Adopted Rulemaking

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
 
HOPE Rule 10-144 CMR Chapter 330 - Higher Opportunity for Pathways to Employment (HOPE) Program Rules Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: The Maine State Legislature enacted P.L. 2017, ch 387, codified at 22 M.R.S. 3790-A which authorized the Department to establish a student financial aid program based on need, called the Higher Pathways to Employment (HOPE) Program. This new rule governs the HOPE program. The rule introduces requirements for HOPE Program services, which are supports to low-income parents and caregivers attending educational institutions, which promote attainment of educational goals. The rule provides for an application process, financial and non-financial eligibility and participation requirements, verification and reporting responsibilities, types of eligible training/education programs, and support services conditions. This rule defines navigation services available to HOPE participants. The rule provides for an appeal process for applicants and participants. This benefit is a limited one. The Legislature limited the number of participants to 500. The Legislature also authorized the Commissioner to limit or suspend enrollment or program services to the extent necessary to avoid negative effects to services provided under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program pursuant to Title 22 Chapter 1053-B or from the operation of the Additional Support for People in Retraining and Employment - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program pursuant to Title 22 Chapter 1054-A. The Department does not anticipate any adverse impact to municipalities or small businesses as a result of this rule. Local school districts may see increased use of adult education offerings as students enroll in short-term occupational trainings or remedial course work required for entry to degree programs.
Effective Date: Jan 01, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: January 3, 2020
 
Food Supplement Rule #210A - ABAWD Geographic Exemption Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: The Department is adopting rules that waive work requirements for certain able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) residing in geographic areas that have unemployment rates at or above 10% or have insufficient jobs for recipients residing in those areas. The geographic areas include 247 qualifying cities, towns, unorganized territories, townships, and reservations that qualify individually or as part of a federally defined labor market area. Upon adoption of these rules, ABAWDs residing in those areas will no longer have to meet the work requirements to receive Food Supplement benefits.
Effective Date: Dec 29, 2019
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: January 3, 2020
 
Food Supplement Rule #209A - COLA SUA FFY 2020 Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: A rule change is necessary to remain in compliance with Federal regulation 7 CFR 273.9(d) which requires annual review and adjustment to federal poverty levels, the standard deduction, and an adjustment to standard utility allowances (SUAs). This rule extends updates to: the federal poverty levels; maximum and minimum allotments; the threshold that requires a report of changes in household income; the standard, homeless shelter, maximum shelter, and standard utility allowance deductions for the Food Supplement program adopted through emergency rule making on October 1, 2019. This rule moves these figures to charts at the end of the manual. Many points in the manual reference these figures. For simplicity, the figures will be housed in charts in one place and other sections will reference those charts. These charts, also, provide a historical record. This record will: facilitate accurate eligibility determinations when months in multiple federal fiscal years are calculated at the same time; facilitate more timely calculation of historical benefits in the cases of Quality Assurance reviews and payment errors; and provide a quick reference for recipients and community partners when trying to determine why benefits have fluctuated from one year to another. This rule adds verbiage clarifying the calculation of benefits for individuals residing in certain approved institutions that provide the majority of meals, to the extent that those calculations reference these annually updated figures. This language will provide clarity for our eligibility staff, recipients, community partners, and the Department's administrative hearings unit. The adopted version of this rule varies from the proposed version to incorporate changes that were made by other rules adopted in the interim. The organization of the information in section FS-444-8 was revamped for clarity as a result of comments.
Effective Date: Dec 29, 2019
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: January 3, 2020
 
Food Supplement Rule #208A - Removal of the Elderly Disabled Asset Limit Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: This rule removes asset limits for households that qualify for broad based categorical eligibility and in which all members are either elderly or disabled. The purpose of this rule is to improve program access and allow two of Maine's most vulnerable populations to participate in the Food Supplement Program without liquidating their household assets. Additionally, this rule will reduce administrative burden on the Department and help to improve Maines Payment Error Rate.
Effective Date: Dec 01, 2019
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: January 3, 2020
 
TANF Rule #113A - TANF Max Benefit 2019 Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: This rule is promulgated to comply with Maine statute 22 M.R.S. 3769-C(1)(D), which requires the Department to increase the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) maximum benefit on an annual basis by the amount of the cost of living allowance as determined by the Social Security Administration. The statute also requires the Department to make a related increase to the standard of need, provided the funds are available.
Effective Date: Dec 30, 2019
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: December 27, 2019
 
MaineCare Rule #291A - SBW Premium Rule Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: The proposed increase of monthly premiums, required under certain circumstances for enrollment in the Special Benefits Waiver (SBW) program, is necessary to comply with the waiver agreement (Maine Section 1115 Health Care Reform Demonstration for Individuals with HIV/AIDS, Part V, Paragraph 21) between The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Premium amounts for calendar year 2019 through calendar year 2028 have been negotiated between the Office of MaineCare Services (OMS) and CMS.
Effective Date: January 1, 2020
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: December 18, 2019
 
General Assistance Rule #22A - Access for Certain Non-Citizens Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: In 2015, the Maine Legislature amended the definition of "eligibility" in the Municipal General Assistance law through P.L. 2015, ch. 324, codified at 22 M.R.S. 4301(3), by adding the following sentence: Beginning July 1, 2015, in accordance with 8 United States Code, Section 1621(d), eligible person means a person who is lawfully present in the United States or who is pursuing a lawful process to apply for immigration relief, except that assistance for such a person may not exceed 24 months. The terms lawfully present and pursuing a lawful process to apply for immigration relief were not defined in the statute. In April 2016 the Department adopted regulations defining those terms. On July 18, 2019, the Department adopted emergency rules, which amended the definition of lawfully present and pursuing a lawful process to apply for immigration relief in Section II of the regulation. The emergency rule broadened the definitions to include asylum seekers who provide proof that they are taking reasonable good steps to apply for immigration relief, including pursuit of asylum or other adjustments of immigration status. The definition of 'pursuing a lawful process to apply for immigration relief also set forth what types of documentation would be required to prove that an individual was taking reasonable, good faith steps to apply for immigration relief with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services or before an immigration judge. In addition, the emergency rule made the following changes to Section IV(N): (1) required those individuals provide satisfactory proof to the municipalities, as defined in Section II, that they are either lawfully present or pursuing a lawful process to apply for immigration relief; and (2) required municipalities to provide relevant information to the Department upon request, for purposes of program integrity and coordination and prevention of duplication of services. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. 8054, the emergency rules can be in effect for up to 90 days. This rulemaking proposes to make the July 18, 2019 emergency changes permanent. Pursuant to 5 MRS 8052, the Department finds that permanent rulemaking is necessary to conform the General Assistance Program to existing law particularly given the ongoing influx, into Maine, of noncitizens who are at the first stages of seeking asylum or other immigration status. Obtaining legal employment while their applications are pending is often difficult or impossible. These residents thus require immediate assistance with basic needs such as shelter and food. Various Maine municipalities expend both privately and publicly sourced emergency funds for such care, and have opened emergency shelters to provide temporary housing. Adjacent municipalities offer assistance of various sorts, but such aid is limited by their own municipal budgetary restrictions. If the emergency rule is not made permanent, the anticipated exhaustion of local resources will cause a critical problem with the provision of assistance to such migrants, many of them children, including medicine, food and shelter. In addition to the July 18, 2019 emergency changes, the Department proposes to amend the definition of eligible person in Section II, so that it more closely comports with the statutory definition in 22 M.R.S. 4301(3).
Effective Date: Oct 16, 2019
View Comments: Summary of Comments  Posted: October 9, 2019
 
Food Supplement Rule #207A - Homeless Shelter Deduction Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean 
Concise Summary: This rule changes the value of the homeless shelter deduction from $143 to $147.55. This value is used in the budgeting of Food Supplement benefits for homeless households which incur or reasonably expect to incur shelter costs during a month, unless higher shelter costs can be verified.
Effective Date: September 3, 2019
View Comments: Summary and Responses to Comments  Posted: August 29, 2019