WSR 14-01-113
(Economic Services Administration)
[Filed December 18, 2013, 11:06 a.m.]
Original Notice.
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 13-05-081, 13-07-013, and 13-09-067.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: The department is proposing to amend the following rules to implement annual adjustments to standards for the Washington Basic Food program: WAC 388-450-0185, 388-450-0190, 388-450-0195, 388-478-0060, 388-492-0070, and 388-412-0015.
Hearing Location(s): Office Building 2, Lookout Room, DSHS Headquarters, 1115 Washington, Olympia, WA 98504 (public parking at 11th and Jefferson. A map is available at, on January 22, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.
Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than January 23, 2014.
Submit Written Comments to: DSHS Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504, e-mail, fax (360) 664-6185, by 5 p.m. on January 22, 2014.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Jennisha Johnson, DSHS rules consultant, by January 8, 2014, TTY (360) 664-6178 or (360) 664-6094 or by e-mail
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The proposed amendments adopt federal standards for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2014 and update state utility allowances and WASHCAP standards as required under federal regulations. The proposed amendments also decrease the maximum allotment with elimination of the ARRA temporary increase. All of the proposed changes are currently in effect via emergency rule making (WSR 13-27-036 [13-22-030] dated October 30, 2013).
Reasons Supporting Proposal: The proposed amendments adopt Basic Food standards for FFY 2014 in order to comply with requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), per Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Administrative Notice 13-26: SNAP - Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) and ARRA Sunset Impact on Allotments dated August 2, 2013, and USDA SNAP 10-6-WA-SUA dated August 8, 2013, and FNS Talking Points for States to Use dated August 7, 2013, approving the proposed SUA. The amendments update Basic Food standards for FFY 2014 to comply with requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS 7 C.F.R. § 273.9 (d)(iii)(B), Cover memo dated July 1, 2013, SUA for FFY 2014 and SUA forecast for FFY 2014.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510, 74.08.090, 74.08A.120.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.005, 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.500, 74.04.510, 74.08.090, 74.08A.120.
Rule is necessary because of federal law, Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 as amended, Title 7 C.F.R. § 273.10, Title 7 C.F.R. § 273.2 and Program (SNAP) Administrative Notice 13-26: SNAP - FY 2014 COLAs and ARRA Sunset Impact on Allotments dated August 2, 2013, and USDA SNAP 10-6-WA-SUA dated August 8, 2013.
Name of Proponent: Department of social and health services, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Holly St. John, community services division, (360) 725-4895.
No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rule does not have an economic impact on small businesses.
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, "this 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 16, 2013
Katherine I. Vasquez
Rules Coordinator
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 12-18-024, filed 8/27/12, effective 9/27/12)
WAC 388-412-0015 General information about your food assistance allotments.
(1) Your monthly allotment under the Washington Basic Food program, food assistance program for legal immigrants (FAP), Washington combined application project (WASHCAP), or the transitional food assistance (TFA) programs is the total dollar value of benefits your assistance unit (AU) receives for a calendar month.
(2) How we determine monthly allotments:
(a) We calculate your monthly allotment for federally funded Basic Food as described under WAC 388-450-0162;
(b) We calculate your monthly allotment for state-funded food assistance as described under WAC 388-400-0050.
(3) Maximum allotment:
(a) The maximum allotment for the number of people in your AU eligible for federally funded Basic Food benefits is described under WAC 388-478-0060.
(b) The maximum allotment for the number of people in your AU eligible for state-funded FAP benefits is set by the legislature in the biennial operating budget as described in WAC 388-400-0050.
(4) Prorated benefits in the first month - If we determine you are eligible for food assistance, your first month's benefits are calculated from the date you applied through the end of the month of your application. This is called proration and is based on a thirty-day month:
(a) If your prorated benefits for the first month are under ten dollars, you will not receive an allotment for the first month.
(b) If there was a delay in processing your application, we determine when your benefits start under WAC 388-406-0055.
(5) Combined allotment for first and second month's benefits - If you apply for benefits on or after the sixteenth of the month, and we determine you are eligible for food assistance, we issue both the first and second months benefits in one allotment if you are eligible for both months.
(6) Minimum allotment - Unless it is the first month of your certification period and your benefits are prorated as described in subsection (4) of this section, your monthly allotment will be at least:
(a) ((Sixteen)) Fifteen dollars if your AU has one or two members, and at least one person is eligible for federally funded Basic Food.
(b) ((Eight)) Eleven dollars if your AU has one or two members, and all members of your AU are eligible for state-funded FAP.
(7) Use of food assistance benefits - Your food assistance benefits may only be used to buy eligible food items as described under WAC 388-412-0046. If you use your benefits in any other way, it is an intentional program violation under WAC 388-446-0015 and could result in fines, imprisonment, disqualification from receiving food assistance benefits, or any combination of these penalties.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 12-24-018, filed 11/27/12, effective 12/28/12)
WAC 388-450-0185 What income deductions does the department allow when determining if I am eligible for food benefits and the amount of my monthly benefits?
We determine if your assistance unit (AU) is eligible for Basic Food and calculate your monthly benefits according to requirements of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and federal regulations related to the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).
These federal laws allow us to subtract only the following amounts from your AU's total monthly income to determine your countable monthly income under WAC 388-450-0162:
(1) A standard deduction based on the number of eligible people in your AU under WAC 388-408-0035:
AU members
Standard deduction
$((149)) 152
$((149)) 152
$((149)) 152
$((160)) 163
$((187)) 191
6 or more
$((214)) 219
(2) Twenty percent of your AU's gross earned income (earned income deduction);
(3) Your AU's expected monthly dependent care expense needed for an AU member to:
(a) Keep work, look for work, or accept work;
(b) Attend training or education to prepare for employment; or
(c) Meet employment and training requirements under chapter 388-444 WAC.
(4) Medical expenses over thirty-five dollars a month owed or anticipated by an elderly or disabled person in your AU as allowed under WAC 388-450-0200.
(5) A portion of your shelter costs as described in WAC 388-450-0190.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 13-11-103, filed 5/20/13, effective 6/20/13)
WAC 388-450-0190 How does the department figure my shelter cost income deduction for Basic Food?
The department calculates your shelter cost income deduction as follows:
(1) First, we add up the amounts your assistance unit (AU) must pay each month for shelter. We do not count any overdue amounts, late fees, penalties or mortgage payments you make ahead of time as an allowable cost. We count the following expenses as an allowable shelter cost in the month the expense is due:
(a) Monthly rent, lease, and mortgage payments;
(b) Property taxes;
(c) Homeowner's association or condo fees;
(d) Homeowner's insurance for the building only;
(e) Utility allowance your AU is eligible for under WAC 388-450-0195;
(f) Out-of-pocket repairs for the home if it was substantially damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster such as a fire or flood;
(g) Expense of a temporarily unoccupied home because of employment, training away from the home, illness, or abandonment caused by a natural disaster or casualty loss if your:
(i) AU intends to return to the home;
(ii) AU has current occupants who are not claiming the shelter costs for Basic Food purposes; and
(iii) AU's home is not being leased or rented during your AU's absence.
(2) Second, we subtract all deductions your AU is eligible for under WAC 388-450-0185 (1) through (4) from your AU's gross income. The result is your AU's ((net)) countable income.
(3) Finally, we subtract one-half of your AU's ((net)) countable income from your AU's total shelter costs. The result is your excess shelter costs. Your AU's shelter cost deduction is the excess shelter costs:
(a) Up to a maximum of four hundred ((sixty-nine)) seventy-eight dollars if no one in your AU is elderly or disabled; or
(b) The entire amount if an eligible person in your AU is elderly or disabled, even if the amount is over four hundred ((sixty-nine)) seventy-eight dollars.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 11-24-027, filed 12/1/11, effective 1/1/12)
WAC 388-450-0195 Does the department use my utility costs when calculating my Basic Food or WASHCAP benefits?
(1) We use a standard utility allowance (SUA) of ((three hundred ninety-four)) four hundred nine dollars instead of your actual utility costs when we determine your assistance unit's:
(a) Monthly benefits under WAC 388-492-0070 if you receive WASHCAP; or
(b) Shelter cost income deduction under WAC 388-450-0190 for Basic Food.
(2) We considered the average cost of the following utilities to determine the value of the SUA:
(a) Heating and cooling fuel such as electricity, oil, or gas;
(b) Electricity;
(c) Water and sewer;
(d) Well or septic tank installation/maintenance;
(e) Garbage/trash collection; and
(f) Telephone service.
(3) The department uses the SUA if you have utility costs separate from your rent or mortgage payment or if you receive a low income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) benefit during the year.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 12-24-018, filed 11/27/12, effective 12/28/12)
WAC 388-478-0060 What are the income limits and maximum benefit amounts for Basic Food?
If your assistance unit (AU) meets all other eligibility requirements for Basic Food, your AU must have income at or below the limits in column B and C to get Basic Food, unless you meet one of the exceptions listed below. The maximum monthly food assistance benefit your AU could receive is listed in column D.
EFFECTIVE ((10-1-2012)) 11-1-2013
Column A
Number of Eligible AU Members
Column B
Maximum Gross
Monthly Income
Column C
Maximum Net
Monthly Income
Column D
Column E
165% of
Poverty Level
$((1,211)) 1,245
$((931)) 958
$((1,536)) 1,580
((1,640)) 1,681
((1,261)) 1,293
((2,081)) 2,133
((2,069)) 2,116
((1,591)) 1,628
((2,625)) 2,686
((2,498)) 2,552
((1,921)) 1,963
((3,170)) 3,239
((2,927)) 2,987
((2,251)) 2,298
((3,714)) 3,791
((3,356)) 3,423
((2,581)) 2,633
((4,259)) 4,344
((3,785)) 3,858
((2,911)) 2,968
((4,803)) 4,897
((4,214)) 4,294
((3,241)) 3,303
((5,348)) 5,450
((4,643)) 4,730
((3,571)) 3,638
((5,893)) 6,003
((5,072)) 5,166
((3,901)) 3,973
((6,438)) 6,556
Each Additional Member
+((429)) 436
+((330)) 335
+((545)) 553
(1) If your AU is categorically eligible as under WAC 388-414-0001, your AU does not have to meet the gross or net income standards in columns B and C. We do budget your AU's income to decide the amount of Basic Food your AU will receive.
(2) If your AU includes a member who is sixty years of age or older or has a disability, your income must be at or below the limit in column C only.
(3) If you are sixty years of age or older and cannot buy and cook your own meals because of a permanent disability, we will use column E to decide if you can be a separate AU.
(4) If your AU has zero income, your benefits are the maximum allotment in column D, based on the number of eligible members in your AU.
AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 11-13-028, filed 6/7/11, effective 7/1/11)
WAC 388-492-0070 How are my WASHCAP food benefits calculated?
We calculate your food benefits as follows:
(1) We begin with your gross income.
(2) We subtract the current standard deduction for one person under WAC 388-450-0185 from your gross income to get your countable income.
(3) We figure your shelter cost based on information we receive from the Social Security Administration (SSA), unless you report a change as described under WAC 388-492-0080. If you pay:
(a) Three hundred dollars or more a month for shelter, we use ((three hundred eighty)) four hundred dollars as your shelter cost; or
(b) Less than three hundred dollars for shelter, we use ((one hundred ninety-five)) two hundred and ten dollars as your shelter cost; and
(c) We add the current standard utility allowance under WAC 388-450-0195 to determine your total shelter cost.
(4) We figure your shelter deduction by subtracting one half of your countable income from your shelter cost.
(5) We figure your net income by subtracting your shelter deduction from your countable income and rounding the resulting figure up from fifty cents and down from forty-nine cents to the nearest whole dollar.
(6) We figure your WASHCAP food benefits (allotment) by:
(a) Multiplying your net income by thirty percent and rounding up to the next whole dollar; and
(b) Subtracting the result from the maximum allotment under WAC 388-478-0060.
(c) If you are eligible for WASHCAP, you will get at least the minimum monthly benefit for Basic Food under WAC 388-412-0015.