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(1) In addition to the income requirements of ARM 37.80.202, parents must work or attend school or vocational training to receive child care payments.

(a) With the exceptions in (2), a two parent household must work a total of 120 hours per month, but there is no minimum number of hours that each parent must work each month.

(b) A single parent must work a minimum of 60 hours each month or attend school or vocational training full-time. A single parent must be working a minimum of 40 hours each month if attending school or vocational training part-time.

(2) The monthly minimum hourly work requirement does not apply to:

(a) households receiving cash assistance funded by temporary assistance for needy families (TANF);

(b) households in which the parent is a teen parent, or both parents in a two-parent household are teen parents, attending high school or an equivalency program;

(c) households containing working parents who are experiencing short-term medical emergencies;

(d) households containing parents who are in a grace period, provided the parents:

(i) are actively seeking work;

(ii) have reported the change in circumstance in a timely manner in accordance with ARM 37.80.203; and

(iii) have been approved for a grace period;

(e) an individual parent with a severe disability who is not able to meet a minimum hourly work requirement and has a need for child care during work hours;

(f) a parent, in a two-parent household, who is severely disabled and unable to care for their child;

(g) parents who are homeless; and

(h) in unusual circumstances of verifiable medical, financial, and physical hardship, the Child Care Program manager or the chief of the Early Childhood Services Bureau may approve or continue eligibility.

(3) Child care assistance under this chapter for parents who are pursuing vocational training or education is subject to the following limitations and requirements:

(a) assistance is not available to parents seeking postsecondary education beyond the level of a bachelor's degree or its equivalent; and

(b) assistance is not available for education to a parent who has earned a degree within the past five years.

(4) If a parent of a child does not live with the child and is not paying child support under a child support order recognized by a Montana district court, the custodial parent must apply for and cooperate with child support services from the department's Child Support Services Division. The department determines cooperation with Child Support Services Division by maintaining an open case when a case can be established or by the parent providing all appropriate requested documentation to Child Support Services Division for them to open a child support case. A custodial parent who fails without good cause to apply for such services and to cooperate with the Child Support Services Division will be decertified for benefits under this chapter as of the date of such failure. Good cause is defined as specified in ARM 37.78.215.

(5) Due to limited funding for child care assistance, some households that meet all requirements for eligibility may not receive benefits. If there are insufficient funds to provide benefits to all eligible households, priority is as follows:

(a) a household receiving assistance funded by the TANF program when participating in employability activities that require child care;

(b) a household containing a child with special needs or a child with disabilities;

(c) a household headed by a teen parent when otherwise eligible for child care assistance under ARM 37.80.201 through 37.80.502;

(d) a household experiencing homelessness; and

(e) all other eligible non-TANF households.

(i) Non-TANF households are ranked by household income as a percentage of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). The household with the lowest percentage of income, relative to FPG, has the highest priority when funding becomes available.

(ii) If there are two or more Non-TANF households at the same percentage, the household whose application was received first has a higher priority.

(6) Under no circumstances may payment be made for child care provided by a parent or person acting in loco parentis of the child, even if such parent does not reside in the child's household. In addition, no payment under this chapter may be made for child care provided by any person who is included as a member of the same household as the child for purposes of determining eligibility for TANF cash assistance or child care assistance under this chapter.

(7) A household experiencing loss of work or cessation of attendance at a job training or education program may have child care benefits extended and the usual child care schedule continued for 90 calendar days or to the end of the 12 month eligibility period following the reported change, if the following conditions are met:

(a) the department has sufficient funds to provide extended child care benefits; and

(b) the household requests the extension within ten calendar days after the parent's last day of employment, job training, or education program.

(i) An unemployed parent or parents must actively seek new employment during the period of extended child care.

(8) Child care assistance is only available under this chapter for child care provided by:

(a) a licensed child care facility or registered provider under ARM 37.95.103 and ARM 37.95.106, excluding facilities licensed solely for drop-in, irregular, intermittent, and occasional care.

(9) During the hours school is in session, a licensed or registered child care provider is not eligible for child care assistance for a child six years of age or older on or before September 10 of the current year.

(10) A household experiencing homelessness may have child care benefits continued for 90 calendar days following the reported homeless status if the department has sufficient funds to provide extended child care benefits.

(11) A 12-month eligibility span is given for a Non-TANF or TANF family meeting all the eligibility requirements.


History: 40-4-234, 52-2-704, 53-4-212, MCA; IMP, 52-2-704, 52-2-713, 52-2-721, 52-2-722, 52-2-723, 52-2-731, 53-2-201, 53-4-211, 53-4-601, 53-4-611, MCA; NEW, 1992 MAR p. 1863, Eff. 8/28/92; AMD, 1997 MAR p. 578, Eff. 3/25/97; AMD, 1997 MAR p. 1920, Eff. 10/21/97; TRANS & AMD, from DFS, 1998 MAR p. 3117, Eff. 11/20/98; AMD, 1999 MAR p. 2454, Eff. 10/22/99; AMD, 2002 MAR p. 1553, Eff. 5/31/02; AMD, 2002 MAR p. 3153, Eff. 11/15/02; AMD, 2003 MAR p. 1306, Eff. 7/1/03; AMD, 2005 MAR p. 1057, Eff. 7/1/05; AMD, 2008 MAR p. 174, Eff. 2/1/08; AMD, 2010 MAR p. 2743, Eff. 11/13/10; AMD, 2011 MAR p. 323, Eff. 3/11/11; AMD, 2011 MAR p. 2295, Eff. 10/28/11; AMD, 2014 MAR p. 599, Eff. 3/28/14; AMD, 2016 MAR p. 590, Eff. 4/9/16; AMD, 2016 MAR p. 1711, Eff. 9/30/16; AMD, 2018 MAR p. 457, Eff. 2/24/18; AMD, 2018 MAR p. 1283, Eff. 7/7/18; AMD, 2020 MAR p. 966, Eff. 5/30/20; AMD, 2020 MAR p. 687, Eff. 6/1/20.

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