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SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1805

 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

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An Act to foster economic independence..
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. To provide for improvements to the department of transitional assistance in the commonwealth in fiscal year 2013, the sums set forth in sections 2 and 2A are hereby appropriated from the General Fund for the several purposes and subject to the conditions specified in this act and subject to laws regulating the disbursement of public funds; provided, however, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, appropriations made herein shall not revert and shall be available for expenditure until June 30, 2014.  The sums appropriated in this act shall be in addition to any amounts previously appropriated and made available for these purposes.

              SECTION 2.

              OFFICE OF CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES.

              Department of Transitional Assistance.

              3000-4050              ……….$8,000,000

              4400-1000              ……….$360,000

              4400-1100              ………$2,910,000

              4401-1000              .……….$300,000

              4403-2119              ………..$500,000

              SECTION 2A.

              4400-1979                   For the department of transitional assistance; provided, that the department shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth Corporation to make available not less than $5,000,000 from this item for the full employment  program under subsection (l) of section 110 of chapter 5 of the acts of 1995, as amended by this act……………..$5,000,000.

              4400-1980            For the department of transitional assistance; provided, that the department may expend not more than $6,000,000 from performance bonuses paid by the United States Department of Agriculture, which were received for exceeding program requirements in the supplemental nutrition assistance program administered by the department, for the operation of employment and training services provided by the Commonwealth Corporation under the full employment program under subsection (l) of section 110 of chapter 5 of the acts of 1995, as amended by this act; provided further, that not less than 10 per cent of funds spent for the employment and training services provided under the full employment program shall be reserved for external evaluation of that portion of the full employment program; provided further that the evaluator selected shall be consulted in program design in order to ensure that program effectiveness can be accurately assessed; provided further, that the evaluator shall be selected through a competitive process and that the selected evaluator shall demonstrate: (i) prior experience in evaluating the impact of social programs on low-income urban youth and communities using either random assignment of treatment or regression discontinuity methods; (ii) prior experience in field evaluation; and (iii) prior experience using quantitative analysis relevant for program evaluation; provided further, that when selecting an independent evaluator, the department shall consider: (A) a sample of previous similar work; (B) the ability to perform requested services; and (C) a proposed evaluation budget; provided further, that the department shall report to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities on the employment and training services provided by the full employment program; and provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, for the purpose of accommodating timing discrepancies between the receipt of retained revenues and related expenditures, the department may incur expenses and the comptroller may certify for payment amounts not to exceed the lower of this authorization or the most recent revenue estimate as reported in the state accounting system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6,000,000

              SECTION 3. Paragraph (B) of section 2 of chapter 18 of the General Laws, as amended by chapter 161 of the acts of 2012, is hereby amended by inserting after clause (j) the following 6 clauses:-

              (k) on a bi-annual basis, not later than January 1 and July 1, file a report detailing the number of exemptions and extensions granted to recipients of cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children and the reasons for granting such exemptions and extensions. The report shall be filed with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the report to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means;

              (l) annually, not later than April 1, file a report which shall include, but not be limited to, information regarding caseloads, including how long recipients have been receiving cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children and how much recipients have received. The report shall not contain any recipient’s personal identifying information. The report shall be filed with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the report to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means;

              (m) annually, not later than September 1, file a report detailing the reasons why recipients of cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children are applying for additional benefits beyond their initial 24 month period; provided, that this shall include, but not be limited to, an analysis of how the recipient failed to meet the recipient’s economic independence goals, as required by section 15 of chapter 118. The report shall be filed with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the report to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means;

              (n) on a quarterly basis, file a report detailing the number of cases referred to the department’s program integrity division and the results of each investigation. The reports shall be filed with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the reports to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means;

              (o) annually, not later than December 1, file a report detailing the use of economic independence accounts, established under section 5 of chapter 18, that have been opened by recipients of cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children; provided, that this shall include, but not be limited to the number of accounts opened and the average balances in the accounts. The report shall be filed with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the report to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means; and

              (p) annually, not later than March 1, file a report detailing the number of recipients receiving cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children who are present in the United States under 1 of the eligible noncitizen statuses as described in 106 CMR 203.675 (A). The report shall be filed with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward the report to the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means.

              SECTION 4. Section 5 of said chapter 18, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

              The commissioner shall establish specialist positions within the department. The specialists shall focus on providing targeted employment and training assistance to recipients that the department determines have a high risk of long term dependence on state benefits and require specialized assistance to achieve economic independence. These recipients shall include teen parents and may include other recipients defined by the department. Each office location shall have specialists. Specialists shall provide focused intervention and assistance to recipients and shall have a caseload of not more than 60 recipients. The commissioner shall: track the progress made by recipients who are receiving targeted assistance under this section in reaching economic independence and transitioning off transitional aid to families with dependent children; track each specialist’s success, as determined by the department, in assisting recipients; and report the results to the house and senate committees on ways and means not later than December 31 of each year.

              SECTION 5. Said chapter 18 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 5N the following section:-

              Section 5O. (a) The department shall include on the front of each newly issued and re-issued electronic benefit transfer card a photograph of the cardholder; provided that the cardholder is over the age of 18 years. The department shall promulgate regulations to ensure that all members of the household are able to use the electronic benefit transfer card as required by 7 U.S.C.A. §2016 (h) (9) and to ensure that authorized users are able to use the electronic benefit transfer card.

              A store owner or employee shall check that the photograph on an electronic benefit transfer card matches the identity of the person making a purchase or follow the procedures for authenticating authorized users, as determined by the department.  A store owner shall be fined for each instance in which the store owner or an employee knowingly fails to check that the photograph on an electronic benefit transfer card matches the person making the purchase or that the purchaser is an authorized user of the electronic benefit transfer card and thereby permits an individual who is not authorized to use the card to purchase goods. The store owner shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 for a first offense, not less than $500 nor more than $2,500 for a second offense and not less than $2,500 for a third or subsequent offense. 

              (b) The department shall include the fraud hotline number and department website on all newly issued electronic benefit transfer cards.

              SECTION 6. The first paragraph of section 22 of said chapter 18, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- Self-declarations by applicants or recipients of transitional aid to families with dependent children shall be signed under the penalties of perjury and, if possible, shall not be accepted as the sole verification of categorical and financial eligibility during eligibility evaluations and reviews.

              SECTION 7. The second paragraph of said section 22 of said chapter 18, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- The department shall determine which verification requirements can be reasonably met by third party affidavits and shall provide notification to recipients and applicants of the circumstances under which third party affidavits may be used; provided, however, that all work participation forms shall be verified by a third party who shall sign the work participation form under the penalties of perjury.

              SECTION 8. Said chapter 18 is hereby further amended by inserting after section 30 the following 7 sections:-

              Section 31. The department, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Corporation, shall develop a job diversion program for applicants for cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children to identify applicants who have the necessary job skills and experience and match those applicants with appropriate full-time employment before receiving benefits. The job diversion program shall be mandatory for all identified applicants over the age of 18 who are not attending a secondary school full time or participating in an education or training activity, as defined in 106 CMR 203.400(A) (2)(i); provided however, that the program shall not be mandatory for an applicant who is exempt from the work requirements under 106 CMR 203.400 (A)(1)(a) through (c), inclusive.

              The program shall identify able-bodied applicants who are capable of working and attempt to match them with jobs prior to receiving benefits. For those identified applicants who are not connected with full-time employment prior to receiving cash assistance, the department shall provide a written finding as to why the job diversion program was not successful and the findings shall be part of the applicant’s case file.

              Section 32. The department of transitional assistance shall require applicants or recipients of cash assistance to provide their social security number within 3 months of being assigned a placeholder social security number; provided, however, that this shall not apply to recipients who are present in the United States under 1 of the eligible noncitizen statuses as described in 106 CMR 203.675 (A). Failure to provide a valid social security number within 3 months shall result in the suspension of benefits until a valid social security number is provided and verified by the department. The department of transitional assistance shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this section.

              Section 33. The department of transitional assistance shall require all training and employment service programs contracted through the department to track the outcomes of individuals served by the program for at least 1 year after transitioning into employment. The department shall determine the number of individuals that each employment service program is required to track.

              Section 34. The department of transitional assistance shall ensure that when recipients of cash assistance call the department during normal business hours they are able to speak with a caseworker.

              Section 35. The department of transitional assistance shall develop a fraud detection program.  The fraud detection program shall analyze the risk of fraud and refer any cases of suspected fraud to the program integrity division or the bureau of special investigations in the office of the state auditor. In analyzing risk of fraud and identifying cases for investigation, the program shall consider: (i) even dollar transactions; (ii) full benefit withdrawal; (iii) usage patterns; and (iv) other relevant data sources.  In order to assist the program in identifying and investigating likely cases of fraud, the department shall develop and make available reports identifying even dollar transactions by cardholder, instances of full benefit withdrawal and other data reports, as necessary.

              Section 36. The department of transitional assistance shall allow applicants or recipients who are employed a monthly $150 work-related expense deduction from gross wages in determining eligibility and in determining the amount of the cash assistance grant. The department shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this section.

              Section 37. Subject to appropriation, the department shall implement a fraud risk assessment system that shall define risk and prioritize client groups based upon their risk assessment. Through the system, the department shall identify areas where increased scrutiny is warranted for high-risk client groups and shall identify ways to streamline procedures for low-risk client groups. The department shall use the most cost effective software to develop its fraud risk assessment system.

              SECTION 9. Chapter 118 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following 6 sections:-

              Section 12. A temporary absence from the commonwealth which exceeds 30 calendar days shall create a rebuttable presumption that Massachusetts residency has been abandoned by a recipient of cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children and the recipient is no longer eligible for assistance. The department of transitional assistance shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this section.

              Section 13. (a) The department shall require all adult applicants who are not exempt from the work requirement to conduct an initial job search prior to receiving cash assistance. Applicants shall provide evidence of this search by returning to the department a list of the potential employers contacted, the date of contact and the name and telephone number of the person with whom the applicant spoke, to the extent feasible. All initial job search documentation shall be signed by the applicant under the penalties of perjury. The number of potential employers to be contacted by the applicant shall be determined by the department. An applicant shall provide the information before the applicant’s case approval. An applicant who fails to provide this information within 30 days of filing the application shall have the application denied. The department shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this subsection.

              (b) The department shall require adult recipients, who are not exempt from the work requirements and who did not receive full-time employment under the full employment program, to provide, on a weekly basis, evidence of job searches by returning to the department a list of the employers contacted, the date of contact and the name and telephone number of the person with whom the applicant spoke, to the extent feasible. The department of transitional assistance shall terminate the cash assistance for a recipient who fails to provide such accurate information; provided, however, the department shall not terminate the cash assistance provided to the recipient’s dependent children. The department shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this section.

              Section 14. The department shall not calculate a separate 60 month benefit period for an individual who receives aid under transitional aid to families with dependent children if the individual is part of a 2 parent assistance unit. The department shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this section.

              Section 15. The department shall develop economic independence goals for all recipients of cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children to be completed during the recipient’s first 24 month period of receiving benefits. The economic independence goals shall assist a recipient in determining a path through which the recipient will be able to be self-sufficient. Recipients who re-apply for benefits at any time after the first 24 month period shall be required to demonstrate a good faith attempt to meet their goals prior to receiving additional benefits. Recipients who fail to demonstrate a good faith attempt to meet all of their goals shall not receive additional benefits or an extension of benefits; provided, however that this shall not prohibit a recipient from receiving benefits on behalf of a dependent child.

              Section 16. The department shall develop a savings program that allows recipients of cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children to accumulate assets outside of the asset limit. The savings accounts shall be called economic independence accounts. The economic independence accounts shall be used to help recipients save for the first and last month of rent and the security deposit or may be used for any other reason determined by the department to assist recipients as they transition off of benefits. The economic independence accounts shall not be included as a countable asset under 106 CMR 204.120.

              For recipients of cash assistance who elect to participate in the program, the department shall require a designated amount of a recipient’s cash assistance to be held in an escrow account for the recipient until the recipient is no longer eligible or in need of benefits; provided further, that the department shall allow a recipient to deposit additional funds to the account. While a recipient is receiving benefits, funds in the economic independence account shall only be withdrawn for limited emergency needs, as determined by the department. If a recipient, who is currently receiving benefits, uses funds from the account for any purpose other than an emergency or a department approved purpose, then the department shall reduce the recipient’s monthly cash assistance until the cumulative reductions are equal to the amount used for a non-allowable purpose. The department shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this section; provided that the commissioner shall submit any proposed regulations to the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the house and senate committees on ways and means 30 days before their adoption by the department. 

              Section 17. The department shall require unverified applicants for cash assistance for a dependent under transitional aid to families with dependent children to provide proof of income and assets. For purposes of this section, unverified applicants shall mean an applicant who has not provided the required information about citizenship or immigration status.

              SECTION 10. Chapter 121B of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 32F the following section:-

              Section 32G. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a recipient of state or municipally funded or subsidized housing with dependent children under the age of 16 shall comply with the requirements of subsection (b).

              (b) Each non-disabled recipient, as defined and determined by the department of housing and community development, shall provide documentation to the applicable Housing authority, not less frequently than quarterly, that any child under the age of 16 has missed not more than 8 unexcused school days during the previous quarter; provided, however, that absences due to the following reasons shall be considered excused absences: (i) illness, as certified by a physician or by other proof that the department determines is adequate; (ii) hospitalization; (iii) disability, as defined by the department; (iv) death of a family member; or (v) crisis situations as defined by the undersecretary.

              (c) A non-disabled recipient who does not, without good cause, provide the documentation required by subsection (b) within the reasonable time established by the department or whose documentation indicates that the child has had more than 8 unexcused absences from school during the prior quarter shall be placed on probationary status, during which time the recipient shall be required to provide monthly documentation of the child’s school attendance. The recipient shall remain on probationary status until the child’s unexcused absences during the 6 preceding school months does not exceed 10 school days.

              If a child under the age of 16 has more than 3 unexcused absences during any month that the recipient is on probationary status, then the recipient shall not be eligible for state or municipally funded or subsidized housing until the recipient provides documentation that the child has not had more than 3 unexcused absences during any month from school.

              (d) Notwithstanding section 27C of chapter 29 or any other general or special law to the contrary and without regard to any acceptance or appropriation by a city, town or regional school district and without regard to any appropriation by the general court, any school attended by a child to which this section applies shall provide the documentation required by this section upon the request of the recipient.

              SECTION 11. The definition of “Child of record” in subsection (a) of section 110 of chapter 5 of the acts of 1995 is hereby amended by adding the following words:- ; provided, however, that the commissioner shall develop specific criteria for approving exceptions or waivers to the family cap provision for extraordinary circumstances and shall only grant an exception or waiver when the specific criteria is met.

              SECTION 12. Subsection (b) of said section 110 of said chapter 5, as amended by section 308 of chapter 159 of the acts of 2000, is hereby further amended by striking out the words “provided, however, that the fair market value of any licensed motor vehicle does not exceed an amount determined by the commissioner in consultation with the secretary of the executive office of transportation and construction and the equity value of any licensed motor vehicle does not exceed $5,000; provided, further, that any value in excess of said five thousand dollars shall be attributed toward said family’s countable resources” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- provided, however, that an assistance unit shall be allowed 1 vehicle that shall not be attributed toward the family’s countable resources.

              SECTION 13. Said subsection (b) of said section 110 of said chapter 5 is hereby further amended by adding the following paragraph:- The department shall exclude from a filing unit’s countable income any earned income of dependent children of the assistance unit who are working part-time while attending school full time. The department shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this section, including, but not limited to, updating clause (2) of subsection (D) of 106 CMR 204.210.

              SECTION 14. Subsection (e) of said section 110 of said chapter 5 is hereby amended by striking out clauses (1) and (2) and inserting in place thereof the following 2 clauses:-

              (1) recipients who are disabled, as defined by the federal Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 423 (d); provided that in families with 2 parents, both parents are disabled; provided further, that to the extent permitted by federal law, the word “disabled” shall not include recipients who are dependent on alcohol or drugs or whose disability is based in whole or in part on previous dependency. A recipient who requests an exemption under this clause shall, as a condition of continued eligibility for transitional aid to families with dependent children, apply for supplemental security income (SSI) and, if requested by the department, appeal a denial of SSI benefits. Recipients who do not comply with the department’s request to apply for SSI or appeal a decision shall not be granted a work exemption under this clause.

              (2) recipients who must care for a disabled child or spouse. A recipient who requests an exemption under this clause shall apply for SSI benefits on behalf of their dependent. 

              SECTION 15. Clause (3) of subsection (e) of said section 110 of said chapter 5 is hereby amended by striking out the words “recipients in their third trimester of pregnancy” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- recipients in their thirty-third week or later of pregnancy, recipients in their third trimester of pregnancy who have submitted documentation signed by a primary care provider as defined in section 1 of chapter 111of the General Laws or an obstetrician, gynecologist, nurse-midwife or family practitioner registered and certified under chapter 112 of the General Laws that the recipient has a medical condition that prevents the recipient from working.

              SECTION 16. The first sentence of the fourth paragraph of subsection (f) of said section 110 of said chapter 5 is hereby amended by inserting after the word “extended” the following words:- ; provided that an extension of benefits shall not exceed 3 months.

              SECTION 17. The first paragraph of subsection (j) of said section 110 of said chapter 5 is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The department shall exempt from the work requirements a recipient who is age 66 or older; provided further, that the department shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this sentence, including, but not limited to updating 106 CMR 203.100 (A)(1)(h).

              SECTION 18. Said section 110 of said chapter 5 is hereby further amended by striking out subsection (l), as most recently amended by section 157 of chapter 43 of the acts of 1997, and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-

              (l) The Commonwealth Corporation, in collaboration with the department, shall establish a full employment program to match applicants with full-time employment in a manner which promotes self-sufficiency, including the ability to transition off cash assistance. The Commonwealth Corporation shall administer the program through a memorandum of understanding with the department. The full employment program shall be mandatory for all applicants, except those that are exempt from the work requirements under subsection (e) or assigned to a specialized caseworker under section 5 of chapter 18 of the General Laws or under paragraph (3) of subsection (i). Under the full employment program, in lieu of receiving cash assistance under the program of aid to families with dependent children, applicants shall receive full-time employment. During the first year of employment under the full employment program applicants shall receive a child care voucher. Applicants who the Commonwealth Corporation determines require additional skills or training in order to be eligible for full employment program jobs shall receive cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children, if otherwise eligible, and be referred to an appropriate educational or training program.

              In order to implement the full employment program, the Commonwealth Corporation shall work with the business community to identify jobs and to match the skills required for each job with applicants. The Commonwealth Corporation shall work to connect applicants with employment in emerging professions. 

              Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, for the purpose of reducing or eliminating the amount of contributions or payments made by employers and applicants participating in the full employment program toward the cost of qualified medical insurance, employers and applicants who participate in the full employment program shall receive insurance reimbursement under section 9C of chapter 118E of the General Laws. The insurance reimbursement shall be provided to employers participating in the full employment program regardless of whether the employer employs more than 50 employees or meets the other requirements of an “eligible employer” under said section 9C or under the regulations. The insurance reimbursement shall be provided to any recipient employed through the full employment program regardless of whether the recipient is an eligible employee under said section 9C. Reimbursements to employers under this paragraph shall be in accordance with subsection (4) of said section 9C, but shall not be subject to limitation by MassHealth in accordance with paragraph (C) of subsection (2) of said section 9C.  Reimbursements to recipients under this paragraph shall not be subject to paragraph (A) of subsection (2) of said section 9C but shall be in accordance with a fee schedule set forth in regulations promulgated by MassHealth in consultation with the department of transitional assistance. Reimbursements under this section shall be subject to all other applicable requirements of said section 9C.

              In order to ensure appropriate training for those not initially able to participate in the full employment program, the Commonwealth Corporation shall work with the community colleges, vocational schools, one-stop career centers, adult basic education programs and other workforce training programs to identify and develop, if necessary, programs and resources and refer applicants to these programs or resources.

              SECTION 19. Section 121 of said chapter 5 is hereby amended by striking out in lines 3, 8 and 25 the word “fourteen” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following figure:- 16.

              SECTION 20. Item 4000-0890 of section 2 of chapter 139 of the acts of 2012 is hereby amended by adding the following words:- : provided further, that $15,000,000 shall be used to provide insurance reimbursement to employers participating in the full employment program created under subsection (l) of section 110 of chapter 5 of the acts of 1995.

              SECTION 21. Item 4400-1000 of said section 2 of said chapter 139 is hereby amended by adding the following words:- ; provided further, that the department shall hire not fewer than 6 investigators in the fraud investigations and data matching unit.

              SECTION 22. Item 4400-1100 of said section 2 of said chapter 139 is hereby amended by adding the following words:- ; provided further, that the department shall hire 50 additional caseworkers; provided further, that funds shall be expended for the specialists positions required under section 5 of chapter 18 of the General Laws.

              SECTION 23. Item 4401-1000 of said section 2 of said chapter 139 is hereby amended by adding the following words:- provided further, that not less than $200,000 shall be used for an independent consultant to review the effectiveness of the commonwealth’s specific employment and training service programs, which are provided for under this item, in providing a pathway to financial independence; provided further, that this review shall include, but not be limited to, an analysis of the employment outcomes for clients in the commonwealth, an analysis of each program according to a common set of metrics, interviews with staff from the department and programs, interviews with program clients, interviews with employers and recommendations for specific changes and improvements to the employment and training services provided by the commonwealth; and provided further, that a copy of the consultant’s report shall be filed with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives.

              SECTION 24. Notwithstanding any general or special law, subject to appropriation, the integrated eligibility system (IES), developed by the executive office of health and human services, shall allow multiple state agencies and programs to access and share data by creating data hubs and streamlining information processes. Through the integrated eligibility system, the department of housing and community development, housing authorities and state health and human services agencies and programs, including, but not limited to, transitional aid to families with dependent children, temporary assistance for needy families and MassHealth shall share and have access to the data.

              SECTION 25. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of transitional assistance shall develop a plan to reduce paperwork. The plan shall progressively eliminate the need to use hard copies of forms.  

              SECTION 26. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of housing and community development shall allow the Worcester Housing authority to operate the authority’s A Better Life program in state subsidized housing.

              SECTION 27. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a pregnant teen who meets all other eligibility requirements shall be eligible to live in a teen parent shelter or participate in a teen living program during her entire pregnancy and shall be eligible to receive cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children; provided that, that she meets the school attendance requirements set forth in 106 CMR 203.610; provided further, that she meets the requirements set forth in 106 CMR 203.630.

              SECTION 28. The department of transitional assistance, if required, shall seek a federal exemption or waiver in order to implement this act.

              SECTION 29. Each section of this act shall be subject to federal approval, if required. Any section that is inconsistent with federal law or regulations shall be void unless the department receives an exemption or waiver from the federal government to implement said section.

              SECTION 30. All electronic benefit cards shall include a photograph of the cardholder under section 5O of chapter 18 of the General Laws by August 1, 2014.

              SECTION 31. The department of transitional assistance shall promulgate regulations under section 32 of chapter 18 of the General Laws, including, but not limited to, updating 106 CMR 701.230.

              SECTION 32. The department of transitional assistance shall promulgate regulations under section 36 of chapter 18 of the General Laws, including, but not limited to updating 106 CMR 204.270.

              SECTION 33. The department of transitional assistance shall promulgate regulations under section 12 of chapter 118 of the General Laws, including, but not limited to, updating 106 CMR 203.660.

              SECTION 34. The department of transitional assistance shall promulgate regulations under section 13 of chapter 118 of the General Laws, including, but not limited to, updating 106 CMR 203.400.

              SECTION 35. The department of transitional assistance shall promulgate regulations under section 13 of chapter 118 of the General Laws, including, but not limited to, updating 106 CMR 203.200.

              SECTION 36. Section 5 shall take effect 6 months after the effective date of this act.

              SECTION 37. Sections 4, 10, 11, 18 of this act, sections 31 and 33 of chapter 18 of the General Laws and sections 13, 15 and 16 of chapter 118 of the General Laws shall take effect 90 days after the effective date of this act. 

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