Proposed Rulemaking

Food Supplement Rule # FS 214P - FFY 2021 ABAWD

Rule - Track Changes (Word) | Rule - Clean (Word)  | MAPA3 (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 Corona Virus 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 proposed rule implements the national suspension of the ABAWD requirements under the Families First Corona Virus 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. The proposed 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 proposing to adopt 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.

Submit Comments (Opens in new window) - Comment Deadline: Monday, November 2, 2020 | Posted: September 30, 2020

MaineCare Rule #298P - COVID-19 Testing for Uninsured Individuals

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA3   

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 that 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 no earlier than March 18, 2020 and ends on the last day of the month in which the federal public health emergency ends, unless otherwise directed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 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. Additionally, the Department regularly reviews policies to ensure clarity and conformity with state and federal requirements. Clarification was added to each section of Part 9 of this Manual to clarify eligibility criteria and processes. Changes were made to word choice for readability and in the interest of gender neutrality where appropriate.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: August 9, 2020 | Posted: July 9, 2020

ASPIRE Rule #25P - Working Cars for Working Families

Rule - Track Changes | Rule Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

The Department was directed to operate a Working Cars for Working Families program, 22 M.R.S. 3769-F, by the 128th Legislature as part of the 2017-2018 biennial budget. The purpose is to assist participants in obtaining and maintaining sustainable employment by providing them with access to reliable, affordable transportation. The rule establishes the program, sets out eligibility and ongoing participation criteria, and describes the application and decision processes, including termination of services and appeal rights.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: August 20, 2020 | Posted: June 3, 2020

FSET Rule #4P - Repeal and Replace

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

The proposed rulemaking updates the Maine Food Supplement Employment and Training (FSET) program rules to detail current administration, available services and supports, and operating procedures of the FSET program. The rules clarify that FSET services may be delivered by the Department or by contracted providers who must deliver service components that meet federal standards. The rules identify priority target groups, and annual support service limits for participants, since annual funding is limited.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: April 26, 2020 | Posted: March 25, 2020

ASPIRE Rule #27P - Good Cause

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

The proposed 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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Apr 26, 2020 | Posted: March 25, 2020

ASPIRE Rule #26P - Support Services

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

This rule increases travel reimbursement for ASPIRE participants to support their ability to engage in required work activities and is reflective of current travel related costs.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Apr 26, 2020 | Posted: March 25, 2020

Food Supplement Rule #213P - Overpayment and Compromise updates

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

The purpose of this rule is to update procedures regarding the establishment, compromise and collections of Food Supplement overpayments. 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 overpayments 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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Apr 26, 2020 | Posted: March 25, 2020

Food Supplement Rule #211P - 2019 Updates to the Lottery Rule

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Apr 26, 2020 | Posted: March 25, 2020

MaineCare Rule #293P - MSP and DEL Income Limit Changes 2019.

Chapter 332 Track Changes | Chapter 333 Track Changes  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

This rule change aligns the MaineCare Eligibility Manual with 22 M.R.S. 3174-G (1)(E) as amended by H.P. - L.D. 1001 (BBB). This amendment increases the income thresholds for the various Medicare Savings Program benefits. The Department has incorporated, into this rule, a number of formatting and grammatical changes. These changes increase the readability of the Part in question, and strive to avoid potential conflict with other Chapters. This rule change aligns the Low Cost Drugs for Elderly and Disabled (DEL) - Eligibility Manual with 22 M.R.S. 254-D (4)(D) as amended by H.P. L.D. 1001 (ZZ). This amendment increases the income thresholds for the DEL program. Due to the press of other business, technological challenges, and coordination with CMS; the Department was unable to adopt this rule prior to March 1, 2020. Therefore, the Department is adopting this rule with a retroactive application date of March 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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: April 5, 2020 | Posted: March 4, 2020

MaineCare Rule #292P - Medically Needy

Rule Track Changes | Rule Clean  | MAPA 3   

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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Apr 5, 2020 | Posted: March 4, 2020

General Assistance Rule # 23P - Changes Pursuant to LD459

Rule Track Changes | Rule Clean  | MAPA 3   

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. 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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Apr 5, 2020 | Posted: March 4, 2020

TANF Rule # 114P - Changes to Household and Budgeting.

Rule Track Changes | Rule Clean  | MAPA 3   

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. 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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Mar 15, 2020 | Posted: February 12, 2020

Food Supplement Rule #209P - COLA SUA FFY 2020

Rule - Track Changes | MAPA 3     

Concise Summary:

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 adopted through emergency rule making on October 1, 2019. It moves these figures to charts at the end of the Manual. It 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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Dec 6, 2019 | Posted: November 6, 2019

TANF Rule #113P - TANF Max Benefit 2019

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

This rule increases the TANF maximum benefit by 2.8% and makes related changes to the standard of need pursuant to 22 M.R.S. 3769-C(1)(D).

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Nov 30, 2019 | Posted: October 30, 2019

Food Supplement Rule #210P - ABAWD Geographic Exemption

Rule - Track Changes | Rule - Clean  | MAPA 3   

Concise Summary:

The Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations, administered in Maine as the Food Supplement Program, provide that certain able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) are subject to a maximum of three months of benefits over a 36-month period, unless they work 20 hours or more per week (averaged monthly) or participate in and comply with requirements of a work program. Individuals who reside in certain geographic areas can qualify for an exception to this time limit under 7 C.F.R. 273.24(f). The Department proposes to waive these work requirements for certain 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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Nov 30, 2019 | Posted: October 30, 2019

MaineCare Rule #296P - Transitional MaineCare 2019 changes

Rule Track Changes | Rule Clean  | MAPA 3   

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.

Comment deadline past Comment Deadline: Apr 12, 2020 | Posted: