WSR 97-16-056




(Public Assistance)

[Filed July 31, 1997, 4:55 p.m., effective August 1, 1997]

Date of Adoption: July 31, 1997.

Purpose: Federal regulations at 45 CFR 400.61 and 400.102 require that consideration of income and resources for the refugee cash assistance (RCA) and refugee medical assistance (RMA) programs be based on aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) regulations at 45 CFR 233.20 (a)(3) through (11). Under federal welfare reform, AFDC was replaced by the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program. States may establish TANF income and resource rules that are more liberal than those which were required under federal AFDC rules. The department's RCA and RMA income and resource rules are tied to its TANF (formally AFDC) rules by reference with exceptions noted to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Effective August 1, 1997, the department is changing income and resource rules for Washington's TANF program in response to state welfare reform legislation EHB 3901 (1997). Because the new TANF rules create income and resource exemptions which exceed those allowed under federal AFDC rules, this issuance is necessary to ensure that the department's RCA/RMA income and resource rules continue to conform to federal AFDC rules as required by federal regulation.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-55-030 Refugee assistance--Treatment of income and resources.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050; EHB 3901 (1997).

Other Authority: RCW 74.08.090, 45 CFR 400.61, 45 CFR 400.102, and 45 CFR 233.20 (a)(3) through (11).

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that state or federal law or federal rule or a federal deadline for state receipt of federal funds requires immediate adoption of a rule.

Reasons for this Finding: Effective August 1, 1997, the department is changing the income and resource rules to comply with state welfare reform legislation under EHB 3901. According to federal rules, however, RCA/RMA income and resource rules cannot exceed those of the AFDC program in effect prior to passage of welfare reform legislation. This rule is needed to keep the RCA/RMA program rules in compliance with federal regulation.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 1, repealed 0.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.

Effective Date of Rule: August 1, 1997.

July 31, 1997

Merry A. Kogut, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending Order 3944, filed 2/9/96, effective 3/11/96)

WAC 388-55-030 Treatment of income and resources. (1) The ((department shall treat the)) income and resources of ((an applicant or recipient of)) RCA/RMA ((in accordance with provisions)) clients shall be treated according to the rules in chapters 388-216 WAC((, AFDC resources,)) and ((chapter)) 388-218 WAC, ((AFDC income)) except that RCA/RMA clients do not qualify for:

(a) The fifty percent gross earned income disregard allowed under WAC 388-218-1440. Instead, the first ninety dollars of an RCA/RMA client's monthly gross earned income shall be disregarded;

(b) The three thousand dollar savings account exemption allowed to recipients under WAC 388-216-2650;

(c) The exemption for a motor vehicle used to transport a physically disabled household member under WAC 388-216-2500; and

(d) The five thousand dollar vehicle equity value exemption under WAC 388-216-2650. Instead, the equity value exemption for a used and useful vehicle owned by an RCA/RMA client is one thousand five hundred dollars.

(2) ((With the exception of the thirty dollar and one-third earned income disregard, adult refugee recipients shall be eligible for earned income exemptions as specified in WAC 388-218-1420, regardless of assistance unit composition.

(3))) The department shall not consider resources which are unavailable, including property remaining in other countries, in determining eligibility for RCA/RMA.

(((4))) (3) The income of a refugee dependent child shall be treated as specified in WAC 388-218-1410.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.20A.550 and 45 CFR 400 Subparts E, F and G. 96-05-009 (Order 3944), 388-55-030, filed 2/9/96, effective 3/11/96. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.20A.550. 83-13-069 (Order 1969), 388-55-030, filed 6/16/83.]

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