WSR 99-17-025

PERMANENT RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

(Division of Assistance Programs)

[ Filed August 10, 1999, 11:04 a.m. , effective October 1, 1999. ]

Date of Adoption: August 10, 1999.

Purpose: Amend 388-400 series WAC to correct inadvertent errors, update program policy, and clarify existing rules. Corrected complaint procedure, clarified income types, expanded client rights, and added missing information regarding social security number disqualifications.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-426-0005, 388-450-0015, 388-450-0025, 388-450-0030, 388-472-0005, and 388-476-0005.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 99-13-192 on June 23, 1999.

Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: WAC 388-426-0005(1) revised to strike the word "written" in order to comply with federal rules.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 6, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 6, Repealed 0. Effective Date of Rule: October 1, 1999.

August 10, 1999

Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

2595.3
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-426-0005
Client complaints.

(1) Clients who believe they have been discriminated against by the department for reason of ((age,)) race, color, ((sex)) creed, ((disability, religious creed,)) political ((beliefs or)) affiliation, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or birthplace have the right to file a ((written)) complaint((.

(a) Clients wishing to file a complaint of discrimination regarding food stamp benefits must send complaints to food and nutrition services (FNS); and

(b) Clients of all other programs must send discrimination complaints to the state office of equal opportunity (OEO), Olympia WA.

(2))). Clients can file discrimination complaints with the:

(a) DSHS, Division of Access and Equal Opportunity, PO Box 45012, Olympia, WA, 98504;

(b) Administrator, Food and Nutrition Services, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA, 22302; or

(c) Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington D.C., 20250.

(2) Clients with a complaint about a department decision or action have the right to present their complaint, in writing, to a supervisor.  

(a) Within ten days of the receipt of the complaint:

(((a))) (i) A decision will be made on the client's complaint; and

(((b))) (ii) The client will be sent written notice of the decision, including information about the right to further review by the local office administrator.

(((3))) (b) Clients not satisfied with the decision of a supervisor have the right to present a written complaint to the local office administrator.  Within ten days of the receipt of the complaint:

(((a))) (i) A decision will be made on the complaint, and

(((b))) (ii) The client will be sent written notice of the decision.

(((4))) (c) Written notice of the administrator's decision concludes the complaint procedure.

(((5))) (d) The filing of a written complaint does not prevent a client from requesting a fair hearing under ((chapter 388-08)) WAC 388-08-413.

(((6))) (e) Clients have the right to speak to a worker's supervisor or have a decision or action reviewed by the supervisor, whether or not a formal complaint has been filed.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, RCW 74.04.055, RCW 74.04.057 and RCW 74.08.090.   WSR 98-16-044, 388-426-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

2591.3
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-450-0015
Excluded and disregarded income.

This section applies to TANF/SFA, RCA, GA, TANF/SFA-related medical and food assistance programs.

(1) Excluded income ((means)) is income that is not counted when determining a client's eligibility and benefit level. ((Excluded income types are defined by state and federal laws.)) Types of excluded income include but are not limited to:

(a) Bona fide loans as defined in WAC 388-470-0025, except certain student loans as specified under WAC 388-450-0035.

(b) Federal earned income tax credit (EITC) payments;

(c) Title IV-E((,)) and state ((and or local)) foster care maintenance payments if the foster child is not included in the assistance unit;

(d) Energy assistance payments;

(e) Educational assistance as specified in WAC 388-450-0035;

(f) Native American benefits and payments as specified in WAC 388-450-0040;

(g) Income from employment and training programs as specified in WAC 388-450-0045; ((and))

(h) ((Any amount)) Money withheld from a client's benefit to repay an overpayment ((by)) from the same income source ((agency)). For food assistance, this exclusion does not apply when the ((amount)) money is withheld to ((recoup)) recover an intentional noncompliance overpayment from a federal, state, or local means tested program((.)) such as TANF/SFA, GA, and SSI; and

(i) Child support payments received by TANF/SFA recipients((which have been assigned to the department as a condition of receiving assistance)).

(2) For food assistance programs, the following income types are excluded:

(a) Emergency additional requirements authorized to TANF/SFA and RCA clients under WAC 388-436-0001 and paid directly to a third party;

(b) Cash donations based on need received directly by the household if the donations are:

(i) Made by one or more private, nonprofit, charitable organizations; and

(ii) Do not exceed three hundred dollars in any federal fiscal year quarter.

(c) Infrequent or irregular income, received during a three-month period by a prospectively budgeted assistance unit, that:

(i) Cannot be reasonably anticipated as available; and

(ii) Does not exceed thirty dollars for all household members.

(3) All income that is not excluded is considered to be part of an assistance unit's gross income. ((Gross income is used to determine an assistance unit's eligibility as follows:

(a) For TANF/SFA, RCA, GA-S, and GA-H, the assistance unit is ineligible if its gross income exceeds 185 percent of the need standard as specified in WAC 388-478-0015; and

(b))) (4) For ((certain)) food assistance households not containing an elderly or disabled member, the assistance ((unit's)) unit is ineligible if its gross income ((cannot)) exceeds one hundred thirty percent of the federal poverty level ((for the forty-eight contiguous states)) as specified in WAC 388-478-0060.

(((4))) (5) Disregarded income ((means)) is income that is ((not excluded)) counted when determining an assistance unit's gross income but ((which)) is ((disregarded)) not used when determining an assistance unit's countable income. Types of disregarded income ((are defined by state and federal laws. Disregarded income)) include((s)) but ((is)) are not limited to:

(a) Earned income incentives and disregards for cash assistance; and

(b) Earned income disregard and income deductions for food assistance ((income deductions)).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, RCW 74.04.055, RCW 74.04.057 and RCW 74.08.090.   WSR 98-16-044, 388-450-0015, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-505-0590.]


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

WAC 388-450-0025
Unearned income.

This section applies to TANF/SFA, RCA, GA, TANF/SFA-related medical and food assistance programs.

(1) Unearned income is income a person receives from a source other than employment or self-employment. Examples of unearned income include but are not limited to:

(a) Railroad Retirement;

(b) Unemployment Compensation; or

(c) Veteran Administration benefits.

(2) For food assistance programs, unearned income includes the amount of cash benefits due the client prior to any reductions caused by the client's failure to perform an action required under a federal, state, or local means-tested public assistance program.

(((3) Unearned income is budgeted in its entirety.))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, RCW 74.04.055, RCW 74.04.057 and RCW 74.08.090.   WSR 98-16-044, 388-450-0025, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


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

WAC 388-450-0030
Earned income definition.

Unless specifically stated, this section applies to TANF/SFA, RCA, GA, TANF/SFA-related medical and food assistance programs.

(1) Earned income ((means)) is:

(a) Income a person receives in the form of cash or in-kind, which is a gain or benefit to the person, when earned as a wage, salary, tips, gratuities, commissions, or profit from self-employment activities.

(b) Income over a period of time for which settlement is made at one time, such as sale of farm crops, livestock, or poultry.

(2) For food assistance programs only, income in-kind is excluded.

(((2))) (3) Earned income from self-employment is determined as specified under WAC 388-450-0080.

(((3))) (4) For TANF/SFA, RCA, GA-H, and TANF/SFA-related medical assistance, earned income includes time-loss compensation as specified in WAC 388-450-0075.

(((4) For food assistance programs only, income in -kind is excluded.))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, RCW 74.04.055, RCW 74.04.057 and RCW 74.08.090.   WSR 98-16-044, 388-450-0030, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

2592.3
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-472-0005
Client rights and responsibilities.

Unless specifically stated, the following rules apply to cash, food and medical assistance programs.

(1) A person who applies for or receives public assistance has the right to:

(a) Be treated politely and fairly without regard to race, color, creed, political affiliation, national origin, religion, age, ((sex)) gender, disability((,)) or birthplace((, or marital status));

(b) File an application on the same day, during regular business hours, that the person contacts the department.  A client has the right to get a receipt when leaving an application or other materials with the department;

(c) Have an application promptly accepted and promptly acted upon;

(d) Ask that the application be processed without delay if the person is pregnant, in need of immediate medical care, experiencing an emergency such as having no money for food, or facing an eviction((, needing medical care that cannot wait or being pregnant)).  If a pregnant client requests an interview, she has ((a)) the right to have one within five working days;

(e) Get a written decision in most cases within thirty days.

(i) Medical and some disability cases may take forty-five to sixty days. Pregnancy medical will be authorized within fifteen working days.

(ii) Food stamps will be authorized within thirty days if the person is eligible.  If the person is eligible and has little or no money, food stamps will be authorized within five days;

(f) Be fully informed, in writing, of all legal rights and responsibilities in connection with public assistance;

(g) Have information kept private.  The department may share some facts with other agencies for efficient management of federal and state programs;

(h) For cash and medical assistance programs, ask the department not to collect child support if the absent parent may harm the person or person’s child;

(i) For cash assistance programs, ask for extra money to help in an emergency, such as an eviction or a utility shutoff;

(j) Get a written notice, in most cases, at least ten days before the department makes changes to lower or stop benefits;

(k) Ask for a fair hearing if the person does not agree with the department about a decision.  Without affecting the right to a fair hearing, the person can also ask a supervisor or administrator to review an employee decision or action;

(l) Have interpreter or translator services at no cost or undue delay;

(m) Refuse to speak to a fraud early detection (FRED) investigator from the division of fraud investigations.  The person does not have to let an investigator into the home.  The person may ask the investigator to come back at another time.  Such a request will not affect the person's eligibility for benefits;

(n) For medical assistance programs only: A person applying for or receiving medical assistance, limited casualty programs, medical care services, or children’s health services has the same rights as cash assistance clients; and

(o) Receive help from the department to register to vote.

(2) A client is responsible for:

(a) Reporting any changes to the department within ten days for all cash and food assistance programs and twenty days for all medical assistance programs;

(b) Giving all the facts needed to determine eligibility;

(c) Giving the department proof of any facts for which proof is needed;

(d) For most cash or medical assistance programs related to children, cooperating with the department to get child support or medical care support unless it can be shown that harm to the person or child may occur;

(e) For cash or medical assistance programs, applying for and taking any benefits from other programs, if eligible;

(f) Completing reports and reviews when asked to do so;

(g) Seeking and taking a job or training if required; and

(h) For medical assistance programs only, showing the medical identification card or other adequate department generated notification of eligibility to the medical care provider.

(3) Clients will be screened and provided with necessary supplemental accommodation as specified under WAC 388-200-1300.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, RCW 74.04.055, RCW 74.04.057 and RCW 74.08.090.   WSR 98-16-044, 388-472-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-504-0430, 388-504-0440, 388-504-0450 and 388-505-0560.]

2602.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-476-0005
Social Security Number requirements.

(1) With certain exceptions, each person who applies for or receives cash, medical or food assistance benefits must provide to the department a Social Security Number (SSN), or numbers if more than one has been issued.

(2) If the person is unable to provide the SSN, either because it is not known or has not been issued, the person must:

(a) Apply for the SSN;

(b) Provide proof that the SSN has been applied for; and

(c) Provide the SSN when it is received.

(3) Assistance will not be delayed, denied or terminated pending the issuance of an SSN by the Social Security Administration.  However, a person who does not comply with these requirements is not eligible for assistance.

(4) For cash, medical, and food assistance benefits, a person cannot be disqualified from receiving benefits for refusing to apply for or supply an SSN based on religious grounds.

(5) For food assistance programs:

(a) A person can receive benefits for the month of application and the following month if the person attempted to apply for the SSN and made every effort to provide the needed information to the Social Security Administration.

(b) A newborn may receive benefits for up to six months from the date of birth if the household is unable to provide proof of application for an SSN at the time of birth.

(((5))) (6) For medical programs, a newborn as described in WAC 388-505-0210(1) is eligible for categorically needy (CN) medical without meeting the SSN requirement((.  These coverage provisions continue until one of the following occurs:

(a) The newborn leaves the household of the birth mother; or

(b) The newborn’s first birthday.

(6))) until the baby’s first birthday.

(7) There is no SSN requirement for the following programs:

(a) The consolidated emergency assistance program;

(b) The refugee cash and medical assistance program;

(c) The medically indigent program;

(d) The alien emergency medical program;

(e) The state-funded pregnant woman program;

(f) The children’s health program; and

(g) Detoxification services.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, RCW 74.04.055, RCW 74.04.057 and RCW 74.08.090.   WSR 98-16-044, 388-476-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-505-0530.]