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HB22-1259

Modifications To Colorado Works Program

Concerning modifications to the Colorado works program, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2022 Regular Session
Subject:
Human Services
Bill Summary

The bill allows the state board of human services (state board) to utilize eligibility processes from other public assistance or entitlement programs when promulgating rules for redetermining and verifying eligibility for the Colorado works program (works program).

When determining income requirements for the works program, the bill requires the department of human services (state department) to use an income conversion ratio for converting weekly and biweekly income to a monthly amount using the lowest ratio or methodology that results in the lowest monthly income amount allowable under federal law.

Current law prohibits a person convicted of a drug-related felony offense from being eligible for assistance under the works program unless the person is determined by a county department of human or social services (county department) to have taken action toward rehabilitation. The bill removes the ban on eligibility.

The bill requires the state board to promulgate rules establishing statewide standards and procedures that require counties to: offer an extension:

  • Offer an extension beyond the 60-month lifetime maximum for all households that demonstrate good cause, which includes, but is not limited to , an applicant or participant who is a child-only case, the head of a single parent household and has a child under one year of age, or experiencing hardship; or addressing family or medical needs; and
  • Inform and not penalize any applicant or household that demonstrates good cause for an exemption from work requirements to all households that demonstrate good cause, which includes, for but is not limited to, an applicant or participant who is the head of a single-parent household and has a child under one year of age or experiencing hardship. or addressing family or medical needs.

The bill requires the state department to annually review and promulgate rules as necessary to update the standard of need to ensure the standard of need is equitable, promotes economic mobility and self-sufficiency, and reflects the current economic status of the state.

The bill requires the state department to disregard any earned income for at least the first 6 months an applicant or participant is employed while enrolled in the works program. The bill requires that the state department determine the amount of earned income that must be disregarded after the first 6 months and ensure a gradual step down of the amount of earned income disregarded and that the appropriate work supports are made available to the applicant or participant.

Current law requires the state department to ensure the amount of a basic cash assistance grant that an applicant or participant receives is equal to or exceeds 102% of the need standard for a participant in a similarly sized household on January 1, 2008. By the 2027-28 state fiscal year, For the state fiscal year commencing July 1, 2022, the bill requires the amount of basic cash assistance grant to equal or exceed 100% of the basic cash assistance in 2021, plus 10%. For the state fiscal year commencing July 1, 2023, and each state fiscal year thereafter, the bill requires the amount of the basic cash assistance grant to equal or exceed 50% of the federal poverty guidelines established by the federal department of health and human services for a similarly sized household for that fiscal year the amount of basic cash assistance for the previous state fiscal year plus a 2% cost of living adjustment or a cost of living adjustment that is equal to the average of the federal social security administration's cost of living adjustment for that fiscal year plus the previous 2 fiscal years, whichever is greater.No later than January 1, 2023, the bill requires the state department to begin phasing in the increase in basic cash assistance that is equal to or exceeds 50% of the federal poverty guidelines. The bill requires the state treasurer to transfer $18 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund (cash fund) to the Colorado long-term works reserve to cover any increase in basic cash assistance above the amount of basic cash assistance in state fiscal year 2021-22. Beginning in state fiscal year 2023-24, and each state fiscal year thereafter, the bill requires the state department to first expend any money remaining that is transferred to the Colorado long-term works reserve from the cash fund and then expend money in equal amounts from the state general fund, the unclaimed property trust fund, and available TANF funds to cover any increase in basic cash assistance above the amount in state fiscal year 2021-22.If the total statewide county TANF reserve falls below 15% of the county block grant amount, the bill requires the general assembly to appropriate money from the Colorado long-term works reserve to the county block grant until the balance of the total statewide TANF reserve exceeds 15% or until the Colorado long-term works reserve falls below 25% of the state block grant amount. If the Colorado long-term works reserve falls below 25%, of the state block grant amount and the total statewide county TANF reserve exceeds 15% of the county block grant amount, the bill requires counties to fund the TANF program from available TANF funds until the total statewide county TANF reserve falls below 15% of the county block grant amount.

The bill requires strongly encourages a county department to attempt to contact each participant using each method of communication provided by the participant in order to conduct exit and follow-up interviews upon case closure. The bill expands the purpose of the exit and follow-up interviews to include evaluating the participant's experience with the works program, how well the program met the participant's needs and assisted the participant in meeting the participant's goals, and informing the state department of any changes to rules that are needed to improve the participant's experience.The bill requires the state department to monitor impacts to counties' workload in the works program and consult with counties regarding additional need for money to administer the works program.

Beginning January 2023, and each January thereafter, the state department is required to submit a report to the general assembly on the effectiveness of the works program.

Current law requires the state board to promulgate rules that require a percentage reduction in the basic cash assistance grant upon the imposition of a sanction affecting the grant, with the percentage to be specified in the rules but not to be less than 25%. The bill requires the percentage not to exceed one dollar.

The bill authorizes a county department that is projected to exhaust all money available in the county's TANF reserve and faces a local or statewide natural disaster or other emergency to request money from the county block grant support fund.

No later than September 30, 2022, the bill requires the state department to develop an outreach and engagement plan to promote access to the works program for eligible persons.

The bill appropriates $19,824,070 to the department of human services and $1,066,400 to the office of the governor for use by the office of information technology .

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)


(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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