WSR 04-07-025

PERMANENT RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed March 8, 2004, 4:15 p.m. , effective May 1, 2004 ]

Date of Adoption: March 5, 2004.

Purpose: The proposed amendments will simplify the sanction and Child SafetyNet process by eliminating multiple levels of sanction and strengthen the Child SafetyNet process. The amended rules reduce the number of sanction levels to one and increase the period of cooperation before the sanction is removed. Amending WAC 388-310-1600 WorkFirst -- Sanctions and 388-310-1650 WorkFirst -- Child SafetyNet payments.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-310-1600 and 388-310-1650.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, and 74.08A.340.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 04-03-095 on January 20, 2004.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.
Effective Date of Rule: May 1, 2004.

March 5, 2004

Brian H. Lindgren, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3355.2
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-15-067, filed 7/11/02, effective 8/1/02)

WAC 388-310-1600   WorkFirst--Sanctions.   (1) What WorkFirst requirements do I have to meet?

You must do the following when you are a mandatory WorkFirst participant:

(a) Give the department the information we need to develop your individual responsibility plan (IRP) (see WAC 388-310-0500);

(b) Show that you are participating fully to meet all of the requirements listed on your individual responsibility plan;

(c) Go to scheduled appointments listed in your individual responsibility plan;

(d) Follow the participation and attendance rules of the people who provide your assigned WorkFirst services or activities; and

(e) Accept available paid employment when it meets the criteria in WAC 388-310-1500.

(2) What happens if I don't meet WorkFirst requirements?

(a) If you do not meet WorkFirst requirements, we will send you a letter telling you what you did not do.

(b) You will have ten days to contact us so we can talk with you about the situation. You can contact us in writing, by phone, by going to the appointment described in the letter, or by asking for an individual appointment.

(c) If you do not contact us within ten days, we will make sure you have been screened for family violence and other barriers to participation. We will use existing information to decide whether:

(i) You were unable to do what was required; or

(ii) You were able, but refused, to do what was required.

(d) If you had a good reason not to do a required activity we will work with you and, if needed, change the requirements in your individual responsibility plan. If you have been unable to meet your WorkFirst requirements because of family violence, you and your case manager will develop an IRP to help you with your situation, including referrals to appropriate services.

(e) Before you are placed in sanction, we will have a case staffing to ensure you were offered the opportunity to participate and that you were able to do so. You will be notified when this will be so you can attend.

(3) What is considered a good reason for not being able to do what WorkFirst requires?

You have a good reason if it was not possible to do what WorkFirst requires due to a significant problem or event outside your control. Some examples of good reasons include:

(a) You had an emergent physical, mental or emotional condition, confirmed by a licensed health care professional that interfered with your ability to participate;

(b) You were threatened with or subjected to family violence;

(c) You could not locate child care for your children under thirteen years that was:

(i) Affordable (did not cost you more than your co-payment would under the working connections child care program in chapter 388-290 WAC);

(ii) Appropriate (licensed, certified or approved under federal, state or tribal law and regulations for the type of care you use and you were able to choose, within locally available options, who would provide it); and

(iii) Within a reasonable distance (within reach without traveling farther than is normally expected in your community).

(iv) You could not locate other care services for an incapacitated person who lives with you and your children.

(d) You had an immediate legal problem, such as an eviction notice; or

(e) You are a person who gets necessary supplemental accommodation (NSA) services under chapter 388-472 WAC and your limitation kept you from participating. If you have a good reason because you need NSA services, we will review your accommodation plan.

(4) What if we decide that you did not have a good reason for failing to meet WorkFirst requirements?

If we decide that you did not have a good reason for failing to meet WorkFirst requirements, we will send you a letter that tells you:

(a) What you failed to do;

(b) That you are in sanction status;

(c) Penalties that will be applied to your grant;

(d) When the penalties will be applied;

(e) How to request a fair hearing if you disagree with this decision; and

(f) How to end the penalties and get out of sanction status.

(5) What is sanction status?

When you are a mandatory WorkFirst participant, you must follow WorkFirst requirements to qualify for your full grant. If you or someone else on your grant doesn't comply and you can't prove that you had a good reason, you do not qualify for your full grant. This is called being in WorkFirst sanction status.

(6) Are there penalties when you or someone in my household goes into sanction status?

(a) When someone in your household is in sanction status, we impose penalties. The penalties last until you or the household member meet WorkFirst requirements.

(b) ((There are three penalty levels:

(i) Level one: We calculate your family's grant and then remove the noncompliant person(s) share of the grant;

(ii) Level two: Your reduced grant (removing the noncompliant person's share) will be sent to a protective payee every month until you get out of sanction status. (WAC 388-460-0001 describes the protective payee rules.)

(iii) Level three: Your grant is reduced by the person(s) share or forty percent, whichever is more and your reduced grant will be sent to a protective payee until you get out of sanction status.

(c) The penalties change depending on how long you have been in sanction status and how many time you have been in sanction status:

(i) The first time you go into sanction your penalties will start at level one. If you are still in sanction after three months, you will go to level two. If you are still in sanction after another three months, you will go to level three.

(ii) The second time you are in sanction, your penalties start at level two and changes to level three after three months.

(iii) After three or more times in sanction, you start at level three.

(d) If you are in sanction status on August 1, 2002, your penalties will start at level one, two, or three depending on how long you have been in sanction status. This will be considered your first sanction)) Your grant is reduced by the person(s) share or forty percent, whichever is more.

(c) Your reduced grant will be sent to a protective payee until you get out of sanction status. (WAC 388-460-0001 describes the protective payee rules.)

(7) How do I end the penalties and get out of sanction status?

To stop the penalties and get out of sanction status:

(a) You must provide the information we requested to develop your individual responsibility plan; and/or

(b) Start and continue to do your required WorkFirst activities((, as follows:

(i) For two weeks in a row if you are in level one of sanction;

(ii) For four weeks in a row if you are in level two or three of sanction)) for four weeks in a row.

(c) When you leave sanction status, your grant will be restored ((beginning with the day you began doing your required activities)) to the level for which you are eligible beginning the first of the month following your four weeks of participation.

(8) What if I reapply for TANF or SFA and I was in sanction status when my case closed?

(a) If your case closes while you are in sanction status and is reopened in six months or less, you will start out in sanction ((where you were when the case was closed)).

(b) If your case has been closed for more than six months, you will not be in sanction status if your case is reopened.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-15-067, 388-310-1600, filed 7/11/02, effective 8/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-10-027, 388-310-1600, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99; 98-23-037, 388-310-1600, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; 97-20-129, 388-310-1600, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-14-084, filed 6/28/02, effective 7/29/02)

WAC 388-310-1650   WorkFirst -- Child SafetyNet Payments.   (1) What is a Child SafetyNet Payment?

A Child SafetyNet Payment (CSNP) is a TANF/SFA time limit extension to maintain housing and basic utilities and other verified needs of the children in your household. (See WAC 388-484-0006.) Your family will get a Child SafetyNet Payment extension instead of a regular TANF/SFA time limit extension if:

(a) You or another adult in your household has been getting TANF/SFA for more than sixty months; and

(b) Someone in your household is in sanction status because they are not exempt or in a time limited hardship extension (see WAC 388-310-0300, 388-484-0006 and 388-310-0350) and have refused to do WorkFirst requirements without a good reason as provided in WAC 388-310-1600. We will not place you into CSNP status unless we first offered you the opportunity to talk about the proposed sanction as required by WAC 388-310-1600(2) and gave you notice that we did not think you had a good reason for failing to meet WorkFirst requirements as required by WAC 388-310-1600(4).

(2) How will I know if my family will be getting a Child SafetyNet Payment?

We will send you a letter that tells:

(a) What caused your household to go into sanction status;

(b) When your Child SafetyNet Payments will start;

(c) How to request a fair hearing if you disagree with the decision; and

(d) How to become qualified for regular TANF/SFA time limit extension benefits.

(3) Are there penalties when my household gets a Child SafetyNet Payment?

(a) When your household gets a Child SafetyNet Payment:

(i) We reduce your grant by forty percent or the noncompliant person's share, whichever is more; and

(ii) Send your family's CSNP to a protective payee.

(b) The protective payee can only pay your verified rent and utility costs with your CSNP and will spend anything left over to pay your children's expenses (like clothing, diapers, toiletries, school supplies or other school-related costs).

(c) The Child SafetyNet Payment is cash assistance and if you get more than you are eligible to get, then we can recover the amount we overpaid you under chapter 388-410 WAC.

(4) How do I end the penalties and get out of CSNP status?

To stop the penalties and get out of CSNP status, you must:

(a) Prove that you have been doing your WorkFirst requirements for ((one full month)) twelve weeks in a row; or

(b) Prove that you had a good reason not to do your required activities (see WAC 388-310-1600(3)); or

(c) Become exempt from WorkFirst requirements (see WAC 388-310-0350).

(5) What happens when I leave CSNP status?

Once you leave CSNP status((:

(a) All your penalties will end if you proved that you had a good reason not to do your WorkFirst requirements or you became exempt; or

(b) You will go into level three of sanction status described in WAC 388-310-1600(6). Your grant will be sent to a protective payee and reduced by forty percent or the noncompliant person's share, whichever is more.

(c) The level three sanction penalties will end after you do all your WorkFirst requirements for four weeks in a row)) your grant will be restored to the level for which you are eligible the first of the month following your twelve weeks of participation.

(6) What if I reapply for TANF or SFA and my family was in CSNP status ((a)) when my case closed?

If your case closes while you are in CSNP status, you will go back into CSNP status when your grant is reopened.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-14-084, 388-310-1650, filed 6/28/02, effective 7/29/02.]

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