FAA5.I Determining Benefits : 01 Determining NA Benefits : A NA Eligibility and Benefit Determination
NA Eligibility and Benefit Determination
Information on this page refers to the Nutrition Assistance program
This section identifies how NA eligibility and benefit amounts are determined.
Policy
See all of the following for policy regarding NA eligibility and benefit determination:
NA Eligibility Determination
An NA budgetary unit may be determined eligible based on nonfinancial criteria. When the budgetary unit has income, eligibility must then be determined based on the income. A budget is completed to determine gross and net income using both of the following:
All countable income received or expected to be received in the month for which eligibility is being determined
Expenses billed or expected to be billed in the month for which eligibility is being determined
A budgetary unit's gross and net income must be equal to or less than the appropriate income standards. (See Gross Monthly Income and Net Monthly Income Eligibility Standards)
A budgetary unit may only have to meet the appropriate net income standards depending on their circumstances. (See Elderly or Have a Disability - NA Special Considerations and Categorically Eligible Budgetary Units)
When the budgetary unit includes a disqualified participant, see Disqualified NA Participants Effect on the NA Benefit Amount.
See all of the following for policy regarding NA benefit determination:
Proration of First Month's Benefits
NA Income Deductions
NA budgetary units may be eligible to receive any of the following deductions from their countable income:
A work related expense deduction equal to 20% of its countable earned income when the budgetary unit has earned income
NA Gross Income Test
The gross income test is applied in both the eligibility and benefit determinations, based on 130% or 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
Gross income is the total of all countable income received by the budgetary unit not including the farm self-employment loss.
The countable gross income is compared to the maximum income allowable by budgetary unit size, except for any of the following:
Budgetary units containing elderly or disabled participants. Only the net income test applies to these budgetary units.
Categorically eligible budgetary units. These budgetary units are not required to meet the gross or the net income tests.
NA Net Income Test
The net income test is applied in both the eligibility and benefit determinations. The net income calculation is determined systematically by completing all of the following:
Determine the gross countable earned income of all participants.
Subtract the 20% NA earned income deduction.
Determine the countable monthly unearned income of participants in the budgetary unit and add it to the net earnings.
Subtract any other allowable NA income deductions.
When the budgetary unit does not pass the net income test, the NA application is denied.
Proration of the First Month's Benefits
A budgetary unit applying in Arizona may have been approved in another state on a fiscal month basis. Benefits are prorated from one of the later of the two following dates:
The date following the expiration date in the former state
The date of the application
Benefits may be prorated for the first month, however eligibility is based on the budgetary unit's circumstances for the entire month. This is true except for budgetary units that are destitute. All of the following circumstances are considered:
During the month of application, a budgetary unit is determined to be ineligible at the time of application, but subsequently eligible at the interview.
A budgetary unit is determined to be eligible at the time of application, but ineligible at the interview later in the month of application.
A budgetary unit may be determined eligible at the interview but expects to be ineligible for non- resource related purposes later in the month of application. Then the budgetary unit is ineligible for benefits in the month of application.
Prorated benefits of less than $10 are not issued to any budgetary unit. Federal regulations prohibit issuing benefits of less than $10 in the first month. For such cases, all of the following apply:
When the prorated month is the only month of eligibility, and the prorated allotment is less than $10, deny the application. When the prorated month is more than $10, approve the first month and close ongoing.
When the budgetary unit is eligible for more than one month, all of the following apply:
The approval period begins with the first month the budgetary unit is eligible. This is done even though the first month is not paid because the benefit amount is less than $10.
The budgetary unit is sent a decision notice explaining the approval period and that they will not receive benefits for the first month.
The application may be denied due to the fault of the budgetary unit in the first 30 calendar days. (See NA Delays in Processing) When the budgetary unit complies during the next 30 calendar day period, benefits are prorated considering all of the following:
The denial may be due to the lack of an interview. Benefits are prorated from the later of one of the following dates:
The date the interview is completed
The first day of the second month
The denial may be due to the budgetary unit's failure to provide verification. Benefits are prorated from the date the required verification is provided.
NA Aggregate Allotment
NA benefits for the first approval month are prorated from the date the application is turned in to the end of the application month.
The aggregate allotment is the total amount of benefits a budgetary unit is authorized to receive for the first two months.
An aggregate allotment is issued to budgetary units when both of the following occur:
The budgetary unit applies for the first month's benefits after the 15th calendar day of the month
They are determined eligible for the application month and the following month
The aggregate allotment includes the prorated month's allotment and the full benefit for the second month.
The aggregate allotment is issued to eligible budgetary units subject to NA proration in the first approval month. The second month's benefits are included in an aggregate allotment only after establishing ongoing eligibility for the second month.
The aggregate allotment is issued after the budgetary unit completes both of the following:
The application process
All required verification is provided (except postponed verification)
NOTE Expedites are entitled to aggregate allotments even when verification is postponed.
Determining the NA Benefit Amount
AZTECS determines the benefit amount based on the information keyed. AZTECS subtracts 30% of the NA net income from the Thrifty Food Plan amount for the appropriate budgetary unit size. The resulting amount is the budgetary unit's eligible benefit amount before recoupment or NA proration.
When the NA budgetary unit is eligible, AZTECS performs the allotment test.
When the NA benefit for an eligible one or two participant budgetary unit is less than the minimum NA allotment, the benefit must be rounded up to the minimum NA allotment.
When the NA benefit for an eligible three or more participant budgetary unit is less than the minimum NA allotment, the actual benefit amount must be paid.
When a budgetary unit is eligible for less than the minimum NA allotment, in an initial month due to proration, both of the following apply:
The budgetary unit is in eligible no pay status when the benefit is less than $10.
The actual benefit must be paid when the benefit is $10 or more. (See Proration of the First Month’s Benefits)
Income Eligibility Tests in the Eligibility Determination
The income eligibility tests are performed systematically and include the NA gross income test for regular NA budgetary units, and the NA net income test for both regular and special category budgetary units. (See NA Special Considerations, NA Gross Income Test and NA Net Income Test)
The final allotment test, which compares allotment income to the applicable Thrifty Food Plan amount is also completed systematically. See Thrifty Food Plan for information on how NA allotments are calculated.
The all of the following tasks are preformed to determine eligibility for the NA income tests:
Determines whether the case is an expedited NA case
Checks all other NA eligibility factors for the case before completing the benefit calculations
Totals all countable income
Accumulates all allowable NA expenses and deductions and applies these to the total income
Compares the resulting calculation to all of the following program limits for the final determination:
NA gross monthly income eligibility standard
NA net monthly income eligibility standard
Thrifty Food Plan amount
When the case passes the NA gross income test, and the NA net income test AZTECS performs the final allotment test
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