Montana Administrative Register Notice 37-759 No. 12   06/17/2016    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 37.36.604 pertaining to updating poverty guidelines to 2016 levels








TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On July 18, 2016, 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 July 13, 2016, 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 MT 59604-4210; telephone (406) 444-4094; fax (406) 444-9744; or e-mail dphhslegal@mt.gov.


3. The rules as proposed to be amended provide 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 2015 2016 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 2015 2016 annual poverty guidelines for families of various sizes are is shown in (2).

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





$29,425 $29,700


$39,825 $40,050


$50,225 $50,400


$60,625 $60,750


$71,025 $71,100


$81,425 $81,450





Each Additional Person, Add

$10,400 $4,160


          (3) There is no asset test to be eligible for a loan of specialized telecommunications equipment.


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.


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. This rule sets forth the criteria that allow for the department to pay for services being made available to persons who are eligible for Montana Telecommunications Access Program services. 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 2015 United States Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines for households. 


The rule amendment would revise this level by replacing the year 2015 guidelines with the year 2016 guidelines.


Fiscal Impact


There will be no fiscal impact due to the increase in the Federal Poverty Index Level (FPL). A minimal number of clients that are served by the Montana Telecommunications Access Program exceed the FPL.  The majority are well under the FPL. An increase in the FPL would therefore not yield any additional costs to the Montana Telecommunications Access Program.


          5. The department intends to apply these rule amendments retroactively to February 8, 2016. A retroactive application of the proposed rule amendments does not result in a negative impact to any affected party.


6. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments concerning the proposed action in writing to: Kenneth Mordan, 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 July 15, 2016. Comments may also be faxed to (406) 444-9744 or e-mailed to dphhslegal@mt.gov.


7. 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 Kenneth Mordan at the above address no later than 5:00 p.m., July 15, 2016.


8. 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 84 persons based on 840 with an open case currently being served by the program.


9. 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 6 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department.


10. 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 this 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.


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


12. 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/ Nicholas Domitrovich                        /s/ Richard H. Opper                            

Nicholas Domitrovich, Attorney             Richard H. Opper, Director

Rule Reviewer                                       Public Health and Human Services


Certified to the Secretary of State June 6, 2016.


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