Emergency Rulemaking

SNAP Rule #224E - March 2022 Standard Utility Allowance Updates Rule - Track Changes (Word)  Rule - Clean (Word)   
Concise Summary: Each state agency is charged with determining standard utility allowances and having those approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Each year, Maine proposes figures based on the best available data in July for implementation in October. The utility allowance values for Federal Fiscal Year 2022 were calculated to increase using The Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 240.778% for June 2021 published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor, and were submitted to and approved by the USDA. Between June and October 2021, the CPI increased another 11.88 percentage points. This increase is indicative of an additional $2 per month in phone expenses, an additional $14 per month in utility expenses for households without a heating or cooling expense, and an additional $42 per month in utility expenses for households with a heating or cooling expense. To accurately reflect the expense of Maine families, the Department has submitted and the USDA has approved updated standard utility allowances for the remainder of Federal Fiscal Year 2022. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. 8054, the Department finds that emergency rulemaking is necessary for the health, safety, and general welfare in order to ensure that SNAP benefits are issued appropriately and accurately taking into account the high utility expenses experienced by Maine residents as verified by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=puc-pressreleases&id=6112651&v=article088, and maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=puc-pressreleases&id=6040934&v=article088) and attested to by various media outlets (thedenverchannel.com/news/national/with-rising-heating-cost-more-people-are-expected-to-ask-for-assistance-with-bills-this-winter, pressherald.com/2021/11/09/mainers-to-face-double-digit-shock-in-electricity-supply-rates-next-year, and mainepublic.org/business-and-economy/2021-11-16/maine-utility-regulators-are-warning-electricity-customers-to-brace-for-a-big-rate-hike).
Effective Date: March 1, 2022
 
SNAP Rule #222E - FFY 2022 Budgeting Figures Rule - Track Changes (Word)  Rule - Clean (Word)   
Concise Summary: This emergency rule implements updates to: maximum and minimum allotments; the standard, homeless and maximum shelter deductions; and asset limits for the Food Supplement program as of October 1, 2021. As a result, Food Supplement benefits will change for some households. An emergency 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 FY2022 provided more generous income limits, maximum and minimum allotments, standard deductions, maximum shelter deduction, homeless shelter deduction, asset limits, and 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 increase 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. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. 8054, the Department finds that emergency rulemaking is necessary for the health, safety, and general welfare in order to ensure that Food Supplement benefits are issued appropriately, accurately, and in a timely fashion consistent with federal law. The USDA memoranda providing these figures were not provided in a timeframe that would allow the Department to comply with the non-emergency rulemaking process and still implement by the required date of October 1, 2020. Therefore, the Department finds that an emergency rule change is necessary to remain in compliance with Federal regulation 7 C.F.R. 273.9(d), which requires annual calculation of federal poverty levels, the standard deduction and SUAs. Non-compliance could result in federal penalties or loss of federal funds.
Effective Date: October 1, 2021