CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES

Department for Community Based Services

Division of Family Support

(Amendment)

 

      921 KAR 3:090. Simplified assistance for the elderly program or ''SAFE''.

 

      RELATES TO: 7 C.F.R. 273.1, 273.2, 273.9, 273.10, 273.12, 273.14

      STATUTORY AUTHORITY: KRS 194A.050(1), 7 C.F.R. 271.4

      NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 194A.050(1) requires the secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to promulgate administrative regulations necessary to implement programs mandated by federal law or to qualify for the receipt of federal funds and necessary to cooperate with other state and federal agencies for the proper administration of the cabinet and its programs. 7 C.F.R. 271.4 delegates the administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to the state agency. This administrative regulation establishes requirements for the Simplified Assistance for the Elderly Program (SAFE), a demonstration project administered by the cabinet to improve access to SNAP for elderly and disabled individuals.

 

      Section 1. Definitions. (1) "Regular SNAP benefits" means SNAP benefits received in accordance with the procedures specified in:

      (a) 921 KAR 3:020, Financial Requirements;

      (b) 921 KAR 3:025, Technical Requirements;

      (c) 921 KAR 3:030, Application Process; and

      (d) 921 KAR 3:035, Certification Process.

      (2) "Shelter costs" means monthly rent or mortgage expenses as stated by the applicant.

      (3) "Simplified Assistance for the Elderly" or "SAFE" means an optional SNAP program for SSI participants who are age sixty (60) or older.

      (4) "State Data Exchange" or "SDX" means files administered by the Social Security Administration that provide states with eligibility and demographic data relating to SSI applicants and participants.

 

      Section 2. SAFE Program Procedures. Unless a different procedure or process for a SNAP requirement is specified in this administrative regulation, all SNAP requirements specified in 921 KAR Chapter 3 shall apply to SAFE, including the process for:

      (1) A fair hearing;

      (2) An administrative disqualification hearing;

      (3) An appeal;

      (4) A disqualification;

      (5) A claim and collection of a claim; and

      (6) EBT issuance.

 

      Section 3. Eligibility for SAFE. (1) An individual may qualify for SAFE benefits if the individual:

      (a) Is a Kentucky resident;

      (b) Is:

      1. A current SSI recipient; or

      2. SSI eligible, but SSI benefits are currently suspended;

      (c) Is age sixty (60) or older;

      (d) Is not institutionalized;

      (e) Is:

      1. Single, widowed, divorced, or separated; or

      2. Married and living with a spouse who meets the criteria specified in (a) through (f) of this subsection; and

      (f) Purchases and prepares food separately from another individual who shares the same residence, but is not a member of the applicant’s household as defined in 921 KAR 3:010.

      (2) The cabinet shall use SDX to verify an applicant’s marital and institutional status.

      (3) If a household member does not meet the criteria listed in subsection (1) of this section, the household:

      (a) Shall not be eligible for SAFE; and

      (b) May apply for regular SNAP benefits in accordance in 921 KAR 3:030.

      (4) An individual who meets the criteria of subsection (1) of this section may apply for regular SNAP benefits instead of SAFE benefits.

      (5) An individual shall not receive SAFE benefits and regular SNAP benefits at the same time.

 

      Section 4. SAFE Application Process. (1) Through use of the SDX files, the cabinet shall:

      (a) Identify SSI participants who are potentially eligible for SAFE; and

      (b) Mail each identified SSI household:

      1.a. A SF-1, Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Application, 7/15; or

      b. On or after December 28, 2015, a SF-1, 12/15; and

      2. A return envelope.

      (2) A SAFE application shall be considered filed if the SF-1 is:

      (a) Signed; and

      (b) Received at the Department for Community Based Services, Division of Family Support.

      (3) In accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.2(g), the cabinet shall provide an eligible household an opportunity to participate within thirty (30) days of the date the application is filed.

 

      Section 5. SAFE Certification Process. (1) The cabinet shall process a SAFE application without requiring an interview.

      (2) Information necessary to certify a SAFE application shall be obtained from SDX with the exception of the information provided by the applicant on the SF-1 or the SF-2, Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Recertification Form.

      (3) The cabinet shall certify an eligible household for SAFE benefits for up to thirty-six (36) months.

      (4) In accordance with 7 C.F.R. 273.10(g), the cabinet shall send an applicant a notice upon certification or denial.

      (5) In the month preceding the last month of the household’s certification period, the cabinet shall send a SAFE household:

      (a) A SF-2, 11/14; or

      (b) On or after December 28, 2015, a SF-2, 12/15[to a SAFE household in the month preceding the last month of the household’s certification period].

 

      Section 6. SAFE Benefits. (1) The cabinet shall provide a SAFE household a standard monthly benefit amount approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service and listed in the SF-1.

      (2) The standard SAFE benefit amounts shall be based on:

      (a) Shelter costs;

      (b) Household size; and

      (c) The average benefits received by a similar household in the regular SNAP.

 

      Section 7. Changes in Household Circumstances. (1) A household receiving SAFE benefits shall not be required to report any changes during the certification period.

      (2) The cabinet shall process changes in household circumstances based on information received from SDX.

      (3) If information voluntarily reported by the household is contradictory to SDX data, the cabinet shall not act upon the information unless the information is a change in a household member's:

      (a) Name;

      (b) Date of birth; or

      (c) Address.

      (4) Unless a change in household circumstance results in a change in benefits, the cabinet shall not provide a SAFE household with notification of a change being made in household circumstances.

 

      Section 8. Incorporation by Reference. (1) The following material is incorporated by reference:

      (a) "SF-1, Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Application", 7/15[11/14];[and]

      (b) "SF-1, Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Application", 12/15;

      (c) "SF-2, Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Recertification Form", 11/14; and

      (d) "SF-2, Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Recertification Form", 12/15.

      (2) This material may be inspected, copied, or obtained, subject to applicable copyright law, at the Department for Community Based Services, 275 East Main Street, Frankfort, Kentucky 40621, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

TERESA C. JAMES, LCSW, Commissioner

AUDREY TAYSE HAYNES, Secretary

      APPROVED BY AGENCY: June 11, 2015

      FILED WITH LRC: July 2, 2015 at 4 p.m.

      PUBLIC HEARING AND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD: A public hearing on this administrative regulation shall, if requested, be held on August 21, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in the Health Services Auditorium, Health Services Building, First Floor, 275 East Main Street, Frankfort, Kentucky. Individuals interested in attending this hearing shall notify this agency in writing by August 14, 2015, five (5) workdays prior to the hearing, of their intent to attend. If no notification of intent to attend the hearing is received by that date, the hearing may be canceled. The hearing is open to the public. Any person who attends will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposed administrative regulation. A transcript of the public hearing will not be made unless a written request for a transcript is made. If you do not wish to attend the public hearing, you may submit written comments on the proposed administrative regulation. You may submit written comments regarding this proposed administrative regulation until August 31, 2015. Send written notification of intent to attend the public hearing or written comments on the proposed administrative regulation to:

      CONTACT PERSON: Tricia Orme, Office of Legal Services, 275 East Main Street 5 W-B, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601, phone 502-564-7905, fax 502-564-7573, tricia.orme@ky.gov.

 

REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS AND TIERING STATEMENT

 

Contact person: Elizabeth Caywood

      (1) Provide a brief summary of:

      (a) What this administrative regulation does: The administrative regulation establishes the Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Program, a federally approved demonstration project administered by the cabinet to improve access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for elderly and disabled individuals.

      (b) The necessity of this administrative regulation: This administrative regulation is necessary to establish uniform requirements for SAFE.

      (c) How this administrative regulation conforms to the content of the authorizing statutes: This administrative regulation conforms to the content of the authorizing statutes by establishing requirements for SAFE.

      (d) How this administrative regulation currently assists or will assist in the effective administration of the statutes: This administrative regulation assists in the effective administration of the statutes by establishing SAFE.

      (2) If this is an amendment to an existing administrative regulation, provide a brief summary of:

      (a) How the amendment will change this existing administrative regulation: The amendment to this administrative regulation will change the monthly allotments received by SAFE recipients. The allotments are provided in the SF-1, Simplified Assistance for the Elderly (SAFE) Application, which is included in the incorporation by reference. In addition, this amendment revises incorporated material to conform to the public assistance programs’ new web-based eligibility and enrollment system to be implemented in late calendar year 2015. The amendment also makes other technical corrections in accordance with KRS Chapter 13A.

      (b) The necessity of the amendment to this administrative regulation: The amendment is necessary to change the monthly SAFE allotment to qualified households to maintain the demonstration project’s cost neutrality, a federal requirement to continue operating the project. The changes are based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food and Nutrition Service’s latest evaluation of the project’s cost in relation to regular SNAP. In addition, the amendment also aligns incorporated material with the program’s new web-based eligibility and enrollment system to be implemented in late calendar year 2015. The new eligibility and enrollment system will be more efficient than the decades-old legacy system currently in use and result in improved business processes, resource management, timeliness, and accuracy.

      (c) How the amendment conforms to the content of the authorizing statutes: The amendment to this administrative regulation conforms to the content of the authorizing statutes by aligning with federal requirements, new technology supports, and improved practice standards for the administrating agency.

      (d) How the amendment will assist in the effective administration of the statutes: The amendment will assist in the effective administration of the statutes by assuring compliance with federal requirements applicable to the demonstration project and congruency with new technology supports and improve practice standards for the administrating agency.

      (3) List the type and number of individuals, businesses, organizations, or state and local governments affected by this administrative regulation: All SAFE recipients and potential applicants are affected by this administrative regulation. As of April 2015, approximately 13,750 households participate in SAFE.

      (4) Provide an analysis of how the entities identified in question (3) will be impacted by either the implementation of this administrative regulation, if new, or by the change, if it is an amendment, including:

      (a) List the actions that each of the regulated entities identified in question (3) will have to take to comply with this administrative regulation or amendment: The amendment to this administrative regulation will not require any additional actions on the part of SAFE applicants or recipients.

      (b) In complying with this administrative regulation or amendment, how much will it cost each of the entities identified in question (3): The amendment to this administrative regulation will change the monthly SAFE allotments to qualified individuals to assure cost neutrality of SAFE in relation to regular SNAP. Cost neutrality is a federal requirement of the SAFE demonstration project to continue its operation. An SAFE applicant or recipient may apply for regular SNAP instead of SAFE.

      (c) As a result of compliance, what benefits will accrue to the entities identified in question (3): The SAFE demonstration project simplifies the application and recertification processes for qualified elderly and disabled recipients. Without the amendment, the demonstration project may become non-operational and/or be subject to federal shutdown, which would curtail access to safety net food benefits for a vulnerable population.

      (5) Provide an estimate of how much it will cost the administrative body to implement this administrative regulation:

      (a) Initially: The administrative regulation will not create a new or additional cost to the administrative body.

      (b) On a continuing basis: The administrative regulation will not create a new or additional cost to the administrative body.

      (6) What is the source of the funding to be used for the implementation and enforcement of this administrative regulation: SNAP and SAFE benefits are 100 percent federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food and Nutrition Service. Program administrative costs are funded by a fifty (50) percent by federal resources and fifty (50) percent by state resources. Program administrative costs have been appropriated in the enacted budget.

      (7) Provide an assessment of whether an increase in fees or funding will be necessary to implement this administrative regulation, if new, or by the change if it is an amendment: An increase in fees or funding is not necessary to implement this administrative regulation.

      (8) State whether or not this administrative regulation established any fees or directly or indirectly increased any fees: This administrative regulation does not establish any fees or directly or indirectly increase any fees.

      (9) TIERING: Is tiering applied? Tiering is not applied. This administrative regulation will be applied in a like manner statewide.

 

FEDERAL MANDATE ANALYSIS COMPARISON

 

      1. Federal statute or regulation constituting the federal mandate. 7 C.F.R. 271.4, 273.2

      2. State compliance standards. KRS 194A.050(1)

      3. Minimum or uniform standards contained in the federal mandate. 7 C.F.R. 271.4, 273.2

      4. Will this administrative regulation impose stricter requirements, or additional or different responsibilities or requirements, than those required by the federal mandate? This administrative regulation imposes no stricter requirements, or additional or different responsibilities or requirements, than those required by the federal mandate.

      5. Justification for the imposition of the stricter standard, or additional or different responsibilities or requirements. This administrative regulation imposes no stricter requirements, or additional or different responsibilities or requirements, than those required by the federal mandate.

 

FISCAL NOTE ON STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

 

      !. What units, parts, or divisions of state or local government (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) will be impacted by this administrative regulation? The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is impacted by this administrative regulation.

      2. Identify each state or federal statute or federal regulation that requires or authorizes the action taken by the administrative regulation. KRS 194A.050(1), 7 C.F.R. 271.4, 273.2

      3. Estimate the effect of this administrative regulation on the expenditures and revenues of a state or local government agency (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) for the first full year the administrative regulation is to be in effect.

      (a) How much revenue will this administrative regulation generate for the state or local government (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) for the first year? The SAFE Program has been operational for numerous years, and it does not directly generate new revenue for the state or local government. No new revenue is anticipated for the first year.

      (b) How much revenue will this administrative regulation generate for the state or local government (including cities, counties, fire departments, or school districts) for subsequent years? No new revenue is anticipated in subsequent years.

      (c) How much will it cost to administer this program for the first year? No additional costs will be necessary to administer this program for the first year.

      (d) How much will it cost to administer this program for subsequent years? No additional costs will be necessary to administer this program for subsequent years.

      Note: If specific dollar estimates cannot be determined, provide a brief narrative to explain the fiscal impact of the administrative regulation.

      Revenues (+/-):     

      Expenditures (+/-):     

      Other Explanation: