WSR 02-09-075

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed April 16, 2002, 3:46 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 01-16-017 and 02-01-008.

Title of Rule: Temporary assistance to needy families, state financial assistance and WorkFirst, WAC 388-310-1600, 388-484-0005, and 388-484-0006.

Purpose: These rule changes are necessary to implement the policy for the sixty-month time limit of TANF/SFA cases.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.08A.010(4), 74.08A.340, 74.08.090, 74.04.050.

Summary:
Amended:

Title of Rule

CR-101

WSR #

Summary
388-310-1600 WorkFirst -- Sanctions. 02-01-008 Mandates sanctions for those who do not participate in WorkFirst activities and how and when they are applied.
388-484-0005 There is a five year (sixty month) time limit for TANF/SFA and GA-S cash assistance. 01-16-017 Describes the sixty month TANF/SFA time limit and mandates how it is applied.
New:

Title of Rule

CR-101

WSR #

Summary
388-484-0006 TANF/SFA time limit extension. 01-16-017 Describes who can get an extension after sixty months on TANF/SFA, how benefits change with an extension and how long extensions can last.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: This proposal implements the sanctions rules for all clients and extension rules for clients that exceed the TANF/SFA sixty-month time limit.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Sandy Jsames, 1009 College Street S.E., Lacey, WA, (360) 413-3239.

Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This proposal implements the sanctions rules for all clients and extension rules for clients that exceed the TANF/SFA sixty-month time limit. See also Summary above.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: These rule changes will establish new policies for clients who are still receiving TANF/SFA after sixty months, including the creation of the child safetynet payments. There are also new participation and sanction policies for all TANF/SFA recipients.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These rules do not affect businesses.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. These amendments are exempt under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(vii).

Hearing Location: Office Building 2 Auditorium (DSHS Headquarters) (parking on 12th off Jefferson), 1115 Washington, Olympia, WA 98504, on May 21, 2002, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Andy Fernando, DSHS Rules Coordinator, by May 17, 2002, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail fernaax@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, DSHS Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 664-6185, e-mail fernaax@dshs.wa.gov, by 5:00 p.m., May 21, 2002.

Date of Intended Adoption: No earlier than May 22, 2002.

April 16, 2002

Brian H. Lindgren, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3055.3
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-10-027, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99)

WAC 388-310-1600   WorkFirst--Sanctions.   (1) What ((is a sanction and when is it used)) WorkFirst requirements do I have to meet?

((A sanction is a penalty that alters your grant when you refuse to:

(a) Give the department the information we need to develop your individual responsibility plan;

(b) Come to scheduled appointments with people who provide WorkFirst services or activities;

(c) Do all of the activities listed on your individual responsibility plan; or

(d) Accept paid employment that meets the criteria in WAC 388-310-1500.

(2) What happens once I do not provide information, go to an appointment, follow my individual responsibility plan or accept a job?

If you do not provide information, go to an appointment, follow up on your individual responsibility plan or accept a job, your case manager or social worker will send you a notice to set up an appointment so they can talk to you about the situation. If they are unable to contact you, they will use the information already on hand to find out why you did not follow through with the required activity. Then, your case manager will decide whether:

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

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

(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 follow through on a required activity due to an event outside of your control. Some examples of good reasons may include:

(a) You, your children or other family members were ill;

(b) Your transportation or child care arrangements broke down and you could not make new arrangements in time to comply;

(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 WAC 388-290);

(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).

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

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

(f) A significant person in your life died;

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

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

(i) You did not get notice telling you about our information request, an appointment or a requirement on your individual responsibility plan.

(4) What if my case manager decides that I refused to meet WorkFirst requirements without good reason?

If your case manager decides you refused to meet WorkFirst requirements without good reason, they will send you a notice that tells you:

(a) What you refused to do;

(b) You will be sanctioned (a penalty will be applied to your grant);

(c) When the sanction starts;

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

(e) How to end the sanction.

(5) What are the penalties to my grant?

The following penalties are applied to your grant for anyone who is sanctioned in your household:

(a) In the first month, we calculate your family's grant and then remove the noncompliant person(s) share of the grant.

(b) In the second month, your reduced grant will be sent to a protective payee every month until the sanction is lifted. (WAC 388-460-0001 describes the protective payee rules.)

(c) In the third and following months, your grant is reduced by the person(s) share or forty percent, whichever is more.

(6) How do I stop (or end) the sanction?

To end your sanction:

(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.

(c) Your grant will be restored after two weeks of participation, beginning with the day you began doing your required activities.

(7) What happens if I get sanctioned again after my sanction has been stopped?

If you are sanctioned again, the sanction process will start again.

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

You are still sanctioned at the level which was in effect when your case closed until you cure your sanction)) 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 (see WAC 388-310-0500);

(b) Show that you are doing the best you can 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 have to 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, change the requirements in your individual responsibility plan.

(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 due to a significant problem or event outside your control. Some examples of good reasons include:

(a) You had an emergent 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 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 meet WorkFirst requirements.

(b) There are three penalty levels:

(i) Level one: We calculate your family's grant and then remove the noncompliant person(s) share of the grant;

(ii) Level two: Your reduced grant (removing the noncompliant person's share) will be sent to a protective payee every month until you get out of sanction status. (WAC 388-460-0001 describes the protective payee rules.)

(iii) Level three: Your grant is reduced by the person(s) share or forty percent, whichever is more and your reduced grant will be sent to a protective payee until you get out of sanction status.

(c) The penalties change depending on how long you have been in sanction status and how many time you have been in sanction status:

(i) The first time you go into sanction your penalties will start at level one. If you are still in sanction after three months, you will go to level two. If you are still in sanction after another three months, you will go to level three.

(ii) The second time you are in sanction, your penalties start at level two and changes to level three after three months.

(iii) After three or more times in sanction, you start at level three.

(d) If you are in sanction status on August 1, 2002, your penalties will start at level one, two, or three depending on how long you have been in sanction status. This will be considered your first sanction.

(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, as follows:

(i) For two weeks in a row if you are in level one of sanction;

(ii) For four weeks in a row if you are in level two or three of sanction.

(c) When you leave sanction status, your grant will be restored beginning with the day you began doing your required activities.

(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 where you were when the case was closed.

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

[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.]

3064.3
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-04-016, filed 1/26/01, effective 2/1/01)

WAC 388-484-0005   There is a five year (sixty-month) time limit for TANF, SFA and GA-S cash assistance.   (1) What is the sixty-month time limit?

(a) You can receive cash assistance for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA), and general assistance for pregnant women (GA-S) for a lifetime limit of sixty months. The time limit applies to cash assistance provided by any combination of these programs, and whether or not it was received in consecutive months.

(b) If you receive cash assistance for part of the month, it counts as a whole month against the time limit.

(c) If you have received cash assistance from another state on or after August 1, 1997, and it was paid for with federal TANF funds, those months will count against your time limit.

(d) The time limit does not apply to diversion cash assistance, support services, food assistance or Medicaid.

(2) When did the sixty-month time limit go into effect?

The sixty-month time limit applies to cash assistance received on or after August 1, 1997 for TANF and SFA. Although the GA-S program no longer exists, the time limit applies to GA-S cash assistance received from May 1, 1999 through July 31, 1999.

(3) Does the time limit apply to me?

The sixty-month time limit applies to you for any month in which you are a parent or other relative as defined in WAC 388-454-0010, or a minor parent emancipated through court order or marriage.

(4) Do any exceptions to the time limits apply to me?

The department does not count months of assistance towards the sixty-month time limit if you are:

(a) A nonneedy adult caretaker relative who is not a member of the assistance unit and you are receiving cash assistance on behalf of a child;

(b) An unemancipated pregnant or parenting minor living in a department approved living arrangement as defined by WAC 388-486-0005; or

(c) An American Indian or Native Alaskan adult and you are living in Indian country, as defined under 18 U.S.C. 1151, or an Alaskan Native village and you are receiving TANF, SFA, or GA-S cash assistance during a period when at least fifty percent of the adults living in Indian country or in the village were not employed. See WAC 388-484-0010.

(5) What happens if a member of my assistance unit has received sixty months of TANF, SFA, and GA-S cash benefits?

Once any adult or emancipated minor in the assistance unit has received sixty months of cash assistance, the entire assistance unit becomes ineligible for TANF or SFA cash assistance((. Some people may be)), unless you are eligible for an extended period of cash assistance ((based on hardship criteria to be developed by the department)) called a TANF/SFA time limit extension under WAC 388-484-0006.

(6) What can I do if I disagree with how the department has counted my months of cash assistance?

(a) If you disagree with how the department has counted your months of cash assistance, you may ask for a hearing within ninety days of receiving notice of the count.

(b) If your cash assistance is terminated after sixty months and you ask for a hearing as provided under chapter 388-02 WAC, your cash assistance will be continued during the course of your initial administrative appeal. You ((must repay the cash assistance, however,)) may be required to repay up to sixty days of cash assistance if the department's decision is found to be correct as described in WAC 388-410-0001 (3)(b).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090, 74.08A.010, and 42 U.S.C. 608 (a)(7). 01-04-016, 388-484-0005, filed 1/26/01, effective 2/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 99-08-050, 388-484-0005, filed 4/1/99, effective 5/2/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-484-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]


NEW SECTION
WAC 388-484-0006   TANF/SFA time limit extensions.   (1) What happens after I receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance?

After you receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance, you may qualify for additional months of cash assistance. We call these additional months of TANF/SFA cash assistance a TANF/SFA time limit extension.

(2) Who is eligible for a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

You are eligible for a TANF/SFA time limit extension if you are on TANF or otherwise eligible for TANF and:

(a) You qualify for one of the exemptions listed in WAC 388-310-0350; or

(b) You:

(i) Are participating satisfactorily in the WorkFirst program (see chapter 388-310 WAC for a description of WorkFirst participation requirements); or

(ii) Meet the family violence option criteria in WAC 388-61-001 and are participating satisfactorily in specialized activities listed in your individual responsibility plan.

(c) If you are refusing to participate as required and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600(4), you do not qualify for a regular TANF/SFA time limit extension but your family may qualify for a Child SafetyNet Payment extension, described in WAC 388-310-1650.

(3) Who reviews and approves an extension?

(a) Your case manager or social worker will review your case and we will use the case staffing process to determine which extension type will be approved. Case staffing is a process to bring together a team of multidisciplinary experts including relevant professionals and you to identify issues, review case history and information, and recommend solutions.

(b) This review will not happen until after you have received at least fifty-two months of assistance but before you reach your time limit.

(c) During the case staffing, we will tell you about the different extensions. If you are in sanction (see WAC 388-310-1600), we will explain the consequences of continued nonparticipation and tell you the steps you must take to end the sanction. We will explain that continued failure to participate will result in your getting a Child SafetyNet Payment with additional restrictions after the sixtieth month.

(d) After the case staffing and before you reach your time limit, the department will send you a notice that tells you whether your extension was approved, how to request a fair hearing if you disagree with the decision, and any changes to your IRP that were made as a result of the case staffing.

(4) Do my WorkFirst participation requirements change if I receive a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

Your participation requirements do not change. You must still meet all of the WorkFirst participation requirements listed in chapter 388-310 WAC while you receive a TANF/SFA time limit extension.

(5) Do my benefits change if I receive a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

(a) You are still a TANF/SFA recipient. If you are:

(i) Receiving a regular TANF/SFA time limit extension, your cash assistance, services, or supports will not change as long as you continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements.

(ii) Receiving a Child SafetyNet Payment, your benefits will be different and are described in WAC 388-310-1650.

(b) During the TANF/SFA time limit extension, you must continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements. If you no longer meet TANF/SFA eligibility criteria during your extension, your benefits will end.

(6) What happens if I stop participating in WorkFirst activities as required during a TANF/SFA time limit extension?

If you do not participate in the WorkFirst activities required in your individual responsibility plan, and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600(4), the department will follow the sanction rules in WAC 388-310-1600, and will move you into Child SafetyNet Payment which will reduce your benefits (see WAC 388-310-1650).

(7) How long will a TANF/SFA time limit extension last?

(a) We will review your TANF/SFA time limit extension and your case periodically for changes in family circumstances:

(i) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(a) then we will review your extension at least every twelve months;

(ii) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(b) then we will review your extension at least every six months;

(iii) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(c) then we will review your extension at least every twelve months.

(b) Your TANF/SFA time limit extension may be renewed for as long as you continue to meet the criteria to qualify.

(c) If during the extension period we get proof that your circumstances have changed, we may review your case and change the type of TANF/SFA time limit extension.

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Washington State Code Reviser's Office