WSR 06-04-044

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed January 26, 2006, 4:17 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 05-21-094.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 388-450-0005 Income -- Ownership and availability, 388-450-0015 What types of income are not used when figuring out my benefits?, and 388-450-0175 GA-U earned income incentive and deduction.

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 March 7, 2006, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than March 8, 2006.

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. on March 7, 2006.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Stephanie Schiller, DSHS Rules Consultant, by February 3, 2006, 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 department is amending these rules to update references to other department rules and reflect current policy about how the department considers various sources of income in determining eligibility and benefits for department programs.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The proposed changes update current rules to reflect how the department treats income for cash assistance, Basic Food, and medical programs. RCW 74.04.510 requires the department to adopt rules consistent with federal requirements for administration of the Food Stamp Program.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, 74.08.090.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, 74.08.090.

Rule is necessary because of federal law, 7 C.F.R. 273.9.

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 only affect DSHS clients by establishing eligibility rules related [to] who owns income, how certain types of income are counted, and income deductions. The rules impact whether or not income is used to determine a person's eligibility for department programs including cash assistance, Basic Food, and medical 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 update references and clarify department policy for how the department treats income for department programs consistent with Title 74 RCW and Title 7 C.F.R. Part 273.

January 20, 2006

Andy Fernando, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3632.2
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-17-030, filed 8/12/02, effective 9/12/02)

WAC 388-450-0005   ((Income--Ownership and availability.)) How does the department decide if I own a type of income and if this income is available to meet my needs?   This section applies to cash assistance, medical programs for children, pregnant women and families, and food assistance.

(1) ((The department counts)) We count all available income owned ((or possessed by a client to figure the client's eligibility and benefit level)) or held by people in your assistance unit under chapter 388-408 WAC to decide if you are eligible for benefits and calculate your monthly benefits when:

(a) You get or expect to get the income in the month.

(b) ((It is income)) We must count the income based on rules under chapter 388-450 WAC.

(c) You own the income. We use ((applicable)) state and federal laws ((pertaining to)) about who owns property ((ownership)) to ((determine)) decide if you actually own the income. ((For married persons, ownership of)) If you are married, we decide if income is separate ((and)) or community income ((is determined)) according to chapter 26.16 RCW.

(d) You have control over the income, which means the income is actually available to you. If you have a representative payee, protective payee, or other person who manages your income for you as described in chapter 388-460 WAC, we consider this as you having control over this income.

(e) You can ((user)) use the income to meet your current needs. We count the gross amount of available income in the month ((it is received)) your assistance unit gets it. If you normally get the income:

(i) ((If the income is usually available)) On a specific day, we ((consider)) count it ((to be)) as available on that date.

(ii) ((If you usually get the income)) Monthly or ((semi-monthly)) twice monthly and your pay date changes due to a reason beyond your control, such as a weekend or holiday, we count it in the month you ((actually get it)) would normally get it.

(iii) ((If you usually get the income)) Weekly or ((bi-weekly)) every-other week and your pay date changes due to a reason beyond your control, we count it in the month you would normally get it.

(2) ((We consider the income that is legally yours as available income,)) If income is legally yours, we consider the income as available to you even if it is paid to someone else for you. For example, the father of your child has a court order to pay you two hundred fifty dollars per month in child support. Instead of giving the money directly to you (as required in the court order), he gives the money to your landlord to pay part of your rent. We still count the two hundred fifty dollars as income even though you never actually got the money.

(3) We may also count the income of certain people who live in your home, even if they are not getting ((assistance)) or applying for benefits. Their income counts as part of your income.

(a) For cash assistance, we count the income of ineligible, disqualified, or financially responsible people as defined in WAC ((388-405-0100)) 388-450-0100.

(b) For food assistance, we count the income of ineligible assistance unit members as defined in WAC 388-408-0035.

(c) For family and SSI-related medical assistance, we count the income of financially responsible people as defined in WAC 388-408-0055 and chapter 388-475 WAC.

(d) For long-term care services, we count the income of financially responsible people as defined in WAC 388-506-0620.

(4) If you have a joint bank account with someone who is not in your AU, we ((consider)) count any money deposited into that account as your income unless:

(((i))) (a) You can show that all or part of the funds belong ((exclusively)) only to the other account holder and are held or used ((solely)) only for the benefit of that holder; or

(((ii))) (b) Social Security Administration (SSA) used that money to determine the other account holder's eligibility for SSI benefits.

(5) Potential income is income you may ((have access to)) be able to get that can be used to ((reduce the)) lower your need for assistance. If we determine that you have a potential source of income ((source exists)), you must make a reasonable effort to make the income available in order to get cash or medical assistance.

(a) We do not count that income until you actually get it; and

(b) You can choose whether to ((receive)) get TANF/SFA or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

(6) ((The income of an alien's sponsor is considered available to the alien under the rules of this chapter when determining the alien's eligibility and benefit level)) If your assistance unit includes a sponsored immigrant, we consider the income of the immigrant's sponsor as available to the immigrant under the rules of this chapter. We use this income when deciding if your assistance unit is eligible for benefits and to calculate your monthly benefits.

(7) For SSI-related medical:

(a) ((Income is considered available and owned when it is)) We consider income to be owned by someone and available to the person when the person:

(i) ((Received)) Gets the income; and

(ii) Can ((be used)) use the income to meet ((the clients)) their needs for food, clothing and shelter, except as provided in WAC 388-511-1130.

(b) Loans and ((certain other receipts)) getting cash in certain other ways are not defined as income for SSI-related medical purposes as described in 20 C.F.R. Sec. 416.1103.

(8) For medical programs, see WAC 388-561-0100 for more information about trusts.

(9) You may give us proof about ((an)) a type of income ((source)) at anytime, including when we ask for it or if you disagree with a decision we made, about:

(a) Who owns the income;

(b) Who has legal control of the income;

(c) The amount of the income; or

(d) ((The availability of the income)) If the income is available.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.08A.100, 74.09.080, and 74.09.415. 02-17-030, 388-450-0005, filed 8/12/02, effective 9/12/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-16-024, 388-450-0005, 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, 388-450-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-505-0590 and 388-506-0610.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-03-078, filed 1/17/05, effective 2/17/05)

WAC 388-450-0015   What types of income ((are)) does the department not ((used when figuring)) use to figure out my benefits?   This section applies to cash assistance, Children's, Family, or Pregnancy Medical, and Basic Food benefits.

(1) There are some types of income ((that)) we (((the department))) do not count ((when figuring)) to figure out if you can get benefits and the amount you can get. Some examples of income we do not count are:

(a) Bona fide loans as defined in WAC ((388-470-0025)) 388-470-0045, except certain student loans as specified under WAC 388-450-0035;

(b) Federal earned income tax credit (EITC) payments;

(c) Title IV-E and state foster care maintenance payments if ((the foster child is not included)) you choose not to include the foster child in your assistance unit;

(d) Energy assistance payments;

(e) Educational assistance ((as specified in)) we do not count under WAC 388-450-0035;

(f) Native American benefits and payments ((as specified in)) we do not count under WAC 388-450-0040;

(g) Income from employment and training programs ((as specified in)) we do not count under WAC 388-450-0045;

(h) Money withheld from a ((client's)) benefit to repay an overpayment from the same income source. For Basic Food, ((this exclusion does not apply when the)) we do not exclude money that is withheld ((to recover an intentional noncompliance overpayment from)) because you were overpaid for purposely not meeting requirements of a federal, state, or local means tested program such as TANF/SFA, GA, and SSI;

(i) Legally obligated child support payments received by someone who gets TANF/SFA ((recipients)) benefits;

(j) One-time payments issued under the Department of State or Department of Justice Reception and Replacement Programs, such as Voluntary Agency (VOLAG) payments; and

(k) Payments ((specifically excluded from being counted)) we are directly told to exclude as income under state or federal law. ((Disregard certain payments made by the Veterans Administration to children of Vietnam veterans (P.L. 106-419, see FR 671473.815);))

(l) For cash and Basic Food: payments made to ((a third party on behalf)) someone outside of the household for the benefits of the assistance unit using funds that are not owed to the household; and

(m) For medical assistance: only the portion of income used to repay the cost of obtaining that income source.

(2) For Children's, Family, or Pregnancy Medical, we also do not count any insurance proceeds or other income you have recovered as a result of being a Holocaust survivor.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, 74.08.090 and Public Law 106-419. 05-03-078, 388-450-0015, filed 1/17/05, effective 2/17/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 02-14-022, 388-450-0015, filed 6/21/02, effective 6/22/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 74.09.530 and 2000 2nd sp.s. c 1 210(12). 01-18-006, 388-450-0015, filed 8/22/01, effective 9/22/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-17-025, 388-450-0015, filed 8/10/99, effective 10/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-450-0015, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-505-0590.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-450-0175   ((GA-U earned income incentive and deduction.)) Does the department offer an income deduction as an incentive for GA-U clients to work?   ((This section applies to the GA-U cash assistance program.)) The department gives special deductions to people who receive income from work while receiving General Assistance-Unemployable (GA-U). We allow the following deductions before using your earnings to determine your eligibility and monthly benefits:

(1) ((When a client's countable income is determined,)) We subtract eighty-five dollars plus one half of the remainder of ((a client's)) your monthly gross earned income ((is disregarded)) as an incentive to employment.

(2) ((In addition to the work incentive provided in subsection (1) of this section, work expenses are disregarded in an amount equal to)) We also subtract an amount equal to twenty percent of ((the)) your gross earned income to allow for work expenses((; or

(3) At the option of the client, actual verified work expenses, including:

(a) Mandatory deductions required by law or as a condition of employment, such as FICA, income tax, and mandatory retirement contributions;

(b) Union dues when union membership is required for employment;

(c) Clothing costs when the clothing is necessary for employment;

(d) Tools necessary for employment;

(e) Other expenses reasonably associated with employment, such as legally binding contracts with employment agencies; and

(f) Transportation expenses as follows:

(i) If public transportation (other than for-hire vehicles such as taxis) is available and practical, the actual monthly cost, based on a commuter's pass, ticket book, or tokens at reduced quantity rates, even if the client does not use public transportation; or

(ii) If public transportation is not available or practical, the actual amount if the client pays another person to drive; or

(iii) If public transportation is not available or practical and the client uses his or her own vehicle, the costs, based on the percentage of work-related miles driven, for service and repairs, replacement of worn parts, registration and license fees, the interest on car payments, and either eight cents per mile or the actual cost for gas, oil, fluids, and depreciation)).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-450-0175, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]