707 ISSUING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE BENEFITS (FAM)

SR 12-19 Dated 11/12

Previous Policy

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Financial assistance benefits are issued via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT). The FANF casehead must choose which benefit issuance method they prefer.

 

Paper checks are never used to issue financial assistance benefits, except for recipients in nursing facilities who may choose to receive supplemental payments for a personal needs allowance in the form of a check.

 

ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER (EFT)

EFT is *one method of delivering financial assistance benefits to a recipient, AR, or protective payee, and is the only method of benefit delivery for vendors. See PART 115, VENDOR PAYEES. In this method of delivering financial assistance benefits, the benefit is directly deposited into the recipients, ARs, or protective payees bank account.

Suitability of Accounts

• Recipients, ARs, or protective payees must have an open checking or savings account to receive EFT.

• EFT can be made to any checking or savings account by transmitting deposits through the banks electronic address, known as the "transit and routing number." This number is a series of coded entries contained on the bottom of a check or a checking account deposit form. All checking accounts are capable of receiving EFT.

• Recipients may designate only one account for EFT deposits. Recipients may not split EFT payments between separate accounts, unless an amount is being deposited into the account of a vendor payee.

• If more than one account exists and the individual, AR, or protective payee has indicated they would like benefits issued via EFT but does not specify the account to use for EFT, choose:

- the account with the caseheads name listed as the primary holder; or

- the checking account, if more than one account lists the caseheads name as the primary holder.

• If the only account available to the casehead is a childs savings account, deposit cash benefits into that account.

Exception: If the casehead does not have signature access to the childs savings account, do not deposit cash benefits into that account.

• If the only account available is an account managed by a representative payee for social security benefits or an account used to manage more than one clients social security benefits, known as a collective account, *deposit cash benefits into that account.

• Issue benefits via EBT if:

the casehead chooses EFT and does not provide the information needed to issue benefits via EFT; or

the bank account information the casehead provides results in a failed EFT transfer.

ELECTRONIC BENEFIT TRANSFER (EBT)

EBT is *the other issuance method for financial assistance benefits to a recipient, AR, or protective payee.*

 *

Recipients access financial assistance benefits from an electronic EBT account with a magnetic stripe debit card (the "EBT card").

• Recipients control access to the EBT account by a 4-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN).

• EBT cash assistance recipients are allowed 2 free cash ATM withdrawals every calendar month. An EBT-related transaction fee is charged for each use over and above the 2 free ATM withdrawals allowed. This fee is automatically debited from the EBT cash account.

EBT Card Activation

EBT cards are mailed to recipients. Once the recipient has received their EBT card, the individual must activate the card by going to www.ebtedge.com or calling 888-997-9777 to select a PIN.

Individuals involved in the determination of eligibility, including Family Services Specialists and District Office Supervisors, are prohibited by federal regulations from assisting recipients in the EBT card activation and PIN selection process.

Authorized Representatives and EBT

Generally speaking, applicants and recipients may choose an AR to assist in the EBT process by so designating on DFA Form 778, Authorized Representative Declaration. If a recipient or AR chooses to obtain an EBT card at the District Office, the person must present proof of identity before being given the EBT card.

ARs may be designated to receive and access benefits on behalf of the recipient by:

• obtaining and activating their own EBT card;

• obtaining the EBT card for the recipient but conveying the card to the recipient for activation; or

• performing the card activation *with the PIN the recipient provided to the AR.