1240-01-50-.20 - STANDARD OF NEED/INCOME

1240-01-50-.20. STANDARD OF NEED/INCOME

(1) Families First Cash Assistance Standards

(a) Consolidated Need Standard (CNS). The Department has developed a consolidated standard of need based on size of the assistance group (AG), which indicates the amount of income the assistance group would need to meet subsistence living costs according to allowances set by the state for items including food, clothing, shelter and utilities, transportation, medical care, personal incidentals, and school supplies. The CNS is used as the basis for determining the gross income standard (GIS), the standard payment amount (SPA), and the Differential Grant Payment Amount (DGPA).

(b) Gross Income Standard (GIS). This standard is set at One Hundred Eighty-Five Percent (185%) of the consolidated need standard. If the gross countable income of an assistance group exceeds this standard, the Assistance Group (AG) is not eligible for Families First.

(c) Standard Payment Amount (SPA). Tennessee does not meet One Hundred Percent (100%) of need as defined by the consolidated need standard. Rather, a maximum payment by family size, dependent on available State and Federal funds is paid, except in the instances specified in 1240-01-50-.20(1)(e).

(d) Differential Grant Payment Amount (DGPA). A Families First Assistance Group which meets any one of the criteria listed below will be eligible for a grant based on the Differential Grant Payment Amount (DGPA). The DGPA is a maximum payment by family size, dependent on funds available, except in the instances specified in subparagraph (e) below. AGs that are eligible to receive the DGPA are:

1. AGs with no eligible adult in the AG. This exemption does not apply if the sole reason there is no adult in the AG is due to penalty or sanction or if the adult is an ineligible alien.

2. AGs in which the caretaker is age sixty-five (65) or older.

3. AG in which the caretaker is age sixty (60) or older as of July 1, 2007.

4. AGs in which the caretaker is disabled.

5. AGs in which the caretaker must provide in-home care for a relative who lives in the home who is disabled and requires full-time care.

(e) Family Benefit Cap

1. No additional benefits will be issued due to the birth of a child when the birth occurs more than ten (10) calendar months after the later of:

(i) The date of application for Families First, or

(ii) The date of implementation of the Families First program (September 1, 1996), as provided by T.C.A. § 71-3-151, unless:

(I) The child was conceived as the result of verified rape or incest;

(II) The child is the firstborn (including all children in the case of a multiple birth) of a minor included in the Families First grant who becomes a first-time minor parent;

(III) The child does not reside with his/her parent;

(IV) The child was conceived in a month the AG was not receiving Families First; or

(V) The child was already born prior to the later of the date of application for Families First or the date of implementation of Families First, and the child has entered or returned to the home.

2. The additional child will be included in the need standard for the purpose of determining Families First eligibility. The income of the child, including child support, will be applied against the need standard in determining the Families First payment amount for the family. The child will be considered a Families First recipient for all other purposes.

3. The family benefit cap will not apply to a subsequent period of eligibility for families who reapply for Families First subsequent to receipt of cash assistance as long as the reason for prior case closure was other than a failure to comply with work or child support enforcement requirements or other Personal Responsibility Plan provisions, and the parent/caretaker had cooperated with the Department as defined in departmental policies for the Families First program.

(i) Departmental policies and rules with which the parent/caretaker must cooperate include, but are not limited to:

(I) Child support cooperation requirements, such as identifying the absent parent, meeting with child support enforcement staff, submitting a child for blood testing, and testifying in court if necessary;

(II) Carrying out and fulfilling Personal Responsibility Plan provisions and requirements; or

(III) Carrying out and fulfilling Work Plan provisions and requirements.

(f) An assistance payment is determined as follows:

1. If the assistance group's net income (after allowable exclusions and deductions) equals or exceeds their consolidated need, the assistance group is not eligible.

2. If the assistance group's net income is less than their consolidated need, the monthly grant amount is the smaller of a maximum payment amount by family size (SPA or DGPA, as appropriate) or the deficit if it is ten dollars ($10) or more. If the deficit is one dollar ($1) - nine dollars ($9), the AG is eligible for Medicaid (TennCare) only, and is deemed to be a Families First recipient group.

In the case of an AG receiving Families First because one or both parents are unemployed, if the Principal Wage Earner (PWE) receives Unemployment Compensation (UC) the UC benefit is deducted from the grant amount determined after deducting all other countable income from the CNS, to determine the actual amount of Families First payment for the AG.

3. The minimum monthly grant which can be paid is ten dollars ($10).

(g) Families First Need/Payment Standards

1. The following table shows the maximum income level and consolidated standard of need to be used in the Families First program to determine eligibility and amount of payment.

Number of Persons in Assistance Group

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Gross Income Standard

1288

1658

1972

2240

2470

2666

2838

2991

3128

3256

Consolidated Need Standard

696

896

1066

1211

1335

1441

1534

1617

1691

1760

Number of Persons in Assistance Group

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

Gross Income Standard

3374

3487

3596

3702

3802

3898

3987

4064

4129

4175

Consolidated Need Standard

1824

1885

1944

2001

2055

2107

2155

2197

2232

2257

2. The Families First standard payment amount (maximum payment) for an assistance group of three (3) persons represents 26.0% of the consolidated need for an assistance group of that size. The Families First standard payment amount (maximum payment) for all assistance group sizes shall be determined as provided in T.C.A. § 71-3-105(f), as amended by 2018 Tenn. Laws Pub. Ch. 789 (S.B. 2247).

3. The Families First maximum differential grant payment amount for an assistance group of three (3) persons represents 30.7% of the consolidated need for an assistance group of that size.

(i) The Families First maximum differential grant payment amount for assistance groups of one (1) through five (5) persons shall be fifty dollars ($50) greater than the maximum standard payment for each respective assistance group size.

(ii) The Families First maximum differential grant payment amount for assistance groups of six (6) or more persons shall be the same as the maximum standard payment for each respective assistance group size.

4. Work Incentive Program.

(i) Families First recipients will be eligible to receive Work Incentive Program payments when the recipient becomes financially ineligible due to an increase in earned income, provided the recipient continues to meet all other eligibility criteria.

(ii) Incentive participants will receive the Work Incentive Program payments for no more than six (6) months with the payment amount being determined by issuing the maximum grant allotment for all eligible household members at the time the recipient became financially ineligible due to the increase in earned income.

(Original rule filed December 2, 1996; effective February 15, 1997. Amendment filed October 10, 1997; effective December 24, 1997. Amendment filed September 24, 1998; effective December 8, 1998. Amendment filed November 18, 1999; effective January 31, 2000. Amendment filed September 29, 2000; effective December 13, 2000. Amendment filed October 3, 2001; effective December 17, 2001. Amendment filed August 28, 2002; effective November 11, 2002. Amendment filed December 13, 2002; effective February 26, 2003. Amendment filed August 20, 2003; effective November 3, 2003. Repeal and new rule filed September 21, 2004; effective December 5, 2004. Public necessity rule filed July 1, 2005; effective through December 13, 2005. Repeal and new rule filed August 23, 2005; effective November 6, 2005. Public necessity rule filed July 3, 2006; effective through December 15, 2006. Amendment filed August 25, 2006; effective November 8, 2006. Public necessity rule filed July 2, 2007; expired December 14, 2007. Amendment filed August 20, 2007; effective November 3, 2007. Amendment filed October 1, 2007; effective December 15, 2007. Public necessity rule filed July 1, 2008; effective through December 13, 2008. Amendment filed September 10, 2008; effective November 24, 2008. Amendments filed August 31, 2018; effective November 29, 2018.)

Authority: T.C.A. §§ 4-5-201, et seq.; 4-5-202; 4-5-209; 71-1-105; 71-3-101, et seq.; 71-3-104; 71-3-105; 71-3-151, et seq.; 71-3-151 through 71-3-165; 71-3-154(i); 71-3-155; 71-3-155(e)-(g); and 71-3-158(d)(2)(D); 42 U.S.C. §§ 601, et seq.; 42 U.S.C. § 602; 42 U.S.C. § 607(c) and (d)(1) through (12); 42 U.S.C. § 608(a)(7); 42 U.S.C. § 609; and 42 U.S.C. § 1315; Senate Bill 3914/House Bill 4025 (2006); Senate Bill 2334/House Bill 2353 (2007); and Senate Bill 4213/House Bill 4219 (2008); 45 C.F.R. § 233.20; 45 C.F.R. § 261.2(b) through (n); 45 C.F.R. § 261.2(n); 45 C.F.R. § 261.10; 45 C.F.R. § 261.30; 45 C.F.R. § 261.31; and 45 C.F.R. § 261.32; Deficit Reduction Act 2005 (Pub. L. 109-171 §§ 7101 and 7102, February 8, 2006); 71 Federal Register 37454 (June 29, 2006); Acts 2007, Chapter 31; and Acts of 2008, Chapter 1203, Section 10, Item 21.

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