Part 373 - REFUGEE CASH ASSISTANCE AND REFUGEE MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

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Statutory Authority: 
Social Services Law, Sections 20, 34, 131, 355, 358

Section 373.1 - General.

Section 373.1 General. (a) Refugee cash assistance (RCA). The RCA program is a Federal program that provides cash assistance to refugees and Cuban/Haitian entrants eligible under this Part in order to assist them to achieve self-sufficiency as soon as possible. The RCA is administered through the social services district in which a refugee or entrant resides.

(b) Relationship to other regulations of the department. To the extent consistent with this Part, regulations of the department governing public assistance will apply to RCA. Such regulations include Part 349

(general provisions), Part 350 (application), Part 351 (investigation and eligibility), Part 352 (standards of assistance), Part 355 (information pamphlets; notification of decisions), Part 356 (inquiries and complaints), Part 357 (confidential nature of records) and Part 358

(fair hearings).

(c) Definitions.

(1) "Employability plan" means an individualized written plan for a refugee or entrant registered for employment services that sets forth a program of services intended to result in the earliest possible employment of the refugee or entrant.

(2) "Employable" means not exempt from registration for employment services set forth in subdivision (b) of section 373.6 of this Part.

(3) "Family self-sufficiency plan" means a plan that addresses the employment-related service needs of the employable members in a family for the purpose of enabling the family to become self-supporting through the employment of one or more family members.

(4) "Filing unit" means the individual or individuals whose needs are considered in determining eligibility for, and the amount of, a payment of RCA for which Federal funding is claimed.

(5) "Household" means the individual or individuals living in a housing unit.

(6) "Refugee medical assistance" (RMA) means medical assistance provided under Article 5 of Title 11 of the Social Services Law to refugees who are otherwise ineligible under Part 360 of this Title for medical assistance and who have resided in the United States for less than an eight month period from initial entry into the United States. RMA provides the same services, in the same manner and to the same extent, as is provided by the medical assistance program.

(7) "Registrant" means an individual who has registered for employment services set forth in subdivision (a) of section 373.6 of this Part.

(8) "Service provider" means a public or private community agency that has entered into a contract with the department to provide employment services to recipients of RCA.

 

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Section 373.2 - Eligibility requirements for RCA and RMA.

373.2 Eligibility requirements for RCA and RMA.

(a) Eligibility for RCA is limited to those applicants who:

(1) meet immigration status and identification requirements set forth in section 373.3 of this Part, or are the dependent children of a parent or parents who meet the immigration status requirements;

(2) are ineligible for cash assistance under the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs, but meet the ADC assistance need standards;

(3) meet the requirements contained in section 373.6 of this Part;

(4) provide the name of the resettlement agency which resettled them; and

(5) are not full-time students in institutions of higher education, except where such enrollment is approved by the department as part of an individual employability plan.

(b) (1) Eligibility for RMA is limited to those applicants who:

(i) meet immigration status and identification requirements set forth in section 373.3 of this Part, or are the dependent children of a parent or parents who meet the immigration status requirements;

(ii) are ineligible for medical assistance, but meet the financial eligibility standards for medical assistance under Subpart 360-4 of this Title;

(iii) have not been denied, or terminated from, RCA under subdivision

(h) of section 373.6 of this Title;

(iv) provide the name of the resettlement agency which resettled them; and

(v) are not full-time students in institutions of higher education, except where such enrollment is approved by the department as part of an individual employability plan.

(2) All recipients of RCA who are not eligible for medical assistance are eligible for RMA. A refugee or entrant may not be required to actually receive or apply for RCA as a condition of eligibility for RMA.

(c) An applicant may be eligible for RCA or RMA under this section only during the eight month period beginning with the first month the refugee or entrant entered the United States. An applicant is not eligible for RCA for any period in which the applicant is receiving a reception and placement grant or matching grant from a refugee resettlement agency. The social services district must determine the amount of financial assistance which a sponsor or resettlement agency has provided to the applicant, and any such assistance, provided in cash or in-kind, will be considered in determining eligibility for and the amount of RCA.

(d) If a recipient of RMA receives increased earnings from employment after eligibility for RMA has been determined, the increased earnings will not affect the recipient's continued RMA eligibility. The RMA recipient will continue to receive RMA until the end of the eight month period beginning with the first month the recipient entered the United States. In cases where the RMA recipient receives private medical coverage, any payment of RMA for that individual must be reduced by the amount of the third party payment.

*(e) A person who is eligible for benefits under the Fish-Wilson program as defined in Part 375 of this Title is not eligible for RCA. * NB Effective until 98/06/27

 

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Section 373.3 - Documentation of immigration status.

Section 373.3 Documentation of immigration status. An applicant for RCA must, as a condition of eligibility, provide proof to the social services district, in the form of documentation issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), of one of the following statuses:

(a) for refugee or asylee status:

(1) paroled as a refugee or asylee under Section 212 (d) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act); or

(2) admitted as a conditional entrant under section 203 (a) (7) of the Act; or

(3) admitted as a refugee under section 207 of the Act; or

(4) granted asylum under section 208 of the Act; or

(5) admitted for permanent residence, provided that the individual previously held one of the statuses identified in paragraphs (1) through

(4) of this subdivision; or

(b) for Cuban/Haitian entrant status:

(1) granted parole status as a Cuban/Haitian Entrant (status pending) or granted any other special status subsequently established under the immigration laws for nationals of Cuba or Haiti, regardless of the status of the individual at the time assistance is provided; or

(2) for any other national of Cuba or Haiti with respect to whom a final, non appealable, and legally enforceable order of deportation or exclusion has not been entered:

(i) paroled into the United States, without acquiring any other status under the Act; or

(ii) the subject of exclusion or deportation proceedings under the Act; or

(iii) an applicant for asylum whose application is pending with the INS.

 

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Section 373.4 - Consideration of income and resources.

Section 373.4 Consideration of income and resources.

(a) In determining the income and resources of applicants for and recipients of RCA, the following may not be considered by a social services district:

(1) any resources remaining in the country of origin of the applicant or recipient; and

(2) a sponsor's income and resources solely because the person is serving as a sponsor.

(b) In determining the eligibility for and receipt of RMA, in-kind services and shelter provided by a sponsor or resettlement agency may not be considered by a social services district.

 

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Section 373.5 - Need standards and payment levels.

Section 373.5 Need standards and payment levels.

(a) In determining need for RCA, a social services district must apply the need standards for ADC established under Part 352 of this Title, except that the earned income disregard of $30 plus one-third of the remainder of the applicant's or recipient's monthly earned income set forth in subdivision (c) of section 352.20 of this Title does not apply.

(b) In determining the amount of the RCA grant to be provided, a social services district must apply the payment level which would be appropriate for an eligible filing unit of the same size under the ADC program.

(c) The payment of RCA must begin on the same date, in relation to the date of application, as assistance under the ADC program would begin as provided by section 351.8 of this Title.

 

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Section 373.6 - Requirements for employment related services and employ

Section 373.6 Requirements for employment related services and employment.

(a) Registration for employment-related services, participation in employment-related services, and acceptance of appropriate offers of employment.

(1) As a condition for receipt of RCA, a recipient who is not exempt from complying with employment requirements set forth in this section must, except for good cause:

(i) register with the service provider for employment-related services;

(ii) within 30 days of receipt of RCA, participate in the assigned employment-related services;

(iii) carry out job search, as provided for in subdivision (f) of this section;

(iv) go to all job interviews arranged by the service provider; and

(v) accept an offer of employment which is determined to be appropriate by the service provider or by the appropriate State or local employment service.

(2) A social services district must permit, but may not require, the voluntary registration for employment services of an applicant or recipient who is exempt under subdivision (b) of this section.

(b) Criteria for exemption from registration for employment related services, participation in job search and interviews, and acceptance of appropriate offers of employment.

(1) An applicant for or recipient of RCA is employable unless the applicant or recipient is:

(i) under age 16;

(ii) under age 18 and a full-time student in secondary school or in the equivalent level of vocational or technical training and reasonably expected to complete the program before reaching age 19;

(iii) ill, when determined by the social services district on the basis of medical evidence or on another sound basis that the illness or injury is serious enough to temporarily prevent entry into employment or training;

(iv) incapacitated, when determined by a physician or licensed or certified psychologist and verified by the social services district, that a physical or mental impairment, by itself or in conjunction with age, prevents the individual from engaging in employment or training;

(v) 65 years of age or older;

(vi) caring for another member of the household who has a physical or mental impairment which requires, as determined by a physician or licensed or certified psychologist and verified by the social services district, care in the home on a substantially continuous basis, and no other appropriate member of the household is available;

(vii) a parent or other caretaker relative of a child under the age of three who personally provides full-time care of the child with only very brief and infrequent absences from the child. Only one parent or other relative may be exempt under this subparagraph;

(viii) working at least 30 hours a week in unsubsidized employment expected to last a minimum of 30 days. This exemption continues to apply if there is a temporary break in full-time employment expected to last no longer than 10 working days; or

(ix) pregnant, if it has been medically verified that the child is expected to be born in the month in which such registration would otherwise be required or within the next six months.

(2) Inability to communicate in English does not exempt an applicant or recipient from registration for employment services, participation in employment-related services, and acceptance of appropriate offers of employment.

(c) Effect of quitting employment or failing or refusing to participate in required services.

(1) As a condition of eligibility for RCA, an employable applicant may not, without good cause, within 30 consecutive calendar days immediately prior to the application for assistance, have voluntarily quit employment or have refused to accept an offer of employment determined to be appropriate by the service provider, using criteria set forth in subdivision (g) of this section.

(2) As a condition of continued receipt of RCA, an employable recipient may not, without good cause, voluntarily quit employment or fail or refuse to meet the requirements of subdivision (a) of this section.

(d) Requirements for employed recipients of RCA to participate in employment-related services.

(1) As a condition of continued receipt of RCA, a recipient who is not exempt under subdivision (b) of this section and who is employed less than 30 hours a week must accept part-time employment services, as available and as determined to be appropriate, using criteria set forth in subdivision (g) of this section, provided that such services must not interfere with the recipient's current employment.

(2) The social services district may, but is not required to, require part-time employment services if a recipient of RCA is employed at least 30 hours a week, provided that such services must not interfere with the recipient's current employment.

(e) Development of an employability plan.

(1) An individual employability plan must be developed, as part of a family self-sufficiency plan where applicable, by the social services district or a services provider for each recipient of RCA in a filing unit who is not exempt under subdivision (b) of this section.

(2) The employability plan must:

(i) be designed to lead to the earliest possible employment and not be structured in such a way as to discourage or delay employment or jobseeking; and

(ii) contain a definite employment goal, attainable in the shortest time period consistent with the employability of the refugee in relation to job openings in the area.

(f) Job search requirements. An employable recipient of RCA must carry out a job search program if job search is a required service in the recipient's employability plan.

(g) Criteria for appropriate employment services and employment.

(1) Employment services or employment must meet the following criteria:

(i) all assignments to services must be within the scope of the recipient's employability plan. The plan may be modified to reflect changed services or employment conditions;

(ii) the services or employment must be related to the capability of the recipient to perform the task on a regular basis. Any claim of adverse effect on physical or mental health must be based on adequate testimony from a physician or licensed or certified psychologist indicating that participation would impair the recipient's physical or mental health;

(iii) the total daily commuting time to and from home to the service or employment site must not normally exceed two hours, not including the transporting of a child to and from a child care facility, unless a longer commuting distance or time is generally accepted in the community, in which case the round trip commuting time must not exceed the generally accepted community standards;

(iv) when child care is required, the care must meet the standards in Part 415 of this Title for work and training programs for ADC recipients;

(v) the service or work site to which the recipient is assigned must not be in violation of applicable Federal, State or local health and safety standards;

(vi) assignments must not be made which are discriminatory in terms of age, sex, race, creed, color, or national origin;

(vii) appropriate work may be temporary, permanent, full-time, parttime, or seasonal if such work meets the other standards of this section;

(viii) the wage must meet or exceed the Federal or State minimum wage law, whichever is applicable, or if such laws are not applicable, the wage must not be substantially less favorable than the wage normally paid for similar work in that labor market;

(ix) the daily hours of work and the weekly hours of work must not exceed those customary to the occupation;

(x) no individual may be required to accept employment if:

(a) the position offered is vacant due to a strike, lockout, or other bona fide labor dispute; or

(b) the recipient would be required to work for an employer contrary to the conditions of his or her existing membership in the union governing that occupation. However, employment not governed by the rules of a union in which he or she has membership may be deemed appropriate; and

(xi) the quality of training if offered must meet local employers' requirements so that the recipient will be in a competitive position within the local labor market. The training also must be likely to lead to employment which will meet the appropriate work criteria.

(2) If a recipient is a professional in need of professional refresher training and other recertification services in order to qualify to practice his or her profession in the United States, the training may consist of full-time attendance in a college or professional training program, provided that such training:

(i) is approved as part of the recipient's employability plan by the services provider or its designee;

(ii) does not exceed one year's duration, including any time enrolled in such program in the United States prior to the refugee's application for assistance;

(iii) is specifically intended to assist the professional in becoming relicensed in his or her profession; and

(iv) if completed, can realistically be expected to result in such relicensing.

(3) A job offered, if determined appropriate under the requirements of this subdivision, is required to be accepted by the recipient without regard to whether such job would interrupt a program of services planned or in progress unless:

(i) the recipient is currently participating in a program in progress of on-the-job training or vocational training which meets the requirements of this section and which is being carried out as part of an approved employability plan; or

(ii) the recipient is enrolled full-time in a professional recertification program which meets the requirements of paragraph (2) of this subdivision.

(h) Failure or refusal to accept employment services or employment.

(1) Voluntary registrant. When an employable recipient of RCA, who is exempt from registration under subdivision (b) of this section, has failed or refused to participate in appropriate employment services or to accept an appropriate offer of employment, the social services district may deregister the recipient for up to 90 days from the date of determination that such failure or refusal has occurred, but the individual's cash assistance may not be affected.

(2) Mandated registrant.

(i) Termination or reduction of assistance. When, without good cause, an employable recipient of RCA who is not exempt from registration under subdivision (b) of this section has failed or refused to meet the requirements of subdivision (a) of this section or has voluntarily quit a job, the services provider must notify the appropriate social services district so that the district can take the action described in subparagraphs (ii) and (iii) of this paragraph.

(ii) Notice of intended termination.

(a) In case of proposed action to terminate, discontinue, suspend, or reduce assistance, the social services district must give timely and adequate notice as defined in Subpart 358-2 of this Title.

(b) The written notice must include:

(1) an explanation of the reason for the action and the consequences of such failure or refusal; and

(2) notice of the recipient's right to a fair hearing under Part 358 of this Title.

(iii) Sanctions.

(a) If the sanctioned recipient is the only member of the filing unit, the assistance must be terminated by the social services district. If the filing unit includes other members, the social services district must not take into account the sanctioned recipient's needs in determining the filing unit's need for assistance.

(b) The sanction will remain in effect for 90 days for the first such failure or refusal and 180 days for any subsequent such failure or refusal.

 

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Section 373.7 - Conciliation.

373.7 Conciliation.

(a) (1) Each social services district must establish a conciliation procedure through which recipients of RCA must be afforded an opportunity for conciliation to dispute a determination that the recipient has failed or refused to participate in appropriate employment services, to carry out a job search, to accept an appropriate offer of employment or any action taken by a social services district in accordance with the provisions of this Part.

* (2) The conciliation procedure must provide for at least one contact between the recipient, appropriate social services staff and the mediator. The process may last no longer than 30 days. Either the social services district or the recipient may terminate this period sooner when either believes that the dispute cannot be resolved by conciliation. * NB Effective until 98/06/27

* (2) The conciliation procedure must provide for at least one contact between the recipient, appropriate social services district staff and the mediator. The process may last no longer than 30 days unless mutually agreed to by the social services district and the recipient. * NB Effective 98/06/27

(3) The social services district must enter into an agreement with an independent entity or must employ trained social services district staff who have no direct responsibility for a participant's case to act as mediators for such disputes.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subdivision, the social services district may designate other staff who are not specifically trained to mediate disputes if no independent entity or trained staff are available. Such staff must have no direct responsibility for the recipient's case and such designation must be submitted to the local commissioner in writing.

(b) Conciliation procedure. (1) A social services district must issue a notice to each recipient of RCA who refuses or fails to comply with the requirements of this Part. Such notice must be issued as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days following the date of failure or refusal to participate. The notice must advise the recipient of his or her refusal or failure to comply and that he or she has seven days to request conciliation with the social services district regarding any dispute related to such refusal or failure to comply.

(2) If the recipient requests conciliation, it will be the recipient's responsibility to provide reasons for such refusal or failure to comply.

(3) (i) If the district and the recipient cannot, with the assistance of the mediator, resolve the issues related to the recipient's refusal or failure to comply, a written document summarizing the conciliation and notifying the recipient that he or she has the right to a fair hearing pursuant to Part 358 of this Title must be given or sent to the recipient by the district within 10 days of the termination of conciliation. The social services district must incorporate such document into the recipient's case record and, in the event of a fair hearing, present it as required in accordance with section 358-4.3 of this Title. If the district determined that the refusal or failure to comply was willful and without good cause, then the social services official must sanction the recipient pursuant to subdivision (h) of section 373.6 of this Part.

(ii) If the dispute is resolved to the satisfaction of the recipient and the district through the conciliation process, a written document memorializing such resolution must be sent to the social services district and the recipient within 10 days of such resolution. Such resolution is binding on the social services district and the recipient.

(4) If the recipient does not respond to the seven day conciliation letter issued by the social services district pursuant to paragraph (1) of this section, or if the social services district determines that the recipient's refusal or failure to comply was willful and without good cause, then the social services district must issue an adequate notice to deny RCA or a timely and adequate notice of intent to discontinue or reduce RCA pursuant to subdivision (h) of section 373.6 of this Part.

(5) No sanction related to the recipient's failure to comply may be imposed during the conciliation period.

 

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Section 373.8 - Fair hearings.

Section 373.8. Fair hearings. To the extent not inconsistent with this Part, all of the requirements in Part 358 of this Title concerning notice requirements and fair hearings will apply to the RCA and RMA programs. For the purposes of Part 358, RCA will be considered public assistance.

 

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