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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 51 Pa.B. 5522 (August 28, 2021).

55 Pa. Code § 141.21. Policy.

ELIGIBILITY PROVISIONS FOR TANF/GA


§ 141.21. Policy.

 (a)  In addition to the specific requirements referred to in § §  141.41 and 141.61 (relating to policy; and policy), certain actions will be conditions of eligibility for TANF or GA when an absent parent is involved.

 (b)  Generally, an assistance unit will be considered for TANF assistance if there is a missing parent which results in deprivation of parental support or care as described in Chapter 153 (relating to deprivation of support or care). However, if the applicant is an unemancipated minor as set forth in §  145.63 (relating to requirements) who is not eligible for TANF only because of not living with a specified relative, the applicant may qualify for GA. Requirements for obtaining child support will apply in either instance.

 (c)  As a condition of eligibility for TANF, each applicant/recipient parent, guardian or other caretaker/relative with whom the child is living shall cooperate in the referral process for securing support for children from absent parents prior to the application interview unless good cause is claimed in accordance with subsection (d). Dependent upon household situations, the individual responsible for cooperating is as follows:

   (1)  When an emancipated minor child, determined to be a specified relative, is living with the emancipated minor child’s recipient parent and is included in the grant, the parent shall carry the responsibility for meeting child support requirements.

   (2)  When an unemancipated minor child, determined to be a specified relative, is the payment name and receiving assistance for herself and children, the unemancipated minor will be considered to be the caretaker/relative and shall carry responsibility for meeting child support requirements.

   (3)  When court ordered support in the form of alimony is received, due or accrued on behalf of the TANF applicant/recipient parent, guardian or other caretaker or GA applicant/recipient, child support requirements will apply. Reference should be made to §  187.23 (relating to requirements).

 (d)  For an applicant/recipient who is a caretaker/relative, as defined in §  151.42 (relating to definitions) the following is required:

   (1)  Cooperation with the Department, including the keeping of scheduled appointments with applicable offices, appearing as a witness in court or at other hearings or proceedings necessary to obtain support from the absent parent, in establishing the paternity of a child born out-of-wedlock, identifying and locating the absent parent and obtaining support payments as provided under §  187.23.

     (i)   An exception to paragraph (1) is that if the applicant/recipient parent or other caretaker is able to establish good cause for refusing to take support or paternity action, or both, against the absent parent or putative father because to do so would not be in the best interest of the child, cooperation requirements will be waived as set forth in §  187.23(a)(3).

     (ii)   The following provisions relate to procedures to waive cooperation requirements:

       (A)   The applicant/recipient parent or other caretaker will be provided a written notice of the right to claim good cause as an exception to cooperation requirements, Form PA 173-WP. The notice will outline the circumstances under which good cause may be claimed and the responsibility of the applicant/recipient to provide the evidence or other information needed by the CAO to make a determination as to whether good cause exists as set forth in §  187.23(a)(3).

       (B)   The CAO will provide each TANF applicant/recipient parent or other caretaker the opportunity to claim good cause prior to requiring cooperation. When the applicant/recipient initiates a claim and is subsequently able to establish that good cause for refusing to cooperate does in fact exist, cooperation requirements will be waived. If the applicant/recipient is unable to meet the requirements applicable to a good cause determination, the claim will be denied and cooperation requirements as set forth in §  187.23(a)(2) will become applicable.

   (2)  Furnishing a Social Security Number, or proof of making application for a Social Security Number, for the family members for whom assistance is to be granted or is being received. The Social Security Number will be used for identification purposes in the administration of the child support program. If a Social Security Number is needed and no application has been made, it will be the responsibility of the CAO to fill out and submit the SSA-5. Exception: The caretaker/relative of a newborn child does not have to apply for a Social Security Number prior to authorization of benefits for the child subject to §  133.23(b)(4) (relating to requirements).

 (e)  Failure to cooperate in establishing paternity or obtaining support, as specified in §  187.23, without good cause, will result in the reduction of the cash assistance allowance by 25%.

 (f)  When a person is providing information to locate an absent parent, the necessity to provide detailed information not immediately known cannot be made a condition of eligibility. If a relative provides all available information and cooperates in establishing a reasonable plan to locate the absent parent, assistance may not be denied because the relative is unable to furnish complete information.

 (g)  A person denied assistance because of failure to meet the conditions of eligibility as set forth in this section has the right to appeal and a fair hearing as provided under Chapter 275 (relating to appeal and fair hearing and administrative disqualification hearings).

 (h)  An applicant/recipient who is a caretaker relative of a child whose eligibility for assistance is based on deprivation due to the absence of a parent from the home, who fails to cooperate with the Department in obtaining support payments for the child, unless failure was for good cause, is not eligible to receive GA for himself only. Assistance for the child will be authorized in the form of protective payments. Notice will be given in accordance with §  187.23(a)(5)(i).

 (i)  Under no circumstances may an TANF protective payment for the child or children be authorized concurrently with a GA payment for the caretaker/relative only.

 (j)  Refer to the procedures in §  153.44(a) (relating to procedures) regarding absence from the home and to the requirements in §  187.23 regarding cooperation in obtaining support.

 (k)  Furnish information for the completion of the Medical Resource Documentation Form as a condition of eligibility for TANF/GA. This information will be used to ensure that MA payments are not made when another person or organization is liable for medical bills of the recipient.

 (l)  Consent to disclosure of information from third parties relating to age, residence, citizenship, employment, applications for employment, income and resources of the applicant or recipient shall be as follows:

   (1)  The consent shall authorize the third party to release information requested by the CAO.

   (2)  The CAO shall attempt to notify the applicant/recipient prior to contacting a third party for information about the applicant/recipient, except in cases of suspected fraud.

 (m)  Furnish required verification as directed by the CAO of eligibility factors in accordance with Chapter 125 (relating to the application process) prior to application interview.

   (1)  If the applicant has cooperated and can document cooperation in the verification attempt, the initial authorization of assistance may not be delayed for more than 15 days for verification purposes following the date of application.

   (2)  For purposes of determining eligibility under §  141.61(d)(1)(iii), an individual will be considered as cooperating in the attempt to verify the claimed disability if the individual has done everything necessary and reasonable to secure documentation that will verify the disability.

   (3)  For purposes of determining eligibility under subsections (p) and (q), the minor parent shall present evidence to qualify for the exceptions. Because documentary evidence establishing an exception may not exist or may be difficult to obtain, the minor parent will be considered as cooperating in an attempt to verify the alleged exception if the minor parent can document that she made a good faith effort to obtain the necessary documentation. The CAO shall make an administrative determination based on available documentation. In the absence of evidence of fraud, verification from the minor parent, social worker or other person familiar with the allegation shall be sufficient when other documentary evidence is difficult to obtain. Action which is necessary to produce the verification shall be taken in accordance with Chapters 125 and 133 (relating to the application process; and the redetermination process).

 (n)  An applicant or recipient shall cooperate with the CAO in identifying and applying for Federal programs as the primary source of financial assistance, such as, but not limited to, SSI, RSDI, TANF and Extended TANF, in accordance with the following:

   (1)  An applicant for TANF, Extended TANF or GA who fails, without good cause, to cooperate in establishing eligibility for Federal programs is ineligible for cash assistance as follows:

     (i)   For TANF, the applicant is ineligible until the applicant complies.

     (ii)   For GA, the applicant is ineligible for a minimum of 60 days and thereafter, until the applicant complies.

     (iii)   For Extended TANF, the applicant and the applicant’s family are ineligible until the applicant complies.

     (iv)   For GA, if the applicant has received 60 months of TANF, the applicant and the applicant’s family are ineligible for a minimum of 60 days and thereafter until the applicant complies.

   (2)  A recipient of TANF, Extended TANF or GA who fails, without good cause, to cooperate in establishing eligibility for SSI, RSDI, TANF, Extended TANF or other Federal programs is ineligible for cash assistance until the recipient complies. For Extended TANF and GA, if the recipient has received 60 months of TANF, the recipient’s family is also ineligible until the recipient complies.

   (3)  An applicant for or recipient of assistance shall repay an assistance grant received in the month for which RSDI or other Federal benefits are awarded to them. CAOs are not to deny or discontinue assistance because a client has not met an obligation to repay a public assistance grant received during a period for which RSDI or other Federal benefits were awarded.

 (o)  Submit a Monthly Reporting Form if it is a condition of eligibility as specified in §  142.23 (relating to requirements).

 (p)  As a requirement of eligibility for TANF or GA, an applicant or recipient minor parent, as defined in §  141.42 (relating to definitions), shall reside in the home of the minor parent’s parent, legal guardian or other adult relative who is at least 18 years of age or in an adult-supervised supportive living arrangement unless otherwise exempt by one of the conditions of subsection (q). If the CAO determines that at least one of the conditions in subsection (q) is satisfied and no other adult-supervised supportive living arrangement is available, a minor parent may be exempt from this requirement. The following conditions may apply to the eligibility determination of a living arrangement regarding a minor parent:

   (1)  While a minor parent resides with a supervising adult, as specified, the supervising adult may be the payment name of the cash benefits paid on behalf of the minor parent and the minor parent’s dependent child. The supervising adult shall ensure that the minor parent and dependent child receive the benefit of the payment.

   (2)  If the minor parent does not meet any of the exceptions listed in subsection (q) and the parent, legal guardian or other adult relative lives at another location, the minor parent and dependent child may be given a special allowance, as provided for in §  175.23(e) (relating to special allowances), to return to the home of the minor parent’s parent, legal guardian or other adult relative. The Department will not authorize a special allowance payment until the minor parent verifies she has permission to return to the home of the parent, legal guardian or other adult relative.

   (3)  If the minor parent cannot return to the home of a parent, legal guardian or other adult relative, the CAO in consultation with a county children and youth agency will provide assistance to the minor parent to locate a second-chance home, maternity home or other appropriate adult-supervised supportive living arrangement unless the CAO determines the minor parent’s current living situation to be appropriate.

 (q)  A minor parent who claims exception to the requirement of living with a parent, legal guardian or other adult relative shall present documentation, in accordance with subsection (m), that all other potential living arrangements have been explored, and at least one of the following conditions applies:

   (1)  The minor parent can document that neither a parent, legal guardian nor other adult relative is able to retain or assume parental control over the minor parent because of a physical, emotional, mental, financial or other limitation.

   (2)  The minor parent does not have a living parent, legal guardian or other adult relative or the whereabouts of the parent, legal guardian or other adult relative are not known.

   (3)  Neither a parent, legal guardian nor other adult relative of the minor parent will allow the minor parent to live in the common residence.

   (4)  The physical or emotional health or safety of the minor parent or dependent child would be jeopardized if they resided with the minor parent’s parent, legal guardian or other adult relative, or, the threat to physical or emotional health or to safety comes from another individual residing in or visiting the residence. Eligibility under this paragraph shall be based on the following:

     (i)   The present physical or emotional health or safety of the minor parent or dependent child obtained from sources including health records, collateral contacts or worker observation.

     (ii)   The physical or emotional health or safety history of the minor parent or dependent child obtained from sources including health facility records or collateral contacts with school counselors, health professionals, social service agency personnel, police or courts.

     (iii)   The intensity and probable duration of the physical or emotional harm previously caused to the minor parent or dependent child from residing in the home of the minor parent’s parent, legal guardian or other adult relative obtained from sources including health facility records or collateral contacts with school counselors, health professionals, social service agency personnel, police or courts.

   (5)  The minor parent’s parent, legal guardian or other adult relative has exhibited neglect of the minor parent or minor parent’s child. Eligibility shall be based on the documentation listed in subsection (q)(4).

   (6)  The minor parent’s child, including an unborn child, was conceived as a result of rape or incest committed by someone still residing in or visiting with other individuals residing in the residence.

   (7)  The minor parent and dependent child no longer reside in the home of the parent, legal guardian or other adult relative because of physical or sexual abuse or the threat of physical or sexual abuse to the minor parent, minor parent’s child or any other child in the household.

   (8)  The parent, legal guardian or other adult relative lives in another area of the State, in another state or out of the country, and the minor parent has not resided with the parent, legal guardian or other adult relative for 12 months or more and the minor parent is already enrolled in a vocational school, other educational program, job training, or substance abuse treatment program, or is employed.

   (9)  The parent, legal guardian or other adult relative has spent the minor parent’s assistance in an improper manner.

   (10)  Additional exceptions under this subsection may be granted by the Department if the Department determines that the exception is necessary to protect the health and safety of the minor parent and dependent child.

 (r)  Neither the income eligibility limits nor the cash benefits for three or more GA recipients residing in the same household may exceed the limits for a TANF budget group with the same number of recipients. The term “household” is defined as a common residence and does not include single-room occupancy residences, rooming houses, shelters for the homeless, nonprofit residential programs or personal care home facilities receiving charitable or government funds including funds from Federal, State or local units.

 (s)  An applicant or recipient who has been convicted of violating section 481(a) of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. §  481(a)), that is, has been convicted of securing or attempting to secure, or aiding or abetting or attempting to aid or abet any individual in securing GA, TANF, MA or Federal Food Stamps by means of a willfully false statement or misrepresentation, or by impersonation or by willfully failing to disclose a material fact regarding eligibility either before or at the time of, or subsequent to the application for assistance is ineligible for cash assistance as follows:

   (1)  For 6 months from the date of first conviction.

   (2)  For 12 months from the date of second conviction.

   (3)  Permanently from the date of a third conviction.

 (t)  An applicant or recipient is ineligible for assistance if the individual is fleeing to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement following conviction for a felony, or as felonies are classified in the State of New Jersey, a high misdemeanor.

 (u)  Cash assistance payments will not be made to an individual for 10 years from the date of conviction, in a Federal or State court, of fraudulent misrepresentation of residence to receive TANF, GA, MA, Food Stamps or SSI in two or more states.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  141.21 amended under sections 201(2), 401(a), 403(b), 432, 432.21(a) and 481 of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. § §  201(2), 401(a), 403(b), 432, 432.21(a) and 481); the Support Law (62 P. S. § §  1971—1977); Titles I and III of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-193) (PRWORA), creating the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, and amending 42 U.S.C.A. § §  601—619, 651—669(b) and 1396u-1; section 5543 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (Pub. L. No. 105-33) (42 U.S.C.A. §  653(p)); the Federal TANF regulations in 45 CFR 260.10—265.10; and the Domestic Relations Code, 23 Pa.C.S. § §  4301—4381, 5103, 7101—7901 and 8101—8418; and the act of May 16, 1996 (P. L. 175, No. 35).

Source

   The provisions of this §  141.21 adopted August 4, 1977, effective August 5, 1977, 7 Pa.B. 2180; amended February 2, 1979, effective March 5, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 395; amended June 29, 1979, effective March 5, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 2153; corrected May 6, 1979, effective March 5, 1979, 9 Pa.B. 2262; amended February 22, 1980, effective March 1, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 850; amended June 25, 1982, effective June 26, 1982, 12 Pa.B. 1940; amended April 8, 1983, effective April 9, 1983, 13 Pa.B. 1259; amended September 6, 1985, effective September 7, 1985, and applies retroactively to June 1, 1985, 15 Pa.B. 3179; amended February 7, 1992, effective upon publication and apply retroactively to February 1, 1990, 22 Pa.B. 590; amended August 14, 1998, effective immediately and apply retroactively to March 3, 1997, 28 Pa.B. 3939; amended July 28, 2000, the provisions under Act 49 effective retroactive to September 1, 1994, the provisions under Act 35 effective June 17, 1996, 30 Pa.B. 3779; amended September 13, 2002, effective retroactively to March 3, 1997, with the exception of subsection (e) effective September 14, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 4435; amended October 11, 2002, effective October 12, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 5048. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (290921) to (290927).

Notes of Decisions

   Assignment of Support Payments

   Since 55 Pa. Code §  141.21(d)(1) (relating to policy) only requires the assignment to the Department of support payments received on behalf of a family member receiving public assistance, the support order must be modified by the court which issued it, and thereafter the Department may only collect that portion of support payments attributable to family members receiving public assistance. Sledge v. Department of Public Welfare, 402 A.2d 1130 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1979).

Cross References

   This section cited in 55 Pa. Code §  125.1 (relating to policy); 55 Pa. Code §  133.23 (relating to requirements); 55 Pa. Code §  141.51 (relating to policy); 55 Pa. Code §  151.42 (relating to definitions); 55 Pa. Code §  141.71 (relating to policy); 55 Pa. Code §  153.44 (relating to procedures); 55 Pa. Code §  153.45 (relating to joint or shared custody eligibility determination—statement of policy); 55 Pa. Code §  175.23 (relating to requirements); 55 Pa. Code §  183.2 (relating to definitions); 55 Pa. Code §  183.32 (relating to support);55 Pa. Code §  183.91 (relating to LRR, parent or legal guardian of an AFDC minor parent, and stepparent deductions); 55 Pa. Code §  183.901 (relating to putative father/voluntary child support—statement of policy); and 55 Pa. Code §  291.23 (relating to requirements).



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