Provides that a social services official may not recover assistance properly paid as permitted where a recipient or former recipient of such assistance was required to participate in a work experience program without first crediting against such recovery the number of hours that such person actually participated in a work experience program multiplied by the higher of the applicable state or federal minimum wage.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to work experience
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to allow a participant in the work Experience Program (WEP, or workfare) to have his or her time in the program credited against any public assistance a local social services district is entitled to recover.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 would amend social services Law (SSL) § 336-c to require local districts to credit the value of an individual's time in the Work Experience Program (WEP) against any benefits legally recovered by the district.
Section 2 would require that the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance promulgate any rules and regulations and conduct any requisite training necessary for the implementation of the act.
Section 3 provides an immediate effective date.
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: This bill would add a new section (5) to SSL §336-c.
JUSTIFICATION: Persons who receive public assistance in New York State are required to repay the local social services district for the assistance they receive. Properly paid public assistance is a debt owed by the individual who received such assistance and is subject to recovery under a number of provisions of the social Services Law. The recovery of such assistance is expressly authorized against windfalls such as inheritances (SSL 104), lawsuit proceeds (SSL 104-b), lottery winnings (SSL 131-r) and retroactive SSI awards (SSL 158(3. Additionally, local districts are entitled to recover properly paid public assistance by requiring applicants for public assistance who own their own homes to provide the district with a mortgage equal to the sum of public assistance paid, as a condition of eligibility for assistance (SSL 106). When an individual works off his or her grant by participation in workfare, it is only fair that the value of that work be credited against any recovery that the local district is entitled to make. This bill would require local social services districts to credit the value of workfare by calculating the number of hours worked times the higher of the state or federal minimum wage applicable at the time, when determining the amount of properly paid public assistance that the local social services district is entitled to recover.
This legislation would codify the holding of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York in Elwell v. Weiss, 2007 WI, 2994308, which addressed a challenge to a County's seizure of a former recipient's retroactive SSI benefits, holding that the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that workfare participants receive a credit equal to the minimum wage value of their labor when
a local district calculates the value of a public assistance recovery. This proposed legislation is consistent with the provisions of the social services law that recognize workfare as work and require that workfare workers be provided with worker's compensation, and that the hours assigned cannot exceed the total of public assistance and food stamps received divided by the higher of the state or federal minimum wage.
Prior to 1997, it was the long standing policy of the state to require local social services district to credit workfare against any recovery of properly paid public assistance. When welfare was "reformed" in 1997, chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, section 148, repealed a provision similar to this proposal. This bill would restore the prior policy, which recognized the value of such work,
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2007 - A.11216 2010 - S.4544/A.1546
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7508 IN SENATE May 30, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Social Services AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to work experience THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 336-c of the social services law is amended by adding a new subdivision 5 to read as follows: 5. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL MAY NOT RECOVER PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PROPERLY PAID AS PERMITTED UNDER SECTIONS ONE HUNDRED FOUR, ONE HUNDRED FOUR-B, ONE HUNDRED SIX, ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-ONE-R AND SUBDIVISION THREE OF SECTION ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT OF THIS CHAPTER OR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS TITLE, WHERE A RECIPIENT OR FORMER RECIPIENT OF SUCH ASSISTANCE WAS REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE IN A WORK EXPERIENCE PROGRAM UNDER THIS SECTION WITHOUT FIRST CREDITING AGAINST SUCH RECOVERY THE NUMBER OF HOURS THAT SUCH PERSON ACTUALLY PARTICIPATED IN A WORK EXPERIENCE PROGRAM MULTI- PLIED BY THE HIGHER OF THE APPLICABLE STATE OR FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE. NOTHING IN THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL ALTER THE RULES GOVERNING AND DEFI- NITION OF WORK EXPERIENCE PROGRAMS AS ENUMERATED IN SUBDIVISIONS ONE, TWO, THREE AND FOUR OF THIS SECTION. THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL APPLY ONLY TO THE NUMBER OF HOURS OF PARTICIPATION IN THE WORK EXPERIENCE PROGRAM AND SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY OTHER ACTIVITY FOR WHICH A SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT HAS REQUIRED A RECIPIENT OR FORMER RECIPIENT TO PARTICIPATE IN, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT OR REHABILI- TATION, JOB SEARCH, AND VOCATIONAL OR REMEDIAL EDUCATION ACTIVITIES. S 2. Effective immediately, the office of temporary and disability assistance shall promulgate rules and regulations, and conduct any requisite training necessary for the implementation of this act. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD16063-01-2