Bill S7714-2013

Relates to the time period to request conciliation for the public assistance employment program; repealer

Relates to the time period to request conciliation for the public assistance employment program and employment sanctions for a member of a public assistance household which includes a minor child.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 2, 2014: REFERRED TO SOCIAL SERVICES

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S7714

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to the time period to request conciliation for the public assistance employment program; the time period within which an individual must produce required medical documentation; the social services districts' referrals to licensed health care practitioners; the authority to continue an assigned work activity for a work limited individual pending re-evaluation; amending references to federal work participation rates and reporting hours of participation in certain work activities to be consistent with federal requirements; and to repeal paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section 335-b of such law relating to the separate participation rate for safety net families with children

Purpose of Bill: This legislation would amend the Social Services Law (SSL) to provide a standardized time period in which to request conciliation from the social services district (SSD) for all public assistance employment cases; and to make various technical changes clarifying requirements of the public assistance employment program.

Summary of Provisions:

Section 1 would amend SSL § 341(1)(a) to standardize the timeframe associated with requesting a conciliation conference to ten calendar days for all case types.

Section 2 would amend SSL § 332-b(2)(b) to clarify that individuals who allege that they are unable to participate in work activities due to either a medical condition or medical limitations have ten calendar days from the date they are provided notice of the opportunity to provide medical information to submit medical documentation to the SSD's practitioner in connection with the practitioner's evaluation of Whether the individual is able to work or participate in work activities, unless additional time is granted by the SSD upon good cause.

Section 3 would amend SSL § 332-b(4) to require that an SSD's referral of an individual for an independent medical evaluation must be to a health care practitioner-licensed to practice in New York State.

Section 4 would amend SSL § 332-b(5) to clarify that SSDs may require work limited participants who are not claiming a change in their condition to continue to participate in assigned public assistance work activities which are consistent with the individual's limitations while a reevaluation of the individual's employability status is completed in accordance with SSL § 332-b(5).

Section 5 would amend SSL § 335-b(1) to modify the references to federal participation rates to be consistent with federal requirements, including the requirement to include recipients of Safety Net (SN) assistance that include a child when required by the federal work participation rate calculation.

Section 6 would amend SSL § 335-b(1) to repeal subdivision "c" as duplicative of the requirements set forth in SSL § 335-b(1), as modified.

Section 7 would amend SSL § 335-b(1) to reflect the inclusion of SN assistance households with children in the federal work participation rate to the extent required by federal law or regulation.

Section 8 would amend SSL § 335-b(2) pertaining to limits on participation in job search/job readiness as established by federal law and regulation, rather than including specific federal limits

Section 9 would amend SSL § 336(1)(m) to reflect that participation in job search/job readiness training assistance may be required by the SSD beyond a specific limit of six weeks and use more general language as set forth in federal law and regulation.

Section 10 would amend SSL § 336(8) by changing the reference for reporting hours of participation in unpaid internships/externships from On-The-Job Training to work experience pursuant to SSL § 336, or to other work activity consistent with federal law and regulation.

Section 11 provides a severability clause.

Section 12 provides that this act shall take effect immediately.

Existing Law:

SSL § 341(1)(a) requires that a conciliation notice advise that the participant has seven calendar days to request conciliation with the SSD in the case of a SN assistance participant, and ten calendar days in the case of a Family Assistance (FA) participant.

SSL § 332-b(2) provides that applicants for and recipients of public assistance who allege that they are unable to participate in work activities, or that they have limitations, have ten calendar days from the date the SSD notifies the individual of the requirement to provide medical documentation to the SSD or to the SSD's practitioner; if referred for an independent employability evaluation consistent with 18 NYCRR § 385.2, for consideration when determining the individual's ability to work or participate in work activities, the individual has four business days to provide any additional medical documentation.

SSL § 332-b(4) provides that when an SSD requires an individual to participate in an independent medical evaluation, the individual shall be referred to a health care practitioner certified by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's (OTDA's) Division of Disability Determinations (DDD).

SSL § 332-b(5) provides that no assignment to work activities may be made when a determination of an individual's medical status must has not been made unless the applicant or recipient agrees to a limited work assignment not inconsistent with the medical condition alleged.

SSL § 335-b(1) requires that each SSD meet or exceed the minimum participation rate for families receiving assistance funded under the

federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides a separate work participation rate for certain families receiving assistance funded under the State and local SN assistance program.

SSL § 336(1)(m) allows SSDs to continue to require individuals to participate in job search and job readiness assistance after exceeding the limit for such activities as set forth in federal law.

SSL § 336(8) provides, in relevant part, that hours of participation in internships, externships, and certain other work placements should be counted for work participation rate purposes as "on-the-job-training." Legislative History: This is a new bill.

Statement in Support:

SSL § 341 establishes the timeframes and the procedures governing conciliation conferences. Specifically, it requires that the SSD provide individuals receiving FA ten calendar days to request a conciliation conference from the date the conciliation notice is issued, while individuals receiving SN assistance are provided seven calendar days to request a conciliation conference from the date of the conciliation notice. Additionally, consistent with a waiver approved by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), OTDA must provide at least ten calendar days from the date of the conciliation notice for a SNAP recipient to comply with the work activity assigned by the SSD to avoid a SNAP sanction. In order to standardize the timeframe for requesting a conciliation conference and/or the opportunity to timely demonstrate compliance in order to avoid a SNAP employment sanction, the bill provides for a standardized ten calendar days for all case types.

State law requires that individuals who allege they are unable to participate in work activities due to either a medical condition or limitations provide medical documentation within ten calendar days in connection with an SSD's determination of employability. The statute includes an additional provision, applicable to those instances where the individual is referred for an independent evaluation, which permits the individual to submit medical documentation to the SSD's practitioner at the time of the evaluation or within four business days of the examination for such documentation to be considered when determining the individual's ability to work or participate in work activities. The bill would clarify and standardize that such individuals have ten calendar days from the date the SSD notifies the individual of the requirement to submit medical documentation unless additional time is granted by the SSD based upon the individual's particular circumstances.

When an SSD requires an individual to participate in an independent medical evaluation, the individual must be referred to a health care practitioner certified by the DDD. However, the DDD does not certify practitioners. This bill would remove the certification requirement, and instead require that any health care practitioner evaluating an individual at the request of an SSD simply be licensed to practice in New York State.

SSDs are required to inquire as to whether an individual has any medical condition which would limit the individual's ability to participate in work activities at application, recertification, or whenever the SSD has reason to believe that a physical or mental health impairment may prevent the individual from fully participating in work activities. The bill clarifies that participation in activities may continue during these circumstances, which would permit providing related support services without interruption.

The bill also updates references to the federal participation rates, limits on the countability of job search/job readiness training assistance, and the reporting of participation in unpaid internships/externships, in order to establish consistency with federal requirements, including the ability to extend the countability of participation in job search/job readiness activities.

Budget Implications: None.

Effective Date: This bill takes effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7714 IN SENATE June 2, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- (at request of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance) -- 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 the time period to request conciliation for the public assistance employment program; the time period within which an individual must produce required medical documentation; the social services districts' referrals to licensed health care practitioners; the authority to continue an assigned work activity for a work limited individual pending re-evalu- ation; amending references to federal work participation rates and reporting hours of participation in certain work activities to be consistent with federal requirements; and to repeal paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section 335-b of such law relating to the separate participation rate for safety net families with children THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 341 of the social services law, as amended by section 1 of part D of chapter 61 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows: (a) Consistent with federal law and regulations and this title, if a participant has failed or refused to comply with the requirements of this title, the social services district shall issue a notice in plain language indicating that such failure or refusal has taken place and of the right of such participant to conciliation to resolve the reasons for such failure or refusal to avoid a pro-rata reduction in public assist- ance benefits for a period of time set forth in section three hundred forty-two of this title. The notice shall indicate the specific instance or instances of willful refusal or failure to comply without good cause with the requirements of this title and the necessary actions that must be taken to avoid a pro-rata reduction in public assistance benefits. The notice shall indicate that the participant has [seven] TEN CALENDAR days to request conciliation with the district regarding such failure or refusal [in the case of a safety net participant and ten days in the case of a family assistance participant]. The notice shall also include
an explanation in plain language of what would constitute good cause for non-compliance and examples of acceptable forms of evidence that may warrant an exemption from work activities, including evidence of domes- tic violence, and physical or mental health limitations that may be provided at the conciliation conference to demonstrate such good cause for failure to comply with the requirements of this title. If the participant does not contact the district within the specified number of days, the district shall issue ten days notice of intent to discontinue or reduce assistance, pursuant to regulations of the department. Such notice shall also include a statement of the participant's right to a fair hearing relating to such discontinuance or reduction. If such participant contacts the district within [seven] TEN CALENDAR days [in the case of a safety net participant or within ten days in the case of a family assistance participant], it will be the responsibility of the participant to give reasons for such failure or refusal. S 2. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 332-b of the social services law, as amended by chapter 214 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows: (b) If, prior to submitting his or her medical documentation, the individual is referred to a health care practitioner [certified by the office of disability determinations of the office of temporary and disa- bility assistance] LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN NEW YORK STATE or, if appli- cable, to the contracted agency or institution by or with which such health care practitioner LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN NEW YORK STATE is employed or affiliated for an examination pursuant to subdivision four of this section, such individual shall make best efforts to bring such documentation to the examination, and in no case shall provide such records to the examining health care practitioner [certified by the office of disability determinations] or, if applicable, to the contracted agency or institution by or with which such health care prac- titioner is employed or affiliated later than [four business] TEN CALEN- DAR days [after such examination] FROM THE DATE OF THE NOTICE WHICH INFORMED THE INDIVIDUAL OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE MEDICAL DOCUMENTA- TION; provided that the individual may demonstrate good cause as defined in regulations, for failure to provide such records within the specific time periods. S 3. The opening paragraph of subdivision 4 of section 332-b of the social services law, as added by section 148 of part B of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: In instances where the district determines either that the documenta- tion is insufficient to support an exemption from or limitation on work activities or that further medical evaluation is appropriate, the indi- vidual shall be referred to a health care practitioner [certified by the Office of Disability Determinations of the Department of Social Services] LICENSED TO PRACTICE AS A PHYSICIAN OR A PSYCHOLOGIST IN NEW YORK STATE for an examination of such individual's medical condition. S 4. Subdivision 5 of section 332-b of the social services law, as added by section 148 of part B of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: 5. When an applicant or recipient has requested, or a social services official has directed a determination pursuant to this section, no assignment to work activities may be made until completion of such determination, unless the applicant or recipient agrees to a limited work assignment not inconsistent with the medical condition alleged by such person EXCEPT THAT A DISTRICT MAY REQUIRE WORK LIMITED PARTICIPANTS WHO ARE NOT CLAIMING A CHANGE IN THEIR CONDITION TO CONTINUE TO PARTIC-
IPATE IN ASSIGNED WORK ACTIVITIES CONSISTENT WITH THE INDIVIDUAL'S DOCU- MENTED MEDICAL LIMITATIONS WHILE A RE-EVALUATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL'S EMPLOYABILITY STATUS IS COMPLETED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION. S 5. The opening paragraph and paragraphs (a) and (b) of subdivision 1 of section 335-b of the social services law, as amended by section 2 of part J of chapter 58 of the laws of 2006, are amended to read as follows: Each social services district shall meet or exceed the minimum partic- ipation rate for recipients of assistance funded under the federal temporary assistance for needy families program, AND FOR FAMILIES RECEIVING ASSISTANCE IN THE SAFETY NET ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WHO ARE REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW AND REGULATION TO BE INCLUDED IN SUCH RATE, participating in work activities as specified below with respect to families receiving such assistance. Each such district shall also meet or exceed the minimum participation rates for households WITHOUT DEPEND- ENT CHILDREN in which there is an adult OR MINOR HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD who is receiving safety net assistance. Work activities for which such rates apply are described in section three hundred thirty-six of this title. (a) [Such] CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS, SUCH rate for all families receiving assistance funded under the federal temporary assist- ance for needy families program, AND FOR FAMILIES RECEIVING ASSISTANCE IN THE SAFETY NET ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WHO ARE REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW AND REGULATION TO BE INCLUDED IN SUCH RATE, shall be [as follows: for feder- al fiscal year nineteen hundred ninety-seven, twenty-five percent; nine- teen hundred ninety-eight, thirty percent; nineteen hundred ninety-nine, thirty-five percent; two thousand, forty percent; two thousand one, forty-five percent; two thousand two and thereafter,] fifty percent. Such [rates] RATE shall apply unless the state is required to meet a different rate as imposed by the federal government, in which case such different rate shall apply in accordance with a methodology approved by the commissioner of the office of temporary and disability assistance. (b) [Such] CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS, SUCH rate for two- parent families receiving assistance funded under the federal temporary assistance for needy families program, AS WELL AS FOR SUCH TWO-PARENT FAMILIES IN WHICH THERE IS AN ADULT OR MINOR HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD AND WHICH ARE RECEIVING ASSISTANCE FUNDED UNDER THE SAFETY NET ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WHO ARE REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW AND REGULATION TO BE INCLUDED IN SUCH RATE, shall be [as follows: for federal fiscal years nineteen hundred ninety-seven and nineteen hundred ninety-eight, seventy-five percent; nineteen hundred ninety-nine and thereafter,] ninety percent. Such rate shall apply unless the state is required to meet a different rate as imposed by the federal government, in which case such different rate shall apply in accordance with a methodology approved by the commission- er of the office of temporary and disability assistance. S 6. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section 335-b of the social services law is REPEALED and paragraphs (e) and (f) are relettered para- graphs (d) and (e). S 7. Paragraph (d) of subdivision 1 of section 335-b of the social services law, as amended by section 2 of part J of chapter 58 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows: [(d)] (C) Calculation of participation rates. The commissioner of the office of temporary and disability assistance shall promulgate regu- lations which define the participation rate calculation. Such calcu- lation for families receiving assistance funded under the federal tempo- rary assistance for needy families program, AND FOR FAMILIES RECEIVING ASSISTANCE IN THE SAFETY NET ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WHO ARE REQUIRED BY
FEDERAL LAW AND REGULATION TO BE INCLUDED IN SUCH RATE, pursuant to [article] TITLE IV-A of the social security act shall be consistent with that established in federal law. S 8. Subdivision 2 of section 335-b of the social services law, as amended by chapter 380 of the laws of 2004, is amended to read as follows: 2. Engaged in work for a month shall mean participating in work activ- ities identified in subdivision one of section three hundred thirty-six of this title for the required number of hours specified in this section provided, however, that at least twenty hours of such participation, or thirty hours for two-parent families, or fifty hours for two-parent families receiving federally funded child care as set forth in subpara- graph (iii) of paragraph (d) of subdivision one of this section, shall be attributable to the activities described in paragraphs (a) through (h) and (l) of subdivision one of section three hundred thirty-six of this title, or for households without dependent children at least twenty hours of participation shall be attributable to the activities set forth in paragraphs (a) through (h) and (l) of subdivision one of section three hundred thirty-six of this title, and further provided that participation in job search and job readiness assistance as identified in paragraph (f) of subdivision one of section three hundred thirty-six of this title shall only be determined as engaged in work for [a maximum period of six weeks, only four of which may be consecutive as otherwise limited by federal law] THE MAXIMUM PERIODS ESTABLISHED BY FEDERAL LAW AND REGULATION; and that individuals in all families and in two parent families may be engaged in work for a month by reason of participation in vocational training to the extent allowed by federal law. Any non- graduate student participating or approved by CUNY, SUNY or another degree granting institution, or any other state or local district approved education, training or vocational rehabilitation agency to participate in work-study, or in internships, externships, or other work placements that are part of the curriculum of that student, shall not be unreasonably denied the ability to participate in such programs and each hour of participation shall count toward satisfaction of such student's work activity requirements of this title provided that the district may consider, among other factors, (a) whether the student has voluntarily terminated his or her employment or voluntarily reduced his or her earn- ings to qualify for public assistance pursuant to subdivision ten of section one hundred thirty-one of this article; (b) whether a comparable job or on the job training position can reasonably be expected to exist in the private, public or not-for-profit sector; (c) that the student has a cumulative C average or its equivalent, which may be waived by the district for undue hardship based on (1) the death of a relative of the student, (2) the personal injury or illness of the student, or (3) other extenuating circumstances; and (d) whether the institution cooperates in monitoring students attendance and performance and reports to the local social services department monthly on each student. Failure of the institution to monitor and report monthly to local social services districts on attendance and performance of the student's work study, internship, externship or other work placement shall be cause for the department to reasonably deny the student's ability to participate in such programs. Students shall be subject to sanctions equivalent to those associated with failure to adequately satisfy their other required work activities. In assigning a non-graduate student participating in work-study, internships, externships or other work placements, pursuant to this section, to other work activities the district shall make
reasonable effort to assign the student to hours that do not conflict with the student's academic schedule. S 9. Paragraph (m) of subdivision 1 of section 336 of the social services law, as added by section 148 of part B of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: (m) job search and job readiness assistance once the individual has exceeded the [six week limit] LIMITS ON SUCH ACTIVITIES set in federal law AND REGULATION; S 10. Subdivision 8 of section 336 of the social services law, as added by chapter 534 of the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows: 8. The hours of participation in federal work study programs completed pursuant to section three hundred thirty-five-b of this title shall be included as a work activity within the definition of unsubsidized employment, subsidized private sector employment or subsidized public sector employment pursuant to paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subdivision one of this section, and the hours of participation in internships, externships and other work placements completed pursuant to section three hundred thirty-five-b of this title shall be included as a work activity within the definition of [on-the-job training] WORK EXPERIENCE pursuant to paragraph [(e)] D of subdivision one of this section OR OTHER WORK ACTIVITY CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL LAW AND REGULATION. S 11. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdi- vision, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judg- ment shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of the legislature that this act would have been enacted even if such invalid provisions had not been included herein. S 12. This act shall take effect immediately.

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