Truly Agreed, 2015

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CCS HCS SS#2 SCS SB 24, 2015    (New Section - as Truly Agreed)    

208.026. 1. Sections 208.026, 208.040, 208.067, and 208.244 shall be known and may be cited as the "Strengthening Missouri Families Act".
     2. For the purposes of this section and sections 208.040 and 208.244, "work activities" shall have the same meaning as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section 607(d), including:
     (1) Unsubsidized employment;
     (2) Subsidized private sector employment;
     (3) Subsidized public sector employment;
     (4) Work experience, including work associated with refurbishing of publicly assisted housing, if sufficient private sector employment is not available;
     (5) On-the-job training;
     (6) Job search and job readiness assistance, which shall include utilization of the state employment database website. The department shall, in conjunction with the department of economic development, create a database tracking method in order to track temporary assistance for needy families benefits recipients' utilization of the employment database for the purpose of recording work activities, as well as include information on the state employment database website about the temporary assistance for needy families program's eligibility and work requirements, application process, and contact information;
     (7) Community service programs;
     (8) Vocational educational training, provided that such training does not exceed twelve months for any individual;
     (9) Job skills training directly related to employment;
     (10) Education directly related to employment for individuals who have not received a high school diploma or certificate of high school equivalency;
     (11) Satisfactory attendance at a secondary school, provided that the individual has not already completed secondary school; and
     (12) Provision of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program.
     3. Beginning January 1, 2016, any parent or caretaker seeking assistance under the temporary assistance for needy families program shall engage in work activities before becoming eligible for benefits, unless such individual is otherwise exempt from the work requirement.
     4. If after an investigation the department determines that a person is not cooperating with a work activity requirement under the temporary assistance for needy families program, a representative of the department shall meet face-to- face with the person to explain the potential sanction and the requirements to cure the sanction. After the meeting, the person shall have six weeks to comply with the work activity requirement, during which time no sanction of benefits shall occur. If the person does not comply with the work activity requirement within that six-week period, the department shall immediately apply a sanction terminating fifty percent of the amount of temporary assistance benefits to or for the person and the person's family for a maximum of ten weeks. During that period of sanctions, the person shall remain on the caseload in sanction status and a representative of the department shall attempt to meet face-to-face with the person to explain the existing sanction and the requirements to cure the sanction. To cure a sanction, the person shall perform work activities for at least a minimum average of thirty hours per week for one month, as described in 45 CFR 261.31(d). If the person does not cure the sanction, the case shall be closed.
     5. To return to the temporary assistance for needy families benefits program after having been sanctioned off the caseload under subsection 4 of this section, the person shall complete work activities for a minimum average of thirty hours per week within one month of the temporary assistance eligibility interview.
     6. This section does not prohibit the state from providing child care or any other related social or support services for a person who is eligible for financial assistance but to whom that assistance is not paid because of the person's failure to cooperate with the work activity.
     7. In order to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families, when a temporary assistance for needy families benefits recipient marries, the new spouse's income and assets shall be disregarded for six consecutive months. This disregard shall be a once-in-a-lifetime benefit for the recipient.
     8. The department shall promulgate rules to implement this section including procedures to determine whether a person has cooperated with the requirements of the work activity and procedures for notification of a caretaker relative, second parent, or payee receiving the financial assistance on behalf of the person's family unit. Any rule or portion of a rule, as that term is defined in section 536.010 that is created under the authority delegated in this section shall become effective only if it complies with and is subject to all of the provisions of chapter 536, and, if applicable, section 536.028. This section and chapter 536 are nonseverable and if any of the powers vested with the general assembly pursuant to chapter 536, to review, to delay the effective date, or to disapprove and annul a rule are subsequently held unconstitutional, then the grant of rulemaking authority and any rule proposed or adopted after August 28, 2015, shall be invalid and void.


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