340:40-3-1. Application process
(a) Application process. The application process for subsidized child care benefits begins with a request for benefits and ends with an eligibility determination. Application approval is subject to available funding. Subsidized child care benefits are synchronized with the applicant's food benefits or SoonerCare (Medicaid) benefits, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:40-9-1(f). Child Welfare Services or Adult and Family Services (AFS) staff processes the application. • 1
(1) When an application is required. An application is required when:
(A) an applicant initially applies for subsidized child care benefits. Refer to (c)(2) of this Section when an application is denied;
(B) the client's subsidized child care benefits are closed for more than 30-calendar days;
(C) the payee for the subsidized child care benefits changes; or • 2
(D) the family income was not considered, per OAC 340:40-7-12(6), and one or more of the affected adopted children turns 6 years of age, unless the child can be added to an open income eligible case, per OAC 340:40-9-2(d). • 3
(2) Who can apply. An applicant or the applicant's authorized representative may apply for subsidized child care benefits. When an authorized representative applies on an applicant's behalf, he or she must bring Form 08MP008E, Authorized Representative Request or a statement signed by the applicant giving the representative permission to act on the applicant's behalf, unless the applicant designated the person as the authorized representative on the signed application. • 4
(A) When the natural or adoptive parent or stepparent lives with the child, he or she is considered the applicant and eligibility is based on the parent's situation regardless of whether he or she has custody of the child.
(B) When both the natural and adoptive parent of the child live in the same household and the adoption is final, the adoptive parent is considered the applicant and eligibility is based on the adoptive parent's situation.
(C) When the natural or adoptive parent or stepparent is not in the home, the person acting in the role of the parent, referred to as the caretaker, is the applicant. The caretaker may or may not be related to the child. • 5
(D) When the child's parent is a minor, either the minor parent or the responsible adult the minor lives with can be considered the applicant for the subsidized child care benefits. Eligibility is based on the minor parent's situation. • 6
(E) When the natural or adoptive parent lives in the home but is too incapacitated to apply, another person living in the home may apply on the parent's behalf when the person provides proof of the parent's inability to apply. • 7
(3) Application. An applicant or the applicant's authorized representative completes and signs an application to apply for subsidized child care benefits. • 8 When the applicant requests child care for a child with disabilities, the worker gives Form 08AD006E, Certification for Special Needs Rate for Licensed Child Care Homes and Centers, to the applicant. • 9
(4) Request date. The request date, known as the application date for other Adult and Family Services programs, is the date the applicant requests subsidized child care benefits verbally or in writing. • 10
(5) Certification date. The certification date is the date the applicant or the applicant's authorized representative completes the child care interview and provides all necessary verification to the county office, including the name of the child care provider the client chooses to use. • 11
(A) The provider must have a valid Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) child care provider contract.
(B) Refer to OAC 340:40-5-1(7) for reasons an applicant cannot choose certain child care providers.
(C) For applicants choosing an in-home provider, refer to OAC 340:40-13-1 and 340:40-13-2.
(6) Child care interview. Child care interviews may be completed face-to-face or over the phone with the applicant or authorized representative. • 12
(7) Explanation of eligibility factors. At the time of the initial interview, the worker informs the applicant or authorized representative of: • 13
(A) his or her rights and responsibilities;
(B) all eligibility factors, including the requirement that the chosen child care provider be contracted with OKDHS;
(C) the child care plan and reason child care may be approved based on the applicant's statements at interview;
(D) the applicant's electronic benefit transfer (EBT) responsibilities including viewing the client training video; • 14
(E) the earliest date child care can be approved;
(F) the requirement to cooperate with the OKDHS Office of Inspector General during any audit or investigation of the applicant or the provider the applicant uses for child care; and
(G) the requirement to report within 10-calendar days when household income exceeds the income eligibility threshold per OKDHS Appendix C-4, Child Care Eligibility/Copayment Chart. At certification and renewal, a computer-generated notice issues to inform the client of the current income eligibility threshold for his or her family size.
(8) Timeliness. To be considered timely, the worker must determine eligibility within two-business days of receiving all necessary verification to certify or deny the application.
(A) When the applicant does not provide requested verification, the worker denies the request within 30-calendar days of the request date.
(B) When eligibility is not determined within 30-calendar days, the worker sends Form 08MP038E, Client Notice of Action Taken, explaining the reason for delay.
(9) Right to appeal. The applicant has the right to appeal an application processing delay or the eligibility decision, per OAC 340:2-5.
(b) Presumptive eligibility processing. The worker may presumptively approve a maximum of 30-calendar days of child care prior to making a complete eligibility determination when a reason described in (1) of this subsection applies. • 15
(1) Reasons include when the applicant:
(A) is in danger of losing a job or cannot start a new job unless child care is immediately approved. In this circumstance, it must be out of the applicant's control to provide required verification and the applicant does not have the money to pay toward the cost of child care; • 16
(B) is employed but has not received pay from the job and is not guaranteed a wage because he or she is self-employed or works on a commission-only basis. Further care is not approved until the applicant provides proof he or she received earnings from the job; or • 17
(C) requests protective or preventive child care, per OAC 340:40-7-8(f).
(2) The worker gives or sends the applicant Form 08AD092E, Client Contact and Information Request, to inform the applicant what he or she needs to provide before further care is approved. • 18
(c) Eligibility determination. The worker determines the applicant's eligibility to receive child care subsidy benefits based on eligibility conditions, per OAC 340:40-7. The applicant must meet a need factor within 30-calendar days of the request date. After calculating family income, the worker uses OKDHS Appendix C-4, Child Care Eligibility/Copayment Chart, to determine if the household meets the income eligibility threshold. • 19 Refer to OAC 340:40-5-1(8) and 340:40-7-10 through 340:40-7-13 for information regarding income determination.
(1) Applicant determined eligible. The earliest date the worker approves subsidized child care benefits is the date the applicant completes the child care interview and provides all necessary verification to determine eligibility. The worker certifies the applicant for a 12-month eligibility period, per Section 98.21 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The applicant is responsible for child care used before the certification date.
(A) The applicant or recipient records attendance with his or her EBT card through a point-of-service machine or through the ECC Connect mobile app at the child care facility.
(B) OKDHS does not pay for care for any day the child attends child care when the client fails to record attendance, unless extenuating circumstances exist beyond the client's or provider's control. • 20
(C) When the applicant or recipient fails to record attendance, he or she is responsible for any care provided that day and may be responsible for any missed absent day payment the child care provider would have received if all of the days the child attended were recorded.
(2) Applicant determined ineligible. The worker denies the child care request or application when the applicant completes the application process and is determined ineligible, does not provide needed verification, or fails to cooperate in determining eligibility. • 21
(A) When the applicant is determined ineligible after completing the application process and providing necessary verification, a new application is required regardless of the original request date. • 22
(B) When the worker denies the child care request because the applicant did not provide required verification, including choice of provider, a new application is not needed when the applicant completes the application process and provides necessary verification within 60-calendar days of the original request date.
(C) When the worker denies the child care request because the applicant fails to cooperate in determining eligibility, a new application is not required when the applicant cooperates within 30-calendar days of the original request date. • 23
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:40-3-1
1. (a) Child Welfare specialists process applications made by:
(1) a foster parent whether or not a payment is made. Refer to Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:75-7-65 for Child Welfare Services (CWS) foster care child care requirements;
(2) a foster parent of a child in tribal custody with an open resource in the Child Abuse and Neglect Information System also known as KIDS;
(3) foster parents in the process of a trial adoption of the foster child in their care;
(4) applicants requesting protective or preventative care when CWS is working with the family and recommending protective or preventive child care; and
(5) applicants requesting care for a child placed in their home due to an Immediate Protection Plan or a Safety Plan.
(b) Child Welfare adoption specialists process applications for trial adoptive families who are adopting a child in Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) custody that did not previously serve as the child's foster home.
(c) Adult and Family Services (AFS) workers process all applications for:
(1) applicants when a copayment must be determined;
(2) children under Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). When a child is under an ICPC with another state, the local ICPC worker informs AFS staff when the foster family receives funds for child care from the other state. When funds are available for child care from the other state, the worker denies the application;
(3) a tribal foster family when there is not an open resource in KIDS. The worker sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org notifying AFS Child Care Subsidy Unit staff of the approval. The email includes the case number, foster parent's name, and child's name. AFS Child Care Subsidy Unit staff then asks CWS resource program staff to determine why there is not an open resource in KIDS;
(4) protective or preventative child care as long as there is not an open CWS case. This may occur when the family is not court involved but CWS staff contracts with an outside agency for Comprehensive Home-Based Services (CHBS). Refer to OAC 340:40-7-8(f) for information about processing AFS protective or preventive child care requests; and
(5) applicants whose children are in OKDHS custody and on trial reunification with their parents. In such instances, the parent's income is considered in determining the family share copayment amount.
2. When a payee change is reported, the worker asks the applicant if the payee change is due to a temporary absence, per OAC 340:40-7-6(c). When the parent's or caretaker's absence is temporary, he or she is considered a household member and remains the payee. When the change is not considered temporary, the new payee completes a new application.
3. When an adoptive child turns 6 years of age during an eligibility period, the child remains eligible until the next renewal. When appropriate, after a child with developmental disabilities needs care after turning 19 years of age, the worker refers the family to Developmental Disability Services.
4. (a) An authorized representative is a person who is knowledgeable of the household circumstances. The child care provider or a person working for the child care provider cannot be the authorized representative. The worker contacts the applicant to determine, if the:
(1) household freely requested the authorized representative's assistance;
(2) household circumstances are correctly reported; and
(3) applicant understands that he or she is held liable for any overpayment resulting from erroneous information given by the authorized representative.
(b) The worker enters information about the authorized representative in the Information Management System (IMS) using the computer transaction EBTU before an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card can be issued.
5. Refer to OAC 340:40-7-6(c) when the parent's or caretaker's absence is temporary.
6. Only the minor parent's income and need factor is used to determine the child's eligibility for subsidized child care benefits. Refer to OAC 340:40-7-6(b).
7. The person acting on the parent's behalf must provide documentation from a professional, who is working with the parent, stating why the parent is incapable of completing the application or designating an authorized representative.
8. (a) A signature may be submitted in person, through a scanned document via email, fax, or okdhslive.org.
(b) An application submitted online through okdhslive.org is automatically copied to DiscImage and is considered to have an electronic signature. A paper application is not required.
9. When approving a child with disabilities for child care, refer to OAC 340:40-7-3.1 for information on the approval process for the higher special needs rate at the chosen facility.
10. (a) Child care subsidy benefits may be requested verbally, in writing, or through okdhslive.org.
(b) The request date is entered in the Family Assistance/Client Services (FACS) Eligibility Notebook, Child Care tab in the "Request Date" field E1 before an EBT card can be issued. When the worker certifies or denies benefits, the request date is also entered in the FACS Eligibility Notebook, Auth. Daycare tab in the "Child Care Req Date" field K9.
(c) When the child care request is mailed, left at the local county office, or submitted through okdhslive.org, staff contacts the applicant the same day to explain that a child care interview must be completed and to advise what verification must be provided before care is approved. A phone interview is appropriate when it best meets the applicant's needs. When the worker cannot reach the client by phone, he or she sends Form 08AD092E, Client Contact and Information Request, to inform the applicant of the scheduled interview date and required verification. The worker documents all attempts to contact the client by phone in case notes.
(d) The need for child care must be met within 30-calendar days of the request date.
11. (a) The only time the request date and the certification date are the same date is when the applicant completes a child care application, is interviewed, and provides all necessary verification on the same day. Refer to OAC 340:40-7 for eligibility factors the worker must verify before approving subsidized child care benefits. The applicant must also provide the child care provider's name he or she plans to use before the certification date is determined.
(b) When the applicant chooses an ineligible provider, the worker is responsible for immediately informing the applicant of the provider's ineligibility and that he or she must choose a contracted provider.
(1) When the applicant chooses a child care provider with a pending OKDHS contract, the worker informs the applicant that:
(A) the earliest date OKDHS approves child care and payment to the provider is the day the provider's contract is granted; and
(B) payment for any child care used prior to that date is the applicant's responsibility to pay.
(2) The worker determines when a new contract is granted by entering in IMS: PCI, space, and the contract number. The date shown under "Contract Begin Date" is the earliest date services may be approved.
(c) The worker enters the certification date in the FACS Eligibility Notebook in the Child Care tab, "Cert Date" field E2 and in the Auth. Daycare tab, "Begin/Change Date" field K45 when the applicant needs care on this date. When the applicant does not need care until a future date, the worker enters the future date in the "Begin/Change Date" field K45.
(d) When the applicant provides all requested verification and the worker determines more verification is needed, the certification date entered is the date the applicant provides the initially requested verification.
12. (a) The worker completes the interview with the person who signs the application or the household's authorized representative. The applicant must designate the authorized representative in writing prior to the interview. The worker explores the applicant's child care eligibility and informs the applicant of other OKDHS programs for which the applicant may be eligible. The worker also arranges for the client to view the video, "EBT Child Care," explaining the EBT system.
(b) County staff makes every effort to interview the applicant on the request date to inform the applicant what he or she must provide before child care is approved.
(1) When the applicant mails in or leaves Form 08MP001E, Request for Benefits, at the local county office without staying for an interview, staff attempts to phone the applicant that same day to explain that a child care interview must be completed and to inform the applicant what verification must be provided before care is approved.
(2) When the worker reaches the applicant by phone and the applicant consents to the interview, the worker completes the interview, informs the applicant what verification is required to make an eligibility decision, and sends the applicant Form 08AD092E to request the verification.
(3) When the worker cannot reach the client by phone, he or she sends Form 08AD092E to inform the applicant of the scheduled interview date and required verification.
13. (a) The worker advises the applicant the child care plan may change depending on the documentation the applicant provides to verify the applicant's need for child care.
(b) The worker secures the applicant's signature and images the application. At the end of the interview, upon request, the worker gives or mails a copy of the application to the applicant or the authorized representative.
(c) Refer to OAC 340:40-7 for information regarding eligibility conditions, including need, and OAC 340:40-5 for information regarding completing a child care plan and which child care providers cannot be approved for subsidy payment.
(d) The worker gives or mails Form 08AD092E to the applicant when verification must be provided before subsidized child care benefits are approved. When Form 08AD092E must be mailed because the interview is conducted over the phone, the worker tells the applicant what verification is needed before mailing the form.
14. The video explains the:
(1) proper care and use of the client's EBT card;
(2) client's responsibility to swipe accurate attendance before OKDHS helps pay for the child's care; and
(3) need to contact the worker immediately when a problem occurs so it may be resolved within 10-calendar days.
15. Refer to Presumptive Eligibility Coding | Quest for instructions on how to code the 30-calendar days.
16. (a) An example of verification that is beyond the applicant's control to provide includes instances when an employer refuses to verify income for an employee or OKDHS until a paycheck is received. In instances such as this, the applicant must provide all other verification that is within his or her control. The worker uses the applicant's statement for the verification that is out of the applicant's control to provide.
(b) The applicant is not automatically assigned a zero, family share copayment because the presumptive eligibility process is used. The worker uses the income processes in OAC 340:40-7-10 through 340:40-7-13 to determine what income counts and when. In the case of two-parent families, when one parent has worked for some time and the other parent is starting a new job, the worker counts the income of the parent who has been working to determine the family share copayment.
17. Refer to OAC 340:40-7-8(a) for information on self-employed individuals.
18. (a) When the client provides verification within the 30-calendar day approval period or within 30-calendar days of closure, the worker reopens the child care benefit. Refer to Presumptive Eligibility Coding | Quest for instructions on how to reopen care following a 30-calendar day presumptive eligibility approval.
(b) When the client does not provide required verification within 60-calendar days, child care benefit remains closed.
(c) The worker does not approve a new presumptive eligibility period unless the client provides all requested verification from the last presumptive eligibility approval.
(d) After the worker receives income proof and realizes the family share copayment should have been higher for the presumptive eligibility period, he or she does not complete an overpayment unless the worker and supervisor believe the client intentionally provided incorrect information. In those instances, the worker sends an overpayment memo to the AFS Benefit Integrity and Recovery Unit.
19. (a) When a new application is required because of a payee change or when an adopted child turns 6 years of age, per (a)(1)(C) or (D), the household must meet the income eligibility threshold, per OKDHS Appendix C-4, Child Care Eligibility/Copayment Chart, even when the child received subsidized child care in the prior month.
(b) The worker uses the unfinished issuance process to approve child care benefits when the applicant is only eligible for the application month. This may occur when income from a new source is not considered for the application month but is anticipated for the next month. For unfinished issuance coding instructions, refer to Quest article "Unfinished Issuance Examples & Coding".
20. Circumstances beyond the client's or provider's control include, but are not limited to, some type of worker or system error.
21. (a) When the applicant is determined ineligible and requests other services, the worker provides information and referral services that may help the family develop alternative arrangements.
(b) Refer to OAC 340:40-9-3 for notice requirements. The worker denies the child care request in the FACS Eligibility Notebook, Auth. Daycare tab by entering:
(1) "Person Number" field K4;
(2) "Action Taken" field K12;
(3) "Reason" field K16;
(4) "Child Care Req Date" field K9;
(5) "Begin/Change Date" field K45; and
(6) "Adult Day Services" field K95.
(c) When the child care provider's contract number is known and entered in "Contract Number" field K40, a computer- generated notice issues to the applicant and the child care provider. When the contract number is unknown, a notice is computer-generated to the applicant only.
22. Examples include when the applicant's income exceeds agency standards or the applicant does not meet a need factor within 30-calendar days of the request date.
23. Examples include when the applicant misses the scheduled interview or withdraws the application.