Date: June 25, 1996
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
MARKUP OF H.R. 3507, "THE PERSONAL
RESPONSIBILITY AND WORK OPPORTUNITY ACT
On June 12, 1996, the House Ways and Means Committee completed markup of the Social Security-related titles of H.R. 3507, the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996." Full House consideration of the bill is expected before the August recess.
A companion bill (S. 1795) in the Senate will be marked up by the Senate Finance Committee on June 26, 1996.
Below are descriptions of the SSA-related provisions in H.R. 3507 as marked up by the Ways and Means Committee.
SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) PROVISIONS
Limited Eligibility of Noncitizens for SSI Benefits
- Would prohibit SSI eligibility for all noncitizens except:
- refugees (eligibility limited to the 5-ycar period after their arrival in the United States);
- asylees (eligibility limited to the 5-year period after the date they are granted asylum);
- noncitizens who have had deportation withheld under INA-section 243(h) (eligibility limited to the 5-year period after the date their deportations are withheld);
- active duty Armed Forces personnel , honorably discharged veterans, and their spouses and dependent children;
- lawful permanent residents who have earned 40 quarters of coverage for Social Security purposes and who did not receive any Federal means-tested benefits during any such quarter. (An individual under age of 18 would be credited with all qoarters of coverage earned by his or her parent, and a married individual (including widow(er)) would be credited with all quarters of coverage earned by his or her spouse during the marriage.)
Effective upon the date of enactment. However, with regard to individuals on the 55I rolls at the time of enactment, would require the Commissioner, within I year after enactment, to redetermine the eligibility of all noncitizens who do not meet the new eligibility categories . If a noncitizen is not in one of the new categories, his or her eligibility would terminate as of the date of the redetermination.
- Would require the Commissioner to notify all potentially affected beneficiaries on the SS] rolls of the provision by 1/ 1/97.
Reports to INS
- Would require the Commissioner to furnish the name, address, and other identi fying information to INS of any individual that SSA knows is unlawfully in the United States. Such reports would be required at least 4 times a year. Also requires the Commissioner to ensure that State supplementary program agreements with States include pro visions for the State also to furnish such information.
Effective upon the date of enactment.
Deeming of Sponsor's Incomes and Resources
- Would deem all of the sponsor's (and sponsor's spouses) income and resources
to the noncitizen until citizenship with the following exception:
- Deeming would end before citizenship in the case of lawful permanent residents who earn 40 quarters of coverage. Deeming for children and spouses of workers also could end before citizenship if they are credited with 40 quarters, i.e., an individual under age of 18 would be credited with all quarters of coverage earned by his or her parent, and a married individual (including widow(er)) would be credited with all quarters of coverage earned by his or her spouse during the marriage. However, a quarter would not count toward 40 quarters of coverage if the noncitizen receives means-tested public assistance during the quarter.
Effective for sponsored noncitizens who are admitted into the country under new, legally enforcea ble affidavits of support.
Requirements for Affidavits of Support for Sponsorship
- Would make affidavits of support legally enforceable against the sponsor until the noncitizen becomes a U.S. citizen. The affidavit would be enforceable for a period of 10 years after the noncitizen last received public assistance benefi ts, including SSI.
- Would require the agency that provides assistance to a noncitizen to request reimbursement from the sponsor for the assistance it provided. If the sponsor does not respond or is unwilling to make reimbursement within 45 days after the agency's request, the agency may take legal action against the sponsor. Would allow the agency to hire individuals to collect reimbursement.
- Would require the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), to develop a standard affidavit of support within 90 days after the date of enactment, Also would require-effective with a date specified by the Attorney General which would be no earlier than 60 and no later than 90 days after development of the standard affidavit- that all newly signed affidavits be legally enforceable.
Denial of SSI Benefits for 10 Years to Individuals Who Have Misre presented Residence in Order to Obtain Benefits in 2 or More States
- Would deny SSI benefits for a period of 10 years to individuals convicted in Federal or State court of having made a fraudulent statement with respect to their places of residence in order to receive benefits simultaneously in two or more States.
Effective upon the date of enactment.
Denial of Benefits for Fugitive Felons and Parole Violators
- Would deny eligibility for SSI with respect to any month in which an individual is fleeing prosecution, a fugitive felon, or violating a condition of probation or parole imposed under State or Federal law.
- Would require SSA to provide upon written request of any law enforcement
officer the current address, SSN, and photograph of any SSI recipient,
providing the request includes the name of the recipient and other identifying
information and notifies SSA that the recipient:
- is fleeing to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement after a felony conviction;
- is violating a condition of probation or parole; or
- has information that is necessary for the officer to conduct the officer's official duties and the location or apprehension of the recipient is within the officer's official duties.
Effective upon the date of enactment.
Denial of SSI Benefits for 10 Years to a Person Found to Hav e FrandulentIy Obtained SSI Benefits While in Prison
- Would provide that any person who is found to have made a fraudulent statement or misrepresentation while in prison in order to continue receiving SSI while in a penal institution shall not be considered eligible for benefits for a 10 year period beginning on the date the person is no longer incarcerated.
Effective with respect to statements or representations made on or after the date of enactment.
Modify the Effective Date of Applications
- Would provide that an individual' s application for 551 benefits would be effective on the first day of the month following the month in which the application is filed, or in which the individual first becomes eligible, whichever is later. The amendment, in effect, eliminates prorated payments for the month of application.
- Would permit the issuance of an emergency advance payment to an individual who is presumptively eligible and has a financial emergency in the montb the application is filed (the month prior to the first month of eligibility).
- Would require that the emerge ncy advance payment be repaid through proportional reductions in benefits payable over a period of not more than 6 months.
Effective for applications filed on or after the date of enactment.
Disposal of Resources for Less Than Fair-Market Value
- Children whose assets have been disposed of for less than their market value will be ineligible for a period of months equal to the uncompensated value of the disposed assets divided by the SSI Federal benefit rate (FBR)--currently $470.
Effective with respect to transfers that occur at least 90 days after the date of enactment.
Treatment of Assets Held in Trusts
- Would provide that trust funds established with a child' s assets (where the child is the trust beneficiary) will be considered a countable resource of the child.
Applies to trusts established on or after 90 days after the date of enactment.
Dedicated Savings Accounts
- Would require the establishment of a bank account to maintain retroactive SSI benefits that equal or exceed 6 times the FBR for disabledlblind children (smaller amounts may be placed in such accounts once established).
- Would allow funds to be used for:
- Education or job skill training.
- Personal needs assistance.
- Special equipment or housing modifications.
- Medical treatme nt, therapy or rehabilitation.
- Other items or services SSA determines appropriate.
- Would require that expenditures must be for expenses related to the impairment of the child.
- Would provide that unauthorized expenditures constitute misapplication of benefits and are recoverable from the payee.
- Would require SSA to establish an accountability system to monitor these accounts and payees are required to report on the use of these funds.
- Would provide that accounts are excluded from resource counting and that interest earned is excluded from income.
Effective with respect to payments made after the date of enactment.
Reduction in Cash Benefits Payable to Institutionalized Individuals Whose Medical Costs are Covered by Private Insurance
- Would limit to not more than $30 a month cash benefits payable to children who are in an institution receiving medical care covered by private insurance.
Effective with respect to benefits for months beginning 90 or more days after the date of enactment.
Installment Payments of Large Past-Due SSI Payments
- Would establish a schedule for paying retroactive SSI benefit amounts that
exceed 12 times the monthly FBR plus the monthly State supplement level.
Payments would be made at six-month intervals.
- The first installment would be 12 times the FBR ($5,640 based on 1996 rates) plus any Federally administered State supplement.
- Any remaining retroactive benefits would be paid in a second installment (not to exceed the first payment amount).
- All remaining retroactive benefits would be paid in the third installment.
- Would provide that where an underpaid individual has incurred debts to provide for food, clothing or shelter, has expenses for disability-related items and services that exceed the installment limit, or has entered into a contract to purchase a home, the installment payment would be increased by the amount needed to cover these debts, expenses, and obligations.
- Would provide retroactive payments would be paid in full to an individual who is terminally ill.
Effective with respect to past-due benefits payable after the third month following the month of enactment.
Repeal Maintenance-of-Effort Requirement
- Would eliminate the maintenance-of-effort requirement ("passalong") for States with regard to their State supplementary payment programs.
Effective upon the date of enactment.
Annual Report on the SSI Program
- Would require the Commissioner to report to the President and Congress
regarding the 551 program, not later than May 30 of each year, including:
- a comprehensive description of the program;
- historical and current data on allowances and denials, reconsiderations, administrative law judge hearings and appeals, characteristics of recipients. and program costs;
- projections of future numbers of recipients and program costs, through at least 25 years;
- information on redeterminations. utilization of work incentives, administrative costs, State supplementation programs;
- summaries of relevant research; and
- a historical summary of statutory changes to the SSI law.
- Would provide that each member of the Social Security Advisory Board be permitted to include their views on the 551 program in the annual report.
Effective upon the date of enactment.
SSI Eligibility Rased on Childhood Disability
- Would eliminate the comparable severity standard and provide instead that a child under age 18 would be considered under a disability if he/she has a medically determinable impairment which results in marked and severe functional limitations and which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
- Would direct 55A to eliminate references to maladaptive behavior in the domain of personal/behavioral function in the Listing of lmpainnents and to discontinue the use of an individualized functional asses sment in evaluating a child's disability.
- Would require that SSA ensure that:
- the combined effects of all physical and mental impairments of a child are considered in determining whether the child is disabled; and
- the Social Security regulations provide for the evaluation of children who cannot be tested because of their young age.
- Would also require SSA to notify recipients whose eligibility may be affected by these amendments no later than January 1 , 1997.
Effective with respect to applications filed on or after , and claims pending on, the date of enactment.
Would require SSA to redetermine the eligibility of recipients who are eligible for benefits on the date of enactment and whose benefits may terminate as a result of the new childhood disability eligibility criteria no later than I year after the date of enactment. The benefits of those recipients determined to be ineligible under the new eligibility criteria would terminate for the month beginning on or after the date of the redetermination.
- Would require SSA to prescr ibe the regulations needed to implement the amendments within 3 months of the date of enactment.
In addition, directs SSA to submit final regulations pertaining to the eligibility of children to SSI disability benefits to the Congress at least 45 days before such regulations would be effective.
- Would also require SSA to report to the Congress, no later thanl 80 days following the date of enactment, on its progress in implementing the changes in the SSI disabled children's provisions.
- Would authorize the appropriation, in addition to any funds otherwise appropriated for 551 CDRs and redeterminations, of $200 million for FY 1997, $75 mill ion for FY 1998, and $25 million for FY 1999 to be used only for the purpose of conducting 55! CDRs and making 5S! redeterminations. Such funds would remain available without FY limitation.
Eligibility Redeterminations and Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs)
- Would require CDRs:
- once every 3 years for recipients under age 18 with non-pennancnt impairments: and
- not later than 12 months after birth for low-birth weight babies.
- Would also require the representative payee of a recipient whose continuing eligibility is being reviewed to present evidence that the recipient is receiving treatment which is considered medically necessary and available, unless SSA determines that such treatment would be inappropriate or unnecessary. If the representative payee refuses, without good cause, to cooperate, SSA may change the payee.
- Would require an eligibility redetermination, using the adult initial eligibility criteria, during the 1-year period beginning on a recipient's 18th birthday.
Applies to benefits for months beginning on or after the date of enactment, without regard to whether implementing regulations have been issued.
Study of Disability Determination Process
- Would require SSA to arrange with the National Academy of Social Insurance, or another independent entity (effective within 180 days after the date of enactment), to conduct a study of the disabil ity determination process. Also requires SSA to ask the appropriate entity to submit a report of its findings and recommendations from the study to the President and the Congress at 18 and 24-month intervals.
Study by General Accounting Office
- Would require GAO, not later than January I , 1999, to study and report on the impact of the changes made by this Act on the SSI program and the extra expenses incurred by families of children receiving SSI benefits that are not covered by other Federal , State, or local programs.
National Commission on the Future of Disability
- Would establish a National Commission on the Future of Disability to study all matters related to the nature, purpose, and adequacy of all Federal programs serving individuals with disabilities.
- Would require the Commission to submit an interim report (not later than I year prior to its termination) and a final report (prior to its termination) to the President and the Congress which presents its findings and reconunendations. The Commission will terminate 2 years after it names its chair and vice-chair.
- Would also authorize the appropriation of such funds as are necessary to carry out the purposes of the Commission.
Requirement for Technical and Conforming Legislative Proposals
- Would require within 90 days after the date of enactment that the Commissioner and the Secretary of Health and Human Services provide Congress with draft conforming and teclmical amendments necessary "to bring law into conformity will, the policy embodied in this title" (i.e., title I, "Block Grants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families," which would replace the current AFDC program in title IV of the Social Security Act.) The amendment would require that references to title IV throughout the Social Security Act be revised if title I of the bill is enacted.