SUMMARY OF BILL
REPORTED FROM COMMITTEE
The bill would amend the Social Welfare Act to do the following:
-- Prohibit a program group from receiving Family Independence Program (FIP) assistance if a member of the program group did not meet school attendance requirements, with respect to a child under the age of 16, beginning after the date the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) implemented the policy required by the bill.
-- Require a child who was 16 or older to be removed from a program group, if a member of the program group did not meet the attendance requirements with respect to that child, beginning after the DHHS implemented the required policy.
-- Require the DHHS, within one year after the bill's effective date, to implement a policy that it would have to follow before terminating a program group from receiving FIP assistance, or removing a child from the program group, because of failure to meet school attendance requirements.
-- Require a person to be a member of a program group that met the proposed school attendance requirement, in addition to meeting current eligibility criteria for FIP assistance.
(The Act defines "program group" as a family and all those individuals living with a family whose income and assets are considered for purposes of determining financial eligibility for Family Independence Program assistance.)
The bill would codify current policy and would have a minimal fiscal impact on the State. The bill would have no fiscal impact on local units of government.
The Department has implemented a similar school attendance and student status policy, which is described in Bridges Eligibility Manual 245. The policy manual requires dependent children age six through 17 who are part of a Family Independence Program group to attend school full-time. A dependent child who is age 18 must attend high school full-time until the child either graduates or turns 19, whichever occurs first.
If a child age six through 15 is not attending school full-time, the entire FIP group is not eligible to receive FIP assistance. A dependent child age 16 or 17 who is not attending high school full-time is disqualified from FIP, but the other FIP group members may still receive benefits. Under current policy, FIP eligibility may be reinstated if full-time school attendance is achieved for 21 consecutive calendar days.
In FY 2013-14, 189 cases were sanctioned due to noncompliance with the policy, and during the first quarter of FY 2014-15, 68 cases were sanctioned. The bill's requirement that the Department implement a policy prior to the termination of a family group's benefits would determine how many of these sanctioned cases no longer would receive benefits.
This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan Senate staff for use by the Senate in its deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.