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TANF-ACF-PA-1998-03 (State Plan Renewal)

Published: May 15, 1998
Audience:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Topics:
State TANF Plans
Types:
Policy Announcements (PA)
Tags:
State Plans

To:

State Agencies Administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program and Other Interested Parties

Subject:

State Plan Renewal

References:

Section 5501 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-33), sections 402(a) and 403(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act (Act).

Purpose:

This Policy Announcement provides instructions and procedures to States for renewing their status as an "eligible State."  In order to remain "eligible," i.e., continue to qualify to receive funding under TANF, States will need to submit plans during the applicable 27-month period described below.

Background:

Section 5501(a) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-33), amends section 402(a) of the Act to read: "...the term "eligible State" means, with respect to a fiscal year, a State that, during the 27-month period ending with the close of the 1st quarter of the fiscal year (i.e., 12/31/XX), has submitted to the Secretary a plan that the Secretary has found to include..." all of the necessary elements listed in section 402 of the Act including the State certifications specified under sections 402(a)(2)-(7) (See attachment A).

Guidance:

Renewing Status As An "Eligible" State

To determine whether a plan will enable the State to remain "eligible" for a fiscal year (FY), count back 27 months beginning with December (the end of the first quarter of a fiscal year).  If the State has a State plan determined complete by the Secretary with an "effective date" within that 27- month period, it is "eligible" for that fiscal year.

The following examples demonstrate how this provision applies so a State may determine when it must renew its plan.

A State has a plan determined by the Secretary to be complete with an effective date of 9/30/96.  To determine if this plan will enable the State to remain "eligible" for FY 1999, count back 27 months beginning with December 1998 (the end of the first quarter of FY 1999).  This is October 1996.  Thus, the 27-month period corresponding to FY 1999 is October 1996 through December 1998. In our example, the State's plan was effective before October 1996.  Therefore, the State would no longer be an eligible State beginning with FY 1999 unless it submitted a new plan.  The State must submit a plan that the Secretary determines complete no later that the close of the first quarter of the 1999 fiscal year (12/31/98), in order to remain an eligible State.  The State must also submit new certifications in accordance with sections 402(a)(2)-(7) of the Act.

The same computation applies to a State plan with an effective date of 1/10/97 and yields a different result.  The 27-month period corresponding to FY 1999 is 10/96 through 12/98.  Since the 1/10/97 effective date falls within the 27-month period, the State does not need to renew its eligibility status until FY 2000.

The 27-month period corresponding to FY 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 are as follows:

•          FY 1999: 10/1/96 through 12/31/1998

•          FY 2000: 10/1/97 through 12/31/1999

•          FY 2001: 10/1/98 through 12/31/2000

•          FY 2002: 10/1/99 through 12/31/2001

In looking at States' plan completion dates, determined by the effective date in the Department's completion letter to the State, in comparison with the fiscal years listed above, four States (Massachusetts, Michigan, Vermont and Wisconsin) need to renew eligibility status for FY 1999, no later than the close of the first quarter of FY 1999, 12/31/98.  The remaining States, which submitted completed plans after 9/30/96, need to renew eligibility status for FY 2000, no later than the close of the first quarter of FY 2000, 12/31/99.

Funding Issues and Plan Submission Considerations:

In order for a State to renew its eligibility status beginning FY 1999 or FY 2000, whichever is applicable (refer above), the State must submit a timely completed plan by 12/31 of the fiscal year for which status must be renewed.  Funding ("eligibility") will be retroactive to the beginning of that fiscal year (October 1) for a State that timely submits a completed plan.  "Timely" means that the State submitted a completed plan not later than 12/31 of the applicable fiscal year.  "Completed" means that the plan contains all the necessary elements given in section 402 of the Act, including new certifications in accordance with sections 402(a)(2)-(7).  The Department makes this determination.

In order to differentiate between the State plan amendment submission process and the eligible State renewal process, States need to expressly indicate in writing that its submittal is the State's plan to renew its eligibility status.  At a minimum the State needs to include a statement as to the content of the plan (e.g., is the State submitting an entirely new plan or continuing the State plan currently on file as previously amended and/or with the following attached [additional] amendments) and the certifications.

We recommend that States submit a plan that can be determined complete no later than November 1 of the fiscal year for which status must be renewed.  This will give the Department adequate time to determine a plan complete by December 31st.  States may also submit plans earlier than this.  To avoid reducing the eligibility status for earlier submissions (before September 30th of any year), the State should request an effective date of October 1st or later.  If the State indicates that the effective date is not until October 1st and that any new plan policies, provisions, or amendments will not be implemented until after October 1, we will determine the plan effective as of the date requested.

Funding will be suspended after 12/31 if a State has not submitted a complete plan by 12/31 of the applicable fiscal year, as a State would no longer be an "eligible" State.  Funding will be disallowed back to October of the fiscal year for which the State's eligibility status must be renewed if the plan cannot be determined complete.

Inquiries:

ACF Regional Administrators

/s/

Diann Dawson
Acting Director
Office of Family Assistance

Attachment A

Title IV-A of the Social Security Act

SEC. 402. [42 U.S.C. 602] Eligible States; State Plan.

(a) In General.  As used in this part, the term "eligible State" means, with respect to a fiscal year, a State that, during the 27-month period ending with the close of the 1st quarter of the fiscal year, has submitted to the Secretary a plan that the Secretary has found includes the following:

(1) Outline of Family Assistance Program.

(A) General Provisions.  A written document that outlines how the State intends to do the following:

(i) Conduct a program, designed to serve all political subdivisions in the State (not necessarily in a uniform matter), that provides assistance to needy families with (or expecting) children and provides parents with job preparation, work, and support services to enable them to leave the program and become self-sufficient.

(ii) Require a parent or caretaker receiving assistance under the program to engage in work (as defined by the State) once the State determines the parent or caretaker is ready to engage in work, or once the parent or caretaker has received assistance under the program for 24 months (whether or not consecutive), whichever is earlier, consistent with section 407(e)(2).

(iii) Ensure that parents and caretakers receiving assistance under the program engage in work activities in accordance with section 407.

(iv) Take such reasonable steps as the State deems necessary to restrict the use and disclosure of information about individuals and families receiving assistance under the program attributable to funds provided by the Federal Government.

(v) Establish goals and take action to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, with special emphasis on teenage pregnancies, and establish numerical goals for reducing the illegitimacy ratio of the State (as defined in section 403(a)(2)(C)(iii)) for calendar years 1996 through 2005.

(vi) Conduct a program, designed to reach State and local law enforcement officials, the education system, and relevant counseling services, that provides education and training on the problem of statutory rape so that teenage pregnancy prevention programs may be expanded in scope to include men.

(B) Special Provisions:

(i) The document shall indicate whether the State intends to treat families moving into the State from another State differently than other families under the program, and if so, how the State intends to treat such families under the program.

(ii) The document shall indicate whether the State intends to provide assistance under the program to individuals who are not citizens of the United States, and if so, shall include an overview of such assistance.

(iii) The document shall set forth objective criteria for the delivery of benefits and the determination of eligibility and for fair and equitable treatment, including an explanation of how the State will provide opportunities for recipients who have been adversely affected to be heard in a State administrative or appeal process.

(iv) Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, unless the chief executive officer of the State opts out of this provision by notifying the Secretary, a State shall, consistent with the exception provided in section 407(e)(2), require a parent or caretaker receiving assistance under the program who, after receiving such assistance for 2 months is not exempt from work requirements and is not engaged in work, as determined under section 407(c), to participate in community service employment, with minimum hours per week and tasks to be determined by the State.

(2) Certification that the State will Operate a Child Support Enforcement Program.  A certification by the chief executive office of the State that, during the fiscal year, the State will operate a child support enforcement program under the State plan approved under part D.

(3) Certification that the State will Operate a Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Program.  A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that, during the fiscal year, the State will operate a foster care and adoption assistance program under the State plan approved under part E, and that the State will take such actions as are necessary to ensure that children receiving assistance under such part are eligible for medical assistance under the State planunder title XIX.

(4) Certification of the Administration of the Program.  A certification by the chief executive officer of the State specifying which State agency or agencies will administer and supervise the program referred to in paragraph (1) for the fiscal year, which shall include assurances that local governments and private sector organizations--

(A) have been consulted regarding the plan and design of welfare services in the State so that services are provided in a manner appropriate to local populations; and

(B) have had at least 45 days to submit comments on the plan and the design of such services.

(5) Certification that the State Will Provide Indians with Equitable Access to Assistance.  A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that, during the fiscal year, the State will provide each member of an Indian tribe, who is domiciled in the State and is not eligible for assistance under a tribal family assistance plan approved under section 412, with equitable access to assistance under the State program funded under this part attributable to funds provided by the Federal Government.

(6) Certification of Standards and Procedures to Ensure Against Program Fraud and Abuse.  A certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State has established and is enforcing standards and procedures to ensure against program fraud and abuse, including standards and procedures concerning nepotism, conflicts of interest among individuals responsible for the administration and supervision of the State program, kickbacks, and the use of political patronage.

(7)  Optional Certification of Standards and Procedures to Ensure that the State will Screen for and Identify Domestic Violence.

(A) In General.  At the option of the State, a certification by the chief executive officer of the State that the State has established and is enforcing standards and procedures to--

(i) screen and identify individuals receiving assistance under this part with a history of domestic violence while maintaining the confidentiality of such individuals;

(ii) refer such individuals to counseling and supportive services; and

(iii) waive, pursuant to a determination of good cause, other program requirements such as time limits (for as long as necessary) for individuals receiving assistance, residency requirements, child support cooperation requirements, and family cap provisions, in cases where compliance with such requirements would make it more difficult for individuals receiving assistance under this part to escape domestic violence or unfairly penalize such individuals who are or have been victimized by such violence, or individuals who are at risk of further domestic violence.

(B) Domestic Violence Defined.  For purposes of this paragraph, the term "domestic violence" has the same meaning as the term "battered or subjected to extreme cruelty", as defined in section 408(a)(7)(C)(iii).

(b) Plan Amendments.  Within 30 days after a State amends a plan submitted pursuant to subsection (a), the State shall notify the Secretary of the amendment.

(c) Public Availability of State Plan Summary.  The State shall make available to the public a summary of any plan or plan amendment submitted by the State under this section.

Page Posted: 05/20/98