WSR 04-19-111

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed September 21, 2004, 11:17 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 04-12-092.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 388-450-0185 Does the department count all of my income to determine my eligibility and benefits for Basic Food?, 388-450-0190 How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for Basic Food?, 388-450-0195 Utility allowances for Basic Food programs, and 388-478-0060 What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for Basic Food?

Hearing Location(s): Blake Office Park East (behind Goodyear Courtesy Tire), Rose Room, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, on October 26, 2004, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than October 27, 2004.

Submit Written Comments to: DSHS Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504, delivery 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, e-mail fernaax@dshs.wa.gov, fax (360) 664-6185, by 5:00 p.m., October 26, 2004.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Fred Swenson, DSHS Rules Consultant, by October 22, 2004, TTY (360) 664-6178 or (360) 664-6097.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: Amend rules in chapters 388-450 and 388-478 WAC to update income, benefit, and deduction standards for the Washington Basic Food program. These changes are necessary to comply with federal requirements for the food stamp program.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) publishes new income standards, maximum benefit amounts, standard deduction, and maximum shelter standards at the end of each federal fiscal year to be used in the next federal fiscal year effective for October benefits. In addition, FNS requires the department to adjust the standard utility allowance each year. These changes are implemented at the start of each federal fiscal year.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, FNS Administrative Notice 04-55 per 7 C.F.R. 273.9 and 42 U.S.C. 9902(2).

Rule is necessary because of federal law, 7 C.F.R. 273.9(d).

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

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: John Camp, Policy Analyst, 1009 College S.E., Lacey, WA 98504, (360) 725-4616.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These proposed rules do not have an economic impact on small businesses; they only affect DSHS clients setting income limits, deductions, and maximum monthly benefits for the Washington Basic Food program.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. These amendments are exempt as allowed under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(vii) which states in-part, "[t]his section does not apply to. . . .rules of the department of social and health services relating only to client medical or financial eligibility and rules concerning liability for care of dependents." These rules adopt federal requirements and implement program options under Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 273 regarding eligibility for food stamp benefits.

September 17, 2004

Brian H. Lindgren, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3456.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-21-030, filed 10/7/03, effective 12/1/03)

WAC 388-450-0185   Does the department count all of my income to determine my eligibility and benefits for Basic Food?   We subtract the following amounts from your assistance unit's (AU's) countable income before we determine your Basic Food benefit amount:

(1) A standard deduction based on the number of people in your AU under WAC 388-408-0035:


Eligible and ineligible AU members Standard deduction
1 $134
2 $134
3 $134
4 $134
5 $((149)) 153
6 or more $((171)) 175

(2) Twenty percent of your AU's gross earned income (earned income deduction);

(3) Your AU's expected monthly dependent care expense as described below:

(a) The dependent care must be needed for AU member to:

(i) Keep work, look for work, or accept work;

(ii) Attend training or education to prepare for employment; or

(iii) Meet employment and training requirements under chapter 388-444 WAC.

(b) We subtract allowable dependent care expenses that are payable to someone outside of your AU:

(i) Up to two hundred dollars for each dependent under age two; and

(ii) Up to one hundred seventy-five dollars for each dependent age two or older.

(4) Medical expenses over thirty-five dollars a month owed or anticipated by an elderly or disabled person in your AU as allowed under WAC 388-450-0200.

(5) Legally obligated current or back child support paid to someone outside of your AU:

(a) For a person who is not in your AU; or

(b) For a person who is in your AU to cover a period of time when they were not living with you.

(6) A portion of your shelter costs as described in WAC 388-450-0190.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-21-030, 388-450-0185, filed 10/7/03, effective 12/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, and H.R. 2646 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. 02-22-044, 388-450-0185, filed 10/30/02, effective 12/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-16-024, 388-450-0185, filed 7/26/99, effective 9/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-450-0185, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

3457.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 04-07-138, filed 3/22/04, effective 5/1/04)

WAC 388-450-0190   How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for Basic Food?   The department calculates your shelter cost income deduction as follows:

(1) First, we add up the amounts your assistance unit (AU) must pay each month for shelter. We do not count any overdue amounts, late fees, penalties or any amount you pay ahead of time as an allowable cost. We count the following expenses as an allowable shelter cost in the month the expense is due:

(a) Monthly rent, lease, and mortgage payments;

(b) Property taxes;

(c) Homeowner's association or condo fees;

(d) Homeowner's insurance for the building only;

(e) Utility allowance your AU is eligible for under WAC 388-450-0195;

(f) Out-of-pocket repairs for the home if it was substantially damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster such as a fire or flood;

(g) Expense of a temporarily unoccupied home because of employment, training away from the home, illness, or abandonment caused by a natural disaster or casualty loss if your:

(i) AU intends to return to the home;

(ii) AU has current occupants who are not claiming the shelter costs for Basic Food purposes; and

(iii) AU's home is not being leased or rented during your AU's absence.

(2) Second, we subtract all deductions your AU is eligible for under WAC 388-450-0185 (1) through (5) from your AU's gross income. The result is your AU's net income.

(3) Finally, we subtract one-half of your AU's net income from your AU's total shelter costs. The result is your excess shelter costs. Your AU's shelter cost deduction is the excess shelter costs:

(a) Up to a maximum of three hundred ((seventy-eight)) eighty-eight dollars if no one in your AU is elderly or disabled ((and you were found eligible for benefits or were recertified for benefits either on or after March 1, 2001)); or

(b) The entire amount if ((someone)) an eligible person in your AU is elderly or disabled, even if the amount is over three hundred ((seventy-eight)) eighty-eight dollars.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 04-07-138, 388-450-0190, filed 3/22/04, effective 5/1/04; 03-21-030, 388-450-0190, filed 10/7/03, effective 12/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. 02-22-045, 388-450-0190, filed 10/30/02, effective 12/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510. 01-21-059, 388-450-0190, filed 10/16/01, effective 12/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 01-06-030, 388-450-0190, filed 3/2/01, effective 4/2/01; 99-16-024, 388-450-0190, filed 7/26/99, effective 9/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-450-0190, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

3458.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-21-030, filed 10/7/03, effective 12/1/03)

WAC 388-450-0195   Utility allowances for Basic Food programs.   (1) For Basic Food, "utilities" include the following:

(a) Heating and cooking fuel;

(b) Cooling and electricity;

(c) Water and sewer;

(d) Garbage and trash collection; and

(e) Basic telephone service.

(2) The department uses the amounts below if you have utility costs separate from your rent or mortgage payment. We add your utility allowance to your rent or mortgage payment to determine your total shelter costs. We use total shelter costs to determine your Basic Food benefits.

(a) If you have heating or cooling costs, you get a standard utility allowance (SUA) that depends on your assistance unit's size.


Assistance Unit (AU) Size Utility Allowance
1 $((287)) 278
2 $((295)) 287
3 $((304)) 295
4 $((313)) 304
5 $((321)) 312
6 or more $((330)) 321

(b) If your AU does not qualify for the SUA and you have utility costs other than telephone costs, you get a limited utility allowance (LUA) of two hundred ((twenty-three)) twenty-two dollars.

(c) If your AU has only telephone costs and no other utility costs, you get a telephone utility allowance (TUA) of ((thirty-six)) thirty-seven dollars.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-21-030, 388-450-0195, filed 10/7/03, effective 12/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. 02-22-045, 388-450-0195, filed 10/30/02, effective 12/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510. 01-21-059, 388-450-0195, filed 10/16/01, effective 12/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510. 00-22-065, 388-450-0195, filed 10/27/00, effective 11/1/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.040.510 [74.04.510]. 99-24-052, 388-450-0195, filed 11/29/99, effective 12/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510. 99-09-055, 388-450-0195, filed 4/19/99, effective 5/20/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510 and 7 CFR 273.9 (d)(6). 99-01-069, 388-450-0195, filed 12/14/98, effective 1/14/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-450-0195, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

3455.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-21-030, filed 10/7/03, effective 12/1/03)

WAC 388-478-0060   What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for Basic Food?   If your assistance unit (AU) meets all other eligibility requirements for Basic Food, your AU must have income at or below the limits in column B and C to get Basic Food, unless you meet one of the exceptions listed below. The maximum monthly food assistance benefit your AU could receive is listed in column D.

EFFECTIVE ((10-1-2003)) 10-1-04
Column A

Number of Eligible AU Members

Column B

Maximum

Gross Monthly

Income

Column C

Maximum Net

Monthly Income

Column D

Maximum

Allotment

Column E

165% of Poverty

Level

1 $((973))

1,009

$((749))

776

$((141))

149

$((1,235))

1,281

2 ((1,313))

1,354

((1,010))

1,041

((259))

274

((1,667))

1,718

3 ((1,654))

1,698

((1,272))

1,306

((371))

393

((2,099))

2,155

4 ((1,994))

2,043

((1,534))

1,571

((471))

499

((2,530))

2,592

5 ((2,334))

2,387

((1,795))

1,836

((560))

592

((2,962))

3,030

6 ((2,674))

2,732

((2,057))

2,101

((672))

711

((3,394))

3,467

7 ((3,014))

3,076

((2,319))

2,366

((743))

786

((3,826))

3,904

8 ((3,354))

3,421

((2,580))

2,631

((849))

898

((4,257))

4,341

9 ((3,695))

3,766

((2,842))

2,896

((955))

1,010

((4,689))

4,779

10 ((4,036))

4,111

((3,104))

3,161

((1,061))

1,112

((5,121))

5,217

Each Additional Member + ((341))

345

+(( 262))

265

+ ((106))

112

+ ((432))

438


Exceptions:

(1) If your AU is categorically eligible as under WAC 388-414-0001, your AU does not have to meet the gross or net income standards in columns B and C. We do budget your AU's income to decide the amount of Basic Food your AU will receive.

(2) If your AU includes a member who is sixty years of age or older or has a disability, your income must be at or below the limit in column C only.

(3) If you are sixty years of age or older and cannot buy and cook your own meals because of a permanent disability, we will use column E to decide if you can be a separate AU.

(4) If your AU has zero income, your benefits are the maximum allotment in column D, based on the number of eligible members in your AU.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-21-030, 388-478-0060, filed 10/7/03, effective 12/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. 02-21-050, 388-478-0060, filed 10/14/02, effective 12/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510. 01-21-059, 388-478-0060, filed 10/16/01, effective 12/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510, 74.08.090. 00-23-013, 388-478-0060, filed 11/3/00, effective 12/4/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510. 99-24-053, 388-478-0060, filed 11/29/99, effective 12/30/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-16-024, 388-478-0060, filed 7/26/99, effective 9/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.500, 74.04.510, 74.08.090. 99-05-074, 388-478-0060, filed 2/17/99, effective 3/20/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-478-0060, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

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