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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2958         FILED ON: 1/21/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1858

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Linda Dorcena Forry

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act  to promote financial stability and asset development .

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Linda Dorcena Forry

12th Suffolk

James B. Eldridge

 

Theodore C. Speliotis

13th Essex

Antonio F. D. Cabral

13th Bristol

Michael J. Moran

18th Suffolk

Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex

David B. Sullivan

6th Bristol

Ann-Margaret Ferrante

5th Essex

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Gloria L. Fox

7th Suffolk

Michael D. Brady

9th Plymouth

Byron Rushing

9th Suffolk

Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Alice K. Wolf

25th Middlesex

Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex

Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.

34th Middlesex

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Patricia D. Jehlen

 

Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex

Christine E. Canavan

10th Plymouth

Sonia Chang-Diaz

 

Carlos Henriquez

5th Suffolk

Kevin G. Honan

17th Suffolk

Thomas A. Golden, Jr.

16th Middlesex

Ellen Story

3rd Hampshire

Marcos A. Devers

16th Essex

Russell E. Holmes

6th Suffolk

Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 2958        FILED ON: 1/21/2011

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1858

By Ms. Forry of Boston, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1858) of Linda Dorcena Forry and others for legislation to promote asset development in transitional assistance programs.  Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE SENATE, NO. 38 OF 2009-2010.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Eleven

_______________

 

An Act  to promote financial stability and asset development .
 

              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. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary and to the maximum extent possible in light of the need to preserve available sources of federal funding, it is the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage low-income parents, including those who receive assistance under the program of transitional aid to families with dependent children, to obtain the vocational educational training they need to obtain and retain good paying jobs with benefits that will enable them to support their families in the longer term. Consistent with this policy, the department of transitional assistance shall:

              a) in collaboration with the workforce development system and the community college system, maintain in each local office of the department an up-to-date listing and description of all vocational educational programs within the relevant geographic region that can be accessed at little or no cost to the individual, including adult basic education, English for speakers of other languages, skills training, certificate programs, and higher education programs;

              b) at least 30 days before an individual becomes subject to the work program requirement pursuant to section 110 (j) of chapter 5 of the acts of 1995 and before completion of any Employment Development Plan pursuant to section 110 (h) of said chapter 5, (i) inform the individual orally and in writing that said work program requirement may be met by participation in vocational educational programs, including adult basic education, English for speakers of other languages, skills training, certificate programs, and higher education programs, (ii) inform the individual of all vocational educational programs available in the relevant geographic region that can be accessed at little or no cost to the individual, and (iii) inform that individual of the policies described in subsections (e) and (f) of this section;

              c) at least 30 days before an individual becomes subject to the work program requirement pursuant to section 110 (j) of chapter 5 of the acts of 1995 and before completion of any Employment Development Plan pursuant to section 110 (h) of said chapter 5, provide the individual with counseling on how to access vocational educational training without incurring debt, including but not limited to information on the availability of funding for such programs through the Employment Services Program, the Workforce Investment Act, PELL grants, the Educational Rewards program, the Department of Education, and appropriate referrals to such vocational educational training;

              d) use funds appropriated for the department’s Employment Services Program to expand the availability of programs that integrate skills training with adult basic education for those without a high school diploma and/or English for speakers of other language instruction for those with limited English proficiency, including but not limited to programs at community colleges;

              e) encourage and allow individuals to satisfy their work program requirements pursuant to said section 110(j), in whole or in part and throughout their periods of time limited benefits and any extension periods, by participating in vocational educational training programs; and

              f) grant extensions of the time limit to enable individuals to complete such programs if they are making satisfactory progress toward an achievable vocational goal.

              SECTION 2. Subsection (b) of section 110 of chapter 5 of the acts of 1995, as most recently amended by section 308 of chapter 159 of the acts of 2000, is further amended by striking out said subsection and inserting in place thereof the following new subsection:

              (b) In order to encourage asset development, promote employment, prevent homelessness, and simplify administration, otherwise eligible families shall not be subject to a resource limit.

              SECTION 3. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, in order to encourage asset development, promote employment, prevent homelessness, and simplify administration, persons otherwise eligible for the program of emergency aid to elders, disabled and children under chapter 117A of the General Laws shall not be subject to a resource limit.

              SECTION 4.  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, on or before October 1, 2011, the department of transitional assistance shall establish a generally applicable work expense deduction within the program of transitional aid to families with dependent children at a level intended to cover work expenses incurred by working recipients, including but not limited to payroll deductions, transportation, and clothing expenses. Said work expense deduction shall initially be no less than $250 and shall thereafter be adjusted annually to reflect inflation.

              SECTION 5.  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, payments under state or private work study programs and state grants for education or training shall not be counted as income or a resource in determining eligibility for or benefits levels under the program of emergency aid to elders, disabled and children under chapter 117A of the General Laws and the program of transitional aid to families with dependent children under chapter 118 of the General Laws.

              SECTION 6. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary and in order to encourage asset development, promote employment, and prevent homelessness, with respect to the programs of emergency aid to elders, disabled and children under chapter 117A of the general laws and transitional aid to families with dependent children under chapter 118 of the General Laws, the department of transitional assistance shall treat as noncountable with regard to any maximum countable resource limits and the lump sum income rule up to $10,000 that has been expended or is placed in an Individual Asset Account for later expenditure for costs related to education or training, transportation to work or to other activities of daily living, obtaining or retaining or maintaining housing, debt reduction, starting a business, health care, basic household necessities, or other responsible expenses as identified by the department.

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