WSR 11-07-086



(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed March 22, 2011, 10:57 a.m. ]

     Original Notice.

     Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 11-02-070.

     Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: The community services division (CSD) is proposing to amend WAC 388-410-0035 Alien and alien sponsor cash, and food assistance overpayments.

     Hearing Location(s): Office Building 2, Auditorium, DSHS Headquarters, 1115 Washington, Olympia, WA 98504 (public parking at 11th and Jefferson. A map is available at or by calling (360) 664-6094), on April 26, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.

     Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than April 27, 2011.

     Submit Written Comments to: DSHS Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, delivery 1115 Washington Street S.E., Olympia, WA 98504, e-mail, fax (360) 664-6185, by 5 p.m., April 26, 2011.

     Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Jennisha Johnson, DSHS rules consultant, by April 5, 2011, TTY (360) 664-6178 or (360) 664-6094 or by e-mail at

     Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The department is proposing to amend its rules covering collection of overpayments for supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits to comply with federal SNAP recipient claim establishment and collection regulations by removing alien sponsor liability for SNAP food assistance overpayments received by aliens they have sponsored.

     Reasons Supporting Proposal: On December 15, 2010, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service published the final regulation, "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Clarifications and Corrections to Recipient Claim Establishment and Collection Standards" to correct and clarify provisions of the final rule on recipient claims published at 65 F.R. 41752 on July 6, 2000.

     Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 74.08.090.

     Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 74.08.090.

     Rule is necessary because of federal law, 7 C.F.R. §273.18(a).

     Name of Proponent: Department of social and health services, governmental.

     Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Robert Thibodeau, 712 Pear Street S.E., Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 725-4634.

     No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These proposed rules do not have an economic impact on small businesses. The proposed amendments only affect certain DSHS clients by removing alien sponsor liability for repayment of federal SNAP benefits received by their sponsored aliens under the Basic Food program.

     A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. These amendments are exempt as allowed under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(vii) which states in part, "[t]his section does not apply to ... rules of the department of social and health services relating only to client medical or financial eligibility and rules concerning liability for care of dependents."

March 7, 2011

Katherine I. Vasquez

Rules Coordinator

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-16-044, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98)

WAC 388-410-0035   Are alien and alien sponsors jointly responsible for cash((,)) and food assistance overpayments((.))?   (1) ((An)) The following applies to cash assistance overpayments:

     (a) When a cash overpayment to a sponsored alien results from incorrect information provided by the alien's sponsor, both the alien and their sponsor are jointly and individually liable for ((any)) the cash assistance overpayment ((of cash or food assistance)) made to the sponsored alien during the three years after the alien's entry into the United States.

     (((2) When an overpayment to a sponsored alien results from incorrect information provided by the alien's sponsor, both the alien and the sponsor are liable for repayment.

     (3) When the alien's sponsor had good cause for reporting the incorrect information, the sponsored alien is solely liable for an inadvertent household error overpayment.

     (4) When good cause does not exist, collection action is initiated against:

     (a) The alien's sponsor; or

     (b) The sponsored alien's assistance unit; or

     (c) Of the two, the one considered most likely to repay first.

     (5) Collection action is initiated against an alien's sponsor for an inadvertent household error when:

     (a) A department representative contacts the sponsor in person or by phone; and

     (b) The sponsor is informed in writing there will be no responsibility for repayment if good cause for reporting incorrect information causing the overpayment can be demonstrated.

     (6))) (b) Collection action is initiated against the sponsored alien's cash assistance unit for an inadvertent household error when:

     (((a))) (i) Collection action is taken first against the alien's sponsor; and

     (((b))) (ii) The alien's sponsor does not respond within thirty days; or

     (((c))) (iii) The sponsored alien provides incorrect information concerning the sponsor or sponsor's spouse through misunderstanding or unintended error.

     (2) The following applies to food assistance overpayments:

     (a) Responsibility for food assistance overpayments under WAC 388-410-0025 also apply to sponsored alien assistance units.

     (b) A sponsored alien is individually liable for any food assistance overpayments made to the sponsored alien. The alien's sponsor cannot be held liable for food assistance overpayments.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-410-0035, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]

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