WSR 06-10-035

PERMANENT RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed April 27, 2006, 4:29 p.m. , effective June 1, 2006 ]


Effective Date of Rule: June 1, 2006.

Purpose: Noncompliance sanction changes - Part 1 of 2. Repealing WAC 388-310-1650 WorkFirst -- Child SafetyNet payments and amending WAC 388-290-0020 Are there special circumstances that might affect my WCCC eligibility?, 388-310-0800 WorkFirst -- Support services, and 388-310-1600 WorkFirst -- Sanctions; to implement 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 4 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.

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.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 388-310-1650; and amending WAC 388-290-0020, 388-310-0800, and 388-310-1600.

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

Other Authority: RCW 74.08A.260, chapter 74.08A RCW.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 06-06-085 on March 1, 2006.

Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: In WAC 388-310-1600(3), the department incorporated a recommendation to expand the list of good cause examples for failure to participate as required.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 1.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 1.

Date Adopted: April 25, 2006.

Andy Fernando, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3640.5
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-22-078, filed 10/31/05, effective 12/1/05)

WAC 388-290-0020   Are there special circumstances that might affect my WCCC eligibility?   (1) You might be eligible for WCCC if you are:

(a) An employee of the same child care center where your children receive care and you do not provide direct care to your own children during the time WCCC is requested;

(b) A sanctioned WorkFirst participant or an applicant who was terminated by a sanction review panel and in an activity needed to remove a ((WorkFirst sanction or, Child SafetyNet status)) sanction penalty or to reopen your case;

(c) A parent in a two-parent family and one parent is not able or available to provide care for your children while the other is working, looking for work, or preparing for work;

(i) "Able" means physically and mentally capable of caring for a child in a responsible manner. If you claim one parent is unable to care for the children, you must provide written documentation from a licensed professional (see WAC 388-448-0020) that states the:

(A) Reason the parent is unable to care for the children;

(B) Expected duration and severity of the condition that keeps them from caring for the children; and

(C) Treatment plan if the parent is expected to improve enough to be able to care for the children. The parent must provide evidence from a medical professional showing they are cooperating with treatment and are still unable to care for the children.

(ii) "Available" means free to provide care when not participating in an approved work activity under WAC 388-290-0040, 388-290-0045, 388-290-0050, or 388-290-0055 during the time child care is needed.

(d) A married consumer described under WAC 388-290-0005 (1)(d) through (i). Only you or your spouse must be participating in activities under WAC 388-290-0040, 388-290-0045, 388-290-0050, or 388-290-0055.

(2) You might be eligible for WCCC if your children are legally residing in the country, are living in Washington state, and are:

(a) Less than age thirteen; or

(b) Less than age nineteen, and:

(i) Have a verified special need, according to WAC 388-290-0220; or

(ii) Are under court supervision.

(3) Any of your children who receive care at the same place where you work (other than (1)(a) of this subsection) are not eligible for WCCC payments but can be included in your household if they meet WAC 388-290-0015. This includes if you work:

(a) In a family home child care in any capacity and your children are receiving care at the same home during your hours of employment; or

(b) In your home or another location and your children receive care at the same location during your hours of employment.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.12.340, and 74.13.085. 05-22-078, 388-290-0020, filed 10/31/05, effective 12/1/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.12.340, 74.13.085, and 2003 1st sp.s. c 25. 04-08-021 and 04-08-134, 388-290-0020, filed 3/29/04 and 4/7/04, effective 5/28/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.13.085. 02-12-069, 388-290-0020, filed 5/31/02, effective 7/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and C.F.R. Parts 98 and 99 (Child Care Development Fund Rules). 02-01-135, 388-290-0020, filed 12/19/01, effective 1/19/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-02-014, filed 12/27/04, effective 1/27/05)

WAC 388-310-0800   WorkFirst--Support services.   (1) Who can get support services?

People who can get support services include:

(a) WorkFirst participants who receive a TANF cash grant;

(b) Sanctioned WorkFirst participants during the required participation before the sanction is lifted or applicants who were terminated by a sanction review panel who are doing activities required to reopen cash assistance (WAC 388-310-1600);

(c) Unmarried or pregnant minors who are income eligible to receive TANF and are:

(i) Living in a department approved living arrangement (WAC 388-486-0005) and are meeting the school requirements (WAC 388-486-0010); or

(ii) Are actively working with a social worker and need support services to remove the barriers that are preventing them from living in a department approved living arrangements and/or meeting the school requirements.

(d) Former WorkFirst recipients who are working at least twenty hours or more per week for up to six months after leaving TANF if they need support services to meet a temporary emergency. This can include up to four weeks of support services if they lose a job and are looking for another one (see also WAC 388-310-1800); or

(e) American Indians who receive a TANF cash grant and have identified specific needs due to location or employment.

(2) Why do I receive support services?

Although not an entitlement, you may receive support services for the following reasons:

(a) To help you participate in work and WorkFirst activities that lead to independence.

(b) To help you to participate in job search, accept a job, keep working, advance in your job, and/or increase your wages.

(c) You can also get help in paying your child care expenses through the working connections child care assistance program. (Chapter 388-290 WAC describes the rules for this child care assistance program.)

(3) What type of support services may I receive and what limits apply?

There is a limit of three thousand dollars per person per program year (July 1st to June 30th) for WorkFirst support services you may receive. Most types of support services have dollar limits.

The chart below shows the types of support services that are available for the different activities (as indicated by an "x") and the limits that apply.

Definitions:

Work-related activities include looking for work or participating in workplace activities, such as community jobs or a work experience position.

Safety-related activities include meeting significant or emergency family safety needs, such as dealing with family violence. When approved, safety-related support services can exceed the dollar or category limits listed below.

Some support services are available if you need them for other required activities in your IRP.

Type of support service

Limit

Work

Safety

Other

Reasonable accommodation for employment $1,000 for each request x
Clothing/uniforms $75 per adult per program year x
Diapers $50 per child per month x
Haircut $40 per each request x
Lunch Same rate as established by OFM for state employees x
Personal hygiene $50 per adult per program year x
Professional, trade, association, union and bonds $300 for each fee x
Relocation related to employment (can include rent, housing, and deposits) $1,000 per program year x
Short-term lodging and meals in connection with job interviews/tests Same rate as established by OFM for state employees x
Tools/equipment $500 per program year x
Car repair needed to restore car to operable condition $250 per program year x x
License/fees $130 per program year x x
Mileage, transportation, and/or public transportation Same rate as established by OFM for state employees x x
Transportation allotment Up to:

$25 for immediate need, or

$40 twice a month if you live within 40 miles of your local WorkFirst office, or

$60 twice a month if you live more than 40 miles from your local WorkFirst office.

x x
Counseling No limit x x x
Educational expenses $300 for each request if it is an approved activity in your IRP and you do not qualify for sufficient student financial aid to meet the cost x x
Medical exams (not covered by Medicaid) $150 per exam x x x
Public transportation $150 per month x x x
Testing-diagnostic $200 each x x x

(4) What are the other requirements to receive support services?

Other restrictions on receiving support services are determined by the department or its agents. They will decide what support services you receive, as follows:

(a) It is within available funds; and

(b) It does not assist, promote, or deter religious activity; and

(c) There is no other way to meet the cost.

(5) What happens to my support services if I do not participate as required?

The department will give you ten days notice, following the rules in WAC 388-310-1600, then discontinue your support services until you participate as required.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, 74.08A.340. 05-02-014, 388-310-0800, filed 12/27/04, effective 1/27/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, 74.08A.340, and 2003 c 10 207. 03-21-154, 388-310-0800, filed 10/22/03, effective 10/27/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, 78.08A.340, and [WSR] 99-14-043. 02-11-130, 388-310-0800, filed 5/21/02, effective 7/1/02; 01-17-053, 388-310-0800, filed 8/13/01, effective 9/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, and 78.08A.340. 00-13-106, 388-310-0800, filed 6/21/00, effective 7/1/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-14-043, 388-310-0800, filed 6/30/99, effective 7/31/99; 97-20-129, 388-310-0800, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 04-07-025, filed 3/8/04, effective 5/1/04)

WAC 388-310-1600   WorkFirst--Sanctions.   (1) What WorkFirst requirements do I have to meet?

You must do the following when you are a mandatory WorkFirst participant:

(a) Give the department the information we need to develop your individual responsibility plan (IRP) (see WAC 388-310-0500);

(b) Show that you are participating fully to meet all of the requirements listed on your individual responsibility plan;

(c) Go to scheduled appointments listed in your individual responsibility plan;

(d) Follow the participation and attendance rules of the people who provide your assigned WorkFirst services or activities; and

(e) Accept available paid employment when it meets the criteria in WAC 388-310-1500.

(2) What happens if I don't meet WorkFirst requirements?

(a) If you do not meet WorkFirst requirements, we will send you a letter telling you what you did not do.

(b) You will have ten days to contact us so we can talk with you about the situation. You can contact us in writing, by phone, by going to the appointment described in the letter, or by asking for an individual appointment.

(c) If you do not contact us within ten days, we will make sure you have been screened for family violence and other barriers to participation. We will use existing information to decide whether:

(i) You were unable to do what was required; or

(ii) You were able, but refused, to do what was required.

(d) If you had a good reason not to do a required activity we will work with you and((, if needed,)) may change the requirements in your individual responsibility plan if a different WorkFirst activity would help you move towards independence and employment sooner. If you have been unable to meet your WorkFirst requirements because of family violence, you and your case manager will develop an IRP to help you with your situation, including referrals to appropriate services.

(e) Before you are placed in sanction((,)):

(i) We will have a case staffing ((to)) which is a meeting with you, your case manager and other people involved in your case to review your situation and make plans. At your case staffing, we will ensure you were offered the opportunity to participate ((and that you were able to do so.)), discuss what happens if you stay in sanction, discuss how participation helps you and your family and discuss how to end your sanction. You will be notified when ((this will be)) your case staffing is going to happen so you can attend. You can invite anyone you want to come with you to your case staffing.

(ii) Effective September 1, 2006, supervisory staff will review your case and must approve the sanction.

(f) If you are sanctioned, we will actively attempt to contact you another way so we can talk to you about the benefits of participation and how to end your sanction.

(3) What is considered a good reason for not being able to do what WorkFirst requires?

You have a good reason if it was not possible to do what WorkFirst requires (or get an excused absence, described in WAC 388-310-0500(5)) due to a significant problem or event outside your control. Some examples of good reasons include, but are not limited to:

(a) You had an emergent or severe physical, mental or emotional condition, confirmed by a licensed health care professional that interfered with your ability to participate;

(b) You were threatened with or subjected to family violence;

(c) You could not locate child care for your children under thirteen years that was:

(i) Affordable (did not cost you more than your co-payment would under the working connections child care program in chapter 388-290 WAC);

(ii) Appropriate (licensed, certified or approved under federal, state or tribal law and regulations for the type of care you use and you were able to choose, within locally available options, who would provide it); and

(iii) Within a reasonable distance (within reach without traveling farther than is normally expected in your community).

(iv) You could not locate other care services for an incapacitated person who lives with you and your children.

(d) You had an immediate legal problem, such as an eviction notice; or

(e) You are a person who gets necessary supplemental accommodation (NSA) services under chapter 388-472 WAC and your limitation kept you from participating. If you have a good reason because you need NSA services, we will review your accommodation plan.

(4) What if we decide that you did not have a good reason for failing to meet WorkFirst requirements?

If we decide that you did not have a good reason for failing to meet WorkFirst requirements, we will send you a letter that tells you:

(a) What you failed to do;

(b) That you are in sanction status;

(c) Penalties that will be applied to your grant;

(d) When the penalties will be applied;

(e) How to request a fair hearing if you disagree with this decision; and

(f) How to end the penalties and get out of sanction status.

(5) What is sanction status?

When you are a mandatory WorkFirst participant, you must follow WorkFirst requirements to qualify for your full grant. If you or someone else on your grant doesn't comply and you can't prove that you had a good reason, you do not qualify for your full grant. This is called being in WorkFirst sanction status.

(6) Are there penalties when you or someone in my household goes into sanction status?

(a) When someone in your household is in sanction status, we impose penalties. The penalties last until you or the household member meet WorkFirst requirements.

(b) Your grant is reduced by the person(s) share or forty percent, whichever is more.

(((c) Your reduced grant will be sent to a protective payee until you get out of sanction status. (WAC 388-460-0001 describes the protective payee rules.)))

(7) How do I end the penalties and get out of sanction status?

To stop the penalties and get out of sanction status:

(a) You must provide the information we requested to develop your individual responsibility plan; and/or

(b) Start and continue to do your required WorkFirst activities for four weeks in a row (that is, twenty-eight calendar days).

(c) When you leave sanction status, your grant will be restored to the level for which you are eligible beginning the first of the month following your four weeks of participation. For example, if you finished your four weeks of participation on June 15, your grant would be restored on July 1.

(8) What if I reapply for TANF or SFA and I was in sanction status when my case closed?

(a) If your case closes while you are in sanction status and is reopened in six months or less, you will start out in sanction.

(b) Effective September 1, 2006, if you come back in sanction, you will start out where you left off in sanction. (That is, if you left off in month three of sanction, you will come back on in month four of sanction.)

(c) If your case has been closed for more than six months, you will not be in sanction status if your case is reopened.

(9) What happens effective September 1, 2006 if I stay in sanction status? Effective September 1, 2006, if you stay in sanction status:

(a) Your case manager will review your record after you have been in sanction for at least three months in a row to make sure:

(i) You knew what was required;

(ii) You were told how to end your sanction;

(iii) We tried to talk to you and to encourage you to participate; and

(iv) You were given a chance to tell us if you were unable to do what we required.

(b) Your case manager will invite you to a non-compliance sanction case staffing.

(i) You will be notified when your non-compliance sanction case staffing is going to happen so you can attend.

(ii) Your case manager will also invite other people who are working with your family to your non-compliance sanction case staffing, like representatives from tribes, community or technical colleges, employment security, the Children's Administration or Limited-English Proficient (LEP) Pathway providers.

(iii) You can invite anyone you want to come with you to your case staffing.

(c) At your non-compliance sanction case staffing, we will discuss with you:

(i) How you and your family benefit when you participate in WorkFirst activities;

(ii) How you can participate, and get out of sanction;

(iii) That if you continue to refuse to participate, without good cause, a sanction review panel may review your case, and decide to close your case after you have been in sanction status for six months in a row.

(iv) How you plan to care for and support your children if a sanction review panel closes your case. We will also discuss the safety of your family, as needed, using the guidelines under RCW 26.44.030; and

(v) How to reapply if a sanction review panel closes your case.

(d) If you do not come to your non-compliance sanction case staffing, we will make a decision based on the information we have. We will also attempt to visit you at your home so you have another chance to talk to us about the benefits of participation and how to end your sanction.

(e) If we decide you are refusing to participate without a good reason:

(i) We will send you information about resources you may need if a sanction review panel closes your case;

(ii) We will send information to a sanction review panel with a recommendation to close your case. We will only do this after a Community Services Office Administrator reviews your case to make sure the sanction is appropriate and we tried to re-engage you in the program; and

(iii) The sanction review panel will review your case and make the final decision.

(10) What is a sanction review panel?

(a) The sanction review panel is a small group of people who are independent of your local community services office and do a thorough, objective review of your sanction.

(b) The sanction review panel makes the final decision about whether to close your case after receiving a recommendation from your case manager and reviewing your case to make sure the original sanction was appropriate and we made attempts to re-engage you in the program.

(11) What happens when a sanction review panel decides to close my case?

When a sanction review panel decides to close your case, we will send you a letter to tell you:

(a) What you failed to do;

(b) When your case will be closed;

(c) How to request a fair hearing if you disagree with this decision;

(d) How to end your penalties and keep your case open (if you are able to participate for four weeks in a row before we close your case); and

(e) How your participation before your case is closed can be used to meet the participation requirement in subsection (12).

(12) What if I reapply for TANF or SFA after a sanction review panel closed my case?

(a) If a sanction review panel closes your case and you apply within six months, you must participate for four weeks in a row before you can receive cash. Once you have met your four week participation requirement, your cash benefits will start, going back to the date we had all the other information we needed to make an eligibility decision.

(b) You will not be required to participate for four weeks in a row before you receive cash if you apply after your case has been closed for six months or longer.

(13) What if my TANF or SFA is closed by a sanction review panel, reopened and I go into sanction again?

(a) When a sanction review panel closes your case, and we reopen your case, we will follow all steps in subsection (9) of this section (like the case review and the non-compliance case staffing) during your second month of sanction.

(b) The sanction review panel may close your case after you are in sanction status for three months in a row.

(c) If you case is closed, and you reapply, we will follow the rules in subsection (12) of this section to reopen your case.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050, and 74.08A.340. 04-07-025, 388-310-1600, filed 3/8/04, effective 5/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 02-15-067, 388-310-1600, filed 7/11/02, effective 8/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-10-027, 388-310-1600, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99; 98-23-037, 388-310-1600, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; 97-20-129, 388-310-1600, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


REPEALER

     The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
WAC 388-310-1650 WorkFirst -- Child SafetyNet Payments.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office