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PAMTL 408 (October 1, 1999 MTL)
Public Assistance Manual Transmittal Letter No. 408
October 1, 1999
SUBJECT: October 1, 1999 MTL

Policy changes in this MTL are effective October 1, 1999. This cover letter includes a summary statement of each policy change. Each statement either references the clearance control number (CCN) assigned when the policy change was placed in the clearance process, or indicates that the policy change did not go through the clearance process. We have also included miscellaneous changes where language has been added to the Ohio Revised Code, but an Ohio Administrative Code rule was not written to address the provision.


Ohio Works First: Chapter 3000

Rule 5101:1-3-01 - "OWF: Definitions of Assistance Group Composition for Work Participation Rates"

This rule sets forth the definitions of assistance group composition for work participation rates. This rule is being proposed to provide definitions that are used in determining both the state and federal work participation rates, and align with the recently issued final TANF regulations. Former rule 5101:1-3-01 is being rescinded and is being replaced by this new rule. There are three types of assistance group compositions that relate to federal and state work participation rate calculations. They are, "two-parent assistance groups", "all-family assistance groups", and "child only" assistance groups. (CCN 4497)

Rule 5101:1-3-03 - "Ohio Works First (OWF): Residence and Living Arrangement Requirement"

Section 5107.10 of Amended Substitute House Bill (Am. Sub. H.B.) 283 allows for a minor child to receive OWF benefits if the child is residing in the home of a parent, guardian, specified relative or custodian to the extent permitted by Title IV-A and federal regulations adopted under Title IV-A. A custodian, as defined in Section 5107.02 of Am. Sub. H.B. 283, is an individual who has legal custody of a minor child or comparable status over a minor child created by a court of competent jurisdiction in another state.

There is an outstanding issue as to whether the federal regulations permit the use of TANF funds for children not residing with parents or specified relatives. If it is determined that TANF funds cannot be used for children residing with non-related individuals, custodians and guardians (who are not specified relatives) will be removed from the rule.

The 'NPC' field on AEIHH will now accept a 'C' for custodian. This will enable CRIS-E to determine OWF eligibility for the minor child, but not the custodian, since Section 5107.11 (C) of Am. Sub. H.B. 283 prohibits OWF benefits for a custodian or guardian in the assistance group with the minor child, unless the custodian or guardian is also a specified relative. 'C' or 'L' should only be entered if the individual is not a specified relative of the minor child.

Children currently receiving DA who are living with a person standing in place of a parent, shall have OWF eligibility explored at case change or reapplication, if the person standing in place of a parent is a legal custodian as defined in Section 5107.02 of Am. Sub. H.B.283. (CCN 4499)

Rule 5101:1-3-04 -"Ohio Works First (OWF): Temporary Absence"

Section 5107.10 of Am. Sub. H.B. 283 increased the time frame for PCSA reunification from 3 payment months to 6 payment months. Children may continue to receive OWF benefits in the removal home during the 6 payment months. The rule has been amended to reflect this change.

A Service Request Form (SRF) has been completed to change the language on CRIS-E screens AEIIA and AEIDC from 90 days to 180 days. CRIS-E currently allows for a 6-month end-date on AEIDC. The end-date on AEIDC must always reflect the last day of the month. Reason code 706 has been revised to reflect the change from 3 months to 6 months.

Any OWF assistance group with a child whose third month under the current 90-day policy ends in September 1999 or later, shall be reviewed with the PCSA to determine if the assistance group remains eligible for the additional 3 months. Upon verbal or written confirmation from the PCSA, the CDHS shall change the end-date on AEIDC to reflect the change from 3 to 6 months. Any child whose 90-days ended on or before August 31, 1999, is not eligible for the additional 3 months. OWF/PRC Guidance Letter #6 identified the cases with children eligible under the current 90-day policy.

As a result of questions from counties and regional offices, language has been added regarding an assistance group member whose sole absence from the home is service in the military. This individual meets the good cause criteria for temporary absence. (CCN 4499)

Rule 5101:1-3-15 - "Ohio Works First (OWF): Penalties and Three-Tier Sanctions"

In accordance with Section 5107.17 of Am. Sub. H.B. 283, language regarding the assistance group's requirement, upon compliance, to sign a new or amended self-sufficiency contract and complete a reapplication, has been changed. Specifically, Section 5107.17 states that when an assistance group resumes participation in OWF following a sanction, the CDHS shall not require the assistance group to complete a reapplication unless one is necessary to continue the Medicaid or Food Stamps benefits. The CDHS shall not require a new self-sufficiency contract unless the CDHS determines that an appraisal is necessary or the assistance group's circumstances have changed since the prior contract was completed. If a reapplication is not completed by the CDHS, the assignment of support rights will be deemed to have been met with the existing application. The effective date of the assignment remains the month following the reinstatement of OWF.

In addition, clarification regarding the period of ineligibility for employment termination without just cause for an individual in receipt of OWF, Transitional Medicaid, Transitional Child Care or an individual receiving none of those types of assistance, has been added to the penalty section of this rule.

Language regarding assistance group movement in penalty situations has been added to the rule. The rule currently addresses assistance group movement in sanction situations. (CCN 4499)

Rule 5101:1-23-10 - "OWF: Standard Filing Unit"

Custodians have been added to this rule, pending a final decision regarding the appropriate use of federal TANF funds, as previously detailed on page one of the cover letter.

Language has been added to include in the standard filing unit, an individual who is under house arrest. The CDHS will need to work closely with the parole board to determine what work activity requirements that the offender will be assigned to in order to meet the family's participation rate. Section 2929 of the Ohio Revised Code does allow for the eligible offender to be away from the home for periods of time during which he/she is at the place of employment or at other premises as authorized by the sentencing court or by the parole board. (CCN 4499)

5101:1-23-20 "OWF: Income and Eligibility"

This rule has been amended to remove all references to the 18-month time limit for receipt of the $250 and ½ of the remainder earned income disregard. The state budget bill, Sub. H.B. 283 removes the time limit for receipt of the $250 and ½ the remainder earned income disregard. A SRF has been generated to remove the limit and avoid terminating OWF benefits to an assistance group that reaches the 18-month limit on 09/30/99.

For families that are receiving small OWF cash assistance benefit amounts, the CDHS should discuss the possibility of leaving OWF with the assistance group, in order to preserve the future availability of time-limited OWF cash assistance benefits. As a part of this discussion, the CDHS should advise the assistance group of the availability of PRC services and non-assistance support services, as well as food stamp, Medicaid and child care assistance. (CCN 4497)

Rule 5101:1-23-40 - "OWF: Payments"

Custodians have been added to this rule, pending a final decision regarding the appropriate use of federal TANF funds, as previously detailed on page one of the cover letter. (CCN 4499)

Rule 5101:1-23-60 - "OWF: Underpayments"

As a result of the elimination of the 18-month period for the earned income disregard, all references to that time period have been removed from the rule. (CCN 4499)


Section 5107.24 - Minor parent living arrangement

Custodian has been added to this section as an acceptable individual for a minor parent or pregnant minor to reside with to qualify for OWF benefits.

Section 5107.26 - Termination of employment without just cause

Section 5107.26 of Am. Sub. H.B. 283 added language prohibiting termination of OWF if the termination of employment was due to an assistance group member's securing of comparable or better employment. It is recommended that the CDHS refer to the ODHS Office of Legal Services Legal Brief 99-04 regarding "comparable" employment. This requires no change to CRIS-E, as this will be considered a just cause reason for employment termination.


Ohio Works First: Chapter 3000

Rule 5101:1-3-10 - "OWF: Child Support Requirement"

This rule replaces former rule 5101:1-3-10 "OWF: Assignment of Child Support, Mandatory Cooperation in Securing Support, and CDHS/CSEA Interface". SETS interface language that was previously deleted has been reinstated in this rule. Included in the rule is an explanation of TANF definition of what is assigned and examples of what is not assigned (i.e, support services for employed assistance groups, nonrecurrent short-term benefits). Federal Child Support Guidance OCSE-AT-98-24 makes a distinction between "assistance" under the TANF program purposes under Title IV-A (OWF) and "assistance paid to the family" for child support distribution purposes under IV-D (Child Support). "Assistance paid to the family" for child support enforcement collection purposes, means money payments in cash, check or warrants immediately redeemable at par to eligible families under a state plan approved under Title IV-A.

The distinction is important because although all TANF (OWF) "assistance" is assigned, only "assistance paid to the family" is reimbursable in the child support distribution process. Assignment of support is not required under TANF if the family is not in receipt of "assistance" as defined in the final federal regulations. For example, any benefits provided under PRC are not subject to assignment and are not used to reimburse assistance, even if the PRC is in the form of a cash payment to the family.

A SRF has been completed to capture all benefits that meet the definition of assistance and must be assigned for child support purposes. The assignment is still captured by completion of the application and would not require the CDHS to process this information any differently than is currently being done. However, it will make a difference in the determination of when the child support being paid on the family's behalf is greater than the amount of assistance paid to the family, since the definition of "assistance" has been expanded.

Additional language has been added to clarify that there is no non-cooperation penalty for assistance groups not containing an adult or minor head of household. (CCN 4499)

Rule 5101:1-3-12 - "OWF: Work Activity Participation and Child Care"

Single custodial parents caring for a child under age six, who has demonstrated an inability, as determined by the CDHS, to obtain needed child care, cannot be sanctioned for refusing to engage in required work. This exception applies if appropriate child care within a reasonable distance from the individual's home or work site is not available; informal child care by a relative or under other arrangements is unavailable or unsuitable; or appropriate and affordable formal child care arrangements are unavailable. Definitions for "appropriate child care", "reasonable distance", "unsuitability of informal care" and "affordable child care arrangement" have been included in this rule.

The federal regulations require that TANF (OWF) single custodial parents caring for a child under age six, be informed of the child care exception and definitions; the CDHS procedures for determining the inability to obtain needed child care; and the fact that this exception does not extend time limits. (CCN 4499)

Rule 5101:1-23-01 - "Ohio Works First (OWF): Time-Limited Receipt of Assistance"

As a result of the issuance of the final federal TANF regulations, this rule has been amended and reorganized to more clearly define receipt of "assistance" in the OWF program.

According to the time limit provisions contained in the April 12, 1999, federal register, only months in which an actual cash benefit was issued count toward the federal 60-month TANF time limit. This includes the issuance of OWF cash assistance benefits via EFT, EBT, warrant, voucher or check; the issuance of supportive services such as child care and transportation for an assistance group containing an unemployed adult or minor head of household (unless the payments meet the definition of nonrecurrent, short-term benefits as set forth in §260.31(b)(1) of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations); and in situations when an assistance group's OWF cash benefits are reduced to zero to repay an overpayment.

The rule has also been amended to identify each circumstance under which an assistance group is NOT considered to be receiving assistance in the OWF program for purposes of applying the time limit. TANF time limit policy effective October 1, 1999, does not count certain months toward the federal 60-month time limit that have been counted under OWF since October 1, 1997. This includes:

  • SEP cases, where the assistance payment is diverted in its entirety to an employer;
  • Cases in which the assistance case is left open, but the cash benefit is reduced to zero because of the imposition of a sanction, such as the LEAP sanction which is imposed after six months of the $62 LEAP sanction [ref: OAC rule 5101:1-23-50(P)(3)], and the Learnfare sanction for refusal to consent to release of school records, as provided by ORC Section 5107.284;
  • Minimum payment cases - when the assistance group is determined to be financially eligible to participate in OWF, but is eligible for a benefit of less than $10, so no benefit is issued.
  • Cases in which supportive services such as transportation and child care are provided to an assistance group containing an employed adult or minor head of household.
  • Cases in which prevention, retention and contingency (PRC) services under the PRC program, as set forth in Sections 5108.01 to 5108.10 of the Revised Code are provided to an assistance group that is not receiving OWF cash assistance.

A SRF has been generated to make the appropriate changes in CRIS-E effective 10/01/99, and to retroactively remove any of the months listed above for all adults and minor heads of households affected by this change. (CCN 4497)

5101:1-23-50 - "Ohio Works First: The LEAP - Learning, Earning And Parenting Program"

The final TANF regulations allow a state that is operating a waiver to exclude cases that are exempt from participation from the denominator for purposes of calculating the work participation rates. The regulations also allow states to modify waiver policies to make them more consistent with TANF.

Therefore, beginning 10/1/99, all LEAP teens who are exempt from participation will be excluded from the denominator with one exception: teens who are excused from compulsory school attendance in accordance with Section 3321.04 of the Revised Code for the purpose of home education.

The Department of Education has a rule that states that a parent who elects to provide home education has to provide the superintendent with an assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of 900 hours of home education each school year. As a result, a teen for whom home education is provided can be considered to be maintaining satisfactory attendance, and as such is deemed to be engaged in work for work participation rate calculations.

A teen excused from compulsory attendance is considered to be subject to LEAP program requirements for work participation rate calculations only, and is not eligible to receive the enrollment, attendance, grade completion, or graduation bonuses, nor subject to the reduction in benefits for failure to comply with the LEAP program requirements. (CCN 4497)

Rule 5101:1-23-70 - "OWF: Erroneous Payment"

Clarifying language was included regarding IV-A and IV-D overpayments. This coincides with language found in Child Support rule 5101:1-29-78 and CSEM sections 4500 - 4502. (CCN 4499)

Disability Assistance: Chapter 5000

Rule 5101:1-5-01 - "The Disability Assistance Program Definitions and Payment Standards"

This rule has been modified to reflect changes required by the state budget bill, Sub. H.B. 283. Specifically, the provisions regarding the potential eligibility of individuals who are in treatment for drug or alcohol addiction have been changed. The statute requires that, effective 10/01/99 only those individuals who are RESIDENTS in a drug or alcohol addiction treatment facility certified by the Ohio Department of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services (ODADAS) are potentially eligible for DA. Previous policy allowed DA eligibility for individuals who are actively participating in an ODADAS certified drug or alcohol addiction program. No desk review is required to terminate DA benefits to affected individuals. Instead, the CDHS should review cases at the next reapplication or case change, and to take appropriate action based on the specific circumstances of each individual affected by this change in policy.

In addition, the temporary law which provided for the DA eligibility of certain refugees and legal immigrants expired, and was not renewed or included in Revised Code Chapter 5115 as permanent law. Therefore, the policy previously listed in paragraph (D)(1)(f) and the separate payment standards in DA for the refugee and legal immigrants category is no longer applicable, and has been deleted.

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