Montana Administrative Register Notice 37-968 No. 21   11/05/2021    
Prev Next





In the matter of the amendment of ARM 37.36.604 pertaining to Montana telecommunications access program










TO: All Concerned Persons


1. The Department of Public Health and Human Services proposes to amend the above-stated rule.


2. The Department of Public Health and Human Services will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the Department of Public Health and Human Services no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 12, 2021, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Heidi Clark, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena MT 59604-4210; telephone (406) 444-4094; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail dphhslegal@mt.gov.


3. The rule as proposed to be amended provides as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:


            37.36.604 FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA (1) Individuals whose annual family income during the 12 months immediately preceding the month of application is less than 250% of the 2020 2021 poverty guidelines published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are eligible for a loan of specialized telecommunications equipment based on income. 250% of the HHS 2020 2021 annual poverty guidelines for families of various sizes is shown in (2) specified on the Montana Telecommunications Access Program website, effective on January 13, 2021, which rate is adopted and incorporated here by reference.  A copy is available at https://dphhs.mt.gov/detd/mtap/nocostassistiveequipment, or may be obtained from the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Montana Telecommunications Access Program (MTAP), P.O. Box 4210, Helena MT 59604.

            (2) 250% of the annual poverty guidelines is as follows:





















Each Additional Person, Add



            (3) remains the same but is renumbered (2).


AUTH: 53-19-305, 53-19-307, MCA

IMP:  53-19-305, 53-19-307, MCA




The Department of Public Health and Human Services (department) is proposing an amendment to ARM 37.36.604 to align the requirements for the Montana Telecommunications Access Program (MTAP) with the 2021 United States Department of Health and Human Services Federal Poverty Level (FPL) index guidelines.


The following describes the purpose and necessity of the proposed rule amendment pertaining to this rule:


ARM 37.36.604

The department is proposing to amend ARM 37.36.604, pertaining to MTAP financial eligibility criteria. This rule sets forth the criteria that allow the department to pay for services being made available to persons who are eligible for MTAP. The rule provides that the payment for services by the department may occur if the consumer's income and financial resources do not exceed maximum levels for income and resources established through the rule.


This rule amendment revises the maximum level of allowable income. Currently the rule provides that the maximum level is 250% of the 2020 United States Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for households. This amendment would update the rule to coincide with 250% of the 2021 FPL.


The rule amendment would revise this level by replacing the year 2020 and revise the text contained in the ARM, removing the income limit calculations table, replacing it to indicate simply that the maximum level for income is 250% of the 2021 United States Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for households, as detailed on the MTAP website, or by contacting MTAP. The detailed income calculations by family size would no longer be published within the rule. Instead, the updated, detailed income calculations by family size would be posted on the MTAP website, the likeliest place members of the public applying for assistance would look for this information. During the public comment period the proposed rates would be placed on the MTAP website as "proposed," until approved and adopted.


Fiscal Impact


There would be no fiscal impact due to the increase in the FPL. A minimal number of clients that are served by the MTAP exceed the FPL. The majority are well under the FPL. An increase in the FPL would be very minimal and most likely not yield any additional costs to the MTAP program.


5. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments concerning the proposed action in writing to: Heidi Clark, Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Public Health and Human Services, P.O. Box 4210, Helena MT 59604-4210, no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 3, 2021. Comments may also be faxed to (406) 444-9744 or e-mailed to dphhslegal@mt.gov.


6. If persons who are directly affected by the proposed action wish to express their data, views, or arguments orally or in writing at a public hearing, they must make written request for a hearing and submit this request along with any written comments to Heidi Clark at the above address no later than 5:00 p.m., December 3, 2021.


7. If the agency receives requests for a public hearing on the proposed action from either 10% or 25, whichever is less, of the persons directly affected by the proposed action; from the appropriate administrative rule review committee of the Legislature; from a governmental subdivision or agency; or from an association having not less than 25 members who will be directly affected, a hearing will be held at a later date. Notice of the hearing will be published in the Montana Administrative Register. Ten percent of those directly affected has been determined to be 145 persons based on 1,449 with an open case currently being served by the program.


8. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency.  Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in 5 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department.


9. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.


10. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the amendment of the above-referenced rule will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.



/s/ Aleea Sharp                                            /s/ Adam Meier                                            

Aleea Sharp                                                 Adam Meier, Director

Rule Reviewer                                              Public Health and Human Services


Certified to the Secretary of State October 26, 2021.



Home  |   Search  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Help  |   Disclaimer  |   Privacy & Security