.07 Eligibility Requirements.

A. Citizenship and Immigration Status.

(1) A TCA recipient shall be a:

(a) U.S. citizen; or

(b) Qualified immigrant as described in Regulation .02B of this chapter or otherwise permanently residing in the United States under color of law.

(2) Qualified immigrants who are not eligible for federally funded benefits shall be:

(a) Eligible for benefits funded entirely with State general funds; and

(b) Guaranteed medical assistance only if the individual meets the definition of a child.

B. Residence.

(1) The applicant and all recipients shall be residents of the State.

(2) A resident of the State is one who:

(a) Is living in the State voluntarily and not for a temporary purpose and has no immediate intention of moving from the State; and

(b) Is not receiving assistance from another state.

(3) A recipient of assistance may live outside the State if the absence does not exceed 90 days and Maryland residence has not been abandoned as described in §D(4) of this regulation.

(4) A child in the assistance unit may live outside the State as described in §D(2) and (3) of this regulation.

C. Age. To be eligible, a child shall be:

(1) Younger than 18 years old;

(2) A full-time student in secondary school, or an equivalent, and younger than 19 years old; or

(3) A full-time student and reasonably expected to complete a program of secondary education or the equivalent level of vocational or technical training before the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 19 years old.

D. Living with a Relative.

(1) The child shall live with a relative in a place maintained as their home.

(2) A child is eligible when absent from the home for short periods not to exceed 180 days, if the caretaker relative retains responsibility, control, and custody for the child.

(3) The child is eligible if absent from the home for more than 180 days if the following conditions are met:

(a) The child is absent for educational or treatment purposes;

(b) The Secretary or the Secretary's designee has approved the purpose for the absence; and

(c) The relative retains responsibility, custody, and control for the child.

(4) The needy caretaker relative remains eligible when absent from the home if:

(a) The absence is because of:

(i) Illness;

(ii) Education; or

(iii) Employment;

(b) The absence does not exceed 90 days;

(c) State residency has not been abandoned; and

(d) The caretaker maintains responsibility, care, and control of the child.

E. Social Security Number. As a condition of eligibility for FIP, the caretaker relative shall furnish to the local department:

(1) A Social Security number for each member of the assistance unit; or

(2) Proof that application for a Social Security number has been made.

F. Suitability of Home.

(1) As part of the eligibility determination process, the local department shall ensure, to the extent possible, that the home in which the FIP applicant or recipient child and relative are living is suitable.

(2) "Suitable" means that there is no reason to believe there is abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the child, according to the definitions set forth in COMAR 07.02.07.

(3) If there is any reason that the home is unsuitable, the local department shall refer the case to the appropriate service unit within the Department.

(4) The local department may not deny, delay, or discontinue TCA to a child only because of the condition in the home in which the child lives or because there is reason to believe that the home is unsuitable.

G. Effect of Participation in a Strike.

(1) TCA may not be paid to an assistance unit in which a parent is engaged in a strike as of the last day of the month.

(2) Participation in a strike does not constitute good cause to leave or to refuse to seek or accept employment.

H. Primary Prevention Initiative.

(1) An assistance unit is subject to disallowances if the following conditions are not met, without good cause:

(a) Verification once a year that each child between birth and 6 years old in the calendar year has satisfied the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment schedule; or

(b) Verification that each child who is 7 years old or older in the calendar year is:

(i) Attending school at least 80 percent of the time; or

(ii) A high school graduate.

(2) Good cause for failure to provide proof of a medical checkup for each child who is younger than 7 years old in the calendar year is limited to cooperating with a service agreement for Child Protective Services, Intensive Family Services, or Families Now.

(3) Good cause for failure to meet the school attendance requirements is limited to one or more of the following:

(a) Cooperating with a service agreement for Child Protective Services, Intensive Family Services, or Families Now;

(b) Verification of an acute or chronic medical condition or learning disability of the child or the minor parent's child;

(c) Verification of the observance of religious holidays; or

(d) Verification of the death of an immediate family member, if:

(i) A maximum of 3 days is allowed;

(ii) The immediate family member is defined as a parent, grandparent, child, sibling, or caretaker relative; and

(iii) The death is verified through an obituary notice, death certificate, funeral program, or other similar documentation.

(4) The disallowance for each child who is not in compliance with health or education requirements, without good cause, shall be:

(a) $25 for a child who is not a minor parent; and

(b) The incremental portion of the allowable amount for a minor custodial parent who is not:

(i) Attending school at least 80 percent of the time;

(ii) A high school graduate; or

(iii) Enrolled and participating in an alternative education or training program approved by the State.

(5) Each child who is 7 years old or older in the calendar year, and each adult in the assistance unit, is eligible for a one-time-only annual allowance of $20 per individual for medicine chest supplies upon proof of a preventive health check-up.