When a person applying for or receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has monies held in trust, a decision regarding the availability of the funds must be made. Funds held in trust are considered available when the applicant or recipient has a legal interest in a liquidated sum and has the legal ability to make such sum available for support and maintenance. • 1 Funds may also be held in trust and under the control of someone other than the TANF parent or caretaker relative, such as the courts, agencies, other individuals, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The availability of these funds is determined by using the procedures described in (1) through (3) of this Section.
Funds held in trust by courts, agencies, or other individuals. The applicant or recipient must provide trust documents at application or when the worker becomes aware of the existence of a trust. Documents include a copy of the trust instrument, and a copy of all relevant court documents that may include a Journal Entry, Order, Settlement Agreement, and documentation as to date, amount, and purpose of any prior disbursements.
Release of trust by written petition or written request. The availability of the trust can only be determined after the TANF payee sends a written petition to the court or a written request to the trustee when the trust is not in a court supervised account for the release of the total funds.
(i) The worker sends a written notice to the TANF payee informing him or her to:
(I) file the written petition with the court or submit a written request to the trustee within 30 calendar days from the date of the notice;
(II) provide a copy to the worker; and
(III) failure to do so results in case denial or closure as benefit eligibility cannot be determined.
(ii) Upon receipt of a copy of the petition or request, the trust account at issue is considered unavailable. The worker instructs the TANF payee to provide the worker with a copy of the court or trustee's response when received.
(iii) When the TANF payee submits the petition or request timely but does not get a response from the court or trustee, the worker offers with the client's permission, to write a letter to the court or trustee. •
(iv) When the court or trustee's response to the petition or request is explicit as to the availability of funds, the worker takes appropriate action. When the response is not explicit, the worker asks Adult and Family Services TANF staff to make a decision regarding the availability of funds. When necessary, AFS TANF staff obtains a decision from Legal Services about the availability of the funds held in trust.
(v) A decision regarding trust availability is rendered in one of two ways. The trust monies are considered:
(I) unavailable to the child(ren) and further review is not needed unless the trust instrument is amended; or
(II) available as a resource in determining eligibility.
Periodic renewal. Funds determined to be unavailable to the person are excluded until the next renewal or reapplication. At renewal, the worker obtains information from the court or trustee regarding any modification to the trust instrument and any disbursements. Disbursements are considered as income the month received. When modification or disbursements did not occur, the funds continue to be considered as unavailable until the next renewal is due.
Funds held in trust by BIA. Interests of individual Indians in trust or restricted lands are not considered a resource in determining eligibility for assistance under the Social Security Act or any other federal or federally-assisted program.
Funds held in trust in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program account. Funds held in a trust account owned by the designated beneficiary of the account and established to pay qualified disability expenses under the Oklahoma Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program or an ABLE program in any other state are excluded under the Oklahoma ABLE program or an ABLE program in any other state is excluded for the purpose of determining eligibility to receive, or the amount of, any assistance or benefits from local or state means-tested programs per Sections
4001.5 of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes or the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, Section 529A of Title 26 of the United States Code (26 U.S.C. § 529A). The applicant or recipient must provide documents to verify that the trust account meets exemption criteria before the funds in the trust account are exempted from resource and income consideration.
When verified, the exclusion applies to money:
(A) deposited in the account up to the annual federal gift tax exclusion per 26 U.S.C. § 2503(b). Any money deposited in the account in a calendar year in excess of the annual federal gift tax exclusion is considered a countable resource and income in the month deposited; or
(B) withdrawn to pay qualified disability expenses. Money withdrawn for reasons other than to pay qualified disability expenses is considered as income for the month of withdrawal.