Legislature(1993 - 1994)

1994-07-15 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1994-07-15                     Senate Journal                      Page 4813
SB 101                                                                       
Message of June 8 was received, stating:                                       
Dear Mr. President:                                                            
Under the authority of art. II, sec. 15, of the Alaska Constitution, I         
have vetoed the following bill:                                                
HOUSE CS FOR CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 101                                       
"An Act relating to interim assistance under the                              
adult public assistance program; requiring the                                 
Department of Health and Social Services to consult                            
with the Department of Education in order to                                   
develop an application process and disability                                  
determination system to implement the adult public                             
assistance program."                                                           
Among its provisions, this bill would eliminate state payment of               
interim assistance to certain low-income disabled Alaskans while               
their claims are being decided through the federal appeals process for         
the supplemental security income program.  Since 1982, Alaska                  
statutes have required these interim payments to provide limited cash          
assistance while these Alaskans pursue their federal claims, which             
can sometimes take as long as several years to be formally resolved.           
These Alaskans represent some of the state's neediest:  they have              
little or no income and already have a doctor's determination that             
they are disabled and unable to work.                                          
Many Alaskans' applications for federal assistance are initially denied        
because the federal government's definitions of disability are very            
complicated, an applicant and his or her doctor do not always                  
initially know what information is necessary to document an                    
application for assistance, and overworked disability determination            
workers sometimes make mistakes.  Because of the linkage between               
the state and federal assistance programs, these Alaskans are                  
ineligible for any cash payments except under the state interim                
assistance program.  If this bill was enacted into law, most of these          
Alaskans would have no cash assistance available to meet basic                 
living needs while they pursued their claims for federal assistance.           
This is especially troubling because I understand that about 60                
percent of these Alaskans who appeal will eventually be determined             
to be eligible for federal benefits.                                           

1994-07-15                     Senate Journal                      Page 4814
SB 101                                                                       
While I support ways to make our public assistance system work                 
better, this bill does not represent a means to materially improve that        
system, and may hurt the most needy disabled Alaskans.  I do not               
believe that enacting this bill into law would be in the best interests        
of the state; therefore, I have vetoed HCS CSSB 101 (FIN).                     
						Walter J. Hickel