Requires the division of criminal justice services to check the wanted felon status and probation or parole violator status of people applying for public assistance.
Ayes (43): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Ball, Bonacic, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, McDonald, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Storobin, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
Nays (17): Avella, Breslin, Dilan, Duane, Gianaris, Hassell-Thomps, Krueger, Montgomery, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Rivera, Serrano, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin
Excused (2): Espaillat, Huntley
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law and the social services law, in relation to requiring the division of criminal justice services to check the wanted felon status and other information of people applying for public assistance
PURPOSE: To authorize the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to provide information to local social services districts and to require those social services districts to request such information regarding whether applicants for benefits are wanted felons or are absconding from parole or probation. Further, to require that where such applicants have fraudulently obtained public assistance benefits, such benefits must be repaid and subject to the same penalties as any other acts of fraud which are used to gain public assistance benefits.
SUMMARY: Section 1 adds a new section 845-C to the executive law requiring the commissioners of social service districts, or their authorized designees, to request, from DCJS information regarding whether applicants for public assistance benefits are wanted felons and/or whether they are probation or parole violators who are absconding from justice and authorizes DCJS to provide such information.
Section 2 adds new subparagraphs to Social Service law section 132 to the current investigation required by that section. Under the new provisions, the Department of Social Services (DSS) must inquire of the DCJS regarding whether applicants for public assistance are wanted felons or absconding from probation or parole. Where an applicant is found to have such status, DSS shall further investigate to determine whether the applicant knew, or had reason to know of his/her status, and when the applicant became or should have become aware of such status. This section also ensures benefits collected during the period of time that the fleeing felon or absconder from probation or parole knew or should have known of such status, must be repaid.
Section 3 amends subparagraph b of paragraph one of section 145-B of the Social Service Law by adding a new subparagraph (iii) to ensure that a deliberate false response to questions on the application for public assistance regarding an applicant's status as a fleeing felon or probation or parole absconder is treated as fraud for purposes of that section and as such subject to the penalties set forth therein.
Section 4 authorizes the Commissioner of DSS in consultation with the Commissioner of DCJS to promulgate rules and regulations to implement the act.
Section 5 provides the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Currently, both federal and New York State law prohibits those who know that they are fleeing felons and those who are knowingly absconding from probation or parole from receiving public assistance benefits. However, at this time, there is no statutory requirement in place to ensure that applicants for public assistance are investigated to determine whether they ineligible based on this status.
The "wanted felon" portion of the Federal Bureau of Investigation "National Crime Information Center" database is provided to NYS and is distributed to NYS law enforcement through E. Justice-by DCJS. This bill is needed to authorize DCJS to provide this information to commissioners of the social services departments and to require that those departments make such an inquiry.
It should be noted that in previous years, the NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance worked with the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services to check if an applicant was a fleeing felon. However, following the federal ruling in Fowlkes v. Adamec it was determined that governing statute was needed to give the local DSS the authority to determine if an applicant is a fleeing felon.
In addition, this bill is necessary to ensure that benefits paid based on fraudulent representations by the applicant, are fully recouped by NYS and that those applicants who fraudulently obtain benefits by deliberately misrepresenting their ineligibility are subject to the same stringent penalties as for any other fraudulent representations.
As a bonus, this legislation would also alert law enforcement to the location of fleeing felons and those absconding from probation or parole and thus enhance the effectiveness of our state's law enforcements efforts.
This legislation was prompted by the recent arrest of Edward Moses made in Fulton, New York. Moses was arrested in the parking lot of a local bank after a witness called the police to report suspicious behavior. When asked for proof of identity, Edward Moses provided the police with his New State Electronic Benefits Card given to individuals on public assistance or other social services programs. When the police ran his name, they immediately discovered that Moses was wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping and possession of a weapon in South Carolina. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this is an isolated event.
Benefits are not designed for persons who are evading arrest or wanted criminals. This legislation seeks to protect the integrity of New York's public assistance programs by making sure that benefits are being directed to those who are truly in need of assistance.
HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPACT: It is anticipated that any increase in investigation costs would be more than offset by savings attributable to disqualifying ineligible applicants and recouping payments already made to those who are ineligible.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 180th day after becoming a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6156 IN SENATE January 6, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. RITCHIE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the executive law and the social services law, in relation to requiring the division of criminal justice services to check the wanted felon status and other information of people applying for public assistance THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 845-c to read as follows: S 845-C. REQUESTS FOR WANTED FELON INFORMATION. 1. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS SECTION: (A) "AUTHORIZED PERSON" MEANS A COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SERVICES, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION TEN OF SECTION TWO OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, OR ANY ONE OR MORE INDIVIDUALS DESIGNATED BY SUCH COMMISSIONER AS AUTHOR- IZED TO REQUEST, RECEIVE AND REVIEW INFORMATION REGARDING THE WANTED FELON PORTION OF THE NATIONAL CRIME INFORMATION CENTER AND/OR, IF APPLI- CABLE, INFORMATION REGARDING AN INDIVIDUAL'S VIOLATION OF HIS OR HER PROBATION OR PAROLE CONDITIONS PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. A COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SERVICES MAY DESIGNATE ONE OR MORE ADDITIONAL PERSONS AS NECESSARY TO SERVE AS AUTHORIZED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. (B) "SUBJECT INDIVIDUAL" MEANS A PERSON WHO IS APPLYING FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE WHOSE WANTED FELON STATUS OR PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR STATUS HAS BEEN REQUESTED PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW. (C) "WANTED FELON" MEANS A PERSON WHO IS FLEEING OR HAS FLED TO AVOID PROSECUTION, OR CUSTODY OR CONFINEMENT AFTER CONVICTION, UNDER THE LAWS OF THE PLACE FROM WHICH THE PERSON FLEES, FOR A CRIME, OR AN ATTEMPT TO COMMIT A CRIME, WHICH IS A FELONY UNDER THE LAWS OF THE PLACE FROM WHICH THE PERSON FLEES. (D) "PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR" MEANS A PERSON WHO IS VIOLATING A CONDITION OF PROBATION OR PAROLE AND THAT PERSON IS CURRENTLY AN ABSCON- DER FROM PROBATION OR PAROLE SUPERVISION AND A WARRANT ALLEGING SUCH A VIOLATION IS OUTSTANDING, OR THE PERSON HAS BEEN FOUND BY JUDICIALEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD13642-03-1 S. 6156 2
DETERMINATION TO HAVE VIOLATED PROBATION OR BY ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDI- CATION BY THE DIVISION OF PAROLE TO HAVE VIOLATED PAROLE, OR THE PERSON IS VIOLATING A CONDITION OF PROBATION OR PAROLE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL LAW. 2. WHERE AN AUTHORIZED PERSON REQUESTS INFORMATION REGARDING THE WANT- ED FELON STATUS OR THE PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR STATUS, OF A SUBJECT INDIVIDUAL APPLYING FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE REQUIRED PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, SUCH PERSON SHALL PROCEED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. 3. AN AUTHORIZED PERSON REQUESTING THE WANTED FELON STATUS OR PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR STATUS, PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL DO SO BY COMPLETING A FORM ESTABLISHED FOR SUCH PURPOSE BY THE DIVISION. SUCH FORM SHALL INCLUDE A SWORN STATEMENT OF THE AUTHORIZED PERSON CERTIFYING THAT: (A) THE PERSON FOR WHOSE INFORMATION IS REQUESTED IS A SUBJECT INDI- VIDUAL FOR WHOM INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE BY LAW; (B) THE RESULTS OF REQUEST WILL BE USED BY THE AUTHORIZED PERSON SOLE- LY FOR PURPOSES AUTHORIZED BY LAW; AND (C) THE AUTHORIZED PERSON AND HIS OR HER AGENTS AND EMPLOYEES ARE AWARE OF AND WILL ABIDE BY THE CONFIDENTIALITY REQUIREMENTS AND ALL OTHER PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE. S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 132 of the social services law, as amended by section 22 of part B of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: 1. (A) When an application for assistance or care is received, or a social services official is informed that a person is in need of public assistance and care, an investigation and record shall be made of the circumstances of such person. The object of such investigations shall be to secure the facts necessary to determine whether such person is in need of public assistance or care and what form thereof and service he or she should receive AND TO DETERMINE WHETHER SUCH PERSON IS A WANTED FELON AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW OR A PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW AND IF SUCH WARRANT OR VIOLATION EXISTS, WHETHER SUCH PERSON WAS AWARE OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN AWARE OF SUCH WARRANT OR VIOLATION. Information shall be sought as to the residence of such person, the name, age, religious faith, physical condition, earnings or other income, and ability to work of all members of the family, the cause of the person's condition, the ability and willingness of the family, rela- tives, friends and church to assist, and such other facts as may be useful in determining the treatment which will be helpful to such person. However, nothing in this subdivision or elsewhere in this chap- ter contained shall be construed to require a social services official to communicate with or require assistance from any person or persons liable by law to contribute to the support of a woman pregnant with, or the mother of, an out of wedlock child, in need of care away from home during pregnancy and during and after delivery, in the case where the surrender of the child to the social services official is under consid- eration, for such period as may be necessary for such mother and offi- cial to decide whether the child will be surrendered for adoption to such official, which period shall not extend beyond ninety days after birth of the child. Except where the welfare official is in possession of positive proof that the applicant is receiving or is eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits and the amount thereof such investigations shall include written request to the commissioner ofS. 6156 3
labor or his or her duly authorized officer charged with administration of the unemployment insurance law for information as to the status of such person in respect to unemployment insurance benefits. (B) THE COMMISSIONER OF A SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT OR ANY AUTHORIZED PERSON, AS DEFINED IN SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECU- TIVE LAW, SHALL REQUEST INFORMATION FOR EACH APPLICANT FROM THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES, TO DETERMINE WHETHER SUCH APPLICANT IS A WANTED FELON AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW OR PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW. (C) UPON BEING INFORMED BY THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES THAT AN APPLICANT IS A WANTED FELON OR A PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR, PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL INVESTIGATE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE APPLICANT IS AWARE OF HIS OR HER STATUS AND TO DETERMINE WHEN THE APPLICANT BECAME, OR SHOULD HAVE BECOME AWARE OF HIS OR HER STATUS. (D) WHERE AN APPLICANT HAS NOT INITIALLY BEEN DETERMINED TO BE INELI- GIBLE FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE BENEFITS BECAUSE OF A RELIANCE ON A FALSE STATEMENT PROVIDED IN THE APPLICATION, HOWEVER IS SUBSEQUENTLY DETER- MINED TO BE INELIGIBLE FOR SUCH ASSISTANCE, THE COMMISSIONER, ON BEHALF OF THE STATE AND THE LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT SHALL HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO RECOUP FROM THE INDIVIDUAL THE SUMS EXPENDED FOR SUCH ASSISTANCE DURING THE PERIOD OF TIME THAT SUCH PERSON RECEIVED BENEFITS AND KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THEIR STATEMENT CLAIMING THAT THEY ARE NEITHER A WANTED FELON OR PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR STATUS WAS FALSE. (E) AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS IDENTIFIED, AND KNOWS SO OR IS NOTIFIED THER- EOF, AS BEING A PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR, AS DEFINED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE UNTIL HE OR SHE VERIFIES THAT HE OR SHE HAS BEEN RESTORED TO PROBATION OR PAROLE SUPERVISION, RELEASED FROM CUSTODY, OR UNTIL THE PERSON'S MAXIMUM PERIOD OF IMPRISONMENT OR SUPER- VISION HAS EXPIRED. S 3. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 1 of section 145-b of the social services law, as added by chapter 2 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows: (b) For purposes of this section, "statement or representation" includes, but is not limited to: (I) a claim for payment made to the state, a political subdivision of the state, or an entity performing services under contract to the state or a political subdivision of the state; (II) an acknowledgment, certification, claim, ratification or report of data which serves as the basis for a claim or a rate of payment, financial information whether in a cost report or otherwise, health care services available or rendered, and the qualifications of a person that is or has rendered health care services; (III) AN INTENTIONAL INCORRECT ANSWER, MADE BY THE APPLICANT, TO A QUESTION ON AN APPLICATION FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE REGARDING THE WANTED FELON AS DEFINED IN SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW STATUS OR PROBATION OR PAROLE VIOLATOR AS DEFINED IN SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE-C OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW STATUS OF AN APPLICANT OR A MEMBER OF HIS OR HER FAMILY. S 4. The state commissioner of social services, in consultation with the commissioner of the division of criminal justice services, is herebyS. 6156 4
authorized and directed to promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the implementation of this act. S 5. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, however, that effective immediate- ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.