senate Bill S2323

Allows for baccalaureate and advanced degree programs and certain educational and training activity to count towards the work participation rate

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 18 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO SOCIAL SERVICES
  • 28 / Feb / 2011
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO SOCIAL SERVICES
  • 21 / Feb / 2012
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 12 / Mar / 2012
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES

Summary

Allows for baccalaureate and advanced degree programs to count towards the work participation rate and further provides for certain educational and training activity (homework expected or required by the educational institution) to count towards the satisfaction of the participant's work activity requirement.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A2471
Versions:
S2323
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§335-a, 336, 336-a & 131-n, Soc Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2009-2010: S5846B, A1827A
2007-2008: A11297A, A11297A

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2323

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the social services law, in relation to clarifying the
definitions of vocational educational training and educational
activities

PURPOSE OF THE BILL:
The bill would amend the social Services Law (SSL) to allow attendance
in up to four years of post-secondary education to count toward, an
individual's public assistance employment requirement where the
attendance is consistent with the individual's employment and
assessment plan goals, and make corresponding changes to income and
resource exemptions for monies set aside for paying' for education.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 of the bill would amend SSL § 335 (a) to match with the
corresponding law in §335-a.

Sections 2 and 3 of the bill would amend SSL § 336(1) (h) and (1) (i)
to include up to four years of postsecondary education in the
definition of "vocational educational training."

Section 4 of the bill would amend SSL § 336-a(1) to allow for up to
four years of postsecondary education to count as participation for
purposes of an individual's public assistance employment requirement
and provide that all assignments to vocational educational training
and educational activities will be permitted only to the extent that
such an assignments consistent with an individual's assessment and
employment plan.

Section 5 of the bill would amend SSL §131-n(1)(c), which provides
that up to $1,400 maybe kept in a separate bank account and deemed
exempt and disregarded in calculating the amount of public assistance
benefits where the funds are to be used for payment of tuition at a
two-year accredited post-secondary institution, to add an accredited
four-year institution.

Section 6 of the bill would provide for an immediate effective date,
provided that the amendments to paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of
section 131-n of the social services law made by section five of this
act shall not affect the expiration of such section and shall be
deemed to expire therewith.

EXISTING LAW:
SSL §§ 336 and 336-a currently provide that a public assistance
recipient may be assigned no more than two years of post-secondary
education as part of public assistance employment activities.

SSL § 131-n(1)(c) currently provides that up to $1,400 may be kept in
a separate bank account and deemed exempt and disregarded in
calculating the amount of public assistance benefits where the funds
are to be used for payment of tuition at a two year accredited
post-secondary institution.


PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
S.5846-B; Died in Finance

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT:
This bill would permit social service districts to exercise the
flexibility permitted by recent changes to the federal regulations in
the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF). The
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act
(PRWORA) of 1996 required states to meet certain work participation
rates for recipients o.f assistance funded by the TANF program or
face severe fiscal penalties. The federal law and implementing
regulations specified which kinds of work activities counted towards
meeting the work participation rate. Participation in a four year
college program was not a countable activity. State law, SSL §330 et
seq., mirrored the federal requirements in imposing work obligations
on public assistance recipients and not permitting participation in a
four-year college program to count towards that requirement.

Changes in federal regulations in response to the federal Deficit
Reduction Act of 2005 (Pub.L. 109-171) now permit states to count
four-year college attendance by recipients toward the work
participation requirements in certain circumstances. The changes
proposed by this bill would permit New York to take advantage of this
federal change which would, benefit both recipients and social
services districts. While a four-year college degree may not be a
viable option for many public assistance recipients, for whom there
exists an array of services and programs, a four-year diploma is a
realistic goal for some recipients.

For those recipients, a college diploma is a proven way out of poverty
and an important tool in staying off assistance. This is particularly
true for recipients who were already attending college when the
current spell of neediness occurred. This would alleviate concerns
that a recipient would have to drop out of college in order to
perform his or her public assistance work requirements to maintain
necessary assistance.

The bill will also benefit social services districts. It will give
them one more option in fashioning a program for public assistance
recipients. It will also help them meet work participation
requirements. The bill does not require districts to approve every
recipient for attendance in a four-year college. Instead, it permits
a district to consider such activity for its local employment plan
and to make individual assignments consistent with its evaluation and
assessment of employability.

Consistent with the general purpose of permitting four-year colleges
as a permissible work activity, the bill would amend section SSL
131-n, which specifies income and resources an applicant or recipient
of public assistance may have and still be eligible for assistance.
Currently, an applicant or recipient can maintain up to $1,400 in a
bank account for the purpose of paying for a two-year secondary
education. Without changing the amount, this bill would permit a
person to maintain an account for a four year secondary education.
The bill also provides that any assignment to any vocational
educational training or educational activity will be permitted only
to the extent that it is consistent with the individual's assessment


and employment plan goals. This provision reflects the goals of the
assessments and employability plans as set forth in SSL § 335 and
§ 335-a and the State's policy of meeting the educational needs of
public assistance recipients in order to enhance their employment
opportunities.

BUDGET IMPLICATIONS:
It is anticipated that this bill would have a minimal fiscal impact.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This bill would become effective immediately; provided, however, that
the amendments to paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section 131-n of
the social services law made by section five of this act shall not
affect the expiration of such section and shall be deemed to expire
therewith.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  2323

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 18, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  MONTGOMERY, ADAMS, DIAZ, DILAN, HASSELL-THOMPSON,
  HUNTLEY, KRUEGER, OPPENHEIMER, PARKER, PERKINS, SAMPSON, SAVINO, SQUA-
  DRON, STAVISKY, STEWART-COUSINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and
  when printed to be committed to the Committee on Social Services

AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to  clarifying  the
  definitions  of vocational educational training and educational activ-
  ities

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.    Paragraph  (a) of subdivision 2 of section 335-a of the
social services law, as amended by section 148 of part B of chapter  436
of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows:
  (a)  Based  on  the  assessment  required  by  subdivision one of this
section, the social services official, in consultation with the  partic-
ipant,  shall  develop  an employability plan in writing which shall set
forth the services that will be provided by the social services official
and the activities in which the participant will  take  part,  including
supportive  services  and  shall  set  forth  an employment goal for the
participant. [A local social services district may assign recipients  in
households  without  dependent  children to any activity.] TO THE EXTENT
POSSIBLE, THE EMPLOYABILITY PLAN SHALL REFLECT THE  PREFERENCES  OF  THE
PARTICIPANT  IN  A  MANNER  THAT  IS  CONSISTENT WITH THE RESULTS OF THE
PARTICIPANT'S ASSESSMENT AND THE NEED OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT TO
MEET FEDERAL AND STATE WORK ACTIVITY PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS, AND, IF
SUCH PREFERENCES CANNOT BE ACCOMMODATED, THE REASONS SHALL BE  SPECIFIED
IN  THE  EMPLOYABILITY PLAN. The employability plan also shall take into
account the participant's supportive services needs,  available  program
resources, local employment opportunities, and where the social services
official  is  considering  an  educational  activity assignment for such
participant, the participant's liability for student loans,  grants  and
scholarship  awards.    The employability plan shall be explained to the

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05081-01-1

S. 2323                             2

participant. Any change to the participant's employability plan required
by the social services official shall be discussed with the  participant
and shall be documented in writing.
  S  2.  Paragraph  (h)  of  subdivision  1 of section 336 of the social
services law, as amended by chapter 214 of the laws of 1998, is  amended
to read as follows:
  (h)  vocational  educational  training as time limited by federal law.
For the purposes of this title, "vocational educational training"  shall
include  but not be limited to organized educational programs offering a
sequence of courses which are directly related  to  the  preparation  of
individuals  for current or emerging occupations [requiring other than a
baccalaureate or advanced degree] INCLUDING PROGRAMS THAT REQUIRE UP  TO
FOUR  YEARS  OF  POST-SECONDARY  EDUCATION.  Such programs shall include
competency-based applied learning which contributes to  an  individual's
academic  knowledge, higher-order reasoning, and problem-solving skills,
work attitudes, general employability skills, and the  occupational-spe-
cific  skills  necessary  for  economic  independence.  Such  term  also
includes applied technology education;
  S 3. Paragraph (i) of subdivision 1  of  section  336  of  the  social
services  law,  as  added by section 148 of part B of chapter 436 of the
laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows:
  (i) job skills training directly related to employment.    JOB  SKILLS
TRAINING DIRECTLY RELATED TO EMPLOYMENT SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED
TO  PARTICIPATION IN UP TO FOUR YEARS OF POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION TO THE
EXTENT CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL AND STATE REQUIREMENTS;
  S 4. Subdivision 1 of section 336-a of the  social  services  law,  as
amended  by section 148 of part B of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, is
amended to read as follows:
  1. Social services districts shall make  available  vocational  educa-
tional  training  and  educational  activities  INCLUDING  PROGRAMS THAT
REQUIRE UP TO FOUR YEARS OF POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION.   Such  activities
may  include but need not be limited to, high school education or educa-
tion designed to prepare a participant for  a  high  school  equivalency
certificate,  basic  and  remedial  education,  AND education in English
proficiency and SHALL INCLUDE no more than a total of [two]  FOUR  years
of  post-secondary  education  (or the part-time equivalent if full-time
study would constitute an undue hardship) [in].  EDUCATIONAL  ACTIVITIES
PURSUANT  TO  THIS  SECTION  MAY  BE  OFFERED  WITH any of the following
providers which meet the performance or assessment standards established
in regulations by the commissioner for  such  providers:    a  community
college,  licensed  trade  school, registered business school, or a two-
year OR FOUR-YEAR college; provided, however, that  such  post-secondary
education must be necessary to the attainment of the participant's indi-
vidual  employment  goal as set forth in the employability plan and such
goal must relate directly to obtaining useful employment in a recognized
occupation.   WHEN MAKING ANY ASSIGNMENT  TO  ANY  EDUCATIONAL  ACTIVITY
PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION, SUCH ASSIGNMENT SHALL BE PERMITTED ONLY TO
THE  EXTENT  THAT  SUCH  ASSIGNMENT  IS CONSISTENT WITH THE INDIVIDUAL'S
ASSESSMENT AND EMPLOYMENT PLAN GOALS IN ACCORDANCE WITH  SECTIONS  THREE
HUNDRED  THIRTY-FIVE  AND  THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE-A OF THIS TITLE AND
SHALL  REQUIRE  THAT  THE  INDIVIDUAL  MAINTAINS  SATISFACTORY  ACADEMIC
PROGRESS.   FOR   PURPOSES  OF  THIS  PROVISION  "SATISFACTORY  ACADEMIC
PROGRESS" SHALL MEAN SATISFACTORY PROGRESS AS DEFINED IN 20 USC 1091(C).
  S 5. Paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section  131-n  of  the  social
services  law, as amended by chapter 373 of the laws of 2003, is amended
to read as follows:

S. 2323                             3

  (c) an amount up to one thousand four hundred dollars  in  a  separate
bank  account established by an individual while currently in receipt of
assistance for the purpose of paying tuition at a two-year OR  FOUR-YEAR
accredited  post-secondary educational institution, so long as the funds
are not used for any other purpose,
  S  6.  This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that
the amendments to paragraph (c) of subdivision 1 of section 131-n of the
social services law made by section five of this act  shall  not  affect
the expiration of such section and shall be deemed to expire therewith.

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