1240-01-49-.02 - Exemption Determination

1240-01-49-.02. Exemption Determination

(1) The following individuals are exempt, except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, from participation in the Families First/TANF work and/or educational requirements:

(a) An individual who is disabled. An individual is disabled if the individual:

1. Has been approved for Social Security Disability (Title II) or Supplemental Security Income on the basis of his/her disability;

2. Receives Veterans benefits on the basis of his/her one hundred percent (100%) disability; or

3. Receives Black Lung benefits based on his/her disability;

(b) An individual who is determined to be incapacitated for the purpose of participating in a work and/or educational activities requirement. The incapacity determination shall be made according to paragraph (2);

(c) An individual for whom an incapacity determination, under paragraph (2), is pending;

(d) An individual who is age sixty-five (65) or older;

(e) An individual who is needed in the home to care for an in-home relative who is disabled as determined by a physician or a licensed or certified psychologist, and no other appropriate member of the household is available to provide the needed care;

(f) An individual who is the caretaker, in a single-parent household, of a child under one (1) year of age; provided, however, the Department may reduce the exemption to sixteen (16) weeks for persons who were exempt but chose to volunteer to fulfill the work and/or educational requirements;

(g) An individual who is one (1) of two (2) parents in a two-parent household caring for a child under age sixteen (16) weeks; and

(h) A non-parental caretaker who chooses not to be included in the assistance group.

(2) Evaluation of Disabled Individuals and Individuals Alleging Incapacity for Participation in Work and/or Educational Activities.

(a) The Department shall refer a Families First/TANF applicant/recipient, who alleges incapacity, to the Department's Medical Evaluation Unit (MEU) when:

1. The Families First/TANF recipient alleges incapacity to work that is expected to last for a period of at least (30) days; or

2. An incapacity evaluation is necessary to determine deprivation of parental support. MEU shall determine whether incapacity exists that would deprive a child of parental support.

(b) For purposes of the MEU determination, incapacity is deemed to exist when the defect, illness, or impairment is:

1. Supported by competent medical evidence; and

2. Expected to last for a period of at least thirty (30) days.

(c) Review of MEU Incapacity Status. For incapacity determinations made by the MEU, incapacity status shall also be reviewed and verified at the end of the MEU approval period if continued incapacity is claimed.

1. Individuals who were recently terminated from Social Security Disability/SSI disability benefits who claim continued incapacity may continue to be exempt as incapacitated while the necessary information is being secured and submitted to the MEU.

2. If the client fails to cooperate with the MEU without good cause or refuses to cooperate, the exemption on the basis of incapacity ends.

(d) Period of Incapacity for Families First/TANF recipients exempt from work and/or educational requirements.

1. At any time, if there is any indication the Families First/TANF recipient is no longer incapacitated, the recipient's complete medical file shall be resubmitted to the MEU with current medical-social information, including the facts which indicate that incapacity no longer exists.

2. For an active incapacity exemption denied by the MEU, the exemption will be terminated as soon as the recipient is notified.

(e) Effective July 1, 2014, the Department shall refer all Families First recipients/applicants, who are disabled or who are deemed incapacitated for longer than six (6) months, as determined by MEU, to the Division of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) to undergo an evaluation. The DRS shall determine, under Chapter 1240-08-04, whether the Families First/TANF recipient/applicant is eligible for DRS services that would provide the individual an opportunity to voluntarily fulfill the Families First/TANF work and/or educational activities requirement, consistent with his/her capabilities.

1. Any Families First/TANF recipient who voluntarily participates in the DRS program shall have the opportunity to volunteer for the work and/or educational activities requirement for Families First/TANF.

2. There is no requirement for financial participation in the DRS program by the individual for receiving any vocational rehabilitation services if the individual is determined eligible for Families First/TANF cash assistance.

(3) Voluntary Participation in Families First/TANF Work and/or Educational Activities.

(a) Any individual who is exempt from the Families First/TANF work and/or educational requirements under this rule, except SSI recipients and Child Only caretakers, may choose to volunteer to participate in the work and/or educational activities.

(b) Any individual who voluntarily chooses to participate in the Families First/TANF work and/or educational requirements may retain exempt status if he/she chooses not to comply, except those individuals who are caretakers, in a single-parent household, of a child at least sixteen (16) weeks of age.

(Original rule filed December 2, 1996; effective February 15, 1997. Amendment filed July 5, 2002; effective September 18, 2002. Public necessity rule filed July 2, 2007; expired December 14, 2007. Amendment filed October 1, 2007; effective December 15, 2007. Repeal and new rule filed April 2, 2014; effective July 1, 2014.)

Authority: T.C.A. §§ 4-5-201 et seq., 4-5-202, 4-5-209, 71-1-105, 71-3-102, 71-3-104, and 71-3-104(h)(3)(A)-(G), 71-3-108(d)(2)(D); 42 U.S.C. §§ 601 et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 602; 42 U.S.C. § 607(c), (d), and (e); 42 U.S.C. § 608; 42 U.S.C. § 608(b); 42 U.S.C. § 609, 42 USC § 1315(a); Public Acts of 1996, Chapter 950, 45 CFR 233.90(c)(iv), and 45 CFR 250.30, § 1115 of the Social Security Act; 45 C.F.R. § 260.30; 45 C.F.R. § 260.31; 45 C.F.R. 233.90, 45 C.F.R. § 261.2(b) through (m); 45 C.F.R. § 261.2(n); Deficit Reduction Act 2005 ( Pub. L. 109-171 §§ 7101 and 7102, February 8, 2006); 71 Federal Register 37454 (June 29, 2006); and Public Acts of 2007, Chapter 31.

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