January 4, 2021
Gov. Inslee’s 2021–23 operating budget would appropriate $148.2 million for a “shared benefit adjustment.” For the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), this would “cover the estimated claims for the variance between services provided under the shared benefit equation and the full amount of the benefit while rulemaking takes place.”
This is related to a proposed rulemaking from the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration in DSHS, which would “eliminate shared benefits as a status and as a basis to reduce a client’s monthly benefit for in-home personal care.” A shared benefit occurs when both clients and their caregivers “share in the benefit of a task being performed.” Currently, payments are adjusted down to account for these shared benefits.
According to the proposed rulemaking,
This rule change is being effectuated as part of a settlement agreement with SEIU 775. SEIU 775 challenged DSHS rules that adjusted client benefits for shared benefits and informal supports under the Administrative Procedure Act on the grounds that the adjustments violate the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the state Minimum Wage Act. The department believes that assessing for shared benefit and informal support on an individualized basis is lawful, but such litigation is costly, and subjects the department to ongoing risks should the rules be held invalid by a court.
Some other items of interest from the 2021–23 proposal:
- $200,000 would be used to “contract with a nonprofit entity located in Seattle that focuses on poverty reduction and racial equity to convene and staff a poverty reduction workgroup steering committee comprised of individuals that have lived experience with poverty.” Another $77,000 would be appropriated to the Economic Services Administration to conduct a study with the poverty reduction work group “on the feasibility of implementing a universal basic income pilot program.” Recommendations would be due by June 1, 2022.
- $989,000 would be appropriated for a “state-funded cash benefit program and transitional food assistance program for households with children,” if enacted by the Legislature.
- $8.5 million from the workforce education investment account (WEIA) would be used to eliminate the work requirement in the Working Connections Child Care program “for single parents who are pursuing a vocational education full-time at a community, technical, or tribal college.”
- $23.3 million (WEIA) would be appropriated for “innovative efforts to advance equitable outcomes for community and technical college students.”
- $132.0 million would be transferred from the public works assistance account to the education legacy trust account.
Previous posts on the governor’s budget proposals: Equity policy package, climate package, an overview, 2021 supplemental, 2021–23 major policy changes, rental assistance.Categories: Budget.