WSR 09-10-056

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed May 4, 2009, 8:57 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The department will amend all necessary sections in TITLE 388 WAC to implement annual adjustments to standards for the Washington combined application program (WASHCAP) and the Washington Basic Food program. Changes include updates to the following standards for federal fiscal year 2009: Income standard, maximum allotment, maximum shelter deduction standard, standard deduction, standard utility allowances, WASHCAP shelter cost standard, and WASHCAP opt-out standard.

These changes include amendments to WAC 388-450-0185 Does the department count all of my income to determine my eligibility and benefits for Basic Food?, 388-450-0190 How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for Basic Food?, 388-450-0195 Utility allowances for Basic Food programs, 388-478-0060 What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for Basic Food? and 388-492-0040 Can I choose whether I get WASHCAP food benefits or Basic Food benefits?; and any related rules.

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, 74.08.090.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: These standards are required by federal regulations and approved department waivers. These standards must be adjusted annually in order to determine a client's eligibility and benefit level for WASHCAP or the Washington Basic Food program.

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) annually adjust income and payment standards, the standard deduction, and maximum shelter deductions for the upcoming federal fiscal year. FNS also requires that the department adjust the food stamp utility allowance and WASHCAP standards on an annual basis. DSHS adopts the new FNS standards into administrative rule. The department adjusts WASHCAP standards as required under the department's approved waiver based on changes to the consumer price index.

The department will develop a proposed standard utility allowance for Basic Food using a survey of utility expenses in the state, information on heating costs for low-income households, and submitting proposed standards to FNS for approval. The standards approved by FNS will be adopted by the department for use in determining monthly benefits for Basic Food and WASHCAP.

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) 493-3493, e-mail campjx@dshs.wa.gov.

May 4, 2009

Stephanie E. Schiller

Rules Coordinator

Washington State Code Reviser's Office