WSR 09-18-006

EMERGENCY RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed August 20, 2009, 10:23 a.m. , effective August 22, 2009 ]


Effective Date of Rule: August 22, 2009.

Purpose: The department is proposing to extend the emergency adoption of WAC 388-466-0120 and 388-466-0130 in order to allow special immigrants from Afghanistan to continue to be eligible for refugee cash assistance (RCA) and for refugee medical assistance (RMA) for up to eight months as allowed by federal law. The department perusing [pursuing] permanent adoption of these rules. The preproposal statement of inquiry was filed under WSR 09-11-103 and the department is currently in process of filing proposed rule making CR-102. This emergency rule extends the previous emergency filed as WSR 09-10-011 filed on April 24, 2009.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-466-0120 and 388-466-0130.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08A.320, and 74.08.090.

Other Authority: P.L. No. 11-08 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, Office of Refugee Resettlement State Letter #09-17.

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest; and that state or federal law or federal rule or a federal deadline for state receipt of federal funds requires immediate adoption of a rule.

Reasons for this Finding: To extend the duration of eligibility of special immigrants from Afghanistan for public benefits from six to eight months from the date of entry into the United States or date of adjustment to special immigrant status, as required by the Office of Refugee Resettlement Letter #09-17 (under the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009). It is essential to continue extension of emergency rule while department is pursuing normal rule adoption.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.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 0, Repealed 0.

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 2, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: August 17, 2009.

Don Goldsby, Manager

Rules and Policies

Assistance Unit

4092.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 08-14-116, filed 6/30/08, effective 8/1/08)

WAC 388-466-0120   Refugee cash assistance (RCA).   (1) Who can apply for refugee cash assistance (RCA)?

Anyone can apply to the department of social and health services (DSHS) for refugee cash assistance and have their eligibility determined within thirty days.

(2) How do I know if I qualify for RCA?

You may be eligible for RCA if you meet all of the following conditions:

(a) You have resided in the United States for less than eight months;

(b) You meet the immigration status requirements of WAC 388-466-0005;

(c) You meet the income and resource requirements under chapters 388-450 and 388-470 WAC;

(d) You meet the work and training requirements of WAC 388-466-0150; and

(e) You provide the name of the voluntary agency (VOLAG) which helped bring you to this country.

(3) What are the other reasons for not being eligible for RCA?

You may not get RCA if you:

(a) Are eligible for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI); or

(b) Have been denied TANF due to your refusal to meet TANF eligibility requirements; or

(c) Are employable and have voluntarily quit or refused to accept a bona fide offer of employment within thirty consecutive days immediately prior to your application for RCA; or

(d) Are a full-time student in a college or university.

(4) If I am an asylee, what date will be used as an entry date?

If you are an asylee, your entry date will be the date that your asylum status is granted. For example: You entered the United States on December 1, 1999 as a tourist, then applied for asylum on April 1, 2000, interviewed with the asylum office on July 1, 2000 and were granted asylum on September 1, 2000. Your entry date is September 1, 2000. On September 1, 2000, you may be eligible for refugee cash assistance.

(5) If I am a victim of human trafficking, what kind of documentation do I need to provide to be eligible for RCA?

You are eligible for RCA to the same extent as a refugee if you are:

(a) An adult victim, eighteen years of age or older, you provide the original certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and you meet eligibility requirements in subsections (2)(c) and (d) of this section. You do not have to provide any other documentation of your immigration status. Your entry date will be the date on your certification letter;

(b) A child victim under the age of eighteen, in which case you do not need to be certified. DHHS issues a special letter for children. Children also have to meet income eligibility requirement;

(c) A family member of a certified victim of human trafficking, you have a T-2, T-3, T-4, or T-5 Visa (Derivative T-Visas), and you meet the eligibility requirements in subsections (2)(c) and (d) of this section.

(6) Does getting a one time cash grant from a voluntary agency (VOLAG) affect my eligibility for RCA?

No. In determining your eligibility for RCA DSHS does not count a onetime resettlement cash grant provided to you by your VOLAG.

(7) What is the effective date of my eligibility for RCA?

The date DSHS has sufficient information to make eligibility decision is the date your RCA begins.

(8) When does my RCA end?

(a) Your RCA ends on the last day of the eighth month starting with the month of your arrival to the United States. Count the eight months from the first day of the month of your entry into the United States. For example, if you entered the United States on May 28, 2000, May is your first month and December 2000 is your last month of RCA.

(b) ((If you are from Afghanistan and were granted special immigrant status under section 101 (a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), your RCA ends on the last day of the sixth month starting from the month of your arrival to the United States or from the month you received special immigrant status if this occurred after your entry.

(c))) If you get a job, your income will affect your RCA based on the TANF rules (chapter 388-450 WAC). If you earn more than is allowed by WAC 388-478-0035, you are no longer eligible for RCA. Your medical coverage may continue for up to eight months from your month of arrival in the United States (WAC 388-466-0130).

(9) Are there other reasons why RCA may end?

Your RCA also ends if:

(a) You move out of Washington state;

(b) Your unearned income and/or resources go over the maximum limit (WAC 388-466-0140); or

(c) You, without good cause, refuse to meet refugee employment and training requirements (WAC 388-466-0150).

(10) Will my spouse be eligible for RCA, if he/she arrives in the U.S. after me?

When your spouse arrives in the United States, DSHS determines his/her eligibility for RCA and/or other income assistance programs.

(a) Your spouse may be eligible for up to eight months of RCA based on his/her date of arrival into the United States. ((Spouses from Afghanistan who have been granted special immigrant status under section 101 (a)(27) of the INA, are eligible for RCA for up to six months from the date of their entry into the United States or from the month they received special immigrant status if this occurred after their U.S. entry.))

(b) If you live together you and your spouse are part of the same assistance unit and your spouse's eligibility for RCA is determined based on your and your spouse's combined income and resources (WAC 388-466-0140).

(11) Can I get additional money in an emergency?

If you have an emergency and need a cash payment to get or keep your housing or utilities, you may apply for the DSHS program called additional requirements for emergent needs (AREN). To receive AREN, you must meet the requirements in WAC 388-436-0002.

(12) What can I do if I disagree with a decision or action that has been taken by DSHS on my case?

If you disagree with a decision or action taken on your case by the department, you have the right to request a review of your case or a fair hearing (WAC 388-02-0090). Your request must be made within ninety days of the decision or action.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08A.320, 74.08.090, and Public Law 110-161 Section 525; Public Law 110-181 Section 1244; FNS Admin Notice 08-17; State Letter 04-12 from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. 08-14-116, 388-466-0120, filed 6/30/08, effective 8/1/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.08A.320. 02-04-057, 388-466-0120, filed 1/30/02, effective 2/1/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 08-14-116, filed 6/30/08, effective 8/1/08)

WAC 388-466-0130   Refugee medical assistance (RMA).   (1) Who can apply for refugee medical assistance?

Anyone can apply for refugee medical assistance (RMA) and have eligibility determined by the department of social and health services (DSHS).

(2) Who is eligible for refugee medical assistance?

(a) You are eligible for RMA if you meet all of the following conditions:

(i) Immigration status requirements of WAC 388-466-0005;

(ii) Income and resource requirements of WAC 388-466-0140;

(iii) Monthly income standards up to two hundred percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Spenddown is available for applicants whose income exceeds two hundred percent of FPL (see WAC 388-519-0110); and

(iv) Provide the name of the voluntary agency (VOLAG) which helped bring you to this country, so that DSHS can promptly notify the agency (or sponsor) about your application for RMA.

(b) You are eligible for RMA if you:

(i) Receive refugee cash assistance (RCA) and are not eligible for medicaid or children's healthcare programs as described in WAC 388-505-0210; or

(ii) Choose not to apply for or receive RCA and are not eligible for medicaid or children's healthcare programs as described in WAC 388-505-0210, but still meet RMA eligibility requirements.

(3) Who is not eligible for refugee medical assistance?

You are not eligible to receive RMA if you are:

(a) Already eligible for medicaid or children's healthcare programs as described in WAC 388-505-0210;

(b) A full-time student in an institution of higher education unless the educational activity is part of a department-approved individual responsibility plan (IRP);

(c) A nonrefugee spouse of a refugee.

(4) If I have already received a cash assistance grant from voluntary agency (VOLAG), will it affect my eligibility for RMA?

No. A cash assistance payment provided to you by your VOLAG is not counted in determining eligibility for RMA.

(5) If I get a job after I have applied but before I have been approved for RMA, will my new income be counted in determining my eligibility?

No. Your RMA eligibility is determined on the basis of your income and resources on the date of the application.

(6) Will my sponsor's income and resources be considered in determining my eligibility for RMA?

Your sponsor's income and resources are not considered in determining your eligibility for RMA unless your sponsor is a member of your assistance unit.

(7) How do I find out if I am eligible for RMA?

DSHS will send you a letter in both English and your primary language informing you about your eligibility. DSHS will also let you know in writing every time there are any changes or actions taken on your case.

(8) Will RMA cover my medical expenses that occurred after I arrived in the U.S. but before I applied for RMA?

You may be eligible for RMA coverage of your medical expenses for three months prior to the first day of the month of your application. Eligibility determination will be made according to medicaid rules.

(9) If I am a victim of human trafficking, what kind of documentation do I need to provide to be eligible for RMA?

You are eligible for RMA to the same extent as a refugee, if you are:

(a) An adult victim, eighteen years of age or older, and you provide the original certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). You also have to meet eligibility requirements in subsections (2)(a) and (b) of this section. You do not have to provide any other documentation of your immigration status. Your entry date will be the date on your certification letter.

(b) A child victim under the age of eighteen, in which case you do not need to be certified. DHHS issues a special letter for children. Children also have to meet income eligibility requirements.

(c) A family member of a certified victim of human trafficking, you have a T-2, T-3, T-4, or T-5 Visa (Derivative T-Visas), and you meet eligibility requirements in subsections (2)(a) and (b) of this section.

(10) If I am an asylee, what date will be used as an entry date?

If you are an asylee, your entry date will be the date that your asylum status is granted. For example, if you entered the United States on December 1, 1999 as a tourist, then applied for asylum on April 1, 2000, interviewed with the asylum office on July 1, 2000 and granted asylum on September 1, 2000, your date of entry is September 1, 2000. On September 1, 2000 you may be eligible for refugee medical assistance.

(11) When does my RMA end?

(a) Your refugee medical assistance will end on the last day of the eighth month from the month of your entry into the United States. Start counting the eight months with the first day of the month of your entry into the U.S. For example, if you entered the U.S. on May 28, 2000, your last month is December 2000.

(((b) If you are from Afghanistan and were granted Special Immigrant status under section 101 (a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), your RMA ends on the last day of the sixth month starting with the month of your arrival to the United States or from the month you received Special Immigrant status if this occurred after your U.S. entry.))

(12) What happens if my earned income goes above the income standards?

(a) If you are getting RMA, your medical eligibility will not be affected by the amount of your earnings;

(b) If you were getting medicaid and it was terminated because of your earnings, we will transfer you to RMA for the rest of your RMA eligibility period. You will not need to apply.

(13) Will my spouse also be eligible for RMA, if he/she arrives into the U.S. after me?

When your spouse arrives in the U.S., we will determine his/her eligibility for medicaid and other medical programs.

(a) Your spouse may be eligible for RMA; if so, he/she would have a maximum of eight months of RMA starting on the first day of the month of his/her arrival.

(((b) Spouses from Afghanistan who have been granted special immigrant status under section 101 (a)(27) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), are eligible for RMA for a maximum of six months from the date of entry into the United States or from the month they received special immigrant status if this occurred after their U.S. entry.))

(14) What do I do if I disagree with a decision or action that has been taken by DSHS on my case?

If you disagree with the decision or action taken on your case by department you have the right to request a review of your case or request a fair hearing (see WAC 388-02-0090). Your request must be made within ninety days of the decision or action).

(15) What happens to my medical coverage after my eligibility period is over?

We will determine your eligibility for other medical programs. You may have to complete an application for another program.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08A.320, 74.08.090, and Public Law 110-161 Section 525; Public Law 110-181 Section 1244; FNS Admin Notice 08-17; State Letter 04-12 from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. 08-14-116, 388-466-0130, filed 6/30/08, effective 8/1/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057. 04-05-010, 388-466-0130, filed 2/6/04, effective 3/8/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.08A.320. 00-21-065, 388-466-0130, filed 10/16/00, effective 11/1/00.]

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office