[55 PA. CODE CHS. 141, 147 AND 289]
General Eligibility; Residence; Emergency Assistance
[28 Pa.B. 2287]
The Department of Public Welfare (Department), under the authority of section 403(b) of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. § 403(b)) proposes to amend §§ 141.61, 141.81 and 147.61 (relating to policy; MA eligibility policy; and GA residence policy) and delete Chapter 289 (relating to emergency assistance) to read as set forth in Annex A. These amendments affect the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and General Assistance (GA) Programs and noncash assistance applicants who meet the nonfinancial and financial eligibility criteria for emergency assistance.
Purpose of the Proposed Amendments
This proposed rulemaking rescinds Chapter 289 including regulations and procedures related to the obsolete Emergency Medical Assistance (MA) component, and obsolete provisions related to this program in Chapters 141 and 147. The Emergency Assistance Program was an optional program operated under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act and has been administered by the Office of Income Maintenance (OIM). The regulations were modified by notice of rule change published at 21 Pa.B. 2953 (June 29, 1991) with an effective date of July 1, 1991, which eliminated the Emergency MA Program and limited the program to Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA).
Emergency MA was deleted from the Pennsylvania Title IV-A State Plan effective April 1, 1994. Emergency medical services are provided only to legalized aliens under The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (8 U.S.C.A. §§ 1324a--1365) as provided in Chapter 150 (relating to emergency medical services).
Placing responsibility for the administration and delivery of emergency housing services under the control of one office, the Housing Assistance Program (HAP), will accomplish the following essential purposes:
1) It will enable persons seeking these services to have their needs addressed and expedited by only one administering office with experts whose primary function is directed toward the provision of housing services.
2) It will eliminate the confusing and sometimes conflicting requirements of the application/interface process between two separate offices which function under different rules.
3) It will both clarify and simplify the process for maximizing the claiming of Federal funds and it will lessen the prospect of disputed or disallowed claims.
The end result of a more efficient and effective system may enable the Department to improve benefits and service delivery for those in need of these services.
Effective March 3, 1997, the Department implemented the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 (Pub.L. No. 104-193, August 22, 1996, 110 Stat. 2105). Title I of PRWORA-- TANF--replaces the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. See 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 601--619.
Under TANF, there is no requirement for the operation of the Emergency Assistance Program. The Department would like to eliminate the dual systems and utilize the flexibility of the block grant to develop, through HAP, a single delivery system for ESA. In addition to services for things such as security deposits for rent of a new dwelling, payment for overdue or new utility hook-ups or payment for past-due rent, HAP services include training in budgeting and money management to prevent future housing crises.
Summary of Requirements
Effective with the final adoption of this rulemaking, the OIM will no longer administer the ESA Program. ESA will be administered under the Office of Social Programs' Homeless Assistance Program.
* Section 141.81(c)(3)(v)--This proposal will delete reference to ''E'' category coding relative to emergency MA services for migrant workers which is no longer applicable with the elimination of the Emergency Assistance Program.
* Section 147.61(c)--This proposal will delete reference to the Emergency Assistance Program.
* Section 147.61(d)--This proposal will delete reference to Chapter 289 and add a reference to Chapter 150 (relating to citizenship and alienage) as emergency medical services are limited to legalized aliens only.
* Chapter 289, Emergency Assistance--This proposal will delete the chapter as it is no longer applicable with the elimination of the Emergency Assistance Program.
Implementation of these proposed amendments will rescind the Emergency Assistance Program regulations in Chapter 289, thereby removing a duplicative, burdensome and confusing dual process for persons seeking ESA. All ESAs and benefit distributions will be administered and funded through the Office of Social Programs' Homeless Assistance Program.
The benefit of this policy change will be that all activities aimed at aiding persons who require ESA will be conducted under the control of one office, thereby expediting the service process and ensuring a more efficient and effective use and accountability of funds for emergency shelter.
A sunset date is not applicable in this instance because the Department is ending the Emergency Assistance Program.
Public Comment Period
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding these proposed amendments to the Department of Public Welfare, Patricia H. O'Neal, Director, Bureau of Policy, Room 431, Health and Welfare Building, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120, within 30-calendar days of the date of publication of this notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments received within 30-calendar days will be reviewed and considered in the preparation of the final-form regulations. Comments received after the 30-day comment period will be considered for any subsequent revisions of these regulations.
Persons with a disability may use the AT&T Relay Service by calling (800) 654-5984 (TDD Users) or (800) 564-5988 (Voice Users).
Regulatory Review Act
Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P.S. § 745.5(a)), on May 1, 1998, the Department submitted a copy of these proposed amendments to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to the Chairpersons of the House Committee on Health and Human Services and the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare. In addition to submitting the proposed amendments, the Department has provided IRRC and the Committees with a copy of a detailed Regulatory Analysis Form prepared by the Department in compliance with Executive Order 1996-1, ''Regulatory Review and Promulgation.'' A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.
Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, if IRRC has objections to any portion of the proposed amendments, it will notify the Department within 10 days of the close of the Committees' comment period. The notification shall specify the regulatory review criteria which have not been met by that portion. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to the final publication of the amendments, by the Department, the General Assembly and the Governor of objections raised.
FEATHER O. HOUSTOUN,
Fiscal Note: 14-440. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption. Since the program costs of the ESA Program are being shifted to HAP without any decrease in services or changes to HAP eligibility requirements there is no increase in cost expected from this proposed rulemaking.
TITLE 55. PUBLIC WELFARE
PART II. PUBLIC ASSISTANCE MANUAL
Subpart C. ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
CHAPTER 141. GENERAL ELIGIBILITY PROVISIONS
ELIGIBILITY PROVISIONS FOR GA
§ 141.61. Policy.
(a) Conditions of eligibility. The following relates to eligibility for GA:
* * * * *
(2) Before authorizing GA to a family with dependent children, a thorough determination shall be made as to whether the family meets the definitive conditions for [AFDC, AFDC-U or Emergency Assistance (EA--Family Cash Assistance)] Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). For GA cases with dependent children, the case narrative shall substantiate that the [AFDC, AFDC-U and EA categories were] TANF category was considered and include the reason the case was not eligible for [one of these three categories] TANF.
[(3) Otherwise eligible families with children under the age of 21 who do not qualify for AFDC or AFDC-CU shall be authorized EA--Family Cash Assistance because an emergency situation has caused the family's need for financial help. The family shall qualify for EA--Family Cash Assistance for up to 30-consecutive days within a 12-month period. To authorize EA--Family Cash Assistance, procedures in § 289.4(b) (relating to procedures) forapplicant/recipient families with children under 21 who do not qualify for AFDC or AFDC-U shall be applied. EA--Family Cash Assistance shall never be granted concurrently with GA.
* * * * *
ELIGIBILITY PROVISIONS FOR MA FOR MEDICALLY NEEDY
§ 141.81. MA eligibility policy.
* * * * *
(c) Other eligibility conditions and categories. Other eligibility conditions and categories are as follows:
* * * * *
(3) The categories of MA and the eligibility conditions for them are set forth as follows. A decision that the client does not meet the definitive conditions for old age, dependent children, blind or permanent and total disability [must] shall be supported in the case record.
* * * * *
(ii) Dependent Child Category (TC). A parent will be considered incapacitated during the period institutional medical care, hospital-home care or nursing services in the home are received. [The suffix ''E'' will be added to the category symbols, such as TCE, to identify migrant worker applicant groups with children who are eligible for emergency MA services.] This category applies to the following:
* * * * *
(v) General Category (TD). Category TD [will be treated as follows:
(A) This category] is financed by Commonwealth funds only. It applies to persons who do not meet the conditions for the Federally-aided categories of MA (TA, TC, TB or TJ).
[(B) The suffix ''E'' will be added to the category symbols, that is, TDE, to identify migrant workers eligible for emergency MA services.]
* * * * *
CHAPTER 147. RESIDENCE
GA RESIDENCE PROVISIONS
§ 147.61. GA residence policy.
* * * * *
(c) A person temporarily residing in this Commonwealth who has a job that is real, such as migrant workers, and is not working because of reasons beyond his control, for example, maturity of crops delays harvesting, general weather conditions and the like, will be eligible for a one-time grant while the facts are being verified. If the facts substantiate that the person will definitely be employed when the reasons beyond his control no longer exist, additional one-time grants may be authorized until the person receives his first pay. [A migrant worker family with children under 21 will be eligible for Family Cash Assistance under the Emergency Assistance Program as described in § 289.4 (relating to procedures) for a period not to exceed 30 consecutive days or less as needed.]
(d) A migrant and his family receiving a money payment may also be eligible for burial payment, food stamps and social services. If otherwise eligible, a migrant worker and his family may receive MA services when there is an emergency medical need as the result of an emergency situation as provided for in Chapter  150 (relating to [emergency assistance] citizenship and alienage).
(Editor's Note: As part of this proposal, the Department is proposing to delete the text of Chapter 289 (relating to emergency assistance) which consists of §§ 289.1--289.4 and currently appears at 55 Pa. Code pages 289-1--289-11, serial pages (109251)--(109260).)
CHAPTER 289. (Reserved)
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 98-768. Filed for public inspection May 15, 1998, 9:00 a.m.]
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