Current Status Bill Number:
3368Type of Legislation: Joint Resolution JRIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 19950125Primary Sponsor: ShissiasAll Sponsors: Shissias, McElveen, Inabinett, Cobb-Hunter, Neal, Cromer, Govan, Wells and WoffordDrafted Document Number: BR1\18016AC.95Residing Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 25 HJSubject: Welfare and Administrative Reform Act of 1995
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 19950125 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO ENACT THE SOUTH CAROLINA WELFARE AND ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM ACT OF 1995 SO AS TO ESTABLISH STATE WELFARE POLICY; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES TO APPLY TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR AID TO FAMILIES WITH DEPENDENT CHILDREN, FOOD STAMP, AND MEDICAID PROGRAM WAIVERS TO ALLOW THE IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS FOR CLIENT NONCOMPLIANCE AND TO REVISE INCOME DISREGARDS FOR PURPOSES OF ELIGIBILITY; TO DIRECT THE STATE HOUSING FINANCE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY TO APPLY FOR A FEDERAL PILOT PROJECT WAIVER PLACING A CEILING ON RENT AND OTHER FEDERAL RENTAL SUBSIDY PROGRAMS; AND TO PROMOTE AND ENCOURAGE A STATEWIDE NETWORK OF MASS TRANSIT SYSTEMS; TO INITIATE STRATEGIES DIRECTED AT PREVENTIVE HEALTH SERVICES INCLUDING INCREASING PHYSICIAN PARTICIPATION IN MEDICAID, TEENAGE PREGNANCY PREVENTION, PRENATAL CARE, CHILDHOOD IMMUNIZATIONS, ACCESS TO CLINIC SERVICES, SCHOOL NURSES, AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE INTERVENTION AND INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION; TO PROVIDE EDUCATION INITIATIVES INCLUDING COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE THROUGH AGE EIGHTEEN FOR AFDC RECIPIENTS AND A REVIEW OF COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE GENERALLY, DESIGNING ADULT EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL PROGRAMS TO TARGET AFDC RECIPIENTS AND AT-RISK YOUTH, DEVELOPING A PROGRAM TO PROMOTE STATE AGENCY HIRING OF AFDC RECIPIENTS; TO DIRECT THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES TO REVISE, REVIEW, AND DEVELOP ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES INCLUDING SIMPLIFICATION OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE FORMS, STATEWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IN-HOSPITAL MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY WORKER PROGRAM, PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES, ENHANCED UTILIZATION OF COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY, AND CHILD DAY CARE VOUCHER PROCEDURES AND ACCESS TO DAY CARE SERVICES.
Whereas, the General Assembly finds that the welfare system of South Carolina must be based upon a reciprocal agreement between welfare recipients and those who pay the bills for welfare, the taxpayers. The system must assist families in poverty to become economically independent by providing the tools to achieve self-sufficiency while deterring abuse of the system through the imposition of fair and meaningful sanctions; and
Whereas, public assistance is not a desired choice for most recipients since most recipients want to work and improve the lives of their families as evidenced by the fact that the average Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipient is on public assistance for less than two years; and
Whereas, government resources for welfare, when used in an effective manner, can reduce crime and prison populations, encourage productivity, improve the quality of life of many South Carolina families, and generally be as beneficial to this State as resources spent on traditional economic development strategies; and
Whereas, preventing the need for public assistance is the most cost effective approach for welfare reform with public policy that uses resources to encourage and enable responsible family planning, emphasize family unit preservation, and promote responsible prenatal and parenting practices is a good investment in the future of South Carolina; and
Whereas, public and private efforts to increase opportunities for meaningful job creation and economic development can enable public assistance recipients and other at-risk individuals to achieve self-sufficiency; and
Whereas, administrative reforms can reduce the number of conflicting and complex regulations for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps, and Medicaid that impact negatively on both welfare clients and social service caseworkers; and
Whereas, if the public policy of South Carolina places a priority on saving people who are mired in the welfare system, then the State will benefit by saving money and the quality of life of all South Carolinians can be enhanced by a lower crime rate, less incarceration, less illiteracy, and stronger families. Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as the "South Carolina Welfare Reform Act of 1995."
SECTION 2. It is the policy of the State that the welfare system in South Carolina must be structured to assist families in poverty to maximize their potential to become economically independent. At the same time, there must be a reciprocal agreement between welfare recipients and those who pay for welfare, the taxpayers. The system must encourage individual responsibility by providing the tools to achieve self-sufficiency and deter abuse of the system through the imposition of fair and meaningful sanctions.
SECTION 3. (A) To emphasize the importance of the reciprocal role that an Aid to Families with Dependent Children client has in attaining self-sufficiency and economic independence, the Department of Social Services shall institute more meaningful sanctions for failure or refusal to participate in the Work Support Program by applying to the federal government for a waiver to allow sanctions to be imposed in the following manner:
(1) Upon a client's initial refusal to participate in the Work Support Program, a thirty-day conciliation period will be granted to the client to reconsider. During this thirty-day period, the recipient has the right to appeal the department's decision to impose sanctions. After the thirty-day conciliation period, all benefits (AFDC, food stamps, and Medicaid) must be terminated and may not be reinstated until the client agrees to participate. If benefits are terminated, the Child Protective Services Division of the department must be notified so as to take appropriate action.
(2) If the client refuses to participate in the Work Support Program a second time, all benefits will be terminated for at least three months. If the client agrees to comply during this three-month penalty phase, training, educational, or other services must be provided to the client but the client is ineligible for benefits.
(3) If the client refuses to participate in the Work Support Program a third time, all benefits will be terminated for at least six months. If during this six-month penalty phase, the client agrees to comply, training, educational, or other services must be provided to the client but the client is ineligible for benefits.
(4) If the client refuses to participate a fourth time, all benefits will be terminated with no possibility for client reinstatement of public assistance.
(5) If the client participates in and completes the education and training offered in the Work Support Program and then refuses an offer of employment, all benefits will be terminated.
(6) If the client participates in and completes the education and training offered in the Work Support Program and no acceptable job is available, the client will be required to accept a full-time public service job to continue receiving benefits, and the client will be required to continue to search for permanent employment. If the client refuses an offer of employment, all benefits will be terminated.
(B) In those counties in which the Department of Social Services administers the Work Support Program the sanctions provided for in subsection (A) apply to:
(1) clients receiving AFDC as of July 1, 1995, upon their first annual recertification after July 1, 1995;
(2) all clients applying for AFDC after June 30, 1995.
(C) In those counties in which the Department of Social Services does not administer a work support program as of this act's effective date, the sanctions provided for in subsection (A) apply to:
(1) clients receiving AFDC as of July 1, 1995, as if the program were available and in order to continue receiving benefits the client must agree to participate when the program is implemented in the county;
(2) clients applying for AFDC after June 30, 1995, as if the program were available and in order to begin receiving benefits the client must agree to participate when the program is implemented in the county;
(3) clients who subsequent to agreeing to participate fail or refuse to participate when the program is implemented in the county are treated as if it were an initial failure or refusal to participate.
SECTION 4. In order to assist families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits in gaining financial independence and in building for the future, the Department of Social Services shall apply to the federal government for a waiver allowing the State to exclude interest income and dividends in determining eligibility and payment amounts for Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
SECTION 5. The State Housing Finance and Development Authority and the Department of Social Services shall cooperate in making an application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for a waiver for Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Barnwell Counties to develop a pilot project placing a ceiling on rent and other federal rental subsidy programs.
SECTION 6. To remove the disincentive to employment that occurs when a family's AFDC payment is reduced because of a minor child's earnings and to encourage children in AFDC families to develop positive attitudes toward work, the Department of Social Services shall apply to the federal government for a waiver for a pilot project in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, and Barnwell counties that allows the State to exclude income earned by a minor child attending school when determining eligibility or payment amount for Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
SECTION 7. To promote independence and assist AFDC families in participating in the Department of Social Services Work Support Program and in getting to their place of employment reliable transportation services are needed, and the Department of Social Services in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety and county and local governments shall endorse local efforts to develop a statewide network of mass transit systems.
SECTION 8. The Department of Health and Environmental Control shall establish a task force of reproductive health care providers and professionals to develop incentives to increase physician participation in the Medicaid program in order to provide better access to comprehensive family planning and prenatal care for Medicaid clients.
SECTION 9. The Department of Health and Human Services Finance Commission shall establish a task force to explore ways to provide support and funding for a statewide teen pregnancy prevention council coordinator to provide information and technical assistance to local teen pregnancy prevention councils.
SECTION 10. To assist AFDC families in directing their efforts to becoming economically stable and financially independent rather than diverting their resources (human, emotional, and financial) to the care of children and family members with health and medical problems, the State must, as funding is available:
(1) provide greater access to and place emphasis on early and continuous prenatal care;
(2) eliminate as many barriers to good prenatal care as possible;
(3) promote counseling and education about early childhood health and especially the need for immunizations;
(4) foster better access to preventive health services through better transportation, co-location of services, expanded hours for public health clinics; and
(5) provide school nurses to increase access to primary care and more effective identification and referral of health problems among children;
(6) expand effective Medicaid reimbursable substance abuse primary prevention, education, and intervention strategies;
(7) facilitate coordination among the Department of Social Services, Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Department of Education in providing school and community-leased education for alcohol and drug prevention programs.
SECTION 11. To enhance client access to services and to reduce client confusion and agency error rates, the Department of Social Services, with existing resources and personnel, shall develop simplified AFDC, Medicaid, and food stamp application forms and instructions which are understandable at the third grade level.
SECTION 12. The Department of Social Services shall develop a plan within its existing resources and personnel to implement statewide the Charleston Department of Social Services Medicaid Eligibility Hospital Worker program in which the workers assist patients in applying for AFDC and Medicaid while still in the hospital and in which the funding of the worker is shared by the hospital and the Medicaid program.
SECTION 13. The Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Human Services Finance Commission shall review and, to the extent possible, ensure that federal and state procurement and purchasing regulations do not unnecessarily delay payments to providers of services to AFDC clients and child care and transportation providers so that these providers are not deterred from providing services to these clients.
SECTION 14. (A) All state agencies shall adopt Electronic Data Interchange Standards as set forth by the Budget and Control Board, Office of Research and Statistics Information Resource Planning and Management so that exchanges and sharing of information concerning AFDC clients and revenue sources are freely available. However, in the exchange and sharing of information all requirements for confidentiality of information must be maintained.
(B) For the next three years each state agency shall report to the Division of Information Resource Technology before January first on the agency's progress and compliance with this section and its utilization of the system created as a result of this section.
SECTION 15. (A) The Budget and Control Board, Office of Research and Statistics Information Resource Planning and Management in conjunction with the Department of Social Services and representatives from all state health and social services agencies shall develop a long range plan for the acquisition and implementation of a statewide computer system compatible with all state agencies for the exchange and sharing of information.
(B) For the next five years the Office of Research and Statistics Information Resource Planning and Management shall report to the General Assembly before January first on the development, fiscal impact, and implementation of this system.
SECTION 16. (A) The Department of Social Services shall:
(1) in conjunction with the Department of Revenue study the feasibility of integrating AFDC client information with the driver's license digitization program;
(2) study the development of the digitization of data for use in an electronic benefits program and other programs as may be applicable.
(B) Before January 1, 1997, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Revenue jointly shall report to the General Assembly the results of this study and make recommendations as may be appropriate.
SECTION 17. (A) The Department of Social Services shall study and develop a plan to aid in using computer technology in the uniform application and enforcement of child care and foster care policies statewide.
(B) Before January 1, 1997, the Department of Social Services shall report to the General Assembly on its review, plan, and implementation of the plan provided for in subsection (A).
SECTION 18. (A) The Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Human Services Finance Commission shall develop a voucher management system for child day care that will increase the number of child care slots available for AFDC clients by maximizing state and federal funds and that will provide a continuum of providers and services, develop on site child care centers at state technical education schools, and ease liability concerns for companies willing to start day care centers. The system must be managed by the commission and must eliminate duplication in administrative functions.
(B) Before January 1, 1997, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Human Services Finance Commission jointly shall report to the General Assembly on the progress of this system.
SECTION 19. The Department of Social Services shall encourage day care providers to offer day care services during second and third shift time periods, and the department more closely shall monitor day care providers to ensure compliance with nondiscriminatory policies and upgrade standards.
SECTION 20. (A) The Department of Social Services shall require all children sixteen through eighteen years of age who are recipients of AFDC benefits who have not completed high school to attend school as a condition of continuing eligibility.
(B) Before January 1, 1997, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Education shall study the compulsory age for school attendance and evaluate and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning increasing the age from sixteen to seventeen or eighteen.
SECTION 21. The Department of Social Services in conjunction with the Department of Education shall:
(1) ensure that existing continuing education and adult education programs are designed to advance AFDC clients in attaining self-sufficiency and that the location, scheduling, and other mechanics of these programs are structured so as to maximize access by AFDC clients;
(2) endorse and promote school-to-work transition programs to link at-risk secondary school students to the workplace and to appropriate work related post-secondary education.
SECTION 22. (A) The Department of Social Services in conjunction with the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education shall:
(1) work closely with businesses and industries in South Carolina to design curriculums to produce students with skills needed by these businesses and industries;
(2) develop specially designed curriculums that target and train AFDC clients for occupations identified by the Employment Security Commission as the top growth occupations of the future.
(B) For the next five years the Department of Social Services and the State Board for Technical Education jointly shall report before January first to the General Assembly on the projects completed under this section and shall evaluate their effectiveness in assisting AFDC families in becoming self-sufficient.
SECTION 23. The Department of Social Services in conjunction with the Budget and Control Board, Division of Human Resource Management, shall develop a program to target, train, and hire AFDC recipients to work in child support enforcement and other appropriate positions in the department or other state agencies.
SECTION 24. This joint resolution takes effect upon approval by the Governor.