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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

256D.05 Eligibility for general assistance.

Subdivision 1. Eligibility. (a) Each assistance unit with income and resources less than the standard of assistance established by the commissioner and with a member who is a resident of the state shall be eligible for and entitled to general assistance if the assistance unit is:

(1) a person who is suffering from a professionally certified permanent or temporary illness, injury, or incapacity which is expected to continue for more than 30 days and which prevents the person from obtaining or retaining employment;

(2) a person whose presence in the home on a substantially continuous basis is required because of the professionally certified illness, injury, incapacity, or the age of another member of the household;

(3) a person who has been placed in, and is residing in, a licensed or certified facility for purposes of physical or mental health or rehabilitation, or in an approved chemical dependency domiciliary facility, if the placement is based on illness or incapacity and is according to a plan developed or approved by the county agency through its director or designated representative;

(4) a person who resides in a shelter facility described in subdivision 3;

(5) a person not described in clause (1) or (3) who is diagnosed by a licensed physician, psychological practitioner, or other qualified professional, as mentally retarded or mentally ill, and that condition prevents the person from obtaining or retaining employment;

(6) a person who has an application pending for, or is appealing termination of benefits from, the social security disability program or the program of supplemental security income for the aged, blind, and disabled, provided the person has a professionally certified permanent or temporary illness, injury, or incapacity which is expected to continue for more than 30 days and which prevents the person from obtaining or retaining employment;

(7) a person who is unable to obtain or retain employment because advanced age significantly affects the person's ability to seek or engage in substantial work;

(8) a person who has been assessed by a vocational specialist and, in consultation with the county agency, has been determined to be unemployable for purposes of this clause; a person is considered employable if there exist positions of employment in the local labor market, regardless of the current availability of openings for those positions, that the person is capable of performing. The person's eligibility under this category must be reassessed at least annually. The county agency must provide notice to the person not later than 30 days before annual eligibility under this item ends, informing the person of the date annual eligibility will end and the need for vocational assessment if the person wishes to continue eligibility under this clause. For purposes of establishing eligibility under this clause, it is the applicant's or recipient's duty to obtain any needed vocational assessment;

(9) a person who is determined by the county agency, according to permanent rules adopted by the commissioner, to be learning disabled, provided that if a rehabilitation plan for the person is developed or approved by the county agency, the person is following the plan;

(10) a child under the age of 18 who is not living with a parent, stepparent, or legal custodian, and only if: the child is legally emancipated or living with an adult with the consent of an agency acting as a legal custodian; the child is at least 16 years of age and the general assistance grant is approved by the director of the county agency or a designated representative as a component of a social services case plan for the child; or the child is living with an adult with the consent of the child's legal custodian and the county agency. For purposes of this clause, "legally emancipated" means a person under the age of 18 years who: (i) has been married; (ii) is on active duty in the uniformed services of the United States; (iii) has been emancipated by a court of competent jurisdiction; or (iv) is otherwise considered emancipated under Minnesota law, and for whom county social services has not determined that a social services case plan is necessary, for reasons other than the child has failed or refuses to cooperate with the county agency in developing the plan;

(11) until March 31, 1998, a woman in the last trimester of pregnancy who does not qualify for aid to families with dependent children. A woman who is in the last trimester of pregnancy who is currently receiving aid to families with dependent children may be granted emergency general assistance to meet emergency needs;

(12) a person who is eligible for displaced homemaker services, programs, or assistance under section 268.96, but only if that person is enrolled as a full-time student;

(13) a person who lives more than four hours round-trip traveling time from any potential suitable employment;

(14) a person who is involved with protective or court-ordered services that prevent the applicant or recipient from working at least four hours per day;

(15)(i) until March 31, 1998, a family as defined in section 256D.02, subdivision 5, which is ineligible for the aid to families with dependent children program;

(ii) unless exempt under section 256D.051, subdivision 3a, each adult in the unit must participate in and cooperate with the food stamp employment and training program under section 256D.051 each month that the unit receives general assistance benefits. The recipient's participation must begin no later than the first day of the first full month following the determination of eligibility for general assistance benefits. To the extent of available resources, and with the county agency's consent, the recipient may voluntarily continue to participate in food stamp employment and training services for up to three additional consecutive months immediately following termination of general assistance benefits in order to complete the provisions of the recipient's employability development plan. If an adult member fails without good cause to participate in or cooperate with the food stamp employment and training program, the county agency shall concurrently terminate that person's eligibility for general assistance and food stamps using the notice, good cause, conciliation and termination procedures specified in section 256D.051;

(16) a person over age 18 whose primary language is not English and who is attending high school at least half time; or

(17) a person whose alcohol and drug addiction is a material factor that contributes to the person's disability; applicants who assert this clause as a basis for eligibility must be assessed by the county agency to determine if they are amenable to treatment; if the applicant is determined to be not amenable to treatment, but is otherwise eligible for benefits, then general assistance must be paid in vendor form, for the individual's shelter costs up to the limit of the grant amount, with the residual, if any, paid according to section 256D.09, subdivision 2a; if the applicant is determined to be amenable to treatment, then in order to receive benefits, the applicant must be in a treatment program or on a waiting list and the benefits must be paid in vendor form, for the individual's shelter costs, up to the limit of the grant amount, with the residual, if any, paid according to section 256D.09, subdivision 2a.

(b) As a condition of eligibility under paragraph (a), clauses (1), (3), (5), (8), and (9), the recipient must complete an interim assistance agreement and must apply for other maintenance benefits as specified in section 256D.06, subdivision 5, and must comply with efforts to determine the recipient's eligibility for those other maintenance benefits.

(c) The burden of providing documentation for a county agency to use to verify eligibility for general assistance or for exemption from the food stamp employment and training program is upon the applicant or recipient. The county agency shall use documents already in its possession to verify eligibility, and shall help the applicant or recipient obtain other existing verification necessary to determine eligibility which the applicant or recipient does not have and is unable to obtain.

Subd. 1a. Repealed, 1983 c 312 art 8 s 17

Subd. 2. Use of federal funds. Effective March 31, 1998, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, if a single adult or childless couple otherwise eligible for general assistance would, but for state statutory restriction or limitation, be eligible for a federally aided assistance program providing benefits equal to or greater than those of general assistance, the single adult or childless couple shall be eligible for that federally aided program and ineligible for general assistance; provided, however, that (a) nothing in this section shall be construed to extend eligibility for federally aided programs to persons not otherwise eligible for general assistance; (b) this section shall not be effective to the extent that federal law or regulation require new eligibility for federal programs to persons not otherwise eligible for general assistance; and (c) nothing in this section shall deny general assistance to a person otherwise eligible who is determined ineligible for a substitute federally aided program.

Subd. 3. Residents of shelter facilities. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions 1 and 2, general assistance payments shall be made for maintenance costs and security costs which are related to providing 24-hour staff coverage at the facility incurred as a result of residence in a secure crisis shelter, a housing network, or other shelter facilities which provide shelter services to women and their children who are being or have been assaulted by their spouses, other male relatives, or other males with whom they are residing or have resided in the past.

These payments shall be made directly to the shelter facility from general assistance funds on behalf of women and their children who are receiving, or who are eligible to receive, aid to families with dependent children or general assistance.

In determining eligibility of women and children for payment of general assistance under this subdivision, the asset limitations of the aid to families with dependent children program shall be applied. Payments to shelter facilities shall not affect the eligibility of individuals who reside in shelter facilities for aid to families with dependent children or general assistance or payments made to individuals who reside in shelter facilities through aid to families with dependent children or general assistance, except when required by federal law or regulation.

Subd. 3a. Shelter facility's right to appeal. A facility providing shelter for women and their children may appeal a decision of a county agency arising from a request for payment pursuant to subdivision 3. To appeal, the shelter facility shall submit a written appeal request within 30 days of receiving notice of the commissioner's refusal to issue payment pursuant to section 256.01, subdivision 2, paragraph (16). The appeal shall be heard by an administrative law judge according to sections 14.48 to 14.62, except that the report of the administrative law judge is binding on all parties. Within 15 days of receipt of a written appeal request from a shelter facility, the county agency shall file a request for assignment of a judge together with a notice of and order for hearing proposed to be issued. The record in the contested case proceeding shall not include any evidence, including records and documents, developed by the commissioner in the commissioner's review, pursuant to section 256.01, subdivision 2, paragraph (16).

Subd. 4. Consent to review records. No person shall be eligible for general assistance medical care unless the person has authorized the commissioner of human services in writing to examine all personal medical records developed while receiving general assistance for the purpose of investigating whether or not a vendor has submitted a claim for reimbursement, a cost report or a rate application which the vendor knows to be false in whole or in part, or in order to determine whether or not the medical care provided was medically necessary. The vendor of medical care shall receive notification from the commissioner at least 24 hours before the commissioner gains access to such records. A vendor of medical care shall require presentation of this authorization before the state agency can obtain access to such records unless the vendor already has received written authorization. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a vendor of medical care shall not be subject to any civil or criminal liability for providing access to medical records to the commissioner pursuant to this subdivision.

Subd. 5. Transfers of property. The equity value of real and personal property transferred without reasonable compensation within 12 months preceding the date of application for general assistance must be included in determining the resources of an assistance unit in the same manner as in the aid to families with dependent children program under chapter 256 or MFIP-S under chapter 256J.

Subd. 6. Assistance for persons without a verified residence. (a) For applicants or recipients of general assistance or emergency general assistance who do not have a verified residence address, the county agency may provide assistance using one or more of the following methods:

(1) the county agency may provide assistance in the form of vouchers or vendor payments and provide separate vouchers or vendor payments for food, shelter, and other needs;

(2) the county agency may divide the monthly assistance standard into weekly payments, whether in cash or by voucher or vendor payment. Nothing in this clause prevents the county agency from issuing voucher or vendor payments for emergency general assistance in an amount less than the standards of assistance;

(3) the county agency may determine eligibility and provide assistance on a weekly basis. Weekly assistance can be issued in cash or by voucher or vendor payment and can be determined either on the basis of actual need or by prorating the monthly assistance standard; and

(4) for the purposes of clauses (2) and (3), the county agency may divide the monthly assistance standard as follows: $50 per week for each of the first three weeks, and the remainder for the fourth week.

(b) An individual may verify a residence address by providing a driver's license; a state identification card; a statement by the landlord, apartment manager, or homeowner verifying that the individual is residing at the address; or other written documentation approved by the commissioner.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 256D.06, subdivision 1, if the county agency elects to provide assistance on a weekly payment basis, the agency may not provide assistance for a period during which no need is claimed by the individual unless the individual has good cause for failing to claim need. The individual must be notified, each time weekly assistance is provided, that subsequent weekly assistance will not be issued unless the individual claims need. The advance notice required under section 256D.10 does not apply to weekly assistance that is withheld because the individual failed to claim need without good cause.

(d) The county agency may not issue assistance on a weekly basis to an applicant or recipient who has professionally certified mental illness or mental retardation or a related condition, or to an assistance unit that includes minor children, unless requested by the assistance unit.

Subd. 7. Ineligibility for general assistance. No single adult or childless couple shall be eligible for general assistance during a period of disqualification because of sanctions.

Subd. 8. Citizenship. (a) Effective July 1, 1997, citizenship requirements for applicants and recipients under sections 256D.01 to 256D.03, subdivision 2, and 256D.04 to 256D.21 shall be determined the same as under section 256J.11, except that legal noncitizens who are applicants or recipients must have been residents of Minnesota on March 1, 1997. Legal noncitizens who arrive in Minnesota after March 1, 1997, and become elderly or disabled after that date, and are otherwise eligible for general assistance can receive benefits under this section. The income and assets of sponsors of noncitizens shall be deemed available to general assistance applicants and recipients according to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, Public Law Number 104-193, title IV, sections 421 and 422, and subsequently set out in federal rules.

(b) As a condition of eligibility, each legal adult noncitizen in the assistance unit who has resided in the country for four years or more and who is under 70 years of age must:

(1) be enrolled in a literacy class, English as a second language class, or a citizen class;

(2) be applying for admission to a literacy class, English as a second language class, and is on a waiting list;

(3) be in the process of applying for a waiver from the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the English language or civics requirements of the citizenship test;

(4) have submitted an application for citizenship to the Immigration and Naturalization Service and is waiting for a testing date or a subsequent swearing in ceremony; or

(5) have been denied citizenship due to a failure to pass the test after two attempts or because of an inability to understand the rights and responsibilities of becoming a United States citizen, as documented by the Immigration and Naturalization Service or the county.

If the county social service agency determines that a legal noncitizen subject to the requirements of this subdivision will require more than one year of English language training, then the requirements of clause (1) or (2) shall be imposed after the legal noncitizen has resided in the country for three years. Individuals who reside in a facility licensed under chapter 144A, 144D, 245A, or 256I are exempt from the requirements of this section.

HIST: 1973 c 650 art 21 s 5; 1974 c 297 s 2; 1977 c 428 s 7; 1980 c 349 s 10; 1980 c 544 s 1; 1981 c 360 art 2 s 36,54; 1Sp1981 c 4 art 4 s 22,23; 1982 c 633 s 8,9; 1983 c 312 art 1 s 27; 1984 c 654 art 5 s 58; 1Sp1985 c 9 art 2 s 59; 1Sp1985 c 14 art 9 s 75; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 270 s 2; 1987 c 384 art 3 s 5; 1987 c 403 art 2 s 106; art 3 s 31; 1989 c 282 art 5 s 50,51; 1990 c 568 art 4 s 84; 1990 c 611 s 3; 1991 c 255 s 19; 1991 c 292 art 5 s 32-35; 1992 c 513 art 8 s 18; 1Sp1993 c 1 art 6 s 30; 1995 c 178 art 2 s 30; art 6 s 1,17; 1995 c 207 art 5 s 7; 1996 c 465 art 3 s 32; 1997 c 85 art 3 s 30-34; 1997 c 203 art 12 s 5,6

* NOTE: The amendment to subdivision 7 by Laws 1997, chapter *85, article 3, section 33, is effective March 31, 1998. Laws *1997, chapter 85, article 3, section 57.