BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES OF THE
STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 37.78.102 and 37.78.508 pertaining to good cause criteria TANF policy manual
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On May 3, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Public Health and Human Services will hold a public hearing in Room 207 of the Department of Public Health and Human Services Building, 111 North Sanders, Helena, Montana, to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules.
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 Department of Public Health and Human Services no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 26, 2012, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Kenneth Mordan, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, Montana, 59604-4210; telephone (406) 444-4094; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. The rules as proposed to be amended provide as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
37.78.102 TANF: FEDERAL REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY REFERENCE
(1) The TANF program shall be administered in accordance with the requirements of federal law governing temporary assistance for needy families as set forth in Title IV of the Social Security Act, 42 USC 601 et seq. (2012).
, as amended by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
(2) The "Montana TANF Cash Assistance Manual" dated
January 1 June 8, 2012 is adopted and incorporated by this reference. A copy of the Montana TANF Cash Assistance Manual is available for public viewing at each local Office of Public Assistance, and at the Department of Public Health and Human Services, Human and Community Services Division, 111 N. Jackson St., 5th Floor, P.O. Box 202925, Helena, MT 59620-2925. Manual updates are also available on the department's web site at www.dphhs.mt.gov.
AUTH: 53-2-201, 53-4-212, MCA
IMP: 53-2-201 53-4-211, 53-4-601, MCA
37.78.508 TANF: TANF CASH ASSISTANCE; GOOD CAUSE
(1) A TANF Cash Assistance participant's failure to comply with a program requirement, such as providing information necessary to determine eligibility, reporting changes within ten days of knowing of the change, or a requirement under a Family Investment Agreement/WoRC Employability Plan (FIA/EP), including but not limited to participation in an allowable work activity or the requirement of accepting or maintaining suitable employment, shall not result in an adverse action, including imposition of a sanction if good cause exists for the failure to comply.
(1) A TANF Cash Assistance participant's failure to comply with employment and training activities, failure to comply with any requirement under a Family Investment Agreement/WoRC Employability Plan (FIA/EP), including providing verification of participation in employment and training activities outlined in the FIA/EP, or failure to accept and/or maintain employment shall not result in an adverse action, including sanctions, if good cause exists for the failure to comply or for the participant's actions. A TANF Cash Assistance participant's failure to provide financial or nonfinancial verification shall not result in an adverse action, including denial or closure of TANF benefits, if good cause exists for the participant's actions.
If it appears that a participant has failed to comply with a FIA requirement, tThe participant shall be given the opportunity to provide document good cause for failing to comply by providing and verifying information to the eligibility case manager or work readiness component (WoRC) case manager regarding the alleged noncompliance and the reasons for the alleged failure to comply. If the information provided is not sufficient to prove good cause and it is determined the participant has failed to prove good cause for the noncompliance, appropriate adverse action will be taken, including the imposition of a sanction in accordance with ARM 37.78.506 if appropriate. If the committee that reviews the sanction determines from the available information that there was a failure to comply and that the participant has failed to prove good cause for the noncompliance, a sanction shall be imposed in accordance with ARM 37.78.506.
(3) Good cause consists of verified circumstances beyond the participant's control which prevent compliance with a requirement or which excuse a failure to comply.
(4) (3) Good cause for failure to keep appointments, report changes, provide required information, or comply with FIA/EP activities or other eligibility requirements includes, but is not limited to, the following verified circumstances: Good cause for failure to complete employment and training activities or comply with FIA/EP activities is limited to the following verified circumstances:
(a) through (g) remain the same.
(5)(4) Good cause for failure to accept employment or for voluntarily quitting a job or reducing earned income from employment includes, but is not limited to , the following verified circumstances:
(a) through (j) remain the same.
(5) Good cause for failure to provide financial or nonfinancial verification to
determine or continue eligibility is limited to the following:
(a) verified circumstances beyond the participant's control for failing to provide citizenship verification, birth certificate, kinship documentation, income, or resources; and
(b) participant must be making a good faith effort to obtain the required verification.
AUTH: 53-2-201, 53-4-212, MCA
IMP: 53-2-201, 53-4-211, 53-4-601 MCA
4. STATEMENT OF REASONABLE NECESSITY
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (the department) is proposing amendments to ARM 37.78.102 and 37.78.508.
This rule currently adopts and incorporates by reference the TANF policy manual effective January 1, 2012. The department proposes to make revisions to this manual that will take effect on June 8, 2012. The proposed amendments to ARM 37.78.102 are necessary to incorporate into this rule the revised versions of the policy manual and to permit all interested parties to comment on the department's policies and offer suggested changes. It is estimated that changes to the TANF manual could affect approximately 8265 TANF recipients, which is the average of the total number of recipients between July 2011 and September 2011.
The department is amending this rule to remove any ambiguity in the existing rule regarding the TANF program eligibility requirement, stated at 42 USC. 608(a)(1), that a minor child must reside in the household for the caretaker adult to receive TANF assistance. The department does not have the authority to excuse compliance with a statutory program requirement and has never interpreted its rules to provide for such an exception.
The amendments to this rule are necessary to remove ambiguity resulting from the language "including but not limited to" that is being deleted The revised language more clearly states the TANF program only allows good cause exception to excuse the listed activities.
TANF MANUAL CHANGES
TANF 1509-1 Case Management
This manual section is being updated to clarify the good cause criteria for FIA/EP and employment related circumstances as well as add criteria for nonfinancial and financial noncompliance.
TANF 702-2 WoRC Sanction Review
This manual section is being updated to clarify the good cause criteria related to lifting a sanction that is being imposed or that has already been imposed.
These changes to the TANF policy manual may be viewed at the following web site: http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/legalresources/proposedmanualchange.shtml
Fiscal Impact: No fiscal impact is anticipated due to this rule change.
5. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Kenneth Mordan, Department of Public Health and Human Services, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, Montana, 59604-4210; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail email@example.com, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., May 10, 2012.
6. The Office of Legal Affairs, Department of Public Health and Human Services, has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.
7. 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.
8. An electronic copy of this proposal notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sos.mt.gov/ARM/Register. The Secretary of State strives to make the electronic copy of the notice conform to the official version of the notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the notice and the electronic version of the notice, only the official printed text will be considered. In addition, although the Secretary of State works to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.
9. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA do not apply.
/s/ Geralyn Driscoll /s/ Hank Hudson for
Rule Reviewer Anna Whiting Sorrell, Director
Public Health and Human Services
Certified to the Secretary of State April 2, 2012.