Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB2373
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Full Text of HB2373  94th General Assembly


Rep. William Delgado

Filed: 4/5/2005





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2     AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 2373, AS AMENDED, by
3 replacing everything after the enacting clause with the
4 following:
5     "Section 5. The Illinois Public Aid Code is amended by
6 changing Sections 11-4, 11-6, 11-15, 11-16, 11-28, and 12-4.4
7 and by adding Section 12-4.7e as follows:
8     (305 ILCS 5/11-4)  (from Ch. 23, par. 11-4)
9     Sec. 11-4. Applications; assistance in making
10 applications. An application for public assistance shall be
11 deemed an application for all such benefits to which any person
12 may be entitled except to the extent that the applicant
13 expressly declines in writing to apply for particular benefits.
14 The Illinois Department shall provide information in writing
15 about all benefits provided under this Code to any person
16 seeking public assistance. The Illinois Department shall also
17 provide information in writing and orally to all applicants
18 about an election to have financial aid deposited directly in a
19 recipient's savings account or checking account or in any
20 electronic benefits account or accounts as provided in Section
21 11-3.1, to the extent that those elections are actually
22 available, including information on any programs administered
23 by the State Treasurer to facilitate or encourage the
24 distribution of financial aid by direct deposit or electronic



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1 benefits transfer. The Illinois Department shall determine the
2 applicant's eligibility for cash assistance, medical
3 assistance and food stamps unless the applicant expressly
4 declines in writing to apply for particular benefits. The
5 Illinois Department shall adopt policies and procedures to
6 facilitate timely changes between programs that result from
7 changes in categorical eligibility factors.
8     The County departments, local governmental units and the
9 Illinois Department shall assist applicants for public
10 assistance to properly complete their applications. Such
11 assistance shall include, but not be limited to, assistance in
12 securing evidence in support of their eligibility.
13     The application process described in this Section and in
14 Sections 11-5, 11-6, and 11-15 shall be completed before and
15 separately from the provision of and coordination of social and
16 employment services under Article IX or IXA. Service
17 coordination under those Articles or otherwise shall begin no
18 later than 2 weeks after a favorable determination on an
19 application for assistance. The Illinois Department may
20 provide by rule for exceptions to this requirement with respect
21 to programs and services designed to address emergencies. The
22 Department shall modify application forms and procedures, as
23 necessary, to conform to this paragraph.
24 (Source: P.A. 88-232.)
25     (305 ILCS 5/11-6)  (from Ch. 23, par. 11-6)
26     Sec. 11-6. Decisions on applications. Within 10 days after
27 a decision is reached on an application, the applicant shall be
28 notified in writing of the decision. The Department shall
29 consider eligibility for, and the notice shall contain a
30 decision on, each of the following assistance programs for
31 which the client may be eligible based on the information
32 contained in the application: Temporary Assistance to Needy
33 Families, Medical Assistance, Aid to the Aged, Blind and



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1 Disabled, General Assistance (in the City of Chicago), and food
2 stamps. No decision shall be required for any assistance
3 program for which the applicant has expressly declined in
4 writing to apply. If the applicant is determined to be
5 eligible, the notice shall include a statement of the amount of
6 financial aid to be provided and a statement of the reasons for
7 any partial grant amounts. If the applicant is determined
8 ineligible for any public assistance the notice shall include
9 the reason why the applicant is ineligible. If the application
10 for any public assistance is denied, the notice shall include a
11 statement defining the applicant's right to appeal the
12 decision. The Illinois Department, by rule, shall determine the
13 date on which assistance shall begin for applicants determined
14 eligible, but that date shall be no later than the date on
15 which eligibility is determined or . That date may be no later
16 than 30 days after the date of the application, whichever is
17 earlier.
18     Under no circumstances may any application be denied solely
19 to meet an application-processing deadline.
20 (Source: P.A. 90-17, eff. 7-1-97.)
21     (305 ILCS 5/11-15)  (from Ch. 23, par. 11-15)
22     Sec. 11-15. Application requirements.
23     (1) An application for financial aid shall be filed in
24 writing by the person requesting aid and, in the case of a
25 request for family aid, by the head of that family, except as
26 otherwise permitted in paragraph (2). Applications for aid
27 under Articles III, IV, and V shall be filed in writing with
28 the county department of the county in which the applicant
29 resides in the manner prescribed by the Illinois Department.
30 Applications for aid under Article VI shall be filed in writing
31 with the local governmental unit upon forms approved by the
32 Illinois Department.
33     Each applicant shall provide information as to the amount



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1 of property, real and personal, owned by him or her within the
2 period of time preceding the application as required under
3 Sections 3-1.3, 4-1.11, and 5-2.1 of this Code. The applicant
4 shall also furnish information concerning all income, money
5 contributions, and other support from any source, and the
6 beneficiary and the amount or cash surrender or loan value of
7 all insurance policies held by himself or herself or any member
8 of his family for whom aid is requested.
9     (2) An application, in all instances to be in writing, may
10 be filed in behalf of a person considered to be in need of
11 financial aid under Articles III, IV, V, or VI only if the
12 person
13         (a) has been adjudged to be under legal disability; or
14         (b) is unable because of minority or physical or mental
15     disability, to execute the application; or
16         (c) in the case of need for funeral and burial, died
17     before an application was filed and the application is
18     filed not more than 30 days after the person's death,
19     excluding the day on which the death occurred.
20     Applications in behalf of persons specified in (a) and (b)
21 shall be filed by the applicant's legal guardian or, if a
22 guardian has not been appointed or the applicant has no legal
23 guardian or the guardian is not available, by a relative or
24 other person, acceptable under the rules of the Illinois
25 Department, who is able to furnish the required information.
26 Applications in behalf of persons specified in (c) shall be
27 filed by any next of kin of the deceased who is not under legal
28 disability or, if there are no such next of kin or they are
29 unknown or unavailable, by a person, acceptable under the rules
30 of the Illinois Department, who is able to furnish the required
31 information.
32     (3) The application shall contain a written declaration to
33 be signed by the applicant, or in behalf of the applicant by a
34 person qualified under paragraph (2), in substantially the



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1 following form, the parenthetical references being applicable
2 to an application filed by a person in behalf of the applicant:
3     "I declare under penalties of perjury that I have examined
4 this form and all accompanying statements or documents
5 pertaining to the income and resources of myself (the
6 applicant) or any member of my family (the applicant's family)
7 included in this application for aid, or pertaining to any
8 other matter having bearing upon my (the applicant's)
9 eligibility for aid, and to the best of my knowledge and belief
10 the information supplied is true, correct, and complete".
11     The Department shall provide by rule for a system under
12 which signatures on applications may be submitted in person or
13 by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission. Any such
14 signature shall be sufficient to commence the application
15 process regardless of any requirement for subsequent
16 verification that the Department may adopt. The Department
17 shall ensure that each client who visits a Department office,
18 authorized agent, or community-based organization partnering
19 with the Department to apply for benefits is provided an
20 application and requested to complete his or her name and the
21 date and to sign the application to begin the application
22 process that same day.
23     (4) If an application for financial aid is filed for a
24 family, and any person in that family is under 18 years of age,
25 the application shall be accompanied by the following for each
26 such person under 18 years of age:
27         (i) a copy of the person's birth certificate, or
28         (ii) other reliable proof, as determined by the
29     Department, of the person's identity and age.
30     The Department may allow an applicant to establish age and
31 citizenship by declaring the information and providing a Social
32 Security Number, provided that applicants who are applying for
33 family members and not for themselves may not be required to
34 provide a Social Security Number.



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1     (5) The Illinois Department shall provide information to
2 all families, orally by an intake worker and in writing when
3 the application is filed, about the availability and location
4 of immunization services.
5     (6) An application for any assistance under this Code may
6 be filed at any local office of the Department of Human
7 Services. Following the initial eligibility determination, a
8 recipient may choose to have his or her case assigned to any
9 Department office. Within 5 days after the assignment of a
10 case, the Department shall assign a caseworker, make
11 appropriate case entries into the computer system, and generate
12 a letter to the recipient containing the name and contact
13 information for the caseworker.
14 (Source: P.A. 92-111, eff. 1-1-02.)
15     (305 ILCS 5/11-16)  (from Ch. 23, par. 11-16)
16     Sec. 11-16. Changes in grants; cancellations, revocations,
17 suspensions.
18     (a) All grants of financial aid under this Code shall be
19 considered as frequently as may be required by the rules of the
20 Illinois Department. The Department of Public Aid shall
21 consider grants of financial aid to children who are eligible
22 under Article V of this Code at least annually and shall take
23 into account those reports filed, or required to be filed,
24 pursuant to Sections 11-18 and 11-19. The Department shall
25 accept reports of the income of families eligible under Article
26 V made under this Section or Section 11-18 or 11-19 without
27 requiring supporting documentation such as pay stubs. The
28 Department may conduct subsequent investigations of the
29 accuracy of those reports through computer cross-matches or
30 other means, however. To the extent an in-person visit is not
31 required by law, the Department shall, by rule, provide
32 procedures by which recipients under any program covered by
33 this Code will have the option to complete eligibility



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1 redeterminations and provide the reports required pursuant to
2 Sections 11-18 and 11-19 in person or by mail, telephone,
3 facsimile, or electronic transmission.
4     After such investigation as may be necessary, the amount
5 and manner of giving aid may be changed or the aid may be
6 entirely withdrawn if the County Department, local
7 governmental unit, or Illinois Department finds that the
8 recipient's circumstances have altered sufficiently to warrant
9 such action. Financial aid may at any time be canceled or
10 revoked for cause or suspended for such period as may be
11 proper.
12     On and after January 1, 2006, (i) to the extent permitted
13 by federal law, regulations, and requirements for maximum
14 federal financial participation and (ii) to the extent that it
15 does not result in reduced benefits for program participants,
16 the Department of Public Aid and the Department of Human
17 Services shall coordinate redeterminations of eligibility for
18 multiple programs, and, to that end, the Departments shall
19 utilize information from an eligibility redetermination for
20 any means-tested benefit program administered by either
21 Department to simultaneously redetermine eligibility for all
22 other benefit programs administered by either Department in
23 which the recipient participates.
24     (b) Whenever any such grant of financial aid is cancelled,
25 revoked, reduced, or terminated because of the failure of the
26 recipient to cooperate with the Department, including but not
27 limited to the failure to keep an appointment, attend a
28 meeting, or produce proof or verification of eligibility or
29 need, the grant shall be reinstated in full, retroactive to the
30 date of the change in or termination of the grant, provided
31 that within 10 working days after the first day the financial
32 aid would have been available, the recipient cooperates with
33 the Department and is not otherwise ineligible for benefits for
34 the period in question. This subsection (b) does not apply to



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1 sanctions imposed for the failure of any recipient to
2 participate as required in the child support enforcement
3 program or in any educational, training, or employment program
4 under this Code or any other sanction under Section 4-21, nor
5 does this subsection (b) apply to any cancellation, revocation,
6 reduction, termination, or sanction imposed for the failure of
7 any recipient to cooperate in the monthly reporting process or
8 the quarterly reporting process.
9 (Source: P.A. 91-357, eff. 7-29-99; 92-597, eff. 6-28-02.)
10     (305 ILCS 5/11-28)  (from Ch. 23, par. 11-28)
11     Sec. 11-28. Recipient Bill of Rights. The Illinois
12 Department shall promulgate a Bill of Rights for Public Aid
13 recipients which provides basic information about financial
14 and medical assistance and other social services which are
15 available through the Illinois Department and the rights of
16 recipients of and applicants for assistance or social services
17 to due process in reviewing and contesting decisions or actions
18 of the Illinois Department or a County Department. The Bill of
19 Rights also shall contain provisions to insure that all
20 recipients and applicants are treated with dignity and
21 fairness. Copies of the Bill of Rights shall be prominently
22 posted in each County Department and other local service office
23 maintained by the Illinois Department or a County Department so
24 that it will be legible to recipients and applicants.
25     The Department of Human Services shall create a telephone
26 hotline of recorded messages containing the information in the
27 recipient Bill of Rights and any other important information
28 about programs and policies and client rights and
29 responsibilities. The messages shall be in English and Spanish,
30 and the hotline shall also provide for a referral for
31 translation assistance for those whose primary language is
32 neither English nor Spanish.
33 (Source: P.A. 87-528.)



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1     (305 ILCS 5/12-4.4)  (from Ch. 23, par. 12-4.4)
2     Sec. 12-4.4. Administration of federally-aided programs.
3 Direct County Departments of Public Aid in the administration
4 of the federally funded food stamp program, programs to aid
5 refugees and Articles III, IV, and V of this Code. To the
6 extent allowed by federal law governing the food stamp program,
7 the Department shall by rule provide that eligibility periods
8 for food stamp cases with earned income shall cover a full year
9 after the initial application is approved and shall undergo
10 eligibility recertification at one-year intervals thereafter.
11 If, within the year of eligibility, the circumstances of the
12 recipient change, resulting in eligibility for increased
13 benefits, the recipient may request an increase in benefits
14 form the Department based on the changed circumstances. This
15 request need not be in writing. The Department may provide by
16 rule for categories of exceptions involving more frequent
17 recertifications to minimize errors or fraud. The Department
18 may, by rule, allow for a longer period of time between
19 eligibility redeterminations for an individual, household, or
20 family that is eligible for a longer certification period under
21 federal law or waiver. To the extent allowed by federal law,
22 the Department shall offer clients the option to complete any
23 necessary eligibility or recertification interviews for the
24 food stamp program in person or by telephone. The Department of
25 Human Services shall conduct these interviews in the manner
26 chosen by the client, except that the Department may specify by
27 rule other exceptions indicated by an applicant's or
28 recipient's circumstances that require an in-person interview.
29     The Illinois Department of Human Services shall operate a
30 Food Stamp Employment and Training (FSE&T) program in
31 compliance with federal law. The FSE&T program will have an
32 Earnfare component. The Earnfare component shall be available
33 in selected geographic areas based on criteria established by



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1 the Illinois Department of Human Services by rule. Participants
2 in Earnfare will, to the extent resources allow, earn their
3 assistance. Participation in the Earnfare program is
4 voluntary, except when ordered by a court of competent
5 jurisdiction. Eligibility for Earnfare may be limited to only 6
6 months out of any 12 consecutive month period. Clients are not
7 entitled to be placed in an Earnfare slot. Earnfare slots shall
8 be made available only as resources permit. Earnfare shall be
9 available to persons receiving food stamps who meet eligibility
10 criteria established by the Illinois Department of Human
11 Services by rule. The Illinois Department may, by rule, extend
12 the Earnfare Program to clients who do not receive food stamps.
13 Receipt of food stamps is not an eligibility requirement of
14 Earnfare when a court of competent jurisdiction orders an
15 individual to participate in the Earnfare Program. To the
16 extent resources permit, the Earnfare program will allow
17 participants to engage in work-related activities to earn
18 monthly financial assistance payments and to improve
19 participants' employability in order for them to succeed in
20 obtaining employment. The Illinois Department of Human
21 Services may enter into contracts with other public agencies
22 including State agencies, with local governmental units, and
23 with not-for-profit community based organizations to carry out
24 the elements of the Program that the Department of Human
25 Services deems appropriate.
26     The Earnfare Program shall contain the following elements:
27         (1) To the extent resources allow and slots exist, the
28     Illinois Department of Human Services shall refer
29     recipients of food stamp assistance who meet eligibility
30     criteria, as established by rule. Receipt of food stamps is
31     not an eligibility requirement of Earnfare when a court of
32     competent jurisdiction orders an individual to participate
33     in the Earnfare Program.
34         (2) Persons participating in Earnfare shall engage in



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1     employment assigned activities equal to the amount of the
2     food stamp benefits divided by the federal minimum wage and
3     subsequently shall earn minimum wage assistance for each
4     additional hour of performance in Earnfare activity.
5     Earnfare participants shall be offered the opportunity to
6     earn up to $154. The Department of Human Services may
7     establish a higher amount by rule provided resources
8     permit. If a court of competent jurisdiction orders an
9     individual to participate in the Earnfare program, hours
10     engaged in employment assigned activities shall first be
11     applied for a $50 payment made to the custodial parent as a
12     support obligation. If the individual receives food
13     stamps, the individual shall engage in employment assigned
14     activities equal to the amount of the food stamp benefits
15     divided by the federal minimum wage and subsequently shall
16     earn minimum wage assistance for each additional hour of
17     performance in Earnfare activity.
18         (3) To the extent appropriate slots are available, the
19     Illinois Department of Human Services shall assign
20     Earnfare participants to Earnfare activities based on an
21     assessment of the person's age, literacy, education,
22     educational achievement, job training, work experience,
23     and recent institutionalization, whenever these factors
24     are known to the Department of Human Services or to the
25     contractor and are relevant to the individual's success in
26     carrying out the assigned activities and in ultimately
27     obtaining employment.
28         (4) The Department of Human Services shall consider the
29     participant's preferences and personal employment goals in
30     making assignments to the extent administratively possible
31     and to the extent that resources allow.
32         (5) The Department of Human Services may enter into
33     cooperative agreements with local governmental units
34     (which may, in turn, enter into agreements with



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1     not-for-profit community based organizations): with other
2     public, including State, agencies; directly with
3     not-for-profit community based organizations, and with
4     private employers to create Earnfare activities for
5     program participants.
6         (6) To the extent resources permit, the Department of
7     Human Services shall provide the Earnfare participants
8     with the costs of transportation in looking for work and in
9     getting to and from the assigned Earnfare job site and
10     initial expenses of employment.
11         (7) All income and asset limitations of the Federal
12     Food Stamp Program will govern continued Earnfare
13     participation, except that court ordered participants
14     shall participate for 6 months unless the court orders
15     otherwise.
16         (8) Earnfare participants shall not displace or
17     substitute for regular, full time or part time employees,
18     regardless of whether or not the employee is currently
19     working, on a leave of absence or in a position or similar
20     position where a layoff has taken place or the employer has
21     terminated the employment of any regular employee or
22     otherwise reduced its workforce with the effect of filling
23     the vacancy so created with a participant subsidized under
24     this program, or is or has been involved in a labor dispute
25     between a labor organization and the sponsor.
26         (9) Persons who fail to cooperate with the FSE&T
27     program shall become ineligible for food stamp assistance
28     according to Food Stamp regulations, and for Earnfare
29     participation. Failure to participate in Earnfare for all
30     of the hours assigned is not a failure to cooperate unless
31     so established by the employer pursuant to Department of
32     Human Services rules. If a person who is ordered by a court
33     of competent jurisdiction to participate in the Earnfare
34     Program fails to cooperate with the Program, the person



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1     shall be referred to the court for failure to comply with
2     the court order.
3 (Source: P.A. 92-111, eff. 1-1-02.)
4     (305 ILCS 5/12-4.7e new)
5     Sec. 12-4.7e. Counting of income; task force.
6     (a) The General Assembly has created a number of programs
7 that provide benefits and services to low-income people and
8 families designed to encourage, support, and sustain their
9 efforts to improve their economic status through employment.
10 The General Assembly finds that, because of complex program
11 rules, agency staffing challenges, and other administrative
12 infrastructure issues, these programs are not being accessed in
13 a timely way by many eligible people. As a result, the intended
14 purposes of these programs are not being accomplished to the
15 fullest extent possible. People who may have been able to
16 sustain work or improve their earnings if they had gotten the
17 intended help from these programs are unable to do so. The
18 changes made by this amendatory Act of the 94th General
19 Assembly are intended to simplify program rules, improve
20 administrative infrastructure to deliver the programs, and
21 increase the timely utilization of the programs among eligible
22 people.
23     (b) The Department of Public Aid and the Department of
24 Human Services shall convene a task force to formulate a plan
25 to simplify and make as uniform as possible the rules governing
26 the counting of income for purposes of determining eligibility
27 and benefit levels in means-tested public benefit programs for
28 which the 2 departments are responsible. The task force shall
29 take into account and balance the following factors: (i) the
30 need to comply with federal law and regulations or seek waivers
31 of federal law and regulations in order to maximize federal
32 financial participation; and (ii) the need to minimize
33 administrative tasks for employees of and contractors with the



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1 2 departments. If waivers of federal law and regulations are
2 needed in order to maximize the goals of simplification and
3 uniformity without loss of federal financial participation,
4 the plan shall include the elements and timing of such waivers.
5 In any event, changes adopted to promote simplification and
6 uniformity must not decrease the overall State investment in
7 these programs and must not result in a net decrease in
8 benefits for the substantial majority of recipients. The task
9 force shall complete its plan so that the 2 departments can
10 propose and adopt rule changes that will take effect no later
11 than July 1, 2006, except to the extent that the changes depend
12 on approval of waivers by the federal government, in which case
13 the changes shall be effective upon approval of those waivers.
14 The departments shall provide or arrange for staff support for
15 the task force.
16     Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
17 becoming law.".