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HB22-1259

Modifications To Colorado Works Program

Concerning modifications to the Colorado works program, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2022 Regular Session
Subject:
Human Services
Bill Summary

The act allows the state board of human services (state board) to utilize eligibility processes from other public assistance or entitlement programs when promulgating rules for redetermining and verifying eligibility for the Colorado works program (works program).

When determining income requirements for the works program, the act requires the department of human services (state department) to use an income conversion ratio for converting weekly and biweekly income to a monthly amount using the lowest ratio or methodology that results in the lowest monthly income amount allowable under federal law.

Current law prohibits a person convicted of a drug-related felony offense from being eligible for assistance under the works program unless the person is determined by a county department of human or social services (county department) to have taken action toward rehabilitation. The act removes the ban on eligibility.

No later than July 1, 2023, the act requires the state board to promulgate rules establishing statewide standards and procedures that require counties to:

  • Offer an extension beyond the 60-month lifetime maximum for all households that demonstrate good cause, which includes, but is not limited to, an applicant or participant who is a child-only case, the head of a single parent household and has a child under one year of age, or experiencing hardship; and
  • Inform and not penalize any applicant or household that demonstrates good cause for an exemption from work requirements which includes, but is not limited to, an applicant or participant who is the head of a single-parent household and has a child under one year of age or is experiencing hardship.

The act requires the state department to annually review and promulgate rules as necessary to update the standard of need to ensure the standard of need is equitable, promotes economic mobility and self-sufficiency, and reflects the current economic status of the state.

Current law requires the state department to ensure the amount of a basic cash assistance grant that an applicant or participant receives is equal to or exceeds 102% of the need standard for a participant in a similarly sized household on January 1, 2008. For the state fiscal year commencing July 1, 2022, the act requires the amount of the basic cash assistance grant to equal or exceed 100% of the basic cash assistance in 2021, plus 10%. For the state fiscal year commencing July 1, 2024, and each state fiscal year thereafter, the act requires the amount of the basic cash assistance grant to equal or exceed the amount of basic cash assistance for the previous state fiscal year plus a 2% cost of living adjustment or a cost of living adjustment that is equal to the average of the federal social security administration's cost of living adjustment for that fiscal year plus the previous 2 fiscal years, whichever is greater.

On July 1, 2022, the act requires the state treasurer to transfer $21.5 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund (cash fund) to the Colorado long-term works reserve to cover any increase in basic cash assistance above the amount of basic cash assistance in state fiscal year 2021-22. Beginning in state fiscal year 2023-24, and each state fiscal year thereafter, the act requires the state department to first expend any money remaining that is transferred to the Colorado long-term works reserve from the cash fund. The state department shall then expend money in an amount equal to one-third of the amount necessary to cover any such increase from available "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families" (TANF) funds, and an amount equal to two-thirds of the amount necessary to cover any such increase that the general assembly appropriates to the state department from the state general fund or any other available fund.

If the total statewide county TANF reserve falls below 15% of the county block grant amount, the act requires the general assembly to appropriate money from the Colorado long-term works reserve to the county block grant until the balance of the total statewide TANF reserve exceeds 15% or until the Colorado long-term works reserve falls below 25% of the state block grant amount. If the Colorado long-term works reserve falls below 25%, of the state block grant amount and the total statewide county TANF reserve exceeds 15% of the county block grant amount, the act requires counties to fund the TANF program from available TANF funds until the total statewide county TANF reserve falls below 15% of the county block grant amount.

The act strongly encourages a county department to contact each participant using each method of communication provided by the participant in order to conduct exit and follow-up interviews upon case closure. The act expands the purpose of the exit and follow-up interviews to include evaluating the participant's experience with the works program, how well the program met the participant's needs and assisted the participant in meeting the participant's goals, and informing the state department of any changes to rules that are needed to improve the participant's experience.

Beginning January 2023, and each January thereafter, the state department is required to submit a report to the general assembly on the effectiveness of the works program.

Current law requires the state board to promulgate rules that require a percentage reduction in the basic cash assistance grant upon the imposition of a sanction affecting the grant, with the percentage to be specified in the rules but not to be less than 25%. The act requires the percentage not to exceed one dollar.

The act requires the works allocation committee to review, at least quarterly, the balance of the Colorado long-term works reserve, the balance of the total statewide county TANF reserve, and the amount of basic cash assistance grants provided to participants to monitor whether the reserves will fall below specified amounts.

The act authorizes a county department that is projected to exhaust all money available in the county's TANF reserve and faces a local or statewide natural disaster or other emergency to request money from the county block grant support fund.

No later than September 30, 2022, the act requires the state department to develop an outreach and engagement plan to promote access to the works program for eligible persons.

The act appropriates:

  • $3,500,00 from the economic recovery and relief cash fund to the department of human services for use by the office of economic security;
  • $9,849,303 from the Colorado long-term works reserve to the department of human services; and
  • $1,066,400 to the office of the governor for use by the office of information technology.
    (Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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Bill Text

Email addresses for the Colorado legislature are changing from the @state.co.us domain to the @coleg.gov domain on December 1, 2022. Details