WSR 97-04-024

PERMANENT RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

(Economic Services)

(Public Assistance)

[Filed January 28, 1997, 4:11 p.m.]

Date of Adoption: January 28, 1997.

Purpose: To implement Public Law 104-193, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (welfare reform). The rule disallows the 20% earned income deduction when computing a food stamp overissuance caused when a household fails to timely report earned income.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-49-640 Overissuances.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.510.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 97-01-089 on December 18, 1996.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

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

January 28, 1997

Merry A. Kogut, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order 3894, filed 9/7/95, effective 10/6/95)

WAC 388-49-640 Overissuances. (1) The department shall establish claims and take collection action against households and household members for administrative error, inadvertent household error, or intentional program violation resulting in overissuances except as provided in subsections (3), (10), and (11) of this section.

(2) The department shall establish an overissuance claim against any household:

(a) Receiving more food stamp benefits than it was entitled to receive; or

(b) Containing an adult member who was an adult member of another household receiving more benefits than it was entitled to receive.

(3) The department shall not establish an administrative error claim or an inadvertent household error claim if an overissuance occurred because:

(a) The department failed to ensure the household:

(i) Signed the application form;

(ii) Completed a current work registration form; or

(iii) Was certified in the correct project area.

(b) The household transacted an expired food coupon authorization (FCA) unless the household had altered the FCA.

(4) The department shall hold all persons who were adult members of the household at the time of the overissuance jointly and severally liable for the overissuance.

(a) The department shall establish an overissuance claim and pursue collection action against any or all of these persons.

(b) If the household composition changes, the department may establish an overissuance claim and pursue collection action against any household containing a person who was an adult member of the household receiving the overissuance.

(5) The department shall not collect more than the amount of the overissuance.

(6) The department shall not establish an:

(a) Administrative error overissuance unless the department has:

(i) Discovered the overissuance within twelve months of its occurrence; and

(ii) Calculated the overissuance and mailed the household a demand letter within twenty-four months of the overissuance discovery date.

(b) Inadvertent household error overissuance unless the department has:

(i) Discovered the overissuance within twenty-four months of its occurrence; and

(ii) Calculated the overissuance and mailed the household a demand letter within twenty-four months of the overissuance discovery date.

(c) Intentional program violation overissuance unless the department has:

(i) Discovered the overissuance within seventy-two months of its occurrence; and

(ii) Calculated the overissuance and mailed the household a demand letter within twenty-four months of the overissuance discovery date.

(7) Except as provided in subsection (9) of this section, the department shall determine the overissuance amount to be the difference between:

(a) The allotment actually authorized; and

(b) The allotment that should have been authorized.

(8) When determining the monthly allotment the household should have been authorized, the department shall:

(a) Count the actual income received by the household;

(b) Not apply the twenty percent earned income deduction to ((that portion of)) earned income ((willfully or fraudulently unreported by the)) which the household ((member when committing an intentional program violation)) failed, without good cause, to report in a timely manner.

(9) The amount of the household's and/or household member's liability for an overissuance shall be the difference between:

(a) The amount of the overissuance; and

(b) Any lost benefits not previously restored or used as an offset.

(10) The department shall initiate collection action on all inadvertent household or administrative error claims unless:

(a) The claim is collected through offset;

(b) The administrative error claim is less than one hundred dollars;

(c) The inadvertent household error claim is less than thirty-five dollars;

(d) The department cannot locate the liable household; or

(e) The department determines collection action will prejudice an inadvertent household error claim case referred for possible prosecution or administrative disqualification.

(11) The department shall initiate collection action against the liable household whose member is found to have committed an intentional program violation unless:

(a) The household has repaid the overissuance;

(b) The department cannot locate the household; or

(c) The department determines collection action will prejudice the case against a household member referred for prosecution.

(12) The department shall initiate collection action by providing the household a demand letter.

(13) A household or household member may repay an overissuance by:

(a) A lump sum;

(b) Regular installments under a payment schedule agreed to by the household or household member and the department; and/or

(c) Allotment reduction.

(14) The department shall ensure a negotiated monthly installment amount is not less than the amount which could be recovered through allotment reduction when a currently participating household is liable for an inadvertent household error or an intentional program violation.

(15) A household member and/or the department may request the payment schedule be renegotiated.

(16) When allotment reduction is the method of collection, the department shall reduce a currently participating household's allotment to repay an:

(a) Inadvertent household error overissuance by the greater of:

(i) Ten percent of the household's monthly allotment; or

(ii) Ten dollars per month.

(b) Intentional program violation overissuance by the greater of:

(i) Twenty percent of the household's monthly entitlement; or

(ii) Ten dollars per month.

(c) Administrative error overissuance by the amount agreed to by the household.

(17) The department shall reduce the allotment to repay an inadvertent household error or an intentional program violation claim when:

(a) A household is liable for an inadvertent household error claim and fails to notify the department of their chosen repayment agreement or request a fair hearing and continued benefits within twenty days after receipt of the demand letter; or

(b) A household is liable for an intentional program violation claim and fails to inform the department of their chosen repayment agreement within ten days after receiving the demand letter; or

(c) After notification of failure to make payment according to a negotiated repayment schedule, the household member fails to:

(i) Make the overdue payments; or

(ii) Request renegotiation of the payment schedule.

(18) The department shall suspend collection action when:

(a) Collection action has not been initiated as provided in subsection (10) of this section;

(b) A liable household member cannot be located; or

(c) The cost of further collection action is likely to exceed the amount that can be recovered.

(19) The department may accept offers of compromise for overissuances when:

(a) The department has already established the account receivable for the overissuance and taken steps to recover the overissuance; and

(b) The amount offered approximates the net amount expected to be collected prior to the expiration of the collection period allowed by statute.

(20) The department shall write-off amounts from its account receivable records and release any applicable liens prior to the expiration of the collection period allowed by statute when there is:

(a) No further possibility of collection;

(b) An account receivable balance after payment of an accepted offer of compromise; or

(c) An account receivable balance after a claim has been in suspense for three consecutive years, as provided in subsection (19) of this section.

(21) The department may initiate collection action to satisfy a food stamp overissuance which occurred in another state when the department:

(a) Determines that the originating state does not intend to pursue collection in Washington state; and

(b) Receives the following from the originating state:

(i) Documentation of the overissuance computation;

(ii) Overissuance notice prepared for the client; and

(iii) Proof of service that the client received the overissuance notice.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050. 95-19-013 (Order 3894), 388-49-640, filed 9/7/95, effective 10/6/95. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510 and 7 CFR 273.18(1). 94-23-131 (Order 3810), 388-49-640, filed 11/23/94, effective 1/1/95. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510. 92-12-043 (Order 3396), 388-49-640, filed 5/29/92, effective 7/1/92; 91-22-047 (Order 3278), 388-49-640, filed 10/31/91, effective 12/1/91; 88-08-039 (Order 2610), 388-49-640, filed 4/1/88. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050. 88-02-031 (Order 2575), 388-49-640, filed 12/31/87.]

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