WSR 03-20-051

EMERGENCY RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed September 25, 2003, 4:07 p.m. , effective September 26, 2003 ]

Date of Adoption: September 19, 2003.

Purpose: The Division of Employment and Assistance Programs is amending the Washington telephone assistance program (WTAP) rules to:

1. Establish WTAP payment limits for reimbursable services while streamlining the billing process; and

2. Add community service voice mail as a WTAP benefit as provided for by 2003 legislative session (chapter 134, Laws of 2003) effective July 1, 2003.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-273-0025, 388-273-0030, and 388-273-0035.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.08.090, 80.36.440, chapter 134, Laws of 2003.

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest; and that state or federal law or federal rule or a federal deadline for state receipt of federal funds requires immediate adoption of a rule.

Reasons for this Finding: The extent of reimbursement of telephone companies must be limited for services provided on and after June 1, 2003, in order to ensure the WTAP fund remains within budget. Without this change, more than 120,000 households now using the program may lose telephone services as it would be unaffordable - restricting their ability to contact emergency services, doctors, social workers, employers and others. Community services voice mail has been added as a WTAP benefit by 2003 legislative session, chapter 134, Laws of 2003, effective July 1, 2003. The department is in the process of amending these rules by regular adoption but cannot complete this process before the existing emergency rules expire.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.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 1, 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 3, Repealed 0.
Effective Date of Rule: September 26, 2003.

September 19, 2003

Brian H. Lindgren, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3239.5
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-18-106, filed 9/3/02, effective 10/4/02)

WAC 388-273-0025   Benefits you receive as a WTAP participant.   (1) WTAP participants receive a:

(a) Discount on local telephone flat rate services, when the flat rate is more than the WTAP assistance rate;

(b) Waiver of deposit requirements on local telephone service; ((and))

(c) Fifty percent discount on service connection fees through June 30, 2003. Effective July 1, 2003, fifty percent discount for the first connection; and for a second or subsequent connection when you ask for service at a new address. Any connection fee discounts available from other programs are added to the WTAP discount, to pay part or all of the remaining fifty percent; or

(d) Effective July 1, 2003, a community service voice mail box offered by a community agency that has been contracted with the department of community, trade and economic development to provide the service.

(2) WTAP benefits are limited to one residential line per household.

(3) ((The deposit waiver and the discount on connection fees are available once per service year. "Service year" means the period beginning July 1 and ending June 30 of the following calendar year.

(4))) Your benefits begin the date you are approved for WTAP assistance and continue through the next June 30, except if you qualified for telephone assistance through using the community services voice mail programs, you will receive one additional service year of benefits((.

(5))). "Service year" means the period beginning July 1 and ending June 30 of the following calendar year.

(4) WTAP benefits do not include charges for line extension, optional extended area service, optional mileage, customer premises equipment, applicable taxes or delinquent balances owed to the telephone company.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 80.36.440, 2002 c 104. 02-18-106, 388-273-0025, filed 9/3/02, effective 10/4/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 80.36.440. 01-09-023, 388-273-0025, filed 4/9/01, effective 6/1/01.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-09-023, filed 4/9/01, effective 6/1/01)

WAC 388-273-0030   How you can apply for WTAP.   (1) You can apply for ((WTAP)) telephone benefits by contacting the local telephone company.

(2) The telephone company contacts us to verify that you are eligible for benefits under WAC 388-273-0020 before they add WTAP to your telephone account.

(3) You will know you are receiving WTAP benefits when you have a WTAP credit on your telephone bill.

(4) Effective July 1, 2003, you can apply for community service voice mail by contacting your local community service voice mail provider.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 80.36.440. 01-09-023, 388-273-0030, filed 4/9/01, effective 6/1/01.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-09-023, filed 4/9/01, effective 6/1/01)

WAC 388-273-0035   What we reimburse the local telephone company.   (1) Within available funding limits, we reimburse local telephone companies for fully documented administrative and program expenses associated with WTAP. The reimbursable expenses are limited to:

(a) Program services provided to eligible households June 1, 2003 and beyond, and after eligibility for WTAP is verified;

(i) Monthly flat rate service.

We reimburse the local telephone company an amount equal to the monthly flat rate of the incumbent local exchange carrier providing service in the customer's exchange area, minus the WTAP assistance rate set by the commission, and minus the amount of federal lifeline program reimbursement available to an eligible telecommunications carrier. An "incumbent local exchange carrier" is a telephone company in the U.S. that was providing local service when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted, and is required to file tariffs with the commission. For all exchange areas, the WTAP reimbursement shall be limited to not more than nineteen dollars for each eligible household.

(ii) Connection fee.

We reimburse the local telephone company an amount equal to one-half the connection fee rate or twenty-two dollars, whichever is less.

(iii) Waiver of local deposit.

We reimburse the local telephone company an amount up to two times the WTAP assistance rate.

(b) Correct, verifiable billing items;

(c) ((Invoices)) One monthly invoice and supporting documentation submitted ((within ninety days)) and received by WTAP by the fifteenth day following the month the expense occurred;

(d) Items charged in error that have been corrected within ((sixty)) thirty days from the date we return the report of invoicing error to the local phone company;

(e) Salaries and benefits for time required to implement and maintain WTAP, with the exception that time required for the correction of billing, case number and client identification errors is not an allowable expense;

(f) Travel expenses for attending hearings, meetings, or training pertaining to WTAP;

(g) Expenses for supplies and materials for implementing and maintaining WTAP;

(h) Postage and handling for delivery of WTAP material;

(i) Administrative charge for change of service orders specified by tariffs; and

(j) Pre-approved documented indirect costs associated with implementing and maintaining WTAP.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 80.36.440. 01-09-023, 388-273-0035, filed 4/9/01, effective 6/1/01.]

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