Chapter 18 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 5H the following section:-
Section 5I. (a) As used in this section the following terms shall, unless the context clearly appears otherwise, have the following meanings:-
“Micro business”, a business entity, which has its principal place of business in the commonwealth, is independently owned and operated as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation, with 5 or fewer employees in full-time positions.
“Micro business assistance allowance or self-employment assistance allowance”, an allowance, payable in lieu of transitional assistance for needy families, hereinafter TANF, established or administered pursuant to the general appropriations act and the general laws, to an individual participating in TANF activities who meets the requirements of this section.
“Self-employment assistance activities”, activities, including any entrepreneurial training that the commonwealth or non-profit organizations may provide in coordination with programs of training offered by the department or its assignee, which may include business counseling, mentorship for participants, access to small business development resources, and technical assistance, approved by the department for the purpose of establishing a business and becoming self-employed.
(b) The department shall provide for a program of self-employment assistance allowances to promote self-sufficiency and decrease dependence on government provided assistance. The weekly allowance payable under this section to an individual shall be equal to the weekly benefit amount for TANF otherwise payable under law. The allowance paid under this section shall not exceed the maximum TANF benefit amount with respect to such benefit year. No individual shall receive self-employment assistance allowances for a total of more than 26 weeks.
(c) Eligibility for self-employment assistance allowance. The allowance described in subsection (a) shall be payable to an individual at the same interval, on the same terms, and subject to the same conditions as TANF except that:
(1) the requirements of TANF relating to availability for work, active search for work, and refusal to accept work are not applicable to such individual;
(2) an individual who fails to participate in self-employment assistance activities or who fails to actively engage on a full-time basis in activities, which may include training, relating to the establishment of a business and becoming self-employed shall be disqualified for the time-period such failure occurs; and
(3) an individual shall not be eligible to receive a self-employment allowance unless the department of transitional assistance has a reasonable expectation that the individual will successfully complete a self-employment allowance assistance program.
(d) The aggregate number of individuals receiving an allowance under this section at any time shall not exceed 1 per cent of the number of individuals receiving TANF from the commonwealth. The department shall, through regulations, prescribe such actions as are necessary to assure the requirements of this subsection are met.
(e) The department shall promulgate rules and regulations to implement the purposes of this section.
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