The CARES Act provision for a refundable tax credit, widely known as the “stimulus checks,” is a payment that is countable as a resource for Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility.
Resources for NAP eligibility are considered bank accounts such as checking or savings account, cash on hand, including non-recurring lump-sum payments. A stimulus payment that was received by a NAP household is considered a resource and must be reported to the NAP office. A household which consists of members who are below the age of 54 years old must not have resources exceeding the threshold of $2,250.00 per month. A household who has at least one member who is 55 years or older must not exceed a threshold of $3,500.00.
The CNMI government issued the federal stimulus payments earlier this month. Additionally, government employees such as teachers have received lump sum payments for salaries due to them, also this month of May 2020.
Under the NAP regulations, these payments are regarded as resources. As a courtesy, the NAP office is reminding households about their responsibility as NAP recipients to report, within 10 business days, household changes that affect their current approved applications. Every household who has gone through an interview with a NAP case worker was informed about this requirement. Such requirement was also specifically stated in the orientation packet acknowledged by every applicant household.
A NAP household who has received a stimulus payment and/or lump sum payment of their salaries must indicate the amount they received, the date they received it, and the funds that remains unspent.
If at the end of May 2020, any funds from the stimulus payment and/or from a lump sum payment has not been spent, it will be verified against the NAP resources limit. If those unspent funds exceed the resources limits, such household will be considered ineligible for the month of May 2020. Additionally, if those unspent funds exceed the resources threshold in June, similarly the household will be considered ineligible for June 2020, and so forth.
Lump-sum payment of earnings
Furloughed government employees and private sector employees who are receiving NAP benefits must also report any payments they recently received that was not previously reported in their recent NAP application. These payments are considered changes to either income or resources and must be reported to the NAP Office for a possible adjustment in their benefits or ineligibility for benefits. Failure to report any changes for their currently certified NAP application could result in the return of benefits issued to them. The 10 business days reporting requirement is the grace period the DCCA-NAP would like to remind NAP households of this responsibility.
How to report changes
To ease the process for households, a form labeled: NAP Client Reporting of Stimulus and Earnings Payment was created for reporting changes particularly for changes in household resources. The form can be downloaded from the DCCA website www.dcca.gov.mp or the form can be picked up the NAP Certification Unit office at the JTV Commercial Building, ground floor in As Lito. The form can be submitted anytime via the drop box at the As Lito office or via the NAP email at email@example.com.
Households with NAP certifications expiring in June 2020 are required to renew the cases
The DCCA-NAP would like to remind households whose certifications are expiring in June 2020 are required to submit a new application for renewal in order to receive benefits for July 2020 and onwards. Households should submit their applications for renewal as soon as possible to avoid delays from receiving their benefits.
To receive an application, households can visit the NAP Certification Unit office in As Lito or visit the DCCA website at www.dcca.gov.mp. Applications must be submitted to the NAP Certification Unit office drop box at the ground floor of the JTV Commercial Building in As Lito. Applications can be submitted anytime via the drop box.
For questions regarding applications or renewals contact the NAP Certification Unit at 237-2801 or 237-2802. (PR)