(1) The Department has developed a consolidated standard (CNS) of need based on the size of the assistance group for subsistence items including the following, less any discounts for other sources of assistance:

(a) Safe, healthful housing;

(b) A low-cost adequate food budget as recommended by the USDA Thrifty Food Plan;

(c) An allowance for essential medical care;

(d) Minimum clothing for health and decency; and

(e) Other necessary items including, but not limited to, transportation, personal care and educational expenses.

(2) The Families First payment does not meet 100% of need as defined by the consolidated need standard. The maximum payment per family size is set, dependent on available state and federal funds. Income available to the AG (after all appropriate disregards and deductions have been applied) is subtracted from the consolidated need standard. Payment is the lesser of the resulting deficit or the maximum payment per family size.

(3) If an assistance group's available income equals or exceeds the CNS for the appropriate family size, the AG is not eligible for a Families First grant. If there is a deficit of one dollar ($1.00) to nine dollars, ninety-nine cents ($9.99), no payment can be made, but the AG is deemed to be an eligible Families First assistance group for other purposes, as long as all other points of eligibility continue to be met. If the deficit is ten dollars ($10.00) or more and other eligibility requirements are met, payment will be made.

(4) Payments.

(a) Families First payments are issued on a monthly basis and are paid for the current month.

(b) Initial payments are made beginning with the date of application if all other eligibility factors are met at that time, or at the first of the month in which eligibility is achieved, whichever is later.

(c) The amount of the payment will be:

1. The deficit, after countable income has been subtracted from the CNS, but not less than $10.00 per month; or

2. A maximum payment amount for each family size, which is based on available state and federal funds.

(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.)

Authority: T.C.A. §§ 4-5-201 et seq., 4-5-202, 4-5-209, 71-1-105, 71-3-152, 71-3-153, 71-3-154 and 71-3-155; 71-3-158(d)(2)(D); 42 U.S.C. §§ 601 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. § 608(a)(6); Public Acts of 1996, Chapter 950, and 45 C.F.R. 233.20, 45 C.F.R. § 233.20; 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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