Emergency Rulemaking

Food Supplement Rule #215E - FFY 2021 Budgeting Figures Rule - Track Changes  Rule - Clean   
Concise Summary: This emergency rule implements annual, federally required updates to: the federal poverty levels; maximum allotments; the standard, homeless and maximum shelter deductions for the Food Supplement program. As a result, Food Supplement benefits will change for some households beginning October 1, 2020. 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 and income change reporting thresholds be updated each year, effective October 1. This year, 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. 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 standard utility allowances (SUAs). 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 United States Department of Agriculture (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 standard utility allowances (SUAs). Non-compliance could result in federal penalties or loss of federal funds.
Effective Date: Oct 1, 2020
 
MaineCare Rule #298E - COVID-19 Testing for Uninsured Individuals Rule Track Changes  Rule Clean   
Concise Summary: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) H.R. 6201, 116 Cong. (2019-2020), P.L. No. 116-127 (3/18/2020), 134 STAT 178 et seq. specified in Division F, Section 6004 (a) (3) that State Medicaid programs were authorized to create an optional coverage group to ensure services related to testing and diagnosis of COVID-19 are available in response to the pandemic, pursuant to Section 1902(a)(10)(A)(ii)(XXIII) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(10) as amended. This is a limited coverage benefit that is effective March 18, 2020 and ends on the last day of the month within which the federal public health emergency (PHE) ends, unless otherwise directed by CMS, even if that period exceeds 90 days, pursuant to the Governor's Executive Order 48, FY 19/20. Coverage under this group is available to individuals who are without health insurance, or whose health insurance coverage does not meet the requirements for minimum essential coverage. This rule change adopts the eligibility criteria established within the Act into the MaineCare Eligibility Manual. This rule change will reduce barriers to COVID-19 testing and treatment which will improve health outcomes for the specific individuals covered and reduce the spread of this virus throughout the Maine population as a whole. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. 8054, the Department finds that emergency rulemaking is necessary to provide this essential service during the current health emergency. Due to the emergency nature of the legislation establishing this coverage group, the Department was unable to adopt this rule prior to March 18, 2020. Therefore, the Department is adopting this emergency rule to apply retroactively to eligibility determinations made on or after March 18, 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. Modification of the usual rulemaking procedures under the Maine Administrative Procedure Act is necessary to ensure the public health, safety and welfare of Maine residents as more fully described in the Basis Statement accompanying this rulemaking.
Effective Date: May 13, 2020
 
TANF Rule # C19E - Change to In-person Requirements Rule Track Changes  Rule Clean   
Concise Summary: The recently active Novel Coronavirus is responsible for a new disease, COVID19, and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still learning how the virus spreads. The CDC reports that the virus is spread mainly by person-to-person contact between people who are within six feet of one another, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The CDC has advised that all symptomatic community members remain home to prevent further spread of the virus. The Maine Public Assistance Manual currently requires that a face-to-face interview be completed with each TANF application and requires all mandatory ASPIRE-TANF participants to attend an orientation. A face-to-face interview is also required at the time of annual recertification for TANF. Language has been modified through this rule change to allow for all orientation and interview activities to be completed over the telephone. This rule will allow for the continuation of services in the case of DHHS regional office closure to the public. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. 8054, the Department finds that emergency rulemaking is necessary to implement these changes as soon as possible to aid in the reduction of the spread of the new virus while continuing to provide TANF and ASPIRE supports to some of Maine's most vulnerable residents. This emergency rule removes the face-to-face requirement for the application and recertification interviews for TANF and ASPIRE-TANF orientation. Removal of the face-to-face component adheres to the recommendation of the CDC to prevent the spread of the virus by avoiding person-to-person contact. Modification of the usual rulemaking procedures under the Maine Administrative Procedure Act is necessary to ensure the public health, safety and welfare of Maine residents.
Effective Date: Mar 13, 2020
 
TANF Rule #114E - Changes to 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. This amendment requires the Department to eliminate a gross income test for TANF/PaS applicants and utilize new earnings disregards when calculating a TANF/PaS benefit. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. 8054, the Department finds that emergency rulemaking is necessary to implement these changes as soon as possible. Due to the press of other business, technological challenges, and staffing issues in the Department due to a change in administrations, the Department was unable to adopt this rule prior to September 19, 2019. Therefore, the Department is adopting this emergency to apply retroactively to eligibility determinations made on or after September 19, 2019. 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. Modification of the usual rulemaking procedures under the Maine Administrative Procedure Act is necessary ensure the public health, safety and welfare of Maine residents.
Effective Date: Feb 4, 2020
 
TANF Rule# 115E - Relationship Changes Rule Track Changes  Rule Clean   
Concise Summary: The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and it's predecessor, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), were established to provide financial support and steps to independence for families with minor children. Federal regulations (45 C.F.R. 206) specify individuals who must be counted as part of the childs family but do not define who can be counted as part of the childs family. In the past, the state of Maine has required the individual applying on the childs behalf to show a close biological or marital relationship to the child(ren). The nature of family structure has evolved significantly in the United States since AFDC was established in 1935. Maine law allows numerous instances where non-relatives can act in the role of a parent (in loco parentis), and the Department is taking steps to align TANF policy with related state law and policy which recognizes such relationships. Pursuant to 5 M.R.S. 8054 the Department finds that emergency rulemaking is necessary to implement these changes as soon as possible given the high number of low income children placed with non-relative guardians as a result of the opioid crisis. According to the Task Force to Address the Opioid Crisis in the State Final Report December 2017 presented to the 128th Legislature: In 2016 there were a total of 376 drug-induced deaths in Maine (a 38% increase from 2015). The indisputable effects of the opioid crisis are far-reaching and have ripple effects on families and children. The average age of overdose deaths in Maine for 2016 was 41. On a given day in 2017, 9090 Mainers were receiving some form of medication assisted drug treatment. In 2016 there were 1,024 reports regarding infants exposed to substances, constituting 8.1% of all live births in Maine. 8.5% of the general public aged 18 or older have substance use disorders. These facts demonstrate a sudden and dramatic increase in the number of Maine residents, of child bearing age, who are not able or allowed to keep their children in their homes. These children, who require safe homes, often reside with adults in their community with no biological or marital relationship to the child(ren). These families require supports that the TANF program can provide. Modification of the usual rulemaking procedures under the Maine Administrative Procedure Act is necessary to ensure the health and general welfare of Maine citizens, specifically low income children with non-relative legal guardians and said guardians providing their housing and care.
Effective Date: Jan 30, 2020