WSR 98-23-094

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

(Economic Services Administration)

[Filed November 18 , 1998, 10:49 a.m.]



Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 98-16-089.

Title of Rule: WAC 388-412-0005 Cash assistance payments, 388-412-0020 Delivery of benefit issuances, 388-412-0030 Returning a warrant, 388-412-0035 Loss, theft, destruction, or nonreceipt of a warrant issued to clients and vendors, 388-412-0045 Issuing benefits by using electronic benefit transfer, and 388-460-0010 Payees.

Purpose: Adds electronic benefit transfer as a method of payment of benefits for public assistance recipients of cash and food assistance.

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

Statute Being Implemented: Public Law 104-193, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, Section 825.

Summary: Currently recipients of cash assistance receive payment by warrant only. Recipients of food assistance receive food benefits by food coupons or food coupon authorization (FCA) cards. Recipients of cash assistance will now be able to receive payment by warrant or electronic benefit transfer (EBT). Recipients of food assistance will receive benefits by electronic benefit transfer only.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Payment by electronic benefit transfer provides the client with a method of payment that is less susceptible to theft and fraud.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Betty Brinkman, Department of Social and Health Services, WF Division, Lacey, Washington, (360) 413-3091.

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

Rule is necessary because of federal law, Public Law 104-193, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, Section 825.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Currently, recipients of cash assistance receive payment by warrant only. Recipients of food assistance receive benefits by food coupons or food coupon authorization cards (FCA). Recipients of cash assistance will now be able to receive benefits by warrant or electronic benefit transfer. Recipients of food benefits will receive their benefits by electronic benefit transfer only.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: Adds a new method of payment for benefits for recipients of cash and food assistance by amending WAC 388-412-0005 Cash assistance payments, 388-412-0020 Delivery of benefit issuances, 388-412-0030 Returning a warrant, 388-412-0035 Loss, theft, destruction or nonreceipt, and 388-460-0010 Payees.

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

RCW 34.05.328 applies to this rule adoption. The proposed rules do meet the definition of a significant legislative rule but the Department of Social and Health Services is exempt from preparing a cost benefit analysis under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(iii).

Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo Bento Restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 104-B, Lacey, WA 98503, on December 22, 1998, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Paige Wall by December 11, 1998, phone (360) 902-7540, TTY (360) 902-8324, e-mail pwall@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Paige Wall, Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 902-8292, by December 22, 1998.

Date of Intended Adoption: December 23, 1998.

November 16, 1998

Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

SHS-2497.2

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



WAC 388-412-0005  Cash assistance payments. (1) The state issues payment for cash assistance ((payments, the state issues a warrant which looks similar to a check.

(1))) by the following methods:

(a) Electronic benefit transfer; or

(b) Warrants.

(2) Each separate assistance unit receives a separate cash benefit grant, even if there are multiple assistance units in the same residence.

(((2))) (3) A married couple who both receive any general assistance benefit must be considered one assistance unit. However, cash payments are made individually and will not exceed one half of the two-person GA-U standard.

(((3))) (4) Grants are rounded down to the next whole dollar amount with the following exceptions:

(a) Clothing and personal incidental (CPI) allowance; and

(b) Grants with a deduction for repayment of an overpayment.

(((4))) (5) Grant payments are not issued for under ten dollars except:

(a) Grants with a deduction for repayment of an overpayment;

(b) CPI allowances with income deducted; or

(c) Supplemental Social Security (SSI) interim assistance payments.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-412-0005, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]



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



WAC 388-412-0020  ((Mail)) Delivery of benefit issuances. Benefits are:

(1) Mailed by warrant to the address where clients live except when:

(((1))) (a) The department redirects the benefit issuance to the local office;

(((2))) (b) The department has established there are problems with receiving mail at the client's address;

(((3))) (c) A client requests in writing that the benefit issuance be mailed to the local office, such as a homeless client without an address; or

(((4))) (d) A client requests that the benefit issuance be sent to a temporary address for less than ninety days.

(2) Deposited directly into an electronic benefit transfer account.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-412-0020, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]



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



WAC 388-412-0030  Returning a warrant. (1) A person who has possession of a warrant payable to a deceased payee must return the warrant to the department for cancellation.

(2) A person who has possession of a warrant payable to an assistance unit payee who has left the home and is not likely to return during the month to endorse the warrant, must return the warrant to the CSO. (((3))) The warrant ((will)) may be reissued to another eligible payee for the assistance unit.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-412-0030, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]



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



WAC 388-412-0035  Loss, theft, destruction or nonreceipt of a warrant issued to clients and vendors. The following applies to replacements of warrants issued to clients and to vendors ((on behalf of clients)).

(1) The department does not replace a warrant or the cash proceeds from a warrant which was endorsed by a client or vendor.

(2) Clients or vendors asking for a replacement of a warrant which was not endorsed by them must:

(a) Complete a notarized ((statement called an)) affidavit;

(b) Provide all facts surrounding the loss, theft, destruction or nonreceipt of the warrant; and

(c) File a report with the police or the post office, as appropriate.

(3) If a client is eligible to receive a replacement, the warrant is issued:

(a) On or before the tenth of the month in which the warrant was due; or

(b) Within five working days of the date the decision is made to replace the warrant, whichever is later.

(4) A client or vendor is issued the full amount of the original warrant if the warrant is replaced.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-412-0035, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]



NEW SECTION



WAC 388-412-0045  Issuing benefits using electronic benefits transfer.

(1) Benefits are issued by electronic benefits transfer (EBT). This means benefits are deposited into an EBT account.

(2) The department does not replace benefits which have been deposited into an electronic benefit account and are available to the client. The benefits are considered to be cash.

(3) EBT benefits reported lost or stolen are replaced only when:

(a) The department makes an error that causes a loss of benefits; or

(b) Both the EBT card and PIN are stolen from the mail; and

(c) The client never had the ability to access the benefits; and

(d) The loss is reported within ten days from the date the client became aware of the loss.

(4) The replacement is the amount of the loss.

(5) The EBT account will become inactive when it is not used for ninety days. After ninety days, the client must ask the department to reactivate the account.

(6) EBT benefits are canceled and will not be replaced when the EBT food assistance account is not used for two hundred seventy days.

(7) The client may ask the department to convert EBT food assistance benefits to food coupons when the client moves to an area where EBT benefits cannot be used. After food assistance benefits are converted, any remaining benefits in the EBT account are canceled if not used within seven days from the date of conversion.





[]

SHS-2494.1

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



WAC 388-460-0010  Food assistance authorized representative--Treatment centers and group homes. (1) Residents in group homes may choose to have food assistance benefits authorized as follows:

(a) On their own behalf;

(b) Through an authorized representative of their choosing; or

(c) Through a facility acting as authorized representative.

(2) Residents in chemical dependency treatment centers are required to have a designated employee of the facility act as an authorized representative.

(3) The authorized representative for residents in a chemical dependency treatment center or a group home must:

(a) Be aware of the resident's circumstances;

(b) Notify the department of any changes in income, resources or circumstances within ten days of the change; and

(c) Use the resident's food assistance benefit allotment for meals served to the resident.

(4) When assigning an employee as the authorized representative for residents, a facility accepts responsibility for:

(a) Any misrepresentation or intentional program violation; ((and))

(b) Liability for food assistance benefits held at the facility on behalf of the resident; and

(c) Maintaining enough benefits in the facility EBT account to allow the department to transfer one-half of a client's monthly allotment to the client's own account. This occurs when the client leaves the facility on or before the fifteenth of the month.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, 388-460-0010, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]