WSR 97-05-052

EMERGENCY RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

(Economic Services)

(Public Assistance)

[Filed February 18, 1997, 4:40 p.m.]

Date of Adoption: February 18, 1997.

Purpose: This rule changes the food stamp disqualification penalty applied when a person refuses or fails to register for work or participate in the food stamp employment and training program and when a person quits a job; describes workfare; and clarifies food stamp employment and training program policies by creating six new sections.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-49-360 and 388-49-380; and new sections WAC 388-49-362, 388-49-364, 388-49-366, 388-49-368, 388-49-369, and 388-49-385.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.510.

Other Authority: Section 6 of HR 3734 (Public Law 104-193).

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that state or federal law or federal rule or a federal deadline for state receipt of federal funds requires immediate adoption of a rule.

Reasons for this Finding: The federal law requires immediate adoption.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 6, amended 2, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.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

February 18, 1997

Merry A. Kogut, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order 3803, filed 10/26/94, effective 11/26/94)

WAC 388-49-360 Work registration and food stamp employment and training (FSE&T) program ((services)) participation. (1) Unless exempt, the department shall register ((each individual between eighteen and sixty years of age, for employment at certification and once every twelve months thereafter. The department shall register a child reaching eighteen years of age during a certification period for work during the next recertification process)) for work and require participation in the food stamp employment and training (FSE&T) program persons:

(a) Ages sixteen through fifty-nine with dependents;

(b) Ages sixteen and seventeen out of school, not heads-of-households; and

(c) Ages fifty-one through fifty-nine with dependents.

(2) Registration happens at certification and once every twelve months thereafter.

(3) The department shall ((register)) exempt from work registration and participation in the FSE&T program persons who are:

(a) Sixteen and seventeen((-year-old)) years of age who are not heads of households ((for employment unless the individuals)) who are:

(((a))) (i) Attending school; or

(((b))) (ii) Enrolled in ((an E&T)) a program under temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), a program under Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), a program under section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974, or other state or local employment and training programs at least half time.

(((3) The department shall exempt from work registration a person:

(a))) (b) Physically or mentally unfit for employment;

(((b))) (c) Responsible for the care of a dependent child under six years of age or of an incapacitated person((.

If a child's sixth birthday falls within a certification period, apply the exemption until the next recertification));

(((c))) (d) Applying for or receiving unemployment compensation (UC);

(((d) Subject to and participating in any work program under Titles IV-A and IV-C of the Social Security Act, as amended, or other E&T program;))

(e) Participating in a program under TANF;

(f) Employed or self-employed thirty hours or more per week, or receiving weekly earnings equal to the federal minimum wage, multiplied by thirty. This shall include migrant and seasonal farmworkers under contract or agreement with an employer;

(((f))) (g) Enrolled as a student ((half time or more in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education provided the students enrolled in higher education meet the eligibility conditions under WAC 388-49-020)) as defined in WAC 388-49-330;

(((g))) (h) Regularly participating in a drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program((;

(h) Complying with work requirements imposed as a participant in any)).

(4) The department shall work register and exempt from participation in the FSE&T program persons who:

(a) Participate in a refugee assistance program; ((or

(i) Under contract or agreement with an employer as a migrant or seasonal farmworker.

(4) The department shall register each household member required to be work registered))

(b) Reside in an exempt area;

(c) Reside one hour or more travel distance from available FSE&T services;

(d) Do not have a mailing address or message telephone;

(e) Have dependent care needs that exceed the maximum amount payable by the department. The exemption shall continue until:

(i) A suitable program service is available; or

(ii) Circumstances change and monthly dependent care costs no longer exceed the department reimbursement limit.

(f) Have a temporary incapacity expected to have a sixty day or more duration including women in the first or second trimester of pregnancy.

(5) The department shall accept an applicant's statement concerning the employability of each member of the household unless the information is questionable. The department shall verify any claim for exemption the department determines questionable.

(((6) The department shall:

(a) Refer persons to E&T program services, unless the person is exempted by subsection (9) of this section; and

(b) Provide E&T program services to assigned applicants or recipients, either directly or through a contracted service provider, as specified in the state plan.

(7) Persons subject to E&T services shall participate in an E&T program service for:

(a) A minimum level of participation comparable to spending approximately twelve hours a month for two months during:

(i) An eight-week or two four-week period or periods, each time an applicant/recipient enters into the food stamp program; or

(ii) Each twelve months of continuous participation, whichever occurs sooner.

(b) A maximum level of participation not to exceed one hundred twenty hours. In any month, hours of participation may include a combination of:

(i) An E&T program; and

(ii) Workfare program; and

(iii) Hours worked for compensation.

(8) The department shall require persons subject to E&T to:

(a) Report at a prescheduled time to the department or service provider and participate in an initial assessment interview. The department or service provider shall provide written information regarding:

(i) An E&T plan developed jointly between the department or service provider and the participant;

(ii) The grounds for noncompliance;

(iii) The sanctions for noncompliance without good cause; and

(iv) Provisions for ending noncompliance.

(b) Provide supplemental information regarding employment status or availability for work as requested;

(c) Report when referred to an employer, if the potential employment is suitable;

(d) Accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment;

(e) Complete reports as scheduled on the results of individual participation in all E&T services; and

(f) Appear for follow-up interviews.

(9) The department shall exempt from referral for E&T program services applicants or recipients who:

(a) Reside in an exempt county as specified in the state plan;

(b) Reside one hour or more travel distance from the service provider;

(c) Have no mailing address or message telephone; or

(d) Have a temporary incapacity expected to have a sixty-day or more duration.

(10) The department shall reimburse participants for expenses incurred in fulfilling E&T requirements as follows:

(a) An allowance of twenty-five dollars per participant month for transportation or other costs reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the E&T program; and

(b) Dependent care costs directly related to participation in the E&T program, up to standards as set forth for the food stamp E&T program.

(i) A participant who is part of an AFDC household and resides in an area with work programs under Titles IV-A and IV-C of the Social Security Act, as amended, is not eligible for dependent care reimbursement under the E&T program.

(ii) An individual's participation in E&T activities shall be deferred if dependent care costs would exceed the published standards for E&T dependent care. Deferment shall continue until:

(A) A suitable component is available; or

(B) Circumstances change and monthly dependent care costs no longer exceed the limit.

(iii) Any portion of child care costs reimbursed may not be claimed as an expense and used in calculating the child care deduction.

(11) If a household member fails to comply with work registration or E&T program requirements without good cause, the department shall:

(a) Disqualify the entire household if the noncompliant member is the household employment representative; or

(b) Disqualify the noncompliant person if that person is not the household employment representative. The department shall treat the disqualified member as an ineligible household member.

(12) The department shall determine whether or not good cause exists before initiating sanction for refusal or failure to register for work or participate in E&T program services. The following circumstances shall constitute good cause for failure to register for work or participate in E&T program services. The following circumstances are not inclusive:

(a) Illness of the participant;

(b) Illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member;

(c) A household emergency;

(d) The unavailability of transportation; and

(e) Lack of adequate child care for children who reached six years of age, but are under twelve years of age.

(13) Within ten days of a determination of failure to comply the department shall determine whether good cause exists and, if not, provide notice to the household that contains:

(a) The particular act of noncompliance;

(b) The proposed period of disqualification;

(c) Notification that the individual or household may re-apply at the end of the disqualification period; and

(d) Information describing the action the individual or household may take to end or avoid the sanction.

(14) The disqualification period for noncompliance shall be for two months or until the noncompliant member moves from the household, becomes exempt for reasons other than subsection (3)(c) and (d) of this section, or complies, whichever is earlier.

(a) If the noncompliant member moves from the household, the household may resume participation.

(b) If the noncompliant member moves from the household and joins another household:

(i) As the household employment representative, the entire new household is ineligible for the remainder of the disqualification period; or

(ii) As other than the household employment representative, the department shall consider the noncompliant individual as an ineligible household member of the new household for the remainder of the disqualification period.

(c) If a new person, who has not committed a violation joins a sanctioned household:

(i) As the household employment representative, the period of ineligibility ends; or

(ii) As other than the household employment representative, the disqualification continues.

(15) The department shall consider a household member subject to work requirements of Titles IV-A or IV-C of the Social Security Act, as amended, or UC work registration and participation requirements, who fails to comply with such requirements, the same as under E&T program service requirements if the requirements were comparable. If a comparable E&T program service requirement does not exist, the household member shall lose exemption status as referenced under subsection (3)(d) of this section and shall register for work.

(16) At the end of the two-month disqualification period, a household may apply to re-establish eligibility. The individual may re-establish eligibility during the disqualification period if the reason for disqualification is corrected.

(17) Persons subject to reporting requirements who lose exemption status due to any reportable change of circumstance shall be work registered by the department when the case is processed.

(18) Persons who lose their exemption status due to a nonreportable change in circumstance shall be work registered at their next recertification.

(19) A registrant moving out of the jurisdiction of the department's local office where the registrant is registered shall reregister at the department local office in the new location.

(20) The household shall be held liable for any overissuances resulting from erroneous information given by the household member or the household's authorized representative.

(21) Each household has a right to a fair hearing to appeal a denial, reduction, or termination of benefits due to:

(a) A determination of nonexempt status; or

(b) Failure to comply with work registration and employment and training program requirements; or

(c) Determination of noncompliance with a comparable work program under Titles IV-A and IV-C of the Social Security Act, as amended, or UC requirement.

(22) The department of social and health services shall administer the program and may contract E&T services through other agencies.))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.01.510, 74.04.510, 7 CFR 273.7 (b)(1)(i), Public Law 103-66 Section 13922 and Administrative Notice 92-34. 94-22-030 (Order 3803), 388-49-360, filed 10/26/94, effective 11/26/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510. 89-19-025 (Order 2870), 388-49-360, filed 9/12/89, effective 10/13/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050. 88-02-031 (Order 2575), 388-49-360, filed 12/31/87.]

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-49-362 Food stamp employment and training program responsibilities. The department shall require persons in the FSE&T program to:

(1) Comply with FSE&T program service requirements;

(2) Report to the department or service provider and participate as required;

(3) Provide information regarding employment status or availability for work as requested;

(4) Report when referred to an employer;

(5) Accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment.

[]

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-49-364 Food stamp employment and training program services. (1) The department of social and health services shall administer the FSE&T program and provide FSE&T program services either directly or through a contracted service provider.

(2) Persons required to participate in the FSE&T program may receive one or more of the following services:

(a) Job search activities;

(b) General education development (GED) services; or

(c) English as a second language (ESL) services.

(3) A maximum level of participation shall not exceed one hundred twenty hours in a month. Hours of participation may include a combination of FSE&T services and hours worked for compensation (in cash or in kind).

(4) The department shall provide written information to FSE&T participants regarding:

(a) The FSE&T program;

(b) The grounds for disqualification;

(c) The disqualification penalties; and

(d) The provisions for ending a disqualification.

[]

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-49-366 Food stamp employment and training good cause. (1) The department shall determine if a person has good cause for refusing or failing to:

(a) Register for work;

(b) Participate in the FSE&T program.

(2) The department may determine that a person has good cause for reasons including, but not limited to:

(a) Illness of the person;

(b) Illness of another household member requiring the presence of the member;

(c) A household emergency;

(d) The unavailability of transportation;

(e) Lack of adequate child care for children who reach six years of age, but are under twelve years of age.

[]

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-49-368 Food stamp employment and training disqualifications. (1) If a person refuses or fails to comply with work registration and participate in the FSE&T program without good cause as found in WAC 388-49-366(2), the department shall disqualify the noncompliant person. The department shall treat the disqualified person as an ineligible household member.

(2) Within ten days of a determination of failure to comply the department shall determine whether good cause exists and, if not, provide notice to the person that contains:

(a) The particular act of noncompliance;

(b) The proposed period of disqualification;

(c) Notification that the person may re-apply at the end of the disqualification period; and

(d) Information describing the action the person may take to end the disqualification.

(3) The disqualification period shall be:

(a) For the first failure to comply, one month and until the failure to comply ceases;

(b) For the second failure to comply, three months and until the failure to comply ceases;

(c) For the third or subsequent failure to comply, six months and until the failure to comply ceases.

(4) If a person becomes exempt under WAC 388-49-360(4), a disqualification ends when a person:

(a) Has served the one, three, or six month portion of the disqualification penalty; and

(b) Is registered for work.

(5) The department shall consider a household member subject to work requirements of TANF, or UC work registration and participation requirements, the same as under FSE&T program service requirements if the requirements were comparable. If a comparable FSE&T program service requirement does not exist, the household member shall lose exemption status as referenced under section WAC 388-49-360 (3)(ii) and shall register for work.

(6) At the end of a disqualification period, a person may apply to re-establish eligibility.

(7) Each persons has a right to a fair hearing to appeal a denial, reduction, or termination of benefits regarding:

(a) A determination of nonexempt status;

(b) Failure to comply with:

(i) Work registration;

(ii) FSE&T program;

(iii) A comparable program to the FSE&T program.

[]

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-49-369 Food stamp employment and training payments. The department shall pay for a person's actual expenses, up to the department limit, that are necessary for the person to participate in the FSE&T program. A person may receive payment for:

(1) Transportation related costs; and

(2) Dependent care costs for each dependent;

(a) Reimbursement shall not be made for a dependent age thirteen or older unless the dependent is:

(i) Physically and/or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself; or

(ii) Under court order.

(b) Reimbursement shall not be made when any member in the food stamp household provides the dependent care service.

(c) Any portion of dependent care payments may not be claimed as an expense and used in calculating the dependent care deduction.

[]

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order 3803, filed 10/26/94, effective 11/26/94)

WAC 388-49-380 Voluntary quit. (1) A ((household where the household employment representative)) person who voluntarily quits his or her most recent job without good cause shall be ineligible if:

(a) The employment involved twenty hours or more per week or provided weekly earnings equivalent to twenty times the minimum wage;

(b) The quit occurred within sixty days prior to application or any time thereafter; ((and))

(c) At the time of the voluntary quit, the ((household employment representative)) person was((, at the time of the voluntary quit,)) required to register for work as provided under WAC 388-49-360 (with exception of subsection (3)(d) and (e) of this section); and

(d) An employee of the federal, state, or local government who participates in a strike against such government and is dismissed from his or her job because of participation in the strike.

(2) Good cause for voluntarily quitting employment includes the following:

(a) Circumstances included under WAC ((388-49-360(12))) 388-49-366(2);

(b) The employment is unsuitable as defined under WAC 388-49-370;

(c) Discrimination by an employer based on age, race, sex, color, ((handicap,)) religious belief, national origin, ((or)) political belief, marital status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability or other reasons in RCW 49.60.180;

(d) Work demands or conditions rendering continued employment unreasonable, such as working without being paid on schedule;

(e) Acceptance by the ((household employment representative)) person of employment or enrollment of at least half time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education including fulfillment of the provisions under WAC 388-49-330, requiring the ((household employment representative)) person to leave employment;

(f) Acceptance by any other household member of employment or enrollment at least half time in any recognized school, training program, or institution of higher education in another county or similar political subdivision requiring the household to move thereby requiring ((the household employment representative)) any other member to leave employment;

(g) Resignations by persons under sixty years of age recognized by the employer as retirement;

(h) Acceptance of a bona fide offer of employment of twenty hours or more a week or where the weekly earnings are equivalent to the federal minimum wage multiplied by twenty hours which, because of circumstances beyond the control of the ((household employment representative)) person, subsequently either does not materialize or results in employment of twenty hours or less a week or weekly earnings of less than the federal minimum wage multiplied by twenty hours; and

(i) Leaving a job in connection with patterns of employment where workers frequently move from one employer to another, such as migrant farm labor or construction work.

(3) A household where ((the household employment representative)) a person voluntarily ((quit their)) quits his or her most recent job shall not be ineligible if the circumstances of the employment involve:

(a) Changes in employment status resulting from reduced hours of employment while working for the same employer;

(b) Termination of a self-employment enterprise; or

(c) Resignation from a job at the demand of an employer.

(4) An employee of the federal government or of a state or local government who participates in a strike against the government and is subsequently dismissed because of participation in the strike, shall be considered to have voluntarily quit a job without good cause.

(5) The person shall have primary responsibility for providing verification of good cause for voluntary quit. If the household and the department are unable to obtain verification, the department shall not deny the household access to the program.

(6) If a quit was without good cause, the ((department shall:

(a) Deny a household's application for a period of ninety days beginning with the day of quit; or

(b) For participating households, disqualify the household for three months. The disqualification shall start the first of the month following the adverse action period.

(6) The household shall have primary responsibility for providing verification. If the household and the department are unable to obtain verification, the department shall not deny the household access to the program.)) person is disqualified.

(a) For the first quit, one month and until the person complies with subsection (8) of this section;

(b) For the second quit, three months and until the person complies with subsection (8) of this section;

(c) For the third or subsequent quit, six months and until the person complies with subsection (8) of this section.

(7) For persons residing in exempt areas under WAC 388-49-360(4), a disqualification ends when a person:

(a) Has served the one, three, or six month portion of the disqualification penalty; and

(b) Complies with subsection (8)(a) of this section.

(8) The ((household)) person may re-establish eligibility ((during)) after the disqualification, if otherwise eligible, and the person who caused the disqualification:

(a) Secures new employment:

(i) Comparable in monthly salary to the job the person quit; or

(ii) Of a lesser monthly salary((, that is expected to improve the person's future employment prospects)).

(b) ((Leaves the household)) In nonexempt areas, is participating in the food stamp employment and training program;

(c) ((Becomes exempt from work registration for reasons other than under WAC 388-49-360 (3)(c) and (d); or

(d) Complies with requirements to correct the disqualification)) Is participating in workfare; or

(d) Becomes exempt other than under WAC 388-49-360 (3)(d) and (e).

(((8))) (9) If the ((noncompliant member)) person moves from the household and joins another household((:

(a) As the household employment representative, the entire new household is ineligible for the remainder of the disqualification period; or

(b) As other than the household employment representative)), the department shall consider the ((noncompliant individual)) person as an ineligible household member of the new household for the remainder of the disqualification period.

(((9) If a new person who has not committed a violation joins a sanctioned household:

(a) As the household employment representative the period of ineligibility ends; or

(b) As other than the household employment representative, the disqualification continues.))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.01.510, 74.04.510, 7 CFR 273.7 (b)(1)(i), Public Law 103-66 Section 13922 and Administrative Notice 92-34. 94-22-030 (Order 3803), 388-49-380, filed 10/26/94, effective 11/26/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510. 89-19-025 (Order 2870), 388-49-380, filed 9/12/89, effective 10/13/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050. 88-02-031 (Order 2575), 388-49-380, filed 12/31/87.]

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-49-385 Food stamp workfare. (1) Workfare is a program available to persons eighteen through fifty years of age without dependents, that gives persons the opportunity to maintain eligibility for food stamp benefits.

(2) Workfare consists of:

(a) For the first month, job search activities or unpaid work with a public or private nonprofit agency; and

(b) Subsequent months, unpaid work with a public or private nonprofit agency.

(3) The department determines the hours that a person must participate in unpaid work with a public or private nonprofit agency.

(4) Workfare hours when added to compensated hours worked may not exceed thirty hours a week.

(5) The department shall pay for a person's actual expenses, up to the department limit, that are necessary for the person to participate in workfare.

[]

Legislature Code Reviser

Register

Washington State Code Reviser's Office