340:10-3-6. Trust accounts
When a person applying for or receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has monies held in trust, a decision regarding the availability of the funds must be made. Funds held in trust are considered available when the applicant or recipient has a legal interest in a liquidated sum and has the legal ability to make such sum available for support and maintenance. • 1 Funds may also be held in trust and under the control of someone other than the TANF parent or caretaker relative, such as the courts, agencies, other individuals, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The availability of these funds is determined by using the procedures described in (1) through (3) of this Section.
(1) Funds held in trust by courts, agencies, or other individuals. The applicant or recipient must provide trust documents at application or when the worker becomes aware of the existence of a trust. Documents include a copy of the trust instrument, and a copy of all relevant court documents that may include a Journal Entry, Order, Settlement Agreement, and documentation as to date, amount, and purpose of any prior disbursements.
(A) Release of trust by written petition or written request. The availability of the trust can only be determined after the TANF payee sends a written petition to the court or a written request to the trustee when the trust is not in a court supervised account for the release of the total funds.
(i) The worker sends a written notice to the TANF payee informing him or her to: • 2
(I) file the written petition with the court or submit a written request to the trustee within 30-calendar days from the date of the notice;
(II) provide a copy to the worker; and
(III) failure to do so results in case denial or closure as benefit eligibility cannot be determined.
(ii) Upon receipt of a copy of the petition or request, the trust account at issue is considered unavailable. The worker instructs the TANF payee to provide the worker with a copy of the court or trustee's response when received.
(iii) When the TANF payee submits the petition or request timely but does not get a response from the court or trustee, the worker offers with the client's permission, to write a letter to the court or trustee • 3
(iv) When the court or trustee's response to the petition or request is explicit as to the availability of funds, the worker takes appropriate action. When the response is not explicit, the worker asks Adult and Family Services TANF staff to make a decision regarding the availability of funds. When necessary, AFS TANF Unit staff obtains a decision from Legal Services about the availability of the funds held in trust.
(v) A decision regarding trust availability is rendered in one of two ways. The trust monies are considered:
(I) unavailable to the child(ren) and further review is not needed unless the trust instrument is amended; or
(II) available as a resource in determining eligibility.
(B) Periodic renewal. Funds determined to be unavailable to the person are excluded until the next renewal or reapplication. At renewal, the worker obtains information from the court or trustee regarding any modification to the trust instrument and any disbursements. • 4 Disbursements are considered as income the month received. When modification or disbursements did not occur, the funds continue to be considered as unavailable until the next renewal is due.
(2) Funds held in trust by BIA. Interests of individual Indians in trust or restricted lands are not considered a resource in determining eligibility for assistance under the Social Security Act or any other federal or federally-assisted program.
(3) Funds held in trust in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program account. Funds held in a trust account owned by the designated beneficiary of the account and established to pay qualified disability expenses (QDE) under the Oklahoma Achieving a Better Life Exrience (ABLE) Program or an ABLE program in any other state are excluded for the purpose of determining eligibility to receive, or the amount of, any assistance or benefits from local or state means-tested programs, per Sections 4001.1 through 4001.5 of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes and the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, Section 529A of Title 26 of the United States Code (26 U.S.C. § 529A). The applicant or recipient must provide documents to verify that the trust account meets exemption criteria before the funds in the trust account are excluded from resource and income consideration. Once the client verifies that the savings or trust account is a valid ABLE account, no further account information is required. • 5
(A) A contribution to an ABLE account by another individual is excluded unless the contribution exceeds the annual federal gift tax exclusion, per 26 U.S.C. § 2503(b). Any money deposited in the account in a calendar year in excess of the annual federal gift tax exclusion is considered a countable resource in the month deposited; or
(B) A distribution from an ABLE account that is retained after the month of receipt is excluded in any month when spent on a QDE. Money withdrawn for reasons other than to pay QDE is considered as a countable resource for the month of withdrawal.
(C) A QDE is any expense related to the blindness or disability of the individual and made for the benefit of the individual. QDE's include, but are not limited to:
(iv) employment, training, and support;
(v) assistive technology;
(vii) prevention and wellness;
(viii) financial management and administrative services;
(ix) legal fees;
(x) ABLE account oversight and monitoring;
(xi) funeral and burial; and
(xii) basic living.
2. The worker sends Form 08AD092E, Client Contact and Information Request, to the client to instruct him or her to submit the written petition or request for the release of the total funds in the trust account. When the petition or request is denied, the funds are considered unavailable.
3. When the court or trustee does not respond within 30-calendar days, the worker submits a memo to Adult and Family Services (AFS) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Unit staff explaining the situation, including the efforts made to obtain a response to the petition or request.
5. (a) The Oklahoma State Treasurer is responsible for certifying an achieving a better life experience (ABLE) account. The program name is Oklahoma STABLE. The program is administered through a partnership with Ohio's STABLE Accounts. ABLE account rules state:
(1) only persons whose disability was established before 26 years of age can set up an ABLE account and one account is allowed per person;
(2) there is no limit to the number of persons who can contribute to the ABLE account; and
(3) upon the death of an ABLE participant, qualified disability expenses and funeral expenses may be paid from the account. All remaining funds in the account must be paid to the state Medicaid agency to repay costs of care received by the participant up to the amount of Medicaid paid after establishment of the ABLE account.
(b) Since ABLE accounts are set up for persons with disabilities, it is more likely that a family member in an Aid to the Disabled companion case may have an ABLE account than it is for a TANF participant to have one.
(c) At application and renewal, the worker asks the client if the ABLE account is open and if he or she believes the deposits in, and expenditures from the account, are in compliance with the terms and requirements of that particular 529 account. When the client answers yes, no further inquiry is needed.