M E M O R A N D U M
TO: EES Program Administrators
FROM: Sandra Kimmons
SUBJECT: Implementation Instructions - KEESM Revision #89
This memo provides implementation instructions and information for the following October 1, 2018 policy changes in the Kansas Economic and Employment Services Manual (KEESM).
Questions and Answers
- Child Care – With the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, the HHS Office of Child Care requires states to adjust eligibility policies in accordance with the federal law, and states were allowed a period of time to come into compliance. The changes included here are being made to bring Kansas into compliance with the federal interpretation of the law. A large part of the philosophy behind the law is to increase access to quality child care, to provide for continuity of care for children, fairness for child care providers in their income expectations, and not to burden families with frequent reapplication, eligibility changes and extensive reporting requirements.
- Responsibilities of the Agency – See Summary of Changes section I, A, 1.
Effective October 1, the agency is responsible for ensuring that families who are eligible for child care are provided with a link to the Kansas Quality Network where they can find or be directed to information about finding a child care provider, licensing and compliance information about specific providers, developmental screenings for children, other assistance programs that might be available to them, and other information that may be helpful to them. This will be accomplished by providing families with a link to the Parent Provider Partnership Handbook (or a paper copy), and a snippet containing this link will be added to Child Care approval notices, currently scheduled for January of 2019. There will also be information cards available at each service center that may be handed to parents applying for child care assistance.
- Termination of Child Care Plans – See Summary of Changes section I, A, 4.
Effective October 1, 2018, the following changes have been made to the list of situations in which a child care case may be terminated prior to the end of a 12-month eligibility period:
- When a parent/caretaker experiences a temporary loss of employment or cessation of participation in an approved job training or education plan, including TANF or FA work program assignments, assistance is continued for 3 months following the month the change occurs. The changes for October 1 are that if a parent resumes an activity, the minimum hour requirement does not apply. Also, the 3-month continuation of care would not be applied if following initial approval for a 12-month eligibility period, a parent experienced a reduction (voluntary or otherwise) in work hours below the minimum 28 hour (or 15 hours for post-secondary students) initial eligibility requirement, or if a self-employed parent/caretaker’s income drops below the federal minimum wage per hour.
- Child Care cases will no longer be closed when eligibility determination or a reported change results in the family’s assigned family share deduction exceeding the cost of care for more than four consecutive months. If the family qualifies to actually receive a benefit in any month(s) in the 12-month eligibility period, the case would remain open unless the family specifically requests case closure.
- Child care cases will no longer be closed prior to the end of a 12-month eligibility period if the household reports a change in resources that results in countable resources exceeding $10,000.
- Change Reporting Requirements – See Summary of Changes section I, A, 5.
Effective October 1, 2018, the change reporting responsibilities of families receiving child care assistance are being changed. They are now required to report earned income changes of $100 or more, unearned income changes of $50 or more, changes in residence, changes in household composition and changes in their choice of a child care provider and changes in hours of care needed/used. Although not required to do so, households may choose to report other changes.
- Processing Changes Reported by Change Reporting Households – See Summary of Changes section I, A, 6.
Beginning October 1, 2018, when a family reports a change, that change will be acted on if it results in an increase in the amount of child care benefits the family will receive or a reduction in the family share deduction, or if the change results in countable income exceeding 85% of the State Median Income (SMI) for the household size. Hours of care may not be decreased and family share deductions may not be increased due to a reported change during a 12-month eligibility period. However, benefits may decrease if due to a change in providers, a rate change made by a provider, a child’s age change, or if a family indicates that child care will not be used, either for an individual child or for all children.
- Review Periods for Child Care – See Summary of Changes section I, A, 7.
Effective with Reviews processed on or after October 1, 2018, if a household’s countable income exceeds 185% of the FPL but remains below 85% of the SMI for their household size, a new 12-month eligibility period (Tier II) will be established. (Prior to October 1, the household would have received 3 additional months of child care.) During this 12-month Tier II eligibility period, reporting responsibilities and actions taken in response to reported changes are the same as for those families approved with incomes below 185% of the FPL. Family shares will not be changed during this 12-month eligibility period. There is no limit to the number of times a family may be approved for a Tier II eligibility period.
The following examples illustrate these changes:
- The household consists of Jane and her 3 children. Jane is employed 30 hours per week, and is approved for child care (Tier 1) for her children from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. In October, she reports that she has lost her job, and she is allowed the 3-month continuation of care for November, December and January so that she can look for work. In December, Jane reports that she has found another job, but she is only working 20 hours per week. With this change, child care will be continued for the remainder of the 12-month eligibility period (until June 30th) with the same number of hours as was originally approved. You would need to override the Child Care plans if there is an adjustment in hours needed. If Jane has a family share deduction, it would be overridden on the Family Plan Detail page due to the reduction in income. Provided that there are no other changes in the meantime, when the review is completed in June, the 28-hour-per-week minimum work requirement, along with other eligibility requirements, must be met.
- The same situation as example #1 except instead of losing her job, Jane reports that her hours have been cut to 25 hours per week. In this situation, Jane’s child care case would remain open without changing the hours of care authorized. However, if Jane has a family share deduction, it would be overridden on the Family Plan Detail page due to the reduction in income. The 3-month continuation of care would not be applied to her case. At the next review, however, she would have to meet all eligibility requirements, including the 28-hour minimum work requirement, in order to be approved for a new 12-month eligibility period.
- Using Jane’s situation from example #1, Jane reports that she got a raise, and her earnings have increased. An income calculation determines that her income does not exceed 85% of SMI for her household size based on the Child Care 85% SMI worksheet. In this case, no action would be taken because the change would not result in an increase in benefits and her family share deduction cannot be increased.
- Using Jane’s situation from example #3, but Jane also has a Food Assistance case. In this case, because it is known to the agency, the change would have to be acted on for Food Assistance. If the case remains eligible for Food Assistance, the worker will need to override the family plan to adjust the family share amount if the income change shows that the family share deduction would increase. If the increase in income causes the Food Assistance to close, after that action is taken, the worker will need to go back and change the income information back to the previous amount used so that there is no change to the Child Care case.
- Again, using Jane’s situation from example #1, Jane reports that she is now working 40 hours per week and needs additional hours of child care. With the increase in her work hours, EES staff will need to determine Jane’s new countable income amount. If her income is now over 85% of the SMI for her household size, the case would be closed. Otherwise, the increase in her earnings would not be used to calculate her child care benefit, and the additional hours of care would be overridden on the Child Care Plan page. Since her family share deduction would remain unchanged, there should not be a need to override the Family Plan.
- Continuing with Jane’s situation from example #1, Jane reports that the father of her children has returned to the household and is employed part time. Adding him to the case and including his earnings, the family’s countable income is now greater than 185% of the FPL, but remains less than 85% of the SMI for their household size. In this situation, the increase in household income would not be considered and the family share deduction would not increase for the remainder of the 12-month eligibility period. Staff will not recalculate the number of hours of care needed based on the father’s work schedule and being available to provide care for the children until the next review.
- Using example #1, at Jane’s 12-month eligibility review, it is determined that her income is now greater than 185% of the FPL for her household size, but less than 85% of the SMI. All other factors remain the same. A new 12-month Tier II eligibility period will be approved, assigning a family share deduction for those with incomes at the 185% FPL level of the F-1 Income and Family Share Deduction Schedule. At the end of the 12-month Tier II eligibility period, another eligibility review will be completed. If all other eligibility factors remain the same and income remains at the same level, another 12-month Tier II eligibility period will be approved.
- Suzy is employed full time and receiving child care for two children ages 1 and 4. Both children are in child care full time. On the 15th of October, grandmother of children decides that she wants to spend some time with the 4-year-old, so she will care for him while Suzy works for a couple of weeks. However, after the two weeks is up, the grandmother continues to care for the 4-year-old while Suzy works, and he does not return to day care. Since child care is not being used for the four-year-old, Suzy must report this no later than December 11th (10 days after the first day of the calendar month after child care was not used for an entire calendar month). Child care for the 4-year-old would be ended, but child care would continue for the 1-year-old.
- Mary is employed full time and receives child care assistance for her two-year-old child. On December 15th, she reports that she has lost her job, and her child care case is set up for the three-month continuation of care for January, February and March, keeping the hours the same as before, and making any adjustment in the family share deduction corresponding with the income change. On January 4th, Mary reports that her 4-year-old child who had been living with his father is now living with her, and although she is still not employed, she requests child care for him. Since this child was not receiving child care in the month when Mary lost her job, eligibility for this child must be determined based on her current circumstances. Because Mary does not have a qualifying need for care for this child, child care plans would not be written for him. We would, however, add the child to the case and make any corresponding changes in the family share deduction due to the change in household size.
- Using Mary’s case from example #9, instead of losing her job, Mary reports on December 15th that her hours have been reduced to 20 hours per week. The current eligibility period would remain in effect and any corresponding changes in her income would be considered, overriding the family share deduction if applicable. Hours of child care would remain the same. On January 4th, she reports the four-year-old coming into her household and requests child care for him. This child would be added to the case. Eligibility for the four-year-old would be based on the current need situation, and hours of care would be authorized based on Mary’s current work schedule. However, since entering Mary’s current work schedule in KEES would also change the hours for the two-year-old, that child’s plan will have to be overridden for the remainder of the 12-month eligibility period to keep the hours the same as the original eligibility determination.
- Tammy is employed full time and receives child care for her two children ages 4 and 7. Her eligibility period is from June through May. In December, Tammy reports that she no longer needs child care for the 7-year-old, as that child will be going to live with his father in another state. The child care plan for the seven-year-old will be ended and the child will no longer be receiving child care assistance on this case. Since a decrease in household size would have a negative effect on the family’s eligibility, it will be necessary to override the family share deduction so that it will continue at the same amount.
- Using Tammy’s case from example #11, but Tammy’s report in December is that she needs less hours of care for the 7-year-old because her work schedule changed and she works during the week while the child is in school, but no longer works weekends. She still needs after school care for him. In this case, no action would be taken on the case until the review in May. The hours approved for each child at review will be based on the schedule at that time.
- Mike applies for child care for his two children in July. He just started a new self-employment business in June and is working 40 hours per week. Although he expects to eventually, he is not yet earning the equivalent of the federal minimum wage per hour. Child care is approved for the 12-month eligibility period from July through June. When the case is reviewed the following June, Mike’s self-employment income is averaged. He still is not earning the equivalent of the federal minimum wage per hour. The review will be denied, and no child care benefits will be provided beyond June.
- Jill is employed full time and applies for child care for her three children on March 1st. She is determined eligible and approved for benefits for the 12-month period from March through February of next year. In July, Jill reports that she received an inheritance, and her resources are now over $10,000. No action will be taken on the child care case in July, but when the case is reviewed in February, if resources still exceed $10,000, her review will be denied.
- Using Jill’s case from example #14, but Jill also has an open Food Assistance case. Since it is known to the agency, action must be taken on the Food Assistance case to close for excess resources. After the action has been taken to close the Food Assistance program, the resources must be removed from the Resource Detail page in KEES and the child care assistance case continued for the remainder of the 12-month eligibility period.
- Danielle is employed full time and receives child care for her two children with a 12-month eligibility base of July through June. When her case is due for review in June, she fails to return the review application and the case closes June 30th. On July 5th, Danielle returns the review, and her income is over 185% of FPL, but under 85% of SMI for her household size. Because there is no break in assistance, her case will be reopened and she is eligible for a 12-month Tier II eligibility base with a family share at the highest level of the eligibility chart.
- Same example as #16, but Danielle turns in her late review on August 1st. Since there is a break in assistance, she will have to qualify with income at or below 185% of FPL. Since her income exceeds that amount, her application will be denied.
Child Care Eligibility Policies
3 Month Continuation of Benefits
Desk Aid for Tier II Eligibility
Increased Income Reported
Over 85% SMI Worksheet