(1) Financial eligibility for child care assistance is based on a household's monthly income as defined in ARM 37.80.102. A household whose income is below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guideline (FPG) for a household of that size is eligible for child care assistance.
(2) At annual redetermination, a household not receiving temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), whose income exceeds 150% and is below 185% of the FPG for a household of its size is eligible for child care assistance under graduated eligibility. To qualify for graduated eligibility, the following apply:
(a) eligibility is given for a 12 month eligibility period; and
(b) all other non-TANF eligibility requirements must be met.
(3) A household that is not receiving TANF is presumed eligible to receive child care assistance for 30 calendar days while application information is verified.
(a) To qualify for presumptive eligibility, a household must:
(i) submit a complete application that states the household meets eligibility requirements;
(ii) authorize the release of information to the department; and
(iii) submit the name of the child care provider on the application sufficient to set up the authorization of services.
(b) An applicant who intentionally provides false information for the purpose of receiving child care assistance must repay the child care assistance and may be ineligible to participate in the program.
(4) A household with assets exceeding the threshold identified in 42 USC 9858n (4)(B) (2016) is not eligible for child care assistance.
(5) Parents eligible for assistance are responsible for paying a monthly copayment in the amount specified in the sliding fee scale table.
(a) In general, a household's copayment is a percentage of the household's gross monthly income, based on the household's gross monthly income as compared to the FPG for a household of that size. Generally, households with income which is a higher percentage of the FPG are required to pay a higher percentage of their gross monthly income as a copayment than households whose income is a smaller percentage of the FPG. All parents receiving TANF-funded cash assistance must pay the $10 minimum copayment amount as specified in the sliding fee scale, regardless of household size or income.
(b) In the event that the actual cost of child care for the month is less than the required copayment the parent is required to pay the actual cost of care rather than the specified copayment.
(c) Parents are solely responsible for paying the copayment to the child care provider. Parents who fail to make the required payment or make arrangements satisfactory to the provider are ineligible for child care assistance until the amount due has been paid or arrangements satisfactory to the provider have been made.
(d) Children in child care placements due to protective services provided by the department are not subject to a copayment.
(6) A household for purposes of determining eligibility and the parent's copayment, includes the following individuals:
(a) the child or children for whom child care is being provided;
(b) all persons who live in the same household as the child or children and who are the child's:
(i) parents or stepparents;
(ii) siblings, step-siblings, or half-siblings age 17 and younger;
(c) an adult who lives in the same household as the child or children and who is the child's legal guardian or who assumes all the responsibilities of the parent for the child; and
(d) parents residing outside of the child's home, provided the parents of the child are not separated or divorced.
(7) The parent may include or exclude as a household member any qualified person residing with the child. If the parent includes or excludes a person when eligibility is initially determined, he or she cannot subsequently choose a different option, unless the optional member leaves the household.
(8) The income of all persons counted in computing household size must be counted in the household's income.
(9) In determining a household's need for child care assistance, the work hours, school schedules, and ability to care for the child or children of each adult included in calculating household size are considered. The work hours and ability to care for the child or children of adults excluded in calculating household size are not considered.
(10) Persons providing child care services subsidized under this chapter are paid at the lesser of the provider's usual and customary rate or the rates specified in ARM 37.80.205. The portion of the total monthly payment that the department is required to pay is computed by subtracting the parent's monthly copayment from the total monthly payment due.
(11) Eligible households may receive child care assistance for each child in the household who meets the age requirement for child care contained in ARM 37.80.102 and whose care meets all other requirements of this chapter for payment.
(12) No child care assistance payments can be issued until an authorization plan has been created by the child care resource and referral agency.
(13) The child care authorization and corresponding authorization plan set limits for child care benefits. The authorization plan stays at the same level for the 12 month eligibility period and covers temporary changes defined in 45 CFR, 98.21(a)(2017).
(14) If an audit of the case shows that monies received fall under ARM 37.80.506(1)(a), (b), (c), and (d), a household that receives any amount of child care assistance to which the household was not entitled must repay all child care assistance to which the household was not entitled.