IM-109 08/13/99 SENATE BILL 387
|SENATE BILL 387|
|During the 1999 legislative session, the
General Assembly passed Senate Bill 387. The purpose of this memorandum
is to inform staff of requirements in the bill that pertain to Income Maintenance
programs. Most of the legislation in S.B. 387 becomes effective August
28, 1999. One exception is the two-thirds earned income disregard
that becomes effective October 1, 1999. Policy changes as a result
of S.B. 387 will be issued in the near future.
GRANDPARENTS AS FOSTER PARENTS
The Grandparents as Guardians Program is being changed to Grandparents as Foster Parents. The age requirement has been lowered from 55 to 50. The program is expanded to include close relatives who become legal guardians or obtain legal custody of a child if no grandparents are willing to participate. In cases where a grandparent refuses foster parent training they will be subject to the work participation and time limit requirements under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
Senate Bill 387 requires that an individual be assessed for skills, prior work experience, and employability before being assigned to any education, training, or employment component. To meet this requirement a screening tool is being developed to replace the Jobs Needs Assessment (IM-2JNA) and the Personal Information Record (FP-9).
A caseload standard shall be developed
based on the actual duties of employees in each program of the department.
The caseload standard is the minimum and maximum number of cases that an
employee can reasonably be expected to perform in a normal work month based
on the number of cases handled or the number of different job functions
performed by the employee. These standards will be established after
consideration of caseload standards established by national setting authorities
and/or caseload standards used in other states for similar job titles.
The caseload standards are to be reviewed biannually.
WELFARE TO WORK PROTECTION ACT
Any recipient of Temporary Assistance who is employed or assigned to a subsidized or unsubsidized work activity with an employer shall be considered an employee to the same extent as other employees. They shall have the same rights as any employee for purposes of state and federal labor laws, occupational health and safety, discrimination, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation and minimum wage.
Any individual or employee who believes that he/she has been adversely affected by a Wage Supplementation placement shall be afforded the opportunity to grieve it with the Department of Labor. Prior to S.B. 387 this type of employee grievance was filed with the Division of Family Services.
This legislation added good cause reasons for refusal to accept employment. Participants referred for direct job placement cannot be sanctioned if there are three or fewer employers participating in the program and employment or offer of employment exceeds a total of two hours round trip, inclusive of the time to transport children to school or child care. If the participant is walking to their employment, the round trip cannot be more than four (4) miles.
Employment or the offer of employment can not be in violation of health and safety standards.
UNEMPLOYED PARENT CASES
Senate Bill 387 removed work history requirements and the definition of "unemployed" for two parent households. This is a significant change to the definition of Unemployed Parent as a reason for deprived of parental support. A change in the definition has an effect on who is considered in the assistance group. The unemployed parent policy is being evaluated for necessary changes.
TWO-THIRDS EARNED INCOME DISREGARD
Effective October 1, 1999 the earned income disregard will be increased to two-thirds. This expanded earned income disregard shall apply only to recipients of Temporary Assistance (cash) who obtain employment. It will not apply to new applicants who are already working. Once the individual has received the two-thirds disregard for twelve months, they would not be eligible for this disregard until they have not received Temporary Assistance for twelve consecutive months. The 30 and 1/3 earned income disregard policy will remain in effect for applicants who are employed. Data Processing is working on system changes to allow the use of both earned income disregards in IBCA.
THE RIGHT TO APPLY FOR ASSISTANCE
Any individual who wishes to apply for any public assistance administered by DFS has the right to do so at a county DFS office either in person, by telephone or by mail. DFS will explain to the applicant the nature of all categories of public assistance benefits and services for which they may be eligible. In addition, applicants should understand the responsibilities for receiving assistance including time limits and work requirements. If the individual chooses not to apply for Temporary Assistance, the division will evaluate their eligibility for medical assistance, food stamps and any other benefits for which they may be eligible. Benefits will be provided not later than forty-five (45) days following the filing of an application, unless otherwise stated in Federal Law or State Statute.
Much of the language in S.B. 387 regarding the right to apply is currently part of DFS policy. However, to better serve families we are evaluating the upfront process to give families as much information as possible to help them understand their rights and responsibilities and to help them make the best choices for their family.