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					     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 1


 1                                          H.843

 2   Introduced by Committee on Health and Welfare

 3   Date:

 4   Subject: Human services; Reach Up

 5   Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to amend Vermont’s welfare laws

 6   and policies to conform with the requirements of federal law, and to

 7   reconstitute Vermont’s welfare program as the Reach Up program.




 8      AN ACT RELATING TO ASSISTING FAMILIES TO ATTAIN SELF-
 9      SUFFICIENCY

10   It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

11   Sec. 1. 33 V.S.A. chapter 11 is amended to read:

12         CHAPTER 11. AID AND SERVICES TO NEEDY FAMILIES WITH

13                                CHILDREN REACH UP

14            Subchapter 1. General Provisions; Eligibility, Aid and Services

15   § 1101. DEFINITIONS

16      Unless otherwise expressly provided, the words and phrases in this chapter

17   mean:

18           (1) Dependent child: a needy child who:

19             (A) Is a resident of the state at the time of application for assistance;

20   and


                                                                            VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 2


 1            (B) Is under the age of eighteen years, or, if the commissioner

 2   determines that appropriated funds permit, is under the age of twenty-one years

 3   and, as determined under standards prescribed by the commissioner, is a

 4   student regularly attending a secondary school, or is regularly attending a

 5   course of vocational or technical training designed to fit him for gainful

 6   employment; and

 7            (C) Has been deprived of parental support or care by reason of:

 8               (i) the death or continued absence from home, or physical or

 9   mental incapacity of a parent, and is living with a relative; or

10               (ii) being placed in a foster home as a result of a judicial

11   determination to the effect that the continuation of living with a relative would

12   be contrary to the welfare of the child, and that placement and care of the child

13   are the responsibility of the department of social and rehabilitation services and

14   who meets the eligibility requirements for such aid prescribed under federal

15   laws and regulations; or

16               (iii) the unemployment of a parent, and is living with a relative.

17   However, this subparagraph (iii) shall be effective only so long as federal

18   grants for aid and services to needy families with children are available to the

19   department for the purposes of this subparagraph.

20         (2) Foster care: care provided a dependent child in a foster home.




                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 3


 1         (4) Living with a relative: living with a person related by blood or

 2   marriage in a residence maintained by one or more relatives as his or their

 3   home.

 4         (5) Relative: a person related to a dependent child, as defined by the

 5   department in conformity with the social security act.

 6         (6) Resources: income and property available from whatever source.

 7         (7) Commissioner: the commissioner of social welfare.

 8         (8) Department: the department of social welfare.

 9      As used in this chapter:

10         (1) “Able-bodied” means to be free of any physical, emotional, or

11   mental condition that presents a substantial barrier to employment. The

12   applicant for or recipient of aid under this chapter shall have the burden of

13   demonstrating the existence of such conditions.

14         (2) “Adult” means an individual who:

15            (A) is 18 years of age or older, and not a dependent child; or

16            (B) is under 18 years of age and:

17               (i) is pregnant; or

18               (ii) is a parent who is the caretaker for a dependent child.

19         (3) “Assessment” means the uniform literacy, skill and aptitude

20   assessment tools and procedures used by adult basic education, the department

21   of employment and training, and the department of family development and


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 4


 1   health access to determine a participating adult’s abilities and goals, a

 2   participating adult’s job- and work-readiness, and the services needed by the

 3   participating family to overcome barriers and deficiencies and to achieve self-

 4   sufficiency.

 5         (4) “Barrier” means any physical, emotional, or mental condition, any

 6   lack of an educational, vocational, or other skill or ability, and any lack of

 7   transportation, child care, housing, medical assistance or other services or

 8   resources, domestic violence circumstances, caretaker responsibilities, or other

 9   conditions or circumstances that prevent an individual from engaging in

10   employment or other work activity.

11         (5) “Caretaker” means an adult individual who is fulfilling a parental

12   role in caring for a dependent child by providing physical care, guidance, and

13   decision-making related to the child’s health, school, medical care, and

14   discipline.

15         (6) “Case management” means the services provided by or through the

16   department to participating families, including assessment, information,

17   referrals, and assistance in the preparation and implementation of a family

18   development plan under section 1107 of this title.

19         (7) “Commissioner” means the commissioner of family development

20   and health access, or his or her designee.




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 5


 1         (8) “Department” means the department of family development and

 2   health access.

 3         (9) “Dependent child” means a child who:

 4            (A) is a resident of this state; and

 5            (B)(i) is under the age of 18 years; or

 6               (ii) is a dependent child 18 years of age or older who is a full-time

 7   student in a secondary school, or attending an equivalent level of vocational or

 8   technical training, and is reasonably expected to complete the educational

 9   program before reaching the age of 19, or is not expected to complete the

10   educational program before reaching age 19, solely due to a documented

11   disability and continued assistance for such disabled dependent child is

12   required by court order.

13         (10) “Eligible family” means a family that is determined to be

14   financially eligible for the programs authorized by this chapter, in accordance

15   with rules adopted by the commissioner.

16         (11) “Family” means:

17            (A) one or more dependent children living with one or both parents, a

18   relative or caretaker of such children; or

19            (B) a pregnant individual.




                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 6


 1         (12) “Financial assistance” means the cash or other monetary assistance

 2   available through the Reach Up program, and designed to provide temporary

 3   financial assistance to eligible families.

 4         (13) “Job-ready” means possessing the education or skills demanded by

 5   the local job market, and not being subject to any barrier.

 6         (14) “Living with a relative or caretaker” means living with a caretaker

 7   or relative in a residence maintained by the caretaker or one or more relatives

 8   as his or their home.

 9         (15) “Parent” means a biological parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, or

10   pregnant individual.

11         (16) “Participant” or “participating adult” means an adult member of a

12   participating family.

13         (17) “Participating family” means an eligible family that participates in

14   the Reach Up program.

15         (18) “Reach Up program” means the program administered by the

16   department that assists and enables eligible families to become self-sufficient

17   by providing financial assistance and Reach Up services.

18         (19) “Reach Up services” means the service component of the Reach Up

19   program consisting of case management services, support services, and

20   referrals provided to eligible families to assist them in becoming self-

21   sufficient.


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                           H.843
     2000                                                                         Page 7


 1         (20) “Relative” means a person related to a dependent child, as defined

 2   by the department by rule in conformity with Part A of Title IV of the Social

 3   Security Act.

 4         (21) “Resources” means any income and property available from

 5   whatever source.

 6         (22) “Secretary” means the secretary of the agency of human services,

 7   or his or her designee.

 8         (23) “Subsidized job” means a job with an employer for which at least

 9   25 percent of the wages are provided by diversion of TANF funds.

10         (24) “Temporary Assistance to Needy Families” or “TANF” means the

11   block grant provided to this state and established in accordance with Part A of

12   Title IV of the federal Social Security Act, as amended, and the regulations

13   promulgated pursuant thereto by the United States Secretary of Health and

14   Human Services.

15         (25) “Unable to work” means incapable of working due to a physical,

16   emotional, or mental condition that presents a substantial barrier to

17   employment. The applicant for or recipient of aid under this chapter shall have

18   the burden of demonstrating the existence of such conditions.

19         (26) “Work activities” means unsubsidized employment, subsidized

20   employment in the private or public sector, work experience programs,

21   on-the-job training programs, job search and job readiness activities,


                                                                             VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 8


 1   community service program participation, vocational education, education

 2   directly related to employment if the participating adult has no high school

 3   diploma, participation in programs to achieve a high school diploma or similar

 4   certificate, and any other work activity recognized and countable under federal

 5   laws and regulations.

 6            (27) “Work-ready” means the earlier of:

 7              (A) not subject to a barrier and capable of participating in a single

 8   work activity or any combination of work activities determined by the

 9   commissioner by rule as acceptable to meet the work requirements of section

10   1113 of this title; or

11              (B)(i) having received 12 cumulative months of financial assistance;

12   or

13                 (ii) having received at least 13 but no more than 18 cumulative

14   months of financial assistance and having been granted an exemption to the

15   12-month work readiness rule in accordance with subsection 1113(b) of this

16   title.

17   § 1105 1102. PURPOSE OF AID

18        (a) The system of aid and services to needy eligible families with children

19   shall recognize clearly defined reciprocal responsibilities and obligations on

20   the part of both parents and government.




                                                                            VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 9


 1      (b) The goals of aid on behalf of dependent children the Reach Up program

 2   are:

 3          (1) To assist families to obtain the opportunities and skills necessary for

 4   self-sufficiency.

 5          (2) To encourage economic independence by removing barriers and

 6   disincentives to work and providing positive incentives to work.

 7          (3) To support parental nurturing.

 8          (4) To support parental responsibility, both custodial and noncustodial.

 9          (5) To encourage and assist individuals and families to contribute

10   materially to their own self-sufficiency whenever practicable.

11          (6) To recognize that families have differing personal characteristics and

12   experiences by providing services that address their individual needs.

13          (7) To measure the success of the system by what is best for children,

14   since three-fifths of the individuals receiving assistance are children. Aid

15   should be intended to protect children through reasonable assurances that their

16   immediate basic needs, including food, housing and clothing will be met, and

17   including support for a family environment with positive parental role models

18   so as to provide each child with an opportunity for self-sufficiency as an adult.

19          (8) To respect the dignity of individuals and families receiving

20   assistance by providing employment, education, and other services through

21   social service delivery systems available to all Vermont citizens whenever


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 10


 1   possible, and by encouraging the private sector to integrate families receiving

 2   assistance into the mainstream of the employment market.

 3         (9) To recognize the challenges facing many families receiving

 4   assistance by minimizing, whenever possible, structural financial disincentives

 5   to increased earnings, and the abrupt termination of assistance before parents

 6   are fully integrated into the employment market.

 7         (10) To conserve state public financial resources by operating the

 8   system of aid in an efficient manner, by using all reasonable options for

 9   cost-effective federal fiscal participation, and by avoiding federal financial

10   sanctions for noncompliance with federal program requirements.

11         (11) To implement the purposes of federal TANF law.

12      (c) The critical elements of developing a program that assists families to

13   attain self-sufficiency are:

14         (1) the opportunity and obligation to work for those parents who are

15   physically, emotionally, and otherwise able to do so;

16         (2) cooperative and realistic goal-setting, coupled with individualized

17   case management that addresses each individual’s situation and barriers to self-

18   sufficiency;

19         (3) rigorous child support collection from noncustodial parents; and

20         (4) a full range of supportive modalities, including appropriate training,

21   education, financial assistance, child care, counseling, and transportation.


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 11


 1   § 1102. QUALIFICATION FOR AID

 2      (a) If, upon investigation, the commissioner finds that it would be for the

 3   benefit of a dependent child to remain with a relative, the department may

 4   grant aid to the relative in accordance with this chapter.

 5      (b) If, upon investigation, the commissioner finds that a dependent child is

 6   receiving care in a foster home under conditions prescribed in the regulations

 7   of the department, the department may pay an allowance to the foster home in

 8   accordance with this chapter.

 9   § 1103. AID; ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFIT LEVELS

10      (a) Aid shall be given for the benefit of a dependent child to the relative

11   with whom the child is living unless otherwise provided. The amount of aid to

12   which an eligible person is entitled shall be determined with due regard to the

13   income, resources and maintenance available to him that person and, as far as

14   funds are available, shall provide him that person a reasonable subsistence

15   compatible with decency and health. The commissioner may fix by regulation

16   maximum amounts of aid, and act to insure that the expenditures for the

17   programs shall not exceed appropriations for them. In no case may the

18   department expend state funds in excess of the appropriations for the programs

19   under this chapter.

20      (b) Aid may include the maintenance of one or both parents, if in need and

21   in the dependent child's home, or a relative or caretaker with whom a


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 12


 1   dependent child is living, if the relative or caretaker is without sufficient means

 2   of support.

 3      (c) The maximum amount of aid furnished on behalf of a dependent child

 4   maintained in a foster home shall not exceed the amount provided in a similar

 5   circumstance for a child in foster care under regulations of the department of

 6   social and rehabilitation services pertaining to the child welfare services

 7   program.

 8      (c) The commissioner shall adopt rules for the determination of eligibility

 9   for the Reach Up program and benefit levels for all participating families that

10   include the following provisions:

11         (1) No less than the first $150.00 per month of earnings from an

12   unsubsidized job and 25 percent of the remaining unsubsidized earnings shall

13   be disregarded in determining the amount of the family's financial assistance

14   grant. The family shall receive the difference between countable income and

15   the Reach Up payment standard in a partial financial assistance grant.

16         (2) No less than the first $90.00 per month of earnings from a subsidized

17   job shall be disregarded in determining the amount of the family's financial

18   assistance grant. The family shall receive the difference between countable

19   income and the Reach Up payment standard in a partial financial assistance

20   grant. Earnings from subsidized jobs shall qualify for federal and state earned

21   income credit if the family is otherwise eligible for such credit.


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 13


 1         (3) Incentive payments shall be provided to participating families for

 2   completing parenting education programs or related volunteer work required

 3   under a family development plan.

 4         (4) Education stipends, employment stipends, job training stipends, and

 5   incentive payments, as determined by the commissioner, shall be excluded in

 6   calculating the financial assistance grant.

 7         (5) The value of assets accumulated from the earnings of adults and

 8   children in participating families shall be excluded for purposes of determining

 9   continuing eligibility for the Reach Up program.

10         (6) Transitional medical assistance of up to 36 months shall be provided

11   to families with a working adult who becomes ineligible for financial

12   assistance due to increased earnings, unless family income exceeds 185 percent

13   of the federal poverty level, and provided that federal financial participation is

14   available for such transitional medical assistance.

15         (7) The equity value of one operable motor vehicle in a single-parent

16   family and of two operable motor vehicles in a two-parent family shall be

17   excluded for purposes of determining eligibility for the Reach Up program.

18   The commissioner shall take all steps necessary to retain current resource

19   protections under the Food Stamps program so that the rules under the Food

20   Stamps program and the Reach Up program are compatible.




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 14


 1      (e) In determining eligibility and benefit levels for two-parent participating

 2   families, the commissioner shall:

 3         (1) Allow two-parent families with earned income who would otherwise

 4   qualify for assistance to receive financial assistance, regardless of the number

 5   of hours worked, and supplement their earnings with partial financial

 6   assistance and medical assistance; and

 7         (2) Eliminate the requirements for two-parent families that the primary

 8   worker must have worked at least six quarters and be unemployed for at least

 9   30 days. It is the intent of this subdivision that two-parent and one-parent

10   families receive financial assistance under more similar rules.

11      (f) In determining eligibility and benefit levels for minor parents in

12   participating families, the commissioner shall:

13         (1) Require pregnant and parenting minors to attend school or an

14   appropriate alternative education or training activity.

15         (2) Ensure that the family development plan of a minor parent includes a

16   requirement to take part in a case-managed support, education, and training

17   program.

18         (3) Adopt rules, which shall include appropriate exemptions, requiring

19   pregnant and parenting minors who are not emancipated minors to live with a

20   parent or in an approved supervised living arrangement. The sanctions

21   provided for noncompliance with a Reach Up services requirement under


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 15


 1   section 1115 of this title shall apply to noncompliance with the rules adopted

 2   under this subdivision.

 3         (4) Allow pregnant and parenting minors who live with their parents to

 4   have their eligibility for the Reach Up program and the amount of their

 5   financial assistance grant determined without consideration of their parents'

 6   income.

 7      (g) The commissioner shall disregard no less than $50.00 per month of

 8   child support payments in determining eligibility and benefit levels for

 9   participating families.

10      (h) The commissioner shall use the family composition rules applicable to

11   the welfare demonstration project established pursuant to Act No. 106 of 1994

12   in eligibility and benefit levels for a financial assistance grant

13   § 1104. ABANDONMENT OR DESERTION; REPORTING

14      Forthwith upon granting assistance for the benefit of a dependent child who

15   has been abandoned or deserted by a parent, the commissioner shall give notice

16   to the appropriate prosecuting officer charged with the duty of enforcing laws

17   relating to the abandonment or desertion of children or minors.

18   § 1105. CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS

19      (a) A financial assistance case shall not be closed until child support

20   payments, minus the first $50.00 in such payments received on behalf of the




                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 16


 1   family, in combination with other countable income, have exceeded the

 2   financial assistance payment standard in 12 consecutive calendar months.

 3      (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if aid to a participating

 4   family is terminated due to receipt of child support, minus the first $50.00 in

 5   such payments, that in combination with other countable income is in excess of

 6   the financial assistance cash payment standard, and the family again becomes

 7   eligible for aid within the following 12 calendar months solely because the

 8   family no longer receives excess child support, aid shall be paid as of the date

 9   of the family’s reapplication.

10   § 1106. REQUIRED SERVICES TO PARTICIPATING FAMILIES

11      The commissioner shall provide participating families case management

12   services, initial assessment of the full range of services that will be needed by

13   each family (including uniform literacy, skills and aptitude assessment tools

14   and procedures, development of the family development plan) periodic

15   reassessment of service needs and the family development plan, and referral to

16   any agencies or programs that provide the services needed by participating

17   families to improve the family’s prospects for job placement and job retention,

18   including the following:

19         (1) Appropriate child care, available at times that will enable

20   employment or participation in services indicated by the participating family’s




                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 17


 1   family development plan. As used in this subdivision, “appropriate child care”

 2   shall not include:

 3            (A) Child care that the department of social and rehabilitation

 4   services’ child care services division classifies as legally exempt child care,

 5   and that a parent or caretaker determines to be unacceptable; and

 6            (B) Child care that the department of social and rehabilitation

 7   services’ child care services division classifies as either a registered family

 8   child care home or a licensed child care center, and that a parent or caretaker

 9   determines to be unacceptable when such determination is confirmed by the

10   child care services division.

11         (2) Transportation which will enable employment or participation in

12   services indicated by the participating family’s family development plan.

13         (3) Career counseling, education, and training, and job search assistance

14   consistent with the purposes of this chapter.

15         (4) Vocational rehabilitation.

16         (5) Medical assistance.

17         (6) Homelessness prevention and housing.

18         (7) Family planning education and counseling.

19         (8) Any other services identified in the family development plan and

20   determined by the commissioner to be necessary and appropriate to achieve the

21   purposes of this chapter.


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 18


 1   § 1107. CASE MANAGEMENT; FAMILY DEVELOPMENT PLANS;

 2            COORDINATED SERVICES

 3      (a) The commissioner shall provide all Reach Up services to participating

 4   families through a case management model. Case management may be

 5   provided to other eligible families. The case manager, with the full

 6   involvement of the family, shall recommend, and the commissioner shall

 7   establish and modify as necessary a family development plan for each

 8   participating family, with a right of appeal as provided by section 1133 of this

 9   title. A case manager shall be assigned to each participating family as soon as

10   the family begins to receive financial assistance.

11      (b) The family development plan shall include:

12         (1) each parent or caretaker’s employment goal;

13         (2) an assessment of each parent or caretaker’s barriers, and strategies to

14   overcome any barriers. The initial assessment shall include a literacy

15   evaluation and referral to an appropriate literacy program, if necessary;

16         (3) an identification of the services needed to overcome any barriers, to

17   enable the family to achieve self-sufficiency, and to fulfill each parent or

18   caretaker’s personal and family responsibilities;

19         (4) an assignment of responsibilities, service requirements, and activities

20   among the case manager and family members, together with a time schedule

21   for such responsibilities, requirements, and activities.


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 19


 1      (c) The initial family development plan shall be completed within 30 days

 2   of the first meeting with the case manager. The case manager shall establish a

 3   schedule for periodic review of the family development plan. In addition, the

 4   case manager shall review the plan in the following circumstances:

 5           (1) There is a lack of satisfactory progress in achieving the goals of the

 6   plan;

 7           (2) The parent or caretaker has lost unsubsidized or subsidized

 8   employment;

 9           (3) A family member has failed to comply with a services requirement

10   or a work requirement;

11           (4) Services required by the plan are unavailable;

12           (5) At least 30 days prior to when the parent or caretaker would

13   otherwise be deemed work-ready on the basis of 12-cumulative-month receipt

14   of financial assistance;

15           (6) A deferment or modification of the work requirements imposed by

16   section 1113 of this title has been requested; or

17           (7) Changes to the plan are needed to protect the well-being of the

18   children.

19      (d) The commissioner shall adopt rules establishing maximum caseloads

20   for case managers.




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                           H.843
     2000                                                                         Page 20


 1      (e) The commissioner, together with the commissioner of education and the

 2   commissioner of employment and training shall implement uniform

 3   assessment procedures and tools for all clients who may use the adult basic

 4   education system, adult technical education system, or the services of the

 5   department of employment and training or the department of family

 6   development and health access.

 7      (f) The secretary, in full cooperation with the human resources investment

 8   council and the agencies represented thereon, shall prepare and maintain an

 9   annual plan for coordinating and integrating all appropriate services in order to

10   promote successful outcomes. The plan shall encourage the use of local and

11   regional service providers and permit a variety of methods of providing

12   services. Emphasis should be placed on coordinating and integrating career

13   counseling, job development, job training and skills, job placement, academic

14   education, and vocational and technical education. Public and private

15   institutions of higher education, and other agencies which offer similar or

16   related services, shall be invited to participate as fully as possible in

17   developing, implementing, and updating the annual coordination plan.

18      (g) The secretary shall work cooperatively with public and private, local,

19   and regional entities:

20         (1) to develop subsidized jobs with employers, using the same health

21   and safety standards in effect for unsubsidized jobs;


                                                                             VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 21


 1         (2) to adopt rules which set priorities for services of benefit to the

 2   people of Vermont, and which prevent displacement of previous unsubsidized

 3   workers by subsidized Reach Up program participants; and

 4         (3) to ensure that necessary support services are available, appropriate,

 5   and within a reasonable distance, including child care, health care, and

 6   transportation.

 7      (h) The secretary shall:

 8         (1) work with community providers to develop and maintain an

 9   adequate number and variety of supervised living alternatives designed to meet

10   the individual needs of pregnant and parenting minors;

11         (2) work with community providers to develop and maintain parenting,

12   training, and education options for pregnant minors and minor parents;

13         (3) establish and maintain an information program to enable parents to

14   learn about and take advantage of benefits and services that are available to

15   parents who work outside the home;

16         (4) increase public awareness of the federal and state earned income tax

17   credits, and encourage families who may be eligible to apply for such tax

18   credits; and

19         (5) in partnership with the human resources investment council, develop

20   and maintain one or more job training and employment programs for




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 22


 1   noncustodial parents to encourage long-term economic self-sufficiency and, by

 2   extension, their ability to pay child support.

 3   § 1108. OBLIGATION TO ASSIST ELIGIBLE FAMILIES WITH

 4            DEPENDENT CHILDREN

 5      Except as specifically authorized herein, the commissioner shall not adopt

 6   any rule that would result in the termination of aid to a participating family,

 7   including a dependent child, on the basis of an adult family member’s having

 8   received TANF-funded aid, as an adult, for 60 or more months in his or her

 9   lifetime. This provision shall not prevent the commissioner from adopting

10   rules that impose limitations on how many months that families, including a

11   parent who has received an associate or bachelor’s degree while receiving

12   support from the postsecondary education program authorized by section 1121

13   of this title, may receive aid authorized by this chapter in the five-year period

14   immediately following the receipt of such associate or bachelor’s degree.

15               Subchapter 2. TANF Services and Work Requirements

16   § 1112. REACH UP PROGRAM SERVICES REQUIREMENTS

17      (a) Each participating adult in a family applying for or receiving financial

18   assistance shall comply with each Reach Up services requirement provided for

19   in the family development plan, unless good cause exists for such

20   noncompliance as defined by the commissioner by rule.




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 23


 1      (b) The family’s receipt of the full financial assistance amount allowable

 2   and avoidance of fiscal sanctions is contingent on compliance with the

 3   following service requirements:

 4         (1) The adult in a single-parent family who has no barriers to obtaining

 5   and maintaining a job and a recent and stable work history, including receiving

 6   wages for his or her most recent job that, when annualized, equal or exceed

 7   150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the family, shall report to

 8   the department of employment and training for immediate job search within

 9   two working days of having filed an application to participate in the Reach Up

10   program.

11         (2) The able-bodied adult in a two-parent family (when the other parent

12   is unable to work) who has no barriers to obtaining and maintaining a job and a

13   recent and stable work history, including receiving wages for his or her most

14   recent job that, when annualized, equal or exceed 150 percent of the federal

15   poverty level applicable to the family, shall report to the department of

16   employment and training for immediate job search within two working days of

17   having filed an application to participate in the Reach Up program.

18         (3) The adult in a two-parent family (when both parents are able-bodied)

19   who is not the primary caretaker of the children shall report to the department

20   of employment and training for immediate job search within two working days

21   of having filed an application to participate in the Reach Up program.


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 24


 1         (4) Any adult who is referred to the department of employment and

 2   training pursuant to this subdivision and who without good cause fails to report

 3   shall be denied financial assistance for his or her family.

 4         (5) An adult who accepts employment after reporting as directed under

 5   this subdivision may receive Reach Up services, provided that the family is

 6   eligible for such services in accordance with department rules.

 7         (6) Each participating adult shall participate in the development of his or

 8   her family development plan.

 9         (7) Each participating adult who is not referred to the department of

10   employment and training pursuant to subdivisions (1), (2) or (3) of this

11   subsection shall report as directed by the department for assessment and

12   evaluation activities.

13         (8) Each participating adult shall begin to comply with his or her service

14   requirements as soon as possible, and no later than 10 days following

15   completion of the initial family development plan meeting. Each participating

16   adult shall continue to comply with such services requirements until such time

17   as the adult is complying with the work requirement provided for under section

18   1113 of this title, or the family is determined to be ineligible for or is no longer

19   receiving financial assistance.

20         (9) Participants shall engage in their family development plan activities

21   for the number of hours per week that the activities are scheduled and


                                                                            VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 25


 1   available, unless good cause exists for not doing so as defined by the

 2   commissioner by rule.

 3   § 1113. WORK REQUIREMENTS

 4      (a) Each participating adult in a family receiving a financial assistance

 5   grant shall fulfill a work requirement in accordance with this section. Subject

 6   to the provisions of this chapter, and provided that all services required by this

 7   chapter are offered when appropriate and are available when needed to support

 8   fulfillment of the work requirement, an adult having a work requirement shall

 9   obtain employment, and shall work in accordance with the requirements of this

10   section, in order to maintain continued eligibility for financial assistance and to

11   avoid fiscal sanctions.

12      (b) The work requirement shall become effective as soon as the

13   participating adult is job- or work-ready, or upon the family’s receipt of 12

14   cumulative months of financial assistance, whichever is sooner, unless at the

15   end of the 12-cumulative-month period the participant’s case manager

16   concludes that the participant is unable to meet the hours of the applicable

17   unmodified work requirement, as established in subsection (c) of this section.

18   In such cases, the case manager shall prepare a written request on behalf of the

19   participant for an extension of up to six months. The request shall identify the

20   particular reasons why the participant is unable to meet the work requirement

21   and the remedial actions and services to be provided to the recipient to enable


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 26


 1   fulfillment of the requirement. The request shall be submitted to the district

 2   director and the family services director for approval. The request shall be

 3   approved unless the participant is able to meet the work requirement or a

 4   modified work requirement established in accordance with section 1114 of this

 5   title.

 6      (c) The hours of the work requirement shall be as follows:

 7            (1) In two-parent families in which both parents are able-bodied:

 8              (A) The parent who is not the primary caretaker of a dependent child,

 9   referred to in this subsection as the “principal-earner parent”, shall work no

10   less than full-time in unsubsidized employment and accept unsubsidized

11   employment with scheduled hours up to 45 hours per week;

12              (B) As used in this subdivision, “full-time” means 40 hours per week.

13   A position requiring no fewer than 35 hours per week that the employer

14   defines as full-time shall be deemed full-time employment.

15                 (C) The requirements of this subdivision may be satisfied if both

16   parents secure employment with combined hours equal to or exceeding 40

17   hours per week, if such shared fulfillment of the work requirement commences

18   within 30 days of the onset of the unemployment of the principal-earner parent.

19            (2) The primary caretaker of a dependent child in a two-parent family in

20   which both parents are able-bodied shall have no work requirement, provided

21   that the principal-earner parent complies with the work requirement and is not


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 27


 1   sanctioned in accordance with section 1115 of this title, and the family does

 2   not receive federally-funded child care during the month. In the event that the

 3   principal-earner parent in a two-parent family is sanctioned for failing to meet

 4   the work requirement, the primary caretaker shall be deemed work-ready and

 5   subject to subdivision (1) of this subsection. Within 30 days of the effective

 6   date of the principal-earner parent’s sanction the primary caretaker shall report

 7   to the family’s case manager, complete an assessment, modify the family’s

 8   family development plan, and comply with the requirements of subdivision (1)

 9   of this subsection. In the event that the family receives federally-funded child

10   care during the month, the work requirement of the primary caretaker of

11   dependent children in a two-parent family in which both parents are able-

12   bodied shall be the number of hours per week that when added to the work

13   requirement of the principal-earner parent equals 55 hours per week. Such

14   latter work requirement does not apply when the primary-caretaker parent is

15   caring for a severely disabled child.

16         (3) All other able-bodied participants who are not subject to the work

17   requirement established by subdivision (1) of this subsection, or exempted

18   from the work requirement in accordance with subdivision (2) of this

19   subsection, shall comply with the following requirements:

20            (A) If the family includes only one parent, relative, or caretaker and

21   no children under the age of six years, or the family includes two parents, and


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 28


 1   one parent is unable to work, the participant shall work in unsubsidized

 2   employment for no fewer than 30 hours per week, and shall accept

 3   unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 35 hours per week; and

 4              (B) If the family includes only one parent, relative, or caretaker and

 5   any children under the age of six years, the participant shall work in

 6   unsubsidized employment for no fewer than 20 hours per week, and shall

 7   accept unsubsidized employment with scheduled hours up to 24 hours per

 8   week.

 9           (4) Except as provided in section 1134 of this title, in computing the

10   cumulative 12-month period of financial assistance for determining the

11   effective date of a participating adult’s work requirement under subsection (b)

12   of this section, the calculation shall not extend to times prior to the effective

13   date of this section.

14           (5) A pregnant individual who is employed shall continue such

15   employment unless there has been a medical determination that the individual

16   is unable to work, or the individual is exempt from the work requirement based

17   on other criteria established by the commissioner by rule. A pregnant

18   individual shall not be required to begin new employment.

19      (d)(1) A participant required to fulfill a work requirement shall accept any

20   unsubsidized job he or she is capable of performing, even if it pays wages that

21   are less than the financial assistance grant. In cases in which monthly wages


                                                                            VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 29


 1   are less than the financial assistance grant and the family is otherwise eligible,

 2   the wages shall be supplemented with a partial financial assistance grant. The

 3   commissioner shall establish by rule criteria for jobs that must be accepted if

 4   offered, including the criterion that each job must pay at least minimum wage.

 5         (2) A participating adult whose most recent wages when annualized

 6   equal or exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the

 7   participating adult’s family shall not be required to accept employment with

 8   annualized earnings of less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level

 9   applicable to the participating adult’s family, for the four month period after

10   being deemed eligible for financial assistance.

11         (3) A postsecondary education program participant who has received a

12   degree and any Reach Up participant who has recently completed specialized

13   vocational training shall not be required to accept an unsubsidized job that is

14   unrelated to his or her training or degree for a six-month period following

15   completion of such education or training, provided that the participant:

16            (A) has not been sanctioned within the prior six months;

17            (B) has not left an unsubsidized job related to his or her training or

18   degree without good cause within the prior six months;

19            (C) has followed through in a satisfactory manner on all referrals to

20   employment opportunities related to his or her training or degree;




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 30


 1            (D) is engaged in acceptable work activities in accordance with this

 2   section; and

 3            (E) agrees to accept any unsubsidized job if still unemployed after

 4   such six-month period.

 5      (e) The commissioner may require a participant to participate in job search,

 6   coordinated by the commissioner, for the number of hours per week that

 7   corresponds to the participant’s work requirement hours under subsection (c)

 8   of this section, or a lesser amount that in combination with the participant’s

 9   unsubsidized paid employment equals the participant’s work requirement

10   hours under subsection (c) of this section, during the following periods:

11         (1) For a two-week period immediately following the family’s

12   application for benefits, or reapplication for benefits following a period of

13   nonreceipt lasting at least 30 days, or during the period a decision on

14   application or reapplication is pending, whichever period ends later, unless

15   exempted from immediate job search in accordance with subdivisions

16   1112(b)(1), (2) or (3) of this title;

17         (2) For a period of two weeks at any time when the participant is

18   deemed to be job-ready by the commissioner;

19         (3) For the first two weeks of the 13th calendar month for which Reach

20   Up cash assistance is received; and

21         (4) For a period of two weeks following the loss of paid employment.


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 31


 1       (f)(1) If a participant is job-ready and no unsubsidized job is available, or

 2   if the participant is work-ready but not job-ready, the participant shall accept a

 3   subsidized job, community work experience, job search, other work activities,

 4   or any combination of these activities, as deemed appropriate by the

 5   commissioner that equals the number of hours of the participant’s work

 6   requirement per week, or a lesser amount that, in combination with the parent’s

 7   unsubsidized paid employment, equals the number of hours of the participant’s

 8   work requirement, unless the provisions of subdivision (2) of this subsection

 9   apply.

10           (2) When a participant’s family development plan includes one or more

11   of the work activities to which TANF restrictions prevent the counting of such

12   work activities toward fulfillment of a participant’s work requirement, job

13   search, job readiness assistance, and vocational education training, the

14   department may include additional work activities (including required

15   additional hours of participation) in the participant’s family development plan.

16       (g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a participant’s

17   hours of unpaid work activities that are not primarily education or training

18   shall not exceed the levels established by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

19   Adjustments required to conform with the Fair Labor Standards Act shall be

20   made pursuant to calculation standards established by the commissioner by

21   rule.


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 32


 1   § 1114. DEFERMENTS AND MODIFICATIONS

 2      (a) The commissioner shall establish by rule criteria, standards, and

 3   procedures for granting deferments from or modifications to the work

 4   requirements established in section 1113 of this title, in accordance with the

 5   provisions of this section.

 6      (b) The work requirements for the following participants shall be either

 7   modified or deferred for:

 8         (1) A participant for whom no unsubsidized or subsidized job or other

 9   equivalent supervised work activity recognized by the commissioner by rule is

10   available.

11         (2) A participant for whom support services that are essential to

12   employment and other work activities and identified in the family development

13   plan cannot be arranged. Such services shall include case management,

14   education and job training, child care, and transportation.

15         (3) A participant who is not able-bodied. Such participants shall be

16   referred for assessment and vocational and other services in accordance with

17   the provisions of his or her family development plan. Participants with

18   disabilities that do not meet the standards used to determine disability under

19   Title XVI of the Social Security Act shall participate in appropriate

20   rehabilitation, education, or training programs.




                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 33


 1         (4) A primary caretaker parent caring for a child who has not attained 24

 2   months of age for no more than 24 months of the parent’s lifetime receipt of

 3   financial assistance. To qualify for such deferment, a parent of a child older

 4   than the age of six months shall cooperate in the development of and

 5   participate in a family development plan.

 6         (5) A primary caretaker parent who has exhausted the 24 months of

 7   deferment provided for in subdivision (4) of this subsection and who is caring

 8   for a child who is not yet 13 weeks of age.

 9         (6) A participant who is needed in the home on a full or part-time basis

10   in order to care for an ill or disabled parent, spouse, or child.

11         (7) A participant who is under 20 years of age, who is a single head of

12   household or married, and who maintains satisfactory attendance at secondary

13   school or the equivalent during the month, or participates in education directly

14   related to employment for an average of 20 or more hours per week during the

15   month.

16         (8) A participant who has attained 20 years of age and who is engaged

17   in at least 25 hours per week of classes and related learning activities for the

18   purpose of attaining a high school diploma or general educational development

19   (GED) certificate; provided that the participant is making satisfactory progress

20   toward the attainment of such diploma or certificate; and provided further that




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 34


 1   a deferment or modification granted for this purpose does not exceed six

 2   months.

 3         (9) A participant who is enrolled in, attending, and making satisfactory

 4   progress toward the completion of a full-time vocational training program that

 5   has a normal duration of no more than two years and who is within 12 months

 6   of expected completion of such program. Such deferment or modification

 7   shall continue until he or she has completed the program, he or she is no longer

 8   attending the program, or the 12-month expected completion period has ended,

 9   whichever occurs first.

10         (10) A participant for whom, due to the effects of domestic violence,

11   fulfillment of the work requirement can be reasonably anticipated to result in

12   serious physical or emotional harm to the participant that significantly impairs

13   his or her capacity either to fulfill the work requirement or to care for his or her

14   child adequately, or can be reasonably anticipated to result in serious physical

15   or emotional harm to the child.

16         (11) Any other participant designated by the commissioner in

17   accordance with criteria established by rule.

18      (c) A participant who qualifies for a deferment or modification under

19   subsection (b) of this section and who is capable of performing at least five

20   hours of a work activity shall have his or her work requirement hours modified

21   instead of deferred.


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 35


 1      (d) Deferments and modifications granted pursuant to this section shall

 2   continue for as long as the grounds for the deferment or modification exist or

 3   until expiration of a related time period specified in subsection (b) of this

 4   section, whichever occurs first.

 5   § 1115. OBLIGATION TO FUND SERVICES; GOOD CAUSE

 6      (a) A participant’s service requirement under section 1112 of this title and

 7   work requirement under section 1113 of this title shall be deferred when the

 8   case management services, training and educational services, and the family

 9   support services identified in the participant’s family development plan are

10   unavailable for reasons beyond the control of the participant, including when

11   monies appropriated are not sufficient to provide such services.

12      (b) No family who has been determined to be eligible for child care

13   services pursuant to section 3512 of this title shall be displaced from or denied

14   receipt of such services because the requirements of this chapter result in

15   additional participating families applying for and receiving financial assistance

16   for such child care services.

17      (c) The commissioner shall design the Reach Up program so that it

18   provides the full array of services to participating families identified by their

19   family development plans within the funds appropriated by the general

20   assembly.




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 36


 1      (d) The commissioner shall establish good cause rules for temporary or

 2   unexpected conditions or circumstances beyond the control of the participating

 3   parent which result in a parent’s inability to participate in a Reach Up services

 4   requirement, to participate in a work requirement, or to accept or retain

 5   employment.

 6   § 1116. SANCTIONS

 7      (a) The financial assistance grant of a participating family shall be reduced,

 8   in accordance with the provisions of this section, if a participating adult who

 9   needs to fulfill a services or work requirement in accordance with section 1112

10   or 1113 of this title:

11         (1) fails without good cause to accept and carry out his or her service or

12   work requirement;

13         (2) quits a job without good cause; or

14         (3) is dismissed from a job for cause.

15      (b)(1) If an adult in a participating family is sanctioned for his or her first

16   act of noncompliance with a service or work requirement the family’s financial

17   assistance grant shall:

18            (A) be provided by vendor payment directly to the vendor to greatest

19   extent practicable for the first month of such noncompliance;

20            (B) be reduced by the amount of $50.00 per month for each

21   noncomplying adult for the second month of such noncompliance;


                                                                            VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 37


 1            (C) be reduced $100.00 per month for each noncomplying adult for

 2   the third month of such noncompliance; and

 3            (D) be reduced $150.00 per month for each noncomplying adult for

 4   the fourth month of such noncompliance, or until the participant comes into

 5   compliance in accordance with the department’s rules, whichever occurs first.

 6   A month of noncompliance occurring before the family has received 60

 7   months of financial assistance and immediately preceded by 12 consecutive

 8   months of compliance with program requirements will be treated as the first

 9   month of noncompliance.

10      (c) If a participant is sanctioned for his or her noncompliance with the

11   service or work requirements for more than four consecutive months, the

12   family financial assistance grant shall be reduced by the amount of $225.00 per

13   month for each adult sanctioned under this subsection until the participant

14   comes into compliance in accordance with the department’s rules.

15      (d) Any family that has received 60 or more cumulative months of financial

16   assistance that also has one or more adult participants who have been

17   sanctioned for 12 or more cumulative months, and who are currently being

18   sanctioned shall have their grant reduced by $300.00 per month for each adult

19   sanctioned under this subsection.

20      (e)(1) Under no circumstances during the first six months that a family’s

21   grant is reduced due to fiscal sanctions imposed pursuant to subsections (b)


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 38


 1   through (d) of this section shall the grant be reduced to less than an amount

 2   which in combination with the family’s other countable income is less than the

 3   family’s actual incurred housing costs up to the applicable maximum housing

 4   allowance.

 5         (2) The commissioner shall provide the housing costs by vendor

 6   payment directly to the vendor. Any balance of financial assistance remaining

 7   after the vendor payment has been deducted shall be paid in two payments, the

 8   first to be paid within the first half of the calendar month and the second to be

 9   paid within the second half of the calendar month.

10      (f) The financial assistance grant of a family that has been subject to a

11   fiscal sanction for more than six cumulative months shall be reduced in

12   accordance with the full sanction amounts and without any consideration to the

13   subsection (e) housing costs protection. This section shall not apply if the

14   family, after the fiscal sanction period of more than six months, has an

15   intervening period of no less than 36 months before another fiscal sanction and

16   spends those months in a state of program compliance, grant closure, or any

17   combination of the two.

18      (g) To receive payments during the fiscal sanction period, an adult who is

19   the subject of the sanction shall meet no less than once each month to report

20   his or her circumstances to the case manager. In addition, this meeting shall be

21   for initial assessment and development of the family development plan when


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                      H.843
     2000                                                                    Page 39


 1   such tasks have not been completed; reassessment or review and revision of

 2   the family development plan, if appropriate; and to encourage the participant to

 3   fulfill the work requirement. The commissioner may waive any meeting when

 4   extraordinary circumstances prevent a participant from attending. The

 5   commissioner shall adopt rules to implement this subsection.

 6      (h) A family sanctioned under this section for failure to meet work or

 7   service requirements shall remain eligible for Food Stamps and shall not,

 8   because of such failure, be sanctioned under the Food Stamp program for

 9   reasons of "failure to comply without good cause" and "voluntary quit without

10   good cause", provided that such eligibility and waivers of such sanctions are

11   consistent with federal law and regulations governing the Food Stamp

12   program.

13                         Subchapter 3. Separate State Programs

14   § 1121. AUTHORIZATION TO SEGREGATE STATE FUNDS AND

15           CREATE SEPARATE STATE PROGRAMS

16      (a) Consistent with the purposes of this chapter, the commissioner is

17   authorized to structure payment of appropriated TANF funds and state

18   “maintenance of effort” funds to create separate state and segregated fund

19   programs to aid families eligible for the financial assistance.




                                                                        VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 40


 1      (b) The commissioner shall establish by rule standards, requirements, and

 2   criteria for the administration of any program established pursuant to this

 3   section that requires rules different from the financial assistance program.

 4      (c) Programs and payment structures created pursuant to this section shall

 5   accomplish one or more of the following purposes:

 6         (1) To provide work supports and assistance to working families while

 7   preserving their ability to receive financial assistance beyond the federal

 8   TANF 60-month lifetime limit.

 9         (2) To foster parental nurturing of children in their own homes.

10         (3) To stabilize families in crisis.

11         (4) To preserve financial assistance options beyond the federal TANF

12   60-month lifetime limit for families addressing multiple issues relating to self-

13   sufficiency.

14         (5) To preserve eligibility for financial assistance for certain minor

15   parents and legal aliens whom federal law makes ineligible for TANF-funded

16   assistance.

17         (6) To provide for the transition of families in the welfare restructuring

18   project to the Reach Up program.

19         (7) To ensure that the state complies with the federal TANF program

20   requirements.




                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                      H.843
     2000                                                                    Page 41


 1      (d) The following separate state programs shall be established, in

 2   accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner that include funding

 3   priority rules:

 4         (1) The separate state postsecondary education program established

 5   under section 1122 of this title.

 6         (2) A program for unemployed parent families not involved in work

 7   activities at a TANF-countable level.

 8         (3) A program to eliminate, in single-parent families and two-parent

 9   families in which one parent is unable to work, the work requirement

10   applicable to primary caretaker parents caring for children who are not yet 24

11   months or age, provided that the deferment is limited to any 24 months over

12   the parent’s lifetime, and the elimination of such work requirement is not a

13   state option under TANF.

14         (4) A program for families in which the parent or caretaker is not

15   involved in work activities at a TANF-countable level, limited to the number

16   of families necessary to meet federal TANF participation rate requirements.

17      (e) The Reach Up program shall be a segregated funds program structured

18   to pay appropriated state maintenance of effort funds to families in which the

19   parent or caretaker is engaged in unsubsidized employment at a TANF-

20   countable level. For self-employment to be considered unsubsidized

21   employment under this subdivision, average net weekly earnings shall equal or


                                                                        VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 42


 1   exceed the minimum wage multiplied by the applicable number of TANF-

 2   countable hours.

 3   § 1122. POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION PROGRAM

 4      (a) The commissioner shall establish by rule a separate state program to

 5   provide living expense stipends and support services to enable parents in

 6   eligible families to pursue undergraduate postsecondary degrees in fields

 7   directly related to employment.

 8      (b) The program authorized by this section shall be administered by the

 9   commissioner or by a contractor designated by the commissioner, and shall be

10   supported with funds other than federal TANF block grant funds provided

11   under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act.

12      (c) The amount of the program’s living expense stipend shall be

13   determined using financial assistance rules with the following modifications:

14         (1) The amount of the living expense stipend shall be determined at the

15   time of the financial eligibility determination for admission into the program,

16   and annually thereafter within 90 days before the beginning of the participant’s

17   academic year.

18         (2) The maximum living expense stipend for a family with three or

19   fewer members shall be the amount that is equal to the ratably reduced sum of

20   the Reach Up basic needs allowance for a household of three, plus the

21   maximum monthly housing allowance outside Chittenden County.


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                           H.843
     2000                                                                         Page 43


 1         (3) The maximum living expense stipend allowed for a family with

 2   more than three members shall be the amount that is equal to the ratably

 3   reduced sum of the Reach Up basic needs allowance for a household of four,

 4   plus the maximum housing allowance outside Chittenden County.

 5      (d) To be financially eligible to participate in the postsecondary education

 6   program the family must meet the following applicable income test:

 7         (1) In two-parent families, the family’s gross income minus the

 8   participating parent’s earnings shall not exceed 150 percent of the federal

 9   poverty level for a family of four or fewer members as established by the

10   commissioner by rule, or 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a family

11   of five, provided the family included five or more members as established by

12   the commissioner by rule.

13         (2) In single-parent families, the gross income of the family shall not

14   exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of three, provided

15   the family includes three or fewer members as established by the commissioner

16   by rule, or 150 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four,

17   provided the family includes four or more members as established by the

18   commissioner by rule.

19         (3) All program participants shall demonstrate financial eligibility at the

20   time of application, for the calendar year preceding application, and within the




                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                            H.843
     2000                                                                          Page 44


 1   90-day period prior to the beginning of each academic year of the institution in

 2   which the participant is enrolled.

 3           (4) Verification of all income amounts required by this subsection shall

 4   be provided in accordance with Reach Up program rules.

 5      (e) All financially eligible families who apply to participate in the

 6   postsecondary education program will be considered for admission provided

 7   that they meet all of the following criteria:

 8           (1) No more than one parent per family may participate at the same

 9   time.

10           (2) If the participating parent is in a two-parent family, the

11   nonparticipating parent shall be either working 40 hours per week or unable to

12   work.

13           (3)(A) The participating parent has not already received a postsecondary

14   undergraduate degree;

15              (B) The participating parent has already received a postsecondary

16   undergraduate degree and the occupations for which it prepared the

17   participating parent are obsolete;

18              (C) The participating parent, due to a disability, is no longer able to

19   perform the occupations for which the degree prepared him or her; or




                                                                              VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 45


 1            (D) The preparation for occupations that the participating parent

 2   received through the postsecondary undergraduate degree is outdated and not

 3   marketable in the current labor market.

 4         (4) The participating parent shall be a matriculating student in a two-

 5   year or four-year degree program as provided for in the postsecondary

 6   education plan.

 7         (5) The participating parent has been determined to be eligible for

 8   financial assistance from the Vermont student assistance corporation, and can

 9   demonstrate that he or she has the ability to cover tuition costs.

10         (6) The participating parent agrees to limit employment to no more than

11   20 hours per week when school is in session.

12         (7) Participating families who are eligible for Reach Up financial

13   assistance shall agree to accept the program living expense stipend in lieu of a

14   Reach Up financial assistance grant.

15         (8)(A) For a period of five years beginning with the date of a parent’s

16   receipt of a postsecondary education degree due to successful completion of

17   this program, the parent and the parent’s family, if financially eligible, shall

18   receive no more than 12 cumulative months of Reach Up financial assistance,

19   and the participating parent shall comply with the following conditions:




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                           H.843
     2000                                                                         Page 46


 1               (i) The parent shall engage in job search at a TANF-countable

 2   level for the first four weeks of the family’s receipt of a financial assistance

 3   grant;

 4               (ii) Unless employed full time, the parent shall engage in approved

 5   work activities at a TANF-countable level during all months following the

 6   initial job search that the family receives financial assistance; and

 7               (iii) Parents who have not been sanctioned since receiving their

 8   postsecondary education degree, have not left an unsubsidized degree-related

 9   job without good cause since receiving their postsecondary education degree,

10   and have followed through, satisfactorily, on all referrals to degree-related jobs

11   since receiving their postsecondary education degree shall only have to accept

12   unsubsidized jobs related to their degree during the first six months following

13   receipt of their degree. Parents who have been sanctioned since receiving their

14   postsecondary education degree, have left an unsubsidized degree-related job

15   without good cause since receiving their postsecondary education degree, have

16   not followed through, satisfactorily, on all referrals to degree-related jobs since

17   receiving their postsecondary education degree, or have not, after receipt of six

18   cumulative months of financial assistance, obtained a job in a field related to

19   their postsecondary degree, shall accept any unsubsidized job that is offered.




                                                                             VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 47


 1            (B) The limitation on receiving no more than 12 cumulative months

 2   of Reach Up cash assistance established under subdivision (A) of this

 3   subdivision (8) shall not apply if:

 4               (i) the parent who received the postsecondary education degree

 5   has not been offered a full-time, unsubsidized job;

 6               (ii) all parents in the family have become so severely disabled that

 7   they are precluded from being employed;

 8               (iii) in the case of a single-parent family, a child in the family has

 9   become so severely disabled that the parent is precluded from being employed;

10   or

11               (iv) a catastrophic family event precludes the parent’s

12   employment, as determined by the commissioner.

13         (9) The participating parent establishes and follows a postsecondary

14   education plan that has been approved by the commissioner or his or her

15   designee. Each postsecondary education plan shall include the following:

16            (A) the occupation that the parent proposes to pursue;

17            (B) a schedule that assures the participating parent will complete the

18   coursework necessary for a two-year degree within three years and for a four-

19   year degree within five years. The commissioner shall establish by rule criteria

20   for exceptions to such time limits. Such criteria shall be based on

21   circumstances beyond the parent’s control;


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 48


 1            (C) a schedule reflecting that, when an applicant has at least 15 credit

 2   hours of course credits that can be applied to the degree being pursued, four

 3   months for every 15 credit hours of coursework that can be applied to the

 4   degree has been deducted from the three-year time period allowed for a two-

 5   year degree or the five-year time period allowed for a four-year degree; and

 6            (D) a schedule reflecting that, when a parent who has already

 7   obtained a two-year degree through participation in the program authorized by

 8   this section is pursuing a four-year degree, the time period that was used to

 9   obtain the two-year degree has been subtracted from the five-year time period

10   allowed for a four-year degree.

11         (10) The family and the participating adult maintain uninterrupted

12   residency in Vermont for the duration of participation in the postsecondary

13   education program.

14      (f) Participation in the program authorized by this section may be denied to

15   parents meeting the eligibility criteria if program funds are insufficient to allow

16   all eligible applicants to participate. When funds are insufficient to allow all

17   eligible applicants to participate, priority shall be given to those individuals

18   with no postsecondary education.

19      (g) Continued participation in the postsecondary education program is

20   contingent on the participating parent:




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 49


 1         (1) maintaining compliance with all program criteria in subsections (e)

 2   and (f) of this section; and

 3         (2) remaining a member in good standing of the college and making

 4   progress toward a degree.

 5      (h) As used in this section, the term “parent” means biological parent,

 6   stepparent, or adoptive parent.

 7   § 1123. INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM

 8       (a) For the purposes of this section:

 9         (1) “Account” means a savings account that is held in an insured

10   financial institution that is maintained by the saver as part of an approved

11   account program and an approved savings plan.

12         (2) “Agency” means the agency of human services.

13         (3) “Approved account program” means a program approved by the

14   agency and administered by a service provider.

15         (4) “Approved savings plan” means a plan, approved by the service

16   provider and agreed to by the saver, that defines savings goals, program

17   requirements, and anticipated uses of the savings and matching funds. The

18   plan shall be a contract between the saver and the service provider.

19         (5) “Education” means a postsecondary program of instruction approved

20   by the service provider and provided by a college, university, community

21   college, area vocational technical school, professional institution, or


                                                                            VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 50


 1   specialized college or school legally authorized to grant degrees. The term

 2   also means any job training or related educational program approved by the

 3   service provider.

 4         (6) “Eligible uses” means education, the purchase or improvement of a

 5   home, participation in or development of an entrepreneurial activity,

 6   enrollment of a saver’s child in child care that enables the saver to participate

 7   in job training, a work-related activity or educational program or other use that

 8   is included in an approved savings plan.

 9         (7) “Entrepreneurial activity” means the purchase of or investment in a

10   for-profit venture in which the saver will be a principal.

11         (8) “Financial institution” means any insured federal or state chartered

12   bank, bank and trust company, savings bank, savings and loan association,

13   trust company, or credit union, approved by the service provider for the

14   establishment of an individual development savings account.

15         (9) “Fund” means the individual development matching grant special

16   fund established by this section.

17         (10) “Minimum savings amount” means the minimum amount

18   established in the approved savings plan that the saver must deposit in order to

19   be eligible for matching funds.

20         (11) “Program” means the individual development savings program

21   established by this section.


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 51


 1         (12) “Public assistance” means the Temporary Assistance for Needy

 2   Families program established under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security

 3   Act, or any other state or federal income maintenance program of financial

 4   assistance.

 5         (13) “Saver” means an individual or family:

 6            (A) who resides in this state; and

 7            (B) who has applied for and been enrolled in the individual

 8   development savings program; and

 9            (C)(i) who, at the time of application receives public assistance; or

10                 (ii) whose income makes the individual or family eligible to

11   receive public assistance or to claim the federal earned income credit.

12         (14) “Service provider” means a nonprofit organization approved by the

13   agency that encourages and assists local community-based human service

14   development.

15      (b) The agency shall establish policies and procedures to implement and

16   administer the individual development savings program. Such policies and

17   procedures shall include the following:

18         (1) An applicant shall apply to a service provider for a determination of

19   eligibility for enrollment in the program. The service provider shall develop an

20   approved savings plan with each saver who has been determined eligible and

21   enrolled in the program. The approved savings plan shall specify a minimum


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 52


 1   savings amount to be saved and the frequency of deposits to be made by the

 2   saver to the savings account during the duration of the plan. The application

 3   and plan shall be prepared on forms provided and approved by the service

 4   provider.

 5         (2) The enrolled saver shall complete a financial management training

 6   program approved by the agency and provided by or through the service

 7   provider.

 8         (3) An enrolled saver shall open an account in a financial institution that

 9   has been approved by the service provider as a depository for the saver’s

10   contributions. The saver and the service provider shall jointly own the

11   account, including interest earned, jointly, with the saver as primary owner.

12         (4) An enrolled saver with an approved plan and account monitored by a

13   service provider shall comply with the requirements of the plan for at least one

14   year, but no more than five years, in order to be eligible for matching fund

15   grants.

16         (5) In order to obtain matching funds, the saver shall present evidence

17   satisfactory to the service provider that the amount to be withdrawn will be

18   expended only for an eligible use. A withdrawal from an account for an

19   eligible use shall be made payable to the person who provides the eligible use,

20   and the agency, or the Vermont student assistance corporation pursuant to

21   section 2878a of Title 16, shall pay matching funds to the person that provides


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 53


 1   the eligible use. Matching funds shall not be paid to the saver. Matching

 2   funds that have not been paid out for an eligible use within five years after the

 3   opening of the account shall be returned to the agency for deposit in the state

 4   treasury, or to the Vermont student assistance corporation as applicable.

 5         (6) The service provider may terminate an approved savings plan for a

 6   saver who fails to meet the savings goals set out in the approved plan or who

 7   withdraws from the program, in accordance with standards and procedures

 8   established by the agency. Any funds contributed by the saver shall revert to

 9   the sole ownership of the saver, to be used by the saver for any purpose. Funds

10   in accounts created pursuant to a Vermont higher education savings plan shall

11   be subject to the provisions of the plan’s participation agreement.

12         (7) The agency shall develop any other standards and procedures

13   necessary or desirable to implement the individual development savings

14   program, including standards, minimum requirements for approval of savings

15   plans, training and counseling, and reporting requirements for participating

16   financial institutions.

17      (c)(1) The individual development matching grant special fund is

18   established in the state treasury and shall be administered in accordance with

19   the provisions of subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, except that interest

20   earned on the fund shall be retained in the fund. Into the fund shall be

21   deposited proceeds from grants, donations, contributions, appropriations, and


                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 54


 1   any other revenue authorized by law. The fund shall be used only for the

 2   purpose of providing matching funds for the individual development savings

 3   program as established in this section, and to provide grants to service

 4   providers for administrative expenses of administering the program.

 5         (2) The agency may make grants from the individual development

 6   matching grant special fund to service providers to provide the match for

 7   approved savings plans with enrolled savers. The amount and number of

 8   grants shall be calculated quarterly by the agency based on the number of

 9   savers and the amounts included in their approved plans administered by each

10   service provider so that payment of the maximum match is ensured for all

11   savers for the period for the approved savings plans without exceeding the

12   balance in the fund. The agency may award grants from the fund to service

13   providers to cover their expenses of training and counseling savers, and to

14   implement and administer the individual development savings program. The

15   agency may approve the use of interest earnings on grant funds as a portion of

16   approved administrative costs.

17      (d) The agency and the service providers, separately or cooperatively, may

18   solicit grants and private contributions for the individual development

19   matching grant special fund. The monies solicited may not be earmarked for

20   specific uses.

21      (e) No portion of an account established under this section, including


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 55


 1   interest and matching funds, shall be considered income for purposes of the

 2   state income tax under chapter 151 of Title 32, except that distributions of

 3   accumulated interest shall be taxable in the year of termination of a savings

 4   plan unless used for an eligible use.

 5                        Subchapter 4. Administrative Provisions

 6   § 1131. ADMINISTRATIVE IMPROVEMENTS

 7      For the purpose of improving the family development programs

 8   administered by the departments within the agency of human services,

 9   including the Reach Up program, the secretary shall:

10         (1) Design and implement a quality assurance function for the case

11   management component of the Reach Up program to ensure that appropriate

12   services are being provided to families enrolled in the program.

13         (2) Continue to improve caseload and expenditure forecasting for all

14   social welfare programs.

15         (3) Develop standards and procedures for the training of qualified case

16   managers in the Reach Up program.

17   § 1132. NOTICE AND APPEAL

18      (a) A participant may appeal the provisions of a family development plan

19   in accordance with section 3091 of Title 3. The commissioner shall provide

20   notice to each participant of the standards and procedures applicable to such

21   appeals. All federal and agency of human services rules regarding


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 56


 1   conciliation, notice, hearing, and appeal shall be followed in connection with

 2   such appeals.

 3      (b) A participant shall receive notice and an opportunity for conciliation,

 4   hearing, and appeal in accordance with all applicable federal and agency of

 5   human services rules before Reach Up sanctions are applied to the participant.

 6      (c) A participant shall continue to receive financial assistance payments

 7   pending appeal to the human services board of Reach Up sanctions if the

 8   appeal is received prior to the effective date of the proposed sanctions.

 9   § 1133. TRANSITION FROM WELFARE RESTRUCTURING PROJECT

10            TO REACH UP PROGRAM

11      (a) The commissioner shall restructure the system of Aid to Needy

12   Families with Children in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The

13   restructuring shall be carried out on a statewide basis. The restructured

14   program shall be reconstituted as the Reach Up program.

15      (b) The commissioner shall ensure that representatives of participating

16   families, representatives of community agencies, and representatives of the

17   department staff play an active role in the planning, implementation, and

18   evaluation of the restructuring required by this chapter.

19      (c) The commissioner shall develop a plan and adopt rules to phase current

20   members of the existing ANFC caseload into the new Reach Up program.




                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 57


 1      (d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, able-bodied single parents

 2   and able-bodied parents in two-parent families in which one parent is

 3   incapacitated who are receiving Aid to Needy Families with Children

 4   (“ANFC”) and have their families’ eligibility for and amount of ANFC

 5   benefits determined in accordance with welfare restructuring project rules that

 6   include a work requirement, in accordance with Sec. 10(a) of Act No. 106 of

 7   1994 shall be deemed work ready as follows:

 8         (1) Parents in families who have received 28 or more cumulative months

 9   of ANFC benefits before November 1, 2000, shall be deemed work ready as of

10   January 1, 2001.

11         (2) Parents in families who have received their 28th cumulative month

12   of ANFC benefits during the period beginning November 1, 2001, and ending

13   on April 30, 2001 shall be deemed work ready as of the first day of the 30th

14   cumulative month of having received ANFC benefits.

15         (3) Two months prior to being deemed work ready in accordance with

16   subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, parents shall work with their case

17   manager, if necessary, to prepare or include in their family development plan

18   their participation in TANF-countable work activities, as specified by rule, that

19   are sufficient to meet their weekly hours of work requirement.

20         (4) During the period from November 1, 2000, through June 30, 2001,

21   the parents subject to this subsection shall also be subject to the exemption


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 58


 1   policies defined in Sec. 11 and the sanction policies defined in Sec. 12 of Act

 2   No. 106 of 1994.

 3      (e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, able-bodied parents and

 4   caretakers in families in which one or both of the ANFC children’s parents are

 5   absent and able-bodied parents in two-parent families in which one parent is

 6   incapacitated shall be deemed job or work-ready as follows:

 7         (1) Parents in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received

 8   at least 22 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by July 1, 2001, shall be

 9   deemed job- or work-ready no later than September 1, 2001.

10         (2) Parents in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received

11   at least 16 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by September 1, 2001 shall be

12   deemed job- or work-ready no later than November 1, 2001.

13         (3) Parents in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received

14   at least 10 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by November 1, 2001 shall be

15   deemed job- or work-ready no later than January 1, 2002.

16         (4) Parents in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received

17   at least 10 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by January 1, 2002 shall be

18   deemed job- or work-ready no later than March 1, 2002.

19         (5) Parents in families who, subsequent to June 30, 1994, have received

20   at least 10 cumulative months of ANFC benefits by March 1, 2002 shall be

21   deemed job- or work-ready no later than May 1, 2002.


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                          H.843
     2000                                                                        Page 59


 1      (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and effective May 1, 2001,

 2   able-bodied parents who are not the primary caretaker in two-parent families

 3   that have received ANFC benefits for at least 10 cumulative months shall be

 4   deemed job- or work-ready as of July 1, 2001.

 5      (g) All parents deemed job- or work-ready, as provided in subsections (b)

 6   and (c) of this section:

 7         (1) Shall work with their case manager during the two months prior to

 8   being deemed job- or work-ready to complete their assessment and prepare a

 9   family development plan that requires their participation in TANF-countable

10   work activities, as specified by rule, that are sufficient to meet the parent’s

11   work requirement as specified in section 1113 of this title; and

12         (2) Shall be subject to the deferments and modifications provisions of

13   section 1114 of this title, and the work incentive and sanctions provisions of

14   section 1115 of this title.

15   § 1134. PROGRAM EVALUATION AND LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT

16      (a) The commissioner shall design and implement procedures to evaluate,

17   measure and report to the governor and the general assembly on or before

18   January 1 of each year the department’s progress in implementing the Reach

19   Up program and achieving the goals of the program provided for in section

20   1102 of this title. The report shall include:




                                                                            VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 60


 1         (1) The types of barriers facing Reach Up families seeking economic

 2   self-sufficiency, the number of families with each type of barrier, and the

 3   frequency of occurrence of each type of barrier.

 4         (2) Tracking data (including separate tracking for children and adults)

 5   on Food Stamp eligibility versus Food Stamp participation, including the

 6   number of ANFC households (including separate data for children and adults)

 7   that received financial assistance before July 1, 2001 and that no longer

 8   receive financial assistance, and including the department’s plan to identify

 9   and assist eligible households to apply for Food Stamps.

10         (3) An assessment of the progress made by the agency of human

11   services, the department of family development and health access, the

12   department of education, the department of employment and training, and the

13   human resources investment council toward coordinating and integrating

14   services pursuant to section 1107(e) of this title, and the resulting outcomes.

15         (4) An evaluation of the Reach Up program by participating families.

16         (5) Documentation of participant outcomes, including specific

17   information relating to the number of persons employed, by occupation,

18   industry and wage; the types of subsidized and unsubsidized jobs secured by

19   participants; the impact on the Reach Up program on children, including

20   objective indicators of improved conditions; and the number of participating

21   families involved in training programs.


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                         H.843
     2000                                                                       Page 61


 1         (6) A description of the case management system and the training of

 2   case managers, and an assessment of the effectiveness of the case management

 3   system in addressing the barriers of participating families and meeting the

 4   other goals of the Reach Up program.

 5         (7) A summary of all interim and final reports submitted by independent

 6   evaluation contractors to the agency or the department relating to the Reach Up

 7   program.

 8      (b) The commissioner’s report under subsection (a) of this section on

 9   January 1, 2001 shall include a report by the commissioner and the

10   commissioner of education and the commissioner of employment and training

11   on the progress they have made toward planning and implementing effective

12   and coordinated delivery of adult education services, including adult technical

13   education, for all clients, including welfare recipients. The commissioners

14   shall include in such report how the plan is coordinated with the federal

15   workforce investment act and Vermont’s unified plan, and the progress made

16   toward the use of a uniform assessment tools and procedures for clients

17   entering the system, pursuant to sections 1101(3) and 1106(a) of this title.

18      (c) On January 1, 2002 and every three years thereafter, the secretary shall

19   contract for an independent evaluation of the Reach Up program, including the

20   specific issues identified in subsection (a) and subsection (b) of this section.




                                                                           VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 62


 1      (d) On January 15, 2005, January 15, 2006, and January 15, 2007, the

 2   commissioner shall report to the house and senate committees on health and

 3   welfare and appropriations on families’ receipt of aid authorized by this

 4   chapter. Such reports shall include:

 5         (1) For the report due on January 15, 2005, from among all families

 6   receiving TANF-funded aid during the period from July 1, 2001, through

 7   September 30, 2004, the number of families that received such aid for no more

 8   than six cumulative months, more than six but no more than 12 cumulative

 9   months, more than 12 but no more than 18 cumulative months, more than 18

10   but no more than 24 cumulative months, more than 24 but no more than 30

11   cumulative months, and more than 30 cumulative months.

12         (2) For the report due on January 15, 2006, from among all families

13   receiving TANF-funded aid during the period from July 1, 2001, through

14   September 30, 2005, the number of families that received such aid for no more

15   than six cumulative months, more than six but no more than 12 cumulative

16   months, more than 12 but no more than 18 cumulative months, more than 18

17   but no more than 24 cumulative months, more than 24 but no more than 30

18   cumulative months, more than 30 but no more than 36 cumulative months,

19   more than 36 but no more than 42 cumulative months, and more than 42

20   cumulative months.




                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 63


 1         (3) For the report due on January 15, 2007, from among all families

 2   receiving TANF-funded aid during the period from July 1, 2001, through

 3   September 30, 2006, the number of families that received such aid for no more

 4   than six cumulative months, more than six but no more than 12 cumulative

 5   months, more than 12 but no more than 18 cumulative months, more than 18

 6   but no more than 24 cumulative months, more than 24 but no more than 30

 7   cumulative months, more than 30 but no more than 36 cumulative months,

 8   more than 36 but no more than 42 cumulative months, more than 42 but no

 9   more than 48 cumulative months, more than 48 but no more than 54

10   cumulative months, and more than 54 cumulative months.

11         (4) For each report, an estimate, for federal fiscal years 2008, 2009, and

12   2010, of the average proportion of the monthly TANF-funded caseload that

13   will include an adult family member who has received TANF-funded aid, as an

14   adult, 60 or more months in his or her lifetime.

15         (5) When such proportion exceeds 20 percent, an assessment, based on

16   an assumption of level funding in future years, of whether general funds will

17   be sufficient in federal fiscal years 2008, 2009, and 2010, to support aid

18   authorized by this chapter to fund aid for those families in excess of 20 percent

19   while, at the same time, providing aid and services, supported solely by general

20   funds, to other families as authorized by this act.




                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 64


 1         (6) When such assessment is that general funds will be insufficient to

 2   fund aid for all such families, the modifications in policy, appropriated general

 3   funds, or combination thereof that the commissioner recommends to support

 4   families receiving aid under this chapter in their achievement of self-

 5   sufficiency and to protect the children in these families.

 6      (e) Beginning January 15, 2008, and annually thereafter, the commissioner

 7   shall report to the house and senate committees on health and welfare and

 8   appropriations on families’ long-term receipt of aid authorized by this chapter.

 9   Such reports shall include:

10         (1) the number of families receiving aid in the most recent federal fiscal

11   year that included an adult family member who has received TANF-funded

12   aid, as an adult, 60 or more months in his or her lifetime;

13         (2) the average proportion of the monthly TANF-funded caseload during

14   the same fiscal year that such families represent;

15         (3) when such proportion exceeds 20 percent, the sufficiency of general

16   funds appropriated to support aid authorized by this chapter to fund aid for

17   those families in excess of 20 percent while, at the same time, providing aid

18   and services, supported solely by general funds, to other families as authorized

19   by this act; and

20         (4) when appropriated general funds are insufficient to fund aid for all

21   such families, the modifications in policy, appropriated general funds, or


                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                           H.843
     2000                                                                         Page 65


 1   combination thereof that the commissioner recommends to support families

 2   receiving aid under this chapter in their achievement of self-sufficiency and to

 3   protect the children in these families.

 4      (f)(1) The joint fiscal office and the legislative council shall gather existing

 5   data regarding capacity and demand for child care, adult technical education,

 6   adult basic education, and Vermont student assistance corporation nondegree

 7   grants in order to determine:

 8              (A) their capacity to provide services;

 9              (B) the demand for these services, including the need that will result

10   from implementation of this act;

11              (C) the gap between capacity and demand; and

12              (D) potential costs of increasing capacity to fill the gap by January

13   2002.

14           (2) The joint fiscal office and the legislative council shall report on the

15   information gathered pursuant to this subsection to the general assembly on or

16   before January 1, 2001.

17      (g) The legislative Reach Up oversight committee is created, consisting of

18   four members of the house appointed by the speaker: two members from the

19   health and welfare committee, one member from the education committee and

20   one member from the appropriations committee; and four members of the

21   senate appointed by the committee on committees: two members from the


                                                                             VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                       H.843
     2000                                                                     Page 66


 1   health and welfare committee, one member from the education committee and

 2   one member from the appropriations committee. The committee shall provide

 3   legislative oversight of the department’s progress in implementing the

 4   provisions of this chapter. The committee may meet after adjournment at the

 5   call of the chair for no more than six times. Members shall be entitled to

 6   receive per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses in accordance

 7   with section 406 of Title 2. At the request of the committee, the commissioner

 8   and any agency or instrumentality of the state shall provide such information

 9   as the committee determines is necessary to carry out its responsibilities under

10   this section. The oversight committee shall cease to exist on January 1, 2003.

11   Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 2878a is added to read:

12   § 2878a. PARTICIPATION AGREEMENTS FOR SAVINGS PLAN;

13             INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

14      The corporation may participate in the individual development savings

15   program established under section 1123 of Title 33, in accordance with the

16   rules of the agency of human services adopted thereunder, in connection with

17   an individual or family who, at the time of depositing funds into an account

18   created pursuant to a Vermont higher education savings plan, receives public

19   assistance or is otherwise an eligible saver under section 1123 of Title 33.

20




                                                                         VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 67


 1   Sec. 3. 32 V.S.A. § 5829 is added to read:

 2   § 5829. TAX CREDIT; INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT FUND

 3           CONTRIBUTIONS

 4      A taxpayer of this state shall be allowed a credit against the income tax

 5   imposed under section 5822 or 5832 of this title, or against the state franchise

 6   tax liability imposed under section 5836 of this title in the amount of four

 7   percent of the amount contributed to the individual development savings

 8   special fund during the taxable year.

 9   Sec. 4. REDESIGNATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL

10          WELFARE AS THE DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY DEVELOPMENT

11          AND HEALTH ACCESS

12      The term “department of social welfare” is amended to read “department of

13   family development and health access” wherever such term appears in the

14   Vermont Statutes Annotated. The term “commissioner of social welfare” is

15   amended to read “commissioner of family development and health access”

16   wherever such term appears in the Vermont Statutes Annotated.

17   Sec. 5. APPROPRIATION

18      (a) The sum of $250,000 is appropriated from the general fund to the

19   agency of human services in fiscal year 2002 to carry out the purposes of 33

20   V.S.A. § 1123 and Secs. 2 and 3 of this act (individual development savings

21   program). The sum of $750,000.00 is transferred in fiscal year 2002 from the


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1
     BILL AS INTRODUCED                                                        H.843
     2000                                                                      Page 68


 1   human services caseload management reserve to the agency of human services

 2   to carry out the purposes of 33 V.S.A. § 1123 and Secs. 2 and 3 of this act

 3   (individual development savings program), provided that such transferred sum

 4   shall be returned to the human services caseload management reserve in the

 5   following manner: $250,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund in fiscal

 6   year 2003 to the human services caseload management reserve; $250,000.00 is

 7   appropriated from the general fund in fiscal year 2004 to the human services

 8   caseload management reserve; 250,000.00 is appropriated from the general

 9   fund in fiscal year 2005 to the human services caseload management reserve.

10      (b) The sum of $250,000.00 is appropriated from the general fund to the

11   Vermont student assistance corporation in fiscal year 2002 to carry out the

12   purposes of 33 V.S.A. § 1123 and Secs. 2 and 3 of this act (individual

13   development savings program).

14   Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE

15      This act shall take effect on July 1, 2001, except that the provisions of 33

16   V.S.A. § 1133 (transition from welfare restructuring project to Reach Up

17   program) shall take effect on November 1, 2000, and except further that the

18   secretary of human services, the commissioner of family development and

19   health access, the board of education, and the commissioner of employment

20   and training shall have the power to adopt rules necessary to carry out the

21   purposes of this act upon passage.


                                                                          VT LEG 122518.1

				
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