House Bill No. 5778

Public Act No. 00-213

An Act Providing Work Incentives For Persons With Disabilities.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (a) The Department of Social Services shall establish and implement a working persons with disabilities program to provide medical assistance as authorized under Section 201 (a)(1) of Public Law 106-170, as amended from time to time, to persons who are disabled and regularly employed.

(b) The Commissioner of Social Services shall amend the Medicaid state plan to allow persons specified in subsection (a) of this section to qualify for medical assistance. The amendment shall include the following requirements: (1) That the person be engaged in a substantial and reasonable work effort as determined by the commissioner and as permitted by federal law and have an annual adjusted gross income, as defined in Section 62 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, of no more than seventy-five thousand dollars per year; (2) a disregard of all countable income up to two hundred per cent of the federal poverty level; (3) for an unmarried person, an asset limit of ten thousand dollars, and for a married couple, an asset limit of fifteen thousand dollars; (4) a disregard of any retirement and medical savings accounts established pursuant to 26 USC 220 and held by either the person or the person's spouse; (5) a disregard of any moneys in accounts designated by the person or the person's spouse for the purpose of purchasing goods or services that will increase the employability of such person, subject to approval by the commissioner; (6) a disregard of spousal income solely for purposes of determination of eligibility; and (7) a contribution of any countable income of the person or the person's spouse which exceeds two hundred per cent of the federal poverty level, as adjusted for the appropriate family size, equal to ten per cent of the excess minus any premiums paid from income for health insurance by any family member, but which does not exceed the maximum contribution allowable under Section 201 (a) (3) of Public Law 106-170, as amended from time to time.

(c) The Commissioner of Social Services shall implement the policies and procedures necessary to carry out the provisions of this section while in the process of adopting such policies and procedures in regulation form, provided notice of intent to adopt the regulations is published in the Connecticut Law Journal within twenty days after implementation. The commissioner shall define "countable income" for purposes of subsection (b) of this section which shall take into account impairment-related work expenses as defined in the Social Security Act. Such policies and procedures shall be valid until the time final regulations are effective.

Sec. 2. Section 17b-605 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Commissioner of Social Services shall develop and implement a personal care assistance program for persons with severe physical disabilities who are employed or are likely to become employed within six months. For the purposes of this section, "a person with a severe physical disability" means a person who has a record of a severe physical impairment, either congenital or acquired, which is expected to continue indefinitely and limits one or more major life activities, including self care, and who is able to supervise a personal care assistant; and "personal care assistance" means services necessary for self care which a person is unable to perform, including, but not limited to, assistance with bathing, bowel or bladder care, dressing, personal grooming, moving in and out of bed, preparation and consumption of food, and other services defined by regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(b) Subsidies shall be made, within available appropriations, to persons determined eligible, for the purpose of employing personal care assistants, except that persons eligible for benefits under section 1 of this act and section 17b-605a, as amended by this act, shall only be eligible for such subsidies if the commissioner does not receive approval of the amendment to the waiver required under subsection (b) of section 17b-605a, as amended by this act. An eligible person shall receive up to a maximum of fifteen thousand dollars per year.

(c) The commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 to implement the program. The regulations shall establish financial and other eligibility standards for participation in the program, including family income eligibility standards, and shall establish criteria for funding. Any person needing personal care assistance who is (1) employed at the time of application for personal care assistance or (2) likely to become employed within six months, and demonstrates a need for personal care assistance services, shall be eligible for participation in the program, but an unemployed person described in subdivision (2) of this subsection may not receive personal care assistance for more than six months in a consecutive three-year period.

(d) If personal care subsidies cannot be provided to all eligible persons because of insufficient appropriations, the commissioner shall: (1) Promptly notify the Governor, the General Assembly and the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, (2) provide subsidies to employed persons first.

(e) The commissioner shall establish a subcommittee of the [Consumer Advisory Council on Disability Services] Connecticut Council for Persons with Disabilities for the personal care assistance program. The majority of the members of the subcommittee shall be persons who use personal care assistance services. The subcommittee shall meet regularly to: (1) Assess the personal care assistance needs of physically disabled persons in the state, including the progress and accomplishments of the personal care assistance program in meeting such needs, (2) advise the commissioner on the operation of the personal care assistance program, and (3) recommend to the commissioner an annual budget request and recommend to the commissioner, the Governor and the General Assembly legislation to improve personal care assistance services to persons with severe physical disabilities.

Sec. 3. Section 17b-605a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Commissioner of Social Services shall seek a waiver from federal law to establish a personal care assistance program for persons ages eighteen through sixty-four with disabilities funded under the Medicaid program. Such a program shall be limited to a specified number of slots available for eligible program recipients and shall be operated by the Department of Social Services within available appropriations. Such a waiver shall be submitted to the joint standing committees [with] of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and the budgets of state agencies and human services in accordance with section 17b-8 no later than January 1, 1996.

(b) The Commissioner of Social Services shall amend the waiver specified in subsection (a) of this section to enable persons eligible for or receiving medical assistance under section 1 of this act to receive personal care assistance. Such amendment shall not be subject to the provisions of section 17b-8 provided such amendment shall consist only of modifications necessary to extend personal care assistance to such persons.

Sec. 4. (NEW) The Commissioner of Social Services shall seek a waiver from federal law to permit a person participating in the program established under section 1 of this act to remain eligible for medical assistance under the Medicaid program in the event such person is unable to maintain a work effort for involuntary reasons. No such person shall be required to make another application to determine continued eligibility for medical assistance under the Medicaid program. In order to remain eligible for such medical assistance, such person shall (1) request that such assistance be continued for a period not to exceed twelve months from the date of the involuntary loss of employment, and (2) maintain a connection to the workforce as determined by the commissioner during such period. At the end of the twelve-month period, such person shall meet the eligibility criteria for the Medicaid program, except that the commissioner shall disregard any assets specified in subdivisions (4) and (5) of subsection (b) of section 1 of this act.

Sec. 5. (NEW) The Commissioner of Social Services shall cooperate with the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration with regard to any demonstration projects or experiments which the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration is authorized to operate in accordance with Title III of Public Law 106-170, as amended from time to time.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (a) The Commissioner of Social Services, within available appropriations, may establish and operate a community-based services program for persons with disabilities (1) who are between the ages of eighteen and sixty-four years, and (2) who meet the eligibility requirements specified in sections 17b-4(a)-1 to 17b-4(a)-6, inclusive, of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. Such eligibility requirements with respect to income and assets shall not apply to persons eligible for medical assistance under section 1 of this act who were receiving community-based services on October 1, 2000.

(b) The Commissioner of Social Services shall determine whether a person eligible for medical assistance under section 1 of this act who is receiving community-based services on October 1, 2000, is eligible for personal care assistance under section 17b-605a of the general statutes, as amended by this act. Such person shall not qualify for community-based services in the event such person may be enrolled in the personal care assistance program at the time such person is disqualified from receiving community-based services.

(c) The Commissioner of Social Services shall implement the policies and procedures necessary to carry out the provisions of subsection (a) of this section while in the process of adopting such policies and procedures in regulation form, provided notice of intent to adopt the regulations is published in the Connecticut Law Journal within twenty days after implementation. Such policies and procedures shall be valid until the time final regulations are effective.

Sec. 7. (a) Not later than July 1, 2001, the Commissioner of Social Services shall submit an interim report to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services and appropriations and the budgets of state agencies with respect to: (1) The number of persons receiving assistance under the working persons with disabilities program established pursuant to section 1 of this act; (2) the number of persons receiving personal care assistance under section 17b-605a of the general statutes, as amended by this act, who are also receiving assistance under the working persons with disabilities program; (3) the number of persons who transfer from the community-based services program for persons with disabilities established pursuant to section 6 of this act to the personal care assistance program established pursuant to section 17b-605a of the general statutes, as amended by this act; (4) persons receiving assistance under the working persons with disabilities program, the type of jobs held, the number of hours worked per week, salaries or earnings, the availability of employer-sponsored health insurance and the number of persons who are unable to maintain a work effort for involuntary reasons; and (5) the feasibility of establishing any additional programs or providing additional services as authorized by Public Law 106-170, as amended from time to time.

(b) Not later than July 1, 2003, the Commissioner of Social Services shall submit a final report to said committees.

Approved June 1, 2000