SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 05-08-091.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 388-450-0215 How does the department estimate my assistance unit's income to determine my eligibility and benefits?
Hearing Location(s): Blake Office Park East (behind Goodyear Courtesy Tire), Rose Room, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, on July 26, 2005, at 10:00 a.m.
Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than July 27, 2005.
Submit Written Comments to: DSHS Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504, delivery 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, e-mail email@example.com, fax (360) 664-6185, by 5:00 p.m. on June 26, 2005.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Stephanie Schiller, DSHS Rules Consultant, by July 22, 2005, TTY (360) 664-6178 or phone (360) 664-6097 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The proposed amendments are necessary to clarify when the department is required to use the income budgeting method "anticipated monthly" when determining benefit allotments, consistent with federal food stamp program regulations under 7 C.F.R. 273.10 (a)(1)(i). Also, the amendments more clearly describe the method in which income that is expected to fluctuate over the certification period is to be averaged.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The current version does not clearly articulate that any income received in the month of application must be budgeted using the actual amounts for that month's calculation. This results in confusion and misapplication of the intent of the federal rule.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Rebecca Henrie, 1009 College S.E., Lacey, WA 98504, (360) 725-4615.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This proposed rule does not have an economic impact on small businesses, it only affects DSHS clients by outlining the rules clients must meet in order to be eligible for the department's cash assistance or food benefit programs.
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, "[t]his 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."
June 17, 2005
Andy Fernando, Manager
Rules and Policies Assistance Unit3565.1
(1) We determine if your AU is eligible for benefits and calculate your monthly benefits based on an estimate of your AU's income and expenses for that month. This is known as prospective budgeting.
(2) We base this estimate on what can be reasonably expected based on your current, past and future circumstances.
(3) We determine if our estimate is reasonable by looking at documents, statements, and other verification.
(4) We use two methods to estimate your AU's income:
(a) Anticipating monthly income: We estimate the actual amount of income you expect to receive in the month; and
(b) Averaging income: We estimate your income based on adding the total income you expect to receive for a period of time and dividing by the number of months in the time period.
(5) When we use the anticipating monthly method, we estimate the actual amount of income your AU expects to receive in the month. Your benefits will vary based on the income that is expected for that month.
(6) In general, you can choose which method we use to estimate your income. However, we must use the anticipating monthly method:
(a) For the month you apply for benefits, any income your AU receives in that month. If we do not have to use the anticipating monthly method for any other reason, we may average this income source for the remaining months of your certification period.
(b) For all your AU's income in the following circumstances:
(i) If you receive SSI-related medical benefits under chapter 388-475 WAC; or
(ii) If you are a destitute migrant or destitute seasonal farmworker under WAC 388-406-0021, we must use the anticipating monthly method for the month your AU applied for benefits.
(b))) (c) For the income of any member of your AU who
has income allocated to someone receiving SSI-related medical
benefits under chapter 388-475 WAC;
(c))) (d) For the following sources of income to your
(i) SSI; or
(ii) Social Security benefits((
(iii) Income your AU already received in the month that you applied for benefits. If we do not have to use the anticipating monthly method for any other reason, we may average this income for the remaining months of your certification or review period)).
(7) When we use the averaging method, we take the expected changes in your AU's income into consideration so your benefits do not change as much:
(a) If you receive your income weekly or every other week, we convert this income to a monthly amount. If you are paid:
(i) Weekly, we multiply your expected pay by 4.3; or
(ii) Every other week, we multiply your expected pay by 2.15.
(b) In most cases if you receive your income other than
weekly or every other week, we estimate your ((
expected income over the certification period by:
(i) Adding the total ((
amount of)) income (( we expect you
to receive for your certification or review)) in a
representative time period; (( and))
(ii) Dividing by the number of ((
months)) pay periods in
the (( period of time)) timeframe; and
(iii) Determining the monthly average from this amount.
(c) If you receive your yearly income over less than a year because you are self employed or work under a contract, we average this income over the year unless you are:
(i) Paid on an hourly or piecework basis; or
(ii) A migrant or seasonal farmworker under WAC 388-406-0021.
(8) If you report a change in your AU's income, and we expect the change to last for at least a month beyond the month you reported the change, we recalculate your AU's income based on this change.
(9) If your actual income is different than the income we estimated, we do not make you repay an overpayment under chapter 388-410 WAC or increase your benefits unless:
(a) You provided incomplete or false information; or
(b) We made an error in calculating your benefits.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 04-06-052, § 388-450-0215, filed 3/1/04, effective 4/1/04; 03-21-029, § 388-450-0215, filed 10/7/03, effective 11/1/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-23-083, § 388-450-0215, filed 11/16/99, effective 1/1/00; 99-16-024, § 388-450-0215, filed 7/26/99, effective 9/1/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057 and 74.08.090. 98-16-044, § 388-450-0215, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98. Formerly WAC 388-505-0590.]