WSR 06-01-088



(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed December 20, 2005, 4:27 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 05-08-091.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 388-450-0200 Will the medical expenses of elderly persons or individuals with disabilities in my assistance unit be used as an income deduction for Basic Food?

Hearing Location(s): Blake Office Park East, Rose Room, 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA (one block north of the intersection of Pacific Avenue S.E. and Alhadeff Lane, behind Goodyear Tire. A map or directions are available at or by calling (360) 664-6097), on January 24, 2006, at 10:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than January 25, 2006.

Submit Written Comments to: DSHS Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504, delivery 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, e-mail, fax (360) 664-6185, by 5:00 p.m., January 24, 2006.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Stephanie Schiller, DSHS Rules Consultant, by January 20, 2006, TTY (360) 664-6178 or phone (360) 664-6097 or by e-mail at

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: Rule amendments are necessary to indicate the time limit pertaining to certain Basic Food income deductions allowable for persons who have the Medicare prescription drug discount card and transitional assistance program, as specified by Food and Nutrition Service, United States Department of Agriculture for compliance with requirements contained in the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Federal rules at Title 42 C.F.R. 403.802 and 403.810 describe the definitions, eligibility criteria, and duration of transitional benefits under the Medicare prescription drug discount card and transitional assistance program.

Special food stamp program (Basic Food) policies were mandated by Food and Nutrition Services, United States Department of Agriculture, to comply with the requirements under these rules. These special provisions expire along with the Medicare prescription drug discount card and transitional assistance program, based on the limitations set forth in the aforementioned rules.

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 necessary because of federal law, P.L. 108-173.

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."

December 15, 2005

Andy Fernando, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-05-025, filed 2/8/05, effective 3/11/05)

WAC 388-450-0200   Will the medical expenses of elderly persons or individuals with disabilities in my assistance unit be used as an income deduction for basic food?   (1) If your basic food assistance unit (AU) includes an elderly person or individual with a disability as defined in WAC 388-400-0040, your AU may be eligible for an income deduction for that person's out-of-pocket medical expenses, and certain expenses allowable for Medicare prescription drug card holders certified prior to June 1, 2006. We allow the deduction for medical expenses over thirty-five dollars each month.

(2) You can use an out-of-pocket medical expense toward this deduction if the expense covers services, supplies, medication, or other medically needed items prescribed by a state-licensed practitioner or other state-certified, qualified, health professional. Examples of expenses you can use for this deduction include those for:

(a) Medical, psychiatric, naturopathic physician, dental, or chiropractic care;

(b) Prescribed alternative therapy such as massage or acupuncture;

(c) Prescription drugs;

(d) Over the counter drugs;

(e) Eye glasses;

(f) Medical supplies other than special diets;

(g) Medical equipment or medically needed changes to your home;

(h) Shipping and handling charges for an allowable medical item. This includes shipping and handling charges for items purchased through mail order or the internet;

(i) Long distance calls to a medical provider;

(j) Hospital and outpatient treatment including:

(i) Nursing care; or

(ii) Nursing home care including payments made for a person who was an assistance unit member at the time of placement.

(k) Health insurance premiums paid by the person including:

(i) Medicare premiums; and

(ii) Insurance deductibles and co-payments.

(l) Out-of-pocket expenses used to meet a spenddown as defined in WAC 388-519-0010. We do not allow your entire spenddown obligation as a deduction. We allow the expense as a deduction as it is estimated to occur or as the expense becomes due;

(m) Dentures, hearing aids, and prosthetics;

(n) Cost to obtain and care for a seeing eye, hearing, or other specially trained service animal. This includes the cost of food and veterinarian bills. We do not allow the expense of food for a service animal as a deduction if you receive ongoing additional requirements under WAC 388-473-0040 to pay for this need;

(o) Reasonable costs of transportation and lodging to obtain medical treatment or services; and

(p) Attendant care necessary due to age, infirmity, or illness. If your AU provides most of the attendant's meals, we allow an additional deduction equal to a one-person allotment.

(3) There are two types of deductions for out-of-pocket expenses:

(a) One-time expenses are expenses that cannot be estimated to occur on a regular basis. You can choose to have us:

(i) Allow the one-time expense as a deduction when it is billed or due;

(ii) Average the expense through the remainder of your certification period; or

(iii) If your AU has a twenty-four-month certification period, you can choose to use the expense as a one-time deduction, average the expense for the first twelve months of your certification period, or average it for the remainder of our certification period.

(b) Recurring expenses are expenses that happen on a regular basis. We estimate your monthly expenses for the certification period.

(4) If the elderly person or individual with a disability in your AU has an active Medicare prescription drug card prior to June 1, 2006:

(a) Allow any out-of-pocket expenses that meet the criteria in subsections (2) and (3) above;

(b) Add a standard twenty-three dollars to these expenses; and

(c) Allow an additional fifty dollar monthly deduction to account for the 2004 and 2005 prescription subsidies:

(i) For twenty-four consecutive months if the client applied before January 2005; or

(ii) For the average number of months resulting from dividing the total subsidy amount by fifty dollars if the client applies in January 2005 or later.

(d) Allow the deductions in (b) and (c) of this subsection even if the AU has no out-of-pocket expenses.

(5) AU members with an active Medicare prescription drug card prior to June 1, 2006 have the option of using their verified pre-card out-of-pocket expenses when this amount is greater than using the standards in subsection (4).

(6) We do not allow a medical expense as an income deduction if:

(a) The expense was paid before you applied for benefits or in a previous certification period;

(b) The expense was paid or will be paid by someone else;

(c) The expense was paid or will be paid by the department or another agency;

(d) The expense is covered by medical insurance;

(e) We previously allowed the expense, and you did not pay it. We do not allow the expense again even if it is part of a repayment agreement;

(f) You included the expense in a repayment agreement after failing to meet a previous agreement for the same expense; or

(g) You claim the expense after you have been denied for presumptive SSI; and you are not considered disabled by any other criteria.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, 74.08.090, United States Food and Nutrition Service Administrative Notices 04-39 and 04-45, and 2004 c 175. 05-05-025, 388-450-0200, filed 2/8/05, effective 3/11/05. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510. 04-02-025, 388-450-0200, filed 12/30/03, effective 2/1/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.510. 99-23-083, 388-450-0200, filed 11/16/99, effective 1/1/00; 99-16-024, 388-450-0200, 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, 388-450-0200, filed 7/31/98, effective 9/1/98.]