TANF / SFA Time Limits - Overview
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TANF / SFA Time Limits - Overview


Revised September 1, 2011



Purpose:

WAC 388-484-0005There is a five year (sixty-month) time limit for TANF, SFA and GA-S cash assistance
WAC 388-484-0006TANF/ SFA time limit extensions

WAC 388-484-0005

WAC 388-484-0005

Effective September 1, 2011

WAC 388-484-0005 There is a five year (sixty-month) time limit for TANF, SFA and GA-S cash assistance

1.    What is the sixty-month time limit?

a.    You can receive cash assistance for temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), state family assistance (SFA), and general assistance for pregnant women (GA-S) for a lifetime limit of sixty months. The time limit applies to cash assistance provided by any combination of these programs, and whether or not it was received in consecutive months. 

b.    If you receive cash assistance for part of the month, it counts as a whole month against the time limit.

c.    If you have received cash assistance from another state on or after August 1, 1997, and it was paid for with federal TANF funds, those months will count against your time limit.

d.    The time limit does not apply to diversion cash assistance, support services, food assistance or Medicaid.

2.    When did the sixty-month time limit go into effect?

The sixty-month time limit applies to cash assistance received on or after August 1, 1997 for TANF and SFA. Although the GA-S program no longer exists, the time limit applies to GA-S cash assistance received from May 1, 1999 through July 31, 1999.

3.    Does the time limit apply to me?

The sixty-month time limit applies to you for any month in which you are a parent or other relative as defined in WAC 388-454-0010, or a minor parent emancipated through court order or marriage.

4.    Do any exceptions to the time limits apply to me?

The department does not count months of assistance towards the sixty-month time limit if you are:

a.    An adult caretaker, as described in WAC 388-454-0005through 388-454-0010, who is not a member of the assistance unit and you are receiving cash assistance on behalf of a child unless you are and ineligible parent.  An ineligible parent is a natural, adoptive or stepparent as defined in WAC 388-454-0010 who receives a TANF/SFA grant for his or her child but is ineligible to receive TANF/SFA assistance;

b.    An unemancipated pregnant or parenting minor living in a department approved living arrangement as defined by WAC 388-486-0005; or

c.    An adult and you are living in Indian country, as defined under 18 U.S.C. 1151, or an Alaskan Native village and you are receiving TANF, SFA, or GA-S cash assistance during a period when at least fifty percent of the adults living in Indian country or in the village were not employed. See WAC 388-484-0010.

5.    What happens if a member of my assistance unit has received sixty months of TANF, SFA, and GA-S cash benefits?

Once any adult or emancipated minor in the assistance unit has received sixty months of cash assistance, the entire assistance unit becomes ineligible for TANF or SFA cash assistance, unless you qualify for a hardship extension and are eligible for an extended period of cash assistance called a TANF/SFA time limit extension under WAC 388-484-0006.

6.    What happens when an ineligible parent in the home has received sixty months of TANF, SFA, and GA-S cash benefits?

Once an ineligible parent in the home has received sixty months of cash assistance for themselves or their child, the entire assistance unit becomes ineligible for TANF or SFA cash assistance, unless the ineligible parent meets the criteria for a TANF/SFA time limit extension under WAC 388-484-0006.

7.    What can I do if I disagree with how the department has counted my months of cash assistance?

a.    If you disagree with how we counted your months of cash assistance, you may ask for a hearing within ninety days of the date we sent you a letter telling you how many months we are counting.

b.    You will get continued benefits (the amount you were getting before the change) if:

                                      i.        You have used all sixty months of benefits according to our records; and

                                    ii.        You ask for a hearing within the ten-day notice period, as described in chapter 388-458 WAC.

c.    If you get continued benefits and the administrative law judge (ALJ) agrees with our decision, you may have to pay back the continued benefits after the hearing, as described in chapter 388-410 WAC.

8.    Does the department ever change the number of months that count against my time limit?

We change the number of months we count in the following situations:

a.    You repay an overpayment for a month where you received benefits but were not eligible for any of the benefits you received. We subtract one month for each month that you completely repay. If you were eligible for some of the benefits you received, we still count that month against your time limit.

b.    We did not close your grant on time when the division of child support (DCS) collected money for you that was over your grant amount two months in a row, as described in WAC 388-422-0030.

c.    An ALJ decides at an administrative hearing that we should change the number of months we count.

d.    You start getting worker's compensation payments from the department of labor and industries (L&I) and your L&I benefits have been reduced by the payments we made to you.

e.    You participated in the excess real property (ERP) program in order to get assistance and we collected the funds when your property sold.

f.     Another state gave us incorrect information about the number of months you got cash assistance from them.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

WAC 388-484-0006

WAC 388-484-0006

Effective September 1, 2011

WAC 388-484-0006 TANF/ SFA time limit extensions

1.   What happens after I receive 60 or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance?

After you receive 60 or more months of TANF/SFA cash assistance, you may qualify for additional months of cash assistance.  We call these additional months of TANF/SFA cash assistance a TANF/SFA time limit extension.

2.   Who is eligible for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension? 

Effective February 1, 2011, you are eligible for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension if you are on TANF are otherwise eligible for TANF, or are an ineligible parent and you have received sixty cumulative months of TANF and:

a.   You are approved for one of the exemptions from mandatory participation according to  WAC 388-310-0350 (1)(a) through (d) or, if you are an ineligible parent, you are a supplementary security  income recipient, a social security disability insurance recipient or meet the criteria for an exemption from mandatory WorkFirst participation; or,

b.  You:

i.       Have an open child welfare case with state or tribal government and this is the first time you have had a child dependent under RCW13.34.030 in this or another state or had a child a ward of a tribal court; or

ii.  Are working in unsubsidized employment thirty-two hours or more per week; or

iii. Document that you meet the Family Violence Option criteria in WAC 388-61-001 and are participating satisfactorily in specialized activities needed to address your family violence according to a service plan developed by a person trained in family violence or have a good reason, as described in WAC 388-310-1600(3) for failure to participate satisfactorily in specialized activities.

3.   Who reviews and approves a hardship time limit extension?

a.    Your case manager or social worker will review your case and determine whether a hardship time limit extension type will be approved.

b.  This review will not happen until after you have received at least 52 months of assistance but before you reach your time limit or lose cash assistance due to the time limit.

c.  Before you reach your time limit or lose cash assistance due to the time limit, the department will send you a notice that tells you whether a hardship time limit extension will be approved when your time limit expires and how to request an administrative hearing if you disagree with the decision.

4.   When I have an individual responsibility plan, do my WorkFirst participation requirements change when I receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?

a.    Even if you qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension you will still be required to participate in your individual responsibility plan (WAC 388-310-0500). You must still meet all of the WorkFirst participation requirements listed in WAC Chapter 388-310 while you receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension.

b.    If you do not participate in the WorkFirst activities required by your individual responsibility plan, and you do not have a good reason under WAC 388-310-1600, the department will follow the sanction rules in WAC 388-310-1600. 

5.    Do my benefits change if I receive a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension?

  1. You are still a TANF/ SFA recipient or an ineligible parent who is receiving TANF/SFA cash assistance on behalf of  your child and your cash assistance, services, or supports will not changes as long as you continue to meet all other TANF/SFA eligibility requirements. During the hardship TANF/ SFA time limit extension, you must continue to meet all other TANF/ SFA eligibility requirements.
  2. If you no longer meet TANF/ SFA eligibility criteria during your hardship time limit extension, your benefits will end.

6.   How long will a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension last?

a.      We will review your hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension and your case periodically for changes in family circumstances:

i.   If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(a) then we will review your extension at least every 12 months;

ii. If you are extended under WAC 388-484-0006 (2)(b) then we will review your extension at least every 6 months.

b.    Your hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension may be renewed for as long as you continue to meet the criteria to qualify for a hardship time limit extension.

c.    If during the extension period we get proof that your circumstances have changed, we may review your case and determine if you continue to qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension. When you no longer qualify for a hardship TANF/SFA time limit extension we will stop your TANF/SFA cash assistance. You will be notified of your case closing and will be given the opportunity to request an administrative hearing before your benefits will stop.

This is a reprint of the official rule as published by the Office of the Code Reviser. If there are previous versions of this rule, they can be found using the Legislative Search page.

CLARIFYING INFORMATION

  1. Start date for TANF time limits:

TANF time limits started in Washington State on August 1, 1997.  Since we started time limits on this date, we do not count TANF benefits a client received in another state before August 1997 toward the client's 60-month limit, even if the other state started TANF time limits at an earlier date.

Effective November 1, 2011, state law applies the 60-month time limit to ineligible parents and counts months, back to August 1, 1997, when the ineligible parent receives TANF/SFA for his or her child.

ACES will track each adult recipient’s and ineligible parent’s 60-month limit, list each countable month as an adult recipient or ineligible parent month and indicate when the case is closed or extended under adult recipient or ineligible parent 60-month limit. 

·         An adult recipient is an adult who is receiving assistance in a TANF/SFA assistance unit.  The adult recipient may be the parent or another type of non-parental kinship caregiver such as a sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent. 

·         Any month an adult recipient receives TANF/SFA is counted as an adult recipient month.

·         We apply the adult recipient time limit when an adult recipient has at least 60 countable adult recipient months.

·         An ineligible parent is a non-recipient parent who is receiving a TANF/SFA grant for one of his or her children.

·         Any month an ineligible parent receives TANF/SFA for his or her child is counted as an ineligible parent month.

·         We apply the ineligible parent time limit when a current or former ineligible parent has at least 60 total countable months, once we combine their adult recipient and ineligible parent months.

See WorkFirst Handbook 3.7.1.2, What is the difference between the adult recipient and ineligible parent time limit, for more information.

  1. Benefits that do not count toward the time limit:

We don't count a month toward a client's sixty-month limit if they did not get TANF/SFA or GA-S cash benefits unless she or he is an ineligible parent.  Types of assistance that don't count toward the client's limit include:

a.    Diversion Cash Assistance;

b.    WorkFirst support services;

c.    Medical assistance;

d.    Food assistance.

  1. Extending TANF/SFA due to hardship (20% extension):

Federal state law allows us to extend up to 20% of the TANF caseload beyond sixty months due to hardship.  We don't extend a client's benefits until they have reached their 60-month limit.  We will implement the 20% extension policy when the first clients reach their time limit -August 2002.  Fewer adults will qualify for the time limits extensions effective February 1, 2011 and ineligible parents qualify for extensions effective November 1, 2011.

4. Automated adjustments of TANF/SFA Months

ACES credits back repaid TANF/SFS months of total ineligibility and L&I reimbursements.


WORKER RESPONSIBILITIES

When a Client Received TANF In Another State or From a Tribal TANF Program 

  1. Call the other state's TANF agency to verify:
    1. The period of time the adult client(s) received TANF since August 1, 1997; and
    2. How many months count toward the federal 60-month time limit for TANF.  Reasons why a state many not count months toward the federal 60-month time limit include:
      1. The client meets the state's Indian Country disregard;
      2. The state has a waiver; or
      3. The client was exempt from time limits (the clock was stopped) because assistance received by the client was 100% state funded.
  2. Don't count any months of TANF the client received before August 1997, even if the other state started time limits before this date.
  3. Don’t count any out of state or Tribal TANF ineligible parent months.
  4. Document the contact you make with the other state agency in the remarks section of the adult client's TICA screen.  Include the following information:
    1. Name, title, and phone number of the agency representative;
    2. The periods of time the adult client(s) received TANF since August 1, 1997;
    3. How many months of countable TANF assistance the client(s) received; and
    4. If any months are not countable, the reason we don't count the assistance.
  5. If a family transfers in from a Tribal TANF Program to the state-administered TANF program, contact the Tribe's Program and accept the Tribe's count of the family's months on TANF. (This is similar to the practice we use when a family moves into Washington from another state. We use the other state's count of months on TANF without requiring any further verification.)  Enter TT as the valid value on the TICA screen for countable TANF months.
  6. Effective January 2011, the TICS and TWEP screens are view only.

ACES PROCEDURES

See Interview - (TICA) Time Clock Adjustment.
Modification Date: September 1, 2011