Chapter DCF 120
Eligibility determination and payment procedures.
Review of agency decisions.
DCF 120.01 Purpose.
This chapter implements s. 49.138
, Stats., which directs the department to administer a program of emergency assistance for persons who are in need due to fire, flood, natural disaster, homelessness, impending homelessness, or energy crisis and who meet the eligibility criteria under this chapter.
DCF 120.01 History
Cr. Register, October, 1999, No. 526
, eff. 11-1-99; am. Register, January, 2001, No. 541
, eff. 2-1-01.
DCF 120.02 Applicability.
This chapter applies to all applicants for emergency assistance, all recipients of emergency assistance, and all county and tribal economic support agencies and W-2 agencies administering the emergency assistance program under s. 49.138
DCF 120.02 History
Cr. Register, October, 1999, No. 526
, eff. 11-1-99.
DCF 120.03 Definitions.
In this chapter:
“Destitution" means extreme want of resources or of the means of subsistence.
“Emergency assistance" means the program under s. 49.138
, Stats., for emergency assistance to families with needy children in cases of fire, flood, natural disaster, homelessness, impending homelessness, or energy crisis.
“Emergency assistance group" or “group" means family as referred to in s. 49.138
, Stats., and includes one or more dependent children as defined by s. 49.141 (1) (c)
, Stats., and a qualified caretaker relative with whom the child is living or was living at the time the emergency occurred.
“Emergency shelter facility" means any facility, the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary or transitional shelter for the homeless in general or specific populations of the homeless.
“Qualified caretaker relative" means a caretaker of a child whose relationship to the caretaker or the caretaker's spouse is one of the following: son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother or half sister, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, first cousin or grand, great-grand or great-great grand son, daughter, nephew, or niece. A qualified caretaker relative continues to be a qualified relative even when the relationship is terminated by death or divorce.
“W-2 Agency" or “agency" means an entity that is administering the Wisconsin works program as a contractor under s. 49.143
DCF 120.03 History
Cr. Register, October, 1999, No. 526
, eff. 11-1-99; am. (2), Register, January, 2001, No. 541
, eff. 2-1-01; correction in (6) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7.
, Stats., Register November 2008 No. 635
; CR 09-059
: cr. (6m) Register December 2009 No. 648
, eff. 1-1-10.
DCF 120.04 Application.
Application for emergency assistance shall be made on a form prescribed by the department. Upon receipt of a completed application, the agency shall verify that the emergency was due to fire, flood, natural disaster, homelessness, impending homelessness, or an energy crisis. An agency shall consider the application complete if the application includes a legible name; address, if available; reason for the emergency; signature by the applicant or the applicant's representative and has been completed to the best of the applicant's or representative's ability. Verification of eligibility shall not delay the provision of assistance.
DCF 120.04 Note
An application form for emergency assistance may be obtained from a county or tribal economic support agency or a Wisconsin Works (W–2) agency. Contact information for Wisconsin works agencies may be found at https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/w2/parents/locator
The emergency assistance group shall meet all of the following nonfinancial eligibility criteria:
The group members shall live in Wisconsin and intend to reside in Wisconsin, except a migrant worker is not required to meet the requirement as to intent to reside in Wisconsin. A never-married child under age 18 is a Wisconsin resident when he or she is under the legal custody of the department or an agency, regardless of the state in which he or she is living. Wisconsin residence shall not be lost when a dependent child or caretaker relative is temporarily absent from Wisconsin for the purpose of visiting, hospitalization, or education.
The child for whom assistance is requested is or, within 6 months prior to the month of application for emergency assistance, was living with a qualified caretaker relative in a place of residence maintained as the caretaker relative's own home and is anticipated to live with the qualified caretaker relative in the month following the application date.
Assistance is needed to avoid destitution of the child or to provide a living arrangement for the child in a home.
The child's destitution or need for living arrangements did not result from the child or a qualified caretaker relative refusing without good cause to accept employment or training for employment.
An individual under 18 years of age is ineligible to be a qualified caretaker relative unless:
The individual has no parent, legal guardian, or other appropriate adult relative who would meet applicable criteria to act as the individual's legal guardian who is living or whose whereabouts are known.
No living parent, legal guardian, or other appropriate adult relative who would meet applicable criteria to act as the individual's legal guardian allows the individual to live in the home of the parent, guardian, or relative.
The individual or the child for whom assistance is requested is being or has been subjected to serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation in the residence of the individual's own parent or legal guardian.
Substantial evidence exists of an act or failure to act that presents an imminent or serious harm if the individual and the minor child lived in the same residence with the individual's own parent or legal guardian.
The W-2 agency otherwise determines that it is in the best interest of the individual's child to waive the general prohibition on assistance to unmarried caretakers who are under 18 years of age.
As determined by the agency, the group's need has resulted from an emergency due to one or more of the following causes:
A natural disaster such as a tornado, earthquake, electrical storm, windstorm, hail, sleet, a mud or rock slide, or a natural explosion such as lightning striking an object that then explodes.
Homelessness as determined under sub. (2)
. The cause of the homelessness need not be the result of a natural disaster.
Eligibility due to homelessness.
An emergency assistance group shall be considered homeless for purposes of determining nonfinancial eligibility under sub. (1)
if the group needs emergency assistance to obtain a permanent living accommodation and if any of the following conditions apply:
The group lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
The group has a current residence that is a shelter designed for temporary accommodation such as a motel, hotel, or emergency shelter facility.
The group has already left its current housing because it is uninhabitable as determined by the local building inspector, the local health department, or other appropriate local authority.
The group is living in a place that is not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation.
Eligibility due to impending homelessness.
An emergency assistance group shall be considered to be facing impending homelessness for purposes of determining nonfinancial eligibility under sub. (1)
if any of the following apply:
The emergency assistance group is experiencing a financial crisis that makes it very difficult to make a rent payment, mortgage payment, or property tax payment and the group has been notified that it will be required to leave its current housing if it does not make that payment immediately. The W-2 agency shall verify the following:
The emergency assistance group is experiencing a financial crisis due to reasons that are either beyond the control of an adult member of the group or that constitute good cause as determined by the W-2 agency.
Loss of employment that does not include voluntarily leaving appropriate employment without good cause.
Substantial loss of wages due to illness or injury of a group member, domestic violence, lack of child care, a transportation breakdown, or a reduction of work hours by an employer.
Exceptional, unexpected, and necessary expenses that are not the responsibility of a third party, such as car repair expenses necessary for transportation to work or medical expenses required to be paid.
Loss of W-2 benefits due to a sanction that is subsequently overturned through the dispute resolution process under s. 49.152
The emergency assistance group has received at least one of the following notices:
A notice terminating tenancy for failure to pay rent that meets the minimum requirements of s. 704.17
A summons and complaint for an eviction action which is based on failure to pay rent.
A summons and complaint for a foreclosure action that is based on failure to pay property taxes or a mortgage.
A writ of assistance, notice of sale, or other verifiable documentation that a foreclosure judgment has been entered against a member of the emergency assistance group and the group will be required to vacate the premises imminently.
DCF 120.05 Note
Section 799.40 (4)
, Stats., provides: “The court shall stay the proceedings in a civil action of eviction if the tenant applies for emergency assistance under s. 49.138
, except that no stay may be granted under this paragraph after a writ of restitution has been issued in the proceedings. If a stay is granted, the tenant shall inform the court of the outcome of the determination of eligibility for emergency assistance. The stay remains in effect until the tenant's eligibility for emergency assistance is determined and, if the tenant is determined to be eligible, until the tenant receives the emergency assistance, except that the stay may not remain in effect for more than 10 working days, as defined in s. 227.01 (14)
The emergency assistance group has received written or oral notice that the group will be removed from their rental housing because of a foreclosure action against the owner.
The removal of the group from the rental housing is scheduled to occur within 30 days.
The group needs emergency assistance to obtain a new permanent living accommodation.
The group has to leave its current housing because it is uninhabitable as determined by the local building inspector, the local health department, or other appropriate local authority and the group needs emergency assistance to obtain a new permanent living accommodation.
A member of the group was subject to domestic abuse as defined under s. 968.075 (1) (a)
, Stats., and the group needs emergency assistance to obtain a new permanent living accommodation or retain a current permanent living accommodation.
Eligibility due to energy crisis.
An emergency assistance group is eligible for assistance due to an energy crisis if all of the following apply
The group has exhausted resources available through the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program, assistance available through a local utility company as required by the public service commission, and any other available energy resources. In this paragraph, “exhausted resources" means either that the group has been denied services from the other sources or other funding sources do not cover the full cost of the group's energy crisis.
The group needs financial assistance to obtain or maintain heat, electricity, water, or sewer service provided by a utility company.
The lack of, or imminent lack of, utility service providing heat, electricity, water, or sewer is or is likely to be an immediate threat to the health or safety of the group.
The energy crisis is due to reasons beyond the control of adult members of the group or constitute good cause as determined by the W-2 agency.
DCF 120.05 Note
For more information on the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP), call 1-866-HEATWIS (1-866-432-8947) or click on “where to apply" at http://www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov/
. For more information on utility assistance required by the Public Service Commission, see PSC 113, PSC 134, and PSC 185. For concerns about utility service, contact the Public Service Commission at 1-800-225-7729 or the “contact us" section of http://psc.wi.gov