WSR 05-16-054

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed July 28, 2005, 4:21 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 05-08-090.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 388-406-0055 When do my benefits start?, 388-416-0005 How long can I get Basic Food?, 388-418-0005 How will I know what changes I must report?, 388-489-0005 Who is eligible for transitional food assistance?, 388-489-0010 How is my transitional food assistance benefit calculated?, 388-489-0015 How long will my family receive transitional food assistance?, 388-489-0020 Am I required to report changes in my household's circumstances while on transitional food assistance?, and 388-489-0025 Can my transitional food assistance benefits end before the end of my five-month transition period?

Hearing Location(s): Blake Office Park East, Rose Room, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA (one block north of the intersection of Pacific Avenue S.E. and Alhadeff Lane, behind Goodyear Tire. A map or directions are available at http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/msa/rpau/docket.html or by calling (360) 664-6097), on September 6, 2005, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than September 7, 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. September 6, 2005.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Stephanie Schiller, DSHS Rules Consultant, by September 3, 2005, TTY (360) 664-6178 or phone (360) 664-6097 or by e-mail at schilse@dshs.wa.gov.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The new sections and amended rules under this proposal establish eligibility for the transitional food program for families that leave temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA), and tribal TANF programs. The rules also establish the interaction between transitional food assistance (TFA) and other food programs administered by the department under the food stamp program.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: This transitional benefit option of the federal food stamp program provides stable food benefits to families leaving TANF/SFA or tribal TANF benefits to help families transition from welfare to work. Recognizing the stabilizing effect this transitional food benefit would provide for families leaving TANF, RCW 74.08A.010 was enacted to have the department provide this benefit for these families.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 74.08A.010.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 74.08A.010.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, 7 C.F.R. 273-12 (f)(4), Public Law 107-171 - Title 4, Section 4115.

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. These proposed rules do not have an economic impact on small businesses. The proposed amendments and new rules only affect DSHS clients by establishing eligibility rules for the food benefits under the transitional food assistance and Basic Food programs.

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." These rules implement an optional transitional program of food stamp benefits under Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations 273.12 (f)(4) and Title V - Section 4115 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. RCW 74.08A.010 directs the department to implement this option for leaving temporary assistance for needy families as of October 31, 2005.

July 22, 2005

Andy Fernando, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3579.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-22-039, filed 10/28/03, effective 12/1/03)

WAC 388-406-0055   When do my benefits start?   The date we approve your application affects the amount of benefits you get. If you are eligible for:

(1) Cash assistance, your benefits start:

(a) The date we have enough information to make an eligibility decision; or

(b) No later than the thirtieth day for TANF, SFA, or RCA; or

(c) No later than the forty-fifth day for general assistance (GAU).

(2) Basic Food, your benefits start from the date you applied unless:

(a) You are recertified for Basic Food. If you are recertified for Basic Food, we determine the date your benefits start under WAC 388-434-0010;

(b) You applied for Basic Food while living in an institution. If you apply for Basic Food while living in an institution, the date you are released from the institution determines your start date as follows. If you are expected to leave the institution:

(i) Within thirty days of the date we receive your application, your benefits start on the date you leave the institution; or

(ii) More than thirty days from the date we receive your application, we deny your application for Basic Food. You may apply for Basic Food again when your date of release from the institution is closer.

(c) We were unable to process your application within thirty days because of a delay on your part. If you caused the delay, but submit required verification by the end of the second thirty-day period, we approve your benefits starting the first day of the month following the month you applied for benefits. We start your benefits from this date even if we denied your application for Basic Food.

(d) We initially denied your application for Basic Food and your assistance unit (AU) becomes categorically eligible (CE) within sixty days from the date your applied. If your AU becoming CE under WAC 388-414-0001 makes you eligible for Basic Food, the date we approve Basic Food is the date your AU became CE.

(e) You are approved for Transitional Food Assistance under chapter 388-489 WAC. We determine the date transitional benefits start as described under WAC 388-489-0015.

(f) You receive Transitional Food Assistance with people you used to live with, and are now approved to receive Basic Food in a different assistance unit:

(i) We must give the other assistance unit ten days notice as described under WAC 388-458-0025 before we remove you from the Transitional Food Assistance benefits.

(ii) Your Basic Food benefits start the first of the month after we remove you from the transitional benefits. For example, if we remove you from transitional benefits on November 30th, you are eligible for Basic Food on December 1st.

(3) Medical assistance, the date your benefits start is stated in chapter 388-416 WAC.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-22-039, 388-406-0055, filed 10/28/03, effective 12/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 74.08.090. 02-14-023, 388-406-0055, filed 6/21/02, effective 7/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-406-0055, 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 34.08.040.3580.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-08-124, filed 4/5/05, effective 6/1/05)

WAC 388-416-0005   How long can I get Basic Food?   (1) The length of time the department determines your assistance unit (AU) is eligible to get Basic Food is called a certification period. The department may certify your AU for up to:

(a) Six months if your AU:

(i) Includes an able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) who receives Basic Food in your AU and your AU does not live in an exempt area as described in WAC 388-444-0030;

(ii) Includes a person who receives ADATSA benefits as described in chapter 388-800 WAC;

(iii) Is considered homeless under WAC 388-408-0050; or

(iv) Includes a migrant or seasonal farmworker as described under WAC 388-406-0021.

(b) Twenty-four months if all adults in your AU are elderly persons or individuals with disabilities and no one in your AU has earned income.

(c) Twelve months if your AU does not meet any of the conditions for six or twenty-four months.

(2) If you receive Transitional Food Assistance, we set your certification period as described under WAC 388-489-0015.

(3) If your AU is homeless or includes an ABAWD when you live in a nonexempt area, we may shorten your certification period.

(((3))) (4) We terminate your Basic Food benefits when:

(a) We get proof of a change that makes your AU ineligible; or

(b) We get information that your AU is ineligible; and

(c) You do not provide needed information to verify your AU's circumstances.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. 05-08-124, 388-416-0005, filed 4/5/05, effective 6/1/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 2004 c 54. 04-19-134, 388-416-0005, filed 9/21/04, effective 10/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-22-039, 388-416-0005, filed 10/28/03, effective 12/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 01-11-107, 388-416-0005, filed 5/21/01, effective 7/1/01; 99-16-024, 388-416-0005, 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, 388-416-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

3557.2
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-09-021, filed 4/12/05, effective 6/1/05)

WAC 388-418-0005   How will I know what changes I must report?   You must report changes to the department based on the kinds of assistance you receive. The set of changes you must report for people in your assistance unit under chapter 388-408 WAC is based on the benefits you receive that require you to report the most changes. It is the first program that you receive benefits from in the list below.

For example:

If you receive Long Term Care and Basic Food benefits, you tell us about changes based on the Long Term Care requirements because it is the first program in the list below you receive benefits from.

(1) If you receive Long Term Care benefits such as Basic, Basic Plus, Chore, Community Protection, COPES, nursing home, Hospice, or Medically Needy Waiver, you must tell us if you have a change of:

(a) Address;

(b) Marital status;

(c) Living arrangement;

(d) Income;

(e) Resources;

(f) Medical expenses; and

(g) If we allow you expenses for your spouse or dependents, you must report changes in their income or shelter cost.

(2) If you receive medical benefits based on age, blindness, or disability (SSI-related medical), or ADATSA benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move;

(b) A family member moves into or out of your home;

(c) Your resources change; or

(d) Your income changes. This includes the income of you, your spouse or your child living with you.

(3) If you receive Basic Food and all adults in your assistance unit are elderly persons or individuals with disabilities and have no earned income, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move;

(b) You start getting money from a new source;

(c) Your income changes by more than fifty dollars;

(d) Your liquid resources, such as your cash on hand or bank accounts, are more than two thousand dollars; or

(e) Someone moves into or out of your home.

(4) If you receive cash benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move;

(b) Someone moves out of your home;

(c) Your total gross monthly income goes over the:

(i) Payment standard under WAC 388-478-0030 if you receive general assistance; or

(ii) Earned income limit under WAC 388-478-0035 and 388-450-0165 for all other programs;

(d) You have liquid resources more than four thousand dollars; or

(e) You have a change in employment. Tell us if you:

(i) Get a job or change employers;

(ii) Change from part-time to full-time or full-time to part-time;

(iii) Have a change in your hourly wage rate or salary; or

(iv) Stop working.

(5) If you receive Family Medical benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move;

(b) A family member moves out of your home; or

(c) If your income goes up or down by one hundred dollars or more a month and you expect this income change will continue for at least two months.

(6) ((If you receive Children's Medical benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move; or

(b) A family member moves out of the house.

(7))) If you receive Basic Food benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move;

(b) Your total gross monthly income is more than the gross monthly income limit under WAC 388-478-0060; or

(c) Anyone who receives food benefits in your assistance unit must meet work requirements under WAC 388-444-0030 and their hours at work go below twenty hours per week.

(7) If you receive Children's Medical benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move; or

(b) A family member moves out of the house.

(8) If you receive Pregnancy Medical benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move; or

(b) You are no longer pregnant.

(9) If you receive other medical benefits, you need to tell us if:

(a) You move; or

(b) A family member moves out of the home.

(10) If you receive Transitional Food Assistance, you do not have to report any changes in your circumstances.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 44.04.280. 05-09-021, 388-418-0005, filed 4/12/05, effective 6/1/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 2004 c 54. 04-21-026, 388-418-0005, filed 10/13/04, effective 11/13/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 04-06-026, 388-418-0005, filed 2/23/04, effective 3/25/04; 03-21-028, 388-418-0005, filed 10/7/03, effective 11/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 01-11-109, 388-418-0005, filed 5/21/01, effective 7/1/01; 99-23-034, 388-418-0005, 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, 388-418-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

3582.1
NEW SECTION
WAC 388-489-0005   Who is eligible for Transitional Food Assistance?   If your family stops receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash benefits, including benefits from a tribal program, you will be eligible for transitional food assistance for up to five months if you meet all the following eligibility requirements:

(1) Your family was receiving Basic Food at the time we determined you were no longer eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families;

(2) After your family stops receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, no other member of your Basic Food assistance unit continues to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families;

(3) Your family did not move out of the State of Washington (WAC 388-468-0005);

(4) Your family was not in sanction status at the time your Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant ended. Sanction status means:

(a) We reduced or stopped your family's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant payment because a family member is not:

(i) Meeting WorkFirst Program requirements (WAC 388-310-1600); or

(ii) Cooperating with the Division of Child Support (WAC 388-422-0100); or

(b) We decided that a member of your family was not eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families because the member:

(i) Failed to meet teen parent living arrangement (WAC 388-486-0005) or teen parent school attendance requirements (WAC 388-410-0010; or

(ii) Was convicted of unlawful practices (WAC 388-446-0005) or for receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in two or more states at the same time (WAC 388-446-0010); or

(c) If you are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits from a tribal program, your family's grant is reduced or stopped for a reason that is the same as one of the reasons listed in (4)(a) or (4)(b) of this section.

(5) At the time your family's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant ended, your Basic Food assistance unit did not become ineligible because:

(a) You were applying for recertification of your Basic Food benefits and refused to cooperate with the application process; or

(b) All members are ineligible for Basic Food for the reasons stated in WAC 388-489-0025(3).

(6) There is no limit to the number of times your family may leave Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and receive Transitional Food Assistance.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 388-489-0010   How is my Transitional Food Assistance benefit calculated?   (1) We base your Transitional Food Assistance benefit amount on the regular monthly benefit allotment issued to your Basic Food assistance unit for the last month your family received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. We will not count your last Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grant payment when we calculate your Transitional Food Assistance benefit amount. For example:

(a) If your Basic Food assistance unit's only income was Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Transitional Food Assistance benefit will be the amount your household would have received if you had no income.

(b) If your Basic Food benefit was calculated using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families plus income from another source, we will count only the income from the other source when calculating the Transitional Food Assistance amount.

(2) We will adjust your Transitional Food Assistance benefits if:

(a) Someone who gets Transitional Food Assistance with you leaves your assistance unit and is found eligible to receive Basic Food in another assistance unit. We will reduce your Transitional Food Assistance based on the number of persons who left your assistance unit and become eligible in another Basic Food assistance unit.

(b) A change to the maximum allotment for Basic Food under WAC 388-478-0060 results in an increase in benefits for Basic Food assistance units.

(c) You got an overpayment of Basic Food benefits and we need to adjust the amount we deduct from your monthly benefits to repay the overpayment as required in WAC 388-410-0033. This includes:

(i) Starting a new monthly deduction;

(ii) Changing the amount of the monthly deduction; and

(iii) Ending the monthly deduction when the amount you owe has been paid off.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 388-489-0015   How long will my family receive Transitional Food Assistance?   If your Basic Food assistance unit is eligible for Transitional Food Assistance according to WAC 388-489-0005, you will receive Transitional Food Assistance for up to five months after your family leaves Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

(1) If you stopped getting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families from the department, you are eligible for transitional benefits beginning the month after your family received their last grant.

(2) If you stopped receiving Tribal TANF benefits, you are eligible for transitional benefits:

(a) With the next monthly issuance after we update your case to show you no longer have Tribal TANF income, if the Tribal TANF end date is the end of the current month or the end of a prior month; or

(b) On the first of the month following the Tribal TANF end date, if the Tribal TANF end date is the end of a future month.

(3) If necessary, we will extend or shorten your Basic Food assistance unit's current certification period to match the five-month transition period.

(4) You may choose to end your five-month transition period early by submitting an application for regular Basic Food under WAC 388-489-0020 or by asking us to terminate your benefits.

(5) We send you a notice before the end of your five-month transition period so you can re-apply for regular Basic Food benefits and continue to receive benefits without interruption as described in WAC 388-434-0010.

(6) We may terminate your Transitional Food Assistance early for the reasons stated in WAC 388-489-0025.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 388-489-0020   Am I required to report changes in my household's circumstances while on Transitional Food Assistance?   (1) If you only receive Transitional Food Assistance, you are not required to report any changes in your household circumstances.

(2) If you receive benefits from another cash or medical assistance program, you must meet the reporting requirements for the other program as required by WAC 388-418-0005. Except for changes listed under WAC 388-489-0025, the changes you report for the other program will not affect your family's eligibility for Transitional Food Assistance.

(3) If you family experiences a change in circumstances during your five-month transition period, and you think that you may be eligible for more food assistance, you may submit an application for the regular Basic Food program. Examples of such changes include the loss of income by a person who gets Transitional Food Assistance with you or adding a new person to your household.

(a) If you submit a new application, we will determine your eligibility for Basic Food and allow you to choose if you want to remain on Transitional Food Assistance or receive regular Basic Food benefits.

(b) If you choose to go back on Basic Food and are found eligible, we will start your new benefit amount on the first day of the month after we receive your application for Basic Food. If you have already received Transitional Food Assistance for this month and are eligible for more assistance on the Basic Food program, we will pay you the additional amount.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 388-489-0025   Can my Transitional Food Assistance benefits end before the end of my five-month transition period?   Your Transitional Food Assistance benefits will end early if:

(1) Someone who gets Transitional Food Assistance with you applies and is found eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families while still living in your home. You may reapply to have your eligibility for Basic Food determined;

(2) We learn that you and your family are no longer residing in the State of Washington; or

(3) We disqualify all members of your household from receiving Basic Food for any of the following reasons:

(a) Refusal to cooperate with Quality Assurance (WAC 388-464-0001);

(b) Transfer of property to qualify for Basic Food assistance (WAC 388-488-0010);

(c) Intentional Program Violation (WAC 388-466-0015 and WAC 388-446-0020);

(d) Fleeing felon or violating a condition of probation or parole (WAC 388-442-0010);

(e) Alien status (WAC 388-424-0020 and WAC 388-424-0025);

(f) Employment and training requirements (WAC 388-444-0055 and WAC 388-444-0075);

(g) Work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (WAC 388-444-0030);

(h) Student status (WAC 388-482-0005);

(i) Living in an institution where residents are not eligible for Basic Food (WAC 388-408-0040); or

(j) Deceased.

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Washington State Code Reviser's Office