UK – The Bastard has discovered that the government has awarded Tesco’s a secret contract to run a pilot scheme to introduce food vouchers for the unemployed, disabled and those on income support.
The contract was put out to secret tender and was the subject of fierce competition from the other supermarkets. It is believed that what swung it for Tesco’s was the giving of food vouchers to students who’s grants were late during the recent educational grants funding scandal.
The Tesco’s scheme is to be based on the American “Food Stamp Program”, recently re-named “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (SNAP) The United Kingdom scheme will be called TSNAP “Tesco’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”
Our mole in the DWP slipped us a copy of the FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is TSNAP for?
TSNAP helps put food on the table for some 4 million people per month . It provides low-income households with electronic benefits they can use like cash at most stores and supermarkets. TSNAP is the cornerstone of the Department of Work and Pensions food assistance programs, and provides crucial support to needy households and to those making the transition from welfare to work.
Tesco’s administers TSNAP at the National level through its network of superstores. the Department of Work and Pensions administer the program at a local level, including determination of eligibility and allotments, and distribution of benefits.
2. Who is TSNAP for?
Households must meet eligibility requirements and provide information — and verification — about their household circumstances. United kingdom citizens and some aliens who are admitted for permanent residency may qualify. The welfare reform act of 2009 ended eligibility for many legal immigrants, though the courts later restored benefits to many children and elderly immigrants, as well as some specific groups. The welfare reform act also placed time limits on benefits for unemployed, able-bodied, childless adults.
Local TSNAP supermarkets can provide information about eligibility, and DWP operates a free phone number (0800-???-????) for people to receive information about TSNAP.
To participate in TSNAP:
- Households may have no more than Â£1,000 in countable resources, such as a bank account (£1,500 if at least one person in the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled). Certain resources are not counted, such as a home and lot. Special rules are used to determine the resource value of vehicles owned by household members.
- The Gross monthly income of most households must be 130 percent or less of the National poverty guidelines (£1,000 per month for a family of three in most places, effective Apr. 4, 2010 through Apr. 3, 2011). Gross income includes all cash payments to the household, with a few exceptions specified in the law or the program regulations.
- Net monthly income must be 100 percent or less of Federal poverty guidelines (£700 per month for a household of three in most places, effective Apr. 4, 2010 through Apr. 3, 2011). Net income is figured by adding all of a household’s gross income, and then taking a number of approved deductions for child care, some shelter costs and other expenses. Households with an elderly or disabled member are subject only to the net income test.
- Most able-bodied adult applicants must meet certain work requirements.
- All household members must provide a Social Security number or apply for one.
The National poverty guidelines are established by the Office of National Statistics, and are updated annually by The UK Statistics Authority.
3. Do I need to be a United Kingdom citizen to receive TSNAP benefits?
Certain non-citizens, such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons, those from the EU, those admitted for permanent residence, many children, elderly immigrants and individuals who have been working in the United Kingdom for certain periods of time, are eligible for TSNAP. Eligible household members can get TSNAP benefits even if there are other members of the household who are not eligible.
4. How do I Obtain TSNAP benefits?
Go to the local Tesco’s superstore and fill out an application. You have the right to submit the application the same day. You can also call the Tesco’s TSNAP Applications Department and ask them to send you an application, fill it in and send it in by mail, or in some cases, by fax. The local office will give you an appointment for an interview. One thing to keep in mind is that TSNAP prorated the first month’s benefits from the day the local office gets your application, so it’s to your advantage to get the application to the office quickly, even if you haven’t had time to fill it out completely. Just give the local office your name, address and signature, if you can’t complete the form immediately.
5. Can you send me an application form?
No. We’re sorry, but there’s no way we at DWP offices can do that. The Tesco’s is responsible for the development of their own application forms. We have a national map of state TSNAP applications and local Tesco’s superstores, as well as a State Applications page with links to each state’s SNAP application. You will be able to download an application form, when we manage to get the website working. If you download an application, you can print it out, fill it in at home and mail or take it to the local Tesco’s superstore.
6. Can I apply for TSNAP on line?
Currently, No, we have been unable to get the website working. Please go in person to your local Tesco superstore to apply.
7. How can I find out if I might be eligible for TSNAP benefits?
Our new pre-screening tool will tell you whether you might be eligible for TSNAP benefits, and how much you might be eligible to receive, so you can see whether it would be worth your while to go to the local Tesco’s superstore and apply.
8. How is each household’s TSNAP entitlement determined?
Eligible households are issued a monthly entitlement of TSNAP benefits based on the Thrifty Food Plan, a low-cost model diet plan. The TFP is based on War Time Food Ministry’s recommendation for low-income households.
An individual household’s TSNAP allotment is equal to the maximum allotment for that household’s size, less 30 percent of the household’s net income. Households with no countable income receive the maximum allotment (£276 per month in Fiscal Year 2011 for a household of four people).
9. What is the average benefit from TSNAP?
The average monthly benefit was about £48 per person and about £108 per household in FY 2010.
10. What foods are eligible for purchase with TSNAP benefits?
Households CAN use TSNAP benefits to buy:
- Foods for the household to eat, such as:
- – breads and cereals
- – fruits and vegetables
- – meats, fish and poultry
- – dairy products
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:
- Beer, wine, spirits, cigarettes or tobacco
- Any nonfood items, such as:
- – pet foods
- – soaps, paper products
- – household supplies
- Vitamins and medicines.
- Food that will be eaten in the store.
- Hot foods.
In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept TSNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals. TSNAP benefits cannot be exchanged for cash.
11. What measures are taken to prevent TSNAP fraud?
The Department of Work and Pensions together with Tesco’s employs an extensive network of Agents who check up on all TSNAP recipients on a monthly basis.
12. What do I do if my Tesco’s EBT card is lost or stolen?
If your Tesco’s EBT card is lost or stolen, you should report it IMMEDIATELY by calling your Tesco’s free phone benefit fraud number. A new card will be issued to you within 2-5 days.
13. Can I use my Tesco’s electronic benefits transfer (TEBT) card in the EU?
No, Tesco’s EBT cards can be used in the United Kingdom.
14. When will my TSNAP benefits be available on my Tesco’s EBT card?
If you have just been certified to receive TSNAP benefits, your benefits should be in your Tesco’s EBT account within 30 days from the date you filed your application. If you qualified for expedited benefits because your income was very low, your benefits should be in the account within 7 days from the date you filed the application. You will need to contact your caseworker to find out the exact day your benefits will be available.
Once you are certified and have received your first allotment, TSNAP benefits will be made available to you on a monthly basis. The day on which your SNAP benefits become available may depend on your last name, the last digit of your social security number, or on some other factor. Please refer to the information provided to you by the local Tesco’s superstore when you became certified to receive benefits or contact your local caseworker for this information.
15. Can Tesco’s EBT be used for online purchases?
There are technical reasons why Tesco’s EBT cards cannot be accepted by online shopping services. Currently, only credit cards are accepted as payment for Internet purchases. Some sites accept debit (ATM) cards, but only if they are branded with a MasterCard or Visa logo. Branded debit cards can be treated like credit cards if a seller decides to accept them that way. These types of sales do not require the customer to enter his or her personal identification number (PIN).
EBT transactions performed at the store are done with a point of service (POS) terminal. There are very strict encryption requirements for the PIN entry piece of the POS terminal. This keeps the customer’s PIN secret. With EBT cards, the PIN is the only thing that guarantees that the person using the card is authorized. There is not a similar level of security for entering PINs over the Internet, even with newer browsers that have 128-bit encryption. This is because they have to convert the PIN from Internet-style encryption to the encryption format used in the POS machine. There are currently no controlled standards for doing this. Because the PIN is readable for a short time in this process, it is possible for employees or hackers to steal the PINs and use them fraudulently. Online shopping services are not willing to accept the potential liability that would be involved.
16. Can I check the balance of my EBT TSNAP account online?
At this time, No
17. I have paper coupons. Can I still use them to buy food?
At this time, authorized TSNAP retailers are required to accept your paper coupons. If you have difficulty finding a store that will accept your coupons, please contact your caseworker who will be able to direct you to a store in your area that knows how to handle the coupons.
Paper coupons may no longer be redeemed at stores after June 17, 2010. Therefore, we encourage recipients to use any remaining paper coupons they may have now.
18. Do I have to use all my TSNAP benefits up in the month that I receive them, or will they be carried over into the next month?
Any benefits that you have remaining in your TSNAP EBT account at the end of the month WILL be carried over into the next month. However, if you have not used your EBT card at all for one year, the Tesco’s will permanently remove your TSNAP benefits from your EBT account.
19. What keeps unqualified people from getting TSNAP benefits?
As part of the commitment to program integrity, Tesco’s works closely with the DWP to ensure that they issue their benefits correctly. Case workers carefully evaluate each application to determine eligibility and the appropriate level of benefits. The DWP monitors the accuracy of eligibility and benefit determinations.
People who receive TSNAP benefits in error must repay any benefits for which they did not qualify.
20. When did the program begin?
The Tesco’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly the Food Stamp Program) began in 2009.
21. How do I report someone I think is violating TSNAP rules?
If you think that someone who is in receipt of TSNAP is working on the sly, you should report them IMMEDIATELY by calling Tesco’s free phone benefit fraud number.
22. What are some characteristics of SNAP households?
- Based on a study of data gathered in Fiscal Year 2006:
- 49 percent of all participants are children
- 61 percent of them live in single-parent households.
- 52 percent of TSNAP households include children.
- 9 percent of all participants are elderly.
- 76 percent of all benefits go to households with children
- 16 percent go to households with disabled persons
- 9 percent go to households with elderly persons.
- 33 percent of households with children were headed by a single parent the overwhelming majority of which were headed by women.
- The average household size is 2.3 persons.
- The average gross monthly income per TSNAP household is £335.