SECTION 1. Chapter 118E of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding after Section 77 the following section:-
Section 78. At the time of initial application for, or renewal of, MassHealth coverage or any other single state application or renewal process described in section 9A of chapter 118E, the department shall provide the MassHealth applicant or recipient with the opportunity to initiate a common application for MassHealth and for programs administered by the department of transitional assistance, including the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program. A MassHealth applicant or recipient who elects to apply for these benefits shall have his or her eligibility information and verifications used to initiate a simultaneous common application and that information shall be transmitted to the department of transitional assistance to initiate the application for benefits. The common application for benefits must be accepted with the voluntary consent of the MassHealth applicant or recipient and shall have no bearing on the MassHealth eligibility of the applicant or recipient. The department of transitional assistance shall promptly inform said applicant of the eligibility requirements and any additional verifications or obligations of the program or programs elected by the applicant.
SECTION 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the executive office of health and human services and the executive office of communities and development shall initiate development of a common application portal for individuals to simultaneously apply for state-administered needs-based benefits and services in coordination with the office of Medicaid, the department of transitional assistance, the department of early education and care, the executive office of education and the department of housing and community development. The common application shall allow individuals the option to apply at the same time for MassHealth coverage, the supplemental nutrition assistance program, income supports under Chapters 117A and 118 of the General Laws, veterans services benefits under Chapter 115 of the General Laws, child care subsidies, housing subsidies, fuel assistance and other needs-based health care, nutrition and shelter benefits. Not later than March 15, 2018, the executive office of health and human services and executive office of communities and development shall report to the executive office for administration and finance and the house and senate committees on ways and means on the status of the development of the common application, including: (i) a timeline for implementation; (ii) costs of development and implementation; and (iii) federal reimbursement opportunities.
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