Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
Integrated Service Delivery - Candy Shively, Deputy Secretary (785) 296-3271
On July 1, 2002, a 24 month life time limit was imposed for General Assistance consumers in Kansas. The start date for the 24 month clock was ultimately moved back to January 2002. This means that consumers who have received General Assistance benefits for 24 months since January 1, 2002 will begin losing their eligibility for cash and medical benefits beginning December 31, 2003. No hardship exceptions to the time limit will be allowed. Benefits provided under the auspices of the General Assistance Reintegration program (GARN) program are included in the 24 month limit.
There are over 4,000 GA consumers in Kansas. At this time, it is projected that there will be between 400 and 450 individuals statewide who will lose their GA benefits effective January 2004. Approximately 50 to 100 consumers will lose benefits each month thereafter. The count is an estimate since many GA consumers go on and off assistance frequently due to medical episodes, constantly changing living arrangements, or failure to cooperate with requirements.
Identification and Notification
In order to identify those individuals who will have their benefits terminated effective December 31, 2003. Central Office has generated the attached report (sorted by area, by worker) that lists those individuals expected to exceed the 24 month limit as of January 2004. In order to provide as much lead time as possible for staff and to insure earliest possible notification to the consumer, this report is based upon the GA Counter data from KAECSES as of November 2003. This will result in a small number of individuals being included on the report that may not actually be subject to the 24 month limit yet due to changes in their case status not reflected in the extract. Subsequent reports will be provided on a monthly basis identifying those individuals for whom their GA counter will reach 24 months in the upcoming month.
Upon receipt of the report, workers will first need to determine if any manual adjustments need to be made to the 24 month count. There are two circumstances that would necessitate manual adjustments being made to the 24 month count: 1) Instances in which SRS has received reimbursement from SSA through the IAR process and; 2) Instances in which full repayment has been made for overpayment months.
In the case of IAR reimbursement, workers need to deduct from the 24 month count, those months for which SRS has received full reimbursement. These months would be documented on an IM 3110.1 (Interim Assistance Reimbursement Notice of Apportionment) form which is sent to the Area Office by the "Kansas SRS IAR Coordinator". If unable to determine from the IM 3110.1 the months to be adjusted, the worker should contact the coordinator (Janice Hartwich) for assistance. Once the worker has determined the number of months that should be manually deducted from the consumers GA Counter, they will need to manually enter the adjustment to the GA Counter on MOCA so that the system will reflect the correct month count.
The worker will also need to adjust the 24 month count if any of the months in question involved an overpayment that has been fully recovered. If there is a month with an overpayment and the consumer has fully repaid that overpayment, the month is to be manually deducted from the count and documentation of this adjustment noted in the case file. As with the IAR situation, the worker will need to manually enter the adjustment to the GA Counter on MOCA so that the system will reflect the correct month count.
When adjusting the month count for either of the above situations, workers should not deduct prorated months if the consumer received any cash benefit.
While reviewing the case, the worker should also be aware that if the case in question is a two person GA case, one person losing eligibility due to the time limit will result in both individuals losing their GA eligibility. If changes occur following closure(e.g. the individuals separate, one of the individuals is deceased), the individual who has not yet exceeded their 24 month time limit can receive GA benefits until that individual reaches the time limit.
Upon determining that a case is subject to closure due to the 24 month time limit, workers should begin taking appropriate action to notify the consumer that their benefits will terminate. To facilitate this process, a new KAECSES Notice (G412 GA Closure 24 Month Time Limit) has been developed and is available on the system. This notice should be sent to the consumer as soon as possible allowing for timely and adequate notice. GA notices G101, G104, G105, G106, G107, G191, G192, G193, and G196 have been modified to include information regarding the 24 month life time limit.
When opening new GA cases, workers should check the GA counter to ascertain if the consumer has received GA benefits before and if so, the worker should not authorize benefits that would exceed the 24 month limit.
Impact on Other Services
Disability Advocacy - GA consumers facing termination due to the time limit that are actively working with Kansas Legal Services ( KLS) under the Disability Advocacy contract will continue to be eligible for services under the contract and should be encouraged to continue to cooperate with KLS in pursuit of SSI/SSDI benefits.
Food Stamp ABAWD - Termination of GA benefits due to the time limit does not result in the consumer being considered as an ABAWD for purposes of the Food Stamp Program. Staff should follow normal processes for determining ABAWD status once the GA case has closed. If necessary, verification of exemption from the ABAWD criteria shall be obtained at the time of the next review.
Impact on Medical Assistance - Because some GA/MediKan recipients may still have active disability applications pending or awaiting an appeal decision with Social Security, the potential of establishing Medicaid coverage for these individuals still exists. Steps must be taken to ensure these application are tracked and the consumer is aware of the protected medical date. This process applies for both SSI and SSDI applications.
At the time the GA closure action is taken, review the individuals status with SSA. The information is usually available on a current TPQY, SDX or BENDEX available through EATSS. If an application is presently pending an initial determination by SSA, an MS or SI medical program is to be registered and allowed to pend until a decision is made by Social Security. This would be treated as any other pending disability application and the protected filing date may be used as the application date. The consumer should be sent the V032 (Medicaid Determination Pending) notice.
In either situation, the consumer must be made aware of the status of Medicaid coverage and his/her responsibility to report any decision by SSA regarding disability status.
NOTE: If SSI is eventually approved following GA closure, collection of any GA cash benefit grant paid for months in which an SSI benefit is awarded are subject to recovery through the IAR process.
Consumers impacted by this action are subject to the fair hearing provisions. Per KEESM 1615, if the consumer is only disagreeing with the implementation of the 24 month time limit, procedures regarding dismissal of the hearing are applicable. However, if the consumer is appealing such issues as how the 24 month count was determined for them or that they are not a GA recipient during that entire time period, normal appeal processes are to be followed.
In closing, it is important to stress that while consumers impacted must be notified based upon timely and adequate notice guidelines, we are asking that staff make every effort to provide notification at the earliest possible opportunity. We would encourage staff to strive for a 30-day notification period when possible.
Please direct questions or requests for further information to Lewis A. Kimsey, General Assistance Program Manager, EES. He may be reached by phone at 785.296.0147 or by e-mail at LAK@srskansas.org.
cc: EES Central Office