WSR 03-17-089

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed August 19, 2003, 4:24 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 03-13-034 on June 10, 2003.

Title of Rule: WAC 388-450-0185 Does the department count all of my income to determine my eligibility and benefits for food assistance?, 388-450-0190 How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for food assistance?, 388-450-0195 Utility allowances for food assistance programs, 388-478-0060 What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for food assistance?, 388-492-0040 Can I choose whether I get WASHCAP or regular food assistance?, and 388-492-0070 How are my Washington state combined application program (WASHCAP) benefits calculated?

Purpose: Amend the rules to update income, benefit, and deduction standards for basic food and WASHCAP to comply with federal requirements.

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 the income standards, benefits standards, and deductions for the Washington basic food program and WASHCAP. The department uses these standards when determining a client's eligibility for benefits and monthly benefit amount.

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. In addition, FNS requires the department to adjust the standard utility allowance and WASHCAP standards each year.

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 - 273.9 (d)(6)(iii).

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Rule: WAC 388-450-0185 Does the department count all of my income to determine my eligibility and benefits for food assistance?, 388-450-0190 How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for food assistance?, 388-450-0195 Utility allowances for food assistance programs, 388-478-0060 What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for food assistance?, 388-492-0040 Can I choose whether I get WASHCAP or regular food assistance?, and 388-492-0070 How are my Washington state combined application program (WASHCAP) benefits calculated?

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, 273.9 (d)(6)(iii) concerning financial eligibility for federal food stamp benefits. This also adopts annual adjustments to income standards, benefit standards, and WASHCAP standards as required by the United States Department of Agriculture.

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.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

3297.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-22-044, filed 10/30/02, effective 12/1/02)

WAC 388-450-0185   Does the department count all of my income to determine my eligibility and benefits for Basic Food ((assistance))?   We subtract the following amounts from your assistance unit's (AU's) countable income before we determine your Basic Food ((assistance)) 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 $((147)) 149
6 or more $((168)) 171

(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 or 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 ((household member as described)) 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, 74.08.090, 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.]

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-22-045, filed 10/30/02, effective 12/1/02)

WAC 388-450-0190   How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for Basic Food ((assistance))?   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:

(a) Ongoing 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 ((assistance)) 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 ((sixty-seven)) seventy-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 in your AU is elderly or disabled, even if the amount is over three hundred ((sixty-seven)) seventy-eight dollars.

[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.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-22-045, filed 10/30/02, effective 12/1/02)

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

(a) Heating and cooking fuel;

(b) Cooling and electricity;

(c) Water and ((sewerage)) 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 ((assistance)) 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 $ ((275)) 287
2 $ ((283)) 295
3 $ ((291)) 304
4 $ ((300)) 313
5 $ ((308)) 321
6 or more $ ((316)) 330

(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 ((fifteen)) twenty-three dollars.

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

[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.]

3298.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-21-050, filed 10/14/02, effective 12/1/02)

WAC 388-478-0060   What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for Basic Food ((assistance))?   If your assistance unit (AU) meets all other eligibility requirements for Basic Food ((assistance)), your AU must have income at or below the limits in column B and C to get Basic Food ((assistance)), 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 ((10-1-2002)) 10-1-2003
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 $((960))

973

$((739))

749

$((139))

141

$((1,219))

1,235

2 ((1,294))

1,313

((995))

1,010

((256))

259

((1,642))

1,667

3 ((1,628))

1,654

((1,252))

1,272

((366))

371

((2,066))

2,099

4 ((1,961))

1,994

((1,509))

1,534

((465))

471

((2,489))

2,530

5 ((2,295))

2,334

((1,765))

1,795

((553))

560

((2,913))

2,962

6 ((2,629))

2,674

((2,022))

2,057

((663))

672

((3,336))

3,394

7 ((2,962))

3,014

((2,279))

2,319

((733))

743

((3,760))

3,826

8 ((3,296))

3,354

((2,535))

2,580

((838))

849

((4,183))

4,257

9 ((3,630))

3,695

((2,792))

2,842

((943))

955

((4,607))

4,689

10 ((3,964))

4,036

((3,049))

3,104

((1,048))

1,061

((5,031))

5,121

Each Additional Member +((334))

341

+((257))

262

+((105))

106

+((424))

432


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 ((assistance)) 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, 74.08.090. 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.]

3287.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-01-045, filed 12/10/02, effective 1/10/03)

WAC 388-492-0040   Can I choose whether I get WASHCAP or ((regular)) Basic Food ((assistance))?   You can choose to have ((regular)) Basic Food ((assistance)) benefits instead of WASHCAP benefits when:

(1) Your shelter costs are more than ((four)) five hundred ((ninety-nine)) fourteen dollars a month. We count the following items as a shelter cost:

(a) Rent or mortgage;

(b) Property taxes;

(c) Homeowner's insurance (for the building only); or

(d) Mandatory homeowner's association or condo fees.

(2) Your out-of pocket medical expenses are more than thirty-five dollars a month;

(3) You would get more benefits from being in the ((regular)) Basic Food ((assistance)) program; or

(4) You are waiting to receive WASHCAP benefits.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510. 03-01-045, 388-492-0040, filed 12/10/02, effective 1/10/03; 02-15-148, 388-492-0040, filed 7/22/02, effective 9/1/02; 01-21-058, 388-492-0040, filed 10/16/01, effective 12/1/01.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-01-045, filed 12/10/02, effective 1/10/03)

WAC 388-492-0070   How are my Washington state combined application program (WASHCAP) benefits calculated?   We calculate your WASHCAP benefits as follows:

(1) We begin with your gross income. (Social Security Administration (SSA) tells us how much income you have.)

(2) We subtract one hundred thirty-four dollars from your gross income to get your countable income.

(3) We figure your shelter cost as follows:

(a) If SSA tells us you pay three hundred two dollars or more a month for shelter, we use three hundred ((twelve)) twenty-one dollars as your shelter cost; or

(b) If SSA tells us you pay less than three hundred ((one)) two dollars ((a month or less)) for shelter, we use one hundred fifty-five dollars as your shelter cost; and

(c) We add the current standard utility allowance under WAC 388-450-0195 to determine your total shelter cost.

(4) We figure your shelter deduction by subtracting one half of your countable income from your shelter cost.

(5) We figure your net income by subtracting your shelter deduction from your countable income.

(6) We figure your WASHCAP benefits (allotment) by:

(a) Multiplying your net income by thirty percent and rounding up to the next whole dollar; and

(b) Subtracting the result from the maximum allotment under WAC 388-478-0060.

(c) If you are eligible for WASHCAP, your assistance unit will get at least ten dollars food benefits each month.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510. 03-01-045, 388-492-0070, filed 12/10/02, effective 1/10/03; 02-15-148, 388-492-0070, filed 7/22/02, effective 9/1/02; 01-21-058, 388-492-0070, filed 10/16/01, effective 12/1/01.]

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