SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)
[Filed March 22, 2021, 4:15 p.m., effective March 25, 2021]
Effective Date of Rule: March 25, 2021.
Purpose: The department is extending emergency amendments to WAC 388-484-0006 TANF/SFA time limit extensions, that add a temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) time limit extension hardship category related to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic (commonly known as the "coronavirus"). This emergency rule is effective March 25 through June 30, 2021.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-484-0006.
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 amendments filed under WSR 20-09-001, and subsequently extended by WSR 20-16-082 and 20-24-061, which protect public health, safety, and welfare by providing relief in response to health and economic impacts of COVID-19. The department filed notice of its intent to adopt the rule as a permanent rule 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Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.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: March 22, 2021.
Katherine I. Vasquez
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 20-05-046, filed 2/13/20, effective 3/15/20)
WAC 388-484-0006TANF/SFA time limit extensions.
(1) What happens after I receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance?
After you receive sixty or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance according to WAC 388-484-0005, you may qualify for additional months of cash assistance. We call these additional months of TANF/SFA cash assistance a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension.
(2) Who is eligible for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?
You are eligible for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension if you are on TANF, are otherwise eligible for TANF, or are an ineligible parent, and you have received sixty cumulative months of TANF and:
(a) You are approved for one of the exemptions from mandatory participation according to WAC 388-310-0350 (1)(a) through (d) or you are an ineligible parent who meets the criteria for an exemption from mandatory WorkFirst participation; or
(i) Are a supplemental security income recipient or a Social Security disability insurance recipient; or
(ii) Are at least sixty-five years old, blind as defined by the Social Security Administration or disabled as determined under chapter 388-449 WAC; or
(iii) Have an open child welfare case with a state or tribal government and this is the first time you have had a child dependent under RCW 13.34.030
in this or another state or had a child a ward of a tribal court; or
(iv) Are working in unsubsidized employment for thirty-two hours or more per week; or
(v) Document that you meet the family violence option criteria in WAC 388-61-001 and are participating satisfactorily in specialized activities needed to address your family violence according to a service plan developed by a person trained in family violence or have a good reason, as described in WAC 388-310-1600(3) for failure to participate satisfactorily in specialized activities; or
(vi) Are homeless as described in RCW 43.185C.010
(vii) A resident of Washington state during a declared state of emergency related to COVID-19.
(3) Who reviews and approves a hardship time limit extension?
(a) Your case manager or social worker will review your case and determine whether a hardship time limit extension type will be approved.
(b) This review will not happen until after you have received at least fifty-two months of assistance but before you reach your time limit or lose cash assistance due to the time limit.
(c) Before you reach your time limit or lose cash assistance due to the time limit, the department will send you a notice that tells you whether a hardship time limit extension will be approved when your time limit expires and how to request an administrative hearing if you disagree with the decision.
(4) When I have an individual responsibility plan, do my WorkFirst participation requirements change when I receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?
(a) Even if you qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension you will still be required to participate as required in your individual responsibility plan (WAC 388-310-0500). You must still meet all of the WorkFirst participation requirements listed in chapter 388-310 WAC while you receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension.
(b) If you do not participate in the WorkFirst activities required by your individual responsibility plan, and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600, the department will follow the sanction rules in WAC 388-310-1600.
(5) Do my benefits change if I receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?
(a) You are still a TANF/SFA recipient or an ineligible parent who is receiving TANF/SFA cash assistance on behalf of your child and your cash assistance, services, or supports will not change as long as you continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements.
(b) During the hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension, you must continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements. If you no longer meet TANF/SFA eligibility criteria during your hardship time limit extension, your benefits will end.
(6) How long will a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension last?
(a) We will review your hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension and your case periodically for changes in family circumstances:
(i) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(a), (b)(i) or (ii) then we will review your extension at least every twelve months;
(ii) If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(b)(iii), (iv), (v), or (vi) then we will review your extension at least every six months.
(b) Your hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension may be renewed for as long as you continue to meet the criteria to qualify for a hardship time limit extension.
(c) If during the extension period we get proof that your circumstances have changed, we may review your case and determine if you continue to qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension. When you no longer qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension we will stop your TANF/SFA cash assistance. You will be notified of your case closing and will be given the opportunity to request an administrative hearing before your benefits will stop.