Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
Janet Schalansky, Secretary

Integrated Service Delivery - Candy Shively, Deputy Secretary (785) 296-3271
Economic and Employment Support - Bobbi Mariani, Director (785) 296-3349

MEMORANDUM

To:

Area Directors
Economic and Employment Support Chiefs
Economic and Employment Support Staff
Social Service Chiefs
Administrative Service Chiefs
Other Staff

Date:

June 19, 2003

From:

Bobbi Mariani, Director

RE:

LIEAP "Crisis" Program

PURPOSE, BACKGROUND and REASON FOR CHANGE

Currently the Kansas LIEAP program provides access to benefits for both heating and cooling assistance to eligible Kansans during the first quarter of the calendar year. The present program design does not address the need regarding emergency situations that may occur during the balance of the year. Field staff have been reporting increased requests for such assistance during recent years. For example, Adult Protective Services emergency funds which are allocated to the Areas have been heavily utilized during the past several years to meet utility costs for APS clients deemed eligible as a result of investigative findings.
Current Federal program guidelines allow for great flexibility to States to design programs to address the needs of clients and the duration of the eligibility window for service provision.

CHANGES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

A special allocation will be provided at the beginning of a given fiscal year to each Area Office for use in meeting utility emergencies for households who qualify based on the criteria listed below. Monies will be allocated utilizing a strategy involving a base allocation plus a per case distribution based on the approved cases by area during the prior regular season LIEAP program. The criteria for accessing the "crisis" program is as follows:

1. In order for a client to be considered for eligibility for "crisis", they must meet minimal eligibility criteria of adjusted gross income of less than 130% of poverty and the citizenship and alienage requirements as outlined in KEESM 13330. All income determination rules regarding countable and exempt income apply as well as all verification requirements. Medical expenses, which would not normally be considered in the regular program during the income determination process may be used to adjust income if those expenses would be eligible for consideration under MS spenddown criteria. The client must also meet the energy vulnerability criteria that is outlined in KEESM 13340.

2. The following definition of "crisis"shall be used:

Household must have an energy crisis that meets one or more of the following:

a. Disconnect pending (48hrs) or has already occurred or;
b. Household lacks the capacity to get utility turned on and may or may not have a current obligation or;
c. Catastrophic circumstances have precipitated/will precipitate an energy crisis and;


1. The client can demonstrate that they have exhausted financial options to resolve the crisis themselves and;

2. The agency has the available funds to provide a benefit that will resolve the crisis

Areas have broad discretion in terms of determining the use of the funds and what emergency situations will be addressed recognizing that their funding is limited to their allocation. There is no mandated cap for the amount of benefit provided to an eligible household. Allocations will be made on a State Fiscal Year basis and will be made subject to the availability of LIEAP funding. Benefits are to be paid via each Area’s imprest fund process and should be charged to PCA 27431.

3. Screening/Tracking Process - A formal application for assistance will not be required. Initially, a paper process will be utilized to both handle intake/eligibility determination and to maintain the data necessary to meet Federal reporting requirements. This process will involve a spreadsheet (attached) that contains the minimum data elements required for Federal reporting needs. The spreadsheet will serve as the field’s intake/eligibility determination tool and will allow for minimal time commitment by the field in obtaining and maintaining necessary data for case documentation. Information requested is to be included for each household considered for or receiving benefits. The tracking log is to be submitted for each Area by the 10th of the month following the end of each calendar quarter.

While initial plans involve manual tracking of data and eligibility determination, the long-term objective will be to adapt the current LIEAP data system to allow for the automated processing of crisis applications. The proposed adaptation of the LIEAP Data System focuses on the necessity of satisfying our reporting obligation to the Feds. It is the general consensus of the IT staff responsible for the LIEAP system that with minimal time commitment (5-6 months from design to testing), adaptions could be made to the system that would allow for field staff entry of data with regards to "crisis" cases and the system would then be able to track and compile the data to generate the necessary reports for Federal compliance. This adaptation will require the creation of a new screen within the LIEAP system that is specific to the Crisis program.

FY 2004 ALLOCATIONS

Area Number of Approved HH’s in 2003 % of Total HH’s Crisis Funds Base Additional Crisis Funds Total
Crisis Funds Allocation
Chanute 6,579 17.2% $10,000 $66,919 $76,919
Emporia 3,254 8.5% $10,000 $33,098 $43,098
Garden City 2,012 5.2% $10,000 $20,465 $30,465
Hays 2,263 5.9% $10,000 $23,018 $33,018
Hutchinson 2,724 7.1% $10,000 $27,707 $37,707
Kansas City 2,666 7.0% $10,000 $27,118 $37,118
Lawrence 2,570 6.7% $10,000 $26,141 $36,141
Manhattan 3,692 9.6% $10,000 $37,554 $47,554
Olathe 2,386 6.2% $10,000 $24,269 $34,269
Topeka 3,129 8.2% $10,000 $31,827 $41,827
Wichita 7,067 18.4% $10,000 $71,883 $81,883
State Totals 38,342 100% $110,000 $390,000 $500,000

EFFECT ON LOCAL STAFF

Provides a resource to local staff to address situations that arise during the course of the year resulting in energy crisis for clients that could not generally be addressed under the current program structure. Will allow high levels of flexibility to the field to address these needs while at the same time imposing the burden of selective application of resources due to allocation limitations.

It is anticipated that areas will disburse benefits utilizing the established imprest fund process in order to facilitate prompt availability of benefits to the client. This benefit payment model may need to be modified depending upon individual Area’s policies regarding use of imprest funds.

COORDINATION EFFORTS

Coordination efforts have included a cross-functional team composed of Central Office and Field staff reviewing the options available and proposing basic program structure. In addition, IT participation/coordination will be required to address adaptation of the current LIEAP system to automate the eligibility and tracking processes related to this new program component.


Sincerely,


Bobbi Mariani, Director
Economic and Employment Support

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