SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)
Supplemental Notice to WSR 01-19-019.
Exempt from preproposal statement of inquiry under RCW 34.05.310(4).
Title of Rule: Amending WAC 388-434-0010 If I get food assistance, how do I keep getting food assistance?; and new WAC 388-434-0015 How and when do I reapply for food assistance?, 388-434-0020 When does my new food assistance certification period begin?, and 388-434-0025 When do I get my food assistance benefits after I reapply?
Purpose: The department is revising WAC 388-434-0010 and adding new rules to comply with the federal regulations at 7 C.F.R. 273.14.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, and 74.08.090.
Statute Being Implemented: 7 C.F.R. 273.14.
Summary: These rules provide guidelines for food assistance recipients and the department during the recertification process. They emphasize the recipients' responsibility to reapply and complete the process within certain deadlines. The rules also clearly set forth the department's deadlines for authorizing benefits when recipients meet their deadlines.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The current recertification rules are out of compliance with 7 C.F.R. 273.14. The proposed revisions should increase the accuracy of eligibility redeterminations and the timeliness of benefit issuance.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Steve Pargman, 1009 College Street S.E., Lacey, WA, (360) 413-3073.
Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.
Rule is necessary because of federal law, 7 C.F.R. Chapter II, Part 273.
Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The federal food stamp program requires finite certification periods for all recipients. A household may not participate in the program beyond the end of its certification period without reapplication and a new determination of eligibility. The proposed rules define the responsibilities of recipients and the department during the recertification process. The effect of the rule should be to encourage food assistance recipients to complete this process timely so that they may receive uninterrupted benefits. Conformity to the federal food stamp program rules ensures that the department will continue to receive funding for its food assistance program. The department anticipates that it will save staff time by reducing the frequency of interviews.
Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules:
• The department now requires one face-to-face interview yearly, unless waived, and some type of interview at every recertification. Proposed WAC 388-434-0015 (1)(b) eliminates the interview requirement at interim certifications within a twelve month period, for households certified for twelve months or less. 7 C.F.R. 273.14 (b)(3) provides this option to the department.
• The current rule is inconsistent with WAC 388-406-0055 (3)(a) and 7 C.F.R. 273.10 (a)(2). Proposed WAC 388-434-0015(4) and 388-434-0025(2) provide that a household with a migrant or seasonal farm worker may reapply without penalty within one month after the end of the certification period.
• When a household causes a delay in processing a recertification application beyond the last day of its current certification period, the department must prorate benefits from the date of compliance for the initial month of the new certification period. The new rule clarifies this requirement.
• The department must inform a household of the impending end of its certification period. This is currently in the department's Eligibility A-Z Manual, but not in rule.
• An individual identified as needing "Necessary Supplemental Accommodation" has additional time to apply for recertification. The proposed rule refers to WAC 388-472-0040 and clarifies that the department does not prorate benefits if the recipient reapplies within twenty days of the end of the certification period.
• The department must authorize benefits within certain deadlines, depending on the previous certification period's length and the date the recipient completes the recertification process. Proposed WAC 388-434-0030 defines these deadlines, according to 7 C.F.R. 273.14(d).
• According to 7 C.F.R. 273.14 (e)(3), when a food assistance recipient reapplies after the end of the certification period through the fault of the department, the recipient's household is entitled to receive benefits without a break in eligibility. Current WAC 388-434-0010(7) does not differentiate between late applications due to the fault of the department and the fault of the recipient.
• According to 7 C.F.R. 273.14 (e)(2), the department must choose one of three options for denying applications and implement the chosen option consistently throughout the state. New WAC 388-434-0020 (5) and (6) explains that denials must occur at the time of the applicant's failure to take a required action.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Nothing in these rules will impose any costs on businesses in any industry.
RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. The rule does not meet the definition of a significant legislative rule, per RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(vii).
Hearing Location: Blake Office Park (behind Goodyear Courtesy Tire), 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Rose Room, Lacey, WA 98503, on March 26, 2002, at 10:00 a.m.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Andy Fernando, DSHS Rules Coordinator, by March 22, 2002, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, DSHS Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 664-6185, e-mail email@example.com, by 5 p.m., March 26, 3002 .
Date of Intended Adoption: No earlier than March 27, 2002.
February 14, 2002
Brian H. Lindgren, Manager
Rules and Policies Assistance Unit3044.2
(a) Submit an application; and
(b) Complete an interview; and
(c) Submit needed proof of your circumstances if we (the department) ask for it.
(2) You have thirty days after your certification period ends to complete the recertification process. However, if you reapply timely and complete the recertification process before your certification period ends, your benefits continue to be deposited into your EBT (electronic benefit transfer) account on the same day of the month. To reapply timely, we must get your application no later than:
(a) The fifteenth day of the last month of your certification period; or
(b) The fifteenth day after you get a notice of eligibility when your certification period is two months or less.
(3) If you reapply timely and complete the recertification process you get a notice of approval or denial:
(a) By the end of your current certification period; or
(b) By the thirtieth day after you got your last benefit amount in [if] you were certified for one month.
(4) If you reapply before your certification period ends, but fail to take a required action such as completing an interview or providing proof of your eligibility, we may deny your benefits:
(a) At that time; or
(b) At the end of the certification period; or
(c) At the end of thirty days.
(5) If you take the required action before your certification period ends, we start your food assistance from the first of the month of your new certification period.
(6) If you take the required action within thirty days after your certification period ends, we start your food assistance from:
(a) The first of the month of your new certification period if we caused the delay; or
(b) The first of the month of your new certification period if we rescheduled a second interview per your request and you attended the rescheduled interview; or
(c) The date you take the required action.
(7) If you reapply after your certification period ends, your request is treated like an initial application and will be approved or denied under WAC 388-406-0035.
(8) See chapter 388-458 WAC for adequate notice and translation requirements)) You may receive food assistance for a specific time, called the certification period. At the end of this time, your food assistance stops.
(2) We (the department) tell you when your certification period will end at the beginning and near the end of the period.
(3) To keep getting food assistance you must reapply.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.05.057, and 74.08.090. 01-15-011, § 388-434-0010, filed 7/6/01, effective 8/1/01; 98-16-044, § 388-434-0010, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]
(a) Fill out and return a department-approved application with at least your name, address and signature.
(b) Complete an interview, if required. You must have an interview at least once every twelve months if we approved your benefits for twelve months or less. You must contact us to reschedule any interviews you are unable to attend.
(c) Give us the proof we need about your situation. For example, pay stubs and rent receipts. For the complete list, see WAC 388-490-0005. You must contact us when you need more time to give us this proof.
(2) You must return your application within the following deadlines.
(a) If we approved your benefits for one month, or for two months in the second month of your certification period, you have fifteen days from the date of the approval notice.
(b) If we approved your benefits for three or more months, you have until the fifteenth day of the last month of your certification period.
(3) You must finish the steps in subsection (1)(b) and (c) within thirty days after the end of your certification period.
(4) If you have a migrant or seasonal farm worker in your home, you have:
(a) One month after the end of your certification period to return your application; and
(b) Thirty more days to finish the steps in subsection (1)(b) and (c).
(a) When you finish your recertification, under WAC 388-434-0015(1).
(b) When you reapply.
(c) Whether anyone in your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker.
(d) Whether you need "necessary supplemental accommodation" under WAC 388-472-0040.
(e) Whether we allow more time for you to give us the proof about your situation. See WAC 388-406-0030 for the rules on allowing more time.
(f) Whether you are at fault for any delay in finishing your recertification.
(2) If you reapply by the end of your certification period, attend any required interview and submit any required verification timely, then we re-certify your household. We provide benefits for the full month.
(3) If you reapply within thirty days after the end of your certification period, we prorate your benefits from the date of your application. If the delay was our fault, we restore your benefits back to the date your new certification period should have begun had we not erred and you been able to apply timely.
(4) If you reapply by the end of your certification period and we extended the time for providing proof of your situation beyond the end of your certification period, we provide benefits for the full month.
(5) We may deny your application immediately after a missed interview if you reapply by the end of your certification period, but:
(a) Do not attend a required interview, and
(b) Do not request that we reschedule it and then attend the rescheduled interview.
(6) We may deny your application immediately after the deadline for providing required proof of your situation if you fail to provide the proof and do not request more time.
(7) If, after a denial, you finish all the missing requirements:
(a) Before the end of your certification period, we reopen your case and provide benefits for the full month.
(b) After the end of your certification period, we must determine whether the delay was your fault or our fault.
(i) If the delay was your fault, we prorate your benefits from the date you finish all the missing requirements.
(ii) If the delay was our fault, we provide benefits for the full month.
(8) Except as noted in subsections (9) and (10), if you return an application within thirty days after the end of the current certification period, your new certification period begins on the date we receive your application. However, if this delay is our fault, we provide benefits for the full month.
(9) If you need supplemental accommodation under WAC 388-472-0040 and you reapply within twenty days from the end of your certification period, we provide benefits for the full month.
(10) If you have a migrant or seasonal farm worker in your home, and you return your application within one month after your last certification period ends, we provide benefits for the full month.
(a) Within thirty days after you got them before, if you got benefits for less than three months.
(b) By your usual date, if you got benefits for three months or more.
(2) If we decide that you are eligible after your current certification period ends because we gave you more time to finish the steps in WAC 388-434-0015(1), then we issue benefits within five working days after you finish those steps.
Example: You turn in an application for food assistance on March 14. Your certification period ends on March 31. You complete an interview on March 24, and provide proof of your income and expenses on April 3. You get food assistance benefits by April 10 (five working days from April 3).