The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by increasing the purchasing power of low-income households. SNAP serves two categories of low-income households: Public Assistance (PA) and Non-public Assistance (NPA).
PA households are those where all members receive or are eligible to receive income from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), TANF Diversionary Assistance, General Relief, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and, households where any member receives VIEW Transitional Payments (VTP).
NPA households are those where at least one member is not eligible to receive income from TANF, TANF Diversionary Assistance, General Relief, or SSI and no one in the household receives VTP. In general, TANF and General Relief applications are also considered applications for SNAP.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires states to measure the accuracy of SNAP eligibility and benefit determinations.
A payment error rate is the percent of dollars paid in error to active households. Payment error rates are computed monthly and annually both for local agencies and statewide. An error may be an overpayment, underpayment, or ineligible payment.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides temporary cash assistance and employment-related services to enable families with children to become self-supporting. It is funded primarily through a federal block grant.
Virginia sets the eligibility criteria for TANF benefits and services and promotes economic independence through participation in the Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW).
VIEW offers employment-related activities, education, training, and needed support services. After leaving the VIEW program, TANF parents who remain employed may be eligible for a 12-month transitional period that could include Extended Medicaid, child care, transportation, and employment and training. This 12-month period is known as VIEW Transitional Payments (VTP).
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – Unemployed Parent (TANF-UP) program provides assistance to families with two able-bodied parents. Both parents must participate in Virginia Initiative for Employment not Welfare (VIEW) unless one of the parents is exempt. Upon employment, TANF-UP parents sign the “VIEW Agreement of Personal Responsibility”. As a reward for work, TANF-UP participants remain eligible for TANF for up to twenty-four months from the date that the personal responsibility agreement is signed. The agreement permits TANF-UP participants to earn wages up to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Established under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, Medicaid enables states to provide medical and health-related services to individuals who meet income, resource, and other eligibility criteria. The criteria differ for each covered group.
Covered groups include: the categorically needy (e.g., the aged, blind, and disabled; Auxiliary Grant cash recipients; and Families and Children, meaning children in foster care or adoption assistance); the medically indigent (e.g., low-income aged, blind, and disabled, and low-income Families and Children such as pregnant women and children under age 19); the medically needy (e.g., the aged, blind, and disabled, and Families and Children including pregnant women, non-Title IV-E children in foster care or adoption assistance, and children in the care of the Juvenile Justice Department); and refugees.
In Virginia, the Department of Medical Assistance Services is the lead state agency and sets Medicaid policy. Local social service offices determine eligibility for most individuals in Medicaid.
Medicaid is jointly funded by state and federal governments. Payments for aged, blind and disabled enrollees account for more than half of Medicaid expenditures, even though these individuals account for less than one-third of all Medicaid enrollees.
About 20 percent of Medicaid spending is for low-income children, who comprise more than half of all Medicaid enrollees.
Unattributed payments are payments made for a variety of Medicaid expenditures that are not captured by the Medicaid Management Information System.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides comprehensive health insurance to uninsured, low-income children under age 19 living in families who are not eligible for Medicaid.
Funded under Title XXI of the Social Security Act, CHIP gives states the flexibility to set eligibility criteria and income levels for coverage. In Virginia, children in families with income greater than Medicaid limits but less than or equal to 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible for the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS). Effective September 2005, women who are pregnant can receive coverage under CHIP.
Due to the SFY 2012 budget shortfall, the General Assembly eliminated state funding for all components of General Relief (GR), with the exception of the unattached child component.
Comprised entirely of state and local funds, GR is an optional program for localities, which allows them to determine and provide assistance in accordance with their own needs and funding capacity.
GR components eliminated included the unemployed employable individual, unemployable individual, institutional care individual, ongoing medical needy individual, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) interim assistance individual. Also eliminated were the food credit authorization, shelter assistance, emergency medical assistance, transient assistance, burial assistance, and clothing assistance. As a consequence of eliminating GR’s adult components, fewer recipients are receiving benefits.
The Energy Assistance Program assists low-income households in meeting immediate home energy needs.
Local DSS offices administer three of the four components: fuel, cooling, and crisis assistance. Fuel assistance purchases primary home heating fuel or pays primary home heating utility bills. Cooling assistance covers electricity security deposits, the purchase or repair of cooling equipment, and/or payment for electricity to operate cooling equipment.
The Energy Assistance program is 100 percent federally funded.
Crisis assistance is designed to meet emergency heating needs. Assistance includes a one-time-only primary heat security deposit, portable heater for temporary use, purchase of primary home heating fuel, payment of primary home heating utility bill, payment for emergency shelter, and/or heating equipment repair or purchase.
The fourth component of Energy Assistance, weatherization assistance, is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
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