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Key Votes

HB 960 - Public Assistance Program Amendments - Key Vote

Pennsylvania Key Votes

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Legislation - Signed (Executive) -

Title: Public Assistance Program Amendments

Legislation - Concurrence Vote Passed (House) (130-66) - (Key vote)

Title: Public Assistance Program Amendments

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to concur with Senate amendments and pass a bill that amends public welfare laws regarding co-payments and benefits for certain programs, and requires periodic random drug testing of at least 20 percent of individuals with drug-related felony convictions who receive public assistance, effective July 1, 2011.

Highlights:
  • Requires individuals that have either a felony conviction for a drug offense which occurred within the past 5 years, or a felony conviction for a drug offense for which they are currently on probation, to take a drug test at the time of application for public assistance or, if the individual is already receiving assistance as of the effective date of this act, to be scheduled for a drug test (Sec. 4).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to develop and implement a system for randomly testing at least 20 percent of individuals who receive public assistance benefits and who are subject to drug testing under this act, and specifies that the random testing shall occur once every 6 months (Sec. 4).
  • Authorizes the Department of Welfare to deny public assistance benefits to any individual who refuses to take a drug test or retest, and terminate public assistance benefits to any individual who refuses to submit to periodic random drug testing (Sec. 4).
  • Establishes the following penalties for individuals who fail a drug test (Sec. 4):
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the first time, the individual shall be provided with treatment for addiction and shall not be penalized, provided that the individual cooperates with the treatment program;
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the first time and refuses to undergo treatment for addiction, the individual's public assistance benefits shall be suspended for 6 months;
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the second time, the individual's public assistance benefits shall be suspended for 12 months; and
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the third time the individual shall no longer be entitled to assistance.
  • Requires parents or guardians of children enrolled in subsidized child care to pay copayments established by the Department of Welfare, and specifies that the copayments shall be based upon a sliding income scale, taking into account federal poverty income guidelines, with a minimum copayment of $5 per week (Sec. 2).
  • Prohibits the Department of Public Welfare from establishing copayments for subsidized child care that exceed 8 percent of a family's annual income if the family's annual income is 100 percent of the federal poverty income guideline or 11 percent of the family's annual income if the family's annual income exceeds 100 percent of the federal poverty income guideline (Sec. 2).
  • Authorizes the Department of Public Welfare to establish the copayment schedule and adjust the amount of copayments for assistance to disabled children whose family income is above 200 percent of the federal poverty income limit (Sec. 7).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to reduce annual and lifetime benefits for the Road to Economic Self-Sufficiency Through Employment and Training (RESET) program by up to 25 percent by January 1, 2012 (Sec. 2).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to establish a computerized income eligibility verification system (Sec. 4).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to match the social security number of each applicant with certain information including, but not limited to, the following prior to authorizing assistance (Sec. 4):
    • Unearned income information maintained by the Internal Revenue Service;
    • Earned income information maintained by the Social Security Administration;
    • Employer quarterly reports of income and unemployment insurance benefit payments maintained by the Wage Information Collection Agency;
    • Immigration status information maintained by the Citizenship and Immigration Services;
    • Prisoner information maintained by the Social Security Administration; and
    • National fleeing felon information maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Authorizes the Department of Public Welfare to deny public assistance to applicants for whom a discrepancy exists between the information provided on an application for assistance and information in the computerized income eligibility verification system (Sec. 4).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to establish procedures to investigate and resolve potential cases of fraud, misrepresentation, or inadequate documentation prior to determining an applicant's eligibility for assistance (Sec. 2).
  • This act is effective July 1, 2011 (Sec. 13).
Legislation - Bill Passed With Amendment (Senate) (35-15) - (Key vote)

Title: Public Assistance Program Amendments

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that amends public welfare laws regarding co-payments and benefits for certain programs, and requires periodic random drug testing of at least 20 percent of individuals with drug-related felony convictions who receive public assistance, effective July 1, 2011.

Highlights:
  • Requires individuals that have either a felony conviction for a drug offense which occurred within the past 5 years, or a felony conviction for a drug offense for which they are currently on probation, to take a drug test at the time of application for public assistance or, if the individual is already receiving assistance as of the effective date of this act, to be scheduled for a drug test (Sec. 4).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to develop and implement a system for randomly testing at least 20 percent of individuals who receive public assistance benefits and who are subject to drug testing under this act, and specifies that the random testing shall occur once every 6 months (Sec. 4).
  • Authorizes the Department of Welfare to deny public assistance benefits to any individual who refuses to take a drug test or retest, and terminate public assistance benefits to any individual who refuses to submit to periodic random drug testing (Sec. 4).
  • Establishes the following penalties for individuals who fail a drug test (Sec. 4):
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the first time, the individual shall be provided with treatment for addiction and shall not be penalized, provided that the individual cooperates with the treatment program;
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the first time and refuses to undergo treatment for addiction, the individual's public assistance benefits shall be suspended for 6 months;
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the second time, the individual's public assistance benefits shall be suspended for 12 months; and
    • If an individual fails a drug test for the third time the individual shall no longer be entitled to assistance.
  • Requires parents or guardians of children enrolled in subsidized child care to pay copayments established by the Department of Welfare, and specifies that the copayments shall be based upon a sliding income scale, taking into account federal poverty income guidelines, with a minimum copayment of $5 per week (Sec. 2).
  • Prohibits the Department of Public Welfare from establishing copayments for subsidized child care that exceed 8 percent of a family's annual income if the family's annual income is 100 percent of the federal poverty income guideline or 11 percent of the family's annual income if the family's annual income exceeds 100 percent of the federal poverty income guideline (Sec. 2).
  • Authorizes the Department of Public Welfare to establish the copayment schedule and adjust the amount of copayments for assistance to disabled children whose family income is above 200 percent of the federal poverty income limit (Sec. 7).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to reduce annual and lifetime benefits for the Road to Economic Self-Sufficiency Through Employment and Training (RESET) program by up to 25 percent by January 1, 2012 (Sec. 2).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to establish a computerized income eligibility verification system (Sec. 4).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to match the social security number of each applicant with certain information including, but not limited to, the following prior to authorizing assistance (Sec. 4):
    • Unearned income information maintained by the Internal Revenue Service;
    • Earned income information maintained by the Social Security Administration;
    • Employer quarterly reports of income and unemployment insurance benefit payments maintained by the Wage Information Collection Agency;
    • Immigration status information maintained by the Citizenship and Immigration Services;
    • Prisoner information maintained by the Social Security Administration; and
    • National fleeing felon information maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Authorizes the Department of Public Welfare to deny public assistance to applicants for whom a discrepancy exists between the information provided on an application for assistance and information in the computerized income eligibility verification system (Sec. 4).
  • Requires the Department of Public Welfare to establish procedures to investigate and resolve potential cases of fraud, misrepresentation, or inadequate documentation prior to determining an applicant's eligibility for assistance (Sec. 2).
  • This act is effective July 1, 2011 (Sec. 13).
Legislation - Bill Passed (House) (200-0) -
Legislation - Introduced (House) -

Title: Public Assistance Program Amendments

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