Amendment #2 to H.3331

An Amendment Relative to an Expedited Integrated Eligibility System

Representatives Jones of North Reading, Peterson of Grafton, Hill of Ipswich, Poirier of North Attleborough and deMacedo of Plymouth move that the bill be amended by inserting at the end thereof the following:–

"SECTION XX. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the funds in item 1790-3000 shall only be released for the development of the health insurance exchange or integrated eligibility system platform when the executive office of health and human services adopts the following timeline for implementation: the integrated eligibility system shall be implemented no later than January 1, 2014 for MassHealth and no later than June 1, 2014 for all other public assistance programs; provided, further that the integrated eligibility system shall aggregate data necessary to verify income, assets, and identity when determining an applicant’s eligibility for assistance, prior to the distribution of benefits and during eligibility reviews, in order to eliminate the duplication of assistance and deter fraud within each public benefits program administered by the office; provided, however, that information held pursuant to the establishment of this system is used in compliance with chapter 66A and meets all applicable federal and state privacy and security requirements.



(b) The office may enter into contracts with third-party vendors for the purposes of developing and maintaining the integrated eligibility system; provided, however, that any such vendor shall be required by contract to establish annualized savings realized from the implementation of the integrated verification system and savings shall exceed the total yearly cost to the state for implementing the integrated verification system.



(c) The office shall require all departments, offices, and divisions under the authority of the office, that are administering public benefits programs, prior to awarding, continuing, or reissuing public assistance, to use the integrated eligibility system to match the social security number of each applicant for, or recipient of, public assistance against information provided by the following data sources where permitted by state and federal privacy laws: (1) a nationwide public records data source of physical asset ownership such as real property, automobiles, watercraft, aircraft and luxury vehicles; (2) the department of revenue; (3) undisclosed depository account information and account balances of disclosed accounts at national and local financial institutions; (4) a nationwide public records data source of incarcerated individuals; (5) outstanding default or arrest warrant information maintained by the criminal history systems board, the criminal justice information system, and the warrant management system; (6) a nationwide best-address and driver's license data source to verify individuals are residents of the State; (7) the registry of motor vehicles; (8) the department of elementary and secondary education; (9) a comprehensive public records database that identifies potential identity fraud or identity theft that can closely associate name, social security number, date of birth, phone and address information; and (10) a database which is substantially similar to or a successor of a database mentioned in this section.



(d) The office shall require all departments, offices, and divisions, under the authority of the office, that are administering public benefits programs, prior to awarding, continuing, or reissuing public assistance, to use the integrated eligibility system to match the social security number of each applicant and recipient of public assistance against information provided by the following data sources, to the extent such data sources are available and permitted by state and federal privacy law: (1) unearned income information maintained by the Internal Revenue Service; (2) employer quarterly reports of income and unemployment insurance payment information maintained by the department of labor and workforce development; (3) earned income information maintained by the Social Security Administration; (4) immigration status information maintained by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; (5) death register information maintained by the Social Security Administration; (6) prisoner information maintained by the Social Security Administration; (7) public housing and Section 8 Housing Assistance payment information maintained by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts public housing authorities; (8) national fleeing felon information maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; (9) wage reporting and similar information maintained by states contiguous to this State; (10) beneficiary records and earnings information maintained by the Social Security Administration in its Beneficiary and Earnings Data Exchange database; (11) earnings and pension information maintained by the Social Security Administration in its Beneficiary Earnings Exchange Record System database; (12) employment information maintained by the department of labor and workforce development and the department of unemployment assistance; (13) employment information maintained by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in its National Directory of New Hires database; (14) supplemental Security Income information maintained by the Social Security Administration in its SSI State Data Exchange database; (15) workers compensation information maintained by the department of industrial accidents; (16) veterans’ benefits information maintained by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Massachusetts department of health and human services and department of veterans’ affairs, in the federal Public Assistance Reporting Information System database; (17) child care services information maintained by the department of children and families; (18) utility payments information maintained by the department of housing and community development under the low income home energy assistance program; (19) emergency utility payment information maintained by local cities and towns or councils on aging; (20) a database of all persons who currently hold a license, permit, or certificate from a State agency the cost of which exceeds $1,000; and (21) a database which is substantially similar to or a successor of a database mentioned in this section.



(e) The office shall work with the departments, offices, or divisions, under the authority of the office, that assist in the administration of public benefit programs, as well as the bureau of program integrity, established pursuant to this chapter, to develop uniform rules and regulations regarding intake procedures and procedures for handling discrepancies that may result between an applicant or recipient’s social security number and one or more of the databases or information tools outlined in this section; provided that an applicant or recipient shall be notified of any discrepancy that arises between their social security number and information retrieved by the integrated eligibility system and the applicant or recipient shall be provided an opportunity to explain any discrepancy; provided that self-declarations by an applicant or recipient shall not be accepted as the sole verification of categorical and financial eligibility during eligibility evaluations and reviews; provided that all self-declarations made on or pursuant to an application for public assistance shall be signed under the pains and penalties of perjury; and, provided further that numerical identifiers, other than valid social security numbers, shall not be used as alternatives to social security numbers unless the applicant or recipient is an expecting mother in the third trimester of her pregnancy, a child under 1 years of age, or an asylee. If a recipient is unable to provide an accurate social security number to replace a numerical identifier within a time period of 3 months, the recipient’s public assistance benefits shall be terminated unless the individual is a victim of domestic violence who has a pending petition for legal status under the federal Violence Against Women Act.



(f) Where permitted by state and federal law, the office shall enter into intergovernmental service agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to develop an information sharing system to verify identity, through an automated fingerprinting comparison system to be accessed by the office and law enforcement agencies, in instances of trafficking of electronic benefit cards or other suspected criminal activity involving fraud and misuse of public benefits.".