STATE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL
State Commissioner's Letter - 1032
Integrated Services Delivery April 27, 2001
Docking State Office Building
Room 681 - West
Topeka, Kansas 66612 (Code 1)
TO: Area Directors
Economic and Employment Support Chiefs
Economic and Employment Support Staff
Social Service Chiefs
Re: Kansas Economic and Employment Support Manual (KEESM) Revision No. 5
PURPOSE OF LETTER
This revision implements numerous changes to policy including a change in record retention for child care provider files, a change to the requirements for pregnant women to apply for unemployment compensation, removal of the requirement to report illegal aliens, a change to remove the required referral to child support enforcement for medical assistance when the only applicants are children and an expansion of the policy which allows an adult member of the family group to apply for TAF or medical for a minor parent to also include minor expectant parents. This revision also incorporates the agency protocol required prior to terminating a TAF case due to the 60-month time limit, the hardship provisions that apply to TAF family groups that reach the 60 month time limit, and an extension of the time limit for domestic violence victims.
This revision also implements a change in the date asylees
become eligible for the refugee program, the inclusion of child care procedures for the
Flint Hills Job Corps, expansion of the work program assessment to include domestic
violence/sexual assault services situations, a change to the policies for payment of
relocation allowances and other modifications to the components sections. This revision
also implements income and resource provisions applicable to Individual Development
Accounts, a change in the process of obtaining a level of care score for a person seeking
payment of nursing facility expenses, a change in the determination of countable resources
for an applicant/recipient who is also a community spouse, and a change to allow persons
in HCBS arrangements to be a community spouse for purposes of spousal impoverishment. In
addition, due to the new federal poverty level guidelines, the minimum community spouse
income allowance has been increased as well as the family income and share schedule for
child care services. This revision also incorporates changes in the intercounty transfer
procedures for medical programs, other clarifications to policy and procedure as described
below and several new forms and items in the Appendix.
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BACKGROUND AND REASON FOR CHANGE
New poverty level guidelines have been published by the Department of Health and Human Services that reflect an increase of 2.8% from last year for a single individual. These guidelines affect the eligibility standards in the child care, MP, QMB, LMB and QWD programs as well as increases the minimum community spouse income allowance under the spousal impoverishment provisions. The increase will not be reflected in the HCBS income standard until January 1, 2002. For other programs, the poverty standard increases are to be implemented effective May 1, 2001. Separate instructions will be issued to the field regarding implementation of these standards.
Two additional spousal impoverishment changes are being made based on recent clarification of federal provisions. The definition of community spouse is being expanded to include persons receiving HCBS. This will allow income allocation to a spouse receiving HCBS. For purposes of establishing the community spouse resource allowance, court-ordered divisions of property will no longer be recognized unless they were the direct result of a fair hearing.
Based on a recent interpretation by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), the required referral to Child Support Enforcement for all medical applicants with an absent parent has been eliminated. Families applying only for childrens medical coverage will be given the opportunity to receive CSE services, but will not be automatically referred for services. This will align the Medicaid policy to that which currently exists for HealthWave eligible children. Caretakers applying for Family Medical coverage must continue to comply with CSE as a condition of eligibility.
The changes in the inter-county transfer procedure are being made to incorporate material originally issued in Policy Memo 01-01-01 that eliminated the required review for all medical programs when a family moved to another county. This was also based on a directive from HCFA as a direct result of a concern stemming from the nationwide review of medical assistance for TANF households in 1999. Previously, review periods were shortened for family medical, medically needy and HCBS households moving to a new county.
Effective October 1, 2000 many TAF families began their
final twelve months of TAF assistance. States may grant hardship status for certain family
groups which would allow them to continue receiving TAF beyond 60 months. In Kansas, only
families in the hardship group will continue to receive TAF after their 60th
month. No more than 20% of the TAF caseload may comprise the hardship group. The hardship
criteria is being incorporated into the KEESM with this revision. In addition to the
hardship criteria, information regarding the extension of TAF assistance beyond the
60-month limit for victims of domestic violence is being incorporated into the manual.
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Exemptions to work related requirements for TAF recipients are being changed to allow an exemption for adults age 60 or over in two parent TAF cases. This change is consistent with food stamp policy and is also consistent with the inclusion of the age 60 and over in the TAF hardship criteria.
TAF work related exemptions are being further modified to remove the child under age one exemption when either a parent or caretaker has reached the 48th month of TAF cash assistance. This change will ensure that work program services are provided to TAF clients before the family reaches the 60-month time limit.
To help families become independent of cash assistance, the agency is taking steps to address the impact of domestic violence/sexual assault on TAF families by creating a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault (DV/SA) work component (OARS) within the KansasWorks employment services structure. Since 1999, the OARS Program has been piloted in the Topeka Area Office. TAF clients who are victims of domestic violence/sexual assault may develop an employment plan which includes goals for resolving DV/SA issues and be placed in the OARS work component while they implement the plan.
As of October 1, 1999, Kansas adopted Family Violence
provisions offered by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
(PRWORA) of 1996. This allows victims of domestic violence to be excused from TAF
requirements that would put the victims and/or their children at further risk of violence
and provides opportunities for safety planning and the resolution of domestic
violence/sexual assault issues. National studies show a high prevalence rate of the
incidence of current and former domestic violence and sexual assault in the cash
assistance population. The studies show DV/SA as a major barrier to employment and
self-sufficiency for women on assistance. The United States Congress gives unique status
to victims of domestic violence under the TANF program. Both the federal and Kansas state
government have a strong commitment to reducing domestic violence and helping victims of
domestic violence access the safety and supportive services that they need to make
transitions to self-sufficiency. In particular, the authors of the law wanted to ensure
that States identify victims of domestic violence so that they may be appropriately
served, rather than be exempted and denied services that could lead to independence. The
overall goal is to provide alternative services for victims of domestic violence that
foster both safety and self-sufficiency. The DV/SA work component differs from other TAF
work components because the primary focus must be on safety for the families before
employment. To this end, the federal government has provided the states with protection
from financial penalty if the state is failing to meet the work program participation
rate. States may remove all the cases from the work participation rate formula that are
domestic violence/sexual assault cases. The authors of the final federal rule recognized
that, in the short-term, safety issues and other demands on the family may preclude
specific steps toward work. Thus, they clarify that States have the ability to postpone
work activities when safety or fairness issues would so indicate. For example, if a victim
of domestic violence needs time to recover from injuries, secure safe and stable housing,
and get her children resettled, or needs to stay at home or in a shelter to avoid danger,
there may be a need to postpone work activities. Additionally, they state that in certain
circumstances, an appropriate service plan for a victim may be to do nothing. Forcing
victims to take specific steps within a fixed time frame may make their situation more
precarious. Its a fact that violence often escalates after a woman has separated
from the perpetrator and has sought court orders of protection. States should recognize
that a battered woman often does not have control over her own actions and respect a
victims judgment of whether she can safely take certain action steps (e.g., move out
of her home).
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Beginning in January 2001, the OARS work component is available statewide, and eight sites (in addition to Topeka) provide special features through a contract with the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV). The eight new sites include: Emporia, Great Bend, Hutchinson, Kansas City, Lawrence, Olathe, Pittsburg, and Wichita. The special features provided include: a one-day staff training, placement of an advocate in the local SRS office (two in Wichita) and brochures/other informational materials.
To carry out the retention and advancement mission of Phase II of Welfare Reform, the KEESM is being clarified to indicate that education and training services are available for one year following exit from cash assistance due to employment.
Due to recent federal guidance placing more restrictive criteria on the reporting of undocumented aliens, this revision incorporates the elimination of the procedure for reporting undocumented aliens to INS as described previously in Policy Memo 00-12-03. In addition, guidance recently received from the Office of Refugee Resettlement alters the "entry" date for asylees and therefore effectively alters the start date of their benefit eligibility period for refugee assistance and services. Asylees are eligible for refuge assistance and services beginning on the date they are granted asylum. Under the new policy the date that an individual is granted asylum is the persons "entry" date.
This revision also incorporates other technical corrections
and clarifications to policy and procedure outlined in the manual. Policy changes were
recommended for implementation by the Policy Development Team and reviewed for
implementation by the Implementation Planning Team.
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CHANGES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS
KEESM 1227 - Subpoenas
and Testifying in Court Concerning Information Not Otherwise Authorized to be Disclosed
- This section has been amended to update the statement staff shall make to a court
if they are subpoenaed to testify regarding confidential information concerning a client.
This statement was revised by the SRS Legal Section to include current federal citations.
This section has been amended to note that persons applying for assistance shall not be impacted by previous findings of non-cooperation if the non-cooperation occurred as a result of a voluntary referral (food stamps, HealthWave, childrens Medicaid) or as result of a required referral which did not require cooperation (prior to 05-01, MP, SI, other childrens medical). Applications will be processed without regard to the non-cooperation status in these instances.
This section has been clarified to include penalty periods for medical coverage. Only non-pregnant adult caretakers participating in the Family Medical program are penalized.
This section has also been clarified to state that if a
prior finding of non-cooperation exists, the family must be given the opportunity to
cooperate prior to taking action to deny the application based on non-cooperation. Local
referral processes that are in place should ensure that CSE staff become aware of the new
application/new referral that has occurred to ensure the client has the opportunity to
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This section has been further modified to incorporate clarification that was
previously issued related to referral sources for mental health barriers. The RS CDC may
be an appropriate referral source for mental health barriers.
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This page was last updated: 09/05/2002 01:28 PM