WSR 97-17-103

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

(Economic Services Administration)

(Public Assistance)

[Filed August 20, 1997, 10:35 a.m.]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 97-12-080.

Title of Rule: WAC 388-222-001 through 388-222-060, diversion assistance.

Purpose: To establish a diversion assistance program to prevent some families from developing dependency on the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program by providing brief, emergency assistance for families in crisis who would otherwise be eligible for TANF.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.08.090.

Statute Being Implemented: Section 302, chapter 58, Laws of 1997 (ESHB 3901, 1997).

Summary: This creates a new WAC chapter establishing eligibility rules for the diversion assistance program.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: To reduce TANF caseloads and expenditures by helping some low-income families avoid having to go on TANF.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Virginia H. Paynter, WorkFirst Division, (360) 413-3098.

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: Chapter 388-222 WAC, Diversion assistance, establishes a diversion assistance program to prevent some families from developing dependency on the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) by providing brief, emergency assistance for families in crisis who would otherwise be eligible for TANF.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This rule change does not impact small businesses.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. RCW 34.05.328 exempts the Department of Social and Health Services rules relating to medical and financial eligibility.

Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo O'Bento restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 102, Lacey, WA 98503, on September 23, 1997, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Leslie Baldwin by September 15, 1997, phone (360) 902-7540, TTY (360) 902-8324, e-mail lbaldwin@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to and Identify WAC Numbers: Leslie Baldwin, Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, FAX (360) 902-8292, by September 23, 1997.

Date of Intended Adoption: No sooner than September 24, 1997.

August 18, 1997

Merry A. Kogut, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

Chapter 388-222 WAC


DIVERSION ASSISTANCE

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-222-001 What is the purpose of diversion assistance? (1) Diversion assistance is a program that can help some low income families by providing services and cash so that the family does not have to go on temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) or state family assistance (SFA).

(2) Diversion assistance helps families by providing diversion cash assistance (DCA) and by helping them access information, services and resources in the government and in their community so that they will not have to go on TANF or SFA.

(3) Diversion cash assistance is just one kind of diversion assistance that can give emergency money of up to fifteen hundred dollars to families who are eligible for TANF or SFA, but decide not to receive it.

(4) The rest of this chapter tells how families can get diversion cash assistance.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 388-222-010 What are some of the terms used in diversion cash assistance (DCA)? "Adult." Any person age eighteen or older.

"Bona fide need." An actual, established need a family has for living expenses. The bona fide need must exist at the time of application or occur within the thirty-day period following the date of application.

"Crisis." A family situation that the family can take care of if they receive help with one or more bona fide needs as defined in this chapter.

"DCA Benefit Month." The month containing the first day after the date of application that resulted in a DCA payment.

"Family." A TANF eligible adult(s) and any other people who must be included with that adult(s) in one TANF assistance unit. Family also includes persons not eligible for TANF solely because of a TANF disqualification and persons who are not eligible for TANF but have a legal, financial responsibility for the members of the family who are on TANF. Families which contain an ineligible person are not eligible for DCA.

"Unsubsidized job." A job where the government does not give the employer any money to help pay the wage or salary of the person who has the job.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 388-222-020 What is diversion cash assistance (DCA)? (1) DCA is short-term, emergency money, up to fifteen hundred dollars, that families can get from the state to pay for a bona fide need so that they do not have to go on TANF or SFA;

(2) To get DCA, the family has to:

(a) Meet all the eligibility rules for TANF or SFA that are in chapters 388-215, 388-216, 388-217, and 388-218 WAC except:

(i) The family does not have to meet the TANF or SFA work requirements that are in chapter 388-310 WAC; and

(ii) The family does not have to meet the child support rules, including cooperating with division of child support, that are in WAC 388-215-1400 through 388-215-1490; and

(b) Meet all the other eligibility requirements of DCA that are found in this chapter.

(3) Families or individuals disqualified for food stamps cannot get money for food as a bona fide need.

(4) Families or individuals who would not be included in a TANF household because they have not cooperated in providing information about third party liability (TPL) cannot get money for medical as a bona fide need.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 388-222-030 What other eligibility rules are used to decide if a family can get diversion cash assistance (DCA)? (1) If any member of the family is ineligible for TANF or SFA due to disqualification, drug conviction, lump sum income rule, or any other reason, except receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) by a family member, the family is not eligible for DCA.

(2) If all family members are ineligible for TANF or SFA due to receipt of SSI, the family is not eligible for DCA.

(3) If any adult in the family has received DCA in the past twelve months, the family cannot get DCA again until the twelve months have gone by.

(4) The family must be in crisis as defined in this chapter.

(5) The family must have a bona fide need as defined in this chapter which is present at application or occurs during the thirty-day period of time following the date of application. A family can be given DCA for a bona fide need when the DCA payment can keep them from going on TANF. Bona fide needs include but are not limited to:

(a) Child care bills;

(b) Rent payments;

(C) Transportation costs;

(d) Food costs;

(e) Medical costs; or

(f) Money needed to get or keep an unsubsidized job.

(6) The family must provide proof that the bona fide needs exist.

(7) The amount of DCA the family receives has to help the family take care of the bona fide need and prevent them from going on TANF.

(8) The family has to have, or be likely to get, enough income or other resources that a reasonable person could expect the family to support themselves for at least twelve months.

(9) All money, except TANF, and all services which the federal government pays for, that can be used to meet the family's crisis, should be used before DCA is used.

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Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

NEW SECTION

WAC 388-222-040 Can a family with some income and other resources get diversion cash assistance (DCA)? (1) The WAC rules which tell how to count income and resources for TANF or SFA will be used to decide if the family has too much income or too many resources to get DCA, except as specified in subsection (2) below.

(2) TANF or SFA recipients who are terminated and who apply for DCA are treated as applicants in determining their income and resources. If the application is made before the effective date of TANF termination, DCA is denied.

(3) After the family is determined eligible for DCA using the TANF or SFA rules, their income and resources will not be used to decide how much DCA the family can receive.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 388-222-050 How much diversion cash assistance (DCA) can a family receive? (1) The amount of DCA a family can receive is the same as the cost of the bona fide need, but can never be more than fifteen hundred dollars for each period of time.

(2) A family can get DCA payment for only one thirty-day period of time every twelve months.

(3) This thirty-day period of time is thirty consecutive days starting with the day after the family applied for DCA. The day after the family applies for DCA determines the benefit month for DCA. All DCA payments are treated as one payment and are considered to be made in the DCA benefit month.

(4) DCA can be given in one or more checks depending on the family's bona fide needs.

(5) DCA payments are all payments for the DCA benefit month but can be given on any day during the thirty-day period.

(6) DCA will be paid directly to each separate vendor whenever possible.

(7) DCA can be paid directly to the family when a vendor payment is not possible.

(8) Family members receiving DCA cannot receive TANF or SFA cash assistance in any month in which they have received a DCA payment.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 388-222-060 What happens if a family has to go on temporary assistance to needy families (TANF) or SFA (state family assistance) after they receive diversion cash assistance (DCA)? (1) If twelve months or more have gone by since the family received DCA, the family does not have to pay back any DCA.

(2) If fewer than twelve months have gone by since the adults in the family got DCA, DCA is treated like a loan and part of it has to be paid back.

(3) The amount of DCA money that has to be paid back is determined by:

(a) Counting how many months have gone by since the family received DCA. Month one is the month the application was made which resulted in the past DCA payment. The month before the family's first TANF or SFA benefit month is the last month.

(b) The number of months that have gone by since the family received DCA is subtracted from twelve months. These are the remaining months.

(c) The amount of DCA the family got in the thirty-day period when they received DCA is divided by twelve. This is the monthly DCA payment amount.

(d) The number of remaining months in (b) of this subsection is multiplied by the monthly DCA payment in (c) of this subsection. This is the amount of DCA money the family has to pay back.

(4) The family has to pay back the DCA by having five percent of the TANF or SFA grant taken out of their TANF or SFA check each month.

(5) The only way DSHS collects back the DCA is by taking it out of a family's TANF or SFA check.

(6) If the family goes off TANF before the loan is repaid, collection of the loan is suspended unless the family goes back on TANF. If the family goes back on TANF collection of the loan is resumed.

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