Title: Section 370.2 - Determination of initial eligibility.
370.2 Determination of initial eligibility. Safety net assistance includes assistance granted to veterans under existing laws, and assistance to persons not residing in their own homes when such persons reside in other living situations for which a safety net assistance grant may be provided as specified in Part 352 of this Subchapter. Safety net assistance does not include medical assistance, foster care of children, or care classifiable under the law as public institutional care.
(a) Investigation. When practicable, responsibility must be placed upon the applicant for safety net assistance to provide verified information concerning his or her previous maintenance, loss of income and the extent and duration of current need. Both the method and content of investigation must be aimed at assisting the applicant to return to self-support and fully utilize resources related thereto.
(b) Financial requirements. The initial determination must include consideration of each of the following eligibility factors:
(1) Previous maintenance and reason for application. For each member of the household applying for assistance, the following must be determined: the source and amount of previous income or maintenance; the reason and date of its discontinuance; presumptive eligibility for benefits relating to loss of income; and employability and availability for employment.
(2) Presumptive duration of need. On the basis of all available facts, an evaluation must be made of the following: the probable duration of need based upon consideration of the applicant's employability and the availability of employment in the current labor market; his or her presumptive eligibility for work-related benefits; and the availability of vocational training, rehabilitation services, and the availability or potential availability of other resources that will make his or her need for financial assistance short-term.
(3) Ability of relatives to support. (i) For both short-term and long-term cases, the social services official must determine the existence and whereabouts of the legally responsible relatives of persons for whom application is made and of the ability of such relatives to support. When legally responsible relatives are able to provide support to the applicant and are not doing so, the social services official must implement procedures to enforce support.
(ii) In considering the ability of a legally responsible relative to support, the offer of a home must be carefully explored and evaluated. The evaluation must include a determination of the reason for the separation which had occurred, and if children, minors or other persons are members of the applicant's family unit, the advisability of a change in their living arrangements.
(iii) Such an offer of a home does not preclude consideration of eligibility for safety net assistance. If the social services official determines that the legally responsible relative is otherwise able but unwilling to contribute to the support of the applicant, the social services official must initiate appropriate action to enforce support.
(iv) Social services officials may evaluate the willingness of socially responsible persons to assist in whole or in part in the support of applicants. Where socially responsible persons assisted in the past, the situation must be reviewed to determine current availability of such support.
(v) In considering the ability of socially responsible persons to support, the offer of a home by a person must be included in the exploration and evaluation of resources. In considering the offer of a home, there must be a careful evaluation of the suitability of such resource in the individual situation, including the physical and mental health of the applicant, his or her current living arrangements, and his or her personal wishes and those of his family.
(4) Not eligible for or receiving assistance as Family Assistance
(FA). For each member of the household included in the safety net assistance application it must be determined that he or she is not eligible to receive FA.
(5) Potential eligibility for SSI. (i) Each applicant for safety net assistance or his or her authorized representative must sign a repayment of interim assistance authorization.
(ii) Subject to the conditions set forth in the interim assistance sections of this Part, each applicant for safety net assistance home relief who, based on a medical statement documenting or indicating existence of a physical or mental impairment, reasonably appears to qualify for SSI benefits, or who during the safety net assistance application process demonstrates behavior or symptoms suggesting potential SSI eligibility, or who has reached or will before the end of the following calendar month reach his or her 65th birthday or who otherwise appears to be eligible for SSI benefits must also be required to apply for SSI benefits, cooperate with the SSI eligibility determination process, and appeal any denial of his or her initial SSI application and exhaust the available administrative remedies.
(iii) Any medical statement used in establishing potential SSI eligibility along with any other medical documentation available must be attached by the social services district to the SSI Referral and Certification of Contact Form when the applicant is referred to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to file for SSI benefits.
(iv) Each social services district must establish procedures for:
(a) promptly identifying and assessing those Safety Net Assistance and FA applicants and recipients who are potentially eligible for SSI;
(b) providing medical and related information to persons referred to the SSA and assisting the client in obtaining such information if there has been no prior diagnosis or treatment;
(c) establishing an SSI tracking system to determine whether Safety Net Assistance and FA applicants or recipients who are potentially eligible for SSI have completed the Federal disability benefit application and appeals processes;
(d) providing assistance to Safety Net Assistance and FA applicants and recipients in pursuing SSI benefits and, when necessary, assisting such applicants and recipients in appealing the denial of such benefits; and
(e) referring Safety Net Assistance and FA applicants and recipients to not-for-profit agencies and not-for-profit legal services corporations receiving grants under section 35 of the Social Services Law, if any.
(6) Transfer of property.
(i) A person is not eligible for safety net assistance who has made a voluntary assignment or transfer of real or personal property for the purpose of qualifying for such aid. A transfer of such property made within one year prior to the date of application is presumed to have been made for the purpose of qualifying for such assistance.
(ii) If the agency determines that the transfer was not made to qualify for safety net assistance, then such transfer or assignment will not constitute a basis for denial.
(7) No person receiving public institutional care may receive safety net assistance.
(c) Nonfinancial requirements. The following requirements must be evaluated to establish initial eligibility:
(1) Age. (i) The applicant must furnish the date of birth for each person applying for assistance. Documentation of age is required only where such verification is necessary to classify a person as eligible or presumptively eligible for a Federal category, to determine employability, or to establish the right of a minor between the ages 16 and 18 years to receive safety net assistance in his or her own name as an emancipated minor.
(ii) An emancipated minor, as defined in Part 349 of this Subchapter, may be considered eligible for safety net assistance in his or her own right, provided he or she is not living with a guardian or relative qualified to receive a grant of FA.
(2) Relationship of applicant to claimed dependents. The applicant must furnish information regarding the relationship of all members of the household to each other, including those who are applying for assistance and those who are not. Documentation of relationship is required whenever the claimed validity of a relationship is in doubt in order to explore the possibility of securing necessary services and care, and to establish the responsibility of legally responsible relatives for the support of the safety net assistance applicants.
(3) Social security number. (i) Any applicant for or recipient of safety net assistance or any other individual whose needs are considered in determining the amount of assistance regardless of age must furnish or apply for a social security number as a condition of eligibility.
(ii) The social services official must assist the applicant or recipient in verifying or obtaining a social security number.
(iii) Failure to cooperate will result in denial of assistance to the noncooperating individual or individuals and the needs of that individual or individuals will not be considered in determining eligibility or degree of need for the remaining eligible family members.
(4) Residence within the State. Safety net assistance must be granted to eligible persons in accordance with sections 311.1 and 352.29 of this Title.
(5) Living arrangement. Safety net assistance must be granted to an eligible needy person in his or her abode or habitation whenever possible. Safety net assistance may also be provided to an eligible individual in the home of a relative or friend. In addition, safety net assistance allowances may be granted to persons not living in their own homes when the living arrangement is one specified in Part 352 of this Subchapter.
(6) The following persons, who are not eligible for FA, if not in sanction status for a program authorized by this Title, are eligible for safety net assistance if all other eligibility requirements are met:
(i) Families who have received FA and other assistance funded under Public Law 104-193 (the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996) for periods of time equal to the maximum durational limits in section 369.4(d) of this Title.
(ii) Adult(s) without a dependent child living with them.
(iii) Families in which the head of household or an adult household member is determined to be unable to work by reason of his or her need for treatment for alcohol or substance abuse in accordance with section 351.2(i) of this Title.
(iv) Individuals under the age of 18 who are childless and have no adult relative with whom to live.
(v) Members of a household in which the head of household or an adult household member refuses to comply with screening or formal assessment for alcohol or substance abuse in accordance with section 351.2(i) of this Title.
(vi) Members of a household in which the head of household or an adult household member fails to comply with an alcohol or substance abuse rehabilitation program in accordance with section 351.2(i) of this Title.
(vii) Qualified aliens legally residing in the United States who are not eligible for FA solely based on the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (section 404(i) of Public Law 104-193) or aliens permanently residing under color of law, but not qualified.
(viii) Aliens paroled into the United States pursuant to Section 212(d) (5) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act for a period of less than one year.
(7) Welfare of child or minor. Where children or minors are included in the application, the home situation must be considered to determine whether the welfare of the child or minor will be safeguarded.
(8) Alcoholism and drug abuse rehabilitative services. (i) As a condition of eligibility, applicants for and recipients of safety net assistance must comply with appropriate drug and/or substance abuse screening and assessment procedures in accordance with section 351.2(i) of this Title.
(ii) As a condition of eligibility, applicants for and recipients of safety net assistance must participate in and comply with appropriate drug and/or substance abuse rehabilitation programs in accordance with section 351.2(i) of this Title.
(9) Compliance with child support enforcement program (IV-D) eligibility requirements. Each person who is applying for or receiving safety net assistance and each person on whose behalf an application is made therefore must, as a condition of both initial and continuing eligibility for assistance, comply with requirements contained in section 369.2(b) of this Title.
(10) A person who is eligible for benefits under the refugee cash assistance program as defined in Part 373 of this Title is not eligible for safety net assistance.
(11) Repayment of overpayments. As a condition of eligibility for safety net assistance, each applicant for safety net assistance must:
(i) sign an agreement, on a form prescribed by the office, which provides that, if it is determined that money is owed to the social services district because of overpayments of safety net assistance to the applicant while a recipient of safety net assistance, the applicant agrees to repay any such money that remains due after the applicant ceases to receive safety net assistance; and
(ii) sign an assignment of the individual's future earnings, on a form prescribed by the office, to secure the repayment of any money that is determined, after providing the opportunity for a fair hearing, to be owed to the social services district because of overpayments of safety net assistance to the applicant while a recipient of safety net assistance. The prescribed form must include the following notice: "THIS AGREEMENT AUTHORIZES THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT TO RECOVER ANY OVERPAYMENT OF YOUR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE BENEFITS BY COLLECTING THE AMOUNT OF THE OVERPAYMENT DIRECTLY FROM YOUR FUTURE WAGES. IF YOU FAIL TO MAKE THE PAYMENTS REQUIRED BY A REPAYMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN YOU AND THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT, THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT WILL FILE THIS AGREEMENT WITH YOUR EMPLOYER AND RECOVER THE OVERPAYMENT DIRECTLY FROM YOUR WAGES." In addition, the assignment of future earnings and the enforcement thereof must comply with all requirements of article three-A of the Personal Property Law. The social services district may file the assignment of future earnings with the employer of the assignor only if the assignor fails to make payments of money owed to the social services district in accordance with the repayment agreement.
(12) A person who is eligible for benefits under the Fish-Wilson program as defined in Part 375 of this Title is not eligible for safety net assistance.
VOLUME A-1 (Title 18)