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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 16: Economic independence accounts

Section 16. (a) 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 in savings accounts, called economic independence accounts. The economic independence accounts shall be used to help recipients save for the first and last month of rent, a security deposit, costs related to education or training or any other expense that the department determines will aid a recipient in transitioning off of benefits, which may include health care costs or debt reduction. The economic independence accounts shall not be included as a countable asset under 106 CMR 204.120.

(b) For recipients of cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children who elect to participate in the savings 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 While a recipient is receiving benefits, funds in the economic independence account shall only be withdrawn for a department approved purpose. If a recipient, who is currently receiving benefits, uses funds from an economic independence account for any purpose other than a department approved purpose, 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 at least 30 days before their adoption by the department.