Emergency Assistance Programs

Revised June 20, 2012

Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program - CEAP

Revised July 29, 2015

Purpose:

This section describes a cash program available to families or pregnant women who face an emergency and do not have the money to meet their basic needs, including families whose TANF cash assistance has been terminated for Non-Compliance Sanction - NCS and those who have already received 60 months of TANF and do not qualify for a Time Limit Extension. Most cases closed for NCS must participate for four consecutive weeks before they qualify for TANF/SFA. These families may qualify for CEAP until their participation requirement is met. Assistance under this program is limited to not more than thirty consecutive days within a period of twelve consecutive months.

WAC 388-436-0015 Consolidated emergency assistance program - CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0020 CEAP assistance unit composition.

WAC 388-436-0025 Eligibility conditions for CEAP--Job refusal.

WAC 388-436-0030 How does my eligibility for other possible cash benefits impact my eligibility for CEAP?

WAC 388-436-0035 Income and resources for CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0040 Excluded income and resources for CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0045 Income deductions for CEAP.

WAC 388-436-0050 Determining financial need and benefit amount for CEAP.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0015

  1. Being a citizen or legal resident alien is not an eligibility requirement for CEAP.
EXAMPLE: A migrant farmworker household consisting of a mother, father, and one child applies for cash assistance. They are not eligible for ongoing cash assistance since they are undocumented. The TANF is denied and CEAP is now considered for meeting the family's current needs as CEAP is available to undocumented households.
  1. Proof of social security numbers is not required. Do not require the client to provide SSN for the family as an eligibility requirement.
  2. Applicants for CEAP must complete the Client Declaration of need on the Emergency Assistance Request/Grant Computation form DSHS 14-337(X).
NOTE: The on-line application or the DSHS 14-001 Application form can be used to request CEAP. If these forms are used, a DSHS 14-337 must still be completed.
  1. For Residency requirements, see RESIDENCY.
  2. Families whose TANF grant has been terminated for during Non-Compliance Sanction can apply for CEAP under the same rules as other applicants. WorkFirst participation is not an eligibility requirement for CEAP.

Worker Responsibilities- WAC 388-436-0015

  1. Review the request form with the applicant. It is the applicant's responsibility to verify unpaid medical bills, utilities, and shelter costs. The applicant may request food, clothing, and household maintenance items without providing proof of the need.
NOTE: For Disaster Cash Assistance, the client does not have to produce proof of expenses unless it is questionable.
  1. Explain to the CEAP applicant the limited availability (thirty consecutive days within twelve consecutive months) of this program.
EXAMPLE: The client applies on February 5th with an eviction notice. CEAP is approved on February 6th and a payment is made to the landlord. The client returns on February 10th with an electricity shut off notice. Since it is within the 30 day limit it can be approved. The client returns again on March 15th with a shut off notice for the natural gas, This is denied as it is after the 30 day period.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0020

  1. When determining which members of the household will make up the CEAP assistance unit, first look at who must be members through relationship. A child within the family who is step-sibling to one child but half-sibling to another child becomes a mandatory member because of the half-sibling relationship.
EXAMPLE:
A household consists of a married couple, two children belonging to the wife, two children belonging to the husband, and one child belonging to both parents. The couple wants to exclude the two children of the wife from the CEAP application because they receive child support income. They are step-siblings to the husband's two children. The children are mandatory members because they are half siblings to the one child belonging to both parents. All the children must be included.
  1. When adding a caretaker relative other than a parent, or adding step-siblings, determine if it is to the advantage of the assistance unit to add that person. Inform the client that when choosing to add a member who doesn't have to be included, that person's income and resources are considered in determining need and benefit amount.
  2. A minor parent living in the home of his/her parents is a mandatory member of the parent's CEAP assistance unit. When the parent's CEAP request is denied because resources and income exceed the need, the minor parent's child only can become a separate CEAP assistance unit if that child has an emergent need.
NOTE:
A minor child cannot apply for CEAP by themselves. There must be a parent or relative of specified degree in the household.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0030

  1. Eligibility and payment amounts for all other DSHS financial, medical and food assistance programs must be determined before CEAP benefits may be approved, except for families who do not qualify for cash assistance because their case was terminated while in NCS.
  2. If the household contains a member who is eligible to receive or is receiving TANF, SFA or RCA, the family's emergency needs may be covered under the AREN benefit provisions in WAC 388-436-0002.
  3. Families receiving TANF/SFA or RCA at a reduced level, due to sanction or penalty, are not eligible for CEAP.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0035 

An income estimate is based on income already received plus a reasonable expectation of anticipated income for the month of application.

  1. Resources include items such as cash, checking & savings accounts, marketable securities, personal property and real property. Real property is land and buildings. See RESOURCES for more complete information.

  2. If an optional member as described in WAC 388-436-0015 (3) is included in the CEAP assistance unit, the resources and income of that person and that person's spouse are considered available to the CEAP assistance unit. If those income and resources would reduce or deny the CEAP benefit, the optional member can be excluded.

EXAMPLE:
An aunt applies for emergency cash assistance for her niece and wants to be included in the assistance unit as a needy caretaker relative. The income and resources belonging to the aunt and her husband show that no emergency need exists. The aunt can be excluded. She and her husband don't have a legal obligation to support the minor child.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0040

The equity value of a vehicle is determined by subtracting the amount still owed from the fair market value of the car. The fair market value is the average loan value as listed in the NADA Official Used Car Guide, or the wholesale value as listed in the Kelly Bluebook.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0040

  1. See RESOURCES for:

    1. A complete list of resources exempt under Federal Law;

    2. Determining real property as a home;

    3. The method of establishing values on non-exempt resources.

  2. Document in Remarks (REMA) behind the Resource screens how income and resource values were established.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0050

The amounts requested in each category can't exceed the maximum limit allowed. Excess amounts from one category can't be carried over to another category that is below the maximum.

EXAMPLE:
 A CEAP assistance unit of 3 persons verifies a need of $500 for rent, and $60 in utilities. Net income and resources equal $100.
  Need Maximum (3 persons) Allowed
Rent $500

$386

$386

Utilities $ 60

$130

$ 130

 
  $516 Total needed or allowed
  $521 Payment standard for 3
  $516 The lesser of the two above
  -100 minus available income and resources
  $416 CEAP payment

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0050

  1. Explain that they may choose to receive the CEAP funds directly or have them sent to a vendor on their behalf.
  2. I f the client does not have an EBT account, then an account must be opened.

ACES Procedures

See Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program - CEAP

Top of Page

Disaster Cash Assistance Program

Revised November 1, 2011

Purpose:

This section describes a cash program available because of a disaster declared by the Governor. It is available to families or individuals including families or individuals with no children who face an emergency and do not have the money to meet their basic needs. This program is available only once within a twelve-month period.

WAC 388-436-0055 What is the Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP)?

WAC 388-436-0060 How much money can I receive from the Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP)?


Clarifying Information - ​WAC 388-436-0055

The disaster for individuals must be declared by the Governor. When the disaster is declared, Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP) will authorize the Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP) to provide funds for families and individuals with or without children who have suffered losses as a result of the disaster.

  1. The following applies to DCAP:
    1. The applicant had to have been living in the declared disaster area before the disaster happened. Having a vacation home does not count for residency.
    2. The applicant must have suffered a loss of income or property as a result of the disaster.
    3. The CEAP income rules apply to DCAP. See WAC 388-436-0045.
    4. The applicant must apply for any other assistance available, such as:
      1. TANF/SFA/RCA
      2. ABD cash
      3. Basic Food Assistance
      4. Medical
      5. Unemployment compensation
  2. Under DCAP, applicants are not required to:
    1. Meet citizenship or alien requirements; or
    2. Provide a Social Security number.

 

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0055

  1. Review the application (DSHS 12-207) with the DCAP applicant. The applicant may request help with any of the basic requirements listed in WAC 388-436-0055 (2) without verifying the need with a bill or receipt unless questionable.
  2. Explain to the DCAP applicant the limited availability of this program.

Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0060

You use CEAP rules when calculating the income and resources for DCAP.
The differences between DCAP and CEAP are how the program looks at household composition and deductions:

  1. Household composition:
    1. Does not require a dependent minor child to be in the home.
  2. Deductions:
    1. The disaster losses can be used as a deduction from the income/resources calculation.
    2. The losses are only used if the applicant does not expect to be reimbursed (such as insurance settlement) during the month of application.

 

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0060

  1. Determine who must be included in the household. This is anyone the applicant declares as being financially responsible for or who shares the financial responsibility.
  2. Proof of the income, resources, or expenses is not required unless questionable.
  3. Complete the calculations using the DSHS 12-208 form.

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

Revised December 13, 2011

Purpose:

This section explains the general eligibility criteria for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) and when the State may use it.

WAC 388-437-0001 Disaster food stamp program.


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-437-0001

The disaster must be declared by the President or FNS. When the disaster is declared, FNS negotiates with the department to determine:

  • What eligibility rules we will use;
  • The length of time we will accept D-SNAP applications in each area;
  • If the allotment will be for a half or full month; and
  • How we will calculate D-SNAP benefits.

General Guidelines

  1. Disaster related loss: The assistance unit must have a loss from a federally declared disaster:
  2. Residency: At the time of the disaster, the assistance unit lives within the geographical area designated as part of the disaster area. After the disaster, the assistance unit may be eligible for D-SNAP even if they are temporarily living outside the designated disaster area.
  3. Purchase and prepare: The assistance unit must purchase food and prepare meals together during the disaster certification period. Assistance units residing in temporary shelters that provide 50%of their meals during this period are ineligible for D-SNAP.
  4. Resources: Non-liquid resources are excluded. Liquid resources such as cash on hand or cash balances in accessible checking or savings accounts are considered as "income".
  5. Current food assistance recipients: Food assistance recipients may also be eligible for D-SNAP benefits. When an assistance unit receives a replacement issuance before the D-SNAP is implemented, the replacement amount is deducted from the D-SNAP allotment.
  6. Other eligibility criteria:
    1. The following eligibility factors are not applicable to D-SNAP:
      1. Alien status;
      2. Social Security number;
      3. Student status; and
      4. Work requirements.
    2. A prior disqualification in the regular food assistance programs does not disqualify an applicant for D-SNAP.

D-SNAP Procedures

After the disaster is declared and FNS approves use of a D-SNAP, CSOs will receive instructions, procedures, and forms. These will be sent from the Community Services Division headquarters or the state office disaster alternate (Region 1).

Emergency Assistance Programs - Additional Requirements for Emergent Needs (AREN)

Revised May 9, 2014

Purpose:

This section describes an additional cash benefit available only to persons eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), State Family Assistance (SFA), or Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) programs.

WAC 388-436-0002 If my family has an emergency, can I get help from DSHS to get or keep our housing or utilities?


Clarifying Information - WAC 388-436-0002

NOTE: If the client does not get assistance, does not want on-going TANF, SFA or RCA, and has an on-going means of support, the client must complete an application as required in WAC 388-406-0010. We would then look at the client's eligibility for Diversion Cash Assistance.
EXAMPLE Susan, her minor daughter Cindy, and Cindy's child get TANF. They received AREN for an emergency housing need on August 5, 2006. Cindy later moved out of the TANF AU with the child. Cindy requested AREN on October 5, 2006. The worker decided Cindy had a good reason for not having money to meet their needs. Cindy is a minor child and lived with an adult when her AU received AREN. Cindy could get AREN.
EXAMPLE A TANF AU of Mom, Dad, and two children received AREN in August. Mom and one of the children moved out of the AU at the end of August. Mom was an adult member of an AU that received AREN. If Mom requested AREN, the amount she received in August would be deducted from the $750 twelve-month limit.
EXAMPLE Doug, Sally and their child receive AREN of $750 in March of 2010 to prevent eviction from their apartment. Doug and Sally get divorced, and he marries Tiffany in 2012. He and Tiffany apply for AREN to prevent utility shut off. Tiffany has never applied for, or received AREN. The assistance unit is eligible for AREN, because neither Doug nor Tiffany has received any AREN funds within the past twelve months.

Decide if the client has an emergency housing or utility need and the amount of the need. The client must have an emergency need under WAC 388-436-0002 (3).

NOTE: See VERIFICATION for information on how to get verification. If you need to request verification of the amount of the client's emergency need in writing, use ACES letter 0075-02 AREN Status.
NOTE: A statement from the client or their landlord that they are simply behind on their rent does not necessarily meet the emergency requirement. At that point, the landlord may be willing to make arrangements for a payment plan with the client.

 

Emergency Need AREN payment? Comments

Back Rent

Yes

 

Car Repair

No

 

Clothing

No

 

Credit Card Bills

No

 

Deposits for rent or utilities

Yes

 

Food

No

  • If client does not get food assistance, ask if they want to apply.
  • We may replace food bought with food assistance benefits and lost in household disaster. See WAC 388-412-0040.

Furniture

No

 

Home repairs

Yes

  • When the damage puts the client's health or safety at risk; and
  • The client owns the home; 
  • Or, the landlord will not fix the damage and it is less expensive to fix the damage than to move.

Licensing, auto fees, automobile insurance

No

 

Relocation

Yes

  • To flee domestic violence.
  • To leave unsafe housing.
  • As a lower cost option to paying back rent to prevent eviction.

Short-term lodging such as motels

Yes

  • Only when there is no other option.
  • Decide how long of a stay to approve based on when you expect the client to get more permanent housing.
  • Not allowed on an ongoing basis.

Utility Bills

Yes

  • The least amount to prevent a utility shut off.
  • For phone service, only the amount to keep local phone service when the client needs the service for their health and safety.
NOTE:If you can meet the client's emergency needs using AREN, continue to the next step. If not, the AU is not eligible for AREN. If the client gets TANF or SFA, look to see if you can meet the need with WorkFirst support services.
EXAMPLE A four-person AU applied for TANF and requested AREN to pay for new housing and furniture. The AU currently lives in a domestic violence shelter. The AU has no income, but will get $562 in TANF monthly. The rent for the new apartment is $450 a month. We can use AREN to get the new apartment, but not for furniture. Refer the client to resources in the community to see if someone can help with the client's furniture needs.
EXAMPLE A two-person AU asked for AREN to help pay for their overdue utility bill and current long-distance telephone bill. The family provided proof that their usual monthly income covers these expenses but due to an injury, the client missed 6 weeks of work. The client had a claim for L&I, but after a delay the client ended up receiving benefits for 2 weeks instead of the six weeks of benefits the client expected. We can use AREN for the utility costs. We do not pay the long distance bill, because the service is not a health or safety factor. If the client does not already get local phone service at a reduced rate, refer them to the local phone company to apply for the Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP).
NOTE: These guidelines do not cover every acceptable reason for a client to not have money to cover their expenses. If you are not sure if a client has good reason for how they spent their funds, you may want to talk to your lead worker or supervisor about the situation.
EXAMPLE A three-person AU requests AREN to pay for rent that is two months behind. The AU’s only income is their TANF grant of $478. The AU lives in subsidized housing and has a rent cost of $300 a month. To decide if the AU is eligible for AREN, we must look at how the AU spent their grant for the last two months. The AU must show that their TANF grant was used to pay other necessary expenses as listed in WAC 388-436-0002. Make your decision based on information that is readily available to the AU.
EXAMPLE A family of four applied for assistance and asked for AREN to pay for a utility bill and rent that is three months past due. The mom left her job a week ago when she was diagnosed with cancer. Her overdue utility bill is $400 and her overdue rent is $1800. Her monthly rent is $600. Although the family has an emergency housing need, we must look at how the AU has spent their money for the last three months. - Were the AU's earnings used to pay for necessary expenses , such as medical care? - Will the AU be able to pay for the ongoing rent of $600 in addition to their other bills? - Will the AU's only source of income be the TANF grant of $562 or will they have other forms of income, such as SSI or child support in addition to TANF, that will be available to meet their future needs? - If not, it would be more appropriate to look at AREN to help the family get housing they could afford based on the AU's change in income.
EXAMPLE A three-person AU requested AREN to pay $1600 for rent that is two months overdue. The ongoing rent is still $800 a month, and the AU’s only income is the TANF grant of $478 a month. Even if the AU has good reason for their lack of funds to meet the emergency need, you may not want to issue AREN to prevent the eviction. The AU is living beyond their means and can not show how they will be able to afford this expense in the near future. Instead, consider looking at using AREN to help the family avoid homelessness by getting housing that they can afford based on their income.
EXAMPLE If a client comes in with an eviction notice on the 1st of October and a utility shut off notice on the 25th of November, we can use AREN to pay the landlord and the utility company as long as they meet the AREN requirements and the total amount does not exceed $750.
EXAMPLE Mom and Dad get TANF for their two children. The AU received $400 in AREN for their emergency housing needs on August 10. Mom and dad split up at the end of August. Dad moved out with one child and is now in a new AU. Mom stayed in the home with the other child and is in the original AU. On October 1st, Dad requested AREN for a utility shut-off. Dad was an adult member of an AU that received AREN. He is eligible for up to $350 in AREN.
  1. Application process: Clients that need AREN can request assistance as follows:
    1. If a client currently gets TANF, SFA, or RCA, the client can request AREN by:
      1. Completing the Emergency Assistance Request, DSHS 14-337(X), or
      2. Requesting the assistance over the phone and we will complete form DSHS 14-337(X).
    2. If a client does not get TANF, SFA, or RCA, they must complete both an:
      1. Application as required in WAC 388-406-0010, and
      2. Emergency Assistance Request, DSHS 14-337(X).
    3. If a client is requesting assistance with utility bills, the Department must receive confirmation from the local community resources providers that utility assistance is unavailable.
    4. All AREN requests for assistance beyond five hundred dollars and up to the seven hundred fifty dollar program limit require referral to a supervisor or designee for approval of payment.
    EXAMPLE Shelley receives a monthly TANF grant of $305 because she is acting in the place of a parent for John, an unrelated child. Despite her best efforts to keep up on the bills, John was hospitalized and the unplanned medical expense prevented Shelley from being able to pay the utility bills. She has now received a notice to pay the $380 balance or the heat will be cut off in February. Because Shelley receives a TANF grant for John's needs, we can consider paying the emergency utility cost under AREN. When evaluating the request, we do consider Shelly's income and available cash resources even though we did not use this to determine eligibility for the child-only TANF grant.

    A client who has applied for TANF in Washington, but is not eligible until the month after the application because they received TANF in another state, is considered to be receiving TANF for the purposes of this rule. The client can get AREN if they meet all other eligibility factors.

    EXAMPLE In March, a TANF eligible family moves from California to Washington. The family applies for assistance in Washington on 3/15/07, and is determined TANF eligible. Because the family received March TANF benefits from California, their Washington TANF grant cannot be opened until 4/1/07. They can get AREN in March if they meet all other program requirements.

    The intent of the AREN program is to get clients into housing that they can afford on an ongoing basis. Paying for a hotel or motel stay should be a last resort and for a short term solution.

    We only allow AREN to get phone service or prevent a shut off of basic service when the client can show a need for the service to meet the client's health and safety needs. Refer clients who need help with their basic phone service to the local phone company to apply for the Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP). See chapter 388-273 WAC. Examples of clients that may need a phone for health and safety reasons include:

    1. AREN for "child only" households:

      Households that receive a "child only" grant (e.g., non-needy relative, SSI parent, or someone acting in loco parentis) may receive AREN for emergent needs because the emergent need has an impact on children receiving TANF, SFA, or RCA. When we determine the household's needs, we must consider the income of the entire household, including income that we exclude when determining the household's ongoing assistance.

      1. When a client receives TANF from another state:
      2. Use of AREN for temporary housing:
      3. AREN to get or prevent a shut off of basic telephone service:
      4. The $750 twelve-month limit follows all adults in the same assistance unit and minor parents that were not living with an adult when the AU received AREN. The limit also applies to non-needy caretakers who receive AREN on behalf of a child.

Worker Responsibilities - WAC 388-436-0002

When a client requests AREN, they must complete the Emergency Assistance Request DSHS 14-337(X). If a client makes the request by phone, complete the form for the client. Do not require a signature on the form. Complete the steps below to decide if the client is eligible for AREN and how much to issue:

  1. Exception to rule (ETR):

    Payments that exceed the $750 twelve-month limit may be requested using the Exception to Rule (ETR) process. ETRs for AREN are authorized through headquarters. Only those relating to health and safety will be approved.

    EXAMPLE A three-person AU applies for AREN. Mom's gross earned income is $1500 a month. The AU is not eligible for AREN because the AU exceeds the gross earned income limit of $955 for the AU size. Ask the client if they want to apply for medical and food assistance.
    EXAMPLE A two-person AU applies for TANF and AREN. Mom earns $800.00 monthly. The AU has no other income. Both the mother and the 17-year old child are fleeing felons. The AU is not eligible for AREN. The AU is not eligible for food assistance.
    EXAMPLE A four-person AU applies for AREN. The father is the only person with income. He gets $800 a month in unemployment compensation. The AU is not eligible for AREN because the AU's unearned income is greater than the TANF/SFA and RCA payment standard of $613 for the AU size. Ask the client if they want to apply for food assistance.
    EXAMPLE A three-person AU applies for AREN. Mom earns $900.00 monthly. The AU has no other income. They meet all the requirements for TANF eligibility. Continue to the next step below to decide if the client has an emergency housing or utility need. /p>
    1. Elderly or disabled clients.
    2. Clients who need access to emergency services. (e.g., a parent of a child who is on a ventilator would need a phone to contact an ambulance in an emergency).
    3. Domestic violence victims or others who are likely to need police protection.
    4. When a client leaves an AU that received AREN:
      NOTE: Complete all AREN denials in writing. Use ACES letter 0075-02 AREN Status.
      • Document the client's request for AREN in the ACES Narrative.
      • Decide if the client is eligible for TANF/SFA or RCA:
        • If the client is not eligible for TANF/SFA or RCA, the AU is not eligible for AREN. If the client does not get food assistance or medical benefits, ask the client if they want to apply for them.
        • Deny AREN If the client receives TANF/SFA and has a WorkFirst Sanction or is in Non-Cooperation with the Division of Child Support.
        • Review the case to determine if an adult or minor parent not residing with an adult has received AREN assistance that should be applied towards the $750 twelve-month limit.
      1. If the client is eligible for TANF/SFA or RCA, continue to the next step.
      2. Decide if the client has an emergency housing or utility need and the amount of the need. The client must have an emergency need under WAC 388-436-0002(3).
        1. If the client does not have an emergency housing or utility need, the AU is not eligible for AREN.
        2. If the client has an emergency housing or utility need, obtain proof of the client's need and the cost it would take to end the emergency.
  1. If the client does not have an emergency housing or utility need, the AU is not eligible for AREN.
  2. If the client has an emergency housing or utility need, obtain proof of the client's need and the cost it would take to end the emergency.
  3. Determine if the assistance unit still has AREN funds available to resolve the emergent need.
  4. Decide if you can use AREN to meet the client's emergency housing or utility need. We can only use AREN to help a client get or keep housing and utility services. Use the table below to find out which needs we can pay through AREN.
  1. Decide if the client has good reason for why the AU does not have enough money to pay for the expense. If the client has good reason, continue to the next step. If not, the AU is not eligible for AREN. Some questions to look at when you decide if a client has good reason include:
    1. Did the client misuse their money?
    2. Did the client spend their money in a reasonable manner under the circumstances
    3. Was the client’s choice to spend their funds reasonable at that time?
    4. Did the client spend their money on necessary expenses?
    5. Do the client's circumstances, such as mental or physical disability, explain why they used their money in a way that would not typically be looked at as a reasonable? If so, you should discuss Necessary Supplemental Accommodation (NSA) services available to the client. See [NSA](NSA.shtml).
    6. Will paying the request meet the client's short-term emergency need, or will the client continue to need additional assistance? Will the action just delay what will happen anyway? If the request will just delay the emergency need, you may want to discuss other options with the client.
  2. Find out if an adult in the AU has received AREN within the past twelve-months,the amount they are eligible for is $750 minus what they have already received.
  3. Determine the lowest amount that will end the client's emergency housing or utility need up to the twelve-month maximum of $750, and issue the lowest amount needed to resolve the emergency completely, not just for a few months. Use the following steps to decide on the lowest amount:
    NOTE: If the utility company provides services not related to the client's health or safety (e.g., one company provides electric, phone, cable, and garbage), find out if the provider will separate the expenses. Do not pay for services that are not related to health and safety if the company will separate the expenses.
    EXAMPLE In December, a TANF-eligible family of three requests AREN for $500 to repair the heater in their home. The family does not have any other safe and reliable way to keep their home heated. The family is not on assistance and does not want ongoing assistance. The family's gross income is normally $900 a month, but the father had to take a leave of absence for two months due to a medical emergency. Even though AREN would cover this expense, we would not authorize AREN for the repairs. Since the client is eligible for TANF but is not requesting ongoing benefits, we must look at their eligibility for Diversion Cash Assistance for the emergency housing need under WAC 388-432-0005.
    EXAMPLE A TANF AU requested AREN to help pay for a leak in the roof. The AU lives in an apartment and the lease agreement states that the landlord is responsible for maintenance and repairs of the apartment. The AU would have to contact the landlord and have them fix the roof. The client can reference the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act to persuade the landlord to make the needed repairs. If the family’s health or safety is endangered and the landlord refuses to make the needed repairs, use AREN for the least expensive option of making the repair or relocating the client.
    EXAMPLE A three-person TANF AU requested AREN to help prevent eviction. The AU provided court papers showing the amount they owed. In order to avoid eviction, the AU needed to pay $600.00 in back rent and $80.00 in court and legal fees. We can use AREN to pay for the legal and court fees only if it will prevent the AU from being evicted or foreclosed.
  1. Contact the person the client owes the payment to (e.g., landlord, utility company, etc.). Find out what it will take to prevent the client from being evicted or having their utilities shut off. Ask if the vendor if they will set up a payment plan for the debt or if they will accept a partial payment and have the client set up a realistic repayment plan for the rest of the bill. Do not provide legal advice or attempt to settle a client's legal claims.
  2. Look at what resources the client has available to meet the need (e.g. cash, checking, savings). Reach an agreement with the client on how much of the need they can cover. Clients do not have to use all of their resources to meet the emergency need. Look at what other expenses the client may need to pay. The following are examples of possible resources:
    1. Money on hand in the form of cash, checking or savings.
    2. Income the AU has that is not excluded for cash assistance. (income of an SSI child, earnings of an ineligible AU member, etc.)
    3. Money from other individuals such as family or friends voluntarily provide.
    4. Money from a non-needy relative caretaker living in the home.
  3. Check other resources that may be able to meet the client's needs:
  4. If the client does not get and is not applying for ongoing TANF/SFA benefits, use Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA) instead of AREN. See WAC 388-432-0005 for information on DCA.
  5. Look at what community resources are available to the client to meet the emergency need. (e.g. Catholic Charities, LIHEAP, Millionaire's Club, Multi-Service Center, Salvation Army, St. Luke's, St. Vincent DePaul, etc.)
    1. After you determine the least amount necessary to meet a client's emergency housing or utility need, issue the AREN for the approved needs by vendor payment. You must issue AREN payments directly to a registered vendor.
    2. Use ACES letter 0075-02 AREN Status and call the client.
    3. Review the circumstances that led to the client requesting AREN and decide if the client should have a protective payee under WAC 388-460-0020 and WAC 388-460-0035. Refer the client to social services to get a payee if necessary.
    4. Document the following in the remarks of the AREN screen for the AU:
      1. Date and amount of request,
      2. Eligibility for TANF/SFA or RCA,
      3. The type of housing/utility emergency the client has,
      4. The good reason for not having funds to meet their expenses,
      5. The lowest amount needed to end the emergency need and how this amount (include the name, title, and phone number of the person you spoke with if you used a collateral contact),
      6. Whether or not you approved AREN,
      7. The vendor/landlord name and vendor ID number, and
      8. Amount approved (if any).

ACES Procedures

See Additional Requirement - Emergent Need (AREN)