Revision 17-3; Effective July 1, 2017

 

 

A—2010 General Policy

Revision 14-2; Effective April 1, 2014

 

All Programs

Staff must use available technology to verify identity and prevent duplicate participation.

Related Policy
Identity, A-600
Duplicate Participation, B-421.1
Duplicate Participation Procedures, B-454.1
Claims, B-700
Referrals for Intentional Program Violation (IPV), B-900
Establishing Identity for Contact Outside the Interview Process, B-1213

 

A—2020 Authenticating a Caller

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

With more interviews completed by telephone, it is crucial that staff confirm the identity of the person being interviewed. Staff must ask identifying questions to confirm the identity of the person when interviewing by telephone. In addition to clearing all discrepancies, these questions serve as a tool to authenticate the caller.

At the start of the interview, staff should explain that the authentication questions help ensure the caller's identity and protect their confidentiality and information.

Note: This policy only applies to those programs that require an interview, or when the individual requests an interview.

 

A—2020.1 Authentication Questions and Verification Sources

Revision 17-3; Effective July 1, 2017

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

Staff must ask client-related questions from the list below to verify the caller’s identity. Staff should ask questions to which the individual, authorized representative (AR), or personal representative (PR) generally will know the answers, but which are not easily known by others. This applies to ARs/PRs outside the household as well as household members. Available verification sources should be used to choose the questions and verify the responses of the person being interviewed. These sources include but are not limited to:

  • Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System (TIERS);
  • Data Broker; and
  • Birth Verification System (BVS).

Staff should have the verification information for the client-related questions available during the interview to immediately confirm the responses. Not all the questions are applicable to every household, and staff should use prudent judgment to determine whether enough questions apply to the household's situation and whether the person being interviewed provides accurate responses.

From the lists below, staff should ask as many head of household-related questions as needed to allow the person being interviewed an opportunity to respond accurately to a total of two questions.

Initially, questions with available verifications should be chosen from a source other than the application, such as:

  1. What is your Texas driver license or Texas state identification number?
  2. What was a previous address for any place you lived?
  3. Who are your neighbors?
  4. What is/was the date of your wedding anniversary?
  5. When was your divorce final?

If the person being interviewed cannot provide two accurate responses to any of the above questions, staff should ask as many of these additional questions as needed to receive a total of two accurate responses:

  1. What is the Social Security number for a child (any child) on your case?
  2. What is the date of birth for a child (any child) on your case?
  3. What type of vehicle do you or another household member own?
  4. Who are the members of your household?
  5. What types of income do you or a member of your household receive?
  6. From whom do you receive child support?
  7. What is your alien registration number?
  8. What is your (or your wife's) maiden name?
  9. What is the name of a bank/financial institution where you have an account?
  10. Who was a previous/last employer for you or another household member?
  11. What is the name of your mortgage company or landlord?
  12. To whom do you pay child support?

If necessary, staff may request a credit report on the head of household:

  • for applicants new to Texas;
  • when none of the above questions apply to the household's situation; or
  • when you cannot gather verification of the responses from the sources listed above.

Information from the head of household's credit report may be used to develop questions to authenticate the caller. Examples of credit report questions to authenticate the caller include:

  1. What is the name of a gas station or department store with which you have a credit card?
  2. What is the name of a major credit card you have (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, etc.)?
  3. What is the name of the bank/financial institution with which you have/had a student loan?
  4. What is the name of the bank/financial institution with which you have/had a car loan?

Staff must document responses to the questions according to requirements in A-2050, Documentation Requirements.

Related Policy
Prudent Person Principle, A-137
Establishing Identity for Contact Outside the Interview Process, B-1213
Telephone Contact, B-1213.1
Actions on Inaccurate Responses to the Questions, A-2020.3
Documentation Requirements, A-2050

 

A—2020.2 Actions When Unable to Authenticate the Caller

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

If none of the questions apply to a particular case situation or responses cannot be verified, staff should follow regional authentication policy and submit a policy clearance request to a local field policy specialist.

 

A—2020.3 Actions on Inaccurate Responses to the Questions

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

If enough questions are applicable to the case but the individual cannot provide accurate responses to any two questions to authenticate the individual’s identity, the individual should be advised that:

  • the interview will be completed in order to gather required information; and
  • the individual must come to the local office and provide verification of the individual’s identity in person.

In the TIERS Appointment – Details page, Caller Authentication tab, staff should answer “No” to the question “Did caller accurately respond to the authentication questions?” and document in the page-level comments section the questions asked and the inaccurate responses provided.

TIERS will:

  • pend for the individual to come into the office with identification and any missing information; and
  • send the individual Form H1020, Request for Information or Action, requesting that the individual provide proof of identity at a local office.

Expedited Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applicants must follow current policy and provide proof of identity before receiving expedited benefits.

An active Eligibility Determination Group (EDG) must not be denied when adding a program if the individual fails to come to the local office to verify identity.

Related Policy
Pending Information, A-135
Expedited Service, A-140
Pending Verification on Applications, B-115
Processing Redeterminations, B-122

 

A—2020.4 Claiming Hardship for Coming to the Office

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

If the person being interviewed states the individual is unable to come to the local office, the person should be allowed to claim hardship for any of the following reasons:

  • Residence is more than 30 miles from the certification office (even if an itinerant office is less than 30 miles from the individual's home);
  • Work or training schedule;
  • Transportation difficulties;
  • Prolonged severe weather;
  • Illness;
  • Care of a household member (the household member does not have to be part of the certified household); or
  • Victims of family violence.

The individual must provide proof of identity by mail, email or fax.

 

A—2020.5 Actions When Verification Is Provided at the Local Office

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

If the individual comes to the local office and provides appropriate verification, staff should refer to the Appointment – Details page, Caller Authentication tab, answer “Yes” to the question “Did caller accurately respond to the authentication questions?”, and document in the page-level comments section the verification provided.

 

A—2020.6 Denial for Failure to Authenticate Identity

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

If the individual does not come to the local office with acceptable verification of identity by the Form H1020, Request for Information or Action, due date, TIERS will create a task to deny only the EDG for which the authentication questions were asked, using the denial reason “failure to provide required information within specified time frame.”

Related Policy
Pending Information, A-135
Pending Verification on Applications, B-115
Processing Redeterminations, B-122

 

A—2030 Prevention of Duplicate Participation

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

All Programs

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) staff must verify that household members do not currently receive benefits by already participating in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid and/or SNAP, at application and when adding a new household member.

Related Policy
Duplicate Participation, B-421.1
Changes Affecting Benefits, B-640

 

A—2030.1 Inquiry and Sources

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

All Programs

HHSC staff must use existing technology, such as TIERS, Data Broker, State Online Query (SOLQ), etc., to verify the household members do not receive duplicate benefits.

At application, staff must:

  • perform a TIERS file clearance to identify any household members receiving benefits in TANF, Medicaid or SNAP;
  • use available online sources to verify the validity of information provided by the individual and missing or questionable information;
  • contact the household and allow the individual the opportunity to explain any discrepancy; and/or
  • send the household Form H1020, Request for Information or Action, requesting information or proof to resolve the discrepancies, if necessary.

Related Policy
Registering an Application, A-122.3
Automated Support Systems, C-800

 

A—2030.2 Duplicate Participation Match Procedures

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

All Programs

If a household member is currently active for the same program on another EDG, HHSC staff must:

  • notify the corresponding HHSC office by email or telephone;
  • determine the correct EDG/case that will remain open;
  • deny TANF, Medicaid and SNAP, if needed to prevent duplicate participation; and
  • refer the household to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for a TANF and/or SNAP overpayment.

Staff should refer to B-771, Filing an Overpayment Referral Using Automated System for the Office of Inspector General (ASOIG), and B-772, Filing an Overpayment Referral Using TIERS, for instructions on submitting a fraud and/or non-fraud referral to OIG. Staff may use either the TIERS interface with ASOIG or initiate the fraud referral directly in ASOIG.

Related Policy
Duplicate Participation, B-421.1
Participation Twice in Same Month, B-454
Duplicate Participation Procedures, B-454.1
Claims, B-700
Referrals for Intentional Program Violation (IPV), B-900

 

A—2040 Verification Requirements

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

All Programs

TIERS file clearance and any other available sources may be used to verify the identity of the person being interviewed and that the household does not receive duplicate benefits.

Related Policy
Verification Sources, A-621
Questionable Information, C-920
Providing Verification, C-930

 

A—2040.1 Authentication of Caller Identity Verification Sources

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31 verification sources include:

  • Adoption papers or records
  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of U.S. citizenship
  • Wage or check stub or check
  • Collateral statement
  • Department of Public Safety (DPS) identification card (current or expired)
  • Driver license
  • Finding of citizenship by another federal/state agency
  • Hospital or birth records
  • Identification card issued by federal/state/local government
  • Immigration documents
  • Military dependent’s identification card with photo or other identifying info
  • School identification card
  • Tribal enrollment card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card with photo or other identifying info
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. military card/draft record with photo or other identifying info
  • Voter registration card
  • Work identification

 

A—2050 Documentation Requirements

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

 

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

Staff must document in the Appointment – Details page, Caller Authentication tab, whether the caller was or was not verified. Staff must also document with a brief statement indicating which questions were correctly answered (e.g., "Caller verified Texas driver license and name of mortgage company"). If the caller fails to correctly answer the questions, staff notes which questions were asked and the inaccurate responses provided. Staff also documents whether the individual came into the office and provided verification of identity or claimed hardship.

Staff must document in TIERS Case Comments if an OIG referral was made via ASOIG; otherwise, the TIERS functionality is used.

Related Policy
Documentation, C-940
The Texas Works Documentation Guide