WSR 05-06-088

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed March 1, 2005, 4:19 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 04-21-074.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 388-418-0011 What is a six-month report, and do I have to complete one in order to keep getting benefits? and 388-418-0020 How does the department determine the date a change affects my benefits?

Hearing Location(s): Blake Office Park East (behind Goodyear Courtesy Tire), Rose Room, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, on April 5, 2005, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than April 6, 2005.

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., April 5, 2005.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Fred Swenson, DSHS Rules Consultant, by April 1, 2005, TTY (360) 664-6178 or (360) 664-6097.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: This proposal amends WAC 388-418-0011 to reflect department policy regarding who must complete a six-month report for cash, Basic Food, and medical programs and actions the department takes when someone completes the report late.

This proposal also amends WAC 388-418-0020 to reflect department policy regarding how the department determines the date a change impacts someone's benefits for cash, Basic Food, or medical programs.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The changes are necessary to reflect department policy on who must complete a six-month report for Basic Food, cash, and medical programs. Additionally, changes were necessary to reflect effective dates of a change in benefits based on changes in circumstances.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, 7 C.F.R. 273.12.

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

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

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rules do not have an economic impact on small businesses, they only affect DSHS clients by establishing who must complete a six-month report for Basic Food, cash, and medical programs and establishing effective dates for changes to benefits based on a change of circumstances.

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." This rule filing adopts federal reporting requirements for the food stamp program as set in the Code of Federal Regulations, 7 C.F.R. 273.12, and adopts reporting requirements for clients receiving cash or medical assistance.

February 23, 2005

Andy Fernando, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3521.2
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 04-19-134, filed 9/21/04, effective 10/1/04)

WAC 388-418-0011   What is a six-month report, and do I have to complete one in order to keep getting benefits?   (1) A six-month report is a form the department sends you to confirm your current circumstances. We use the information you provide us through this report to determine if you are still eligible for benefits and calculate your monthly benefits.

(2) If you receive benefits from any of the following programs, you must complete a six-month report:

(a) Cash assistance unless you receive only refugee cash assistance as described under WAC 388-400-0030;

(b) Family-related medical; or

(c) ((Children's medical; or

(d))) Basic Food unless you meet one of the following conditions:

(i) Your assistance unit has a certification period of six months or less. If you have a certification period of six months or less, you must complete a recertification under WAC 388-434-0010 in order to keep getting Basic Food benefits; or

(ii) All adults in your assistance unit are elderly or disabled and have no earned income.

(3) If you must complete a six-month report, we send you the report with the most current information we have on your case. You can choose to complete the report in one of the following ways:

(a) Complete and return the form to the department. For us to consider your six-month report complete, you must take all of the steps below:

(i) Complete the report form, telling us about changes in your circumstances we ask about;

(ii) Sign and date the report;

(iii) Provide proof of any changes you report;

(iv) If you receive ((children's or)) family medical benefits, provide proof of your income even if it has not changed; and

(v) Mail or turn in the completed form and any required proof to us by the due date on the report. This is the tenth day of the sixth month of your review or certification period.

(b) Complete the six-month report over the phone. For us to consider your six-month report complete, you must take all of the steps below:

(i) Contact us at the phone number we provide on the report form, telling us about changes in your circumstances we ask about;

(ii) Provide proof of any changes you report. We may be able to verify some information over the phone;

(iii) If you receive ((children's or)) family medical benefits, provide proof of your income even if it has not changed; and

(iv) Mail or turn in any required proof to us by the due date on the report. This is the tenth day of the sixth month of your review or certification period.

(4) If your benefits change because of the information in your six-month report, ((we determine the date the change takes effect as described under WAC 388-418-0020)) the change takes effect in the seventh month of your certification or review period even if this does not provide you ten days notice before we change your benefits.

(5) If you do not complete your required six-month report, your benefits end at the end of the sixth month of your review or certification period.

(6) Late reports. If you complete the report after the end of the sixth month of your certification or review period, we process the report as described below based on when we receive the report:

(a) Reports completed by the last day of the month after the month the report was due: We determine your eligibility for ongoing benefits. If you are eligible, we reinstate your benefits based on the information in the report.

(b) Reports completed after the last day of the month after the month the report was due: We treat this report as a request to send you an application. For us to determine if you are eligible for benefits, you must complete the application process as described in chapter 388-406 WAC.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 2004 c 54. 04-19-134, 388-418-0011, filed 9/21/04, effective 10/1/04.]

3523.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 04-19-134, filed 9/21/04, effective 10/1/04)

WAC 388-418-0020   How does the department determine the date a change affects my benefits?   (1) Unless otherwise specified, the rules in this chapter refer to cash, medical assistance, and Basic Food benefits.

(2) If you report a change that happened between the date you applied for benefits and the date we interview you under WAC 388-452-0005, we take this change into consideration when we process your application for benefits.

(3) If we learn about a change in your circumstances from another person, agency, or by matching with any number of systems, we determine the impact this change has on your benefits. We may request additional information under WAC 388-490-0005 or update your benefits based on this information.

(4) If you report a change in your income that we expect to continue at least a month beyond the month when you reported the change, we recalculate the income we estimated under WAC 388-450-0215 based on this change.

(((4))) (5) When a change causes an increase in benefits, you must provide proof of the change before we adjust your benefits.

(a) If you give us the proof within ten days from the date we requested it, we increase your benefits starting the month after the month you reported the change.

(b) If you give us the proof more than ten days after the date we requested it, we increase your benefits starting the month after the month we got the proof.

(c) If you are eligible for more benefits and we have already sent you benefits for that month, we provide you the additional benefits within ten days of the day we got the proof.

(((5))) (6) When a change causes a decrease in benefits, we reduce your benefit amount without asking for proof.

(a) If you report ((the)) a change within the time limits in WAC 388-418-0007, and you are not reporting this as part of a six-month report, we decrease your benefits starting the first month following the advance notice period. The advance notice period:

(i) Begins on the day we send you a letter about the change, and

(ii) Is determined according to the rules in WAC 388-458-0025.

(b) If you do not report a change you must tell us about under WAC 388-418-0005, or you report a change later than we require under WAC 388-418-0007, we determine your eligibility as if you had reported this on time. If you received more benefits than you should, we set up an overpayment as described under chapter 388-410 WAC.

(((6))) (7) If we are not sure how the change will affect your benefits, we send you a letter as described in WAC 388-458-0020 requesting information from you.

(a) We give you ten days to provide the information. If you need more time, you can ask for it.

(b) If you do not give us the information in time, we will stop your benefits after giving you advance notice, if required, as described in WAC 388-458-0030.

(((7))) (8) Within ten days of the day we learn about a change, we send advance notice according to the rules in chapter 388-458 WAC and take necessary action to provide you the correct ((the)) benefits. If you request a hearing about a proposed decrease in benefits before the effective date or within the notice period as described in WAC 388-458-0040, we wait to take action on the change.

(((8))) (9) If you disagree with a decision we made to change your benefits, you may request a fair hearing under chapter 388-02 WAC. The fair hearing rules in chapter 388-02 WAC do not apply for a "mass change." A mass change is when we change the rules that impact all recipients and applicants.

(((9))) (10) When you request a hearing and get continued benefits:

(a) We keep giving you the same benefits you got before the advance notice of reduction until the earliest of the following events occur:

(i) For Basic Food only, your certification period expires;

(ii) The end of the month the fair hearing decision is mailed;

(iii) You state in writing that you do not want continued benefits;

(iv) You withdraw your fair hearing request in writing; or

(v) You abandon your fair hearing request; or

(vi) An administrative law judge issues a written order that ends continued benefits prior to the fair hearing.

(b) We establish an overpayment claim according to the rules in chapter 388-410 WAC when the hearing decision agrees with the action we took.

(((10))) (11) Some changes have a specific effective date as follows:

(a) When cash assistance benefits increase because a person is added to your assistance unit, we use the effective date rules for applications in WAC 388-406-0055.

(b) When cash assistance benefits increase because you start paying shelter costs, we use the date the change occurred.

(c) When a change in law or regulation changes the benefit amount, we use the date specified by the law or regulation.

(d) When institutional medical assistance participation changes, we calculate the new participation amount beginning with the month your income or allowable expense changes.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 2004 c 54. 04-19-134, 388-418-0020, filed 9/21/04, effective 10/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-21-028, 388-418-0020, filed 10/7/03, effective 11/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.057, and 74.04.510. 02-14-086, 388-418-0020, filed 6/28/02, effective 7/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-23-034, 388-418-0020, filed 11/10/99, effective 1/1/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-418-0020, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office