Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Final Text

Action:
Replace Emergency General Relief Regulation
Stage: Final
22VAC40-411-10

22VAC40-411-10. Definitions.

The following words or terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Advocacy services" means legal services to help establish eligibility for federal disability benefits.

"Affidavit of support" or "Form I-134" means a statement of a sponsor's income, resources, and willingness to support. Form I-134 or similar form is filed with the Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) by a United States resident who sponsors an alien seeking admission to the United States as a permanent resident. The affidavit is made for the purpose of assuring the United States government that the sponsored alien will not become a public charge in the United States.

"Agency" means the local department of social services.

"Agency action" or "action" means action taken by the superintendents or directors or local board certifying the individual or family is eligible for maintenance or emergency assistance.

"Agency contract" means the local department of social services has an agreement with a pharmacy to provide prescription drugs for recipients of General Relief.

"Appeal process" means a review of the decision on the disability claim that can involve four steps: reconsideration, hearing before an administrative law judge, review by Appeals Council, and hearing in a federal court.

"Assistance for unattached children" means a component of the General Relief Program that can provide assistance to children who would be eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) if the relationship requirement were met.

"Assistance for unemployable individuals" means a component of the General Relief Program that can provide assistance to individuals who are unable to work because of physical or mental disability, age or lack of training, illness in the family, or home responsibilities.

"Assistance for unemployed employable individuals" means a component of the General Relief Program that can provide assistance to individuals who are not working but are able to work.

"Assistance unit" means the individual or group of individuals whose needs, income, and resources are considered in determining eligibility for a component.

"Bar association" means a professional association for attorneys.

"Clothing assistance" means a component of the General Relief Program that can be used to purchase clothing for individuals who have an emergency need.

"Component" means a specific type of assistance provided under the General Relief Program.

"Disability" means a physical or mental condition rendering a person unable to perform any meaningful work and this condition is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

"Disability Determination Services" means a program administered by the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services that makes decisions on disability claims for the Social Security Administration.

"Disability insurance benefits" means Title II of the Social Security Act that provides benefits to disabled persons who have worked for a substantial period in employment covered by Social Security.

"Entitlement date or entitlement" means the date eligibility begins.

"Emergency medical assistance" means a component of the General Relief Program that can be used to purchase medical assistance for individuals who have an emergency need.

"Equal Access to Justice Act" means an act that allows a federal court to grant an attorney a fee for proceedings before an administrative agency.

"Food credit authorization assistance" means a component of the General Relief Program that can be used to purchase food for individuals who have an emergency need.

"Federal disability benefits" means disability insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income.

"Foster child" means a child who is entrusted or committed to a state mandated service and the child is identified as "at risk" or "in crisis."

"General Relief Plan" means the document completed by a local department of social services to identify the components included in the General Relief Program for the locality.

"General Relief Program (GR)" means an optional program funded by state (62.5%) and local funds (37.5%) with the primary purpose of assisting individuals unattached children who do not qualify for aid in a federal category. The program is supervised by the State Department of Social Services and administered by local agencies. Each agency chooses the components and subcomponents to be included in its General Relief Program.

"Hearing before an administrative law judge" means the first level formal fair hearing of decisions of the Social Security Administration to deny federal disability benefits. The hearing is conducted by an attorney who is an official of the Social Security Administration.

"Interim assistance" means a component of the General Relief Program that can provide assistance to individuals who have applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), who must apply for SSI, or are appealing an SSI decision. Individuals receiving interim assistance must sign an authorization allowing the Social Security Administration to send their initial retroactive Supplemental Security Income benefits to the local agency, which then reimburses its general relief budget for the amount of financial assistance given the individuals while their Supplemental Security Income benefits were pending approval.

"Legal aid attorney" means an attorney who provides legal services at no cost to people within certain income guidelines.

"Maintenance payments" or "maintenance" means ongoing financial assistance from the general relief program.

"Maximum for the locality" means the amount of reimbursable assistance applicable to some components based on the agency group. Agencies are placed in one of three groups based on shelter expenses in the area.

"Monthly maximum" means the dollar amount of assistance specified in the General Relief Plan for some components the unattached child component.

"Ongoing medical assistance" means a component of the General Relief Program that can be used to provide individuals continuing medical assistance. The component is composed of 10 subcomponents including prescription drugs.

"Permanent resident status" means having been lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant.

"Private attorney" means an attorney engaged in the private practice of law for which a fee is charged.

"Provider" means an attorney, or an individual working under the supervision of an attorney legally allowed to do so, who provides assistance in establishing an individual's eligibility for federal disability benefits.

"Recipient" means an individual who is receiving interim assistance.

"Reconsideration" means a review of the disability claim by the Disability Determination Services.

"Recoupment" means the amount reimbursed to the general relief or state and local foster care funds from an individual's retroactive Supplemental Security Income benefits for assistance to that individual while approval for federal disability benefits was pending approval.

"Reimbursable" means the amount an assistance unit can receive per month for which the state/local match is available.

"Rent/house payments" means a subcomponent of the shelter assistance component that can be used to pay housing expenses.

"Review by the Appeals Council" means a review of the decisions of the administrative law judge by a review unit of the Social Security Administration. The Appeals Council either decides the case or issues an order returning it to an administrative law judge for further review.

"Shelter assistance" means a component of the General Relief Program that can be used to provide for the shelter needs of individuals. The component's two subcomponents are rent/house payments and utility payments.

"Sponsor" means a person, or any public or private agency or organization, that executed an affidavit of support or similar agreement on behalf of an alien as a condition of the alien's entry into the United States as a permanent resident.

"Sponsored alien" means an immigrant who due to the likelihood of his becoming a public charge would have been excluded from lawful admission into the United States. As a condition of this immigrant's admission, a person or public or private agency or organization executed an affidavit of support or similar agreement guaranteeing the federal, state, and local governments that the immigrant would not become a public charge.

"Standard of assistance" means the amount of reimbursable assistance based on the size of the assistance unit and the local department of social services group. Local agencies are placed in one of three groups based on shelter expenses in the area.

"Standard of assistance at 90% of need" means the amount of reimbursable assistance applicable to some components based on the size of the assistance unit and the agency group. Agencies are placed in one of three groups based on shelter expenses in the area.

"Subcomponent" means a part of a component.

"Supplemental Security Income" means Title XVI of the Social Security Act that provides benefits to a disabled person based on financial need.

"Temporary Assistance for Needy Families" (TANF) means the federal program administered by the Virginia Department of Social Services that provides assistance for families with children.

"United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)" is a branch of the United States Department of Homeland Security delegated authority to enforce the Immigration and Nationality Act and all other laws relating to the immigration and naturalization of aliens.

"Utility payments" means a subcomponent of the shelter assistance component that can be used to pay for items, such as electricity, oil, water, and natural gas.

22VAC40-411-30

22VAC40-411-30. Assistance for unemployed employable individuals. (Repealed.)

An agency electing to provide this component will specify in its General Relief Plan the types of assistance units served. The choices are:

1. Parents and their minor children;

2. A parent and minor children;

3. A married couple with no children;

4. One individual; or

5. An unmarried pregnant woman.

22VAC40-411-40

22VAC40-411-40. Assistance for unemployable individuals. (Repealed.)

An agency electing to provide this component will specify in its General Relief Plan the amount of assistance that can be received by an assistance unit in 12 consecutive months. The choices are:

1. The standard of assistance at 90% of need times three;

2. The standard of assistance at 90% of need times six;

3. The standard of assistance at 90% of need times nine; or

4. The standard of assistance at 90% of need times 12 or the maximum for the locality times 12.

22VAC40-411-50

22VAC40-411-50. Ongoing medical assistance. (Repealed.)

A. An agency electing to provide this component will specify in its General Relief Plan the amount of assistance that can be received by an assistance unit in 12 consecutive months. The choices are:

1. Three times the monthly maximum;

2. Six times the monthly maximum;

3. Nine times the monthly maximum; or

4. Twelve times the monthly maximum.

B. An agency electing to provide for the purchase of prescription drugs will specify in its General Relief Plan whether recipients are required to obtain drugs at a pharmacy with an agency contract. The choices are:

1. Recipients are not required to buy prescription drugs from a contracted pharmacy; or

2. Recipients are required to buy prescription drugs from a contracted pharmacy.

22VAC40-411-60

22VAC40-411-60. Interim assistance. (Repealed.)

An agency that elects to provide this component but does not elect to provide assistance for unemployable individuals will specify in its General Relief Plan whether interim assistance will be restricted to assistance units with an individual with a disability that will last 12 months, has lasted 12 months, or will result in death. The choices are:

1. Assistance will not be restricted; or

2. Assistance will be restricted.

22VAC40-411-80

22VAC40-411-80. Food credit authorization assistance. (Repealed.)

An agency electing to provide this component will specify in its General Relief Plan the maximum number of months that assistance can be received by an assistance unit. The choices are:

1. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to six months out of six consecutive months; or

2. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to 12 months out of 12 consecutive months.

22VAC40-411-90

22VAC40-411-90. Shelter assistance. (Repealed.)

A. An agency electing to provide this component will specify in its General Relief Plan the maximum number of months that assistance can be received by an assistance unit. The choices are:

1. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to six months out of six consecutive months; or

2. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to 12 months out of 12 consecutive months.

B. An agency electing to provide rent/house payments will specify in its General Relief Plan the maximum number of months that assistance can be received by an assistance unit. The choices are:

1. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to six months out of six consecutive months; or

2. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to 12 months out of 12 consecutive months.

C. An agency electing to provide utility payments will specify in its General Relief Plan the maximum number of months that assistance can be received by an assistance unit. The choices are:

1. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to six months out of six consecutive months; or

2. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to 12 months out of 12 consecutive months.

22VAC40-411-100

22VAC40-411-100. Emergency medical assistance. (Repealed.)

A. An agency electing to provide this component will specify in its General Relief Plan the maximum number of months that assistance can be received by an assistance unit. The choices are:

1. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to six months out of six consecutive months; or

2. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to 12 months out of 12 consecutive months.

B. An agency electing to provide prescription drugs will specify in its General Relief Plan whether recipients are required to obtain drugs at a pharmacy with an agency contract. The choices are:

1. Recipients are not required to buy prescription drugs from a contracted pharmacy; or

2. Recipients are required to buy prescription drugs from a contracted pharmacy.

22VAC40-411-110

22VAC40-411-110. Clothing assistance. (Repealed.)

An agency electing to provide this component will specify in its General Relief Plan the maximum number of months that assistance can be received by an assistance unit. The choices are:

1. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to six months out of six consecutive months; or

2. Assistance will be provided for a maximum of one to 12 months.

22VAC40-411-130

22VAC40-411-130. Disability advocacy referral. (Repealed.)

The agency electing to provide disability advocacy services will identify recipients of the interim assistance component of general relief who have received written notification from the Social Security Administration that their disability claims at the application or reconsideration level have been denied. Within five working days after the identification, the agency will send letters to the interim assistance recipients explaining advocacy services, offering to refer them to advocacy providers for legal representation during the appeal process, providing information on how the appeal would affect their general relief benefits, and advising them that they have five days from the receipt of this letter to contact the agency requesting advocacy services.

If the interim assistance recipient chooses to participate in the Disability Advocacy Project, he will be allowed to select a provider from a list of qualified advocacy providers with whom the agency has contracts or be allowed to select another provider if that provider meets the qualifications and agrees to enter into a contract with the agency.

The agency will have the interim assistance recipient sign a Confidentiality Form (VDSS Form 032-01-0040-03-eng) giving the agency permission to refer the recipient to the selected provider.

Within five working days after the selection, a referral letter will be sent by the agency to the selected advocacy provider.

22VAC40-411-140

22VAC40-411-140. Duties of the disability advocacy provider. (Repealed.)

Advocacy providers will perform the following services:

1. Within five working days of receipt of a referral letter from the agency, send a letter to the interim assistance recipient or the child's representative, acknowledging the referral and instructing the recipient or child's representative to protect the filing date by filing a Request for Reconsideration or Request for a Hearing with the Social Security Administration within 60 days of the date of his denial notice.

2. Contact the interim assistance recipient or child's representative by mail and telephone, if necessary, to schedule an appointment for an interview. If the provider cannot contact the recipient or the recipient does not keep the appointment, the provider will promptly notify the agency.

3. During the interview with the interim assistance recipient or child's representative, provide legal advice and counsel regarding federal disability benefits and the appeal process. The provider will assess the potential eligibility of the recipient or child for federal disability benefits. The decision whether to proceed or not proceed in the appeal process must be made by the recipient or the child's representative after receiving legal advice from the provider. The recipient or the child's representative must request the services of the advocacy provider by signing the Social Security Form SSA-1696-U4 under the Appointment of Representative section.

4. Within 15 working days of the initial interview with the recipient or child's representative, send a notification letter to the recipient or child's representative with a copy to the agency stating whether or not the provider will accept this case for legal representation.

5. If the provider agrees to provide advocacy services, sign Social Security Form SSA-1696-U4 under the Acceptance of Appointment and Waiver of Fee sections. Copies of the form will be sent within five working days to the Social Security Administration and to the agency.

6. Assist in the completion and timely filing of any necessary Social Security forms requesting a reconsideration, hearing, or review of the hearing decision.

7. Assist in obtaining and using medical, social, vocational evidence, or expert testimony that may substantiate the presence and severity of the disability.

8. Assist the recipient in making and keeping appointments for examinations.

9. Prepare for and adequately represent the recipient or child at interviews, hearings, or appeals related to application for Supplemental Security Income.

10. Notify the recipient or the child's representative of any denial and the right to appeal to the next level in the appeal process.

11. Notify the agency of any denial and the recipient's or child's representative's decision to proceed or not proceed to the next level in the appeal process.

12. Notify the recipient, the child's representative, and the agency when advocacy services have ended.

22VAC40-411-150

22VAC40-411-150. Disability advocacy contracts. (Repealed.)

Agencies shall contract with licensed legal aid or private attorneys or advocates working under the supervision of an attorney who may lawfully do so to provide legal representation in the appeal process. The providers must have previously provided successful representation to disability claimants during the reconsideration, administrative law judge hearing, Appeals Council, or federal district court levels of the federal disability adjudication process.

Qualified attorneys will be recruited by agencies giving written notice to their local legal aid and bar associations that contracts for legal representation of interim assistance recipients and foster children in the federal disability benefits appeal process will be available.

22VAC40-411-160

22VAC40-411-160. Disability advocacy disbursement. (Repealed.)

To receive payment, the advocacy provider must submit a petition and copy of the favorable Social Security Administration decision to the agency within 60 days of such a decision. Disbursement for legal representation will be made by the agency within 20 working days after the agency receives the initial Supplemental Security Income payment due the recipient or child.

No disbursement will be made unless the following have occurred:

1. The agency referred the recipient or child's representative for legal representation;

2. The recipient or child's representative requested the legal representation by signing the Appointment of Representative section of Social Security Form SSA-1696-U4;

3. The advocacy provider signed the Acceptance of Appointment and Waiver of Fee sections of Social Security Form SSA-1696-U4; and

4. The agency received the initial Supplemental Security Income payment for the recipient or child.

No disbursement will be made for legal services given before the date of the agency's referral letter. Providers shall not require from the recipient or child's representative prepayment of any fees, costs, or disbursement.

The disbursement made by the agency will represent payment in full for all legal services to the recipient or child in this process with no further obligation on the part of the state or local department of social services, the recipient, nor the child's representative.

Neither the recipient, the child's representative, the State Department of Social Services, nor local agency shall be obligated to pay any additional fees, costs, or disbursement related to the provision of legal services in the appeal process including, but not limited to, payment for medical, psychological, or vocational consultations obtained to substantiate the disability claim. Under most circumstances, if preapproved by Disability Determination Services, the Social Security Administration will cover the cost of these consultations.

Contracting attorneys will agree to waive their right to legal fees paid by the Social Security Administration from the initial check for retroactive disability insurance benefits due the recipient or child should he be found eligible for both disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income. An award for attorney's fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act will not be required to be waived.

The provider's fee will be paid entirely from the recoupment from the initial Supplemental Security Income payment for state and local financial assistance given the recipient or child while the Supplemental Security Income application was pending approval. The fee per favorable decision at the reconsideration level will be $300; at the hearing before an administrative law judge, $600; and at the Appeals Council or federal district court, $750. The fee may in no event exceed the recoupment for the state and local assistance paid.