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New Work First Legislation Introduced

In September, the Representative Jerry O Kooiman, sponsored HB 6578. This bill would introduce some new changes to the Work First program. Some changes include:

 

TRACKING PARTICIPANTS

  • Adding a requirement that the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Labor would have to track the employment of those who gain work during their time in Work First for one year and make this information known to the appropriations committee during the annual budget review. Tracking participants would be done using their social security numbers.

 

NON-GRADUATE REQUIREMENTS

  • If a recipient does not have a high school education, a GED, or their reading level is below an 8th grade level, they must enroll in one of the following:
    • An English As A Second Language Program
    • A Fast Track Literacy Program
    • A High School Completion Course
    • A GED Prep Course

 

EXEMPTIONS

  • Single parents of children from 6 weeks to 3 months will be exempt from Work First, but would be required to participate in instruction or counseling in one or more of the following areas:
    • Marriage
    • Fatherhood
    • Parenting
    • Abstinence-based family planning
    • Child Development
    • Nutrition
  • A person applying for SSI will not be exempt from participating in Work First while waiting for the decision
  • Verification from a physician, psychiatrist, or psychologist is needed for exemption based on disability
  • Full-time caregivers of people with disabilities are only exempt if the person they are caring for need 24 hour assistance

 

EDUCATION/TRAINING

  • Case workers may authorize one of the following:
    • A recipient’s request to enroll in school and to count up to 20 hours towards the 40 hour requirement for up to 24 months in the recipient’s lifetime. The case worker will put requirements regarding GPA requirements, attendance, and performance in the recipient’s Personal Responsibility Plan.
    • A recipient’s exemption from Work First for up to 6 months in the client’s lifetime if there is evidence that there is high demand for workers with the education or training that the recipient is seeking. The case worker will put requirements regarding GPA requirements, attendance, and performance in the recipient’s Personal Responsibility Plan.
    • A recipient participating in education/training must meet with their worker at least once every 45 days.
    • If the recipient is not compliant with his/her plan, they cannot be excluded from work first for any education/training.

 

FAILURE TO FIND EMPLOYEMENT

  • If a recipient is unable to find employment, the recipient shall participate in training or counseling for up to 10 hours per week in the following areas:
    • Marriage
    • Fatherhood
    • Parenting
    • Self-improvement
    • Substance abuse
    • Volunteer activities

 

WRITTEN REPORTS

  • The Department of Labor and Economic Growth shall provide a written report to the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees no later than 90 days after this bill takes effect and annually by March 31 of each year. This report must contain the following:
    • The number and percentage of Work First participants achieving personal work plan goals
    • The number and percentage of Work First participants placed in unsubsidized employment
    • The number and percentage of Work First participants placed in employment who remain employed for a period of 180 days and 365 days or more
    • The number and percentage of Work First participants whose cases are closed due to earnings
    • The number and percentage of Work First participants enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year educational program with information on the degree programs enrolled in and the local Work First program’s participants’ graduation rate
    • The number and percentage of Work First participants participating in a Fast Track Literacy Program and the local Work First participants’ success rate in this program.
  • The number and percentage of Work First participants participating in a high school completion program or a general education development (GED) program and the local Work First program’s participants’ graduation rate
  • The DHS shall submit a written report within 90 days after this bill takes effect and annually by March 31 of each year to the legislature, the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies, the appropriate House and Senate standing committees that handle family and children’s issues, and the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees that contain the following information by district office for that time period:
    • The number of sanctions imposed for first instances of noncompliance and reapplications made.
    • The number of sanctions imposed for second instances of noncompliance and reapplications made.
    • The number of sanctions imposed for third instances of noncompliance
    • The number of Family Independence Program cases reopened
    • The number of Family Independence Program cases permanently closed.

 

CONTRACTS

  • The Department of Labor and Economic Growth may use incentives in contracts to Work First providers or may require performance-based measures in payment of contracts.

Human services
Updated Bills or Resolutions:

  • HB 5003 of 2005
    Human services; medical services; county maintenance of effort rate for nursing homes; extend ending date. Amends sec. 109 of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.109).
  • HB 5349 of 2005 (PA 442 of 2006)
    Insurance; other; long-term care; provide for general amendments. Amends secs. 1204a, 1204c, 3915, 3927, 3935 & 3942 of 1956 PA 218 (MCL 500.1204a et seq.) & adds secs. 1204f, 3906, 3910, 3910a, 3910b, 3925, 3926, 3926a & 3941a.
  • HB 6478 of 2006
    Human services; long-term care; long-term care insurance partnership program; establish. Amends secs. 112b, 112c & 112e of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.112b et seq.) & repeals sec. 112d of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.112d).
  • HB 6481 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; drug testing of welfare recipients; revise requirements. Amends sec. 57l of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.57l).
  • HB 6578 of 2006
    Human services; employment and training; work first participation requirements; revise. Amends sec. 57f of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.57f) & adds secs. 57s, 57t, 57u & 57v. TIE BAR WITH: HB 6580'06
  • HB 6579 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; work first program; extend sunset. Amends secs. 57f & 57g of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.57f & 400.57g) & repeals sec. 14i of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.14i).
  • HB 6580 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; family independence eligibility and work first exemptions; revise. Amends secs. 14i, 57, 57a & 57e of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.14i et seq.) & adds sec. 57w. TIE BAR WITH: HB 6578'06
  • HB 6581 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; how to consider supplemental security income and work first participant's income in determining family independence assistance eligibility; clarify. Amends sec. 57b of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.57b). TIE BAR WITH: HB 6584'06
  • HB 6582 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; sanctions for noncompliance; revise. Amends 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.1 - 400.119b) by adding secs. 57q & 57r.
  • HB 6583 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; verification of receipt of benefits in other states; require. Amends 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.1 - 400.119b) by adding sec. 57p.
  • HB 6584 of 2006
    Human services; employment and training; sanctions for not complying with work first; clarify. Amends sec. 57g of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.57g). TIE BAR WITH: HB 6581'06
  • HB 6585 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; length of receipt of family independence assistance; limit to 48 months. Amends sec. 57a of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.57a). TIE BAR WITH: HB 6580'06, HB 6581'06, HB 6583'06, HB 6584'06, HB 6586'06, HB 6587'06
  • HB 6586 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; family independence program's social contract; revise. Amends secs. 57, 57d & 57e of 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.57 et seq.). TIE BAR WITH: HB 6580'06, HB 6581'06, HB 6583'06, HB 6584'06, HB 6585'06, HB 6587'06
  • HB 6587 of 2006
    Human services; services or financial assistance; participation in education program to meet work first requirement; revise. Amends 1939 PA 280 (MCL 400.1 - 400.119b) by adding sec. 57n. TIE BAR WITH: HB 6580'06, HB 6581'06, HB 6583'06, HB 6584'06, HB 6585'06, HB 6586'06

Civil rights
Updated Bills or Resolutions:

  • HB 6559 of 2006
    Crimes; other; provision regarding wage discrimination based on sex; modify. Amends sec. 556 of 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.556).

Welfare Time Limits Reintroduced
In the House, Rep. Jerry Kooiman has introduced a bill to limit the time welfare recipients can receive benefits to 48 months. This is the second time that Mr. Kooiman has sponsored a bill of this nature. The last time that this type of bill was passed by the legislature, Governor Granholm refused to sign it. Click here to read HB 6585. This bill is tiebarred with several other bills sponsored by Kooiman to reform welfare.