State of Oklahoma
Department of Human Services
TO: COUNTY DIRECTORS
FROM: Dan Fitzgerald
Interim Family Support Services Director
DATE: January 31, 2002
RE: FS Program - Household Composition
We have received a federal interpretation from Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) regarding whether a child living with a parent on weekends and occasional other times could be claimed as part of the parent’s FS household. This involves situations where parents of the child(ren) live in separate homes and may apply for FS benefits during the same month, both listing the child(ren) as household members.
Food Stamp program federal regulations provide, with certain exceptions, a household shall consist of persons who live together and purchase and prepare meals together. Persons living in the FS household for any month must live with the household and purchase and prepare meals with the household for at least part of the month. “Part” of the month has not been defined and State agencies may establish their own procedures as long as duplicate participation is not allowed (i.e., the child is claimed as a household member in more than one household in the same month).
Oklahoma state FS program policy in 340:50-5-2 states:
“An individual who is away from the home for extended periods during the month, but who returns to the home for part of each month, may be considered a member of the food stamp household.”
In instances where both the father and mother of the child(ren) participate in the Food Stamp program during the same month, the parent who has the child(ren) in his/her home the majority of time, would be authorized to include the child(ren) in his/her FS household. It should be stressed this interpretation specifically relates to instances where both parents are receiving or apply for FS benefits during the same month and have included the child(ren) in the FS household composition.
We hope this interpretation will be helpful in making appropriate decisions regarding FS household composition. Please contact the FSSD/FS section at 405-521-3444 if you have further questions.