WSR 10-24-013

PERMANENT RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed November 18, 2010, 3:04 p.m. , effective December 19, 2010 ]


Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.

Purpose: These amendments conform state Indian country disregard standards to current federal law standards; clarify who is exempt from participation requirements; and, redefine the eligibility criteria for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension.

The amended rules provide time limit extensions to clients who continue to meet TANF/SFA eligibility requirements; have reached the sixty-month time limit; and are exempt from participation requirements because they are (1) an older care taker relative; (2) an adult with a severe and chronic disability; (3) required to be in the home to care for a child with special needs; or (4) required to be in the home to care for a disabled adult relative. The amended rules also provide time limit extensions to clients who continue to meet TANF/SFA eligibility requirements; have reached the sixty-month time limit; and (1) have an open child welfare case and a dependent child under Title 13 [RCW] for the first time; (2) are working in unsubsidized employment for at least thirty-two hours per week; or (3) document that he/she meets family violence criteria and is participating in activities needed to address the client's family violence issues.

The amended rules that redefine the eligibility criteria for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension are needed to reduce program costs in response to a budget shortfall. The department expects that some clients who are currently receiving a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension will no longer be eligible and will be terminated from the program. The amended rules that clarify exemption from participation criteria will likely have no impact on clients.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-484-0005, 388-484-0006, 388-484-0010, and 388-310-0350.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, and chapters 74.08A and 74.12 RCW.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 10-20-163 on October 6, 2010.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 4, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 4, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: November 17, 2010.

Katherine I. Vasquez

Rules Coordinator

4240.5
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-16-079, filed 7/31/09, effective 9/1/09)

WAC 388-310-0350   WorkFirst -- Other exemptions from mandatory participation.   (1) When am I exempt from mandatory participation?

You are exempt from mandatory participation if you are:

(a) ((An older needy)) A caretaker relative as defined by WAC 388-484-0010, included in the assistance unit and:

(i) You are fifty-five years of age or older and caring for a child and you are not the child's parent; and

(ii) Your age is verified by any reliable documentation (such as a birth certificate or a driver's license).

(b) An adult with a severe and chronic disability as defined below and:

(i) ((The)) You have been assessed by a DSHS SSI facilitator as likely to be approved for SSI or other benefits and are required to apply for SSI or another type of federal disability benefit (such as railroad retirement or Social Security disability) in your individual responsibility plan; and/or

(ii) Your disability ((must be)) is a severe and chronic mental, physical, emotional, or cognitive impairment that prevents you from participating in work activities for more than ten hours a week and is expected to last at least twelve months; ((or)) and

(((ii) You have been assessed by a DSHS SSI facilitator as likely to be approved for SSI or other benefits and are applying for SSI or another type of federal disability benefit (such as railroad retirement or Social Security disability); and))

(iii) Your disability and ability to participate is verified by documentation from the division of developmental disabilities (DDD), division of vocational rehabilitation (DVR), home and community services division (HCS), division of mental health (MHD), and/or regional support network (RSN), or evidence from another medical or mental health professional; and

(iv) Your SSI application status may be verified through the SSI facilitator and/or state data exchange.

(c) Required in the home to care for a child with special needs when:

(i) The child has a special medical, developmental, mental, or behavioral condition; and

(ii) The child is determined by a public health nurse, physician, mental health provider, school professional, other medical professional, HCS, MHD, and/or a RSN to require specialized care or treatment that ((significantly interferes with your ability to look for work or work)) prevents you from participating in work activities for more than ten hours per week.

(d) Required to be in the home to care for another adult with disabilities when:

(i) The adult with disabilities cannot be left alone for significant periods of time; and

(ii) No adult other than yourself is available and able to provide the care; and

(iii) The adult with the disability is related to you; and

(iv) You are unable to participate in work activities for more than ten hours per week because you are required to be in the home to provide care; and

(v) The disability and your need to care for your disabled adult relative is verified by documentation from DDD, DVR, HCS, MHD, and/or a RSN, or evidence from another medical or mental health professional.

(2) Who reviews and approves an exemption from participation?

(a) If it appears that you may qualify for an exemption or you ask for an exemption, your case manager or social worker will review the information and we may use the case staffing process to determine whether the exemption will be approved. Case staffing is a process to bring together a team of multidisciplinary experts including relevant professionals and the client to identify participant issues, review case history and information, and recommend solutions.

(b) If additional medical or other documentation is needed to determine if you are exempt, your IRP will allow between thirty days and up to ninety if approved to gather the necessary documentation.

(c) Information needed to verify your exemption should meet the standards for verification described in WAC 388-490-0005. If you need help gathering information to verify your exemption, you can ask us for help. If you have been identified as needing NSA services, under chapter 388-472 WAC, your accommodation plan should include information on how we will assist you with getting the verification needed.

(d) After a case staffing, we will send you a notice that tells you whether your exemption was approved, how to request a fair hearing if you disagree with the decision, and any changes to your IRP that were made as a result of the case staffing.

(3) Can I participate in WorkFirst while I am exempt?

(a) You may choose to participate in WorkFirst while you are exempt.

(b) Your WorkFirst case manager may refer you to other service providers who may help you improve your skills and move into employment.

(c) If you decide later to stop participating, and you still qualify for an exemption, you will be put back into exempt status with no financial penalty.

(4) Does an exemption from participation affect my sixty-month time limit for receiving TANF/SFA benefits?

((An exemption from participation does not affect your sixty-month time limit (described in WAC 388-484-0005) for receiving TANF/SFA benefits.)) Even if exempt from participation, each month you receive a TANF/SFA grant counts toward your sixty-month limit as described in WAC 388-484-0005.

(5) How long will my exemption last?

Unless you are an older caretaker relative, your exemption will be reviewed at least every twelve months to make sure that you still meet the criteria for an exemption. Your exemption will continue as long as you continue to meet the criteria for an exemption.

(6) What happens when I am no longer exempt?

If you are no longer exempt, then:

(a) You will become a mandatory participant under WAC 388-310-0400; and

(b) If you have received sixty or more months of TANF/SFA, your case will be reviewed for an extension. (See WAC 388-484-0006 for a description of TANF/SFA time limit extensions.)

(7) For time-limited extensions, see WAC 388-484-0006.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.08.090, and 74.08A.340. 09-16-079, 388-310-0350, filed 7/31/09, effective 9/1/09; 03-24-057, 388-310-0350, filed 12/1/03, effective 1/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-12-068, 388-310-0350, filed 5/31/02, effective 6/1/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 06-10-034, filed 4/27/06, effective 6/1/06)

WAC 388-484-0005   There is a five-year (sixty-month) time limit for TANF, SFA and GA-S cash assistance.   (1) What is the sixty-month time limit?

(a) You can receive cash assistance for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA), and general assistance for pregnant women (GA-S) for a lifetime limit of sixty months. The time limit applies to cash assistance provided by any combination of these programs, and whether or not it was received in consecutive months.

(b) If you receive cash assistance for part of the month, it counts as a whole month against the time limit.

(c) If you have received cash assistance from another state on or after August 1, 1997, and it was paid for with federal TANF funds, those months will count against your time limit.

(d) The time limit does not apply to diversion cash assistance, support services, food assistance or medicaid.

(2) When did the sixty-month time limit go into effect?

The sixty-month time limit applies to cash assistance received on or after August 1, 1997 for TANF and SFA. Although the GA-S program no longer exists, the time limit applies to GA-S cash assistance received from May 1, 1999 through July 31, 1999.

(3) Does the time limit apply to me?

The sixty-month time limit applies to you for any month in which you are a parent or other relative as defined in WAC 388-454-0010, or a minor parent emancipated through court order or marriage.

(4) Do any exceptions to the time limits apply to me?

The department does not count months of assistance towards the sixty-month time limit if you are:

(a) An adult caretaker, as described in WAC 388-454-0005 through 388-454-0010, who is not a member of the assistance unit and you are receiving cash assistance on behalf of a child;

(b) An unemancipated pregnant or parenting minor living in a department approved living arrangement as defined by WAC 388-486-0005; or

(c) An ((American Indian or Native Alaskan)) adult and you are living in Indian country, as defined under 18 U.S.C. 1151, or an Alaskan Native village and you are receiving TANF, SFA, or GA-S cash assistance during a period when at least fifty percent of the adults living in Indian country or in the village were not employed. See WAC 388-484-0010.

(5) What happens if a member of my assistance unit has received sixty months of TANF, SFA, and GA-S cash benefits?

Once any adult or emancipated minor in the assistance unit has received sixty months of cash assistance, the entire assistance unit becomes ineligible for TANF or SFA cash assistance, unless you qualify for a hardship extension and are eligible for an extended period of cash assistance called a TANF/SFA time limit extension under WAC 388-484-0006.

(6) What can I do if I disagree with how the department has counted my months of cash assistance?

(a) If you disagree with how we counted your months of cash assistance, you may ask for a hearing within ninety days of the date we sent you a letter telling you how many months we are counting.

(b) You will get continued benefits (the amount you were getting before the change) if:

(i) You have used all sixty months of benefits according to our records; and

(ii) You ask for a hearing within the ten-day notice period, as described in chapter 388-458 WAC.

(c) If you get continued benefits and the administrative law judge (ALJ) agrees with our decision, you may have to pay back the continued benefits after the hearing, as described in chapter 388-410 WAC.

(7) Does the department ever change the number of months that count against my time limit?

We change the number of months we count in the following situations:

(a) You repay an overpayment for a month where you received benefits but were not eligible for any of the benefits you received. We subtract one month for each month that you completely repay. If you were eligible for some of the benefits you received, we still count that month against your time limit.

(b) We did not close your grant on time when the division of child support (DCS) collected money for you that was over your grant amount two months in a row, as described in WAC 388-422-0030.

(c) An ALJ decides at ((a fair)) an administrative hearing that we should change the number of months we count.

(d) You start getting worker's compensation payments from the department of labor and industries (L&I) and your L&I benefits have been reduced by the payments we made to you.

(e) You participated in the excess real property (ERP) program in order to get assistance and we collected the funds when your property sold.

(f) Another state gave us incorrect information about the number of months you got cash assistance from them.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, and chapter 74.08A RCW. 06-10-034, 388-484-0005, filed 4/27/06, effective 6/1/06. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057. 04-05-010, 388-484-0005, filed 2/6/04, effective 3/8/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, and 78.08A.340. 03-06-046, 388-484-0005, filed 2/28/03, effective 3/31/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-12-068, 388-484-0005, filed 5/31/02, effective 6/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 74.08A.010, and 42 U.S.C. 608 (a)(7). 01-04-016, 388-484-0005, filed 1/26/01, effective 2/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 99-08-050, 388-484-0005, filed 4/1/99, effective 5/2/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-484-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 06-10-034, filed 4/27/06, effective 6/1/06)

WAC 388-484-0006   TANF/SFA time limit extensions.   (1) What happens after I receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance?

After you receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance, you may qualify for additional months of cash assistance. We call these additional months of TANF/SFA cash assistance a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension.

(2) Who is eligible for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?

Effective February 1, 2011, you are eligible for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension if you are on TANF or otherwise eligible for TANF, have received sixty cumulative months of TANF and:

(a) You ((qualify for one of the exemptions listed in)) are approved for one of the exemptions from mandatory participation according to WAC 388-310-0350 (1)(a) through (d); or

(b) You:

(i) ((Are participating satisfactorily in the WorkFirst program (see chapter 388-310 WAC for a description of WorkFirst participation requirements))) Have an open child welfare case with a state or tribal government and this is the first time you have had a child dependent under RCW 13.34.030 in this or another state or had a child a ward of a tribal court; or

(ii) Are working in unsubsidized employment for thirty-two hours or more per week; or

(iii) Document that you meet the family violence option criteria in WAC 388-61-001 and are participating ((satisfactorily in specialized activities listed in your individual responsibility plan)) satisfactorily in specialized activities needed to address your family violence according to a service plan developed by a person trained in family violence.

(((c) You have a temporary situation that prevents you from working or looking for a job. (For example, you may be unable to look for a job while you have health problems or if you are dealing with family violence.) You will receive a time-limited extension if you are participating in activities included in your individual responsibility plan to help your situation.

(d) You are in sanction, but you will be subject to the sanction rules described in WAC 388-310-1600.))

(3) Who reviews and approves ((an)) a hardship time limit extension?

(a) Your case manager or social worker will review your case and determine ((which)) whether a hardship time limit extension type will be approved.

(b) This review will not happen until after you have received at least fifty-two months of assistance but before you reach your time limit.

(c) Before you reach your time limit, the department will send you a notice that tells you whether ((your)) a hardship time limit extension ((was)) will be approved when your time limit expires and how to request ((a fair)) an administrative hearing if you disagree with the decision.

(4) Do my WorkFirst participation requirements change if I receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?

(a) ((Your participation requirements do not change)) Even if you qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension you will still be required to participate as required in your individual responsibility plan (WAC 388-310-0500). You must still meet all of the WorkFirst participation requirements listed in chapter 388-310 WAC while you receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension.

(b) If you do not participate in the WorkFirst activities required by your individual responsibility plan, and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600, the department will follow the sanction rules in WAC 388-310-1600.

(5) Do my benefits change if I receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?

(a) You are still a TANF/SFA recipient and your cash assistance, services, or supports will not change as long as you continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements.

(b) During the hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension, you must continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements. If you no longer meet TANF/SFA eligibility criteria during your hardship time limit extension, your benefits will end.

(6) ((What happens if I stop participating in WorkFirst activities as required during a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

If you do not participate in the WorkFirst activities required in your individual responsibility plan, and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600(4), the department will follow the sanction rules in WAC 388-310-1600.

(7))) How long will a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension last?

(a) We will review your hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension and your case periodically for changes in family circumstances:

(i) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(a) then we will review your extension at least every twelve months;

(ii) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(b) then we will review your extension at least every six months((;

(iii) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(c) or (d) then we will review your extension at least every twelve months)).

(b) Your hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension may be renewed for as long as you continue to meet the criteria to qualify for a hardship time limit extension.

(c) If during the extension period we get proof that your circumstances have changed, we may review your case and ((change the type of TANF/SFA time limit extension)) determine if you continue to qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension. When you no longer qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension we will stop your TANF/SFA cash assistance. You will be notified of your case closing and will be given the opportunity to request an administrative hearing before your benefits will stop.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, and chapter 74.08A RCW. 06-10-034, 388-484-0006, filed 4/27/06, effective 6/1/06. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, and 74.08A.340. 03-24-057, 388-484-0006, filed 12/1/03, effective 1/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-12-068, 388-484-0006, filed 5/31/02, effective 6/1/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-04-016, filed 1/26/01, effective 2/1/01)

WAC 388-484-0010   How does the five-year (sixty-month) time limit for TANF, SFA and GA-S cash assistance apply to ((American Indians or Alaskan Natives)) adults living in Indian country?   (1) If you are ((American Indian or Alaskan Native)) an adult living in Indian country, ((time limits on)) months of temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA) and general assistance for pregnant women (from May 1, 1999 to July 31, 1999) do not count towards the time limit under certain circumstances.

((If you are an American Indian or Alaskan Native parent or other relative as defined by WAC 388-454-0010,)) Months of cash assistance received do not count against the sixty-month lifetime limit ((if)) while you ((live)) are an adult living in Indian country or an Alaskan Native village where at least fifty percent of ((Indian)) adults are not employed.

(2) ((Do time limits on cash assistance apply if I am not an American Indian or Alaskan Native but I am the parent or other relative of an American Indian or Alaskan Native child?

If you are a non-American Indian or non-Alaskan Native parent or other relative, as defined by WAC 388-454-0010, of an American Indian or Alaskan Native child or children living in a qualifying area of Indian country, your months on assistance will count against your lifetime limit. You may, however, receive more than sixty months of assistance under hardship criteria to be developed by the department.

(3))) Where must I live to qualify for the Indian country exemption to time limits?

To qualify for this exemption to TANF time limits, you must live in "Indian country." The department uses the "Indian country" definition in federal law at 18 U.S.C. 1151. Indian country is defined as reservations, dependent Indian communities, and allotments. Dependent Indian communities must be set aside by the federal government for the use of Indians and be under federal superintendence. Near reservation areas (areas or communities adjacent or contiguous to reservations) are not considered Indian country for purposes of this exemption.

(((4) Can I live on the reservation or Indian country belonging to a tribe other than my own to qualify for this time limit exemption?

Yes. You do not need to be an American Indian or Alaskan Native of the same tribe as the reservation or other area of Indian country on which you reside.

(5))) (3) How does the department determine if at least fifty percent of adults living in Indian country are not employed?

The department uses the most current biennial Indian Service Population and Labor Force Estimates Report published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), or any successor report, as the default data source to determine if the not employed rates for areas of Indian country are at least fifty percent.

(((6))) (4) What if a tribe disagrees with the not employed rate published in the BIA Indian Service Population and Labor Force Estimates Report?

A tribe may provide alternative data, based on similar periods to the Indian Service Population and Labor Force Estimates Report, to demonstrate that the not employed rate is at least fifty percent.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 74.08A.010, and 42 U.S.C. 608 (a)(7). 01-04-016, 388-484-0010, filed 1/26/01, effective 2/1/01.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office