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RULE §24.602 Eligibility Requirements

Published: 2015

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(a) Households. A Texas Commodity Assistance Program (TEXCAP) household's certification period must not exceed 12 months. To continue receiving benefits after a certification period has ended, a household must reapply and be recertified. To qualify for TEXCAP food assistance, applicants must meet the following requirements.   (1) Income. Except as otherwise specified, the applicant's gross yearly or monthly income (before deductions) in relation to household size must not exceed 185%, or another percentage as established by the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) policy, of the federal poverty level published by the United States Office of Management and Budget. Income reported for intervals other than yearly or monthly, such as daily or weekly, must be converted to a yearly or monthly amount, as specified by DHS policy. Maximum gross income limits in relation to household size which are less than 185%, or another percentage as established by DHS policy, of federal poverty levels are subject to review and approval by DHS or the appropriate DHS contractor. Exceptions are listed in subparagraphs (A) - (C) of this paragraph.     (A) If income is from farming or self-employment, eligibility is based on net income.     (B) Applicant households are automatically (or categorically) eligible for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) commodities if currently receiving assistance from one of the following programs: food stamps, Temporary Cash Assistance (Aid to Families with Dependent Children--AFDC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or noninstitutional Medicaid benefits.     (C) Applicant households with incomes exceeding 185% of the federal poverty level are eligible if the household qualifies for emergency food assistance as defined in clause (i) of this subparagraph. A qualified household may receive USDA commodities distributed during the month the household is certified and during the five months following the month of certification, as determined by instructions in clause (ii) of this subparagraph. During a certification period that is less than the maximum period allowed (that is, the month of certification and the five months that follow), a recipient agency may extend the period, as necessary, up to the maximum period. Distributions in more than the six months specified are allowed as described in clause (iii) of this subparagraph. The six-month limit does not apply to a subsequent application for emergency food assistance if the household's subsequent application is based on new circumstances.       (i) An emergency need for food assistance may exist because of expenses of an unexpected, temporary household crisis that is beyond the household's control. Unexpected expenses include those necessary for medical treatment of an illness or injury of a household member, burial of a household member, repairing damages to the household's home or vehicle, or replacing contents of the home, lost because of a disaster. Household disasters may include fire, flood, hurricanes, tornados, or other circumstances, as defined and documented by the recipient agency.       (ii) The recipient agency must document a household's need for emergency food assistance and estimate the period of time the assistance will be needed.       (iii) Within any 12-month period, distributions of USDA-donated commodities to a household certified for emergency food assistance are limited to the certification month and the five months following the certification month. Except, if necessary and with written approval from DHS, a recipient agency may distribute USDA-donated commodities to a household during more than six months. DHS approval is not required if the six-month limit is exceeded because of a separate occurrence of emergency need, as provided by subparagraph (C) of this paragraph.   (2) Residency. Applicant households are not required to meet durational residency requirements but must reside within the contracted service area at the time of application. A contracted service area is defined as the specific geographical area served by a single TEXCAP contractor and may be a county or counties, zip code areas, neighborhoods, or any predefined area or areas within the state. Exceptions may be made for an applicant household that resides in a city or location that is closer to a distribution site in another contracted service area in Texas. Exceptions require agreement and coordination between both affected contractors.   (3) Identity and citizenship. Applicant households are not required to:     (A) prove identity; or     (B) clarify or prove citizenship or alien status. (b) Prepared meals. A person admitted to or allowed to remain in a recipient agency's facility who requests a meal containing USDA-donated commodities:   (1) must not be required to meet any eligibility criteria for the meal which are not specified by federal regulations or DHS policy. If questionable, a recipient agency may clarify a person's residency; however, the recipient agency must not refuse a meal to a person who:     (A) stayed within the contracted service area of the appropriate DHS contractor during the previous night; or     (B) did not stay within the service area during the previous night but intends to stay within the area during the next night; and   (2) is not required to pay, in money or in-kind (labor, service, or activity) for a meal.

Source Note: The provisions of this §24.602 adopted to be effective October 1, 1997, 22 TexReg 9488; transferred effective April 1, 2004, as published in the Texas Register July 2, 2004, 29 TexReg 6359; transferred effective October 1, 2007, as published in the Texas Register September 28, 2007, 32 TexReg 6793