WSR 99-12-117

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed June 2, 1999, 10:29 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 99-07-105.

Title of Rule: WAC 388-470-0025 Excluded resources for cash assistance, 388-470-0035 Excluded resources for food assistance, 388-470-0045 Resources that are counted toward the resource limits for cash, food assistance and TANF/SFA-related medical programs, 388-470-0055 Resources that are counted for food assistance, 388-470-0075 How vehicles are counted for food assistance, 388-482-0005 Student status for food assistance, 388-412-0005 General information about cash assistance payments, 388-412-0015 Food assistance allotments, and 388-416-0005 Certification periods for food assistance.

Purpose: Changes rules to be consistent with federal laws, rules, and regulations.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510.

Summary: WAC 388-470-0025, expanded descriptions of excluded resources. WAC 388-470-0035, added an additional excluded resource. WAC 388-470-0045, clarified how to treat motor homes for each program. WAC 388-470-0055, clarified what portion of the resource is counted. WAC 388-470-0075, expanded on vehicle exclusions. WAC 388-482-0055, corrected eligible student criteria. WAC 388-412-0005, eliminated duplication within the rule. WAC 388-412-0015, corrected food assistance calculation. WAC 388-416-0005, corrected certification period lengths.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: RCW 74.08.090 gives the department authority to make rules and regulations to ensure uniform administration of programs throughout the state. RCW 74.04.510 requires the department to adopt rules consistent with federal laws, rules and regulations relating to the food stamp program.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Veronica Barnes, Division of Assistance Programs, P.O. Box 45480, Olympia, WA 98504-5480, (360) 413-3071.

Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Changes rules to be consistent with federal laws, rules, and regulations.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: WAC 388-470-0025 Excluded resources for cash assistance, 388-470-0035 Excluded resources for food assistance, 388-470-0045 Resources that are counted toward the resource limits for cash, food assistance and TANF/SFA-related medical programs, 388-470-0055 Resources that are counted for food assistance, 388-470-0075 How vehicles are counted for food assistance, 388-482-0005 Student status for food assistance, 388-412-0005 General information about cash assistance payments, 388-412-0015 Food assistance allotments, and 388-416-0005 Certification periods for food assistance.

Current rules contain errors and omissions that must be resolved in order to allow for the correct administration of cash, medical, and food assistance programs. WAC 388-470-0025, expanded descriptions of excluded resources. WAC 388-470-0035, added an additional excluded resource. WAC 388-470-0045, clarified how to treat motor homes for each program. WAC 388-470-0055, clarified what portion of the resource is counted. WAC 388-470-0075, expanded on vehicle exclusions. WAC 388-482-0055, corrected eligible student criteria. WAC 388-412-0005, eliminated duplication within the rule. WAC 388-412-0015, corrected food assistance calculation. WAC 388-416-0005, corrected certification period lengths.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The changes as a result of this rule do not affect small businesses.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. This rule does not meet the definition of significant legislative change.

Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo Bento Restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 104-B, Lacey, WA 98503, on July 6, 1999, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Paige Wall by June 25, 1999, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail wallpg@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Paige Wall, Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 902-8292, by July 6, 1999.

Date of Intended Adoption: July 9, 1999.

May 28, 1999

Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

2576.2
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-470-0025
Excluded resources for cash assistance.

The following resources do not count toward the resource limits for cash assistance:

(1) Adoption support payments when the adopted child is excluded from the assistance unit.

(2) Bona fide loans which means the loan is a debt a client owes and has an obligation to repay.

(3) Earned income tax credit and advanced earned income tax credit in the month received and the following month.

(4) ((For cash assistance only,)) Excess real property on which a client is not living:

(a) When, for a period not to exceed nine months, a client:

(i) Makes a good-faith effort to sell the excess property; and

(ii) Signs an agreement to repay the amount of benefits received or the net proceeds of the sale, whichever is less.

(b) Upon cash assistance approval, the agreement to repay is sent to office of financial recovery to file a lien without a specified amount; or

(c) Is used in a self-employment enterprise and meets the criteria in subsection (10) of this section.

(5) Food coupon allotment from the food assistance programs.

(6) Food service payments provided for children under the National School Lunch Act of 1966, PL 92-433 and 93-150.

(7) Foster care payments provided under Title IV-E((,)) and/or state ((or Local)) foster care maintenance payments.

(8) Housing and Urban Development (HUD) community development block grant funds.

(9) Income tax refunds are excluded in the month the refund is received.

(10) A bank account jointly owned with an SSI recipient when SSA counted the funds to determine the SSI recipient's eligibility.

(11) Real and personal property used in a self-employment enterprise if:

(a) The property is necessary to restore the client's independence or will aid in rehabilitating the client or the client's dependents; and

(b) The client has ((signed an agreed)) approved self-employment plan ((with the department)) ; and

(c) For WorkFirst participants, the self-employment enterprise is a component of the participant’s approved individual responsibility plan (IRP).

(12) Retroactive cash benefits or TANF benefits resulting from a court order modifying a department policy.

(13) Self-employment-accounts receivable that a client bills to the client's customer but has been unable to collect.

(14) SSI recipient's income and resources.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-470-0025, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-470-0035
Excluded resources for food assistance.

The following resources do not count toward a client's resource limit.

(1) Earned income tax credit is excluded:

(a) In the month it is received and the following month if the person was not a food assistance recipient when the credit was received; or

(b) For twelve months when the person:

(i) Was a food assistance recipient when the credit was received; and

(ii) Remains a food assistance recipient continuously during this period.

(2) Essential property needed for employment or self-employment of a household member is excluded.  Property excluded under this section and used by a self-employed farmer or fisher retains its exclusion for one year after the household member stops farming or fishing.

(3) Excluded funds that are deposited in a bank account with countable funds continue to be excluded up to six months from the date of deposit.

(4) Governmental disaster payments to repair a damaged home when the household can be sanctioned if the funds are not used for this purpose.

(5) A home a client is living in including the surrounding property that is not separated by property owned by others is excluded.  Public right of ways do not affect this exclusion;

(6) A home that the household is not living in and surrounding property is excluded if the household:

(a) Is making a good faith effort to sell; or

(b) Is planning to return to the home and it is not occupied due to:

(i) Employment;

(ii) Training for future employment;

(iii) Illness; or

(iv) Unlivable conditions caused by a natural disaster or casualty.

(7) Any other property is excluded if the household:

(a) Has offered the property for sale through a professional real estate broker; and

(b) Has not declined an offer equivalent to fair market value.

(8) Indian lands that are held jointly by the tribe or can be sold only with the approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are excluded;

(((8))) (9) Installment contracts:

(a) Installment contracts or agreements for the sale of land or property are excluded when they are producing income consistent with their fair market value;

(b) Value of property sold under an installment contract or held for security is excluded if the purchase price is consistent with fair market value.

(((9))) (10) Insurance policies and pension funds:

(a) Cash value of life insurance policies and pension funds (excluding IRAs and Keogh Plans) are excluded.

(b) Prepaid burial plans are excluded when the plan:

(i) Is death insurance as opposed to a bank account; and

(ii) Requires repayment for allowable withdrawals.

(((10))) (11) Land.  Where a client plans to build a permanent home or is excluded where their property is not separated by land owned by others.  The land is countable if the assistance unit owns another home.

(((11))) (12) A resource is excluded when it is owned by an assistance

unit member who receives TANF/SFA or SSI.

(((12))) (13) Resources that are owned by persons who are not members of the household are excluded.

(((13))) (14) A resource is excluded when, if it is sold, would only result in a gain to the household of one-half of the applicable resource limit as defined under WAC 388-470-0005.  The resource must be something other than stocks, bonds, negotiable financial instruments, or a vehicle.

(((14))) (15) Prorated income for self-employed persons or ineligible students.  These monies retain their exclusion for the period of time the income is prorated even when commingled with other funds.

(((15))) (16) Real or personal property when:

(a) It produces yearly income that is equal to its fair market value even when used only on a seasonal basis;

(b) Secured by a lien for a business loan and the lien prevents the household from selling it; or

(c) It is directly related to the maintenance or use of a vehicle excluded in WAC 388-470-0075.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-470-0035, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-470-0045
Resources that are counted toward the resource limits for cash, food assistance and TANF/SFA-related medical programs.

(1) The following resources are counted toward the resource limits for cash, food assistance and TANF/SFA-related medical programs:

(a) Liquid resources such as cash on hand, monies in checking or savings accounts; or

(b) ((Motor home when not used as a residence; or

(d))) Stocks or bonds minus any early withdrawal penalty.

(2) For TANF/SFA, GA, and TANF/SFA-related medical, the entire value of a motor home is counted as a resource when not used as a residence. For food assistance, a motor home is treated as a vehicle as described in WAC 388-470-0057.

(3) A resource owned with a person other than a spouse, contract vendor, mortgage or lien holder (jointly owned) is counted as follows:

(a) For cash assistance and TANF-related medical, the client's share of the equity value; or

(b) For food assistance, resources jointly owned by separate assistance units are considered available in their entirety to each assistance unit.

(((3))) (4) A client may provide evidence that all or a portion of a jointly owned resource:

(a) Belongs to the other owner; and

(b) Is held for the benefit of the other owner.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-470-0045, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-470-0055
Resources that are counted for food assistance.

The net value of the following resources are counted toward an assistance unit's resource limit:

(1) Excluded funds that are deposited in an account with countable funds (commingled) for more than six months from the date of deposit.

(2) Lump sums such as insurance settlements, refunded cleaning and damage deposits.

(3) Resources of ineligible household members, as described in WAC 388-408-0035(9).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-470-0055, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-470-0075
How vehicles are counted for food assistance.

(1) The entire value of a licensed vehicle even during periods of temporary unemployment is excluded if the vehicle is:

(a) Used over fifty percent of the time for income-producing purposes.  An excluded vehicle used by a self-employed farmer or fisher retains its exclusion for one year from the date the household member ends this self-employment.

(b) Used to produce income annually that is consistent with its fair market value (FMV).

(c) Necessary for long-distance travel that is essential to the employment of an assistance unit member whose resources are considered available to the assistance unit.  Vehicles needed for daily commuting are not excluded under this provision.

(d) Necessary for hunting or fishing to support the household.

(e) Used as the assistance unit's home.

(f) Used to carry fuel for heating or water for home use when this is the primary source of fuel or water for the assistance unit.

(g) Needed to transport ((a temporarily or permanently )) an elderly or a physically disabled household member.

(2) The FMV in excess of four thousand six hundred fifty dollars is counted toward the assistance unit's resource limit for the following licensed vehicles if not excluded in subsection (1) above:

(a) One per assistance unit regardless of use;

(b) Used for transportation to and from work, training, or education; or

(c) Used for seeking employment.

(3) For all other licensed vehicles, the larger value of the following is counted toward the assistance unit's resource limit:

(a) FMV in excess of four thousand six hundred fifty dollars; or

(b) Equity value.

(4) Unlicensed vehicles driven by tribal members on the reservation are treated like a licensed vehicle.

(5) For unlicensed vehicles the equity value is counted towards the assistance unit's resource limit unless the vehicle is:

(a) Used to produce income annually that is consistent with its FMV even if used on a seasonal basis; or

(b) Work-related equipment necessary for employment or self-employment of an assistance unit member.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-470-0075, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

2577.2
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-482-0005
Student status for food assistance.

(1) A food assistance client is considered a student when the client is:

(a) Aged eighteen through forty-nine years;

(b) Physically and mentally able to work; and

(c) Enrolled ((at least half time)) in an institution of higher education at least half-time as defined by the institution.

(2) An institution of higher education is:

(a) Any educational institution requiring a high school diploma or general education development certificate (GED);

(b) Business, trade or vocational schools requiring a high school diploma or GED; or

(c) A two-year or four-year college or university offering a degree but not requiring a high school diploma or GED.

(3) To be ((an)) eligible ((student in the)) for food assistance ((programs)), a student as defined in subsection (1) of this section must meet at least one of the following requirements:

(a) ((Work and receive pay for a average of twenty hours each week.  A self-employed student’s weekly earnings must be equal to or above the federal minimum wage multiplied by)) Be employed for a minimum of twenty hours per week.

(b) Work and receive money from a federal or state work study program;

(c) Be responsible for the care of ((their child)) a dependent household member age five or younger;

(d) Be responsible for the care of ((their child)) a dependent household member six through eleven years of age and the department has determined that there is not adequate child care available during the school year to allow the student to:

(i) Attend class and satisfy the twenty hour work requirement; or

(ii) Take part in a work study program.

(e) Be a single parent responsible for the care of ((their child)) a dependent household member eleven years old or younger even if child care is available;

(f) Be an adult who has parental control of a child eleven years of age or younger and neither the adult’s spouse nor the child’s parents reside in the home;

(g) Participate in the WorkFirst program as required under WAC 388-310-400;

(h) Receive benefits from TANF or SFA;

(i) Attend an institution of higher education through:

(i) The job training partnership act (JTPA);

(ii) Food assistance employment and training program (FS E&T);

(iii) An approved state or local employment and training program; or

(iv) Section 236 of the Trade Act of 1974.

(4) Student status:

(a) Begins the first day of the school term; and

(b) Continues through vacations.  Vacations include the summer when the student plans to return to school for the next term.

(5) If the only reason a student is eligible for food assistance is the participation in work study, the student becomes ineligible during the summer months if the student is not working and receiving money from work study.  Consider other student eligibility criteria during the summer months.

(6) Student status ends when a student:

(a) Graduates;

(b) Is suspended or expelled;

(c) Drops out; or

(d) Does not intend to register for the next school term other than summer.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-482-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

2596.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-02-039, filed 12/31/98, effective 1/31/99)

WAC 388-412-0005
General information about (([for])) cash assistance payments.

(1) Eligible clients may receive cash assistance by electronic benefit transfer (EBT) or ((warrants [Each separate assistance receives a separate cash benefit grant, even if there are multiple assistance units in the same residence].

(2))) warrant, each separate assistance unit receives a separate cash benefit grant, even if there are multiple assistance units in the same residence.

(((3))) (2) A married couple who both receive any general assistance benefit must be considered one assistance unit. However, cash payments are made individually and will not exceed one half of the two-person GA-U standard.

(((4))) (3) Grants are rounded down to the next whole dollar amount with the following exceptions:

(a) Clothing and personal incidental (CPI) allowance; and

(b) Grants with a deduction for repayment of an overpayment.

(((5))) (4) Grant payments are not issued for under ten dollars except:

(a) Grants with a deduction for repayment of an overpayment;

(b) CPI allowances with income deducted; or

(c) Supplemental Social Security (SSI) interim assistance payments.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510, 74.08.090, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and S. 825, Public Law 104-193, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.  99-02-039, 388-412-0005, filed 12/31/98, effective 1/31/99.  Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-412-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-412-0015
Food assistance allotments.

(1) A client's food assistance benefit amount is called an allotment. An allotment is the total dollar value of coupons an eligible assistance unit receives for a calendar month.

(2) Assistance units with no income receive the maximum allotment as described under the thrifty food plan (TFP) in WAC 388-478-0060. Assistance units with net income receive smaller amounts.

(3) When an assistance unit has income, the allotment is determined by:

(a) Multiplying the assistance unit's net monthly income by thirty percent and rounding ((down that amount)) up to the next whole dollar; and

(b) Subtracting the results from the thrifty food plan for the appropriate assistance unit size as specified in WAC 388-478-0060.

(4) Except for those described in WAC 388-406-0055 eligible assistance units receive benefits from the effective date of eligibility to the end of the first month. This is called proration and is based on a thirty-day month.

(5) In the first month of eligibility, assistance units do not receive an allotment when the amount is less than ten dollars.

(6) Eligible one and two person assistance units receive a minimum ten dollar allotment:

(a) After the first month of eligibility; or

(b) In the first month of eligibility when the CSO receives the assistance unit's application on the first day of the month.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-412-0015, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

2578.2
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-416-0005
Certification periods for food assistance.

A certification period is the specified amount of time the assistance unit is determined eligible.  Assistance units are certified for the following periods:

(1) ((Up to)) Not more than twenty-four months for assistance units without earned income ((and)) or cash assistance when all members are elderly;

(2) ((Up to)) Not more than twelve months for assistance units((:

(a) Receiving cash assistance;

(b) With earned income and required to report monthly; or

(c) Without)) with no earned income and all household members are disabled or elderly.

(3) ((Up to)) Not more than six months for assistance units:

(a) ((Assistance units)) Receiving cash assistance;

(b) With earned income and required to report monthly;

(c) With recent work history and required to report monthly; or

(((b) Assistance units)) (d) Not likely to have any changes.

(4) ((Up to)) Not more than three months for assistance units:

(a) Consisting of migrant((s)) or seasonal farmworkers; or

(b) ((All other assistance units)) Containing an able-bodied adult with out dependents (ABAWD);

(c) Without any income and not receiving cash assistance;

(d) With expenses that exceed income received;

(e) That are homeless or staying in an emergency or battered spouse shelter:

(f) That are staying in a non-ADATSA drug and alcohol treatment center; or

(g) Not ((included)) identified in this section.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090.  98-16-044, 388-416-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office