BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OF THE
STATE OF MONTANA
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On October 27, 2011, the Department of Public Health and Human Services published MAR Notice No. 37-567 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules at page 2246 of the 2011 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 20.
2. The department has amended ARM 37.78.102, 37.78.430, and 37.85.505 as proposed.
3. The department has amended the following rule as proposed, but with the following changes from the original proposal, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
37.78.812 TANF: PARTICIPATION CRITERIA UNDER PARENTS AS SCHOLARS PROGRAM (1) and (2) remain as proposed.
(3) A TANF recipient is eligible to participate in PAS if the recipient:
(a) remains as proposed.
(b) is a full-time
vocational training/post secondary education student enrolled in an approved education program at least 12 credit hours each semester or 30 credit hours per year, or is in an Adult Basic Education (ABE) program providing full-time enrollment leading to a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is a full-time high school student, General Equivalency Diploma (GED) student, or vocational training student as defined by the institution in which the participant is enrolled;
(c) through (g) remain as proposed.
(h) has successfully completed 12 months of Short Term Training while on TANF and is in good standing with the educational program, unless enrolled as a full-time student in high school or a GED program; and
(i) remains as proposed.
4. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:
COMMENT #1: An employee of the department commented that the requirement to have completed 12 months of Short Term Training (STT) as a condition of eligibility for the Parents As Scholars program should be removed from ARM 37.78.812(3)(h) because it is not possible for a person who is attending a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) program to have completed any STT.
RESPONSE #1: The department agrees with the commenter. STT is defined in the department's Work Readiness Component (WoRC) Manual as any organized education or training beyond a high school degree, up to and including a bachelor's or advanced degree. Since individuals in GED programs generally are seeking a GED in lieu of a high school diploma, a person attending a GED program cannot participate in STT, which consists of postsecondary education or training. Similarly, a high school student would not be eligible to participate in STT. The department therefore has added language to ARM 37.78.812(3)(h) to specify that the requirement to have completed 12 months of STT does not apply to those attending high school or a GED program.
COMMENT #2: A comment was received from an employee within the department concerning the language in ARM 37.78.812(3)(b) which states that a participant must be a full-time vocational training student enrolled in an approved education program at least 12 credit hours each semester or 30 credit hours per year. The commenter stated that according to Senate Bill 385, passed during the 2011 legislative session, a participant in a vocational training program will be considered full time as defined by the institution in which the participant is enrolled and not by credit hours.
RESPONSE #2: The department agrees with the commenter. If a participant is a high school student, GED student, or vocational training student they must be enrolled full time as defined by the institution in which the participant is enrolled and are not required to be enrolled 12 credit hours each semester or 30 credit hours per year. The department corrected the rule to reflect the language in Senate Bill 385.
5. The department intends to apply the amendments to ARM 37.78.812 retroactively to August 1, 2011, based on the provision of Senate Bill 385 (SB 385), passed by the 62nd Montana Legislature. All other amendments will be effective on January 1, 2012.
/s/ Barbara B. Hoffman /s/ Anna Whiting Sorrell
Rule Reviewer Anna Whiting Sorrell, Director
Public Health and Human Services
Certified to the Secretary of State December 12, 2011