An Act To Reform Welfare for Increased Security and Employment
Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §204-A, as enacted by PL 1999, c. 746, §1, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
§ 204-A. Annual report
Sec. 2. 22 MRSA §16-B is enacted to read:
§ 16-B. Verification of integrity of reported information by applicants for public assistance
The department shall use commercially available data to conduct an electronic verification of information provided on an application for benefits for public assistance as defined in section 16, subsection 1, paragraph C. The electronic verification must, at a minimum, be conducted on all new applications for benefits and must include searches for income, residency and available assets.
Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §21, sub-§1, as amended by PL 1997, c. 530, Pt. A, §8, is repealed.
Sec. 4. 22 MRSA §21, sub-§3-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 5. 22 MRSA §21, sub-§§10 and 11, as enacted by PL 1995, c. 675, §1, are amended to read:
Sec. 6. 22 MRSA §22, first ¶, as amended by PL 1997, c. 530, Pt. A, §10, is further amended to read:
The department is authorized to establish an electronic benefit benefits transfer system for the issuance of benefits under the AFDC, food stamp, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, statewide food supplement program under section 3104, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program under chapter 1053-B, the Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Food Program of the federal Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and the Parents as Scholars and Medicaid programs and for child care subsidies under chapter 1052-A; all recipients of benefits under these programs or another program approved for addition under subsection 2 must participate in the EBT system.
Sec. 7. 22 MRSA §22, sub-§3, as enacted by PL 1995, c. 675, §1, is repealed.
Sec. 8. 22 MRSA §§24 to 26 are enacted to read:
§ 24. Photographs on electronic benefits transfer cards
The commissioner shall place a photograph of a recipient of benefits under a program specified in section 22 on the recipient's electronic benefits transfer card if agreed to in writing by the recipient. When a recipient of benefits is a minor or incapacitated individual, the commissioner may place a photograph of the recipient's parent or legal guardian on the EBT card.
§ 25. Restrictions of the number of replacement electronic benefits transfer cards
When the department determines that the number of requests by a recipient of benefits for a replacement electronic benefits transfer card is excessive, the department shall require the recipient or a member of the recipient's household to contact the recipient's local office of the department to provide an explanation for the requests. Upon a 5th request for a replacement card within a 12-month period, the department may not issue a replacement card until the recipient or a member of the recipient's household reports to the recipient's local office of the department to explain the excessive number of replacement requests.
§ 26. Posting of electronic benefits transfer card transaction data
The commissioner shall post to the department's publicly accessible website data showing each individual transaction made with an electronic benefits transfer card. The data must include but need not be limited to the date, time, exact amount, transaction type, vendor, town and state of every transaction. Only nonidentifying data may be used. The data may not include the name, social security number or record case number of any recipient of public benefits; however, a nonidentifying unique identifier may be assigned. The data must be posted once monthly in a file format that is an electronic image of the data and in a spreadsheet format to the department's publicly accessible website.
Sec. 9. 22 MRSA §3104, sub-§13, as corrected by RR 2015, c. 1, §20, is repealed.
Sec. 10. 22 MRSA §3104, sub-§14, as amended by PL 2009, c. 291, §2, is repealed.
Sec. 11. 22 MRSA §3104, sub-§§15 to 21 are enacted to read:
Sec. 12. 22 MRSA §3108, as enacted by PL 1995, c. 629, §1, is repealed.
Sec. 13. 22 MRSA §3174, as corrected by RR 1991, c. 1, §29 and amended by PL 1997, c. 530, Pt. A, §34, is further amended by adding after the 2nd paragraph a new paragraph to read:
The department shall review and reevaluate eligibility for all recipients of aid, assistance or benefits available through a program of medical assistance administered pursuant to this chapter no less than once every 12 months, notwithstanding any federal statute, regulation or waiver allowing for less frequent reviews.
Sec. 14. 22 MRSA §3174, as corrected by RR 1991, c. 1, §29 and amended by PL 1997, c. 530, Pt. A, §34, is further amended by adding after the 3rd paragraph a new paragraph to read:
An individual subject to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families work requirements under Section 407 of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Public Law 109-171 who has been sanctioned under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for failing to meet such work requirements is ineligible to receive aid, assistance or benefits available through a program of medical assistance administered pursuant to this chapter.
Sec. 15. 22 MRSA §3762, sub-§18, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 380, Pt. PP, §2, is repealed and the following enacted in its place:
The department shall adopt rules to implement this subsection. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules pursuant to Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
Sec. 16. 22 MRSA §3762, sub-§19, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 380, Pt. PP, §2, is amended to read:
For a family whose assistance is to be terminated, a supervisory review by the department is required. The review must include but is not limited to an evaluation of the need for additional information to determine if cause for an exemption or extension exists. If the conclusion of the evaluation determines additional vocational, health, mental health or other information is necessary, the department shall work in collaboration with the adult recipient in the development of the information prior to the determination of status or termination.
For a family whose assistance is to be terminated pursuant to this subsection, the department shall provide information to the family regarding any other resources that may be available to help meet that family's basic needs.
Sec. 17. 22 MRSA §3762, sub-§§21 and 22 are enacted to read:
Sec. 18. 22 MRSA §4311, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2015, c. 267, Pt. SSSS, §1, is further amended to read:
The Subject to the provisions of section 4323, the department shall reimburse each municipality and each Indian tribe 70% of the direct costs incurred by that municipality or tribe on or after July 1, 2015 for the general assistance program granted by that municipality or tribe. For the purposes of this subsection, "Indian tribe" has the same meaning as in section 411, subsection 8-A.
Sec. 19. 22 MRSA §4323, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 1983, c. 577, §1 and amended by PL 2003, c. 689, Pt. B, §6, is further amended to read:
Sec. 20. 22-A MRSA §206, sub-§9 is enacted to read:
This bill makes a number of changes to the statutes relating to programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The bill makes changes to the laws relating to electronic benefits transfer cards by allowing the department to place photographs on the cards and to restrict the number of replacement cards issued. It removes reference to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children, or AFDC, program in the laws relating to electronic benefits transfer cards.
The bill requires reporting by the department on welfare fraud, electronic benefits transfer card transactions, provider contracts, grant funding, department out-of-state travel costs and spending in the MaineCare program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, the statewide food supplement program and municipal general assistance. The bill also requires the Attorney General to report information on welfare fraud cases.
The bill provides for annual eligibility evaluations under the MaineCare program.
The bill allows the department to withhold municipal reimbursement for general assistance if a municipality is found to have committed a violation that includes improper expenditures.
The bill changes the statewide food supplement program eligibility requirements as they relate to felony drug offenders, certain felons convicted of violent crimes and sexual assault, noncooperation with child support collection and certain lottery and gambling winners.
The bill ensures the asset test for the statewide food supplement program eligibility remains in effect and is not waived. It also ensures the federal work requirement and time limit provisions for able-bodied adults without dependents are in effect and not waived.
The bill limits eligibility for the federally funded food supplement program to citizens and individuals with qualified noncitizen status as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Under current law, the lifetime limit on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families assistance is 60 months. This bill reduces that limit to 36 months, absent hardship.
The bill repeals the laws governing the food stamp standard utility allowance.
The bill makes individuals convicted of the crimes of theft or fraud in connection to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, the statewide food supplement program or child care subsidies ineligible to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families assistance.
Finally, the bill requires education programs paid for through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to be for occupations that have at least an average job outlook as determined by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.