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State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Connecticut > Title17b > Chap319s > Sec17b-112

      Sec. 17b-112. Temporary family assistance program. (a) The Department of
Social Services shall administer a temporary family assistance program under which
cash assistance shall be provided to eligible families in accordance with the temporary
assistance for needy families program, established pursuant to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The Commissioner of Social
Services may operate portions of the temporary family assistance program as a solely
state-funded program, separate from the federal temporary assistance for needy families
program, if the commissioner determines that doing so will enable the state to avoid
fiscal penalties under the temporary assistance for needy families program. Families
receiving assistance under the solely state-funded portion of the temporary family assistance program shall be subject to the same conditions of eligibility as those receiving
assistance under the federal temporary assistance for needy families program. Under
the temporary family assistance program, benefits shall be provided to a family for not
longer than twenty-one months, except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this
section. For the purpose of calculating said twenty-one-month time limit, months of
assistance received on and after January 1, 1996, pursuant to time limits under the aid
to families with dependent children program, shall be included. For purposes of this
section, "family" means one or more individuals who apply for or receive assistance
together under the temporary family assistance program. If the commissioner determines
that federal law allows individuals not otherwise in an eligible covered group for the
temporary family assistance program to become covered, such family may also, at the
discretion of the commissioner, be composed of (1) a pregnant woman, or (2) a parent,
both parents or other caretaker relative and at least one child who is under the age of
eighteen, or who is under the age of nineteen and a full-time student in a secondary
school or its equivalent. A caretaker relative shall be related to the child or children by
blood, marriage or adoption or shall be the legal guardian of such a child or pursuing
legal proceedings necessary to achieve guardianship. If the commissioner elects to allow
state eligibility consistent with any change in federal law, the commissioner may administratively transfer any qualifying family cases under the cash assistance portion of
the state-administered general assistance program to the temporary family assistance
program without regard to usual eligibility and enrollment procedures. If such families
become an ineligible coverage group under the federal law, the commissioner shall
administratively transfer such families back to the cash assistance portion of the state-administered general assistance program without regard to usual eligibility and enrollment procedures to the degree that such families are eligible for the state program.

      (b) The Commissioner of Social Services shall exempt a family from such time-limited benefits for circumstances including, but not limited to: (1) A family with a
needy caretaker relative who is incapacitated or of an advanced age, as defined by the
commissioner, if there is no other nonexempt caretaker relative in the household; (2) a
family with a needy caretaker relative who is needed in the home because of the incapacity of another member of the household, if there is no other nonexempt caretaker relative
in the household; (3) a family with a caretaker relative who is not legally responsible
for the dependent children in the household if such relative's needs are not considered
in calculating the amount of the benefit and there is no other nonexempt caretaker relative
in the household; (4) a family with a caretaker relative caring for a child who is under
one year of age and who was born not more than ten months after the family's enrollment
if there is no other nonexempt caretaker relative in the household; (5) a family with a
pregnant or postpartum caretaker relative if a physician has indicated that such relative
is unable to work and there is no other nonexempt caretaker relative in the household;
(6) a family with a caretaker relative determined by the commissioner to be unemployable and there is no other nonexempt caretaker relative in the household; and (7) minor
parents attending and satisfactorily completing high school or high school equivalency
programs.

      (c) A family who is subject to time-limited benefits may petition the Commissioner
of Social Services for six-month extensions of such benefits. The commissioner shall
grant not more than two extensions to such family who has made a good faith effort to
comply with the requirements of the program and despite such effort has a total family
income at a level below the payment standard, or has encountered circumstances preventing employment including, but not limited to: (1) Domestic violence or physical
harm to such family's children; or (2) other circumstances beyond such family's control.
The commissioner shall disregard ninety dollars of earned income in determining applicable family income. The commissioner may grant a subsequent six-month extension
if each adult in the family meets one or more of the following criteria: (A) The adult is
precluded from engaging in employment activities due to domestic violence or another
reason beyond the adult's control; (B) the adult has two or more substantiated barriers
to employment including, but not limited to, the lack of available child care, substance
abuse or addiction, severe mental or physical health problems, one or more severe learning disabilities, domestic violence or a child who has a serious physical or behavioral
health problem; (C) the adult is working thirty-five or more hours per week, is earning
at least the minimum wage and continues to earn less than the family's temporary family
assistance payment standard; or (D) the adult is employed and works less than thirty-five hours per week due to (i) a documented medical impairment that limits the adult's
hours of employment, provided the adult works the maximum number of hours that the
medical condition permits, or (ii) the need to care for a disabled member of the adult's
household, provided the adult works the maximum number of hours the adult's caregiving responsibilities permit. Families receiving temporary family assistance shall be
notified by the department of the right to petition for such extensions. Notwithstanding
the provisions of this section, the commissioner shall not provide benefits under the
state's temporary family assistance program to a family that is subject to the twenty-one month benefit limit and has received benefits beginning on or after October 1, 1996,
if such benefits result in that family's receiving more than sixty months of time-limited
benefits unless that family experiences domestic violence, as defined in Section
402(a)(7)(B), P.L. 104-193. For the purpose of calculating said sixty-month limit: (I)
A month shall count toward the limit if the family receives assistance for any day of the
month, and (II) a month in which a family receives temporary assistance for needy
families benefits that are issued from a jurisdiction other than Connecticut shall count
toward the limit.

      (d) Under said program (1) no family shall be eligible that has total gross earnings
exceeding the federal poverty level, however, in the calculation of the benefit amount
for eligible families and previously eligible families that become ineligible temporarily
because of receipt of workers' compensation benefits by a family member who subsequently returns to work immediately after the period of receipt of such benefits, earned
income shall be disregarded up to the federal poverty level; (2) the increase in benefits
to a family in which an infant is born after the initial ten months of participation in the
program shall be limited to an amount equal to fifty per cent of the average incremental
difference between the amounts paid per each family size; and (3) a disqualification
penalty shall be established for failure to cooperate with the biometric identifier system.
Except when determining eligibility for a six-month extension of benefits pursuant to
subsection (c) of this section, the commissioner shall disregard the first fifty dollars per
month of income attributable to current child support that a family receives in determining eligibility and benefit levels for temporary family assistance. Any current child
support in excess of fifty dollars per month collected by the department on behalf of an
eligible child shall be considered in determining eligibility but shall not be considered
when calculating benefits and shall be taken as reimbursement for assistance paid under
this section, except that when the current child support collected exceeds the family's
monthly award of temporary family assistance benefits plus fifty dollars, the current
child support shall be paid to the family and shall be considered when calculating benefits.

      (e) A family receiving assistance under said program shall cooperate with child
support enforcement, under title IV-D of the Social Security Act. A family shall be
ineligible for benefits for failure to cooperate with child support enforcement.

      (f) A family leaving assistance at the end of (1) said twenty-one-month time limit,
including a family with income above the payment standard, or (2) the sixty-month limit
shall have an interview for the purpose of being informed of services that may continue
to be available to such family, including employment services available through the
Labor Department. Said interview shall contain a determination of benefits available
to said family provided by the Department of Social Services. Said interview shall also
include a determination of whether such family is eligible for food stamps or Medicaid.
Information and referrals shall be made to such a family for services and benefits including, but not limited to, the earned income tax credit, rental subsidies emergency housing,
employment services and energy assistance.

      (g) An applicant or recipient of temporary family assistance who is adversely affected by a decision of the Commissioner of Social Services may request and shall be
provided a hearing in accordance with section 17b-60.

      (P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; 93-418, S. 16, 41; 93-435, S. 59, 95; P.A. 95-194, S. 1, 33; 95-351, S. 1, 30; P.A. 96-262, S. 2,
11; 96-268, S. 1, 34; P.A. 97-295, S. 20, 25; June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A. 97-2, S. 1, 165; P.A. 98-262, S. 14, 22; P.A. 99-279,
S. 8; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-2, S. 12, 15, 61, 69; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9, S. 125, 129, 131; P.A. 03-2, S. 13; 03-28, S. 1;
03-268, S. 5; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-3, S. 80; P.A. 04-16, S. 2; 04-258, S. 27; P.A. 07-160, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 93-418 effective July 1, 1993 (Revisor's note: P.A. 93-262 and 93-435 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department of income maintenance, effective July 1, 1993);
P.A. 95-194 added Subsec. (b) authorizing the department to seek waivers to modify existing research and demonstration
programs, effective June 29, 1995; P.A. 95-351 made a technical change in Subsec. (b)(11), effective June 29, 1995; P.A. 96-262 amended Subsec. (b) to add a provision allowing the commissioner to encourage a recipient to undertake employment in
preschool child care programs, child day care centers, group day care homes and family day care homes, effective July 1,
1996, and applicable to income years commencing on or after January 1, 1997; P.A. 96-268 made a technical correction
in Subsec. (b)(7), effective July 1, 1996; P.A. 97-295 deleted Subsec. (b)(11) re opportunity certificates, effective July 8,
1997, and applicable to tax returns filed for income years commencing on or after January 1, 1997; June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A.
97-2 deleted obsolete provisions of the research and programs designed to support self-sufficiency and family unity for
recipients of aid to families with dependent children, inserted new Subsecs. (a) to (k), inclusive, establishing the temporary
family assistance program providing cash assistance to eligible families in accordance with the temporary assistance for
needy families program established pursuant to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of
1996, effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 98-262 revised effective date of P.A. 97-295, but without affecting this section; P.A.
99-279 amended Subsec. (e)(1) to provide that earned income shall be disregarded up to the federal poverty level in the
calculation of the benefit amount for "previously eligible families that become ineligible temporarily because of receipt
of workers' compensation benefits by a family member who subsequently returns to work immediately after the period of
receipt of such benefits" and to make a technical change; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-2 amended Subsec. (c) to limit 6-month
benefit extensions to not more than three, and add provisions re conditions under which commissioner may grant a fourth
or a subsequent 6-month extension, limiting benefits for certain families to 60 months and calculating 60-month limit and
amended Subsec. (e) to add provision re $50 per month disregard, effective October 1, 2001, and amended Subsec. (g) to
add two Subdiv. designators and to require family leaving assistance at end of the 60-month limit to have an interview,
effective July 1, 2001; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9 made technical changes in Subsec. (c), effective July 1, 2001, and revised
effective date of June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-2 but without affecting this section; P.A. 03-2 amended Subsec. (c) by reducing
the number of 6-month benefit extensions that the commissioner may grant from three to two and deleting "a fourth or"
re commissioner's authority to grant subsequent benefit extensions, effective July 1, 2003; P.A. 03-28 amended Subsec.
(c)(2)(D)(ii)(II) by replacing "temporary family assistance benefits" with "temporary assistance for needy families benefits", deleted former Subsec. (d) re transitional Medicaid eligibility, redesignated existing Subsecs. (e) to (h) as Subsecs.
(d) to (g), deleted former Subsec. (i) re "Reach for Jobs First" demonstration waiver and utilization of control group, and
deleted former Subsec. (k) re regulations to be adopted by November 15, 1997; P.A. 03-268 deleted former Subsec. (j) re
annual report of commissioner to human services and appropriations committees on funding required to support programs
funded by the temporary assistance to needy families block grant; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-3 amended Subsec. (a) to add
provisions allowing the commissioner to administratively transfer certain families qualifying for state-administered general
assistance cash benefits into a temporary family assistance coverage group should the commissioner determine that changes
in federal law permit such families not previously eligible to become covered, effective August 20, 2003; P.A. 04-16 made
a technical change in Subsec. (a); P.A. 04-258 amended Subsec. (d) by changing "child support" to "current child support"
re income disregard and adding provision re treatment of current child support received in excess of $50 per month as
relates to eligibility and calculation of benefits, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 07-160 amended Subsec. (a) by permitting
commissioner to operate portions of temporary family assistance program as a solely state-funded program, separate from
federal temporary assistance for needy families program, if commissioner determines that doing so will enable the state
to avoid federal fiscal penalties and by providing that families receiving assistance under a solely state-funded program
shall be subject to same eligibility conditions as those receiving assistance under federal program, effective July 1, 2007.