A-130, Interview Procedures

A—131 Interviews

Revision 22-3; Effective July 1, 2022

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

Conducting Interviews for Applications and Redeterminations

Conduct the interview with the applicant or the applicant's spouse (if the spouse is a member of the household) to determine eligibility.

Exceptions:

  • A household may designate an authorized representative (AR), who must also sign the application.
  • For SNAP, another responsible household member may also be interviewed.
  • For TSAP redeterminations, no interview is required unless the household requests an interview, the case contains earned income, or it appears the household is going to be denied.

Note: The spouse (or other responsible household member for a SNAP interview) does not have to sign the application to be interviewed. Staff must not exempt the household from any program or verification requirements due to interviewing an AR or conducting a phone interview.

Related Policy

Authorized Representatives, A-170 
SNAP Programs, B-474.1.1 
Texas Simplified Application Project (TSAP) for SNAP Food Benefits, B-477

A—131.1 Home Visits

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

Advisors must provide notice to the household before making any home visit. Application and redetermination interviews must be scheduled in writing. Notification of other home visits may be:

  • verbal,
  • given or mailed to the individual, or
  • by telephone contact with a responsible household member.

The notification should include the time (at least whether morning or afternoon) and date of the visit. Advisors should route the notification for imaging to add to the electronic case record or document the specific information in TIERS Case Comments. If regions have specialized staff that conduct home visits, the documentation may be maintained in a separate location as long as it is accessible if needed.

Home visits to collateral sources do not have to be scheduled in advance.

No one should be denied for refusing to agree to a home visit unless there is no other sufficient and reliable verification available.

Related Policy

Advisor Responsibility for Verifying Information, C932

A—131.2 Requirement to Provide Interpreter or Translation Service

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

HHSC is required to provide interpreter and translation (written or verbal) services to applicants and recipients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Consider an individual with LEP even if they do not request an interpreter on the application if the individual indicates they would like to speak a language other than English during the interview. HHSC is also required to provide an effective method to communicate with applicants and recipients who indicate they are deaf or hearing impaired. Applicants and recipients may indicate on an application or during an interview that they need interpreter services.

A—131.2.1 Availability of Interpreters and Translation Services

Revision 23-1; Effective Jan. 1, 2023

All Programs

Local offices must set up procedures to ensure interpreters and translators are available for applicants or recipients who indicate needing such services on an application.

To meet the requirement for applicants and recipients who indicate they are Limited English Proficiency (LEP), offices can use:

  • Bilingual advisors – when it is reasonably possible to do so, schedule LEP applicant or recipient interviews with bilingual advisors.
  • Bilingual clerical staff – use bilingual clerical staff as interpreters whenever possible.
  • Local community interpreter providers.

Use the following methods for interpretation only after exhausting all local and regional resources:

  • Language Line Services – This service is available to all regions. Staff can access the service by calling 888-985-2683 and using their 11-digit employee identification number.
  • Applicants or recipients may provide their own interpreter if they wish to do so. Note: A minor, 15 or older, can be an interpreter at the person's request and when the minor accompanies the person to the interview. Do not use a minor under 15 as an interpreter.

To meet this requirement for applicants and recipients who indicate they are deaf or hearing impaired, offices can:

  • Schedule a phone interview if the applicant indicates the contact phone on the application is a TDD/TTY line unless the applicant requests a face-to-face interview.  
    Note: Relay Texas can be reached at these numbers:
    • 7-1-1, 800-RELAYTX (800-735-2989), Spanish to English (Spanish speaking callers to English speaking HHSC staff) at 888-777-5861;
    • and Spanish to Spanish at 800-662-4954.
  • If unable to reach the applicant by phone, schedule a face-to-face interview and arrange for interpreter services at the interview location.

Note: In situations where an interpreter services vendor is not available, the use of handwritten notes with the hearing-impaired person is allowed if the notes are an effective and acceptable means of communication for the person.

A—131.2.2 Availability of Translated Written Material

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

Staff must inform applicants/recipients about the availability of translation (written or verbal) services regarding written materials HHSC sends to them by following the two processes below, when applicable.

When staff verbally communicate with LEP applicants/recipients at application, redetermination (including desk reviews) and change actions, staff  must ensure that applicants/recipients understand the eligibility action (Form H1020, Request for Information or Action, and Form TF0001, Notice of Case Action) being taken and the requirements for the  application process (including any missing information being requested). Providing a verbal explanation to all LEP applicants/recipients in their preferred language regarding the eligibility action being taken and/or missing information being requested meets this requirement.

Note: This requirement is not applicable for desk reviews and change actions when staff process the case action without talking with the applicants/recipients.

The Vietnamese Translation Interpreter Form is automatically attached to applicable eligibility notices when clients select Vietnamese as their primary household language.

A—131.3 Interview Requirements

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

During the interview, the interviewer must:

  • protect the applicant's confidentiality and conduct the interview as a confidential discussion of household circumstances;
  • review the application and resolve unclear and incomplete information with the household;
  • advise the household of their rights and responsibilities, including the right to appeal;
  • advise the household of the application processing time frames;
  • advise the household of their responsibility to report changes;
  • ensure that the address on TIERS reflects the individual's current address; and
  • explain the various policies, rights, and responsibilities as required in A-1500, Reminders.

Advisors must take the following actions and provide the following referrals and information during the interview:

  • Verify that the household agrees that the information is complete and correct on the application form and in the case documentation for household composition, income, and expenses;
  • Verify that the income and expense information obtained for past periods (including self-employment) accurately reflect the amounts that can be anticipated for future income and expenses, according to policy in A-1355, How to Project Income. If the information is inaccurate, the advisor must determine why it is inaccurate;
  • Determine whether households with questionable or negative management, as described in A-1710, General Policy, are able to explain how the household's bills are paid;
  • Determine whether households with other discrepancies in information that could affect eligibility are able to provide information to resolve those discrepancies;
  • Determine whether there is a reason for households who have not provided all verification requested on Form H1020, Request for Information or Action, beyond the household's control that prevents the household from providing verifications. If the advisor designates a collateral source, the advisor should accept the individual statement or use other forms of verification for the missing verifications as required by policy in A-1370, Verification Requirements;
  • Determine whether income verification may be calculated based on year-to-date information from other paychecks provided by the household when income verification is missing for a particular pay period(s), rather than requesting it on Form H1020; and
  • Refer the household to other state or local resources for types of assistance the household requested on the application form, such as child care, child support, utilities, or rent, that are provided by other agencies.

TANF

  • Determine whether any adult household member has received TANF cash assistance from another state since October 1999. Refer to A-1920, Determining the Number of FTL Months Used.
  • Determine whether any member of the household has been disqualified in another state for a felony or drug conviction.
  • Determine whether any member of the household has been disqualified from participating in TANF for an intentional program violation (IPV) in another state. See B942, Disqualifying a Household Member with a Current TANF Out-of-State IPV Disqualification, for policy regarding the IPV information the advisor must gather from the other state.
  • Determine whether applicants must provide information on parent(s) living outside of the home to meet child and medical support requirements, or if applicants meet a good cause exemption, as explained in A-1130, Explanation of Good Cause.

SNAP

  • Determine whether households qualifying for the standard medical expense want to claim actual expenses according to the policy in A-1428.3, Budgeting Options;
  • Determine whether the household wants to prorate an expense or income according to policy in A-1428.3; A-1355.1, Budgeting Options for SNAP Households; and A-1358, How to Budget Expenses;
  • Determine whether any household member claims an exemption to Employment and Training (E&T) work requirements;
  • Provide reminders, including the household's change reporting requirement, regarding E&T requirements, able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit policy (if there is an ABAWD in the household), and how the household can obtain and use SNAP benefits issued via EBT;
  • Determine whether an ABAWD received any countable months of benefits in another state; and
  • Determine whether any member of the household has been disqualified from participating in SNAP for an IPV or a felony drug conviction in another state. Note: Data Broker displays current out-of-state IPV disqualification data.

Medical Programs

Determine whether applicants experiencing family violence are exempt from providing information about a member of their MAGI household composition because they fear physical or emotional harm by that person, as explained in A-241.4, Family Violence Exemption.

TP 08

Determine whether applicants must provide information on parent(s) living outside of the home to meet medical support requirements, or if applicants meet a good cause exemption, as explained in A-1130, Explanation of Good Cause.

A—132 Eligibility Factors

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

 TANFSNAPMedical Programs
Household CompositionXXAll Medical Programs*
CitizenshipXXAll Medical Programs*
Social Security numberXXTPs 08, 40, 43, 44, 48, 56
AgeX-TP 08, TA 31, TPs 32, 33, 34, 35, 43, 44, 45, 48, 56
RelationshipX-TP 08, TA 31, TPs 32, 33, 34, 35, 43, 44, 45, 48, 56
IdentityXXAll Medical Programs except TA 31, TP 32, TP 33, TP 34, TP 35 and TP 36*
ResidenceXXAll Medical Programs*
Third-Party ResourcesX-All Medical Programs*
DomicileX-TP 08, TA 31
DeprivationX- 
ResourcesXXTP 56 (children) or TP 32 (children)
Income/Deductions/BudgetingXXAll Medical Programs*
School attendanceX-TP 08
Work registrationXX 
ManagementXXTP 08, TA 31
Responsibility AgreementX- 

* TP 08, TA 31, TPs 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 43, 44, 45, 48 and 56.

Note: For medical programs, the eligibility factors noted above do not necessarily apply in all cases.

A—132.1 Medical Programs Hierarchy

Revision 19-4; Effective October 1, 2019

Medical Programs

Texas Works Medical Programs Hierarchy

StepEligible PersonsWith IncomeType Program CodeTypeProgram
1People ages 18 through 25 who have aged out of foster care in Texas and were enrolled in Medicaid on their 18th birthdayNot ApplicableTP 82MAFormer Foster Care Children (FFCC)
2

People ages 18 through 20 who have aged out of foster care and:

  • are not eligible for FFCC (were not receiving federally funded Medicaid when they aged out of foster care); or
  • who aged out of foster care at age 18 or older, currently reside in Texas, and have had an Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) agreement
At or below program FPLTP 70MAMedicaid for Transitioning Foster Care Youth (MTFCY)
3Pregnant WomenAt or below program FPLTP 40MAPregnant Women
4Pregnant women who are nonimmigrants, undocumented aliens and certain legal permanent residents who have emergency medical conditions and who, except for alien status, would be Medicaid-eligibleAt or below TP 40 FPLTP 36MAPregnant Women - Emergency
5Newborn children of Medicaid-eligible mothers up to age 1, including mothers receiving TP 36 for the deliveryNot ApplicableTP 45MANewborn Children (Deemed)
6Children under age 1At or below program FPLTP 43MAChildren Under Age One
7Children ages 1 through 5At or below program FPLTP 48MAChildren 1–5
8Children ages 6 through 18At or below program FPLTP 44MAChildren 6–18
9Children ages 1 through 5 who are nonimmigrants, undocumented aliens and certain legal permanent residents who have emergency medical conditions and who, except for alien status, would be Medicaid-eligibleAt or below TP 48 FPLTP 33MAChildren 1–5 - Emergency
10Children ages 6 through 18 who are nonimmigrants, undocumented aliens and certain legal permanent residents who have emergency medical conditions and who, except for alien status, would be Medicaid-eligibleAt or below TP 44 FPLTP 34MAChildren 6–18 - Emergency
11Children under age 1 who are nonimmigrants, undocumented aliens and certain legal permanent residents who have emergency medical conditions and who, except for alien status, would be Medicaid-eligibleAt or below TP 43 FPLTP 35MAChildren Under Age One - Emergency
12A parent or caretaker relative caring for a dependent child under age 18 or who meets school attendance requirements who receives MedicaidAt or below program FPLTP 08MAParents and Caretaker Relatives Medicaid
13Nonimmigrants, undocumented aliens and certain legal permanent residents who have emergency medical conditions and who, except for alien status, would be Medicaid-eligible as a parent or caretaker relative of a Medicaid-eligible childAt or below TP 08 FPLTA 31MAParents and Caretaker Relatives - Emergency
14Parents, caretaker relatives and children receiving Medicaid who receive denial due to new or increase in earningsAbove the limits for TP 08TP 07MAEarnings Transitional
15Parents, caretaker relatives and children receiving Medicaid who receive denial due to new or increase in spousal support incomeAbove the limits for TP 08TP 20MAChild Support Transitional
16Uninsured women ages 18 through 64 diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer and presumed eligible for Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer (MBCC)Not ApplicableTA 66MAMBCC Presumptive
17Uninsured women ages 18 through 64 diagnosed with breast or cervical cancerNot ApplicableTA 67MAMBCC
18Children under age 19 and pregnant womenAbove the limits for TPs 40, 43, 44, and 48 FPLTP 56MAMedically Needy with Spend Down
19Nonimmigrants, undocumented aliens and certain legal permanent residents who have emergency medical conditions and who, except for alien status, would be Medicaid-eligible as a pregnant woman or child under age 19Above the limits for TPs 40, 44, or 48 FPL and at or below program limit TP 32MAMedically Needy with Spend Down - Emergency
20Children under age 19 ineligible for Medicaid due to incomeAbove the limits for TPs 43, 48, or 44 FPL, and at or below program limit TA 84CICHIP
21Unborn children whose mother is ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP due to income or immigration statusAbove the limits for TPs 40 and 36, and at or below program limit TA 85CICHIP - Perinatal
22

Former foster care youth ages 21 through 22 attending school of higher education who:

  • are not eligible for FFCC; or
  • who aged out of foster care at age 18 or older, currently reside in Texas, and have had an ICPC agreement.
At or below program FPLTA 77Health Care BenefitsHealth Care - FFCHE
23Children under age 1 presumed to be eligible for Medicaid as determined by a Qualified Hospital (QH)At or below TP 43 FPLTA 74MAChildren Under Age One - Presumptive
24Children ages 1 through 5 presumed to be eligible for Medicaid as determined by a QHAt or below TP 44 FPLTA 75MAChildren 1–5 - Presumptive
25Children ages 6 through 18 presumed to be eligible for Medicaid as determined by a QHAt or below TP 48 FPLTA 76MAChildren 6–18 - Presumptive
26Parents and caretaker relatives presumed to be eligible for TP 08 by a QH At or below TP 08 FPLTA 86MAParents and Caretaker Relatives - Presumptive
27Former Foster Care Children presumed to be eligible for Medicaid by a QHNot ApplicableTA 83MAFFCC - Presumptive
28Healthy Texas WomenAt or below program   FPLTA 41MAHealthy Texas Women
29Pregnant women presumed to be eligible for TP 40 by a QH or Qualified Entity (QE)At or below TP 40 FPLTP 42 Pregnant Women - Presumptive

Notes:

  • If the pregnant woman or child under age 19 indicates unpaid medical expenses for any of the three months prior to application month or for the application month, determine eligibility under the following programs:
    • TP 56, Medically Needy with Spend Down, for pregnant women and children under age 19 who are ineligible for Medicaid because of income.
    • TP 32 Medically Needy with Spend Down - Emergency, for pregnant women and children under age 19 who are ineligible for Medicaid because of income and alien status.
  • Children ages 0 thru 18 who are ineligible for medical programs because of income are tested for CHIP.

Related Policy

Income Limits, C-131 
Qualified Hospital/Qualified Entity Procedures for Presumptive Eligibility Determinations, C-1113 
Guidelines for Providing Retroactive Coverage for Children and Medical Programs, C-1114 
Type Programs (TP) and Type Assistance (TA), C-1150 
Former Foster Care in Higher Education (FFCHE), Part F 
Medicaid for Transitioning Foster Care Youth (MTFCY), Part M 
Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer (MBCC), Part X 
Healthy Texas Women, Part W

A—132.2 Guidelines for Pregnant Women

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

See A-240, Medical Programs.

A—133 Rights and Responsibilities

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs except TP 33, TP 34, TP 35, TP 43, TP 44, TP 45 and TP 48

Before completing the interview, advisors must ensure that the applicant:

  • provides all of the information requested on the application;
  • reports any changes that occurred since filling the application; and
  • reads and understands the individual's rights and responsibilities as explained on the application.

TANF and TP 08

Advisors must also ensure that:

  • the applicant reads and understands the rights and responsibilities of the child support program explained on Form H1712, Explanation of Child/Medical Support, Family Violence and Good Cause;
  • TANF applicants read and understand Form H2580, TANF Employment Services Notice, and receive a copy of the form; and
  • TANF applicants read, understand and sign Form H1073, Personal Responsibility Agreement.

SNAP

Advisors must provide the applicant with Form H1805, SNAP Food Benefits: Your Rights and Program Rules.

TP 33, TP 34, TP 35, TP 43, TP 44 and TP 48

Before completing the interview, if requested, ensure the applicant:

  • completes all sections of the application; and
  • reads and understands an individual's and responsibilities as explained on Form H1010, Texas Works Application for Assistance — Your Texas Benefits, and Form H1205, Texas Streamlined Application.

A—134 Documentation Guidelines

Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

A complete list of documentation requirements for determining eligibility can be found at the conclusion of each eligibility section within the Texas Works Handbook. TIERS Data Collection pages handle a vast majority of the required documentation for case records. For the remaining small percentage of documentation still required by policy, staff must include the information in TIERS Case Comments. For documentation that is not captured within the Data Collection pages, a comprehensive guide, The Texas Works Documentation Guide, has been developed. This documentation guide outlines the requirements for documentation that must be entered in TIERS Case Comments.

A—135 Pending Information

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs except TP 40

If the applicant cannot furnish all required proof during the interview or with the application, advisors must allow the household at least 10 days to provide the information. The due date must be a workday. Advisors must determine what sources of proof are readily available to the household and request that information first as sufficient proof. B-115, Pending Verification on Applications, includes more information on verification procedures.

Advisors must provide the applicant Form H1020, Request for Information or Action, explaining:

  • what is needed,
  • the due date for receipt of the information, and
  • the date the advisor
  •  must deny the application if the advisor does not receive the information.

Advisors should attach to Form H1020 the page of Form H1020-A, Sources of Proof, that corresponds to the verification requested.

Medical Programs

The advisor must not request additional verification if verification is available through electronic data sources.

TP 40

Advisors should not allow 10 days for the applicant to provide verification if doing so exceeds the 15-workday processing time frame and verification can be postponed.

A—136 Eligibility Decision and Privacy Notice

Revision 22-1; Effective January 1, 2022

All Programs

After obtaining all required proof, dispose of the application and provide the applicant Form TF0001, Notice of Case Action, detailing the decision.

Medical Programs

HIPAA requires HHSC to provide a notice of privacy practices that explains:

  • the person's privacy rights;
  • the duties of HHSC to protect the person's health information; and
  • how HHSC may use or disclose the person's health information without an authorization. For example, HHSC may share health information with the person's providers to arrange for services or with other government entities to report suspected abuse or neglect.

Provide Form 0401, Notice of Privacy Practices (English), or Form 0401S, Aviso de Normas Sobre la Privacidad (Spanish), as appropriate, to each household enrolled in a medical program.

Provide Form 0401 or Form 0401S with Form TF0001, Notice of Case Action, to each head of household:

  • at initial certification; and
  • at recertification after a break in services of more than 180 days.

Form 0403, Explanation to Health Information Privacy Rights, provides a reminder of privacy practices and where to find Form 0401.

Provide Form 0403 with Form TF0001 to each head of household:

  • at each recertification;
  • after a break in services of at least 30 days but not more than 180 days; and
  • when a new person is added to a case.

A—137 Prudent Person Principle

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

The policies and procedures included in the handbook are rules for determining eligibility. It is impossible to provide examples for all policy situations. When staff encounter rare and unusual situations, HHSC encourages them to use reason and apply good judgment in making eligibility decisions. The "prudent person" principle allows staff to make reasonable decisions based on the best available information using:

  • common sense,
  • program knowledge,
  • experience, and
  • expertise.

Staff should document the rationale used to make a decision and any applicable handbook references.