Subdivision 1. Scope of definitions. The terms used in this chapter have the following meanings unless otherwise provided for by text.
Subd. 2. Absent parent. "Absent parent" means a minor child's parent who does not live in the same home as the child.
Subd. 3. Agency error. "Agency error" means an error that results in an overpayment or underpayment to an assistance unit and is not caused by an applicant's or participant's failure to provide adequate, correct, or timely information about income, property, household composition, or other circumstances.
Subd. 4. Appeal. "Appeal" means a written statement from an applicant or participant who requests a hearing under section 256J.31.
Subd. 5. Applicant. "Applicant" means a person who has submitted to a county agency an application and whose application has not been acted upon, denied, or voluntarily withdrawn.
Subd. 6. Application. "Application" means the submission by or on behalf of a family to a county agency of a completed, signed, and dated form, prescribed by the commissioner, that indicates the desire to receive assistance.
Subd. 7. Assistance unit or MFIP-S assistance unit. "Assistance unit" or "MFIP-S assistance unit" means a group of mandatory or optional people receiving or applying for MFIP-S benefits together.
Subd. 8. Authorized representative. "Authorized representative" means a person who is authorized, in writing, by an applicant or participant to act on the applicant's or participant's behalf in matters involving the application for assistance or participation in MFIP-S.
Subd. 9. Basic needs. "Basic needs" means the minimum personal requirements of subsistence and is restricted to food, clothing, shelter, utilities, and other items for which the loss, or lack of basic needs, is determined by the county agency to pose a direct, immediate threat to the physical health or safety of the applicant or participant.
Subd. 10. Budget month. "Budget month" means the calendar month which the county agency uses to determine the income or circumstances of an assistance unit to calculate the amount of the assistance payment in the payment month.
Subd. 11. Caregiver. "Caregiver" means a minor child's natural or adoptive parent or parents and stepparent who live in the home with the minor child. For purposes of determining eligibility for this program, caregiver also means any of the following individuals, if adults, who live with and provide care and support to a minor child when the minor child's natural or adoptive parent or parents or stepparents do not reside in the same home: legal custodian or guardian, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle, aunt, first cousin or first cousin once removed, nephew, niece, person of preceding generation as denoted by prefixes of "great," "great-great," or "great-great-great," or a spouse of any person named in the above groups even after the marriage ends by death or divorce.
Subd. 12. Client error. "Client error" means an error that results in an overpayment or underpayment and is due to an applicant's or participant's failure to provide adequate, correct, or timely information concerning income, property, household composition, or other circumstances.
Subd. 13. Commissioner. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of human services or the commissioner's designated representative.
Subd. 14. Corrective payment. "Corrective payment" means an assistance payment that is made to correct an underpayment.
Subd. 16. Counted earnings. "Counted earnings" means the earned income that remains after applicable disregards under section 256J.21, subdivision 4, have been subtracted from gross earned income.
Subd. 17. County agency. "County agency" means the agency designated by the county board to implement financial assistance for current programs and for MFIP-S and the agency responsible for enforcement of child support collection, and a county or multicounty agency that is authorized under sections 393.01, subdivision 7, and 393.07, subdivision 2, to administer MFIP-S.
Subd. 18. County board. "County board" means a board of commissioners, a local services agency as defined in chapter 393, a board established under the Joint Powers Act, section 471.59, or a human services board under chapter 402.
Subd. 19. County of financial responsibility. "County of financial responsibility" means the county that has financial responsibility for providing public assistance as specified in chapter 256G.
Subd. 20. County of residence. "County of residence" means the county where the caregiver has established a home.
Subd. 21. Date of application. "Date of application" means the date on which the county agency receives an applicant's signed application.
Subd. 22. Deem. "Deem" means to treat all or part of the income of an individual who is not in the assistance unit, but who is financially responsible for members of the assistance unit, as if it were income available to the assistance unit.
Subd. 23. Department. "Department" means the Minnesota department of human services.
Subd. 24. Disregard. "Disregard" means earned income that is not counted when determining initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility and calculating the amount of the assistance payment for participants. The commissioner shall determine the amount of the disregard according to section 256J.24, subdivision 10.
Subd. 24a. Disqualified. "Disqualified" means being ineligible to receive MFIP-S due to noncooperation with program requirements. Except for persons whose disqualification is based on fraud, a disqualified person can take action to correct the reason for ineligibility.
Subd. 25. Documentation. "Documentation" means a written statement or record that substantiates or validates an assertion made by a person or an action taken by a person, agency, or entity.
Subd. 26. Earned income. "Earned income" means cash or in-kind income earned through the receipt of wages, salary, commissions, profit from employment activities, net profit from self-employment activities, payments made by an employer for regularly accrued vacation or sick leave, and any other profit from activity earned through effort or labor. The income must be in return for, or as a result of, legal activity.
Subd. 27. Earned income tax credit. "Earned income tax credit" means the payment which can be obtained by a qualified person from an employer or from the Internal Revenue Service as provided by section 290.0671 and United States Code, title 26, subtitle A, chapter 1, subchapter A, part 4, subpart C, section 32.
Subd. 28. Emergency. "Emergency" means a situation or a set of circumstances that causes or threatens to cause destitution to a family with a child under age 21.
Subd. 28a. Encumbrance. "Encumbrance" means a legal claim against real or personal property that is payable upon the sale of that property.
Subd. 29. Equity value. "Equity value" means the amount of equity in real or personal property owned by a person and is determined by subtracting any outstanding encumbrances from the fair market value.
Subd. 30. Excluded time. "Excluded time" has the meaning given in section 256G.02.
Subd. 31. Expedited issuance of the food stamp portion. "Expedited issuance of the food stamp portion" means the issuance of the food stamp portion to eligible assistance units on the day of application as provided in section 393.07, subdivision 10a.
Subd. 32. Fair hearing or hearing. "Fair hearing" or "hearing" means the evidentiary hearing conducted by the department appeals referee to resolve disputes as specified in section 256J.40, or if not applicable, section 256.045.
Subd. 33. Fair market value. "Fair market value" means the price that an item of a particular make, model, size, material, or condition would sell for on the open market in the particular geographic area.
Subd. 34. Family. "Family" includes:
(1) the following individuals who live together: a minor child or a group of minor children related to each other as siblings, half siblings, stepsiblings, or adoptive siblings, together with their natural, adoptive parents, stepparents, or caregiver as defined in subdivision 11; and
(2) a pregnant woman with no other children.
Subd. 35. Family wage level. "Family wage level" means 110 percent of the transitional standard.
Subd. 36. Federal Insurance Contribution Act or FICA. "Federal Insurance Contribution Act" or "FICA" means the federal law under United States Code, title 26, subtitle C, chapter 21, subchapter A, sections 3101 to 3126, that requires withholding or direct payment from earned income.
Subd. 37. Financial case record. "Financial case record" means an assistance unit's financial eligibility file.
Subd. 38. Full-time student. "Full-time student" means a person who is enrolled in a graded or ungraded primary, intermediate, secondary, GED preparatory, trade, technical, vocational, or post-secondary school, and who meets the school's standard for full-time attendance.
Subd. 39. General educational development or GED. "General educational development" or "GED" means the general educational development certification issued by the commissioner of children, families, and learning as an equivalent to a secondary school diploma under Minnesota Rules, part 3500.3100, subpart 4.
Subd. 40. Gross earned income. "Gross earned income" means earned income from employment before mandatory and voluntary payroll deductions. Gross earned income includes salaries, wages, tips, gratuities, commissions, incentive payments from work or training programs, payments made by an employer for regularly accrued vacation or sick leave, and profits from other activity earned by an individual's effort or labor. Gross earned income includes uniform and meal allowances if federal income tax is deducted from the allowance. Gross earned income includes flexible work benefits received from an employer if the employee has the option of receiving the benefit or benefits in cash. For self-employment, gross earned income is the nonexcluded income minus expenses for the business.
Subd. 41. Gross income. "Gross income" is the sum of gross earned income and unearned income.
Subd. 42. Gross receipts. "Gross receipts" means the money received by a business before the expenses of the business are deducted.
Subd. 43. Half-time student. "Half-time student" means a person who is enrolled in a graded or ungraded primary, intermediate, secondary, GED preparatory, trade, technical, vocational, or post-secondary school, and who meets the school's standard of half-time attendance.
Subd. 44. Home. "Home" means the primary place of residence used by a person as the base for day-to-day living and does not include locations used as mail drops.
Subd. 45. Homestead. "Homestead" means the home that is owned by, and is the usual residence of, the assistance unit together with the surrounding property which is not separated from the home by intervening property owned by others. Public rights-of-way, such as roads which run through the surrounding property and separate it from the home, do not affect the exemption of the property. Homestead includes an asset that is not real property that the assistance unit uses as a home, such as a vehicle.
Subd. 46. Household. "Household" means a group of persons who live together.
Subd. 47. Income. "Income" means cash or in-kind benefit, whether earned or unearned, received by or available to an applicant or participant that is not an asset under section 256J.20.
Subd. 48. Initial eligibility. "Initial eligibility" means the determination of eligibility for an MFIP-S applicant.
Subd. 49. In-kind income. "In-kind income" means income, benefits, or payments which are provided in a form other than money or liquid assets, including the forms of goods, produce, services, privileges, or payments made on behalf of an applicant or participant by a third party.
Subd. 50. Inquiry. "Inquiry" means a communication to a county agency through mail, telephone, or in person, by which a person or authorized representative requests information about public assistance. The county agency shall also treat as an inquiry any communication in which a person requesting assistance offers information about the person's family circumstances that indicates that eligibility for public assistance may exist.
Subd. 50a. Interstate transitional standard. "Interstate transitional standard" means a combination of the cash assistance a family with no other income would have received in the state of previous residence and the Minnesota food portion for the appropriate size family.
Subd. 51. Legally available. "Legally available" means a person's right under the law to secure, possess, dispose of, or control income or property.
Subd. 51a. Legal custodian. "Legal custodian" means any person who is under a legal obligation to provide care for a minor and who is in fact providing care for a minor. For an Indian child, "custodian" means any Indian person who has legal custody of an Indian child under tribal law or custom, under state law, or to whom temporary physical care, custody, and control has been transferred by the parent of the child, as provided in section 260.755, subdivision 10.
Subd. 52. Low-income home energy assistance program or LIHEAP. "Low-income home energy assistance program" or "LIHEAP" means the program authorized under United States Code, title 42, chapter 94, subchapter II, sections 8621 to 8629, and administered by the Minnesota department of economic security.
Subd. 53. Lump sum. "Lump sum" means nonrecurring income that is not excluded in section 256J.21.
Subd. 54. Medical assistance. "Medical assistance" means the program established under chapter 256B and Title XIX of the Social Security Act.
Subd. 55. MFIP-S household report form. "MFIP-S household report form" means a form prescribed by the commissioner that a participant uses to report information to a county agency about changes in income and other circumstances.
Subd. 55a. MFIP standard of need. "MFIP standard of need" means the appropriate standard used to determine MFIP benefit payments for the MFIP unit and applies to:
(1) the transitional standard, sections 256J.08, subdivision 85, and 256J.24, subdivision 5;
(2) the shared household standard, section 256J.24, subdivision 9; and
(3) the interstate transition standard, section 256J.43.
Subd. 56. Migrant worker. "Migrant worker" means a person who travels away from home on a regular basis, usually with a group of other laborers, to seek employment in an agriculturally related activity.
Subd. 57. Minnesota family investment program-statewide or MFIP-S. "Minnesota family investment program-statewide" or "MFIP-S" means the assistance program authorized in this chapter and chapter 256K.
Subd. 59. Minor caregiver. "Minor caregiver" means a person who:
(1) is under the age of 18;
(2) has never been married or otherwise legally emancipated; and
(3) is either the natural parent of a minor child living in the same household or is eligible for assistance paid to a pregnant woman.
Subd. 60. Minor child. "Minor child" means a child who is living in the same home of a parent or other caregiver, is not the parent of a child in the home, and is either less than 18 years of age or is under the age of 19 years and is a full-time student in a secondary school or pursuing a full-time secondary level course of vocational or technical training designed to fit students for gainful employment.
Subd. 61. Monthly income test. "Monthly income test" means the test used to determine ongoing eligibility and the assistance payment amount according to section 256J.21.
Subd. 61a. Noncustodial parent. "Noncustodial parent" means a minor child's parent who does not live in the same home as the child.
Subd. 62. Nonrecurring income. "Nonrecurring income" means a form of income which is received:
(1) only one time or is not of a continuous nature; or
(2) in a prospective payment month but is no longer received in the corresponding retrospective payment month.
Subd. 63. Overpayment. "Overpayment" means the portion of an assistance payment issued by the county agency that is greater than the amount for which the assistance unit is eligible.
Subd. 64. Parent. "Parent" means a child's biological or adoptive parent who is legally obligated to support that child.
Subd. 65. Participant. "Participant" means a person who is currently receiving cash assistance or the food portion available through MFIP as funded by TANF and the food stamp program. A person who fails to withdraw or access electronically any portion of the person's cash and food assistance payment by the end of the payment month, who makes a written request for closure before the first of a payment month and repays cash and food assistance electronically issued for that payment month within that payment month, or who returns any uncashed assistance check and food coupons and withdraws from the program is not a participant. A person who withdraws a cash or food assistance payment by electronic transfer or receives and cashes an MFIP assistance check or food coupons and is subsequently determined to be ineligible for assistance for that period of time is a participant, regardless whether that assistance is repaid. The term "participant" includes the caregiver relative and the minor child whose needs are included in the assistance payment. A person in an assistance unit who does not receive a cash and food assistance payment because the person has been suspended from MFIP is a participant.
Subd. 66. Payee. "Payee" means a person to whom an assistance payment is made payable.
Subd. 67. Payment month. "Payment month" means the calendar month for which the assistance payment is paid.
Subd. 68. Personal property. "Personal property" means an item of value that is not real property, including the value of a contract for deed held by a seller, assets held in trust on behalf of members of an assistance unit, value of a prepaid burial, savings account, value of stocks and bonds, and value of retirement accounts.
Subd. 69. Probable fraud. "Probable fraud" means the level of evidence that, if proven as fact, would establish that assistance has been wrongfully obtained.
Subd. 70. Professional certification. "Professional certification" means:
(1) a statement about a person's illness, injury, or incapacity that is signed by a licensed physician, psychological practitioner, or licensed psychologist, qualified by professional training and experience to diagnose and certify the person's condition; or
(2) a statement about an incapacity involving a spinal subluxation condition that is signed by a licensed chiropractor qualified by professional training and experience to diagnose and certify the condition.
Subd. 71. Prospective budgeting. "Prospective budgeting" means a method of determining the amount of the assistance payment in which the budget month and payment month are the same.
Subd. 72. Protective payee. "Protective payee" means a person other than the caregiver of an assistance unit who receives the monthly assistance payment on behalf of an assistance unit and is responsible to provide for the basic needs of the assistance unit to the extent of that payment.
Subd. 73. Qualified noncitizen. "Qualified noncitizen" means a person:
(1) who was lawfully admitted for permanent residence pursuant to United States Code, title 8;
(2) who was admitted to the United States as a refugee pursuant to United States Code, title 8; section 1157;
(3) whose deportation is being withheld pursuant to United States Code, title 8, section 1253(h);
(4) who was paroled for a period of at least one year pursuant to United States Code, title 8, section 1182(d)(5);
(5) who was granted conditional entry pursuant to United State Code, title 8, section 1153(a)(7);
(6) who was granted asylum pursuant to United States Code, title 8, section 1158;
(7) determined to be a battered noncitizen by the United States Attorney General according to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, Title V of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Bill, Public Law Number 104-208;
(8) who is a child of a noncitizen determined to be a battered noncitizen by the United States Attorney General according to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Responsibility Act of 1996, title V, Public Law Number 104-200; or
(9) who was admitted as a Cuban or Haitian entrant.
Subd. 74. Real property. "Real property" means land and all buildings, structures, and improvements, or other fixtures on the land, belonging or appertaining to the land, and all mines, minerals, fossils, and trees on or under the land.
Subd. 75. Reasonable compensation. "Reasonable compensation" means the value received in exchange for property transferred to another owner that is consistent with fair market value and equals or exceeds the seller's equity in the property, reduced by costs incurred in the sale.
Subd. 76. Recertification. "Recertification" means the periodic review of eligibility factors to determine an assistance unit's continued eligibility.
Subd. 77. Recoupment. "Recoupment" means the action of the county agency to reduce a family's monthly assistance payment to recover overpayments caused by client or agency error and overpayments received while an appeal is pending.
Subd. 78. Recovery. "Recovery" means actions taken by a county agency to reclaim the value of overpayments through voluntary repayment, recoupment from the assistance payment, court action, revenue recapture, or federal tax refund offset program (FTROP).
Subd. 79. Recurring income. "Recurring income" means a form of income which is:
(1) received periodically, and may be received irregularly when receipt can be anticipated even though the date of receipt cannot be predicted; and
(2) from the same source or of the same type that is received and budgeted in a prospective month and is received in one or both of the first two retrospective months.
Subd. 81. Retrospective budgeting. "Retrospective budgeting" means a method of determining the amount of the assistance payment in which the payment month is the second month after the budget month.
Subd. 82. Sanction. "Sanction" means the reduction of a family's assistance payment by a specified percentage of the MFIP standard of need because: a nonexempt participant fails to comply with the requirements of sections 256J.52 to 256J.55; a parental caregiver fails without good cause to cooperate with the child support enforcement requirements; or a participant fails to comply with the insurance, tort liability, or other requirements of this chapter.
Subd. 82a. Shared household standard. "Shared household standard" means the basic standard used when the household includes an unrelated member. The cash portion of the shared household standard is equal to 90 percent of the cash portion of the transitional standard. The cash portion of the shared household standard plus the food portion equals the full shared household standard.
Subd. 82b. Shelter costs. "Shelter costs" means rent, manufactured home lot rental costs, or monthly principal, interest, insurance premiums, and property taxes due for mortgages or contracts for deed.
Subd. 83. Significant change. "Significant change" means a decline in gross income of the amount of the disregard as defined in subdivision 24 or more from the income used to determine the grant for the current month.
Subd. 84. Supplemental Security Income or SSI. "Supplemental Security Income" or "SSI" means the program authorized under title XVI of the Social Security Act.
Subd. 85. Transitional standard. "Transitional standard" means the basic standard for a family with no other income or a nonworking family and is a combination of the cash assistance needs and food assistance needs for a family of that size.
Subd. 86. Unearned income. "Unearned income" means income received by a person that does not meet the definition of earned income. Unearned income includes income from a contract for deed, interest, dividends, unemployment benefits, disability insurance payments, veterans benefits, pension payments, return on capital investment, insurance payments or settlements, severance payments, child support and maintenance payments, and payments for illness or disability whether the premium payments are made in whole or in part by an employer or participant.
Subd. 86a. Unrelated member. "Unrelated member" means an individual in the household who does not meet the definition of an eligible caregiver.
Subd. 87. Vendor. "Vendor" means a provider of goods or services.
Subd. 88. Vendor payment. "Vendor payment" means a payment authorized by a county agency to a vendor.
Subd. 89. Verification. "Verification" means the process a county agency uses to establish the accuracy or completeness of information from an applicant, participant, third party, or other source as that information relates to program eligibility or an assistance payment.