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HF 522

1st Engrossment - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 03/11/2019 03:37pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to human services; modifying MFIP sanctions and hardship extensions;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, sections 256J.425, subdivisions 1, 4, 5, 7;
256J.46, subdivision 1; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2018, sections 256J.425,
subdivision 6; 256J.46, subdivisions 2, 2a.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 256J.425, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Eligibility.

(a) To be eligible for a hardship extension, a participant in
an assistance unit subject to the time limit under section 256J.42, subdivision 1, must deleted text beginbe in
compliance in the participant's 60th counted month. For purposes of determining eligibility
for a hardship extension, a participant is in compliance in any month that the participant
has not been sanctioned. In order to maintain eligibility for any of the hardship extension
categories a participant shall
deleted text end develop and comply with either an employment plan or a
family stabilization services plan, whichever is appropriate.

(b) If one participant in a two-parent assistance unit is determined to be ineligible for a
hardship extension, the county shall give the assistance unit the option of disqualifying the
ineligible participant from MFIP. In that case, the assistance unit shall be treated as a
one-parent assistance unit.

deleted text begin (c) Prior to denying an extension, the county must review the sanction status and
determine whether the sanction is appropriate or if good cause exists under section 256J.57.
If the sanction was inappropriately applied or the participant is granted a good cause
exception before the end of month 60, the participant shall be considered for an extension.
deleted text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective November 1, 2020.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 256J.425, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Employed participants.

(a) An assistance unit subject to the time limit under
section 256J.42, subdivision 1, is eligible to receive assistance under a hardship extension
if the participant who reached the time limit belongs to:

(1) a one-parent assistance unit in which the participant is participating in work activities
for at least 30 hours per week, of which an average of at least 25 hours per week every
month are spent participating in employment;

(2) a two-parent assistance unit in which the participants are participating in work
activities for at least 55 hours per week, of which an average of at least 45 hours per week
every month are spent participating in employment; or

(3) an assistance unit in which a participant is participating in employment for fewer
hours than those specified in clause (1), and the participant submits verification from a
qualified professional, in a form acceptable to the commissioner, stating that the number
of hours the participant may work is limited due to illness or disability, as long as the
participant is participating in employment for at least the number of hours specified by the
qualified professional. The participant must be following the treatment recommendations
of the qualified professional providing the verification. The commissioner shall develop a
form to be completed and signed by the qualified professional, documenting the diagnosis
and any additional information necessary to document the functional limitations of the
participant that limit work hours. If the participant is part of a two-parent assistance unit,
the other parent must be treated as a one-parent assistance unit for purposes of meeting the
work requirements under this subdivision.

(b) For purposes of this section, employment means:

(1) unsubsidized employment under section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (1);

(2) subsidized employment under section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (2);

(3) on-the-job training under section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (2);

(4) an apprenticeship under section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (1);

(5) supported work under section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (2);

(6) a combination of clauses (1) to (5); or

(7) child care under section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (7), if it is in combination
with paid employment.

(c) If a participant is complying with a child protection plan under chapter 260C, the
number of hours required under the child protection plan count toward the number of hours
required under this subdivision.

(d) The county shall provide the opportunity for subsidized employment to participants
needing that type of employment within available appropriations.

deleted text begin (e) To be eligible for a hardship extension for employed participants under this
subdivision, a participant must be in compliance for at least ten out of the 12 months the
participant received MFIP immediately preceding the participant's 61st month on assistance.
If ten or fewer months of eligibility for TANF assistance remain at the time the participant
from another state applies for assistance, the participant must be in compliance every month.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (f)deleted text endnew text begin (e)new text end The employment plan developed under section 256J.521, subdivision 2, for
participants under this subdivision must contain at least the minimum number of hours
specified in paragraph (a) for the purpose of meeting the requirements for an extension
under this subdivision. The job counselor and the participant must sign the employment
plan to indicate agreement between the job counselor and the participant on the contents of
the plan.

deleted text begin (g)deleted text endnew text begin (f)new text end Participants who fail to meet the requirements in paragraph (a), without good
cause under section 256J.57, shall be sanctioned or deleted text beginpermanently disqualified under
subdivision 6. Good cause may only be granted for that portion of the month for which the
good cause reason applies
deleted text endnew text begin closednew text end. Participants must meet all remaining requirements in the
approved employment plan or be subject to sanction or deleted text beginpermanent disqualificationdeleted text endnew text begin closurenew text end.

deleted text begin (h)deleted text endnew text begin (g)new text end If the noncompliance with an employment plan is due to the involuntary loss of
employment, the participant is exempt from the hourly employment requirement under this
subdivision for one month. Participants must meet all remaining requirements in the approved
employment plan or be subject to sanction or deleted text beginpermanent disqualificationdeleted text endnew text begin closurenew text end.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective November 1, 2020.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 256J.425, subdivision 5, is amended to read:


Subd. 5.

Accrual of certain exempt months.

(a) Participants who are not eligible for
assistance under a hardship extension under this section shall be eligible for a hardship
extension for a period of time equal to the number of months that were counted toward the
60-month time limit while the participant was a caregiver with a child or an adult in the
household who meets the disability or medical criteria for home care services under section
256B.0651, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), or a home and community-based waiver services
program under chapter 256B, or meets the criteria for severe emotional disturbance under
section 245.4871, subdivision 6, or for serious and persistent mental illness under section
245.462, subdivision 20, paragraph (c), and who was subject to the requirements in section
256J.561, subdivision 2.

(b) A participant who received MFIP assistance that counted toward the 60-month time
limit while the participant met the state time limit exemption criteria under section 256J.42,
subdivision 4
or 5, is eligible for assistance under a hardship extension for a period of time
equal to the number of months that were counted toward the 60-month time limit while the
participant met the state time limit exemption criteria under section 256J.42, subdivision 4
or 5.

(c) After the accrued months have been exhausted, the county agency must determine
if the assistance unit is eligible for an extension under another extension category in
subdivision 2, 3, or 4.

(d) At the time of the case review, a county agency must explain to the participant the
basis for receiving a hardship extension based on the accrual of exempt months. The
participant must provide documentation necessary to enable the county agency to determine
whether the participant is eligible to receive a hardship extension based on the accrual of
exempt months or authorize a county agency to verify the information.

deleted text begin (e) While receiving extended MFIP assistance under this subdivision, a participant is
subject to the MFIP policies that apply to participants during the first 60 months of MFIP,
unless the participant is a member of a two-parent family in which one parent is extended
under subdivision 3 or 4. For two-parent families in which one parent is extended under
subdivision 3 or 4, the sanction provisions in subdivision 6 shall apply.
deleted text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective November 1, 2020.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 256J.425, subdivision 7, is amended to read:


Subd. 7.

Status of deleted text begindisqualified participantsdeleted text endnew text begin closed casesnew text end.

(a) An assistance unit that
is deleted text begindisqualifieddeleted text endnew text begin closednew text end under deleted text beginsubdivision 6, paragraph (a),deleted text endnew text begin section 256J.46new text end may be approved
for MFIP if the participant complies with MFIP program requirements and demonstrates
compliance for up to one month. No assistance shall be paid during this period.

(b) An assistance unit that is deleted text begindisqualifieddeleted text endnew text begin closednew text end under deleted text beginsubdivision 6, paragraph (a),deleted text endnew text begin
section 256J.46
new text end and that reapplies under paragraph (a) is subject to sanction under section
256J.46, subdivision 1, paragraph (c)deleted text begin, clause (1), for a first occurrence of noncompliance.
A subsequent occurrence of noncompliance results in a permanent disqualification
deleted text end.

deleted text begin (c) If one participant in a two-parent assistance unit receiving assistance under a hardship
extension under subdivision 3 or 4 is determined to be out of compliance with the
employment and training services requirements under sections 256J.521 to 256J.57, the
county shall give the assistance unit the option of disqualifying the noncompliant participant
from MFIP. In that case, the assistance unit shall be treated as a one-parent assistance unit
for the purposes of meeting the work requirements under subdivision 4. An applicant who
is disqualified from receiving assistance under this paragraph may reapply under paragraph
(a). If a participant is disqualified from MFIP under this subdivision a second time, the
participant is permanently disqualified from MFIP.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (d)deleted text endnew text begin (c)new text end Prior to a deleted text begindisqualificationdeleted text endnew text begin closurenew text end under this subdivision, a county agency must
review the participant's case to determine if the employment plan is still appropriate and
attempt to meet with the participant face-to-face. If a face-to-face meeting is not conducted,
the county agency must send the participant a notice of adverse action as provided in section
256J.31. During the face-to-face meeting, the county agency must:

(1) determine whether the continued noncompliance can be explained and mitigated by
providing a needed preemployment activity, as defined in section 256J.49, subdivision 13,
clause (9);

(2) determine whether the participant qualifies for a good cause exception under section
256J.57;

(3) inform the participant of the family violence waiver criteria and make appropriate
referrals if the waiver is requested;

(4) inform the participant of the participant's sanction status and explain the consequences
of continuing noncompliance;

(5) identify other resources that may be available to the participant to meet the needs of
the family; and

(6) inform the participant of the right to appeal under section 256J.40.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective November 1, 2020.
new text end

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 256J.46, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Participants not complying with program requirements.

(a) A
participant who fails without good cause under section 256J.57 to comply with the
requirements deleted text beginof this chapterdeleted text endnew text begin for child support and maintenance under section 256.741,
orientation under section 256J.45, or employment and training services under sections
256J.515 to 256J.57
new text enddeleted text begin, and who is not subject to a sanction under subdivision 2,deleted text end shall be
subject to a sanction as provided in this subdivision. Prior to the imposition of a sanction,
a county agency shall provide a notice of intent to sanction under section 256J.57, subdivision
2
, and, when applicable, a notice of adverse action as provided in section 256J.31new text begin, subdivision
5
new text end
.

(b) A sanction under this subdivision becomes effective the month following the month
in which a required notice is given. new text beginA sanction must not be imposed when a participant
comes into compliance with child support requirements under section 256.741 prior to the
effective date of the sanction.
new text endA sanction must not be imposed when a participant comes
into compliance with the requirements for orientation under section 256J.45 prior to the
effective date of the sanction. A sanction must not be imposed when a participant comes
into compliance with the requirements for employment and training services under sections
256J.515 to 256J.57 deleted text beginten daysdeleted text end prior to the effective date of the sanction. For purposes of this
subdivision, each month that a participant fails to comply with a requirement of this chapter
shall be considered a separate occurrence of noncompliance. If both participants in a
two-parent assistance unit are out of compliance at the same time, it is considered one
occurrence of noncompliance.

(c) Sanctions for noncompliance shall be imposed as follows:

deleted text begin (1) For the first occurrence of noncompliance by a participant in an assistance unit, the
assistance unit's grant shall be reduced by ten percent of the MFIP standard of need for an
assistance unit of the same size with the residual grant paid to the participant. The reduction
in the grant amount must be in effect for a minimum of one month and shall be removed in
the month following the month that the participant returns to compliance.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (2)deleted text endnew text begin (1)new text end For deleted text beginadeleted text endnew text begin the first,new text end second,new text begin andnew text end thirddeleted text begin, fourth, fifth, or sixthdeleted text endnew text begin consecutivenew text end occurrence of
noncompliance by a participant in an assistance unit, the assistance unit's shelter costs shall
be vendor paid up to the amount of the cash portion of the MFIP grant for which the
assistance unit is eligible. At county option, the assistance unit's utilities may also be vendor
paid up to the amount of the cash portion of the MFIP grant remaining after vendor payment
of the assistance unit's shelter costs. The residual amount of the grant after vendor payment,
if any, must be reduced by an amount equal to deleted text begin30deleted text endnew text begin 25new text end percent of the MFIPnew text begin cashnew text end deleted text beginstandard of
need for an
deleted text end new text beginreceived by thenew text end assistance unit deleted text beginof the same sizedeleted text end before the residual grant is paid
to the assistance unit. The reduction in the grant amount must be in effect for a minimum
of one month and shall be removed in the month following the month that the participant
in a one-parent assistance unit returns to compliancenew text begin, unless the requirements in paragraph
(g) are met
new text end. In a two-parent assistance unit, the grant reduction must be in effect for a
minimum of one month and shall be removed in the month following the month both
participants return to compliancenew text begin, unless the requirements in paragraph (g) are metnew text end. deleted text beginThe
vendor payment of shelter costs and, if applicable, utilities shall be removed six months
after the month in which the participant or participants return to compliance.
deleted text endnew text begin When an
assistance unit comes into compliance with the requirements in paragraph (a), shows good
cause under section 256J.57, or meets the criteria under section 256J.575, the sanction
occurrences for that assistance unit shall be considered to be at zero sanctions.
new text end If an assistance
unit is sanctioned under this clause, the participant's case file must be reviewed to determine
if the employment plan is still appropriate.

deleted text begin (d)deleted text endnew text begin (2)new text end For a deleted text beginseventhdeleted text endnew text begin fourth consecutivenew text end occurrence of noncompliance by a participant
in an assistance unit, or when the participants in a two-parent assistance unit have a total
of deleted text beginsevendeleted text endnew text begin four consecutivenew text end occurrences of noncompliance, the county agency shall close the
MFIP assistance unit's financial assistance case, deleted text beginbothdeleted text endnew text begin includingnew text end the cash and food portions,
and redetermine the family's deleted text begincontinueddeleted text end eligibility for deleted text beginfood supportdeleted text endnew text begin Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program
new text end payments. The MFIP case must remain closed for a minimum of one
full month. Before the case is closed, the county agency must review the participant's case
to determine if the employment plan is still appropriate and attempt to meet with the
participant face-to-face. The participant may bring an advocate to the face-to-face meeting.
If a face-to-face meeting is not conducted, the county agency must send the participant a
written notice that includes the information required under deleted text beginclause (1)deleted text endnew text begin item (i)new text end.

deleted text begin (1)deleted text endnew text begin (i)new text end During the face-to-face meeting, the county agency must:

deleted text begin (i)deleted text endnew text begin (A)new text end determine whether the continued noncompliance can be explained and mitigated
by providing a needed preemployment activity, as defined in section 256J.49, subdivision
13
, clause (9);

deleted text begin (ii)deleted text endnew text begin (B)new text end determine whether the participant qualifies for a good cause exception under
section 256J.57, or if the sanction is for noncooperation with child support requirements,
determine if the participant qualifies for a good cause exemption under section 256.741,
subdivision 10
;

deleted text begin (iii)deleted text endnew text begin (C)new text end determine whether the work activities in the employment plan are appropriate
based on the criteria in section 256J.521, subdivision 2 or 3;

deleted text begin (iv)deleted text endnew text begin (D)new text end determine whether the participant qualifies for the family violence waiver;

deleted text begin (v)deleted text endnew text begin (E)new text end inform the participant of the participant's sanction status and explain the
consequences of continuing noncompliance;

deleted text begin (vi)deleted text endnew text begin (F)new text end identify other resources that may be available to the participant to meet the needs
of the family; and

deleted text begin (vii)deleted text endnew text begin (G)new text end inform the participant of the right to appeal under section 256J.40.

deleted text begin (2)deleted text endnew text begin (ii)new text end If the lack of an identified activity or service can explain the noncompliance, the
county must work with the participant to provide the identified activity.

deleted text begin (3)deleted text endnew text begin (iii)new text end The grant must be restored to the full amount for which the assistance unit is
eligible retroactively to the first day of the month in which the participant was found to lack
preemployment activities or to qualify for a family violence waiver or for a good cause
exemption under section 256.741, subdivision 10, or 256J.57.

deleted text begin (e)deleted text endnew text begin (d)new text end For the purpose of applying sanctions under this section, onlynew text begin consecutive new text end
occurrences of noncompliance that occur after deleted text beginJuly 1, 2003deleted text endnew text begin November 1, 2020new text end, shall be
considerednew text begin when counting the number of sanction occurrences under this subdivision. Active
cases under sanction on November 1, 2020, shall be considered to have one sanction
occurrence
new text end. If the participant deleted text beginis in 30 percent sanction in the month this section takes effect,
that month counts as the first occurrence for purposes of applying the sanctions under this
section, but the sanction shall remain at 30 percent for that month
deleted text endnew text begin comes into compliance
with the requirements of paragraph (a), the assistance unit is considered to have zero
sanctions
new text end.

deleted text begin (f)deleted text endnew text begin (e)new text end An assistance unit whose case is closed under paragraph deleted text begin(d) or (g)deleted text endnew text begin (c), clause (2)new text end,
may reapply for MFIPnew text begin using the Minnesota transition application form (MTAF)new text end and shall
be eligible if the participant complies with MFIP program requirements and demonstrates
compliance for up to one month. No assistance shall be paid during this period.new text begin The county
shall not request a combined application form for a participant who has submitted a MTAF
within 30 days of closure. The county must process the MTAF according to section 256P.04,
except that the county agency shall not require additional verification of information in the
case file unless the information is inaccurate, questionable, or no longer current. When a
participant does not request MFIP within 30 days of closure, a new combined application
form must be completed for any subsequent request for MFIP.
new text end

deleted text begin (g)deleted text endnew text begin (f)new text end An assistance unit whose case has been closed for noncompliance, that reapplies
under paragraph deleted text begin(f)deleted text endnew text begin (e)new text end, is subject to sanction under paragraph (c)deleted text begin, clause (2), for a first
occurrence of noncompliance. Any subsequent occurrence of noncompliance shall result
in case closure under paragraph (d)
deleted text end.

new text begin (g) If an assistance unit is in compliance with child support and maintenance requirements
under section 256.741, orientation requirements under section 256J.45, and employment
and training requirements under sections 256J.515 to 256J.57 by the 15th of the month in
which the assistance unit has a 25 percent sanction imposed, the reduction to the assistance
unit's cash grant shall be restored retroactively.
new text end

new text begin (h) An assistance unit that fails to meet the requirements of this section, without good
cause under section 256J.57, shall be sanctioned or closed. Good cause may only be granted
for the month for which the good cause reason applies. An assistance unit must meet all
remaining requirements in the approved employment plan or be subject to sanction or
closure.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective November 1, 2020.
new text end

Sec. 6. new text beginREPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2018, sections 256J.425, subdivision 6; and 256J.46, subdivisions
2 and 2a,
new text end new text begin are repealed effective November 1, 2020.
new text end

APPENDIX

Repealed Minnesota Statutes: H0522-1

256J.425 HARDSHIP EXTENSIONS.

Subd. 6.

Sanctions for extended cases.

(a) If one or both participants in an assistance unit receiving assistance under subdivision 3 or 4 are not in compliance with the employment and training service requirements in sections 256J.521 to 256J.57, the sanctions under this subdivision apply. For a first occurrence of noncompliance, an assistance unit must be sanctioned under section 256J.46, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clause (1). For a second or third occurrence of noncompliance, the assistance unit must be sanctioned under section 256J.46, subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clause (2). For a fourth occurrence of noncompliance, the assistance unit is disqualified from MFIP. If a participant is determined to be out of compliance, the participant may claim a good cause exception under section 256J.57.

(b) If both participants in a two-parent assistance unit are out of compliance at the same time, it is considered one occurrence of noncompliance.

(c) When a parent in an extended two-parent assistance unit who has not used 60 months of assistance is out of compliance with the employment and training service requirements in sections 256J.521 to 256J.57, sanctions must be applied as specified in clauses (1) and (2).

(1) If the assistance unit is receiving assistance under subdivision 3 or 4, the assistance unit is subject to the sanction policy in this subdivision.

(2) If the assistance unit is receiving assistance under subdivision 2, the assistance unit is subject to the sanction policy in section 256J.46.

(d) If a two-parent assistance unit is extended under subdivision 3 or 4, and a parent who has not reached the 60-month time limit is out of compliance with the employment and training services requirements in sections 256J.521 to 256J.57 when the case is extended, the sanction in the 61st month is considered the first sanction for the purposes of applying the sanctions in this subdivision, except that the sanction amount shall be 30 percent.

256J.46 SANCTIONS.

Subd. 2.

Sanctions for refusal to cooperate with support requirements.

The grant of an MFIP caregiver who refuses to cooperate, as determined by the child support enforcement agency, with support requirements under section 256.741, shall be subject to sanction as specified in this subdivision and subdivision 1. For a first occurrence of noncooperation, the assistance unit's grant must be reduced by 30 percent of the applicable MFIP standard of need. Subsequent occurrences of noncooperation shall be subject to sanction under subdivision 1, paragraphs (c), clause (2), and (d). The residual amount of the grant, if any, must be paid to the caregiver. A sanction under this subdivision becomes effective the first month following the month in which a required notice is given. A sanction must not be imposed when a caregiver comes into compliance with the requirements under section 256.741 prior to the effective date of the sanction. The sanction shall be removed in the month following the month that the caregiver cooperates with the support requirements. Each month that an MFIP caregiver fails to comply with the requirements of section 256.741 must be considered a separate occurrence of noncompliance for the purpose of applying sanctions under subdivision 1, paragraphs (c), clause (2), and (d).

Subd. 2a.

Dual sanctions.

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions 1 and 2, for a participant subject to a sanction for refusal to comply with child support requirements under subdivision 2 and subject to a concurrent sanction for refusal to cooperate with other program requirements under subdivision 1, sanctions shall be imposed in the manner prescribed in this subdivision.

Any vendor payment of shelter costs or utilities under this subdivision must remain in effect for six months after the month in which the participant is no longer subject to sanction under subdivision 1.

(b) If the participant was subject to sanction for:

(1) noncompliance under subdivision 1 before being subject to sanction for noncooperation under subdivision 2; or

(2) noncooperation under subdivision 2 before being subject to sanction for noncompliance under subdivision 1, the participant is considered to have a second occurrence of noncompliance and shall be sanctioned as provided in subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clause (2). Each subsequent occurrence of noncompliance shall be considered one additional occurrence and shall be subject to the applicable level of sanction under subdivision 1. The requirement that the county conduct a review as specified in subdivision 1, paragraph (d), remains in effect.

(c) A participant who first becomes subject to sanction under both subdivisions 1 and 2 in the same month is subject to sanction as follows:

(1) in the first month of noncompliance and noncooperation, the participant's grant must be reduced by 30 percent of the applicable MFIP standard of need, with any residual amount paid to the participant;

(2) in the second and subsequent months of noncompliance and noncooperation, the participant shall be subject to the applicable level of sanction under subdivision 1.

The requirement that the county conduct a review as specified in subdivision 1, paragraph (d), remains in effect.

(d) A participant remains subject to sanction under subdivision 2 if the participant:

(1) returns to compliance and is no longer subject to sanction for noncompliance with section 256J.45 or sections 256J.515 to 256J.57; or

(2) has the sanction for noncompliance with section 256J.45 or sections 256J.515 to 256J.57 removed upon completion of the review under subdivision 1, paragraph (e).

A participant remains subject to the applicable level of sanction under subdivision 1 if the participant cooperates and is no longer subject to sanction under subdivision 2.