Section 208.053 RSMo established the "Low-Wage Trap Elimination Act" for the purpose of continuing Child Care Assistance for families receiving full (traditional) Child Care Assistance benefits after an increase in wages suddenly makes them ineligible to receive benefits. This law requires the Children's Division (CD) to establish a Hand-Up Pilot Program in at least one rural county and in an urban child care center serving at least three hundred families.
Family participation is voluntary and can be terminated by the family at any time. Once participation is terminated by a family, however, that family is not eligible to participate in the Hand-Up Pilot Program again.
Application for the Hand-Up Pilot Program is accomplished via the IM-1CC-HU Hand-Up Pilot Program (Child Care) Application/Eligibility Statement.
Process Hand-Up Pilot Program applications in compliance with and within the timeframes stated in Child Care Assistance Manual Sections:
Participant eligibility for the Hand-Up Pilot Program is determined at application and re-certification in compliance with Sections 1210.000.00 through 1210.025.15 of the Child Care Assistance Manual. However, in addition to the criteria stated there, in order to be eligible for the Hand-Up Pilot Program, families must:
This does not negate Section 1210.025.00 Income Eligibility Guidelines, which states active Eligibility Units (EU) reporting a change or reapplying for benefits before the end of the certification period can qualify for Transitional Child Care if the adjusted gross income exceeds 124% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but does not exceed 175% of the FPL. Some Child Care Assistance participants may not qualify for the Hand-Up Pilot Program but may qualify for Transitional Child Care instead.
Families participating in the Hand-Up Pilot Program must also have a valid need for care as defined at 1210.020.15 DEFINITIONS OF NEED COMPONENTS AND TIME LIMITS. Verify and document a family's need for care due to employment or education/training as specified at 1210.020.15.05, 1210.020.15.10, and 1010.020.15.15. To authorize a child to a provider, verify the parent's(s') schedule(s) per 1220.025.00 INDIVIDUAL AUTHORIZATION PROCESS and in compliance with 1220.025.05 AUTHORIZATION LIMITS, 1220.025.10 SLEEP TIME, and 1220.025.15 TRAVEL TIME.
Participants in the Hand-Up Pilot Program must pay a monthly premium towards the cost of their child(ren)'s child care based on their family's excess adjusted gross income over the maximum allowed monthly income for full Child Care Assistance. Participants remain eligible for and receive Child Care Assistance under the Hand-Up Pilot Program until their premium equals the value of the child care services they are receiving unless the case is closed for another reason.
Calculate premiums as 44% of the participant's excess adjusted gross income.
EXAMPLE: It is determined the participant's excess adjusted gross income is $100. To determine the monthly premium, multiply the $100 excess adjusted gross income by 44%. The participant must pay a monthly premium of $44.
Participants must pay premiums on a monthly basis or on a different periodic basis to match an employer's payroll period, if payroll deduction is used by the participant. Encourage participants to use payroll deduction, if available to them.
Inform the participant of the amount of their initial monthly premium by first class mail at least 15 days prior to the premium due date (the last day of the month for which coverage is calculated) using form CD HU-1 Premium Notification Letter.
Recalculate premiums each time the family unit's circumstances change, such as income, family size, address, etc., per 1230.000.00 INTERIM CHANGES. Notify the family of any premium amount changes via the CD 150-HU-PAR5 Hand-Up Pilot Program Action Notice – Case Change.
Permanently remove participants who fail to pay their premium for 60 days from the Hand-Up Pilot Program. Send a letter to the participants advising them of this action.
Participating child care facilities are paid by the Department of Social Services to provide child care services to the child(ren) of Hand-Up Pilot Program participants as described at 1225.000.00 PAYMENT OF CHILD CARE RATES, except the provider cannot charge the family a sliding fee. The rates paid to these facilities will also include any applicable enhancements for which the facility has been approved per 1215.040.00 CHILD CARE RATE ENHANCEMENTS.
Designated staff in the Children's Division Central Office assigned to the Hand-Up Pilot Program sends the CD 581-HU Hand-Up Pilot Program Child Care Invoice to facilities after children are authorized for care at the facility. Child care providers must manually report attendance for authorized children on the invoice and submit the attendance record for processing and approval for payment. Also, facilities must submit corresponding attendance records for the children claimed on the invoice in compliance with 1225.035.15 ATTENDANCE RECORDS.
When completed invoices are submitted, the designated staff in the Children's Division Central Office must review and verify all aspects of the invoice in accordance with 1225.00.00 PAYMENT OF CHILD CARE BENEFITS, excluding Sections 1225.040.00 through 1225.040.10. If the invoice is correct, the designated CD staff manually enters the invoice into the SAMII payment system. If the invoice is incorrect, the designated CD staff must contact the provider to discuss the issue and obtain a corrected invoice.
Payments are processed and paid as outlined at 1225.000.00 PAYMENT OF CHILD CARE BENEFITS, except 1225.040.00 through 1225.040.10 do not apply.
Handle Adverse Action Notices and Hearing Requests for this program as for other Child Care Assistance programs. Ensure a copy of CD 150-HU-PAR0 Participant Instructions accompanies CD 150-HU-PAR2, 3, 4, and 5 Action Notices as page 2 of the Participant Instructions.
The Hand-Up Program's designated staff must maintain a record of:
The designated Hand-Up Program staff must compile data and submit it electronically via an Excel within 15 days after the end of each month. This data must include:
The designated CD staff must compile the data into aggregate form, analyze it, and create and issue a report to the General Assembly annually on January 1 and at the end of the state fiscal year.