STATE OF HAWAII
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
BENEFIT, EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT SERVICES DIVISION
Pursuant to sections 91-3(b) and 91-4(b)(2), Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS), notice is hereby given that the Department of Human Services (DHS) has adopted emergency rules chapter 17-803 relating to Non-Recurring Short-Term Benefits (NRST) for Wildfire Disaster Victims.
The emergency rules were adopted on September 19, 2023 and shall be in effect for 120 days pursuant to section 91-3(b), HRS. The emergency rules as adopted are as follows:
CHAPTER 17-803 NON-RECURRING SHORT TERM (NRST) BENEFITS FOR WILDFIRE DISASTER VICTIMS
The chapter establishes the NRST benefits that address the specific crisis situation and episode of need for families with dependent children who were directly affected by the wildfire disaster. The benefits are not intended to meet a family’s recurring needs and will not extend beyond four months. The benefits include costs for short- and long-term housing, transportation, utility sources, clothing, and school supplies. The chapter defines the eligibility criteria that families must meet to receive these benefits; disposition of applications received from families; due process if a family disputes a determination or benefit amount; and the repayment process if benefits were overpaid.
1. §17-803-1, Purpose. This section states the purpose of the chapter and the effective date of the rules.
2. §17-803-2, Definitions. This section provides definitions to the following terms which are referenced within the chapter:
D. Department or DHS
E. Department’s designee
F. Dependent child
G. Disaster assistance organization
H. Family member
I. Family unit
J. Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA
L. Long-term housing
M. Non-recurring short-term benefits or NRST
N. Primary residence
P. Specified relative
Q. Short-term housing
3. §17-803-3, General requirements. This section specifies the general requirements that must be met to receive an NRST benefit which includes the experienced property loss or damage or reduction in earnings or employment loss as the direct result of the wildfire emergency; there is a dependent child in the family unit; the family unit is a resident of the state; and the family unit’s gross income does not exceed the established threshold. The section also states that NRST benefits cannot duplicate other disaster relief efforts that a family unit received from government or disaster assistance organizations.
4. §17-803-4, Application processing requirements. This section outlines the application requirements; describes the ineligibility criteria when an NRST benefit was already received or may be a duplication of other assistance; and outlines the requirements for an application disposition and the timeline in which a determination is to be made.
5. §17-803-5, NRST benefits. This section lists the types of NRST benefits available; provisions to which the benefits may be received; and how the benefit payments may be issued to an eligible family unit.
6. §17-803-6, Disposition of application. This section defines the date of eligibility; describes when adjustments are made for duplication of NRST benefits or ineligibility; establishes the timeline when a benefit payment is issued following eligibility determination; and describes the notification requirements when an application disposition is made.
7. §17-803-7, Application determination dispute. This section describes the requirements when an applicant disputes a determination of ineligibility or an NRST benefit amount and requests a departmental review.
8. §17-803-8, Review process and decision. This section describes the departmental review process including the method(s) in which the review may be conducted and the timeframe the departmental review will be processed and a decision rendered.
9. §17-803-9, Overpayment and fraud. This section describes the reasons for overpayments; notification to the family unit when an overpayment claim is made; how repayment to the State is made including collection via tax setoff; and penalties under federal and state laws if fraud is committed by an applicant or family unit.
10. §17-803-10, Termination, denial, or reduction for insufficient funds. This section outlines the options available to the department if there are insufficient funds to continue the NRST benefits described in the chapter.
A copy of the emergency rules will be mailed at NO COST to any interested person by requesting a copy by calling (808) 586-0975 or by writing to:
Department of Human Services
Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division
Attention: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program Office
1010 Richards Street, Room 512
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
The emergency rules are available for public viewing at the following website:
Upon request, this notice is available in alternate formats such as large print, Braille, or electronic copy.
Date of Publication: October 23, 2023