600-2          DEFINITIONS


The following terms are used throughout this manual.  Additional terms and definitions are located at MS 603 and in chapter 101-1 of the Administrative Procedures Manual.


Adult: A person age 18 or older.  If less than 18 years of age, a person who is not under parental control of another adult.  Refer to definition of parental control.


Agency Error: An incorrect issuance of SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits caused by an error by agency staff in budgeting, invalid computer programming, misunderstanding of policy, etc.  See MS 607-3C.


Authorized Representative: A responsible adult knowledgeable about the household's circumstances designated in writing by a responsible member of the SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program household to act on its behalf.  The authorized representative may apply for the household and purchase food with SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for the household.  Emergency authorized representatives must be designated in the same manner.   See MS 601-2F and 601-2G.


Automatic Deduction: An on-line overpayment claim collection method where EISEligibility Information System automatically deducts a per

centage or specific amount from a regular, supplemental, reinstated, or corrective benefit.  Also referred to as allotment reduction and recoupment.  See MS 607-4B.


Boarder: An individual to whom a household furnishes meals, or meals and lodging, in exchange for money at a monthly rate at least equal to the maximum SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  allotment amount for a one-person household.  If the household furnishes two meals or less a day, the payment must be at least equal to two-thirds of the maximum SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  allotment for one person.  See MS 605-1C.


Budget Month: The month from which the income and expenses are used to calculate the household's SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  allotment for the corresponding issuance month.  The budget month and issuance month are the same.  See MS 603-1.


Categorical Eligibility: For households in which all members receive federally funded Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANFTemporary Assistance for Needy Families), such as ATAPAlaska Temporary Assistance Program or Native Family Assistance, and/or SSISupplemental Security Income , some eligibility factors are not considered in the determinations of initial and ongoing SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  eligibility.  The factors are: social security numbers, residency, sponsored aliens, resources, and the gross and net income limits.  See MS 605-6.


Change Reporting: A reporting requirement method in which households receiving SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are required to report certain changes in their situation within ten (10) days from when they know of the change.  The agency has ten (10) days to take action on the reported change and must give the household ten (10) days notice before adversely affecting the household's benefits.  This is commonly referred to as the 10-10-10 rule.


Child: A person under 18 years of age.


Claim Determination: An action taken by the agency when a SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  overpayment has occurred.  A claim determination establishes the amount of overpayment and the client's liability for   repayment.  See MS 607-3.


Corrective Benefit: A benefit issued when the household is owed SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits due to an agency-caused error and the benefit is issued in the same month the benefit was intended.  This is often called a supplemental benefit.


Countable Month: A month in which an ABAWDAble-bodied Adult Without Dependents receives SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in Alaska or out-of-state during which he/she does not work at least 80 hours in that month, is not in an approved work program at least 80 hours a month, or is not exempt from the work requirement. See section 602-1L.


Dependent Child: A child under the age of 18 included in the SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  benefit.


Disabled: A person receiving disability benefits listed under the definition Special Category Individual is considered disabled.  This definition of disabled also applies to alien eligibility determinations.


Elderly: A person age 60 years or older is considered elderly for SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  purposes.


Eligible Foods: Any food or product intended for human consumption except alcoholic beverages, tobacco, hot foods, and hot food products prepared for immediate consumption.  Seeds and plants to grow food for personal consumption by the SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  household are eligible.  Also eligible are snack foods, candy, soft drinks, chewing gum, lard, vegetable oil, pectin, specialty foods such as dietary foods, infant formulas, distilled water, and ice.  Eligible foods include meals prepared and served by a facility to residents who are blind or disabled and meet the definition of SPECATSpecial Category Household/Individual individual. Not included as eligible foods are vitamins, minerals, laundry starch, soap, pet food, aspirin, cough drops, antacid, cold remedies, and paper products.


Federal Minimum Wage: The federal minimum wage is $6.55 an hour effective July 24, 2008; and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.  Go to the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division website at https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/wages/minimumwage for the current minimum wage amount.  Employers may pay a training wage, under certain conditions, of $4.25 an hour for up to 90 days to employees under the age of 20.


Fee Agent:  A paid volunteer who is authorized by the Department of Health & Social Services Division of Public Assistance to make applications available to households, assist applicants in completing the application and related forms, conduct required interviews, secure required verification, and forward completed applications and supporting documentation to the DPADivision of Public Assistance office.


Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIRFood Distribution Program on Indian Reservations):  A federal program that provides commodity foods to low-income households living on Indian reservations and to Native American families residing in designated areas of Alaska.


General Assistance (GAGeneral Assistance): Assistance payments from a state or local government program that help cover an eligible household's rent, clothing, and food needs, etc.  General assistance is cash provided by vendor payment or direct payment to the household.  This does not include "in-kind" assistance such as a donation of clothing or furniture items.  See MS 602-3D(30).


Homeless Individual: An individual who lacks a fixed and regular nighttime residence or an individual whose primary nighttime residence is:


  1. A supervised shelter designed to provide temporary accommodations; or,
  2. A halfway house or similar institution that provides temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or,
  3. A temporary accommodation in the residence of another individual not to exceed 90 days; or,
  4. A place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (a hallway, a bus station, a lobby or similar places).


Inadvertent Household Error: An incorrect issuance of SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits caused by client error due to circumstances such as failure to understand program requirements.  See MS 607-3B.


Initial Benefit: The first monthly benefit, or the first monthly benefit following any break in participation.  Initial benefits are prorated from the date the application is received by the district office or fee agent.


Initial Month: The first month the household is certified for participation in SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program following any period it was not participating.  Refer to MS 603-3A.


Institution of Higher Education: Any institution of post-secondary education that normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment, including but not limited to colleges, universities, and vocational or technical schools.  Normally requires can mean that a person is required to have a diploma or equivalency certificate, but persons not having either may be enrolled by passing an entrance examination.


In some Alaska community colleges, trade schools, and vocational-technical schools, many of the various curricula do not require a diploma or the equivalent for enrollment.  For example, secretarial schools will offer courses in typing, stenography, etc. and other schools will train workers to obtain licenses as beauty technicians, bartenders, auto mechanics, etc.  Those enrolled in curricula not requiring a high school diploma would not be considered enrolled in an institution of higher education.


However, certain curricula offered by these schools may require a diploma or equivalent for enrollment.  These can include curricula such as licensed practical nursing and aircraft mechanics.  Where the curriculum in such schools requires a diploma or equivalent, the students enrolled for completion of the required courses in that curriculum would be considered as enrolled in an institution of higher education.


Therefore, for schools offering varied curricula, the determination of whether it is an institution of higher education should be made based on the normal enrollment requirements of each curriculum.


Institution of Post-secondary Education: Any public or private educational institution which normally:


  1. Requires a high school diploma, or equivalency, for enrollment; or,
  2. Provides an educational program beyond secondary education and is so recognized by the Department of Education Post-Secondary Education Commission; or,
  3. Provides a program of training to prepare students for gainful employment.


Intentional Program Violation: The client:


  1. Made a false or misleading statement, misrepresented, concealed or withheld facts to obtain SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to which the client was not entitled; or
  2. Committed any act that constitutes a violation of the Food Stamp Act, SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program regulations, or any State statute relating to the use, presentation, transfer, acquisition, receipt, or possession of SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  benefits.  See MS 607-3A


Issuance Month: The month for which the SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allotment is issued.  An allotment may be issued for the issuance month after the end of the month.  Therefore, the issuance month is not always the month in which the allotment is issued, but the month for which it is issued.


Maximum Allowable Income Standards: There are two sets of income standards to be considered when determining SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility.  A regular household must meet both the gross and net income standards to be eligible.  A Special Category household must meet the net monthly income standards to be eligible.  See MS 603-2.


Mixed Household: A household in which some, but not all, members receive financial assistance from TANFTemporary Assistance for Needy Families , APAAdult Public Assistance or SSISupplemental Security Income .


Month of Application: The calendar month in which an application is received by a DPADivision of Public Assistance office or fee agent.  It is the first month of the household's certification period if determined eligible.  Even if the application is received the last calendar day of the month and eligibility is not determined until the following month, prorated SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  benefits shall be provided for the application month.  See MS 601.


Non-Countable Month: A month in which an ABAWDAble-bodied Adult Without Dependents receives -



Opportunity to Participate: Occurs when an eligible household member has access to SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program  benefits.


Offset: An on-line overpayment claim collection method where EISEligibility Information System applies the amount of a restored benefit as payment toward an existing unpaid claim.  Only restored benefits can be used to offset a claim balance.


Overissuance: The amount of SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits issued to a household in excess of the amount it was entitled to receive.  See MS 607.


Parental Control: To be considered under the parental control of an adult household member, children under 18 must be living with one or both parents or an adult who is caring for them as if he/she were their parent, i.e., providing for basic needs such as lodging, meals, etc.


Participation in SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Occurs when a household is determined eligible, issued SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, and has access to the benefits issued.  Categorically eligible households entitled to a zero allotment are considered to be participating in the program.  



A household is considered to be participating in the program during a month the case is suspended.


Prospective Budgeting: A type of budgeting in which the household's SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allotment is based on income and circumstances expected to exist in the issuance month.  See MS 603.


Prospective Eligibility: The determination of eligibility based on anticipated income and circumstances in the issuance month.


Public Assistance (PA) Household:


 A household in which all members receive:



Refusal to Cooperate: The failure by a household to take actions that are required for program participation and which the household is able to take.  See MS 601-4B.


Regular Benefit: A regular monthly benefit that is not an initial benefit.


Regular Household: All households participating in the program except Special Category Households.


Reinstated Benefit: A benefit, equaling the amount in question, paid to a household entitled to continued benefits following a timely fair hearing request related to a benefit reduction or case closure.  Also referred to as aid paid pending.  See Administrative Manual section 117.


Restored Benefit: An entitlement benefit previously not issued which is made to an eligible household.  The amount of the under issuance to be restored must be determined, reduced by any outstanding claim balance and paid to the client.  See MS 607-2.


Separate Household: Exists where more than one household shares common living quarters but purchase and prepare their food separately.   Applicants claiming separate household status must provide statements that they are separate households when questionable.  Separate household status cannot be given to children under the age of 18 living under parental control, children under the age of 22 living with their parents, and spouses living together.  See MS 602-1A.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) : The total monthly dollar value of the SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit authorized for the household.


Special Category (SPECATSpecial Category Household/Individual) Household: A SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program household containing at least one Special Category (SPECATSpecial Category Household/Individual) Individual.


Special Category (SPECATSpecial Category Household/Individual) Individual: An individual who is elderly or disabled as defined by meeting at least one of the following criteria:


  1. Is at least 60 years of age by the last day of the month of application; or
  2. Receives Supplemental Security Income (SSISupplemental Security Income) benefits; or
  3. Receives Social Security disability payments; or
  4. Receives Aid to the Blind or Aid to the Disabled; or
  5. Receives Interim Assistance under the Adult Public Assistance Program; or
  6. Receives disability retirement benefits from a government agency because of a disability considered permanent under Section 221(i) of the Social Security Act; or
  7. Receives an annuity payment under the Railroad Retirement Act and either is determined to be eligible to receive Medicare or is determined to be disabled; or
  8. Is a veteran receiving VAVeteran's Administration compensation payments and has been rated or paid as totally disabled (100 percent) by VAVeteran's Administration ; or
  9. Is a veteran or surviving spouse who has been determined by VAVeteran's Administration to be permanently house-bound or in need of regular aid in attendance; or
  10. Is a surviving child of a veteran and considered by VAVeteran's Administration to be permanently incapable of self-support; or
  11. Is a surviving spouse or child of a veteran, and entitled to compensation for a service-connected death or pension benefit for a non-service connected death under Title 38 of the U.S. Code and has a permanent disability under the Social Security Act.


Spouse: Either one of two individuals who have been legally married. This includes same-sex spouses if married in a state that recognizes such marriages.


SSISupplemental Security Income Household: A household in which all members receive Supplemental Security Income (SSISupplemental Security Income).


Standard Utility Deduction (SUDStandard Utility Deduction): A year-round utility standard, established for each utility region that includes all utility costs that are separate from the rent or mortgage payments.  The SUDStandard Utility Deduction is comprised of costs for electricity, gas, heating, fuel, water, garbage collection, sewer, and telephone.  See MS 602-4E(2).


Subsistence Equipment: For certain households living in areas of Alaska where access to food stores is difficult and the households rely on hunting and/or fishing for subsistence, equipment for procuring food is eligible for purchase with SNAPSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.  This includes nets, lines, hooks, fishing rods, harpoons, knives, ice augers and other equipment necessary for subsistence hunting and/or fishing.  Equipment for the purpose of transportation, clothing, shelter, firearms, ammunition, and explosives are not eligible.  See MS 605-4B.


Subsistence Hunting/Fishing: A household is considered to be engaged in subsistence hunting and/or fishing when it customarily and traditionally depends on hunting and/or fishing for a substantial portion of its food needs.


Supplemental Benefit: A benefit that represents an additional portion of a regular monthly benefit that is due a household.  The household is entitled to a supplemental benefit when the regular monthly benefit has already been issued and the household reports:



Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANFTemporary Assistance for Needy Families): Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANFTemporary Assistance for Needy Families) is a block grant program that provides assistance and work opportunities to needy families by granting each state and certain tribal organizations federal funds to develop and implement their own programs.


In Alaska, TANFTemporary Assistance for Needy Families funds the Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP), including Diversion payments, administered by the State of Alaska Division of Public Assistance, and the Native Family Assistance programs, administered by Alaska Native tribal organizations.


Work: Work as it applies to the ABAWDAble-bodied Adult Without Dependents work requirement, includes paid employment, hours spent at a self-employment activity, hours spent doing unpaid volunteer community service work, and hours spent working in exchange for non-cash benefits or services.  See MS 602-1L for ABAWDAble-bodied Adult Without Dependents work requirement policy.  See MS 605-2D for definition of self-employment.



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2020-01 (04/20)