Project Bread SNAP Trainer: A Resource for Agencies
A curriculum for connecting low income families with healthy food
7: When does your client need to recertify?
7.1 What is recertification?Open
To keep receiving SNAP benefits a household needs to recertify (or reapply) on a regular basis. Open this section to learn what recertification means.
When your client gets approved for SNAP benefits, that approval is active only for a certain period of time. That block of time is called the certification period.
- By the end of the certification period your client must recertify in order to keep receiving SNAP benefits.
- A household's certification period depends on the household’s situation. It can range from one month to two years.
- Most households with regular earned income have a 12 month certification period, with some exceptions.
- Households where all the members are elders (60+) or are receiving disability benefits and have a fixed income (such as SSDI or social security) have a 24 month certification period.
The DTA caseworker will tell your client how long the household’s certification period is and when the household needs to recertify.
The household MUST recertify on the schedule provided by the DTA. If it does not, the household may lose its SNAP benefits.
7.2 When does a household need to report a change?Open
If a household's situation changes it must report the changes to the DTA. Open this section to learn what changes trigger a report.
During the certification period, a household might have changes. Some of the changes that have to be reported include:
- Change of income
- Change of expenses
- Change of household size
- Change of address
Different rules guide when a household must provide information on household changes. Your client should talk to his/her DTA caseworker about when s/he needs to provide information on changes.
If your client cannot communicate with the caseworker, you should call on his/her behalf.
Households need to be sure to let their caseworker know about a change of address so that the caseworker sends the recertification paperwork to the correct location.
7.3 What happens during recertification?Open
Completing and returning the recertification form is key to the recertification process. Open this section to learn about how you can help your client with this form.
About 45 days before the end of the certification period, the caseworker sends your client a cover letter and a recertification form.
This form contains the information that DTA has about your client.
The letter includes a due date for the form.
What your client must do
Your client must review the form, update any information that has changed, and fill in any blank sections.
Then, the client must return the form to the caseworker along with the proofs requested at the bottom of each page.
Forms must be returned BEFORE the due date specified in the cover letter that came with the form.
Your client needs to comply with the interview requirement (may be waived for some elderly and/or disabled households) and submit the recertification form by the date specified on the letter.
If nothing has changed since the initial SNAP application or the previous recertification, DTA might not need additional verification documents but the client will still need to complete the recertification form and turn it in.
If some things have changed, DTA will need proof of the changes, and your client must provide these in addition to the form.
What you can do
You can help your client continue to receive SNAP benefits in several ways:
Help the client complete the form, and make copies of the form and the accompanying verifications.
Make sure to keep a copy of all documents for your records and make a copy of the form and the original documents for the client. Be sure to send the original form and copies of documents to the DTA caseworker. If your client does not comply with the interview requirement or does not submit the recertification form by the date specified on the letter, there will be an interruption in benefits and/or your client’s SNAP case will close automatically.
- Remind your client that a recertification interview is required -- but that it can be conducted over the phone.
- Remind your client how important this is -- and that benefits will stop if DTA doesn't receive the form and other proof documents on time, or if the interview doesn't happen.