A child who is otherwise eligible for Families First must be found to be in need by Families First standards and to be deprived of parental support and/or care. Deprivation must be due to any one of the following:

(1) Death of one or both parents;

(2) Incapacity of a parent;

(3) Absence/Continued Absence from the home in which the child lives of one or both parents, under the criterion described in 1240-01-47-.26(3)(a) of these rules. (The absent parent may have left only recently or some time previously and deprivation of parental support or care by reason of "Absence/Continued Absence" must be reviewed and substantiated at each determination/redetermination of eligibility as provided in 1240-01-47-.26(5) of these rules); or

(4) Unemployment of one or both parents.

(5) Exception: When the custodial parent marries during the period the caretaker is receiving Families First, the caretaker has the option to exclude the new spouse and the new spouse's income from the AG for the three months following the month of marriage.

(a) Reserved for future use.

(b) Reserved for future use.

(c) Reserved for future use.

(d) Reserved for future use.

(6) Exception: When the custodial and non-custodial parents share custody of their child(ren) on a 50/50 basis, whether deprivation of parental support or care by reason of Absence/Continued Absence from the home exists will be determined under criterion as described in 1240-01-47-.26(3)(a) of these rules.

(a) When parents state they share custody exactly 50/50, it must be determined what the parents are actually doing with regard to co-parenting. Though a court order may divide the children's living arrangements and parenting responsibilities 50/50, the parents may not, in fact, be following the court order. If the parents do co-parent exactly 50/50 and the parental functions of guidance and physical care are not interrupted, then we must look at the family as an intact family and consider the income of both parents to determine if the family is financially eligible under the Families First guidelines. If the family is under the GIS and CNS standards (reference Gross Income Standard (GIS) and Consolidated Need Standard (CNS) at State Rule 1240-01-50-.20), then the "applicant" parent would be able to receive Families First, if otherwise eligible.

(b) The "applicant" in true 50/50 co-parenting situations will be the parent who is the first to apply for Families First. If one parent is already receiving Families First for their children, and the second parent applies, the second parent's application will be denied if the parents are still co-parenting 50/50. If both parents come in together to apply, it will be the parents' responsibility to decide which one of them will receive benefits for the children.

(Original rule filed December 2, 1996; effective February 15, 1997. Public necessity rule filed July 2, 2007; expired December 14, 2007. Amendment filed October 1, 2007; effective December 15, 2007. Amendments filed January 20, 2009; effective April 5, 2009.)

Authority: T.C.A. §§ 4-5-201 et seq., 4-5-202, 4-5-209, 71-1-105, 71-3-152, 71-3-153 and 71-3-154; 71-3-158(d)(2)(D); 42 U.S.C. §§ 601 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. 603; Public Acts of 1996, Chapter 950, and 45 CFR 233.90, 45 C.F.R. § 233.90(c)(1)(iii) and 233.100, § 1115 of the Social Security Act; Deficit Reduction Act 2005 (Pub. L. 109-171 §§ 7101 and 7102, February 8, 2006); 71 Federal Register 37454 (June 29, 2006); and Acts 2007, Chapter 31.

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