Skip to Page Content
Delaware.gov  |  Text OnlyGovernor | General Assembly | Courts | Elected Officials | State Agencies
 Photo: Featured Delaware Photo
 
 
 Phone Numbers Mobile Help Size Print Email

Delaware General AssemblyDelaware RegulationsMonthly Register of RegulationsMay 2013

Table of Contents Previous Next

Authenticated PDF Version

Delaware Health and Social Services (“Department”) / Division of Social Services initiated proceedings to amend the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) regarding Case Administration, including, Definitions; Treating Clients with Courtesy; Keeping Client Information Confidential; Safeguarding Case Records; Compiling and Saving Case Record Contents; Guaranteeing Civil Rights and Non-Discrimination; Making Civil Rights Complaints; and, Providing Policy Information. 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 March 2013 Delaware Register of Regulations, requiring written materials and suggestions from the public concerning the proposed regulations to be produced by March 31, 2013 at which time the Department would receive information, factual evidence and public comment to the said proposed changes to the regulations.
The proposal described below amends policies in the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) regarding Case Administration, including Definitions; Treating Clients with Courtesy; Keeping Client Information Confidential; Safeguarding Case Records; Compiling and Saving Case Record Contents; Guaranteeing Civil Rights and Non-Discrimination; and, Providing Policy Information.
Title 31 of the Delaware Code, Chapter 5, §501, General Assistance Program, Legislative intent
Title 31 of the Delaware Code, Chapter 11, §1101, Confidential character of public assistance records; penalties for violations
Title 31 of the Delaware Code, Chapter 36, §3610, General Assistance Program, Acquisition of information by court-appointed special advocate
7 CFR §272.1(c), Use of disclosure of information
7 CFR §272.6, Nondiscrimination compliance
45 CFR Part 80, Nondiscrimination under programs receiving federal assistance through the Department of Health and Human Services effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
45 CFR §92.42, Retention and access requirements for records
45 CFR §205.50, Safeguarding information for the financial assistance programs
45 CFR §205.70, Availability of agency program manuals
DSSM 1000 Administration is removed and replaced with DSSM 1000 Definitions;
DSSM 1001 the purpose of Delaware’s financial assistance programs is removed from the policy manual as that information is on the Division of Social Services (DSS) website;
DSSM 1003 and DSSM 1003.1 are combined into DSSM 1003;
DSSM 1003.2 is expanded into DSSM 1003.2 and DSSM 1003.2.1;
DSSM 1006.1 and DSSM 1006.2 are combined into DSSM 1006.1;
DSSM 1006.7 is incorporated into DSSM 1006; and,
DSSM 1007.1 and DSSM 1007.2 are incorporated into DSSM 1007.
DSSM 1000, Responsibility for the Administration of Delaware's Assistance Programs Definitions
DSSM 1001, Purpose of Delaware's Financial Assistance Program RESERVED
DSSM 1002, Courteous Treatment of Clients Treating Clients With Courtesy
DSSM 1003, Confidentiality Keeping Client Information Confidential
DSSM 1003.1, Procedures to Maintain Confidentiality RESERVED
DSSM 1003.2, Information to Law Enforcement Agencies Releasing Confidential TANF Recipient Information
DSSM 1003.2.1, Releasing Confidential FSP Recipient Information
DSSM 1003.3, Child Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
DSSM 1003.4, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA or guardian ad litem) Releasing Confidential Information to Court Appointed Special Advocates
DSSM 1003.5, Disclosure of Information for Other Reasons Other Reasons for Releasing Confidential Information
DSSM 1004, Records To Be Kept In Locked Files Safeguarding Case Records
DSSM 1005, Case Record Maintenance and Retention Compiling and Saving Case Record Contents
DSSM 1006, Civil Rights and Non-Discrimination Guaranteeing Civil Rights and Non-Discrimination
DSSM 1006.1, Non-Discrimination and Administrative Practices Ensuring Non-Discrimination in the Provision of Services
DSSM 1006.2, Administration of the Civil Rights Program RESERVED
DSSM 1006.3, Civil Rights Information to Clients and Participants Providing Civil Rights Information
DSSM 1006.4, Assurance of Civil Rights Program Compliance in Regional Operations Assuring Compliance in Area Operations
DSSM 1006.5, Reports of Civil Rights Program Reporting Civil Rights Program Activities
DSSM 1006.6, Civil Rights Program and Public Relations Publicizing the Civil Rights Program
DSSM 1006.7, Staff Development and the Civil Rights Program RESERVED
DSSM 1007, Complaint Procedures Making Civil Rights Complaints
DSSM 1007.1, Right to File Complaint RESERVED
DSSM 1007.2, Methods of Filing Complaints RESERVED
DSSM 1007.3, Methods of Handling Complaints Routing Civil Rights Complaints
DSSM 1007.4, Records of Complaints Keeping Records of Civil Rights Complaints
DSSM 1007.5, Confidentiality of Complaints Keeping the Identity of Complaints Confidential
DSSM 1007.6, Other Complaint Procedures Making Complaints
DSSM 1008, Availability of Program Manuals Providing Policy Information
First, §1003.4 authorizes agency staff to release records to a court-appointed guardian ad litem “relating to the child and his or her family or guardian”. This may be “overbroad”. The relevant statute, 29 Del.C. §9007A, confers a right “to inspect and copy any records relating to the child and parents involved in the case of appointment”. This access right would not ostensibly extend to the entire “family”, including siblings, aunts and uncles, etc.
Agency Response: The policy is amended to clearly indicate it applies only to the child and the parents/guardians of that child.
Second, §1003.5 authorizes release of confidential information in connection with “civil proceedings”. This is also “overbroad” and could result in disclosure of information unauthorized by law. Section 1003.5 is based on 45 C.F.R. 205.50(a) and 7 C.F.R. 272.1(c). The latter regulation does not authorize disclosure in connection with “civil proceedings”. The former regulation (§205.50) authorizes release based on “any investigation, prosecution, or criminal or civil proceedings conducted in connection with the administration of any such plans or programs.” Thus, if the State instituted a civil action to recover the value of benefits fraudulently obtained, access to records would be authorized. Section 1003.5, Par. 1, on the other hand, literally authorizes release of information in connection with any civil proceedings (e.g. child custody; creditor-debtor litigation; landlord-tenant litigation) which are not “connected” to the administration of the DHSS plans or programs. The references should preferably be modified to incorporate this limitation.
Agency Response: Section 1003.5 is amended to clarify that Food Supplement Program information will not be released for reasons of civil proceedings. The amendment also stipulates that the release of information is made in connection with the administration of DHSS programs or plans.
Agency Response: DSS is in the process of converting DSS records and DMMA Family and Community Medicaid records to an electronic form within a secure system which eliminates the need to transfer records between offices. DMMA LTC Medicaid records are transferred between offices in the custody of a Division employee or by Department mail.
Agency Response: The section is corrected to be consistent.
Agency Response: The word is deleted.
Sixth, §1008 only contemplates access to policy manuals at physical sites (e.g. public libraries; State Offices). DSS should review Title 29 Del.C. §10003 which contemplates that each agency will maintain a web portal through which FOIA requests can be made. Requests for access to records can also be made via email or fax. Section 1008 is ostensibly outdated insofar as it only describes access to information by visiting “bricks and mortar” sites. The above statute also contains specific photocopying fees information, including copying the first 20 pages for free. In contrast, §1008, Par. 3.B states that all pages are charged at a set rate.
Agency Response:
The DSS and DMMA policy manuals are available on the internet at http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title16/. Section 1008 does not address FOIA. However, those wishing to make a FOIA request may do so electronically at the Department of Health and Social Services website at http://dhss.delaware.gov/main/mailforms/dhss_foiaform.aspx.
Title 29 Del.C. §10003 references copying of public records.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, that the proposed regulation to amend the Division of Social Services Manual (DSSM) regarding Case Administration, including, Definitions; Treating Clients with Courtesy; Keeping Client Information Confidential; Safeguarding Case Records; Compiling and Saving Case Record Contents; Guaranteeing Civil Rights and Non-Discrimination; Making Civil Rights Complaints; and, Providing Policy Information is adopted and shall be final effective May 10, 2013.
2. Title 31 of the Delaware Code, Chapter 5 (the General Assistance Program);
4. Title 31 of the Delaware Code, Title XX of the Social Security Act, 7 CFR §273.7, and the CCDBG as
5. Title 31 of the Delaware Code, Chapter 9 (Food Stamp Employment and Training services); and
6. 7 U.S.C. Chapter 51 and Title 31 of the Delaware Code, Chapter 6 (the Food Stamp Program).
31 Delaware Code §501
7 CFR 272.1(c); 45 CFR 205.50, 31 Del. Code §1101
1003.2.1 RELEASING CONFIDENTIAL FSP CLIENT INFORMATION
7 CFR 272.1(c)(1); PRWORA, 31 Del. Code §1101
If the law enforcement officer provides verification that a household member is fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody for a felony, or has violated a condition of probation or parole, DSS will terminate the member’s participation.
31 Delaware Code §3610
This policy applies any time a Court Appointed Special Advocate (or guardian ad litem) requests information about a child and his [family parent] or guardian and provides pertinent details of the reasons for the release of information.
DSS and DMMA staff will permit a Court Appointed Special Advocate (or guardian ad litem) to review and/or copy any records relating to the child and his or her [family parent] or guardian. (The CASA does not have to have the consent of the child or the child’s family.)
Any time information is released, staff will:
Staff may release public assistance program information if needed [in connection with the administration of DHSS plans or programs] for any of the following reasons:
Staff may release information if it is needed for the administration of any federal or federally assisted program.
Records sent to another office may be sent in the custody of a Division employee or by Department messenger mail. [DSS and DMMA records in electronic form are not transferred between offices.]
This policy applies to all DSS and DMMA case records except medical records.
1. Staff Collect Pertinent Case Information
Case records will contain all information necessary to determine eligibility or ineligibility for benefits or amount of benefits. Records will contain:
2. Division of Management Services Maintains Fiscal Records
Case records are kept for five [or more] years as follows:
B. Records related to a pending audit are kept beyond the five years [or until the completion of a successful audit, whichever is later].
D. Cases that are under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) or that have outstanding overpayments will be retained [beyond the three‑year period for ten years] and will remain intact until the investigation and subsequent legal action is complete or the overpayment is filed.
Staff must never destroy information needed to substantiate outstanding overpayments.
Any papers (forms or correspondence) in an active record which are more than four calendar years old may be destroyed on site with the permission of the unit supervisor who has possession of the record [if those papers were scanned into the Document Imaging System].
This policy applies to any person who inquires about, applies for or receives any services from DSS or DMMA. It includes the use of all DSS or DMMA physical facilities. For this policy, the terms DSS or DMMA include all other persons or organizations that perform services for either Division.
A. Deny any person a DSS or DMMA service.
This policy applies when any person inquires about, applies for or receives services from DSS or DMMA or a person or organization under contract with DSS or DMMA.
Neither the Division nor its contractors will [not] discriminate against any person because of race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
If staff notice any instances of discrimination, staff will make a full written report to the Director via his or her Supervisor and the Civil Rights Coordinator.
The Civil Rights Coordinator maintains complete records of all complaints that are made on the grounds of discrimination. He also maintains complete records of all appeals and fair hearings that are requested on the grounds of discrimination.
This policy applies any time a person, group, or agency makes a complaint alleging a civil rights violation.
All complaints of discrimination in the Food Supplement Program processed at the State level must be sent to FNS within 90 days of the date DSS receives the complaint.
1. The kind of discrimination alleged (e.g., race, color, etc.)
B. Food Benefit Assistance Complaints
Complaints must contain:
This policy applies to all complaints of discrimination based on color, national origin, sex, religious creed, age, disability, or political beliefs.
A current copy of the policy manuals and other policy material is available without charge to Public Libraries and to individuals or other agencies who request the material if they:
Last Updated: December 31 1969 19:00:00.
site map   |   about this site   |    contact us   |    translate   |    delaware.gov