SENATE, No. 2107
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED MAY 22, 1997
By Senators BASSANO, EWING and Singer
An Act concerning general public assistance and amending P.L.1997, c.37.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3 of P.L.1997, c.37 (C.44:10-73) is amended to read as follows:
3. a. The county agency shall be responsible for implementing the Work First New Jersey program in accordance with regulations adopted by the commissioner and ensuring that all eligible persons residing in the county have access to benefits; except as otherwise provided in this subsection.
(1) A municipality may continue to administer general public assistance for eligible single persons and couples without dependent children through the program in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1947, c.156 (C.44:8-107 et seq.), [and fund the administrative costs thereof] upon passage of a resolution. The resolution shall be passed no later than six months after the commissioner adopts regulations to effectuate these provisions. A copy of the resolution shall be filed with the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs within three days after its passage. The resolution shall include the reasons for the governing body's decision to administer the program.
(2) The Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs shall not include the municipality's general public assistance budget in its budget review and approval process.
(3) A municipality which administers general public assistance pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be [responsible] reimbursed by the State for all administrative costs of providing benefits to eligible single persons and couples without dependent children[. The State shall reimburse the municipality] and for 100% of cash assistance benefits paid to recipients of general public assistance.
(4) If a municipality fails to comply with the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection, the commissioner is authorized to require the transfer of its administration of general public assistance to the county.
(5) If the commissioner determines by financial or performance audit that a municipality has failed to administer benefits pursuant to this subsection in accordance with standards established by regulation of the commissioner, the commissioner is authorized to: take appropriate action pursuant to section 15 of P.L.1990, c.66 (C.30:1-12.2), recoup any funds identified by that audit, and require the transfer by the municipality of its administration of general public assistance to the county.
Prior to effecting such a transfer, the commissioner shall specify in writing to the municipality the financial or performance deficiencies determined by audit and provide the municipality with a reasonable opportunity to correct those deficiencies, in accordance with a process to be established by regulation of the commissioner. The regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the form and manner for submission of a plan of correction by the municipality which sets forth the specific activities and time periods within which the deficiencies are to be corrected. If the municipality fails to correct these deficiencies, the commissioner may proceed with the transfer.
(6) Within 30 days after the adoption of regulations to effectuate the purposes of this section, the commissioner shall notify each municipality in writing of its option to administer general public assistance pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection or transfer its administration of general public assistance to the county .
b. (1) The administration by county agencies of the program for eligible single persons and couples without dependent children shall commence January 1, 1998, in accordance with a schedule to be determined by the commissioner for the respective geographic areas of the State; except as provided in subsection a. of this section.
In accordance with procedures established by the commissioner, the State shall reimburse the county for 100% of the administrative costs incurred by the county agency with respect to the provision of cash assistance benefits to the eligible single adults and couples without dependent children residing in a municipality which has transferred its administration of general public administration to the county, up to the maximum amount allocated for that county by the commissioner within the limits of available funds.
(2) With respect to a municipality which has opted to continue to administer general public assistance pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section, the commissioner is authorized to: provide for the issuance of cash assistance benefits, in accordance with regulations adopted by the commissioner, by paper check, electronic benefit distribution, or other appropriate means; and to require the municipality to report information to the commissioner which the commissioner deems necessary to the proper administration of the program through electronic means, as prescribed by regulation of the commissioner.
c. The county agency and municipal welfare agency, and any other State, local, public or private entity or person working with the department, county agency or municipal welfare agency to effectuate the purposes of this act, shall collect and provide on a timely basis to the commissioner any information requested by the commissioner on the operation and administration of the program.
d. For the first 12 months following the enactment of P.L.1997, c.37 (C.44:10-71 et al.), a county agency shall not enter into a contract with a private nonprofit or a private for profit entity for eligibility determination functions and benefit computation services that the county agency's current employees are capable of performing.
(cf: P.L.1997, c.37, s.3)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill requires the State to reimburse a municipality which elects to administer its own general public assistance (GA) program under the Work First New Jersey program established pursuant to P.L.1997, c.38 (C.44:10-55 et seq.), rather than transfer its GA program to the county pursuant to P.L.1997, c.37 (C.44:10-71 et seq.), for the administrative costs of operating the program. Currently, under P.L.1997, c.37, a municipality which administers its own GA program is obligated to assume 100% of the administrative costs of providing GA benefits; however, if the municipality transfers its GA program to the county, the State will reimburse the county for 100% of the administrative costs of providing GA benefits to eligible residents of that municipality, up to the maximum amount allocated for that county by the Commissioner of Human Services within the limits of available funds.
This bill mandates that the State pay for the administrative costs of providing GA benefits, regardless of whether those benefits are administered by the municipality or the county.
Requires State to pay for administrative costs of general public assistance administered by municipalities.