WSR 06-06-084

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed March 1, 2006, 9:39 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 05-22-099.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Noncompliance sanction changes -- Part 2 of 2. Amending WAC 388-406-0010 How do I apply for benefits?, 388-406-0065 Can I still get benefits even after my application is denied?, 388-460-0020 Who is a protective payee?, 388-460-0055 What are the protective payee's responsibilities?, 388-484-0005 There is a five-year (sixty-month) time limit for TANF, SFA and GA-S cash assistance, and 388-484-0006 TANFSFA time limit extensions, and repealing WAC 388-460-0045 Are clients in WorkFirst sanction status assigned protective payees?

Hearing Location(s): Blake Office Park East, Rose Room, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA 98503 (one block north of the intersection of Pacific Avenue S.E. and Alhadeff Lane. A map or directions are available at http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/msa/rpau/docket.html or by calling (360) 664-6097), on April 4, 2006, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than April 5, 2006.

Submit Written Comments to: DSHS Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504, delivery 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA 98503, e-mail fernaax@dshs.wa.gov, fax (360) 664-6185, by 5:00 p.m., April 4, 2006.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Stephanie Schiller, DSHS Rules Consultant, by March 31, 2006, TTY (360) 664-6178 or (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: These proposed rules will implement changes to the noncompliance sanction policy for WorkFirst clients by: (1) Terminating cash assistance after a person fails to participate for six months in a row without good cause; (2) upon closure and reapplication, requiring participation for four weeks in a row before cash assistance is authorized; (3) ending child SafetyNet payments; and (4) no longer requiring protective payees for failure to participate as required.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: These amended rules implement the recommendations of the WorkFirst reexamination workgroup as endorsed by Governor Gregoire. They are being filed under the authority of RCW 74.08.090 which directs the department to ensure uniform statewide application of rules. RCW 74.08.090 also directs the department to ensure that the spirit and purpose of Title 74 RCW is complied with.

In addition, RCW 74.08.090 provides the department with authority to compel compliance with the rules and regulations that it has established.

It is the intent of the legislature that all applicants for and recipients of the WorkFirst program be moved into self-sustaining employment. Further, the legislative intent of the WorkFirst program is to focus on work and on personal responsibility for recipients. See RCW 74.08A.200, 74.08A.280(1), and 74.08A.400.

RCW 74.08A.260(3), directs the department to reduce a family's grant for failure to engage in work or work activities. The department is authorized to terminate a family's grant when determined appropriate by the department.

RCW 74.08A.260(4), provides the department with the authority to waive a sanction when a recipient demonstrates good cause for refusing to engage in work and work activities.

Under these circumstances, the department has the authority to adopt rules by virtue of RCW 74.08.090. The department has determined, based upon recommendations of the WorkFirst reexamination workgroup, that it is appropriate to terminate a family's grant for failure to engage in work or work activities as allowed under RCW 74.08A.260(3). These adopted rules will compel compliance with requirements to engage in work or work activities as recommended by the WorkFirst reexamination workgroup and endorsed by Governor Gregoire.

There will be subsequent changes under this CR-101 filing authority, WSR 05-22-099, which was filed on November 1, 2005.

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, chapter 74.08A RCW.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Department of social and health services, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Sandy Jsames, 1009 College S.E., Lacey, WA 98504, (360) 725-4648.

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 outlining the rules clients must meet in order to be eligible for the department's cash assistance or food benefit 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."

February 28, 2006

Andy Fernando, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3641.3
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-22-039, filed 10/28/03, effective 12/1/03)

WAC 388-406-0010   How do I apply for benefits?   (1) You can apply for cash assistance, medical assistance, or Basic Food by giving us an application form in person, by mail, by fax, or by completing an online application.

(2) If your entire assistance unit (AU) gets or is applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your AU can file an application for Basic Food at the local Social Security Administration District Office (SSADO).

(3) If you are incapacitated, a dependent child, or cannot apply for benefits on your own for some other reason, a legal guardian, caretaker, or authorized representative can apply for you.

(4) You can apply for cash assistance, medical assistance, or Basic Food with just one application form.

(5) If you apply for benefits at a local office, we accept your application on the same day you come in. If you apply at an office that does not serve the area where you live, we send your application to the appropriate office by the next business day so that office receives your application on the same day we send it.

(6) We accept your application for benefits if it has at least:

(a) For cash or medical assistance, the name, address, and signatures of the responsible adult AU members or person applying for you. A minor child may sign if there is no adult in the AU. Signatures must be either handwritten, electronic or digital as defined by the department, or a mark if witnessed by another person; or

(b) For Basic Food, the name, address, and signature of a responsible member of your AU or person applying for you as an authorized representative under WAC 388-460-0005.

(7) As a part of the application process, we may require you to:

(a) Complete an interview if one is required under WAC 388-452-0005;

(b) Meet WorkFirst participation requirements for four weeks in a row if required under WAC 388-310-1600(12);

(c) Give us the information we need to decide if you are eligible as required under WAC 388-406-0030; and

(((c))) (d) Give us proof of information as required under WAC 388-490-0005 so we can determine if you are eligible.

(8) If you are eligible for necessary supplemental accommodation (NSA) services under chapter 388-472 WAC, we help you meet the requirements of this section.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-22-039, 388-406-0010, 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. 02-11-137, 388-406-0010, filed 5/21/02, effective 7/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-406-0010, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-504-0405.]


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

WAC 388-406-0065   Can I still get benefits even after my application is denied?   (1) If we (the department) deny your application for benefits, we can redetermine your eligibility for benefits without a new application if:

(a) For cash or medical assistance, you give us the information we need within thirty days from the date we denied your application;

(b) You stop participating as required to reopen cash assistance under WAC 388-310-1600(12) due to one of the good reasons described in WAC 388-310-1600(3) or because you get an excused absence, as described in WAC 388-310-0500(5);

(c) For Basic Food:

(i) You give us the information we need within sixty days of the date you applied for benefits; or

(ii) You become categorically eligible for Basic Food under WAC 388-414-0001 within sixty days of the date you applied for benefits.

(2) For medical assistance, if the thirty days to reconsider your application under subsection (1) of this section has ended you can still get benefits without a new application if:

(a) You request a fair hearing timely; and

(b) You give us the information needed to determine eligibility and you are eligible.

(3) If you are eligible for cash or Basic Food, we decide the date your benefits start according to WAC 388-406-0055. If you are eligible for medical assistance, we decide the date your benefits start according to chapter 388-416 WAC. For all programs the eligibility date is based on the date of your original application that was denied.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 03-22-039, 388-406-0065, 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, 388-406-0065, 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, 388-406-0065, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-504-0485.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-14-083, filed 6/28/02, effective 7/1/02)

WAC 388-460-0020   Who is a protective payee?   (1) A protective payee is a person or an employee of an agency who manages client cash benefits to provide for basic needs - housing, utilities, clothing, child care, and food. They may also provide services such as training clients how to manage money.

(2) Clients are assigned to protective payees for the following reasons:

(a) Emergency or temporary situations where a child is left without a caretaker (TANF/SFA) per WAC 388-460-0030;

(b) Mismanagement of money (TANF/SFA, GA, or WCCC) per WAC 388-460-0035; or

(c) ((Noncooperation with WorkFirst program requirements per WAC 388-310-1600 or 388-310-1650; or

(d))) Pregnant or parenting minors per WAC 388-460-0040.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-14-083, 388-460-0020, filed 6/28/02, effective 7/1/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-14-083, filed 6/28/02, effective 7/1/02)

WAC 388-460-0055   What are the protective payee's responsibilities?   The protective payee's responsibilities are to:

(1) Manage client cash and child care assistance benefits to pay bills for basic needs, such as housing and utilities, or as directed in the protective payee plans;

(2) Provide money management for client if this item is included in the protective payee plans; and

(3) ((Encourage clients to comply with WorkFirst and other program requirements, such as getting a job or attending school; and

(4))) Provide reports to the department on client progress.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-14-083, 388-460-0055, filed 6/28/02, effective 7/1/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 04-05-010, filed 2/6/04, effective 3/8/04)

WAC 388-484-0005   There is a five-year (sixty-month) time limit for TANF, SFA and GA-S cash assistance.   (1) What is the sixty-month time limit?

(a) You can receive cash assistance for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA), and general assistance for pregnant women (GA-S) for a lifetime limit of sixty months. The time limit applies to cash assistance provided by any combination of these programs, and whether or not it was received in consecutive months.

(b) If you receive cash assistance for part of the month, it counts as a whole month against the time limit.

(c) If you have received cash assistance from another state on or after August 1, 1997, and it was paid for with federal TANF funds, those months will count against your time limit.

(d) The time limit does not apply to diversion cash assistance, support services, food assistance or Medicaid.

(2) When did the sixty-month time limit go into effect?

The sixty-month time limit applies to cash assistance received on or after August 1, 1997 for TANF and SFA. Although the GA-S program no longer exists, the time limit applies to GA-S cash assistance received from May 1, 1999 through July 31, 1999.

(3) Does the time limit apply to me?

The sixty-month time limit applies to you for any month in which you are a parent or other relative as defined in WAC 388-454-0010, or a minor parent emancipated through court order or marriage.

(4) Do any exceptions to the time limits apply to me?

The department does not count months of assistance towards the sixty-month time limit if you are:

(a) An adult caretaker, as described in WAC 388-454-0005 through 388-454-0010, who is not a member of the assistance unit and you are receiving cash assistance on behalf of a child;

(b) An unemancipated pregnant or parenting minor living in a department approved living arrangement as defined by WAC 388-486-0005; or

(c) An American Indian or Native Alaskan adult and you are living in Indian country, as defined under 18 U.S.C. 1151, or an Alaskan Native village and you are receiving TANF, SFA, or GA-S cash assistance during a period when at least fifty percent of the adults living in Indian country or in the village were not employed. See WAC 388-484-0010.

(5) What happens if a member of my assistance unit has received sixty months of TANF, SFA, and GA-S cash benefits?

Once any adult or emancipated minor in the assistance unit has received sixty months of cash assistance, the entire assistance unit becomes ineligible for TANF or SFA cash assistance, unless you are eligible for an extended period of cash assistance called a TANF/SFA time limit extension under WAC 388-484-0006.

(6) What can I do if I disagree with how the department has counted my months of cash assistance?

(a) If you disagree with how we counted your months of cash assistance, you may ask for a hearing within ninety days of the date we sent you a letter telling you how many months we are counting.

(b) You will get continued benefits (the amount you were getting before the change) if:

(i) You have used all sixty months of benefits according to our records; and

(ii) ((Your cash assistance payment has been changed to a Child SafetyNet Payment, as described in WAC 388-310-1650; and

(iii))) You ask for a hearing within the ten-day notice period, as described in chapter 388-458 WAC.

(c) If you get continued benefits and the administrative law judge (ALJ) agrees with our decision, you may have to pay back the continued benefits after the hearing, as described in chapter 388-410 WAC.

(7) Does the department ever change the number of months that count against my time limit?

We change the number of months we count in the following situations:

(a) You repay an overpayment for a month where you received benefits but were not eligible for any of the benefits you received. We subtract one month for each month that you completely repay. If you were eligible for some of the benefits you received, we still count that month against your time limit.

(b) We did not close your grant on time when the division of child support (DCS) collected money for you that was over your grant amount two months in a row, as described in WAC 388-422-0030.

(c) An ALJ decides at a fair hearing that we should change the number of months we count.

(d) You start getting worker's compensation payments from the department of labor and industries (L&I) and your L&I benefits have been reduced by the payments we made to you.

(e) You participated in the excess real property (ERP) program in order to get assistance and we collected the funds when your property sold.

(f) Another state gave us incorrect information about the number of months you got cash assistance from them.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057. 04-05-010, 388-484-0005, filed 2/6/04, effective 3/8/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, and 78.08A.340. 03-06-046, 388-484-0005, filed 2/28/03, effective 3/31/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-12-068, 388-484-0005, filed 5/31/02, effective 6/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 74.08A.010, and 42 U.S.C. 608 (a)(7). 01-04-016, 388-484-0005, filed 1/26/01, effective 2/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 99-08-050, 388-484-0005, filed 4/1/99, effective 5/2/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-484-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-24-057, filed 12/1/03, effective 1/1/04)

WAC 388-484-0006   TANF/SFA time limit extensions.   (1) What happens after I receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance?

After you receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance, you may qualify for additional months of cash assistance. We call these additional months of TANF/SFA cash assistance a TANF/SFA time limit extension.

(2) Who is eligible for a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

You are eligible for a TANF/SFA time limit extension if you are on TANF or otherwise eligible for TANF and:

(a) You qualify for one of the exemptions listed in WAC 388-310-0350; or

(b) You:

(i) Are participating satisfactorily in the WorkFirst program (see chapter 388-310 WAC for a description of WorkFirst participation requirements); or

(ii) Meet the family violence option criteria in WAC 388-61-001 and are participating satisfactorily in specialized activities listed in your individual responsibility plan.

(c) You have a temporary situation that prevents you from working or looking for a job. (For example, you may be unable to look for a job while you have health problems or if you are dealing with family violence.) You will receive a time-limited extension if((:

(i) You have verification provided by an approved professional as determined by the department that your situation will last for at least six month; or

(ii) You have verification provided by an approved professional as determined by the department that your situation will last for less than six months and you have been approved by the department for an extension;

(iii) Your WorkFirst case manager conducts a hardship extension review to document your situation; and

(iv))) you are participating in activities included in your individual responsibility plan to help your situation.

(d) ((If)) You are ((refusing to participate as required and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600(4), you do not qualify for a regular TANF/SFA time limit extension but your family may qualify for a Child SafetyNet Payment extension,)) in sanction, but you will be subject to the sanction rules described in WAC ((388-310-1650)) 388-310-1600.

(3) Who reviews and approves an extension?

(a) Your case manager or social worker will review your case and ((we will use the case staffing process to)) determine which extension type will be approved. ((Case staffing is a process to bring together a team of multidisciplinary experts including relevant professionals and you to identify issues, review case history and information, and recommend solutions.))

(b) This review will not happen until after you have received at least fifty-two months of assistance but before you reach your time limit.

(c) ((During the case staffing, we will tell you about the different extensions. If you are in sanction (see WAC 388-310-1600), we will explain the consequences of continued nonparticipation and tell you the steps you must take to end the sanction. We will explain that continued failure to participate will result in your getting a Child SafetyNet Payment with additional restrictions after the sixtieth month.

(d) After the case staffing and)) Before you reach your time limit, the department will send you a notice that tells you whether your extension was approved((,)) and how to request a fair hearing if you disagree with the decision((, and any changes to your IRP that were made as a result of the case staffing)).

(4) Do my WorkFirst participation requirements change if I receive a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

Your participation requirements do not change. You must still meet all of the WorkFirst participation requirements listed in chapter 388-310 WAC while you receive a TANF/SFA time limit extension.

(5) Do my benefits change if I receive a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

(a) You are still a TANF/SFA recipient((. If you are:

(i) Receiving a regular TANF/SFA time limit extension,)) and your cash assistance, services, or supports will not change as long as you continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements.

(((ii) Receiving a Child SafetyNet Payment, your benefits will be different and are described in WAC 388-310-1650.))

(b) During the TANF/SFA time limit extension, you must continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements. If you no longer meet TANF/SFA eligibility criteria during your extension, your benefits will end.

(6) What happens if I stop participating in WorkFirst activities as required during a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

If you do not participate in the WorkFirst activities required in your individual responsibility plan, and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600(4), the department will follow the sanction rules in WAC 388-310-1600((, and will move you into Child SafetyNet Payment which will reduce your benefits (see WAC 388-310-1650))).

(7) How long will a TANF/SFA time limit extension last?

(a) We will review your TANF/SFA time limit extension and your case periodically for changes in family circumstances:

(i) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(a) then we will review your extension at least every twelve months;

(ii) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(b) then we will review your extension at least every six months;

(iii) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(c) or (d) then we will review your extension at least every twelve months.

(b) Your TANF/SFA time limit extension may be renewed for as long as you continue to meet the criteria to qualify.

(c) If during the extension period we get proof that your circumstances have changed, we may review your case and change the type of TANF/SFA time limit extension.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, and 74.08A.340. 03-24-057, 388-484-0006, filed 12/1/03, effective 1/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-12-068, 388-484-0006, filed 5/31/02, effective 6/1/02.]


REPEALER

     The following section of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:
WAC 388-460-0045 Are clients in WorkFirst sanction status assigned protective payees?

Washington State Code Reviser's Office