WSR 08-08-109



(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed April 2, 2008, 8:57 a.m. ]

     Subject of Possible Rule Making: The department plans to amend WAC 388-414-0001 Do I have to meet all eligibility requirements for Basic Food?, and any other rules related to categorical eligibility for food stamp program benefits and state-funded food assistance program benefits under the Washington Basic Food program.

     Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510, 74.04.515, 74.08.090, 74.08A.120, and 74.08A.903.

     Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: WAC 388-414-0001 establishes when households do not have to meet all eligibility requirements for the Washington Basic Food program as they have met eligibility requirements for another program. The rule specifies which eligibility requirements do not have to be met by households considered "categorically eligible" and what households can not be considered "categorically eligible" based on their household circumstances.

     The department will amend rules to confer categorical eligibility status to households with income up to 200% of the federal poverty rate as allowed under Title 7 of the code of federal regulations § 273.2 (j)(2)(ii)(A) to effect a change in the gross income limit consistent with provisions in the state 2008 supplemental budget.

     Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) publishes federal regulations for the food stamp program in the federal register. Rules published in the federal register are incorporated into the United States Code of Federal Regulations. FNS also issues administrative notices and interim guidance to inform states of new program requirements that are not yet in the United States Code of Federal Regulations.

     The state legislature authorizes the department to administer the food stamp program and food assistance program for legal immigrants under RCW 74.04.500, 74.04.510, and 74.04.510. Through the 2008 supplemental budget, the legislature has also directed the department to increase the gross income limit for Basic Food to 200% of the federal poverty level.

     DSHS incorporates regulations from the federal agencies and exercises state options by adopting administrative rules for food assistance program administered under the Washington state combined application program (WASHCAP) and Washington Basic Food program.

     To meet the legislative intent of increasing the income limit for Basic Food, the department will exercise a state option permitted under food stamp program regulations to expand categorical eligibility to households with income up to 200% of the federal poverty level. Federal regulations do not allow certain households to be considered categorical[ly] eligible for food stamps. As RCW 74.04.510 requires department rules to conform with federal regulations for the food stamp program, households that cannot be categorically eligible under 7 CFR § 273.2(j) will still be required to meet the current income and resource requirements for the food stamp program.

     Process for Developing New Rule: DSHS welcomes the public to take part in developing the rules. Anyone interested should contact the staff person identified below. At a later date, DSHS will file a proposal with the office of the code reviser with a notice of proposed rule making. A copy of the proposal will be sent to everyone on the mailing list and to anyone who requests a copy.

     Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting John Camp, Policy Analyst, Division of Employment and Assistance Programs, P.O. Box 45470, Olympia, WA 98504-5470, phone (360) 725-4616, fax (360) 725-4905, e-mail

April 2, 2008

Stephanie E. Schiller

Rules Coordinator

© Washington State Code Reviser's Office