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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 20-1776



[ 55 PA. CODE CHS. 123 AND 133 ]

Definitions and Redetermination

[50 Pa.B. 7193]
[Saturday, December 19, 2020]

 The Department of Human Services (Department), under the authority of sections 201(2), 403(b) and 432.2 of the Human Services Code (62 P.S. §§ 201(2), 403(b) and 432.2), proposes to amend Chapters 123 and 133 (relating to definitions; and redetermining eligibility) to read as set forth in Annex A.

Purpose of Rulemaking

 The purpose of this proposed rulemaking is to expand the types of interviews available to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) applicants and recipients to meet application and redetermination requirements. This proposed rulemaking removes the need for a face-to-face interview and adds a definition for ''personal interview,'' which will enable TANF applicants and recipients to participate in required interviews by phone, in person or by other means approved by the Department. This change will make the TANF interview process more flexible, efficient and accessible for applicants and recipients.


 Prior to determination of eligibility, under section 432.2(a), the Department must conduct a personal interview with the applicant or with the caretaker relatives of the needy children. Under the current definitions in § 123.22 (relating to definitions), the Department must conduct a face-to-face interview in the County Assistance Office (CAO) for each TANF application and redetermination. Because Federal TANF regulations do not require that TANF interviews be face-to-face, the Department proposes to expand the means by which the Department may interview TANF applicants and recipients.


 The following is a summary of the proposed changes:

§ 123.22. Definitions

 The Department proposes to amend the definitions of application interview and screening interview to delete the requirement that these interviews be face-to-face, requiring a ''personal interview'' instead. The Department also proposes to add a definition for personal interview. A personal interview is a meeting or discussion between an applicant or recipient, and an eligibility worker, which may be in person, by telephone or by other means approved by the Department. The Department proposes to replace ''filed application form'' with ''application'' because applications may also be submitted electronically. The Department also proposes to remove the term ''CAO'' from the definition to reflect that an eligibility worker will conduct the interview, regardless of location in or out of a County Assistance Office.

§ 133.23. Requirements

 The Department proposes to delete text in subsection (c) that requires face-to-face redetermination contacts in the home or office and to add text to require the Department to conduct a personal interview.

Affected Individuals and Organizations

 This proposed rulemaking affects TANF applicants and recipients.

Accomplishments and Benefits

 These proposed amendments will make the TANF interview process more flexible, and accessible for applicant and recipients. The change will also make the TANF review process more flexible and efficient for the Department. With these changes, the required personal interview may be in person, by telephone or by other means approved by the Department. With expanded interview options, the Department may plan with applicants and recipients the most convenient and efficient type of personal interview. For applicants and recipients, these options can save time and avoid the extra travel and childcare expenditures they might have with face-to-face interviews.

Fiscal Impact

 There are no costs associated with this proposed rulemaking. This proposed rulemaking may result in travel cost savings for applicants and recipients. Applicants and recipients may also avoid travel and childcare expenditures and lost wages from unpaid leave time.

Paperwork Requirements

 There are no new paperwork requirements under this proposed rulemaking.

Effective Date

 This proposed rulemaking will become effective upon final-form publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Public Comment

 Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to the Department of Human Services, Office of Income Maintenance, Room 230, 1006 Hem- lock Drive, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17110-3595, using the subject header ''Definitions and Redetermination Regulations.'' Comments, suggestions or objections are due within 30 days from the date of publication of this proposed rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Reference Regulation No. 14-550 when submitting comments.

 Persons with a disability who require an auxiliary aid or service may submit comments by using the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users).

Regulatory Review Act

 Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P.S. § 745.5(a)), on December 7, 2020, the Department submitted a copy of this proposed rulemaking to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) during a sine die session. On the fourth Monday in January 2021, or after both Committees have been designated, whichever is later, the Department will submit a copy of this proposed rulemaking to the Chairpersons of the House Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. In addition to submitting this proposed rulemaking, the Department has provided to IRRC, and will provide to the Committees upon delivery, a copy of a Regulatory Analysis Form prepared by the Department. A copy of this form is available to the public upon request.

 Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC may convey comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed rulemaking, within 30 days after the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections must specify the regulatory review criteria in section 5.2 of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P.S. § 745.5b) which have not been met. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review prior to final publication of the rulemaking by the Department, the General Assembly and the Governor.


Fiscal Note: 14-550. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A






§ 123.22. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this chapter and Chapters 125, 133 and 141 (relating to application process; redetermining eligibility; and general eligibility provisions), have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

*  *  *  *  *

Application interview—A [face-to-face] personal interview between an applicant and an eligibility worker [which is scheduled within 13-calendar days after receipt of an application. The purpose of the application interview is], to gather and record information and to secure verification needed to establish eligibility.

*  *  *  *  *

Monthly assistance payment—The amount of money issued monthly that is based on the family size allowance plus, if applicable, a special need allowance, reduced by the net income of the budget group.

Personal interview—A meeting or discussion between an applicant or recipient and an eligibility worker, in person, by telephone or by other means approved by the Department.

Reapplication—A completed, signed form approved by the Department which is filed with the CAO by a recipient and used for a complete redetermination of continued eligibility of a budget group.

*  *  *  *  *

Screening interview—A [face-to-face or telephone] personal interview between the applicant and [a CAO] an eligibility worker which includes a review of the [filed] application [form] to assure that information necessary to determine eligibility is provided [on the form] prior to determining a person ineligible or prior to scheduling an application interview.




§ 133.23. Requirements.

*  *  *  *  *

 (c) Redetermination contacts. [Redetermination contacts with the client may be in the home or in the office, depending on the preference of the client. Office and home visits shall be scheduled with the client. It may not always be possible to plan a visit so that home visits to the client without notice may be occasionally necessary; for example, when substantiating information is required and urgent to determine the continued eligibility of the client. Home visits shall always be made in accord with the principle of the Department respecting the right of the client to privacy and personal dignity as set forth in § 121.1 (relating to policy)] The Department shall schedule and conduct a personal interview with the recipient.

 (d) Controls for redeterminations. To carry out the function of redetermining eligibility, a central control of necessary future actions is maintained to provide a method whereby reasonably predictable changes in the total caseload can be acted on within appropriate time limits.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-1776. Filed for public inspection December 18, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]

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