WSR 03-17-088

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed August 19, 2003, 4:22 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 03-13-035 on June 10, 2003.

Title of Rule: Part 2 of 2 chapters 388-350 and 388-490 WAC. WAC 388-450-0215 How the department estimates income to determine your eligibility and benefits, 388-450-0225 How the department calculates the benefit amount for the first month of eligibility for cash assistance, 388-450-0230 What income does the department count in the month I apply for food assistance when my assistance unit is destitute?, 388-450-0245 When are my benefits suspended?, and 388-490-0005 The department requires proof before authorizing benefits for cash, medical, and food assistance.

See Part 1 of 2 for related rules in chapter 388-418 WAC.

Purpose: Amend the rules to comply with federal requirements for the food stamp program and rewrite the text of the rules to be more easily understood.

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.

Summary: These rules explain what changes department clients must report, when changes impact a client's benefits, and how the department budgets income to determine if clients are eligible for benefits and calculate monthly benefits.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: These changes are necessary to implement mandatory changes to the basic food program required by the FNS final rule on anticipating income and reporting changes. The changes also amend the text of the rules to be more easily understood.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: John Camp, 1009 College S.E., Lacey, WA 98504, (360) 413-3232.

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

Rule is necessary because of federal law, Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 273 - 273.2, 273.10, and 273.12.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Rule: WAC 388-450-0215 How the department estimates income to determine your eligibility and benefits, 388-450-0225 How the department calculates the benefit amount for the first month of eligibility for cash assistance, 388-450-0230 What income does the department count in the month I apply for food assistance when my assistance unit is destitute?, 388-450-0245 When are my benefits suspended?, and 388-490-0005 The department requires proof before authorizing benefits for cash, medical, and food assistance.

Purpose and Effect: See Title of Rule and Summary above.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: See Title of Rule and Summary above.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This proposed rule does not have an economic impact on small businesses; it only affects DSHS clients by modifying reporting requirements and budgeting rules for food assistance benefits.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. 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." This rule adopts federal requirements mandated by Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 273, 273.2 regarding office operations, 273.10 regarding determining financial eligibility and benefit level, and 273.12 regarding requirements for change reporting households for federal food stamp benefits. The department also applies the same requirements for cash assistance.

Hearing Location: Blake Office Park (behind Goodyear Courtesy Tire), 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Rose Room, Lacey, WA 98503, on September 23, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Andy Fernando, DSHS Rules Coordinator, by September 19, 2003, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail FernAX@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, DSHS Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, mail to P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, deliver to 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, fax (360) 664-6185, e-mail fernaax@dshs.wa.go [fernaax@dshs.wa.gov], by 5:00 p.m., September 23, 2003.

Date of Intended Adoption: No earlier than September 24, 2003.

August 18, 2003

Brian H. Lindgren, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3296.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-23-083, filed 11/16/99, effective 1/1/00)

WAC 388-450-0215   How does the department ((estimates)) estimate my assistance unit's income to determine ((your)) my eligibility and benefits((.))?   The department uses prospective budgeting to determine ((eligibility and)) if your Assistance Unit (AU) is eligible and to calculate your benefits.

(1) ((The department determines the amount of)) We determine if your AU is eligible for benefits ((an assistance unit can receive each month based on an estimate of your income and circumstances)) and calculate your monthly benefits based on an estimate of your AU's income and expenses for that month. This is known as prospective budgeting.

(2) We base this estimate on what can be reasonably expected based on your current, past and future circumstances.

(3) We determine if our estimate is reasonable by looking at documents, statements, and other verification.

(4) ((There are)) We use two methods ((of estimating a client's)) to estimate your AU's income:

(a) Anticipating monthly income: We estimate the actual amount of income you expect to receive in the month; and

(b) Averaging income: We estimate your income based on adding the total income you expect to receive for a period of time and dividing by the number of months in the time period.

(5) When we use the anticipating monthly method, we estimate the actual amount of income your AU expects to receive in the month. Your benefits will vary based on the income that is expected for that month.

(6) In general, you can choose which method we use to estimate your income. However, we must use the anticipating monthly method:

(a) For all your AU's income in the following circumstances:

(((a))) (i) If you receive SSI-related medical benefits under WAC 388-450-0150; or

(ii) If you are a destitute migrant or destitute seasonal farmworker ((as defined in)) under WAC 388-406-0021((;)), we must use the anticipating monthly method for the month your AU applied for benefits.

(b) ((If you are receiving SSI, Social Security, or SSI-related medical benefits;

(c) If you have)) For the income of any member of your AU who has income allocated to someone receiving SSI-related medical benefits under WAC 388-450-0150; ((or

(d) If you have))

(c) For the following sources of income to your AU:

(i) SSI;

(ii) Social Security benefits; or

(iii) Income your AU already received ((income)) in the month that you ((apply)) applied for benefits((.

(6) When using)). If we do not have to use the anticipating monthly method((, we estimate the actual amount of income you expect to receive in the month. Your benefits will vary based on the income that is expected for that month)) for any other reason, we may average this income for the remaining months of your certification or review period.

(7) When ((using)) we use the averaging method, we take the expected changes in your AU's income ((are taken)) into consideration so your benefits do not change as much:

(a) ((Clients that)) If you receive ((their)) your income weekly or every other week ((will have their)), we convert this income converted to a monthly amount. If you are paid: If you are paid:

(i) Weekly, we multiply your expected pay by 4.3; or

(ii) Every other week, we multiply your expected pay by 2.15.

(b) ((Clients that)) In most cases if you receive ((their)) your income other than weekly or every other week ((will have their)), we estimate your monthly income ((estimated)) by:

(i) Adding the total amount of income ((expected to be received for the)) we expect you to receive for your certification or review period ((of time)); and

(ii) Dividing by the number of months in the period of time.

(c) If you receive your yearly income over less than a year because you are self employment or work under a contract, we average this income over the year unless you are:

(i) Paid on an hourly or piecework basis; or

(ii) A migrant or seasonal farmworker under WAC 388-406-0021.

(8) If you report a change in your AU's income, and we expect the change to last for at least a month beyond the month you reported the change, we recalculate your AU's income based on this change.

(9) If your actual income is different than the income we estimated, we ((will)) do not make you repay an overpayment under chapter 388-410 WAC or increase your benefits ((if your actual income is different than your estimated income)) unless:

(a) ((The information)) You provided ((was)) incomplete or false information; or

(b) We made an error in calculating your benefits.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-23-083, 388-450-0215, filed 11/16/99, effective 1/1/00; 99-16-024, 388-450-0215, 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, 388-450-0215, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-505-0590.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-24-008, filed 11/19/99, effective 1/1/00)

WAC 388-450-0225   How ((the department calculates the benefit amount for the first month of eligibility)) are my assistance unit's benefits calculated for the first month I am eligible for cash assistance((.))?   (1) To ((determine the client's)) calculate your AU's cash benefit ((amount for the first month of eligibility for cash assistance, the department compares the)) for your first month's benefits, we compare your AU's countable income to the payment standard as described in WAC 388-450-0162.

(2) Even if your AU has countable income ((exceeds)) over the payment standard, you ((can)) may still receive additional requirements.

(3) ((When)) If your countable income is less than the payment standard, we prorate your grant amount based on the date you are eligible.

(4) We do not prorate ((the)) any approved additional requirements.

(5) We prorate your grant by:

(a) Dividing ((the)) your AU's grant amount by the number of days in the first month of eligibility; and

(b) Multiplying the ((figure)) result in (5)(a) of this section by the number of days from the date of eligibility to the last day of the month.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-24-008, 388-450-0225, filed 11/19/99, effective 1/1/00; 99-16-024, 388-450-0225, 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, 388-450-0225, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-17-028, filed 8/12/02, effective 10/1/02)

WAC 388-450-0230   What income does the department count in the month I apply for Basic Food ((assistance)) when my assistance unit is destitute?   (1) If your assistance unit (AU) ((includes a)) meets the requirements of a destitute migrant or seasonal farmworker ((and your AU is destitute)) under WAC 388-406-0021, we may exclude some of your income in the month you apply for Basic Food ((assistance)).

(2) In the month of application, we:

(a) Count only income your AU received between the first of the month and the date you apply for Basic Food ((assistance)); and

(b) Disregard any income from a new source that you expect to receive after the date you apply for Basic Food ((assistance)).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510, and 7 C.F.R. 273.10. 02-17-028, 388-450-0230, filed 8/12/02, effective 10/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-24-008, 388-450-0230, filed 11/19/99, effective 1/1/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-450-0230, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-01-012, filed 12/3/99, effective 1/1/00)

WAC 388-450-0245   When are my benefits suspended?   (1) ((In the)) For TANF/SFA, RCA, GA and Basic Food ((assistance programs, the word)), "suspend" means ((that)) the department stops your benefits for one month.

(2) We suspend your AU's benefits for one month when your expected total countable income ((as defined in)) under WAC 388-450-0162:

(a) ((Exceeds)) Is more than the dollar ((limits for your household size)) limit for your AU; and

(b) ((Exceeds those)) If over these limits for only that one month((.

(3) We end your benefits when your expected countable income exceeds the limits for your household size for two or more consecutive months.

(4) If your expected income drops below the limits for your household size, you may be eligible if you reapply for benefits)).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.510. 00-01-012, 388-450-0245, filed 12/3/99, effective 1/1/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-450-0245, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

3295.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-08-091, filed 4/5/00, effective 5/6/00)

WAC 388-490-0005   The department requires proof before authorizing benefits for cash, medical, and Basic Food ((assistance)).   This rule applies to cash, medical, and Basic Food ((assistance)).

(1) When you first apply for benefits, the department may require you to provide proof of things that help us decide ((your eligibility)) if you are eligible for benefits. This is also called "verification." The types of things that need to be proven are different for each program.

(2) After that, we will ask you to give us proof when:

(a) You report a change;

(b) We find out that your circumstances have changed; or

(c) The information we have is questionable ((or)), confusing, or outdated.

(3) Whenever we ask for proof, we will give you a notice as described in WAC ((388-458-0001)) 388-458-0020.

(4) You must give us the proof within the time limits described in:

(a) WAC 388-406-0030 ((and 388-406-0035)) if you are applying for benefits; and

(b) WAC ((388-458-0001)) 388-458-0020 if you currently receive benefits.

(5) We will accept any proof that you can easily get when it reasonably supports your statement or circumstances. The proof you give to us must:

(a) Clearly relate to what you are trying to prove;

(b) Be from a reliable source; and

(c) Be accurate, complete, and consistent.

(6) We cannot make you give us a specific type or form of proof.

(7) If the only type of proof that you can get costs money, we will pay for it.

(8) If the proof that you give to us is questionable or confusing, we may:

(a) Ask you to give us more proof ((or provide)), which may include providing a collateral ((contact ()) statement. A "collateral ((contact)) statement" is ((a statement)) from someone outside of your residence ((that)) who knows your situation(()));

(b) Schedule a visit to come to your home and verify your circumstances; or

(c) Send an investigator from the Division of Fraud Investigations (DFI) to make an unannounced visit to your home to verify your circumstances.

(9) By signing the application, eligibility review, or change of circumstances form, you give us permission to contact other people, agencies, or institutions.

(10) If you do not give us all of the proof that we have asked for, we will determine if you are eligible based on the information that we already have. If we cannot determine that you are eligible based on this information, we will deny or stop your benefits.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 00-08-091, 388-490-0005, filed 4/5/00, effective 5/6/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-490-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-504-0460.]

Legislature Code Reviser 

Register

Washington State Code Reviser's Office