Adopted Rulemaking

Food Supplement Rule #FS215A - FFY 2021 Budgeting Figures Rule - Track Changes (Word)  Rule - Clean (Word 
Concise Summary: A rule change is necessary to remain in compliance with Federal regulation 7 C.F.R. 273.9(d). 7 C.F.R. 273.9 requires that Food Supplement Program income and asset limits, maximum and minimum allotments, standard deductions, maximum shelter deductions, homeless shelter deductions, standard utility allowances (SUAs) and income change reporting thresholds be updated each year, effective October 1. This year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) COLA Memo FY2021 provided more generous income limits, maximum allotments, standard deductions (for most households), maximum shelter deduction, and homeless shelter deduction. The same memo showed no change in minimum allotments, the standard deductions for households of one to three members, asset limits or income change reporting thresholds. Each state agency is charged with determining standard utility allowances and having those approved by USDA. The utility allowance values were calculated to remain the same using The Consumer Price Index published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, and were submitted to and approved by USDA. Non-compliance could result in federal penalties or loss of federal funds. The Department implemented these changes on an emergency basis on October 1, 2020, most of which were effective October 1, 2020, in Rule No. FS215E. Changes that applied to 185% FPL were effective retroactive to January 14, 2020. Because the emergency rule is effective for only 90 days, this rulemaking is necessary to make the changes permanent. Retroactive rulemaking is necessary to keep Maine's policies in line with federal requirements, and is authorized under 22 M.R.S. 42(8) as it benefits Food Supplement recipients and does not have an adverse financial impact on any provider, member, recipient or beneficiary.
Effective Date: Dec 30, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments (Word)  Posted: December 23, 2020
 
Food Supplement Rule #FS214A - FFY 2021 ABAWD Rule - Track Changes (Word)  Rule - Clean (Word) 
Concise Summary: 7 CFR 273.24 provides that no individual shall be eligible to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as a member of any household if the individual received program benefits for more than 3 months during any 3-year period in which the individual was subject to but did not comply with the ABAWD work requirement. PL 116-127 (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) 2301 suspended these requirements from April 1, 2020 through the month following the month the public health emergency (PHE) declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, based on an outbreak of COVID-19 is lifted. The PHE declaration has not been lifted as of the date of this proposed rulemaking. The current PHE is set to expire January 20, 2021 though the Secretary has the authority to extend the PHE. This rule implements the national suspension of the ABAWD requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, for the period of September 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020. 7 C.F.R. 273.24(f) provides that, upon the request of the State agency, the Secretary may waive the applicability of the 3-month ABAWD time limit for any group of individuals in the State if the Secretary makes a determination that the geographic area in which the individuals reside has an unemployment rate of over 10 percent, or does not have a sufficient number of jobs to provide employment for the individuals. This rule implements the July 15, 2020, ABAWD geographic state-wide waiver approval, pursuant to 7 C.F.R. 273.24(f)(2) and Section 6(o) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, for the period October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, or until the date at which the new waiver standards become effective, whichever occurs earlier. The Department's waiver request was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), on July 15, 2020. USDA: Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) Waiver Response, Serial Number 2190025. In the July 15, 2020 FNS Waiver Response, FNS determined that the Department met the waiver requirement by providing a copy of the Department of Labor Trigger Notice No. 2020-17, effective May 10, 2020, showing that, state-wide, Maine qualified for extended unemployment benefits. This rule change will enhance nutritional stability and consistency for thousands of Maine households at a time of financial and health uncertainty. The Department is adopting this rule with a retroactive application to September 1, 2020. Retroactive rulemaking is authorized by the Legislature in accordance with 22 M.R.S. 42 (8) because this rule provides a benefit to recipients or beneficiaries and does not have an adverse financial effect on either providers or beneficiaries or recipients.
Effective Date: Dec 17, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments (Word)  Posted: December 16, 2020
 
FSET Rule #FSET4A - Repeal and Replace Rule - Track Changes (Word)  Rule - Clean (Word) 
Concise Summary: The Department has redesigned its Food Supplement Employment and Training (FSET) Program, based on federal technical assistance. The new model has moved away from having Maine Department of Labor deliver FSET services to a model used by many other states whereby the Department contracts directly with community-based organizations and educational institutions that deliver employment and training. These providers must follow federal guidelines for SNAP Employment and Training. This repeal and replace rulemaking governs Maine's FSET program. This new rule provides as follows: 1) Clarifies that FSET services are delivered by contracted providers who must deliver service components that meet federal standards; 2) Lays out the operating procedures including participant, contractor and Department responsibilities; 3) Provide a more complete and detailed list of available services and supports; 4) Identify priority target groups; 5) Section 8(I) (Support Service Limits) sets annual support service limits for participants; After reviewing Comments, and receiving advice from the Office of Attorney General, the Department made these changes in the Adopted Rule: 1) The Department added additional language to Section 11(II) (Administrative Hearings), clarifying what Department actions and determinations can be appealed, and when the request for administrative hearing must be made. The Department added the citation for the Food Supplement Program Rule, 10-144 Chapter 301, as this rule incorporates the Administrative Hearing process from Section FS 777-1 of that rule. 2) The Adopted Rule also modifies the FSET program, from a mandatory program to an entirely voluntary program. The Proposed rule proposed a mandatory/voluntary program. Both commenters (Maine Equal Justice and Preble Street) expressed concern with a mandatory program, pointing to national studies which indicate that voluntary programs for vocational training or work experience yield more engaged participants with stronger outcomes. The Department agrees with the Commenters, and is making this change in the Adopted rule, to make the FSET program a voluntary program. The Department considers this to be a beneficial change for all Participants.
Effective Date: September 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments (Word)  Posted: September 2, 2020
 
ASPIRE Rule #26A - Support Services Changes Rule - Track Changes (Word)  Rule - Clean (Word) 
Concise Summary: This adopted rule makes the following changes: Section 1 (Definitions and Descriptions) - The definition of "UP (Unemployed Parent), was deleted. This definition has not been relevant since deprivation was removed as a TANF requirement as part of Adopted Rule Number 2017-198. Section 11 (Work Activity Services) - Sec. I(M) deleted the reference to unemployed parents. These references have not been relevant since deprivation was removed as a TANF requirement as part of Adopted Rule Number 2017-198. Section 14 (Support Service Benefits and Payment Provisions) - Sec. II(B) The general mileage rate was increased from $ .30/mile to $ .44/mile and the weekly dollar amount cap limit was raised from $120/week to $140/week as part of the proposed rule to keep a consistent amount with other OFI employment and training programs at the time of proposal. In the adopted rule the mileage rate has been increased to $.45/mile, which is consistent with the mileage rate utilized in the State of Maine/Maine Service Employee's Association (MSEA) collective bargaining agreement. See: https://www.maine.gov/osc/travel/mileage-other-info. - Sec. II(B) In the final rule, the Department decided to not adopt the proposed elimination of a special mileage rate of $.45/mile for ASPIRE participants who are disabled and who operate their own personal wheelchair lift or other specially equipped vehicle during the course of allowed ASPIRE activities. In response to a Rule Comment, this final rule keeps the special mileage for these individuals. Additionally, the final rule increased the rate to $.55/mile. The rate is consistent with Maines standard mileage reimbursement rate paid by the State Controller and published by DAFS at https://www.maine.gov/osc/travel/mileage-other-info for Maine State Employees covered under the contract established by MSEA. - Sec. II(C)(1) (Auto Repairs). The final rule broadened the scope of vehicles for which ASPIRE will pay repairs to include vehicles registered to specified relatives who have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle in Maine, if they reside in the home of the ASPIRE participant, and who would be included in the TANF grant if otherwise eligible. The added language ensures that the automobile being repaired has a licensed operator in the home. There are other support services that can assist with license attainment for ASPIRE participants if needed. - Sec. II(D) (Auto Liability Insurance). The final rule increased the reimbursement for auto insurance from $300 to $600 per calendar year and includes the requirement that the participant must have a valid Maine drivers license. The department finds that an increase in the maximum amount of auto insurance paid per calendar year is reflective of current insurance expenses and is consistent with other Office for Family Independence programs. - Sec. II(K) (Relocation Costs) The general mileage rate was increased from $ .30/mile to $ .44/mile and the weekly dollar amount cap limit was raised from $120/week to $140/week as part of the proposed rule to keep a consistent amount with other OFI employment and training programs at the time of proposal. In the adopted rule the mileage rate has been increased to $.45/mile, which is consistent with the mileage rate utilized in the State of Maine/Maine Service Employees Association (MSEA) collective bargaining agreement. See: https://www.maine.gov/osc/travel/mileage-other-info.
Effective Date: September 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments (Word)  Posted: September 2, 2020
 
Food Supplement Rule #FS213A - FS 777-3 Administration Procedures Claims and Collections Rule - Track Changes (Word)  Rule - Clean (Word) 
Concise Summary: The purpose of this rule is to update procedures regarding the establishment, compromise and collections of Food Supplement overpayment claims. This rule will more closely align Maine policy with that of other states in the Northeast SNAP Region. Due to cost effectiveness, Maine will no longer establish overpayment claims equal to or less than $200 for households still participating in the Food Supplement program or $500 for households no longer participating in the program. Maine will now compromise unintentional household errors. Maine may compromise agency and unintentional household errors at the time the claim is established. Additionally, when calculating unintentional household errors Overpayment Specialists will now go back two years from discovery rather than six years.
Effective Date: September 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments (Word)  Posted: September 2, 2020
 
MaineCare Rule #293A - MSP and DEL Income Limit Changes Rule - Track Changes (PDF)  Rule - Clean (Word) 
Concise Summary: This rulemaking expands eligibility by increasing income thresholds for beneficiaries in the MaineCare Eligibility Manual, Part 8, Medicare Savings Program (Buy-in), 10-144 C.M.R. Ch. 332, consistent with legislative appropriations in P.L. 2019, Ch. 343, An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds, and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2019, June 30, 2020, and June 30, 2021 (effective June 17, 2019), and with approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition, the Department has incorporated into this rule a number of formatting and grammatical changes. The Department is adopting this rule retroactive to February 1, 2020, as approved by CMS, and as authorized in accordance with 22 M.R.S. 42(8) because this rule provides a benefit to recipients or beneficiaries and does not have an adverse financial effect on either providers or beneficiaries or recipients. This rulemaking also expands eligibility by increasing income thresholds in the Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly and Disabled (DEL) rule, 10-144 C.M.R. Ch. 333, consistent with legislative appropriations in P.L. 2019, Ch. 343 and resulting statutory changes in 22 M.R.S. 254-D(4)(D). The Department is adopting this rule retroactive to July 1, 2019 as required by law and consistent with 22 M.R.S. 42(8).
Effective Date: MSP February 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments (Word)  Posted: August 12, 2020
 
ASPIRE Rule #27A - Good Cause Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: The adopted change provides ASPIRE participants with additional process and information regarding the Good Cause exception. The rule also implements changes to Maine's Work Verification Plan dated September 30, 2019, to incorporate basic skills activities, including English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Adult Basic Education (ABE), General Education Diploma (GED), and High School Equivalency (HSE), into vocational educational training.
Effective Date: July 20, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: July 1, 2020
 
General Assistance Rule #23A - Changes Pursant to L.D. 459 Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: The Rule makes several changes to the Manual governing operation of the General Assistance (GA) program to comport more closely with recently adopted statutory changes. In particular, those changes made through SP 137 - LD 459, codified at PL 2019, ch. 515. It adds the definitions of homelessness and presumptive eligibility. It specifies that an emergency exists when a person is facing or experiencing homelessness. It allows for, and details the process and timelines for, presumptive eligibility. It clarifies that an 'initial applicant' is one who has never applied before. It clarifies the time limit for the lump sum penalty to conform to the amended statute. It updates the definition of narrative statement to require one each time action is taken on an application.
Effective Date: July 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: July 1, 2020
 
MaineCare Rule #296A - Transitional MaineCare 2019 Changes Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: This rule change aligns the MaineCare Eligibility Manual with 22 M.R.S. 3174-G (4) as amended by H.P. 1261 - L.D. 1774. This amendment requires the Department to provide transitional Medicaid, to individuals eligible due to increased earnings, for a twelve-month period. Previously, this assistance was provided for a six-month period with an option of two three-month extensions. The Department has incorporated into this rule a number of formatting and grammatical changes. The Department made some adjustments to word choice with the intent of using terms more consistently from section to section and replaced words that may have taken on a different connotation since previous drafts. These changes increase the readability of the Parts in question. The Department has removed some obsolete references in the Parts in question. These references caused undue confusion. The Department removed language specific to internal processes that do not directly impact eligibility or client interactions. These changes included removing references to the job title of the individual in the department who would most often take a particular action. In addition to this level of specificity being unnecessary, it appeared to unduly restrict individuals with other titles who are capable of taking these actions from doing so, thereby impeding access to benefits and timely decisions for program applicants and recipients. Due to the press of other business, technological challenges, and coordination with CMS; the Department was unable to adopt this rule prior to January 1, 2020. Therefore, the Department is adopting this rule with a retroactive application date of January 1, 2020. Retroactive rulemaking is authorized by the Legislature in accordance with 22 M.R.S. 42 (8) because this rule provides a benefit to recipients or beneficiaries and does not have an adverse financial effect on either providers or beneficiaries or recipients.
Effective Date: Jan 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: June 17, 2020
 
Food Supplement Rule #FS211A - 2019 Updates to the Lottery Rule Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: The purpose of this rule is to bring the eligibility requirements for Maine's Food Supplement program in line with federal requirements articulated in the 2014 Farm Bill, P.L. 113-79, and the subsequent clarifying rules, 7 U.S.C. 2015 (s)(1)-(3). Per 22 M.R.S. 3104 (16), Maines rule disqualifies households with $5,000 in net lottery or gambling winnings in a month. Under the new federal requirement, the disqualification also applies to households with a member or combination of members with gross winnings from a single game that exceed the elderly and disabled asset limit (adjusted annually). This rule change adds the federal requirement to the requirement set in Maine statute. The rule adds language to reporting requirements (consistent with federal rules) requiring households experiencing such winnings to report them by the 10th day of the following month.
Effective Date: Jul 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: June 17, 2020
 
MaineCare Rule #292A - Medically Needy Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: The Department regularly reviews policies to ensure clarity and conformity with state and federal requirements. Clarification was added as to which categorically needy coverage groups have a correlating Medically Needy group, and which would not qualify for Medically Needy if they exceed the income or asset limits for Categorically Needy coverage. Clarification was added where the Medically Needy budgeting process differs from the Categorically Needy budgeting process. Obsolete references to asset limits were removed. Clarification was added that the household must be liable for medical expenses and those expenses must be medically necessary for them to be applicable to a deductible. Additional changes were made to formatting and word choice for readability.
Effective Date: Jul 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: May 27, 2020
 
TANF Rule #114A - Changes to Household and Budgeting Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: This rule change aligns the Maine Public Assistance Manual with 22 M.R.S.: 3762 (3)(B)(7) as amended by L.D. 1772 and L.D. 1774; 3762-18 as amended by L.D. 1772; 3769-G as amended by L.D. 1772; and 3762 (20) as amended by L.D. 1001. These amendments require the Department to eliminate a gross income test for TANF/PaS applicants, utilize new earnings disregards when calculating a TANF/PaS benefit, accept referrals from educational institutions as PaS applications, provide up to two million dollars annually to organizations to support whole family economic security initiatives, and end TANF/PaS denials based on a positive drug test. This rule changes relationship requirements for TANF eligibility. These changes align TANF policy with related state law and policy which recognizes the additional relationships included in this rule. This rule provides the figures for the increased Standard of Need and Maximum benefit for Federal Fiscal Year 2021, as required by Maine Statute. In calculating these figures, corrections were also made to the figures for the current Federal Fiscal Year. As a result of comments, this rule incorporates the conditions under which Good Cause can be granted and the process for seeking Good Cause as is applies to ASPIRE-TANF, as detailed in H.P. 908 - L.D. 1247. As a result of comments requirements for face to face interactions between applicants, recipients and Department representatives were modified. The Department also incorporated, into this rule, a number of formatting and grammatical changes. The Department made some adjustments to word choice with the intent of using terms more consistently from chapter to chapter and replaced words that may have taken on a different connotation since previous drafts. These changes increase the readability of the amended Chapters. This rule will not have an impact on municipalities or small businesses.
Effective Date: Apr 29, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: April 29, 2020