DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES

Division of Social Services

Statutory Authority: 31 Delaware Code, Section 512 (31 Del.C., §512)

FINAL

ORDER

Technical Eligibility for Cash Assistance

3008.1.1 Babies Born To Teen Parents

Nature of the Proceedings

Delaware Health and Social Services ("Department") / Division of Social Services initiated proceedings to amend policies in the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) as it relates to technical eligibility for cash assistance for certain minors. The Department's proceedings to amend its regulations were initiated pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10114 and its authority as prescribed by 31 Delaware Code Section 512.

The Department published its notice of proposed regulation changes pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10115 in the April 2006 Delaware Register of Regulations, requiring written materials and suggestions from the public concerning the proposed regulations to be produced by April 30, 2006 at which time the Department would receive information, factual evidence and public comment to the said proposed changes to the regulations.

Summary of Proposed Change

Citation

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193)

Summary of Proposed Change

The proposed rule provides clarification to DSSM 3008.1.1, Babies Born to Teen Parents, to eliminate confusion over the policy and reduce staff requests for policy clarification. Language is added to clarify that this rule only applies to the child while the teen is under 18 years of age.

Summary of Comments Received with Agency Response

The State Council for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD) offered the following observations summarized below. DSS considered both comments and respond as follows.

First, the 1-sentence amendment appears consistent with Section 408 of the Act.

Second, there are multiple aspects of the regulation, which, do not ostensibly conform to Section 408, and DSS may wish to consider issuing another proposed amendment based on the following:

A. If both parents live in the home, DSS precludes eligibility unless both parents are 18 or married. This exclusion does not appear in Section 408. If one parent is 17 and one parent is 19, what is the policy rationale for precluding the 19 year old from applying for benefits? DSS is providing a disincentive for the parents of the child to live together and provide a traditional (father and mother) family setting for the child.

B. Consistent with the attached HHS summary of the Act, the law is intended to promote the unmarried teen parent living with his/her parents/responsible adult or in an adult-supervised setting. Concomitantly, Section 408 provides exceptions to barring teen parents from qualifying for benefits if living in an adult-supervised setting: 1) the teen has no parent or adult relative or their whereabouts are unknown; 2) the teen parent's parent or relative refuses to allow the teen parent to live with them; 3) the teen parent's parent/relative have a history of abuse/exploitation; or, 4) the State waives the eligibility bar based on the best interest of the child. The DSS regulation, Section 3008.1.1 does not include these exceptions to the eligibility bar.

Agency Response: DSS appreciates the comments of the SCPD and respond as follows:

The reason for this clarification, not a change in policy, is to remind staff that once the minor teen parent turns 18 years of age, the baby can get TANF with the mother. The intent is to avoid any misinterpretation by staff in the future.

DSS has policy addressing emancipation and adult-supervised living arrangements approved by the Division of Family Services (DFS), within the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) at DSSM 3027.2, Minor Parents. DSS is willing to consider Council's observations regarding teen parents when that section of the rule is revised. We will look at section 3027.2, in conjunction with DSSM 3008.1.1, to determine if changes are needed.

Findings of Fact:

The Department finds that the proposed changes as set forth in the April 2006 Register of Regulations should be adopted.

THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, that the proposed regulation to amend the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) as it relates to technical eligibility for cash assistance for certain minors is adopted and shall be final effective June 10, 2006.

Karryl McManus for

Vincent P. Meconi, Secretary, DHSS, 5/16/06

DMMA FINAL ORDER REGULATION #06-21

REVISIONS:

3008 Eligibility of Certain Minors

3008.1.1 Babies Born To Teen Parents

This policy applies to both applicants and recipients not covered by family cap rules.

Babies born after December 31, 1998 to a teenage parent are not eligible for cash assistance (TANF and GA) unless the parent is:

• married; or

• at least eighteen (18) years of age.

An emancipated minor is considered an adult and therefore, the baby would be eligible for cash assistance. If both parents live in the home, both parents must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or married for the baby to be eligible. Once the minor parent turns 18, the parent and the baby are both eligible for cash assistance, if otherwise eligible.

Babies not receiving cash assistance are eligible for all other DSS services and programs including food stamps, grant-related Medicaid, and Welfare Reform child care. In lieu of cash assistance, the Division may provide non-cash assistance services. (See DSSM 3008.1.3)

Determining financial eligibility and grant amounts for an assistance unit which contains a child(ren) affected by this provision:

The child(ren) is/are included when determining the assistance unit’s need for assistance. The child(ren)’s income and resources are included when determining the assistance unit’s income and resources. The child(ren) is/are not included when determining the payment standard for the assistance unit.

Exception:

This restriction will not apply when:

• the child is conceived as a result of incest or sexual assault; or

• the child does not reside with his/her parents.

9 DE Reg. (06/01/06)(Final)