recertifications

    New York Uses Telephone Interviews for Food Stamp Recertifications

    Updated by Dawn Secor, Food Stamp Specialist, Nutrition Consortium of NYS

    June 10, 2009

     New York State secured approval from USDA in 2006 to establish a pilot project to test an

    approach to make it easier for households to recertify for food stamp benefits.

     Initially, USDA granted the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s (OTDA’s) request to conduct a two-year telephone recertification pilot project. The project originally allowed 11 Local Departments of Social Services (LDSSes) and two New York City Human Resource Administrations (HRAs) to conduct telephone interviews at recertification for all non-temporary assistance food stamp households, rather than requiring households to appear in person at the food stamp office for their interview.

    Currently, the pilot has expanded throughout upstate leaving only a few counties yet to participate and is fully implemented in New York City.

    Why is OTDA conducting this project?

    ; To improve program access for recipients who have difficulty getting to local social

    services offices, such as the elderly, the disabled, working families and households

    without transportation.

    ; To streamline administration for LDSS offices, resulting in timelier processing of

    recertification paperwork.

    ; To provide a more uniform standard for waiving the in-person interview requirement.

    Although all households currently have the right to request a telephone interview, the

    LDSS considers each request on a case-by-case basis and has much discretion in

    deciding who qualifies for a telephone interview.

    Which districts are participating?

To see a list of participating counties go to OTDA’s NYS Food Stamp Initiative by Region web page


    How does Telephone Recertification work?

     The chart which follows outlines the procedures for “regular” and “telephone pilot”


Prepared by the Nutrition Consortium of NYS, updated 6.10.09 1

Regular Recertification Procedure Telephone Recertification Procedure

? Household is mailed a “notice of ? Household is mailed a “notice of

    recertification.” recertification.”

? Notice includes an application/ ? Notice includes an application/

    recertification form for the household to recertification form for the household to complete. complete.

? Notice includes a face-to-face interview ? Notice includes a telephone interview

    date and time. date and time. It also has a call time request

     form for the household to request alternative

     dates that are more convenient for them.

? Household is instructed to bring in their ? Household is instructed to mail in their

    completed recertification form and any completed recertification form, the call time necessary documentation to their face-to face request form, and any necessary interview. documentation as soon as possible.

     ? District receives completed recertification

     form and reviews it.

     ? District calls household up to 4 times

     prior to the scheduled interview date. If

     they reach the household BEFORE the

     interview date, the district will either:

     -- confirm the interview date/time OR

     -- go through with the entire interview (see

     next step).

     If the district cannot reach the household

     ahead of time, they will call the household at

     the originally scheduled date and time.

? District conducts face-to-face interview. ? District conducts phone interview.

    (Worker reviews the completed recertification (Worker reviewed completed recertification form during the interview.) form before calling the household.)

? District advises household what, if any, ? District advises household what, if any,

    outstanding documentation is needed. outstanding documentation is needed

? Household submits necessary verification. ? Household submits necessary verification.

    ? District approves (or denies) recertification. ? District approves (or denies) recertification.

Prepared by the Nutrition Consortium of NYS, updated 6.10.09 2

    What happens if the household doesn’t turn in their recertification form or have

    their interview?

     This part hasn’t changed from “regular” food stamp rules – your food stamp case will be closed

    if you don’t complete the recertification process.

     Districts will not contact a household or go through with the scheduled interview if the household hasn’t sent in their signed recertification form. So it’s very important that households return

    their completed recertification application as soon as possible.

     If the household sends in their recertification form, but the district cannot reach them for their interview, a “notice of missed interview” will be mailed. This notice advises the

    household to contact the local district immediately to reschedule their interview if they wish to have their recertification application processed.

    Other important points …

    ; Households still retain the right upon request to have the interview in person, rather

    than over the telephone.

    ; Households in counties not yet participating still retain the right to request a waiver of

    the in-person interview requirement on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with 01

    ADM-08 and GIS 06 TA/DC 010.

    How can community agencies and advocates help?

     Community agencies and advocates can help households successfully participate in the telephone recertification pilot by:

    ; Explaining to households how the telephone recertification process works;

    ; Encouraging households to promptly return their completed recertification application

    forms and any supporting documentation they have;

    ; Reminding households to be prepared for their phone interview (i.e.: to ensure that

    there are as few distractions as possible and that the household has ready access to

    related documents and information);

    ; Faxing documentation to the LDSS;

    ; Assisting households without phone service (i.e.: providing a phone for the interview,

    suggesting they request an in-person interview, etc) and;

    ; Making requests for interpretation services on households’ behalf.

    Prepared by the Nutrition Consortium of NYS, updated 1-16-2008 3

     We are grateful that OTDA has taken this very positive step to make it easier for food stamp recipients to continue receiving benefits.

     For additional questions of concerns that you may have about telephone recertification, please contact Dawn Secor at the Nutrition Consortium of NYS via email at or (518) 436-8757, ext. 12.

    Other Resources:

    HRA Policy Bulletin #07-144-ELI: Forms for the Telephone Recertification Pilot

    HRA Policy Bulletin #07-122-OPE: Special Mailing to Food Stamp Telephone Recertification Households

Prepared by the Nutrition Consortium of NYS, updated 1-16-2008 4

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email