WSR 06-07-147

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed March 21, 2006, 4:24 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The department is reviewing policy options on how to treat certain types of income and resources when determining eligibility for the Washington Basic Food program (Basic Food), cash assistance programs, medical programs for children, pregnant women and families. Based on this review, the department may amend the following sections and related rules: WAC 388-450-0015 What types of income does the department not use to figure out my benefits?, 388-450-0035 Educational benefits, 388-470-0045 How do my resources count toward the resource limits for cash assistance and family medical programs?, and 388-470-0055 How do my resources count toward the resource limit for Basic Food?

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.500, 74.04.510, 74.08.090, P.L. 107-171.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Sections 4102 and 4107 of Public Law 107-171 allows states to exclude certain types of income or resources for the food stamp program when the state agency excludes the income or resource for their TANF or Medicaid programs. The department is reviewing the impact of excluding all sources of educational income, excluding all or a portion of interest or dividend income, and excluding all retirement savings for TANF or Medicaid and extending this exclusion to the Washington Basic Food program. The changes the department may propose as a result of this review would reduce the administrative burden for relatively small sources of income and allow low-income individuals and families to receive benefits from the department without depleting retirement resources.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The United State Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) publishes federal regulations for the food stamp program in the Federal Register. Rules published in the Federal Register are incorporated into the United States Code of Federal Regulations. FNS also issues administrative notices to inform states of new program requirements that are not yet in the United States Code of Federal Regulations. DSHS incorporates these regulations and exercises state options by adopting administrative rules for food assistance benefits in Washington state.

The department adopts regulations for cash, Basic Food, and medical assistance in a state plan that is consistent with federal requirements in public law, the code of federal regulations, and other federal guidance on department-administered programs.

Process for Developing New Rule: DSHS welcomes the public to take part in developing the rules. Anyone interested should contact the staff person identified below. At a later date, DSHS will file a proposal with the office of the code reviser with a notice of proposed rule making. A copy of the proposal will be sent to everyone on the mailing list and to anyone who requests a copy.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting John Camp, Policy Analyst, Division of Employment and Assistance Programs, P.O. Box 45470, Olympia, WA 98504-5470, phone (360) 725-4616, fax (360) 493-3493, e-mail campjx@dshs.wa.gov.

March 20, 2006

Andy Fernando, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

Washington State Code Reviser's Office