SI BOS00830.407 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Related Programs – Rhode Island (TN 5-262 — 03/2006)

A. Background

Based on federal legislation passed in 1996, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The legislation provides cash block grants to States and gives them flexibility to determine eligibility criteria, to set benefit amounts and to provide various related programs.

B. The Administration Of Tanf In Rhode Island

1. TANF

The State administers the TANF benefit under the name of “Family Independence Program” (FIP). Because funding for FIP comes partially from Federal block grants, FIP payments are considered income based on need. The individual’s share of a FIP grant is counted dollar for dollar as income and the $20.00 general income exclusion does not apply to this income. See SI BOS00830.407C. for development.

2. Cash Diversion (CD) Program – One-Time Alternative Cash Assistance (ACA)

Rhode Island has a cash diversion (CD) program known as One-Time Alternative Cash Assistance (ACA). This benefit is primarily to assist a worker in maintaining or finding employment. The ACA is a lump sum which is equal to a total of up to three (3) times the monthly amount of cash assistance to which the family would otherwise be entitled. Income is an eligibility factor and ACA is funded with TANF funds. Similarly, the individual’s share of an ACA grant is counted dollar for dollar as income and the $20.00 general income exclusion does not apply to this income. See SI BOS00830.407C. for development.

3. Clothing Allowance

RI DHS may pay a $30 clothing allowance once a year and generally in the fall to certain eligible children between the ages of 5 and 12. The RI General Assembly authorizes this benefit each year depending on the budget. Since the benefit is based on need and State funded, it is excluded from income as Assistance Based on Need (ABON). See SI 00830.175.

4. State Agency Administering Family Independence Program (FIP), One-Time Alternative Cash Assistance (ACA) and Clothing Allowance

The Rhode Island Department of Human Services (RI DHS) administers these programs. Information on these programs can be found on the Agency’s website at http://www.dhs.state.ri.us/dhs/dserfch.htm and the RI DHS Code of Rules for FIP at http://www.ridhscode.org/0800.htm.

5. Simultaneous SSI/FIP/ACA Eligibility

In Rhode Island an individual may not be included in an FIP/ACA grant for the same months he or she is eligible for SSI. The monthly amount of any SSI payment must be reduced dollar for dollar by the individual’s share of a FIP/ACA grant, until the State removes the individual from the grant. SI BOS00830.407C. and SI BOS00830.407D. below provide instructions for verifying the individual’s share of the FIP/ACA grant and the FIP termination date.

6. Frequency of Payment

RI DHS makes two FIP payments monthly to each household. The head of household who is applying for/receiving assistance for the household is the grantee. RI DHS makes those payments through an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system. Cash benefits are credited to an EBT account in the recipient's name by 5:00 a.m. on the first and sixteenth of the month including weekends and holidays

Even though the household receives two payments per month, removal from the grant is effective with the first of the following month upon notice of SSI eligibility and payment.

The ACA is a one-time EBT payment to the household upon approval of the ACA.

7. How Rhode Island Computes FIP/ACA Grants

Rhode Island uses an incremental method to determine the FIP/ACA grant amount for a family. The amount of the grant is increased or decreased, as the number of people in the family increases or decreases.

Assistance begins as of the date of application for FIP/ACA or the date the applicant meets all eligibility requirements provided this date does not precede the date of application. Benefits for the first month of FIP eligibility are prorated automatically by the RI DHS system based on the date of application. For instance, if an individual applies on 9/10/2005, he/she would be entitled to 21 days of benefits.

The ACA one-time benefit is equivalent to 3 full month’s grant amounts so proration for the first payment is not material.

8. Family Cap on Incremental Rate Grant

Rhode Island has no family cap.

9. Child Support Pass-Through

FIP recipients assign their child support rights to the RI DHS as part of their obligation to cooperate with child support enforcement efforts. From the child support the RI DHS collects each month, the agency pays the first $50.00 per month to the household. RI DHS excludes this pass-through payment in determining need and the amount of the benefit payment. Assume that a regularly recurring payment of $50 or less made by RI DHS is not income to the SSI recipient unless there is only one child in the family. If there is only one child in the family, accept the individual’s allegation that the household receives the $50 pass-through payment and consider this to be child support to the child. See SI 00830.425D.4. There is no similar assignment for ACA.

10. Individual Development Accounts (IDA)

Rhode Island does not offer Individual Development Accounts.

C. Procedure – Determining An Individual’s Share Of A FIP/ACA Grant

Because funding for FIP/ACA comes partially from Federal block grants, FIP/ACA payments are considered income based on need. The individual’s share of a FIP/ACA grant is counted dollar for dollar as income and the $20.00 general income exclusion does not apply to this income.

RI DHS issues a statement to FIP beneficiaries showing the current FIP amount as of the statement date and a total amount for the last 3 months, a total amount for the year to date and a total amount for the last 12 months as well as the family members on the grant. See Exhibit 1. Use this statement and/or the recipient’s allegation to determine the recipient’s share of the FIP grant amount if the statement and/or allegation cover the period requiring verification and the grant amount matches exactly a grant amount in the standard payment chart in SI BOS00830.407E. considering the subsidized housing reduction described below. The statement may contain information about household members who are not included in the FIP benefit. Use the grant amount in the chart for the number of household members included in the FIP benefit as indicated by a “YES” in the column headed “FIP.” Due to the nature of the ACA payment, direct contact with RI DHS is always required to determine the recipient’s share of the grant amount.

The payment standard is reduced by fifty dollars ($50) for any family residing in subsidized housing. Subsidized housing is defined as housing for a family whose rent is restricted to a percentage of its income. Therefore, if using the chart, you must determine from the individual whether they reside in subsidized housing. See the example in SI BOS00830.407F.

It is possible to use a combination of the allegation and the FIP statement in order to verify the entire period applicable as long as there is an exact match between the statement/allegation and the chart after determining the monthly amount. From the FIP statement, divide any total amounts by the number of months the total represents i.e., the “last 3 months” total is divided by 3 or use the applicant’s allegation as to the monthly amount for the period requiring verification. If the current grant amount on the statement/allegation or any applicable past grant amounts (divided by the appropriate months) do not match the grant amount in the chart, you must contact the RI DHS to verify the grant amounts and then determine the individual’s share of the TANF payment.

If you are verifying the first month of FIP using the FIP statement and/or recipient’s allegation, determine the prorated amount for the first month using the proration method described in SI BOS00830.407B.7.

Generally, if a household has wages or other income, it is unlikely that the FIP grant amount will match an amount in the chart exactly. Direct contact with RI DHS as described below is needed.

Document the grant amounts, along with the agency name, the source of verification (i.e., FIP statement from RI DHS and/or recipient allegation), date of statement/contact, and that the charts were used to determine the individual’s TANF amount. For initial claims taken in MSSICS use the IADC and ASSOCIATED REMARKS screens. For non-MSSICS cases use the EVID screen and input the individual’s share as type “F” income in the UM field per SM 01005.180 – SM 01005.185.

Note: For fully electronic folders, the documentation on the EVID or MSSICS screens as described in SI BOS00830.407ff is sufficient. Do not fax a copy of the RI DHS statement to the electronic folder.

If the allegation and/or statement after the computations described above do not match the chart or the recipient alleges receiving an ACA payment, contact the local RI DHS office by phone after determining from the RI DHS web site directory which office has jurisdiction for each town. See SI BOS00830.407G. Exhibit 2. Obtain from the agency:

  • the amount of the FIP/ACA grant paid to the family for each month of SSI eligibility, and

  • the amount the grant would be without the SSI applicant for each month of SSI eligibility.

Document the grant amounts, along with the agency name, the date of contact, method of contact (i.e., phone or fax), and the name and phone number of the individual contacted. For initial claims taken in MSSICS use the IADC and ASSOCIATED REMARKS screens. For non-MSSICS cases use the EVID screen and input the individual’s share as type “F” income in the UM field per SM 01005.180 – SM 01005.185.

Note: Use the EVID screen or the DROC screen (and lock it) in post eligibility situations. Do not use the FILE DOCUMENTATION REMARKS of the ASSOCIATED REMARKS SCREEN (for the IADC screen) when documenting TANF in a post-eligibility situation. The screen must lock in order for the documentation to be acceptable. The FILE DOCUMENTATION REMARKS of the ASSOCIATED REMARKS SCREEN only locks for information posted at the time of adjudication.

Click the following links for examples on documenting FIP/ACA and coding the appropriate screens. They are located in the Rhode Island TANF Guide in the SSI Subject Index on BOSNet:

Example 1 – Verification and Documentation of FIP Grant for SSI Applicant – MSSICS Case

Example 2 – Verification and Documentation of FIP Grant for SSI Applicant – Non-MSSICS Case

D. Procedure – Verifying FIP/ACA Termination

RI DHS does not allow an individual to receive FIP/ACA concurrently with SSI. Take the following actions upon approval of the claim.

  • Advise the agency of the individual’s eligibility to SSI and the date of the first SSI payment.

  • Request the date that the individual will be removed from the FIP grant.

  • Confirm receipt of ACA if the recipient had not received the ACA payment at the time the SSI claim was filed.

Note: Since ACA is a one-time payment it is not necessary to determine a termination date. However, RI DHS wants SSA to notify them upon approval of an SSI claim for an ACA recipient as it could impact the ACA claim and related benefits.

Upon receipt of the response, document the FIP termination date, along with the agency name, the date of contact, and the name and phone number of the individual contacted. For MSSICS cases use the IADC and DROC screens and lock the DROC screen after entering the necessary data. For non-MSSICS cases use the EVID screen, and input the termination of “F” income in the UM field.

Note: Use the EVID screen or the DROC screen (and lock it) in post eligibility situations. Do not use the FILE DOCUMENTATION REMARKS of the ASSOCIATED REMARKS SCREEN (for the IADC screen) when documenting TANF in a post-eligibility situation. The screen must lock in order for the documentation to be acceptable. The FILE DOCUMENTATION REMARKS of the ASSOCIATED REMARKS SCREEN only locks for information posted at the time of adjudication.

Click the following links for examples on documenting FIP termination and coding the appropriate screens. The examples are located in the Rhode Island TANF Guide in the SSI Subject Index on BOSNet:

Example 3 – Verification and Documentation of FIP Termination for SSI Applicant – MSSICS Case.

Example 4 – Verification and Documentation of FIP Termination for SSI Applicant – non-MSSICS Case.

E. Rate Chart For FIP In Rhode Island

Standard Payment Chart – Effective 1991

To utilize the table below, select the appropriate amount from the cash assistance monthly standard column according to the number of eligible persons in the assistance plan. Take into consideration the fifty dollar ($50) subsidized housing reduction.

Example: Individual provides RI DHS statement dated July 21, 2005 showing the current FIP payment of $399 and 1 other household member is receiving FIP. Since $399 is not shown below, ask if they reside in subsidized housing. If yes, assume the standard payment amount is the monthly standard ($449) for a family of two minus the $50 subsidized housing reduction or $399. When reviewing the RI DHS letter, consider only the members that have a “Yes” under the FIP column as other family members may be listed on the notice who are not on the FIP grant. If the individual were removed from the FIP, the new monthly standard would be $277 ($327 minus $50). The individual’s share is $122 ($399 minus $277).

FAMILY SIZE

MONTHLY STANDARD

SEMI-MONTHLY AMT

1

$327.00

$163.50

2

449.00

224.50

3

554.00

277.00

4

634.00

317.00

5

714.00

357.00

6

794.00

397.00

7

874.00

437.00

8

954.00

477.00

9

1,034.00

517.00

10

1,114.00

557.00

11

1,194.00

597.00

12

1,274.00

637.00

13

1,354.00

677.00

14

1,434.00

717.00

15

1,514.00

757.00

Add for each person over 15:

$80.00

$ 40.00

F. References

G. Exhibits

Exhibit 1 – Example of Quarterly Statement of FIP and Food Stamp Benefits

Example: Maryellen applies for SSI in July 2005. The statement shows the 7/2005 grant amount is $399 and that there are 2 individuals on the grant (Maryellen and Jacqueline). They both live in subsidized housing. The chart in SI BOS00830.407E. indicates a grant amount for 2 individuals to be $449. The $399 is correct when you take into account the $50 subsidized housing reduction. If the SSI individual were removed from the grant, the grant would be $277 ($327 grant amount for 1 person minus $50 subsidized housing reduction). The incremental share attributed to the SSI individual is $122 ($399 minus $277). See the following statement:

If you have questions about this statement or if any information is incorrect, call

July 21, 2005

Department of Human Services

Quarterly Statement of FIP and Food Stamp Benefits

This is a statement of the amount of Family Independence Program (FIP) and/or Food Stamp benefits you and your family currently receives. The statement also lists the amount of benefits you have received for the last three (3) months, for the current year and for the last twelve (12) months. The members of your family who are presently receiving FIP and/or Food Stamps are also listed below.

Also listed is an update on the number of months you have received cash assistance which count toward your sixty (60) month/five (5) yr time limit or the Family Independence Program.

Remember to report any changes in your family’s situation to your eligibility technician at your local DHS office.

You should KEEP THIS STATEMENT with your financial records and use it for verification of the amount of benefits you receive. There are many programs such as heating assistance, educational assistance and rental assistance that require you to verify your family’s income. You will receive an updated statement each quarter.

Amount of Benefits

 

Period

Amount of FIP

Amount of FS

Current Month

7/2005

$399.00

$122.00

Last 3 Months

4/1/2005 to 6/30/2005

$1197.00

$366.00

Year to Date

1/1/2005 to 6/30/2005

$2287.00

$650.00

Last 12 Months

7/1/2004 to 6/30/2005

$4312.00

$1433.00

Household members receiving either FIP and/or Food Stamp benefits

NAME

DOB

FIP

FS

MARY ELLEN

5/1/1961

YES

YES

* JACQUELINE

8/17/1996

YES

YES

CHRISTIENE

9/25/1988

NO

YES

*** IMPORTANT MESSAGES ***

CLOTHING ALLOWANCE

* The children marked with * are eligible for a Clothing Allowance. See the enc1osed yellow 1etter.

DIRECT CERTIFICATION FOR SCHOOL LUNCH/CHILD CARE FOOD PROGRAM

If you have children that are enrolled in school or child care, each child will receive a Direct Certification letter in the mail during the week of August 15, 2005. To receive free meal benefits, bring the letter to school or to your child care agency (if the agency participates in the Child Care Food Program). You will NOT be required to complete a meal application,

GAS OR ELECTRICITY SHUTOFF?

Are you facing a shutoff of your gas or electric services? If so, you may be able to work out a reasonable payment plan by calling your gas or electric utility directly.

Also, you have a right to request two (2) hearings with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Consumer Division at 91-5OG If you are given a hearing, this may delay your shutoff.

WIC is a Nutrition Program. It offers healthy food and nutrition advice to pregnant women, new moms, babies and children younger than five years old. WIC also provides referral to medical care and other community services that can help you and your family.

If you receive Food Stamps and are pregnant, a new mom, or have children younger than five years of age, you’re income eligible for WIC. Call the Family Health Information Line at l-8OO-927-7434 for more information. This program is an equal opportunity provider.

Exhibit 2 – RI DHS Contacts

Determine which RI DHS office has jurisdiction over the recipient’s FIP/ACA claim by referring to the RI DHS website directory. Then contact the RI DHS office contact for either grant information or termination dates per SI BOS00830.407ff. Due to the frequent changes to the contacts, the list is maintained on BOSNet in the SSI Subject INDEX under TANF.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830407BOS
SI BOS00830.407 - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Related Programs - Rhode Island (TN 5-262 -- 03/2006) - 08/01/2012
Batch run: 08/01/2012
Rev:08/01/2012