340:10-23-1. National or State emergency
(a) National or state emergency.In the event of a national or state emergency declaration by The President of United States or Governor of the State of Oklahoma resulting in a hardship for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, the State may opt to provide additional services using non-recurring short term benefits (NRST).The State may, at its discretion, implement one or more of the NRST benefits, per (b) of this Section.The Oklahoma Human Services Director issues, by memo, activation of this policy and lists the approved NRST benefits to be implemented during the designated emergency.The approved NRST benefits may not exceed four months and are based on availability of funding.
(b) NRST benefits.NRST benefits may include:
(1) TANF Child Care eligibility rules relaxed to an amount up to, but not exceeding, 300 percent of the federal poverty level $0 copay to allow families not receiving cash assistance four months of child care at no cost.
(2) providing an additional Emergency TANF (ETANF) cash assistance payment to current TANF recipients to offset disaster or emergency expenses in an amount to be determined per emergency;
(3) housing search and placement services;
(4) clothing allowances;
(5) short-term rental or mortgage assistance;
(6) utility or energy assistance;
(7) legal services for TANF recipients who are pursing Supplemental Security benefits from pre-filing through the administrative appeals process or to help resolve personal or family legal problems when such problems are a threat to family stability or undermine employment;
(8) family support services to deal with stressful events;
(9) financial and credit counseling; or
(10) Diversion Assistance.
(c) TANFapplication process.TANF applications may be submitted online or, with applicant permission, the worker may submit the online application by proxy for the applicant.The in-person face-to-face interview requirement may be waived and the interview may be conducted by phone or video conferencing technology.The TANF cash assistance benefit may be certified after all eligibility factors are determined to be met during the emergency.
(d) TANF eligibility requirements waived during emergency declaration.Depending on the nature of the national or state emergency, certain TANF eligibility requirements may be waived. • 1
(1) The substance abuse screening requirement, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:10-4-1 and education assessments, per OAC 340:10-2-3, may be waived when assessment providers are unable to provide assessment testing due to the emergency.TANF recipients are required to complete all required assessments when testing resumes.If the TANF recipient tests positive for the illegal use of a controlled substance or substances, the worker follows normal procedures, per OAC 340:10-4-1.
(2) When TANF recipients are unable to participate in assigned TANF Work activities, per OAC 340:10-2-1, due to no fault of their own, such as when a medical pandemic occurs or another disaster causes all businesses and school campuses to close or residents to receive shelter in place orders, the recipient is granted good cause. • 2
(3) When a person's TANF cash assistance benefit closed for non-compliance with his or her assigned TANF Work activity within 30-calendar days of the date an emergency was declared, and he or she was unable to participate in a TANF Work activity due to the emergency, the worker may reopen the TANF cash assistance benefit during the crisis.When this occurs, the TANF recipient is expected to resume TANF Work participation when the national or state emergency ends.
(e) TANF supplement.When TANF recipients experience a job loss or reduction in wages and incur an income loss due to the national or state emergency, the worker supplements the TANF cash assistance benefit up to the maximum payment standard for the household's size, per Oklahoma Human Services Appendix C-1, Maximum Income, Resource, and Payment Standards, Schedule IX, effective the month the emergency is declared.
(f) Economic impact payments. Economic impact payments received as a result of a national or state emergency are:
(1) considered as a rebate or advance payment of a credit; and
(2) excluded as income and from resource consideration for a period of 12 months from the receipt date for the purpose of determining eligibility for benefits or assistance under any federal program or under any state or local program, financed in whole or in part with federal funds, per Section 103(d) of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, as amended in Section 6409 of Title 26 of the United States Code.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:10-23-1
1.Staff are notified which requirements may be waived for a specific emergency declaration.
2.The worker opens a good cause authorization, labels it with the emergency type, and enters a Family Assistance/Client Services case note regarding the emergency declaration.No participation allowances are paid while the good cause authorization is open.