SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)
Effective Date of Rule: March 1, 2011.
Purpose: The department is proposing to include federal supplemental security income (SSI) recipients as part of the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), or state family assistance (SFA), assistance unit and count their SSI income when determining the family's eligibility for cash assistance.
The department is proposing to amend by emergency adoption WAC 388-408-0020 When am I not allowed to be in a TANF or SFA assistance unit?, 388-408-0025 When can I choose who is in my TANF or SFA assistance unit?, 388-436-0002 If my family has an emergency, can I get help from DSHS to get or keep our housing or utilities?, 388-436-0020 CEAP assistance unit composition, 388-436-0040 Excluded income and resources for CEAP, 388-450-0025 What is unearned income?, and 388-470-0045 How do my resources count toward the resource limits for cash assistance and family medical programs?
These changes are necessary in response to a growing WorkFirst budget shortfall, driven by increased demand for services by families affected by the economic recession as described in the WorkFirst reductions announcement dated December 17, 2010.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-408-0020, 388-408-0025, 388-436-0002, 388-436-0020, 388-436-0040, 388-450-0025, and 388-470-0045.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.660, and 74.08.090.
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 in order to implement the requirements or reductions in appropriations enacted in any budget for fiscal years 2009, 2010, or 2011, which necessitates the need for the immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the fiscal needs or requirements of the agency.
Reasons for this Finding: The department needs to make further reductions to TANF-related programs in order to achieve a balanced WorkFirst budget for the current fiscal year (which ends June 30, 2011) and the 2011-13 biennium (which begins July 1, 2011). This shortfall is the result of increased demand for TANF benefits due to the economic recession. In the last two years, the WorkFirst caseload has grown by more than thirty percent, from 51,106 cases in July 2008 to 66,634 cases in June of this year.
In September 2010, the governor directed agencies to implement cuts by October 1 to avoid running out of state general funds to address a growing WorkFirst budget shortfall. In particular, the Governor's Executive Order 10-04 (Ordering Expenditure Reductions in Allotments of State General Fund Appropriations), signed on September 13, 2010, found that:
• Revenues have fallen short of projections;
• The current official state economic and revenue forecast of general fund revenues is less than the official estimate upon which the state's 2009-2011 biennial operating budget and supplemental operating budget were enacted; and
• The anticipated revenues combined with the beginning cash balance of the general fund are insufficient to meet anticipated expenditures from this fund for the remainder of the current fiscal period.
Accordingly, the governor ordered across-the-board reductions of state general fund allotments by 6.287 percent, effective October 1, 2010.
In November 2010, the departments announced further reductions to keep the WorkFirst budget in balanced [balance]. The projected WorkFirst deficit reached approximately $82 million for current fiscal year and $225 million for the next biennium.
In December, 2010:
• During December 11, 2010, special session, HB 3225 approved by legislature modified appropriations for the 2009-11 operating budget. The state general fund appropriations were reduced by $490.4 million, while the total budgeted amount was reduced by $336.5 million. The department appropriations included a reduction of $856,000 GF-S for the remaining of SFY 2011.
• December 15, 2010, Governor Gregoire announced proposed 2011-2013 budget cuts needed to close an additional $4.6 billion projected shortfall in the next state fiscal biennium, and proposed eliminating or restructuring many state programs, agencies, boards and commissions. "We face unprecedented times," the governor said. "Few alive today have witnessed a recession of this magnitude and length." See the governor's proposed budget for SFY 2011-2013 at this link http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/budget/press_packet.pdf.
The timing of the proposed budget reductions will lessen the adverse impact on families. If immediate budget reductions are not realized, the department will have to make additional cuts in the future to TANF/WorkFirst assistance programs to stay within budget. Additional cuts could include greater reduction in services than those currently proposed, and/or eliminating benefits rather than reducing them. These reductions would have a much greater detrimental effect on vulnerable families with children in need.
The department is concurrently working on the permanent rule-making process.
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 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 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: January 24, 2011.
Katherine I. Vasquez
(1) We do not include the following people in your TANF or SFA AU:
(a) A minor parent or child who has been placed in Title IV-E, state, or locally-funded foster care unless the placement is a temporary absence under WAC 388-454-0015;
(b) An adult parent in a two-parent household when:
(i) The other parent is unmarried and under the age of eighteen; and
(ii) We decide that your living arrangement is not appropriate under WAC 388-486-0005.
(c) A court-ordered guardian, court-ordered custodian, or
other adult acting in loco parentis (in the place of a parent)
if they are not a relative of one of the children in the AU as
defined under WAC 388-454-0010((
(d) Someone who gets SSI benefits)).
(2) If someone that lives with you cannot be in the AU:
(a) We do not count them as a member of the AU when we determine the AU's payment standard; and
(b) We do not count their income unless they are financially responsible for a member of the AU under WAC 388-450-0095 through 388-450-0130.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 74.08.090. 10-12-095, § 388-408-0020, filed 6/1/10, effective 7/2/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.057, 2000 2nd sp.s. c 1. 01-03-121, § 388-408-0020, filed 1/22/01, effective 3/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, and 74.04.510. 00-05-007, § 388-408-0020, filed 2/4/00, effective 3/6/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-408-0020, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]
|(1) If you are the parent of the child, you may choose whether or not to include:||(a) ((
(b))) The child in the AU if:
(i) You already receive TANF or SFA;
(ii) You are not married to the child's other parent; and
(iii) The child lives with both parents.
|(2) If you are not the child's parent, and do not live with the parents of the child, you may choose to:||(a) Include yourself if you are a
relative defined in WAC 388-454-0010;
(b) Include someone else that cares for the child and is a relative defined in WAC 388-454-0010; or
(c) Receive a grant for the child only.
|(3) If you are the child's parent or caretaker relative, you may choose whether or not to include any of the following children:||(a) ((
(b))) Stepsisters and stepbrothers of a child; and
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. 05-02-017, § 388-408-0025, filed 12/27/04, effective 1/27/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.057, 2000 2nd sp.s. c 1. 01-03-121, § 388-408-0025, filed 1/22/01, effective 3/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-408-0025, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]
(1) To get AREN, you must:
(a) Be eligible for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA), or refugee cash assistance (RCA);
(b) Have an emergency housing or utility need; and
(c) Have a good reason that you do not have enough money to pay your housing or utility costs.
(2) To get AREN, you must be eligible for TANF, SFA, or RCA. This means you must:
(a) Get benefits through TANF, SFA, or RCA. For RCA you must also be pregnant or have an eligible child; or
(b) Apply for TANF, SFA, and RCA, and meet all eligibility criteria including:
(i) The maximum earned income limit under WAC 388-478-0035;
(ii) The requirement that your unearned income not exceed the grant payment standard;
(iii) The requirement that your countable income as defined under WAC 388-450-0162 must be below the payment standard in WAC 388-478-0020 when you have both earned income and unearned income;
(iv) The resource limits under chapter 388-470 WAC;
(v) The program summary rules for either TANF (WAC 388-400-0005); SFA (WAC 388-400-0010); or RCA (WAC 388-400-0030); and
(vi) The requirement that you must be pregnant or have an eligible child.
(3) If you do not get or do not want to get TANF, SFA or RCA, you cannot get AREN to help with housing or utility costs. We will look to see if you are eligible for diversion cash assistance (DCA) under WAC 388-432-0005.
(4) To get AREN, you must have an emergency housing or utility need. You may get AREN to help pay to:
(a) Prevent eviction or foreclosure;
(b) Get housing if you are homeless or need to leave your home because of domestic violence;
(c) Hook up or prevent a shut off of utilities related to your health and safety. We consider the following utilities to be needed for health and safety:
(i) Electricity or fuel for heating, lighting, or cooking;
(iii) Sewer; and
(iv) Basic local telephone service if it is necessary for your basic health and safety. If you receive TANF or SFA, the Washington telephone assistance program (WTAP) may be used to help you pay for basic local telephone service.
(d) Repair damage or defect to your home when it causes a risk to your health or safety:
(i) If you own the home, we may approve AREN for the least expensive method of ending the risk to your health or safety;
(ii) If you do not own the home, you must ask the landlord in writing to fix the damage according to the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act at chapter 59.18 RCW. If the landlord refuses to fix the damage or defect, we may pay for the repair or pay to move you to a different place whichever cost is lower.
(e) If you receive TANF or SFA, WorkFirst support services under WAC 388-310-0800 may be used to help you relocate to new housing to get a job, keep a job, or participate in WorkFirst activities. Nonhousing expenses that are not covered under AREN may be paid under WorkFirst support services. This includes expenses such as car repair, diapers, or clothing.
(5) To get AREN, you must have a good reason for not having enough money to pay for your housing or utility costs. You must prove that you:
(a) Did not have money available that you normally use to pay your rent and utilities due to an emergency situation that reduced your income (such as a long-term illness or injury);
(b) Had to use your money to pay for necessary or emergency expenses. Examples of necessary or emergency expenses include:
(i) Basic health and safety needs for shelter, food and clothing;
(ii) Medical care;
(iii) Dental care needed to get a job or because of pain;
(iv) Emergency child care;
(v) Emergency expenses due to a natural disaster, accident, or injury; and
(vi) Other reasonable and necessary expenses.
(c) Are currently homeless; or
(d) Had your family's cash grant reduced or suspended when we budgeted your expected income for the month, but the income will not be available to pay for the need when the payment is due. You must make attempts to negotiate later payments with your landlord or utility company before you can get AREN.
(6) In addition to having a good reason for not having enough money to pay for your costs, you must also explain how you will afford to pay for the on-going need in the future. We may deny AREN if your expenses exceed your income (if you are living beyond your means). We may approve AREN to help you get into housing you can afford.
(7) If you meet the above requirements, we decide the amount we will pay based on the following criteria.
(a) AREN payments may be made up to a maximum of seven hundred fifty dollars in a consecutive twelve-month period.
(b) The number of AREN payments you can receive in a twelve-month period is not limited, as long as the total amount does not exceed seven hundred fifty dollars.
(c) The department may approve an AREN payment above the seven hundred fifty dollar maximum for health and safety reasons.
(d) The amount of AREN is in addition to the amount of your monthly TANF, SFA, or RCA cash grant.
(e) We will decide the lowest amount we must pay to end your housing or utility emergency. We will contact your landlord, utility company, or other vendor for information to make this decision. We may take any of the following steps when deciding the lowest amount to pay:
(i) We may ask you to arrange a payment plan with your landlord or utility company. This could include us making a partial payment, and you setting up a plan for you to repay the remaining amount you owe over a period of time.
(ii) We may have you use some of the money you have available in cash, checking, or savings to help pay for the expense. We will look at the money you have available as well as your bills when we decide how much we will pay.
(iii) We may consider income that is excluded or
disregarded for cash assistance benefit calculations((
as SSI,)) as available to meet your emergency housing need.
(iv) We may consider money other individuals such as family or friends voluntarily give you. We will not count loans of money that you must repay to friends or family members.
(v) We may consider money from a nonneedy caretaker relative that lives in the home.
(vi) We may look at what other community resources you currently have to help you with your need.
(f) The seven hundred fifty dollar limit every twelve months applies to the following people even if they leave the assistance unit:
(i) Adults; and
(ii) Minor parents that get AREN when no adults are in the assistance unit.
(8) We pay AREN:
(a) Directly to the landlord, mortgage company, utility, or other vendor whenever we can.
(b) If we cannot pay AREN directly to the landlord or other vendor, we will issue the AREN as a part of your TANF, SFA, or RCA cash grant. If we issue the AREN as a part of your grant, you must use it for your emergency need.
(9) We may assign you a protective payee for your monthly grant under WAC 388-460-0020.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050 and 74.08A.340. 04-07-023, § 388-436-0002, filed 3/8/04, effective 4/8/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050. 00-22-064, § 388-436-0002, filed 10/27/00, effective 12/1/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, and 74.08.090. 99-14-046, § 388-436-0002, filed 6/30/99, effective 8/1/99.]
(a) A parent or a relative of specified degree as defined under WAC 388-454-0010; or
(b) Has lived with such a relative within six months of the request for assistance.
(2) The following persons living in the household must be included as members of the CEAP assistance unit:
(a) All full, half, or adopted siblings under eighteen years of age, including a minor parent; and
(b) The parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent living with the child or children.
(3) The following persons living in the household do not have to be included but may be included as members at the option of the applicant:
(a) One caretaker relative of specified degree when the child's parent does not live in the home;
(b) Stepbrothers or stepsisters to all children in the assistance unit.
(4) The following persons may make up a CEAP assistance unit without including others living in the home:
(a) The child of a parent who is a minor when the minor parent is not eligible due to the income and resources of his/her parents; or
(b) A pregnant woman when no other child is in the home.
The following persons living in the household))
Household members ineligible due to reasons stated in WAC 388-436-0025 and 388-436-0030 are not included as members of
the CEAP assistance unit(( :
(a) A household member receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
(b) A household member ineligible due to reasons stated in WAC 388-436-0025 and 388-436-0030)).
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-436-0020, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]
(1) A home as defined under WAC 388-470-0045;
(2) One vehicle, running and used regularly by the assistance unit, with an equity value not to exceed one thousand five hundred dollars);
(3) Household furnishings being used by the assistance unit;
(4) Personal items being used by members of the assistance unit;
(5) Tools and equipment being used in the applicant's occupation;
(6) The value of the coupon allotment under the Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended;
(7) Benefits received under the women, infants and children program (WIC) of the child nutrition Act of 1966, as amended, and the special food service program for children under the National School Lunch Act, as amended;
(8) Energy assistance payments;
(9) Grants, loans, or work study to a student under Title IV of the Higher Education Amendments or Bureau of Indian Affairs for attendance costs as identified by the institution;
Income and resources of an SSI recipient;
(11))) Livestock when the products are consumed by members of the assistance unit;
(12))) (11) All resources and income excluded for the
TANF program under WAC 388-470-0045 and by federal law.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057. 04-05-010, § 388-436-0040, filed 2/6/04, effective 3/8/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-436-0040, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]
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.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-20-069, filed 9/30/02, effective 10/31/02)
WAC 388-450-0025 What is unearned income? This section applies to cash assistance, food assistance, and medical programs for families, children, and pregnant women.
(1) Unearned income is income you get from a source other than employment or self-employment. Some examples of unearned income are:
(a) Railroad Retirement;
(b) Unemployment Compensation;
(c) Social Security benefits, ((
(i) Retirement benefits((
(ii) Disability benefits((
(iii) Benefits for survivors; and
(iv) Supplemental security income (SSI)((
(d) Time loss benefits as described in WAC 388-450-0010, such as benefits from the department of labor and industries (L&I); or
(e) Veteran Administration benefits.
(2) For food assistance we also count the total amount of cash benefits due to you before any reductions caused by your failure (or the failure of someone in your assistance unit) to perform an action required under a federal, state, or local means-tested public assistance program, such as TANF/SFA, GA, and SSI.
(3) When we count your unearned income, we count the amount you get before any taxes are taken out.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 02-20-069, § 388-450-0025, filed 9/30/02, effective 10/31/02; 99-17-025, § 388-450-0025, filed 8/10/99, effective 10/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-450-0025, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]
(a) Liquid resources not specifically excluded in subsection (2) below. These are resources that are easily changed into cash. Some examples of liquid resources are:
(i) Cash on hand;
(ii) Money in checking or savings accounts;
(iii) Money market accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs) less any withdrawal penalty;
(iv) Available retirement funds or pension benefits, less any withdrawal penalty;
(v) Stocks, bonds, annuities, or mutual funds less any early withdrawal penalty;
(vi) Available trusts or trust accounts;
(vii) Lump sum payments as described in chapter 388-455 WAC; or
(viii) Any funds retained beyond the month of receipt from conversion of federally protected rights or extraction of exempt resources by members of a federally recognized tribe that are in the form of countable resources.
(b) The cash surrender value (CSV) of whole life insurance policies.
(c) The CSV over fifteen hundred dollars of revocable burial insurance policies or funeral agreements.
(d) The amount of a child's irrevocable educational trust fund that is over four thousand dollars per child.
(e) Funds withdrawn from an individual development account (IDA) if they were removed for a purpose other than those specified in RCW 74.08A.220.
(f) Any real property like a home, land or buildings not specifically excluded in subsection (3) below.
(g) The equity value of vehicles as described in WAC 388-470-0070.
(h) Personal property that is not:
(i) A household good;
(ii) Needed for self-employment; or
(iii) Of "great sentimental value," due to personal attachment or hobby interest.
(i) Resources of a sponsor as described in WAC 388-470-0060.
(j) For cash assistance only, sales contracts.
(2) The following types of liquid resources do not count when we determine your eligibility:
(a) Bona fide loans, including student loans;
(b) Basic Food benefits;
(c) Income tax refunds in the month of receipt;
(d) Earned income tax credit (EITC) in the month received and the following month;
(e) Advance earned income tax credit payments;
(f) Federal economic stimulus payments that are excluded for federal and federally assisted state programs;
(g) Individual development accounts (IDAs) established under RCW 74.08A.220;
(h) Retroactive cash benefits or TANF/SFA benefits resulting from a court order modifying a decision of the department;
(i) Underpayments received under chapter 388-410 WAC;
(j) Educational benefits that are excluded as income under WAC 388-450-0035;
The income and resources of an SSI recipient;
(l))) A bank account jointly owned with an SSI recipient if SSA already counted the money for SSI purposes;
(m))) (l) Foster care payments provided under Title
IV-E and/or state foster care maintenance payments;
(n))) (m) Adoption support payments;
(o))) (n) Self-employment accounts receivable that the
client has billed to the customer but has been unable to
(p))) (o) Resources specifically excluded by federal
(q))) (p) For medical benefits(( ,)) only:
(i) Receipts from exercising federally protected rights or extracted exempt resources (fishing, shell-fishing, timber sales, etc.) during the month of receipt for a member of a federally recognized tribe;
(ii) The income and resources of an SSI recipient.
(3) The following types of real property do not count when we determine your eligibility:
(a) Your home and the surrounding property that you, your spouse, or your dependents live in;
(b) A house you do not live in, if you plan on returning to the home and you are out of the home because of:
(ii) Training for future employment;
(iii) Illness; or
(iv) Natural disaster or casualty.
(c) Property that:
(i) You are making a good faith effort to sell;
(ii) You intend to build a home on, if you do not already own a home;
(iii) Produces income consistent with its fair market value, even if used only on a seasonal basis; or
(iv) A household member needs for employment or self-employment. Property excluded under this section and used by a self-employed farmer or fisher retains its exclusion for one year after the household member stops farming or fishing.
(d) Indian lands held jointly with the Tribe, or land that can be sold only with the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
(4) If you deposit excluded liquid resources into a bank account with countable liquid resources, we do not count the excluded liquid resources for six months from the date of deposit.
(5) If you sell your home, you have ninety days to reinvest the proceeds from the sale of a home into an exempt resource.
(a) If you do not reinvest within ninety days, we will determine whether there is good cause to allow more time. Some examples of good cause are:
(i) Closing on your new home is taking longer than anticipated;
(ii) You are unable to find a new home that you can afford;
(iii) Someone in your household is receiving emergent medical care; or
(iv) Your children are in school and moving would require them to change schools.
(b) If you have good cause, we will give you more time based on your circumstances.
(c) If you do not have good cause, we count the money you got from the sale as a resource.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and ARRA of 2009, Public Law 111-5, Section 5006(b); 42 C.F.R. 435.601, EEOICPA of 2000, Public Law 106398, Sec. 1, app., Title XXXVI (Oct. 30, 2000) (section 1 adopting as Appendix H.R. 5408), Section 3646 of the Appendix. 10-15-069, § 388-470-0045, filed 7/16/10, effective 8/16/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510 and 74.08.090. 09-09-103, § 388-470-0045, filed 4/20/09, effective 4/21/09. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 03-05-015, § 388-470-0045, filed 2/7/03, effective 3/1/03; 99-16-024, § 388-470-0045, filed 7/26/99, effective 9/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-470-0045, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]