senate Bill S6156
(R, C, IP) 48th Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed/Vetoed by Governor
Requires the division of criminal justice services to check the wanted felon status and probation or parole violator status of people applying for public assistance.
TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the executive law and the social services law, in relation to
requiring the division of criminal justice services to check the wanted
felon status and other information of people applying for public
To authorize the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to
provide information to local social services districts and to require
those social services districts to request such information regarding
whether applicants for benefits are wanted felons or are absconding
from parole or probation. Further, to require that where such
applicants have fraudulently obtained public assistance benefits,
such benefits must be repaid and subject to the same penalties as any
other acts of fraud which are used to gain public assistance benefits.
Section 1 adds a new section 845-C to the executive law requiring the
commissioners of social service districts, or their authorized
designees, to request, from DCJS information regarding whether
applicants for public assistance benefits are wanted felons and/or
whether they are probation or parole violators who are absconding
from justice and authorizes DCJS to provide such information.
Section 2 adds new subparagraphs to Social Service law section 132
to the current investigation required by that section. Under the new
provisions, the Department of Social Services (DSS) must inquire of
the DCJS regarding whether applicants for public assistance are
wanted felons or absconding from probation or parole. Where an
applicant is found to have such status, DSS shall further investigate
to determine whether the applicant knew, or had reason to know of
his/her status, and when the applicant became or should have become
aware of such status. This section also ensures benefits collected
during the period of time that the fleeing felon or absconder from
probation or parole knew or should have known of such status, must be
Section 3 amends subparagraph b of paragraph one of section 145-B of
the Social Service Law by adding a new subparagraph (iii) to ensure
that a deliberate false response to questions on the application for
public assistance regarding an applicant's status as a fleeing felon
or probation or parole absconder is treated as fraud for purposes of
that section and as such subject to the penalties set forth therein.
Section 4 authorizes the Commissioner of DSS in consultation with the
Commissioner of DCJS to promulgate rules and regulations to implement
Section 5 provides the effective date.
Currently, both federal and New York State law prohibits those who
know that they are fleeing felons and those who are knowingly
absconding from probation or parole from receiving public assistance
benefits. However, at this time, there is no statutory requirement in
place to ensure that applicants for public assistance are
investigated to determine whether they ineligible based on this status.
The "wanted felon" portion of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
"National Crime Information Center" database is provided to NYS and
is distributed to NYS law enforcement through E. Justice-by DCJS.
This bill is needed to authorize DCJS to provide this information to
commissioners of the social services departments and to require that
those departments make such an inquiry.
It should be noted that in previous years, the NYS Office of Temporary
Disability Assistance worked with the NYS Division of Criminal
Justice Services to check if an applicant was a fleeing felon.
However, following the federal ruling in Fowlkes v.
Adamec it was
determined that governing statute was needed to give the local DSS
the authority to determine if an applicant is a fleeing felon.
In addition, this bill is necessary to ensure that benefits paid based
on fraudulent representations by the applicant, are fully recouped by
NYS and that those applicants who fraudulently obtain benefits by
deliberately misrepresenting their ineligibility are subject to the
same stringent penalties as for any other fraudulent representations.
As a bonus, this legislation would also alert law enforcement to the
location of fleeing felons and those absconding from probation or
parole and thus enhance the effectiveness of our state's law
This legislation was prompted by the recent arrest of Edward Moses
made in Fulton, New York. Moses was arrested in the parking lot of a
local bank after a witness called the police to report suspicious
behavior. When asked for proof of identity, Edward Moses provided the
police with his New State Electronic Benefits Card given to
individuals on public assistance or other social services programs.
When the police ran his name, they immediately discovered that Moses
was wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping and possession of a weapon
in South Carolina. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this is an
Benefits are not designed for persons who are evading arrest or wanted
criminals. This legislation seeks to protect the integrity of New
York's public assistance programs by making sure that benefits are
being directed to those who are truly in need of assistance.
It is anticipated that any increase in investigation costs would be
more than offset by savings attributable to disqualifying ineligible
applicants and recouping payments already made to those who are
This act shall take effect on the 180th day after becoming a law.
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