WSR 08-14-119

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed July 1, 2008, 8:10 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Child support is currently a deduction from a household's countable gross income for Basic Food assistance. The department is proposing to exercise an option from the 2002 farm bill to treat child support payments made to someone outside of the home as an income exclusion prior to administering the gross income test.

These changes include amendments to the following WAC sections and any related rules: WAC 388-450-0015 What types of income does the department not use to figure out my benefits? and 388-450-0185 Does the department count all of my income to determine my eligibility and benefits for Basic Food?

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, 74.08.090.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: This change will assist low-income families in meeting their child support debts while enhancing their supplies of food. Currently, some households are denied for Basic Food assistance for excess gross income, even when up to 50% of their income is paid out in child support. These families are now unable to qualify for food assistance due to income that they have no access to because it is paid out in child support. This change will enhance the division of child support's mission to collect child support and will enhance the community services division's mission to assist low-income families to access the Basic Food program.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) enforces the provisions of the federal Food Stamp Program as enacted in the 2002 farm bill and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations. The DSHS economic services administration, community services division (CSD) policy unit intends to notify FNS of our intent to exercise this option and will coordinate communications of the change with the CSD service delivery unit and with CSD regional financial coordinators.

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 Don Winslow, Policy Analyst/Program Manager, Division of Employment and Assistance Programs, P.O. Box 45470, Olympia, WA 98504-5470, phone (360) 725-4580, fax (360) 725-4905, e-mail winsldg@dshs.wa.gov.

June 30, 2007 [2005]

Stephanie E. Schiller

Rules Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office