senate Bill S621

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Allows college coursework to be credited as a work activity which may be used toward fulfilling the employment requirements for public assistance benefits

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to social services
Feb 28, 2013 reported and committed to finance
Jan 09, 2013 referred to social services

Votes

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Feb 28, 2013 - Social Services committee Vote

S621
2
1
committee
2
Aye
1
Nay
3
Aye with Reservations
0
Absent
0
Excused
0
Abstained
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Social Services Committee Vote: Feb 28, 2013

aye (2)
nay (1)
aye wr (3)

S621 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Social Services
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §336-a, Soc Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1062
2009-2010: S2162

S621 - Bill Texts

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Allows college coursework to be credited as a work activity which may be used toward fulfilling the employment requirements for public assistance benefits under certain conditions.

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BILL NUMBER:S621

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the social services law, in relation to
access to a college education by public assistance
recipients who are subject to work participation
requirements

PURPOSE:
Allows individuals receiving public assistance to be able to pursue a
college education. Allows college course work to be credited as a
work activity, which can be used toward fulfilling the employment
requirements for public assistance benefits. Also changes the amount
of time that a participant in a vocational school can spend in
preparation for a GED from 25% to 50%.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends five different parts 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.

Subdivision 1 is amended to add four year colleges to the list of
eligible educational activities.

Subdivision 2 is amended to increase the amount of time participants
in vocational schools devote to preparation for a high school
equivalency diploma from 25% of their time to 50%.

Subdivision 3 is amended to direct the state commissioner of education
to establish a minimum standard of educational services for programs
in which recipients will participate. Subparagraph (b) of subdivision
4 is amended by providing circumstances when educational activities
are not required for 18 and 19 year-olds. This section requires the
social services district to document why 18 and 19 year-olds are not
required to participate in an educational activity. Adds a new
subdivision 7, which allows participants to count post-secondary
education in a four year college, to satisfy work activity
requirements. The local districts shall count each hour of classroom
participation as work activity, as well as counting reasonable study
time and class preparation. No social services district can assign a
participant to any activities that would interfere with their
educational program if the participant is enrolled at least part-time
in a post secondary program and has at least a cumulative C average
or its equivalent. A social services district may waive the
cumulative C average requirement for circumstances where an undue
hardship exists.

EXISTING LAW:
Currently, educational activities do not include four year colleges.

JUSTIFICATION:
Higher education is a path to self-sufficiency. By assisting
individuals to gain greater access to higher education they are given
the opportunity to pursue professional career·s, instead of simply
getting a job. It has been shown through numerous reports that simply


obtaining employment does not significantly help an individual to
overcome financial hardship. Individuals with minimum education and
low skilled jobs are the first to be laid off during times of
economic trouble. By allowing individuals to fulfill their TANF work
requirements while pursuing a college degree, those individuals will
be better equipped to compete in the labor market and have more
opportunity for upward mobility.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2011-12: S.1062/A5256 - Referred to Social Services
2009-10: S.2162/A.10496 - Referred to Social Services/ Referred
to Higher Education
2007-08: S.2478/A.3036 - Referred to Social
Services/Children and Families/Referred to Social Services
2005-06: S.638/A.10651
2001-02: A.7286A/S.7313

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it
shall become law, provided, however, that effective immediately, the
addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rules or regulations
necessary for the implementation of the foregoing section of this act
on its effective date is authorized and directed to be made and
completed on or before such effective date.

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

                                   621

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- 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  access  to  a
  college  education  by public assistance recipients who are subject to
  work participation requirements

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

  Section  1.  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:
  S  336-a.  Educational  activities. 1. Social services districts shall
make available vocational educational training  and  educational  activ-
ities.  Such  activities  may  include  but need not be limited to, high
school education or education designed to prepare a  participant  for  a
high  school  equivalency  certificate,  basic  and  remedial education,
education in English proficiency and 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 any of  the  following
providers which meet the performance or assessment standards established
in  regulations  by  the  commissioner for such providers:   a community
college OR A TWO-YEAR COLLEGE, licensed trade school,  registered  busi-
ness  school, or a [two-year] FOUR-YEAR college; provided, however, that
such post-secondary education must be necessary to the attainment of the
participant's individual employment goal as set forth in the employabil-
ity plan and such goal must relate directly to obtaining useful  employ-
ment in a recognized occupation.
  2.  When  a district contracts with a proprietary vocational school to
provide vocational educational training to participants, not  more  than
[twenty-five]  FIFTY  percent  of  the  approved duration of the program
shall be devoted to preparation for a high school equivalency diploma or

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02762-01-3

S. 621                              2

instruction in English for students with limited proficiency in English.
Participants needing instruction in basic literacy shall be referred  to
basic education programs. Instructors employed by proprietary schools to
prepare  a  participant for a high school equivalency certificate or for
education in English  proficiency  shall  meet  experience  requirements
established by the regulations of the commissioner of education.
  3.  When a participant is assigned to an appropriate vocational educa-
tional or educational activity and such activity is available at no cost
to the social services district through the school district or board  of
cooperative  educational  services  in  which the participant resides or
through another agency or organization  providing  educational  services
WHICH MEET SUCH MINIMUM STANDARDS AS THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION SHALL
ESTABLISH,  the  social services district shall refer the participant to
such district, board, agency or organization.
  4. To the extent provided in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this subdi-
vision and if resources permit,  each  social  services  official  shall
assign to appropriate educational activities any participant who has not
obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent:
  (a)  In  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  this chapter, any such
participant who is under age eighteen shall be required to attend educa-
tional activities designed to prepare the individual for a  high  school
degree  or  equivalency certificate. Participants who are not subject to
compulsory school attendance  requirements  may  be  exempted  from  the
requirements of this paragraph under criteria established by the depart-
ment  in consultation with the state education department and consistent
with federal law and regulations.
  (b) Any such participant who is age  eighteen  or  nineteen  shall  be
assigned  to  educational  activities,  except  that  the district shall
assign such participant to employment and/or other activities under this
title if the district has determined that  such  alternative  activities
are  consistent  with the participant's employability plan and, pursuant
to [department] OFFICE regulations, there has been  a  determination  by
the  district  based  on  such  plan that educational activities are not
[appropriate] REQUIRED for such participant TO OBTAIN THE KNOWLEDGE  AND
SKILLS NEEDED TO BE EMPLOYED IN THE OCCUPATION CHOSEN BY THE PARTICIPANT
AS HIS OR HER EMPLOYMENT GOAL IN SUCH PLAN BECAUSE HE OR SHE HAS CLEARLY
AND  AFFIRMATIVELY  DEMONSTRATED  THAT  HE OR SHE ALREADY POSSESSES SUCH
KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS or that the participant has failed  to  [make  good
progress]  MAINTAIN  A  CUMULATIVE  C  AVERAGE OR ITS EQUIVALENT in such
educational activities, EXCEPT WHERE UNDUE HARDSHIP RESULTING  FROM  THE
DEATH  OF  A  RELATIVE OF THE STUDENT, THE PERSONAL INJURY OR ILLNESS OF
THE STUDENT, OR OTHER EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH
FAILURE TO MAINTAIN A CUMULATIVE C AVERAGE OR ITS EQUIVALENT.
  (c) Any such participant who is an adult in a two-parent family and is
under age twenty-five may be  required  to  participate  in  educational
activities  consistent with his or her employment goals set forth in the
employability plan.
  (d) The social  services  official  shall  not  assign  a  participant
described in this subdivision to any activities which interfere with the
educational  activities assigned pursuant to such participant's employa-
bility plan and described in this subdivision.
  5. Any applicant for or recipient of public assistance pursuing  VOCA-
TIONAL  EDUCATION  OR EDUCATIONAL activities described in this [subdivi-
sion] SECTION shall not be assigned  to  any  other  activity  prior  to
conducting  an  assessment  and  developing  an  employability  plan  as
prescribed in section three hundred thirty-five or three  hundred  thir-

S. 621                              3

ty-five-a  of this title AND MAY BE ASSIGNED TO SUCH OTHER ACTIVITY ONLY
IF SUCH INDIVIDUAL'S ASSESSMENT AND SUCH INDIVIDUAL'S EMPLOYABILITY PLAN
WARRANT THE ASSIGNMENT TO SUCH OTHER  ACTIVITY.  Local  social  services
districts  may  periodically  reevaluate a participant's employment plan
and make assignments to other work activities [in order to meet  partic-
ipation  rates]  NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SECTION,
giving due consideration to the participant's progress in  the  current,
and if applicable, prior program.
  6.  Nothing  required  in this section shall be construed to supersede
the eligibility requirements of teen parents as set forth in this  chap-
ter.
  7. (A) IN ANY SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT IN WHICH THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL
OR  STATE  WORK  ACTIVITY  PARTICIPATION RATES WERE MET FOR THE PREVIOUS
YEAR OR ARE PROJECTED WILL BE MET FOR  THE  CURRENT  YEAR,  PARTICIPANTS
SHALL BE PERMITTED TO PURSUE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION, INCLUDING PARTIC-
IPATION  IN  A  FOUR  YEAR PROGRAM, IN SATISFACTION OF THE WORK ACTIVITY
REQUIREMENTS OF THIS TITLE.
  (B) WHEN A PARTICIPANT ENGAGES IN  EDUCATIONAL  ACTIVITY  PURSUANT  TO
THIS SECTION IN FULL OR PARTIAL SATISFACTION OF HIS OR HER WORK REQUIRE-
MENT,  THE  LOCAL  DISTRICT  SHALL  COUNT EACH HOUR OF CLASSROOM PARTIC-
IPATION AS WORK ACTIVITY AND SHALL ALSO COUNT THE TIME REASONABLY NECES-
SARY FOR STUDY AND CLASS PREPARATION AS WORK ACTIVITY. FOR EACH HOUR  OF
CLASSROOM  PARTICIPATION,  THE  TIME  REASONABLY NECESSARY FOR STUDY AND
CLASS PREPARATION SHALL BE DEEMED TO  BE  THE  NUMBER  OF  SUPPLEMENTARY
ASSIGNMENT  HOURS REQUIRED BY STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS FOR
EACH CREDIT HOUR IN  A  COURSE  OF  PROFESSIONAL  OR  HIGHER  EDUCATION;
PROVIDED THAT A DISTRICT MAY COUNT A LARGER NUMBER OF HOURS IF A PARTIC-
IPANT DEMONSTRATES THAT HIS OR HER EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITY REQUIRES A LARG-
ER  NUMBER  OF HOURS FOR STUDY, PREPARATION OR OTHER SUPPLEMENTAL ACTIV-
ITY.
  (C) A DISTRICT SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL SHALL NOT ASSIGN A PARTICIPANT
DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDIVISION TO ANY ACTIVITIES WHICH INTERFERE WITH THE
EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED IN THIS SUBDIVISION. THE DISTRICT SHALL
NOT ASSIGN ANY ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES TO A PARTICIPANT DESCRIBED IN  THIS
SUBDIVISION  WHO  IS  ENROLLED  AT  LEAST  HALF-TIME IN A POST-SECONDARY
PROGRAM AND HAS AT LEAST A CUMULATIVE C AVERAGE OR ITS  EQUIVALENT.  THE
DISTRICT  MAY  WAIVE  THE  REQUIREMENT  THAT THE STUDENT HAVE AT LEAST A
CUMULATIVE C AVERAGE OR ITS EQUIVALENT FOR UNDUE HARDSHIP BASED  ON  (I)
THE  DEATH  OF  A  RELATIVE OF THE STUDENT; (II) THE PERSONAL ILLNESS OR
INJURY OF THE STUDENT; OR (III) OTHER EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after
it shall have become a law, provided, however, that effective immediate-
ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any  rules  or  regulations
necessary  for  the  implementation of the provisions of this act on its
effective date is authorized and directed to be made and completed on or
before such effective date.

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