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PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 164
PRINTER'S NO. 994
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
6
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY REGAN, ARGALL, SCARNATI, CORMAN, RESCHENTHALER,
EICHELBERGER, McGARRIGLE, VULAKOVICH, FOLMER, AUMENT, WHITE,
DiSANTO, RAFFERTY, WAGNER, YUDICHAK, VOGEL, STEFANO AND
BROOKS, JANUARY 25, 2017
SENATOR BAKER, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AS AMENDED, JUNE 21,
2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31, No.21), entitled "An
act to consolidate, editorially revise, and codify the public
welfare laws of the Commonwealth," in public assistance,
further providing for definitions, for resources and for
verification system, prohibiting eligibility for individuals
convicted of drug distribution, prohibiting eligibility for
violators of sexual offender registration, further providing
for false statements, investigations and penalty and for
prohibited use of public assistance funds, providing for lost
access devices and further providing for violation and
penalty.
This act shall be referred to as the Public Assistance
Integrity Act.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 402 of the act of June 13, 1967 (P.L.31,
No.21), known as the Human Services Code, is amended by adding a
definition to read:
Section 402. Definitions.--As used in this article, unless
the content clearly indicates otherwise:
"Access device." An electronic benefit transfer card that is
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issued by the department to convey public assistance benefits to
a recipient.
* * *
Section 2. Section 432.5(c) of the act is amended and the
section is amended by adding a subsection to read:
Section 432.5. Resources.--* * *
(c) Other property in excess of two hundred fifty dollars
($250) for a single person applying for or receiving assistance
and other property in excess of one thousand dollars ($1,000)
for assistance groups with more than one person shall be
considered an available resource. The following items shall not
be considered an available resource, unless such consideration
is required under Federal law or regulations:
(1) Wedding and engagement rings, family heirlooms, clothing
and children's toys.
(2) Household furnishings, personal effects and other items
used to provide, equip, and maintain a household for the
applicant and recipient.
(3) Equipment and material which are necessary to implement
employment, rehabilitation, or self care plan for the applicant
or recipient.
(4) One motor vehicle with a fair market value, according to
a standard guide resource available to the automobile industry
and consumers that determines the value of new and used
automobiles, of less than thirty-five thousand dollars ($35,000)
FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($40,000) per assistance group.
(5) Retroactive assistance payments received as a result of
a prehearing conference or a fair hearing decision.
* * *
(g) For the purpose of determining a recipient's el igibility
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for assistance, individual lottery winnings of six hundred
dollars ($600) or more shall be considered an available
resource. Lottery winnings shall be calculated on a prorated
basis over a twelve-month period following receipt of such
winnings.
Section 3. Section 432.23(a) of the act is amended by adding
a paragraph to read:
Section 432.23. Verification System.--(a) The department
shall establish a computerized income eligibility verification
system to verify eligibility, eliminate duplication of
assistance and deter fraud: Provided, however, that the
department, in good faith, attempts to obtain the cooperation by
Federal authorities or other states, or both; and further
provided, that the data be accessible by the department. Subject
to section 432.19, prior to authorizing assistance under section
432.2(b) or continuing assistance under section 432.2(c), the
department shall match the social security number of each
applicant and recipient with the following:
* * *
(20) Lottery winners database maintained by the Pennsylvania
Lottery.
* * *
Section 4. The act is amended by adding sections to read:
Section 432.25. Eligibility for Individuals Convicted of
Drug Distribution.--(a) (1) Notwithstanding sections 405.1 and
432.24, to the extent permitted by Federal law, no individual
who, after the effective date of this section, has been
convicted under section 13(a)(14), (30) or (37) of the act of
April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as "The Controlled
Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act," when the amount of
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controlled substances involved is equivalent to or greater than
the amount of controlled substances set forth in 18 Pa.C.S. §
7508(a)(1)(iii), (2)(iii), (3)(iii), (4)(iii), (7)(iii) or (8)
(iii) (relating to drug trafficking sentencing and penalties)
while receiving public assistance shall be eligible for public
assistance unless:
(i) the individual is complying with or has already complied
with the obligations imposed by the criminal court; and
(ii) the individual is actively engaged in or has completed
a court-ordered substance abuse treatment program and
participates in periodic drug tests for ten years after the
drug-related conviction or for the duration of probation,
whichever is of longer duration.
(2) Upon a second or subsequent conviction under section
13(a)(14), (30) or (37) of "The Controlled Substance, Drug,
Device and Cosmetic Act" when the amount of controlled
substances involved is equivalent to or greater than the amount
of controlled substances set forth in 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508(a)(1)
(iii), (2)(iii), (3)(iii), (4)(iii), (7)(iii) or (8)(iii), the
individual shall no longer be eligible for public assistance.
(b) An individual who takes a drug test pursuant to
subsection (a)(1)(ii) and fails the test shall be subject to the
following sanctions:
(1) For failing a drug test the first time, an individual
shall be provided an assessment for addiction and provided
treatment for addiction as indicated by treatment criteria
developed by the Single State Authority on Drugs and Alcohol.
Assessments shall be conducted by the Single County Authority
(SCA) on Drugs and Alcohol or a designee. Treatment recommended
shall be provided by facilities licensed by the Division of Drug
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and Alcohol Program Licensure in the Department of Drug and
Alcohol Programs. Medicaid eligibility and determinations shall
be expedited to ensure access to assessment and addiction
treatment through Medicaid. If the individual cooperates with
the assessment and treatment, no penalty shall be imposed. If
the individual refuses to cooperate with the assessment and
treatment, the public assistance shall be suspended for six
months. The department must notify the individual of the failed
drug test no later than seven days after receipt of the drug
test results, and the suspension in public assistance will begin
on the next scheduled distribution of public assistance and for
every other distribution of public assistance until the
suspension period lapses. After suspension, an individual may
apply for public assistance but shall submit to a retest.
(2) For failing a drug test or retest the second time, the
individual shall no longer be entitled to public assistance.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to render
applicants or recipients who fail a drug test or drug retest
ineligible for:
(1) a Commonwealth program that pays the costs for
participating in a drug treatment program;
(2) a medical assistance program; or
(3) another benefit not included within the definition of
public assistance as defined under subsection (f).
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision in this section, the
department shall, in its sole discretion, determine when it is
cost effective to implement the provisions of this section.
(e) This section shall not apply to benefits which are
afforded to the minor children of those individuals who are
denied eligibility to receive public assistance benefits under
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subsection (a).
(f) As used in this section, the term "public assistance"
means Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), general
assistance and State supplemental assistance.
Section 432.26. Eligibility for Violators of Sexual Offender
Registration.--An individual required to register as a convicted
sexual offender pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.13 (relating to
applicability) who is not compliant with the registration
requirements imposed upon the individual by 42 Pa.C.S. §§
9799.15 (relating to period of registration), 9799.19 (relating
to initial registration) and 9799.25 (relating to verification
by sexual offenders and Pennsylvania State Police) shall not be
eligible for assistance until the individual can prove
compliance with the applicable registration requirements. The
eligibility for assistance of minor children living in the
household shall not be affected by an individual being deemed
ineligible for assistance by this section. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL
ISSUE REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO EFFECTUATE COMPLIANCE WITH THE
REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS IT CONSIDERS TRANSIENT
OR HOMELESS TO INCLUDE ANY ADDRESS OR LOCATION WHERE PUBLIC
ASSISTANCE FUNDS ARE TO BE SENT ON BEHALF OF AN ELIGIBLE
INDIVIDUAL.
Section 5. Sections 481(b) and 484 of the act are amended to
read:
Section 481. False Statements; Investigations; Penalty.--* *
*
(b) Any person violating subsection (a) commits the grade of
crime determined from the following schedule:
Amount of Assistance
or Food Stamps
Degree of Crime
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[$3,000 or more Felony of the third degree
$1,500 to $2,999 Misdemeanor of the first degree
$1,000 to $1,499 Misdemeanor of the second degree
$ 999 and under, or
an attempt to commit
any act prohibited in
subsection (a) Misdemeanor of the third degree
Pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 1515(a)(7) (relating to jurisdiction
and venue), jurisdiction over cases graded a misdemeanor of the
third degree under this section shall be vested in district
justices.]
$1,000 or more Felony of the third degree
$999 and under, or an
attempt to commit any
act prohibited in
subsection (a) Misdemeanor of the first degree
* * *
Section 484. Prohibited Use of Public Assistance Funds.--(a)
It shall be unlawful for any individual to [purchase]:
(1) Purchase liquor or alcohol with [a gift certificate or a
gift card which is in the form of an electronic benefits card
issued to convey public assistance benefits administered by the
Department of Public Welfare or a debit card issued to convey
support payment moneys] an access device.
(2) Purchase tobacco, or tobacco paraphernalia, with an
access device .
(3) (2) Withdraw funds from an access device for any
transaction in a casino or gaming establishment or any retail
establishment that provides adult-oriented entertainment in
which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for
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entertainment.
(b) It shall be unlawful for an entity licensed by the
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board or the Pennsylvania Liquor
Control Board to allow for the withdrawal of funds from an
access device or, through a point-of-sale transaction, to allow
the use of public assistance benefits administered by the
department.
(c) The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, in consultation with the
department, shall take appropriate measures to prevent the use
of public assistance funds for the purposes proscribed in this
section.
Section 6. The act is amended by adding a section to read:
Section 485. Lost Access Devices.--(a) A recipient who
requests the replacement of an access device shall pay a
replacement fee of five dollars ($5) for the first replacement
access device requested.
(b) A recipient who requests the replacement of additional
access devices shall pay a replacement fee of one hundred
dollars ($100) for the second and each subsequent replacement
access device requested.
(c) Payments made pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) shall
be made to the department prior to the issuance of any
replacement access device.
(d) The department shall notify the Office of Inspector
General of the name of any recipient who has requested
replacement of two or more access devices in a calendar year.
(E) THE DEPARTMENT SHALL NOT ASSESS A REPLACEMENT FEE IN
ACCORDANCE WITH SUBSECTION (A) OR (B) AND NO NOTIFICATION SHALL
BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBSECTION (C) IF:
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(1) A RECIPIENT IS ABLE TO PROVE THAT THE ACCESS DEVICE
ASSIGNED TO THE RECIPIENT HAS BEEN LOST IN POSTAGE OR HAS
OTHERWISE BEEN LOST BY THE DEPARTMENT.
(2) THE ACCESS DEVICE ASSIGNED TO A RECIPIENT BY THE
DEPARTMENT IS DAMAGED OR DOES NOT FUNCTION.
(3) A RECIPIENT'S ORIGINAL ACCESS DEVICE WAS LOST OR DAMAGED
IN A FIRE, FLOOD OR OTHER NATURAL DISASTER.
Section 7. Section 488 of the act is amended to read:
Section 488. Violation; Penalty.--(a) Any bank, industrial
bank, credit union, trust company, bank and trust company,
private banker, building and loan association, or other
financial institution doing business in Pennsylvania, or
employer who or which wilfully violates the provisions of
section 487 of this act, or who or which wilfully makes any
false or misleading statement in connection with any disclosure
required by said section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and
upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not
exceeding one thousand dollars ($1000).
(b) Any retailer that wilfully violates the provisions of
section 484 of this act commits a misdemeanor and shall, upon
conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding one
thousand dollars ($1000).
Section 8. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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