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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 02-1589




[55 PA. CODE CHS. 105, 123, 125, 133, 140, 141, 145, 151, 153, 165, 177, 178, 181, 183, 187 AND 281]


TANF Program

[32 Pa.B. 5048]

   An error occurred in the preamble to the document which appeared at 32 Pa.B. 4435, 4438 (September 14, 2002). Act 1996-35 was inadvertently dropped at several locations when statutory authority was discussed. The correct version of the preamble is as follows, with ellipses referring to the existing text:

   The Department of Public Welfare (Department), by this order, adopts the amendments to read as set forth in Annex A. The statutory authority for this rulemaking is sections 201(2) and 403(b) of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. §§ 201(2) and 403(b)) (code); the Support Law (62 P. S. §§ 1971--1977); Titles I and III of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-193) (PRWORA), creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, and amending 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 601--619, 651--669(b) and 1396u-1; section 5543 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. No. 105-33) (42 U.S.C.A. § 653(p)); section 1902(a)(10)(A) and (C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 1396a(a)(10)(A) and (C)); the Federal TANF regulations in 45 CFR 260.10--265.10; Act 1996-35 (Act 35) which amended sections 401, 402, 403(b),405, 405.1, 405.3, 408, 432, 432.3--432.5, 432.12, 432.19, 442.1 and 481 of the code and added sections 405.5, 432.22, 434, 448 and 449 to the code; and the Domestic Relations Code, 23 Pa.C.S. §§ 4301--4381, 5103, 7101--7901 and 8101--8418.

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Need for Amendments

   The purpose of this final-form rulemaking is to codify regulations based upon landmark Federal and State welfare reform legislation that emphasizes personal responsibility, work and self-sufficiency. Specifically, TANF and Act 35 transformed welfare from an unlimited entitlement to a temporary support system. The new regulations reflect the legislative intent to promote self-sufficiency. Changes, including more substantial work requirements and increased financial incentives for working welfare recipients, illustrate this refocus of welfare. Moreover, the Domestic Relations Code contains revised provisions requiring cooperation with the Child Support Enforcement Program (established under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) as a condition of eligibility for cash assistance, and a new support pass-through program. Implementation of child support cooperation provisions is another key component to assure an income source for needy families seeking to achieve self-sufficiency. This final-form rulemaking provides numerous supports and incentives to assist employable individuals in their quest for financial independence. These supports and incentives include waivers of various program requirements for victims of domestic violence, a 50% earned income disregard, exclusion of educational savings accounts and special allowances, such as child care and transportation expenses, to support training, education and work.


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   Grounded in the legislative directive in Act 35 that work is essential to self-sufficiency, this final-form rulemaking incorporates statutory work and work-related requirements and sanctions for willful noncompliance with these requirements. At the same time, the Department recognizes that some individuals have significant obstacles that hinder their ability to work. Depending on the nature and extent of these obstacles, an individual may be exempt or excused from work and work-related requirements for good cause, and receive appropriate supportive services. These requirements and benefits associated with employment and training are embodied in the Department's Road to Economic Self-Sufficiency Through Employment and Training (RESET) program, established by Act 35.

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   This revision does not reflect a new interpretation of what the statute requires an individual to do regarding employment. With or without this revision, the individual must accept, work in and keep as many hours of employment as the individual is reasonably able to maintain. This means that an individual must maximize hours of employment, above minimum requirements, if the hours are available and the individual is reasonably able to work those hours. For example, if the individual has the opportunity to increase the individual's work hours from 20 to 30 per week, the individual must accept the additional hours, unless the individual cannot reasonably do so (such as, the 30 hours are available only during the night shift, and the individual is a single parent with no appropriate child care during that time; or, the 20-hour per week job pays the individual more than the other would). Because an individual must accept the additional hours only if the individual can reasonably do so, this requirement should not be too burdensome to those who may have difficulty working full-time. This requirement is consistent with the goal of TANF and Act 35 that a recipient transition from dependency through increased employment to self-sufficiency as soon as practicable.

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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 02-1589. Filed for public inspection September 13, 2002, 9:00 a.m.]

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