HBA-MPM C.S.H.B. 2280 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 2280 By: Naishtat Human Services 4/17/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In 1995, the 74th Legislature enacted welfare reform. Rather than immediately conform with federal welfare reform passed by Congress in 1996, Texas was allowed to take advantage of a waiver option authorizing a delay in implementing some federal provisions. This waiver expires in March 2002, at which time the state must bolster its efforts in assisting recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) into the workplace before their five-year allotment of benefits expires. If the needs of TANF recipients with high barriers to employment are not addressed, it is unlikely that they will take advantage of workforce services or succeed in the workplace. In performing its interim duties, the House Committee on Human Services conducted a workgroup to explore ways of improving the process of moving an individual from welfare to the workplace. One recommendation of the workgroup was to create a pilot program to assist TANF recipients through this process by removing barriers to employment and improving the network of community support services. C.S.H.B. 2280 establishes a pilot program to provide case management services to TANF recipients with high barriers to employment to assist recipients in attaining and maintaining employment. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Department of Human Services and the Texas Workforce Commission in SECTION 3 (Sections 31.071 and 31.075, Human Resources Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 2280 amends the Human Resources Code to require the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), no later than January 1, 2002, to jointly develop and adopt, by rule, a memorandum of understanding to establish a coordinated case management pilot program to conduct a personal-needs assessment for each recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and to provide case management services to recipients who are referred for services based on the assessment. The bill provides that the memorandum of understanding must specify the goals, tasks, and responsibilities of each agency (Sec. 31.071 and SECTION 4). The bill requires DHS and TWC to jointly select the pilot program sites and to conduct the pilot program in as many workforce development areas as possible with money appropriated for that purpose. The bill provides that TWC shall require in its contract with each local workforce development board in a local workforce area where the pilot program is conducted that the development board implement the program (Sec. 31.072). C.S.H.B. 2280 specifies that the pilot program must be designed to provide case management services to TANF recipients who are identified as having higher barriers to employment compared to other recipients (Sec. 31.073). The bill requires DHS and TWC to implement a personal-needs assessment in each pilot program site for purposes of assessing personal needs and improving case management of TANF recipients and referring the recipients to a case coordinator for additional referrals to appropriate support services and monitoring (Sec. 31.074). The bill sets forth the duties of case coordinators (Sec. 31.076). The bill authorizes a case coordinator to whom a recipient is referred to locate and assign a person to serve as an alternate payee of financial assistance payments for the benefit of the recipient and the recipient's dependent children. The bill requires DHS in determining if an alternate payee is appropriate to consider whether a recipient has failed to comply with work or employment activity requirements for an extended period of time and if the assignment of an alternate payee is feasible. The bill specifies individuals who may serve as an alternate payee and authorizes the payee to spend financial assistance payments only for the benefit of the recipient and the recipient's dependent children (Sec. 31.077). The bill establishes personal or situational circumstances that constitute a barrier to employment for purposes of personal-needs assessment. The bill authorizes DHS and TWC to design the personal- needs assessment component to provide assessment and services to targeted TANF recipient groups that experience specific barriers to employment (Sec. 31.074). C.S.H.B. 2280 establishes eligibility requirements for pilot program services and requires DHS and TWC by rule to develop guidelines for determining when a recipient may receive an extension of services and the duration of the extension (Sec. 31.075). The bill authorizes DHS, TWC, and the local workforce development boards to contract with communitybased organizations to provide services under the pilot program. The bill authorizes DHS and TWC to collocate staff needed for implementation of the pilot program (Secs. 31.078 and 31.079). The bill requires DHS and TWC no later than December 1, 2002 to submit a report to the legislature, governor, and Health and Human Services Commission regarding the progress and effectiveness of the pilot program in assisting recipients with high levels of barriers in achieving independence from public assistance. The report must include a recommendation regarding the feasibility of developing a statewide coordinated case management program for TANF recipients. The bill requires DHS, TWC, and HHSC, in determining the program's effectiveness, to cooperate with the Legislative Budget Board to develop appropriate outcome measures to be included in the report. DHS and TWC are authorized to contract for the evaluation and report (Sec. 31.080). The pilot program expires September 1, 2003 (Sec. 31.080). EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 2280 differs from the original bill by adding provisions authorizing a case coordinator to whom a recipient is referred to locate and assign a person to serve as an alternate payee of financial assistance payments for the benefit of the recipient and the recipient's dependent children (Sec. 31.077).