NA Categorical Eligibility
Information on this page refers to the Nutrition Assistance program
This section identifies how Categorical Eligibility works and how it helps participants get more benefits.
Policy
NA categorically eligible budgetary units have certain considerations regarding the amount of countable resources owned and available to the budgetary unit when determining eligibility.
NA Categorical Eligibility (Basic or Expanded) does not exist when a participant is disqualified. (See Disqualified Participants)
Special Basic Categorical (SBC) and Special Expanded Categorical (SEC) exist when a special household meets Basic or Expanded Categorical Eligibility requirements. For information on special households, see Elderly or Have a Disability - NA Special Considerations.
For policy regarding NA categorical eligibility, see all of the following:
NA Categorical Eligibility Exceptions
Basic Categorical Eligibility (BCE)
Basic categorical eligibility (BCE) exists when the budgetary unit does not have a participant meeting certain disqualification criteria, and all budgetary unit participants receive any of the following:
TANF CA Benefits. This includes when either of the following occur:
The budgetary unit is CA eligible, but no CA benefit is being paid.
Any portion of the CA benefit is being recouped for an overpayment.
TANF Services
Grant Diversion
Kinship Foster Care
Tribal TANF
Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance
SSI This includes participants whose SSI benefits are in no pay or suspend status.
NOTE Budgetary units that include SSI participants who are in suspended status for failure to comply with a drug and alcohol treatment requirement are not considered to be in BCE.
A combination of BIA GA and SSI
For information on the disqualification criteria, see Expanded Categorical Eligibility (ECE). When any participant in the budgetary unit meets the NA definition of elderly or disabled, the budgetary unit receives special considerations. (See Elderly or Have a Disability - NA Special Considerations)
Expanded Categorical Eligibility (ECE)
Expanded categorical eligibility (ECE) exists when all of the following apply to the budgetary unit:
Gross income does not exceed 185% of the current federal poverty level (FPL)
The NA budgetary unit does not meet basic categorical eligibility (BCE) requirements
The resources of participants with certain disqualifications are not over the NA resource limit (See Disqualified Participants)
NOTE Resources from certain disqualified participants are counted in full
ECE eligibility exists when the budgetary unit meets all of the above and the budgetary unit does not have a participant who has a disqualification. (See NA and CA Disqualifications)
When any participant in the budgetary unit meets the NA definition of Elderly or has a disability, the budgetary unit receives special considerations. (See Elderly or Have a Disability - NA Special Considerations)
AZTECS automatically considers an NA Expanded categorically eligible budgetary unit to have met both of the following NA eligibility factors:
Resources
Gross and net income tests
Categorical Eligibility Benefit Calculation
AZTECS compares the income of an NA basic categorically eligible budgetary unit against the Net Income Standard. Benefits are calculated based on NA income criteria.
AZTECS determines when the gross income of an NA expanded categorically eligible (ECE) budgetary unit exceeds 185% of the current federal poverty level (FPL). When the budgetary unit's gross income exceeds 185% of the current FPL, the budgetary unit is not categorically eligible.
NA categorically eligible budgetary units are eligible for at least the minimum NA allotment.
NOTE NA categorically eligible three or more participant budgetary units are not eligible for at least the minimum NA allotment. These budgetary units must receive the actual amount of benefits.
NA budgetary units with benefits that are reduced to less than the minimum NA allotment, as a result of NA proration, are placed in an eligible no pay status.
Categorically Eligible Budgetary Units In Eligible No Pay Status
All of the following apply to NA categorically eligible budgetary units (Basic or Expanded) in NA eligible no pay status:
The budgetary unit remains in NA eligible no pay status until one of the following occurs:
The budgetary unit reports a change, and the change, when verified, results in an NA increase.
A change causes the budgetary unit to lose its categorical eligibility status. (See Changes)
The basic categorically eligible (BEC) budgetary unit becomes ineligible for a reason other than income or resources.
The NA approval period ends.
When a reported change makes the budgetary unit eligible for an NA allotment, and the case is currently in an NA eligible no pay status, both of the following apply:
An interview is not required.
The NA increase begins the month following the month the change is reported. (See Effecting Changes)
The budgetary unit is subject to reporting requirements and must comply with all NA eligibility requirements.
Mandatory participants are subject to NA Work Requirements.
When the budgetary unit submits an NA renewal application, process the NA renewal application following normal NA renewal processing procedures.
Categorically eligible budgetary units now include the new NA Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) household types. See ESAP for information on the streamlined NA application, verification, and approval process for the elderly.
Verification
The participant has the primary responsibility for providing verification. (See Participant Responsibilities – Providing Verification for additional policy.)
Legal Authorities
last revised 12/27/2022