SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately.
Purpose: The department is proposing to amend by emergency adoption WAC 388-478-0005 Cash assistance need and payment standards and grant maximum.
The department is reducing the cash assistance grant maximum to $726 effective May 1, 2011, which will affect households with more than five members.
These changes are necessary to address 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 March 4, 2011.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-478-0005.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08A.100, 74.04.770, 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.|
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 1, 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 1, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: April 13, 2011.
Katherine I. Vasquez
(2) Payment standards for assistance units in medical institutions and other facilities are based on the need for clothing, personal maintenance, and necessary incidentals (see WAC 388-478-0040 and 388-478-0045).
(3) Need and payment standards for persons and families who do not reside in medical institutions and other facilities are based on their obligation to pay for shelter.
(a) Eligibility and benefit levels for persons and families who meet the requirements in WAC 388-478-0010 are determined using standards for assistance units with an obligation to pay shelter costs.
(b) Eligibility and benefit levels for all other persons and families are determined using standards for assistance units who have shelter provided at no cost.
(c) For recent arrivals to Washington state who apply for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), see WAC 388-468-0005.
(4) Effective May 1, 2011, the monthly cash assistance
grant for an assistance unit ((
containing eight or more
persons)) cannot exceed (( the grant maximum payment standard
for a family of eight listed in WAC 388-478-0020(1))) seven
hundred and twenty-six dollars.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08A.100, 74.04.770, 74.08.090, and 2008 c 329 § 207 (1)(e). 08-21-134, § 388-478-0005, filed 10/20/08, effective 10/28/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057. 04-05-010, § 388-478-0005, 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, § 388-478-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]