Oklahoma TANF State Plan
Enclosed is the State of Oklahoma Plan to renew its eligible status for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant submitted in accordance with Section 550 (1)(a) of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-33). The Oklahoma TANF State Plan consists of two parts, the Oklahoma State TANF Policy (OAC 340:10) which can be located in the electronic format on the TANF Homepage and the supplemental document below. Both parts need to be read in their entirety to understand the state plan.
The State of Oklahoma is continuing the State Plan currently on file as previously amended and with the attached amendments and certifications. The Oklahoma State Plan is the Oklahoma State TANF Policy (OAC 340:10) which can be located in the electronic format at TANF Policy (OAC 340:10).
- General Provisions
- Special Provisions
- Table of Appendices
- Geographic Coverage: The TANFBG is operated on a statewide basis with uniform payments. The program serves parents and other caregivers with children in the home under the age of 18 or until age 19, if in school. Unborn children are not included. Needy families qualify for receipt of assistance if one or more children are deprived of parental support due to death, absence, incapacity or, under certain circumstances, unemployment of a parent. (See Appendix C-1). Although restrictions have been put in place regarding the TANF EBT requirements, Oklahoma TANF recipients have a statewide network of automated teller machines and Point of Sale machines and the option of bank account direct deposit to allow for minimal to zero fees when accessing their cash assistance.
- Mandatory Work: Parents or caretakers receiving assistance under this block grant are required to engage in work or work activities beginning at the point of application. The approved OKDHS work verification plans provides detailed information regarding the approved work activities as well as in policy section OAC 340:10-2. No family shall receive TANF assistance in Oklahoma for more than 60 months unless approved for a temporary hardship extension.
- Mandatory Participation in Work Activities: Each parent or caretaker relative receiving benefits is required to participate in activities designed to assist them in becoming employable or in obtaining employment. An assessment of all persons required to participate in work activities in initiated at the time of application. Participation is monitored by local staff.
- Confidentiality: OKDHS insures the confidentiality of all records and other information pertaining to the programs under its administration. Confidentiality rules are clearly outlined in policy and failure to follow the rules results in disciplinary actions up to and including possible termination of employment.
- Statutory Rape: The OKSDH with OKDHS input has established programs related to Sexual Assault Education and Awareness, and Sexual Coercion. These programs are designed to not only reach the public, but also state and local law enforcement officials, the education system and counseling services. More specifically, curricula entitled "Wise Guys" addresses date rape and sexual coercion. This is a male specific curricula and the aim of this section is to prevent boys from becoming perpetrators. Additionally, the college-aged men are targeted through a sexual assault prevention program and teen pregnancy staffs are presented with up-to-date information on rape/sexual abuse because of occasional reported abuse or behavior. These programs have been offered through DHS for several years. In addition to the DHS programs, DHS also has youth mentoring contracts all throughout Oklahoma. These programs provide a safe environment for at risk & low income youth and teens after school hours. Teens attending youth mentoring are less likely to become involved in risky behavior as their after school hours are filled with sponsored/monitored activities, life skills, mentoring, nutrition, & programs designed for the teen population to make smart decisions in every area of their lives including relationship decisions which will help the teen population learn how to prevent unwanted teen pregnancy.
- Families Migrating to Oklahoma: Services to families who migrate to Oklahoma will not differ from services to other residents.
- Services to Qualified Immigrants: Oklahoma provides TANF services to qualified immigrants who arrived before August 22, 1996. Immigrants in qualified alien status arriving on or after August 22, 1996, are barred for the first five years. Aliens who are active duty military or veterans and their families, and refugees, asylees, aliens whose deportations are being withheld, Cuban Haitian entrants, Americans, and those granted certification as a victim of a severe form of trafficking by ORR are exempted from this five year bar. Oklahoma provides TANF services to all exempted qualified aliens and to all qualified aliens after the expiration of the 5-year bar.
- Eligibility Criteria and Fair and Equitable Treatment: Eligibility is determined uniformly in reference to income and resources as described in policy section OAC340:10-3. Financial eligibility criteria for partially MOE-funded assistance, benefits and services such as cash assistance, transportation, substance abuse, literacy, job placement employment marketing, work activity participation allowances, employment support services, child care development funds and work supplementation are identified on attached Appendix C-1 Schedule IX. Certification for TANF cash benefits entitles all eligible family members to receive the partially MOE-funded services stated above. All MOE program funds are co-mingled with the exception, as required by law, of the Emergency Repatriation Program. We have no separate state program in which we claim MOE. Notices, hearings and appeals will be continued as described in the current Oklahoma state TANF policy, OAC 340:10 as any individual whose application for TANF is denied or is not acted upon with reasonable promptness, or who is dissatisfied with the amount of the assistance payment or with any other action taken in regard to his or her assistance payment, is provided an opportunity for a fair hearing with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services . The state of Oklahoma contracts with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education to provide classes geared to industries in designated geographical areas of the state. Career paths are developed along job availability, especially in general health careers and health careers geared toward geriatric and elder care. Meetings with the Dept. of Commerce and with several other agencies and private industry take place through the Governor's Workforce Council. Additionally, the medical field is also represented at the Workforce meetings. Programs developed due to ARRA money included the Food Bank Project, Subsidized Employment (SYEP) and Subsidized Employment Program (SEP) as explained in our letter dated July 22, 2010. The Food Bank Project started May 1, 2010 and ended Sept. 30, 2010; the SYEP started June 2010 and ended Sept. 40, 2010; and the SEP for TANF recipients began Aug 1, 2009, a Non-TANF component started Oct.1, 2009 and ended Sept. 30, 2010. SEP for TANF continues with the regular TANF block grant. Per Section 4004 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Section 608(a)(12) of Title 42 of the United States Code (42 U.S.C.§ 608(a)(12)), states are required to maintain policies and practices as necessary to prevent TANF cash assistance from being used in any EBT transaction in certain prohibited business. Section 241.4 of Title 56 of Oklahoma Statutes (56 O.S. § 241.4) restricts the use of EBT transactions in the following businesses: Liquor store, casino, gambling casino or gaming establishment (with the exception of a grocery store that sells groceries, including stable foods per 7 U.S.C. § 2012, and also offers, or is located within the same building or complex as an establishment offering casino, gambling or gaming activities; or any other establishment offering casino, gambling, or gaming activities incidental to the principal purpose of the business). Other prohibited businesses include retail establishments that provide adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment; or retail establishment whose principal business is selling tobacco products. Oklahoma DHS benefit recipients have adequate access to their funds through their assigned Mastercard debit card where they may withdraw funds through automated teller machines (ATM), point-of sale terminal (POS) or access to an online system for the withdrawal of funds or the processing of a payment for merchandise or service. DHS informs applicants and recipients of this prohibition by including information about the prohibition in their Rights, Responsibilities, and Signature for Benefits, of the application; a poster displayed in the lobby of each county office, their benefit certification notice received by mail, and a sign sent to and displayed in identified prohibited businesses educating staff and customers that the DHS issued debit card in not accepted at their business. When it is determined the parent or caretaker violated these provisions, the TANF cash assistance payment standard is reduced by 25% for three months for the first violation; 35% for six months for the second violation; 50% for twelve months for the third violation; and permanently by deeming the parent or needy caretaker ineligible for TANF benefits for subsequent violations. When the parent or needy caretaker is permanently deemed ineligible to receive TANF cash assistance for this reason and all other factors of eligibility are met, he or she may receive child only benefits.
- Community Services: Oklahoma does not opt to mandate community service program participation for parents or caretakers after two months of receipt of assistance. Parents and caretakers are mandated to participate in work activities throughout the receipt of assistance. Appendix B contains the document in which the Governor of the State of Oklahoma indicates the option not to participate in this program.
- Emergency Repatriation: Segregated federal TANF funds may be used for emergency repatriation development and planning activities. These activities include, in addition to the development of plans, participation in preparedness exercises to test plans and training necessary to implement the plan, and other activities specified in the Code of Federal Regulations at 45 CFR, section 205.45 (State emergency welfare preparedness).
- Services for Severely Disabled Children: Oklahoma has expanded services to all needy families receiving Family Support Assistance Payments for severely disabled children so they may remain in their own homes. Funding will be through the TANF cash assistance block grant. Effective date of implementation is October 1, 2002.
- The Governor of the State of Oklahoma certifies the following:
(See Appendix C):
- The state will operate a child support enforcement program as described under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. The state will operate a foster care and adoption assistance program as described under Title IV-E of the Social Security act including making every effort possible to assure that children receiving assistance under such part are eligible for medical assistance under the State Plan under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.
- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services is the designated agency in Oklahoma to administer the program. An advisory group including a representative sampling of persons from private and other public organizations was convened to provide advice regarding the implementation of a block grant for needy families at the onset of the program. In addition, a notice regarding the availability of the TANF state plan renewal for review by local governments and private sector organizations was published in the Journal Record, a statewide newspaper on November 13, 2017. The comment period closed on Dec 27, 2017.
- The state will provide each member of an Indian tribe, who is domiciled in the state and is not eligible for assistance under a tribal family assistance plan, with equitable access to assistance. The Oklahoma DHS will continue to negotiate inter-governmental agreements with any tribe opting to operate a tribal assistance program under this act to assure continuity of services. The Osage Tribe and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation currently operate a tribal TANF program in Oklahoma. Services provided to Indians must meet the same fair and equitable treatment required for all citizens.
- The state has established and is enforcing standards and procedures to ensure against program fraud and abuse, including standards and procedures concerning nepotism, conflicts of interest among individuals responsible for the administration and supervision of the State program, kickbacks, and the use of political patronage.
- Oklahoma does not at this time intend to participate in the option regarding domestic violence, screening and identification.
- Public Availability of State Plan: An announcement of the availability of a copy of this plan was published in the Journal Record, a statewide newspaper on November 8, 2017. (See Appendix D for copy of the notice.) A copy of the plan was made available in each county office in the state. A copy of the final plan, once deemed complete, will be made available for review to anyone upon request and a notice of its availability will also be published.