SENATE, No. 3586

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 7, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEPHEN M. SWEENEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Greenstein

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Allows individual to receive additional lifetime emergency assistance under certain circumstances, subject to annual allocation limits.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning assistance and amending P.L.1997, c.14.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 8 of P.L.1997, c.14 (C.44:10-51) is amended to read as follows:

     8.    a.   Emergency assistance shall be provided only to recipients of Work First New Jersey and persons receiving Supplemental Security Income pursuant to P.L.1973, c.256 (C.44:7-85 et seq.) in emergent situations.  The standards for eligibility shall be established by the commissioner by regulation, except that emergency assistance shall be granted to an individual or family in which the individual or family is in a state of homelessness or imminent homelessness that, according to a signed attestation by the applicant, is the result of imminent or demonstrated domestic violence that may imperil the health and safety of the individual or family.  Emergency assistance shall be provided for up to 12 cumulative months [;] , regardless of whether the recipient receives emergency assistance as a recipient of Work First New Jersey, as a recipient of Supplemental Security Income, or pursuant to a combination thereof, except that:

     (1)   the commissioner may provide for an extension of emergency assistance for up to six additional months to a family with dependent children, if the commissioner determines that a case of extreme hardship exists. The commissioner shall review each such case on a monthly basis during the six-month period and shall continue the emergency assistance only if the commissioner determines, based upon the monthly review, that the extreme hardship continues to exist. If the extreme hardship continues to exist at the end of the six-month period, the commissioner may provide an additional six months of emergency assistance to no more than 10 [%] percent of those families with dependent children which are receiving temporary rental assistance under the emergency assistance component of the program, based upon the most current data available;

     (2)   the commissioner may provide for an extension of emergency assistance for up to six additional months to no more than 10 [%] percent of single adults and couples without dependent children who are receiving temporary rental assistance under the emergency assistance component of the program, if the commissioner determines that a case of extreme hardship exists.  The commissioner shall review each such case on a monthly basis during the six-month period and shall continue the emergency assistance only if the commissioner determines, based upon the monthly review, that the extreme hardship continues to exist; [and]

     (3)   the commissioner shall provide for an extension of emergency assistance to an individual, if the commissioner determines that the individual is:

     (a)   the parent or other relative of a disabled child or other disabled dependent who must provide full-time care for the disabled child or other disabled dependent, as defined by regulation of the commissioner;

     (b)   permanently disabled, including, but not limited to, a person eligible for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s.401 et seq.), as defined by regulation of the commissioner;

     (c)   over 60 years of age; or

     (d)   chronically unemployable as defined by regulation of the commissioner.

     The commissioner shall review each individual's eligibility for emergency assistance every six months and shall continue the emergency assistance if the commissioner determines, based upon the review, that the individual continues to meet the criteria established pursuant to this paragraph (3); and

     (4)   (a)   subject to the requirements of subsection h. of this section, the commissioner shall provide that all months of emergency assistance received more than 84 months from the date of application for emergency assistance shall not be counted toward the cumulative 12-month limit of emergency assistance as required pursuant to this subsection.

     (b)   The Department of Human Services shall provide case management services to an individual receiving emergency assistance pursuant to this paragraph.  As used in this subparagraph:  “case management services” means personalized services to assist an individual or a family receiving emergency assistance pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph focusing on housing stability and delivery of services related to housing needs that can be addressed within a set time frame and available resources.

     (c)   In no case shall any individual provided emergency assistance pursuant to subparagraph (a) of this paragraph be provided a cumulative total of more than 24 months of emergency assistance pursuant to this subsection, provided that extensions of emergency assistance provided pursuant to paragraphs (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection shall not count toward the cumulative total of 24 months.

     [Any form of emergency assistance provided pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this section shall count toward the maximum period of emergency assistance allowed.]

     b.    A person receiving emergency assistance shall contribute from the person's income toward the payment of all emergency shelter arrangements, including temporary housing and temporary rental assistance, in accordance with regulations adopted by the commissioner.  As a condition of receipt of emergency assistance, a person shall be required to take all reasonable steps to end the person's dependency on emergency assistance and take all other actions required by the commissioner.

     c.     The commissioner shall adopt regulations to establish classifications for hotel or motel per diem rates in accordance with the level of enhanced services provided at a participating hotel or motel.

     d.    The provisions of this section shall apply to a person who receives general public assistance pursuant to P.L.1947, c.156 (C.44:8-107 et seq.) after the effective date of this act and is subsequently transferred directly into the Work First New Jersey program.

     e.     The commissioner shall require that identifying information for all individuals who receive emergency assistance pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall be entered into the Foothold Homeless Management Information System, or a similar electronic database as designated by the commissioner.  The identifying information shall include:  an individual identifier of the recipient; the amount and type of emergency assistance delivered to the recipient; and the time period in which emergency assistance was provided to the recipient.  The information shall be compiled by the Division of Family Development on an annual basis and submitted to the Legislature no later than April 1 of the current calendar year for expenditures in the prior calendar year.

     f.     Recipients of emergency assistance benefits shall be notified, in writing, of any termination or modification of the recipient's emergency assistance benefits at least 30 days prior to the termination or modification of the recipient's emergency assistance benefits.

     g.    Section 9 of P.L.1997, c.14 (C.44:10-52) shall apply to any denial, termination, or modification of emergency assistance benefits.

     h.    Of the total revenues appropriated to the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services during any fiscal year, no more than $20 million shall be available for the cost of emergency assistance provided pursuant to subparagraph (a) of paragraph (4) of subsection a. of this section, and no more than $5 million shall be available for the cost of case management services provided pursuant to subparagraph (b) of paragraph (4) of subsection a. of this section. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require that emergency assistance be awarded on any basis other than by the order in which applications are received.   In no case shall the monthly allotment of emergency assistance awarded to any individual be reduced based on the overall limit on emergency assistance funds established pursuant to this subsection, and no additional emergency assistance shall be awarded pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection a. of this section once the overall limit on emergency assistance funds established pursuant to this subsection has been reached.

     i.     The commissioner shall annually report to the Legislature, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), the number of recipients deemed ineligible for emergency assistance on the grounds that the individual has reached the maximum period of emergency assistance allowed pursuant to this section, and the total number of months of emergency assistance provided by the department pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

(cf: P.L.2018, c.164, s.1)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires that Work First New Jersey emergency assistance benefits received by an individual more than seven years prior to submitting an application for emergency assistance benefits will not be counted toward the cumulative 12-month limit on benefits that may be provided to an individual under the program.  However, the bill specifies that no individual may receive a cumulative total of more than 24 months of emergency services benefits pursuant to the bill, which cumulative total will not include extensions of benefits that are available under current law to: qualifying families with dependent children; single adults and couples without dependent children who are receiving temporary rental assistance; and individuals who are disabled, are providing full-time care to a disabled child or other dependent to whom they are related, are over 60 years of age, or are chronically unemployable.

     The Department of Human Services will be required to provide case management services to assist individuals and families who are receiving additional emergency assistance benefits under the bill.

     Of the total revenues appropriated to the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services during any fiscal year, no more than $20 million will be available for the cost of additional emergency assistance provided pursuant to the bill, and no more than $5 million will be available for case management services provided pursuant to the bill.  Emergency assistance is to be awarded based on the order in which applications are received.  In no case is the monthly allotment of emergency assistance awarded to any individual to be reduced based on the overall funding cap for emergency assistance established under the bill, and no additional emergency assistance is to be provided under the bill once the overall funding cap is reached.

     The Commissioner of Human Services will be required to annually report to the Legislature the number of emergency assistance cases terminated on the grounds that the recipient reached the maximum allowed period of emergency assistance, and the total number of months of emergency assistance provided by the department.