WSR 20-19-004
(Economic Services Administration)
[Filed September 3, 2020, 8:57 a.m., effective September 4, 2020]
Effective Date of Rule: September 4, 2020.
Purpose: The department is extending emergency amendments to WAC 388-466-0120 Refugee cash assistance (RCA).
Based on federal waiver approval from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, these amendments will implement extended RCA benefits during this time of economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) pandemic.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-466-0120.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.057, 74.08.090.
Other Authority: 45 C.F.R. § 400.300.
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: This filing is necessary to extend existing emergency rules originally filed under WSR 20-10-118, which protects the health, safety, and general welfare of Washington residents by supporting ongoing access to public assistance under the RCA program during this time of economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus) pandemic. The department filed notice of its intent to adopt the rule as a permanent rule under WSR 20-14-024, and is actively undertaking appropriate procedures to adopt the rule as a permanent rule.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: September 1, 2020.
Katherine I. Vasquez
Rules Coordinator
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 13-03-137, filed 1/23/13, effective 2/23/13)
WAC 388-466-0120Refugee cash assistance (RCA).
(1) Who can apply for refugee cash assistance (RCA)?
Anyone can apply to the department of social and health services (DSHS) for refugee cash assistance and have their eligibility determined within thirty days.
(2) How do I know if I qualify for RCA?
You may be eligible for RCA if you meet all of the following conditions:
(a) You have resided in the United States for less than eight months;
(b) You meet the immigration status requirements of WAC 388-466-0005;
(c) You meet the income and resource requirements under chapters 388-450 and 388-470 WAC;
(d) You meet the work and training requirements of WAC 388-466-0150; and
(e) You provide the name of the voluntary agency (VOLAG) which helped bring you to this country.
(3) What are the other reasons for not being eligible for RCA?
You may not be able to get RCA if you:
(a) Are eligible for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) or supplemental security income (SSI); or
(b) Have been denied TANF due to your refusal to meet TANF eligibility requirements; or
(c) Are employable and have voluntarily quit or refused to accept a bona fide offer of employment within thirty consecutive days immediately prior to your application for RCA; or
(d) Are a full-time student in a college or university.
(4) If I am an asylee, what date will be used as an entry date?
If you are an asylee, your entry date will be the date that your asylum status is granted. For example: You entered the United States on December 1, 1999 as a tourist, then applied for asylum on April 1, 2000, interviewed with the asylum office on July 1, 2000 and were granted asylum on September 1, 2000. Your entry date is September 1, 2000. On September 1, 2000, you may be eligible for refugee cash assistance.
(5) If I am a victim of human trafficking, what kind of documentation do I need to provide to be eligible for RCA?
You are eligible for RCA to the same extent as a refugee if you are:
(a) An adult victim, eighteen years of age or older, you provide the original certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and you meet eligibility requirements in subsections (2)(c) and (d) of this section. You do not have to provide any other documentation of your immigration status. Your entry date will be the date on your certification letter;
(b) A child victim under the age of eighteen, in which case you do not need to be certified. DHHS issues a special letter for children. Children also have to meet income eligibility requirement;
(c) A family member of a certified victim of human trafficking, you have a T-2, T-3, T-4, or T-5 Visa (Derivative T-Visas), and you meet the eligibility requirements in subsections (2)(c) and (d) of this section.
(6) Does getting a onetime cash grant from a voluntary agency (VOLAG) affect my eligibility for RCA?
No. In determining your eligibility for RCA DSHS does not count a onetime resettlement cash grant provided to you by your VOLAG.
(7) What is the effective date of my eligibility for RCA?
The date DSHS has sufficient information to make eligibility decision is the date your RCA begins.
(8) When does my RCA end?
(a) Your RCA ends on the last day of the eighth month starting with the month of your arrival to the United States. Count the eight months from the first day of the month of your entry into the United States. For example, if you entered the United States on May 28, 2000, May is your first month and December 2000 is your last month of RCA.
(b) If you get a job, your income will affect your RCA based on the TANF rules (chapter 388-450 WAC). If you earn more than is allowed by WAC 388-478-0035, you are no longer eligible for RCA.
(c) You may receive RCA benefits for more months if the federal office of refugee resettlement extends your eligibility period.
(9) Are there other reasons why RCA may end?
Your RCA also ends if:
(a) You move out of Washington state;
(b) Your unearned income and/or resources go over the maximum limit (WAC 388-466-0140); or
(c) You, without good cause, refuse to meet refugee employment and training requirements (WAC 388-466-0150).
(10) Will my spouse be eligible for RCA, if he/she arrives in the U.S. after me?
When your spouse arrives in the United States, DSHS determines his/her eligibility for RCA and/or other income assistance programs.
(a) Your spouse may be eligible for up to eight months of RCA based on his/her date of arrival into the United States.
(b) If you live together, you and your spouse are part of the same assistance unit and your spouse's eligibility for RCA is determined based on you and your spouse's combined income and resources (WAC 388-466-0140).
(11) Can I get additional money in an emergency?
If you have an emergency and need a cash payment to get or keep your housing or utilities, you may apply for the DSHS program called additional requirements for emergent needs (AREN). To receive AREN, you must meet the requirements in WAC 388-436-0002.
(12) What can I do if I disagree with a decision or action that has been taken by DSHS on my case?
If you disagree with a decision or action taken on your case by the department, you have the right to request a review of your case or an administrative hearing (WAC 388-02-0090). Your request must be made within ninety days of the date of the decision or action.