WSR 16-21-085
(Economic Services Administration)
[Filed October 18, 2016, 12:34 p.m.]
Original Notice.
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 16-04-121.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: The department is proposing to amend WAC sections to implement annual adjustments to standards for the Washington basic food program, including WAC 388-450-0185, 388-450-0190, 388-450-0195, and 388-478-0060.
Hearing Location(s): Office Building 2, DSHS Headquarters, 1115 Washington, Olympia, WA 98504 (public parking at 11th and Jefferson. A map is available at, on November 22, 2016, at 10:00 a.m.
Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than November 23, 2016.
Submit Written Comments to: DSHS Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504, e-mail, fax (360) 664-6185, by 5:00 p.m., November 22, 2016.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Jeff Kildahl, DSHS rules consultant, by November 8, 2016, phone (360) 664-6092, TTY (360) 664-6178, or e-mail
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The proposed amendments increase the basic food standard deduction for one to three persons to $157, increases the maximum shelter deduction to $517, decreases the standard utility allowance (SUA) to $411, decreases the limited utility allowance (LUA) to $319, and decreases the telephone utility allowance (TUA) to $57. The proposed amendments also increase the maximum gross monthly income and maximum net monthly income limit for household that are not categorically eligible for basic food, and increases the one hundred sixty-five percent federal poverty level standard.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The proposed amendments adopt basic food standards for federal fiscal year (FY) 2017 in order to comply with requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), per Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Administrative Notice 16-38: SNAP - FY 2017 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAS) dated August 12, 2016. The amendments update basic food standards for federal FY 2017 to comply with requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture, FNS (FNS7 C.F.R. § 273.9 (d)(iii)(B), and update the basic food SUA, LUA and TUA used to comply with SNAP 10-6-WA-SUA dated August 15, 2016.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510, 74.08.090, and 74.08A.120.
Rule is necessary because of federal law, 7 C.F.R. 273.9.
Name of Proponent: DSHS, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation, and Enforcement: Holly St. John, Community Services Division, (360) 725-4895.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rule does not have an economic impact on small businesses. They only impact DSHS clients.
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, "this 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."
October 13, 2016
Katherine I. Vasquez
Rules Coordinator
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 15-24-075, filed 11/25/15, effective 12/26/15)
WAC 388-450-0185 What income deductions does the department allow when determining if I am eligible for food benefits and the amount of my monthly benefits?
(1) We determine if your assistance unit (AU) is eligible for basic food and calculate your monthly benefits according to requirements of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and federal regulations related to the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).
(2) Under these federal laws ((allow us to)), we subtract ((only)) the following amounts from your AU's total monthly income to determine your countable monthly income under WAC 388-450-0162:
(((1))) (a) A standard deduction based on the number of eligible people in your AU under WAC 388-408-0035:
Eligible AU members
Standard deduction
(($155)) $157
(($155)) $157
(($155)) $157
$ 168
$ 197
6 or more
$ 226
(((2))) (b) Twenty percent of your AU's gross earned income (earned income deduction);
(((3))) (c) Your AU's expected monthly dependent care expense needed for an AU member to:
(((a))) (i) Keep work, look for work, or accept work;
(((b))) (ii) Attend training or education to prepare for employment; or
(((c))) (iii) Meet employment and training requirements under chapter 388-444 WAC((.));
(((4))) (d) Medical expenses over thirty-five dollars a month owed or anticipated by an elderly or disabled person in your AU as allowed under WAC 388-450-0200((.)); and
(((5))) (e) A portion of your shelter costs as described in WAC 388-450-0190.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 15-24-075, filed 11/25/15, effective 12/26/15)
WAC 388-450-0190 How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for basic food?
The department calculates your shelter cost income deduction for basic food as follows:
(1) First, we add up the amounts your assistance unit (AU) must pay each month for shelter. We do not count any overdue amounts, late fees, penalties, or mortgage payments you make ahead of time as ((an)) allowable ((cost)) shelter costs. We count the following expenses as an allowable shelter cost in the month the expense is due:
(a) Monthly rent, lease, and mortgage payments;
(b) Property taxes;
(c) Homeowner's association or condo fees;
(d) Homeowner's insurance for the building only;
(e) Utility allowance your AU is eligible for under WAC 388-450-0195;
(f) Out-of-pocket repairs for the home if it was substantially damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster such as a fire or flood;
(g) Expense of a temporarily unoccupied home because of employment, training away from the home, illness, or abandonment caused by a natural disaster or casualty loss if your:
(i) AU intends to return to the home;
(ii) AU has current occupants who are not claiming the shelter costs for basic food purposes; and
(iii) AU's home is not being leased or rented during your AU's absence.
(2) Second, we subtract all deductions your AU is eligible for under WAC 388-450-0185 (((1))) (2)(a) through (((4))) (2)(d) from your AU's gross income. The result is your AU's countable income.
(3) Finally, we subtract one-half of your AU's countable income from your AU's total shelter costs. The result is your excess shelter costs. Your AU's shelter cost deduction is the excess shelter costs:
(a) Up to a maximum of five hundred ((four)) seventeen dollars if no one in your AU is elderly or disabled; or
(b) The entire amount if an eligible person in your AU is elderly or disabled, even if the amount is over five hundred ((four)) seventeen dollars.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 15-24-075, filed 11/25/15, effective 12/26/15)
WAC 388-450-0195 Does the department use my utility costs when calculating my basic food or WASHCAP benefits?
(1) The department uses utility allowances instead of the actual utility costs your assistance unit (AU) pays when we determine your:
(a) Monthly benefits under WAC 388-492-0070 if you receive ((WASHCAP)) Washington state combined application project (WASHCAP); or
(b) Shelter cost income deduction under WAC 388-450-0190 for basic food.
(2) ((For basic food, "utilities" include the following:
(a) Heating or cooling fuel;
(b) Electricity or gas;
(c) Water;
(d) Sewer;
(e) Well installation/maintenance;
(f) Septic tank installation/maintenance;
(g) Garbage/trash collection; and
(h) Telephone service.
(3))) We use the amounts ((below)) in this subsection if you have utility costs separate from your rent or mortgage payment:
(a) If your AU has heating or cooling costs or receives more than twenty dollars in low income home energy assistance ((Act (LIHEAA))) program (LIHEAP) benefits each year, you get a standard utility allowance (SUA) of four hundred ((twenty)) eleven dollars.
(b) If your AU does not qualify for the SUA and you have any two utility costs listed in subsection (((2))) (3) of this section, you get a limited utility allowance (LUA) of three hundred ((forty)) nineteen dollars.
(c) If your AU has only telephone costs and no other utility costs, you get a telephone utility allowance (TUA) of ((sixty-five)) fifty-seven dollars.
(3) "Utility costs" include the following:
(a) Heating or cooling fuel;
(b) Electricity or gas;
(c) Water;
(d) Sewer;
(e) Well installation/maintenance;
(f) Septic tank installation/maintenance;
(g) Garbage/trash collection; and
(h) Telephone service.
(4) If you do not have a utility cost separate from your rent or mortgage payment and do not receive low income energy assistance program (LIHEAP), you do not receive a utility allowance.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 15-24-075, filed 11/25/15, effective 12/26/15)
WAC 388-478-0060 What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for basic food?
(1) If your assistance unit (AU) meets all other eligibility requirements for basic food, your AU must have income at or below the limits in column B and C of this subsection to get basic food, unless you meet one of the exceptions listed below in subsection (2) of this section. The maximum monthly food assistance benefit your AU could receive is listed in column D of this subsection.
EFFECTIVE ((10/1/2015)) 10/1/2016
Column A
Number of Eligible AU Members
Column B
Maximum Gross
Monthly Income
Column C
Maximum Net
Monthly Income
Column D
Column E
165% of
Poverty Level
$ ((1,276)) 1,287
$ ((981))
$ 194
$ ((1,619)) 1,634
((1,726)) 1,736
((1,328)) 1,335
((2,191)) 2,203
((2,177)) 2,184
((1,675)) 1,680
((2,763)) 2,772
((2,628)) 2,633
((2,021)) 2,025
((3,335)) 3,342
((3,078)) 3,081
((2,368)) 2,370
((3,907)) 3,911
((3,529)) 3,530
((4,479)) 4,480
Each Additional Member
(2) Exceptions:
(((1))) (a) If your AU is categorically eligible as under WAC 388-414-0001, your AU does not have to meet the gross or net income standards in columns B and C of subsection (1) of this section. We ((do)) budget your AU's income to decide the amount of basic food your AU will receive.
(((2))) (b) If your AU includes a member who is sixty years of age or older or has a disability, your AU's income must be at or below the limit in column C ((only)) of subsection (1) of this section.
(((3))) (c) If you are sixty years of age or older and cannot buy and cook your own meals because of a permanent disability, we will use column E of subsection (1) of this section to decide if you can be a separate AU.
(((4))) (d) If your AU has zero income, your benefits are the maximum allotment in column D of subsection (1) of this section, based on the number of eligible members in your AU.