Senator CHRISTOPHER J. CONNORS
District 9 (Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean)
Increases personal needs allowance to $50 for those persons currently residing in nursing facilities, State hospitals, or State developmental centers.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning the personal needs allowance and amending P.L.1985, c.286 and P.L.1973, c.256.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1985, c.286 (C.30:4D-6a) is amended to read as follows:
1. Any person who is eligible for medical assistance and health services under P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-1 et seq.) and who receives medical assistance under subparagraph (4)(a) of subsection a. or under paragraph (11), (13) or (14) of subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-6), who is not eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1382(e)(1)(B), is entitled to a [$35.00] $50 monthly personal needs allowance.
(cf: P.L.1985, c.286, s.1)
2. Section 3 of P.L.1973, c.256 (C.44:7-87) is amended to read as follows:
3. The commissioner shall:
a. Enter into agreements with the government to secure the administration of supplementary payments by the government for such time and upon such conditions as the commissioner may in his discretion deem appropriate.
b. Promulgate, alter and amend such rules, regulations and directory orders as are necessary and proper:
(1) To implement the terms of the agreement with the government for the administration by the government of supplementary payments; and
(2) To secure social services for eligible persons, and for such other aged, blind or disabled persons as the commissioner may designate.
c. Transfer State or welfare board funds, or both, currently appropriated for this State's participation in the federal categorical assistance programs of "Old Age Assistance," R.S.44:7-3 to R.S.44:7-37; "Assistance for the Blind," P.L.1962, c.197 (C.44:7-43 to 44:7-49) and "Permanent and Total Disability Assistance," P.L.1951, c.139 (C.44:7-38 to 44:7-42) and any funds which may in the future be appropriated for the payment of supplementary payments, to the government in such amounts and at such times as the commissioner shall deem appropriate in order to provide for supplementary payments to eligible persons in this State.
d. Pay to the government such
funds as are necessary to reimburse the government's expenses in collecting
information needed for the State to make eligibility determinations for medical assistance under the "New Jersey Medical Assistance and Health Services Act," P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-1 to 30:4D-19).
e. Require welfare boards to perform such eligibility determinations as the commissioner may deem necessary for the continuation of the New Jersey Medical Assistance Program under the "New Jersey Medical Assistance and Health Services Act," P.L.1968, c.413. The commissioner shall pay to the counties a reasonable amount to reimburse the welfare boards for their expenses in making such eligibility determinations.
f. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.66.)
g. Take appropriate steps to secure maximum federal financial participation in providing assistance to eligible persons residing in residential health care facilities.
h. Ensure that any eligible person residing in a rooming or boarding house or residential health care facility has reserved to him a monthly amount, from payments received under the provisions of the act to which this act is a supplement or from any other income, as a personal needs allowance. The personal needs allowance may vary according to the type of facility in which an eligible person resides, but in no case shall be less than [$25.00] $50 per month.
i. Ensure that any eligible person who receives medical assistance under subparagraph (4)(a) of subsection a. or under paragraph (11), (13) or (14) of subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-6) receives [$10.00] $25 per month, in addition to benefits received pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1382(e)(1)(B). If the government cannot administer this [$10.00] monthly increase, the commissioner shall administer this increase and shall ensure that this increase is not considered income for Supplemental Security Income program purposes. However, if the government increases the benefit level under 42U.S.C.§1382(e)(1)(B), the commissioner shall allow the government to administer this increase and shall reduce its payment to an eligible recipient by an equal amount.
j. Assess welfare boards at the beginning of each fiscal year in the same proportion that the counties currently participate in the federal categorical assistance programs, in order to obtain the amount of each county's share of supplementary payments for eligible persons in this State, based upon the number of eligible persons in the county.
(cf: P.L.1991, c.466, s.1)
3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month following enactment, except that section 2 of this act shall be inoperative until the federal government approves the commissioner's administrative plan.
This bill increases, from $35 to $50, the monthly personal needs allowance (PNA) provided to the approximately 36,000 persons who reside in nursing facilities, State or county psychiatric hospitals, or State developmental centers and are eligible for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The PNA is used by these persons to purchase personal items such as clothing, grooming aids, newspapers, and other items that are not regularly provided by the facility in which they reside.
In the case of persons who receive SSI public assistance, the bill directs the Commissioner of Human Services to administer the increased PNA if the federal government cannot do so. The commissioner is further directed to ensure that the PNA increase is not counted as income for the SSI recipient and thereby deducted from the federal payment.
According to a Fiscal Estimate done in 2007, the increase of $15 from $35 to $50 a month for the approximately 36,000 persons eligible would total about $6.2 million, of which the State cost would be approximately $3.3 million.