Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/02/1994 02:20 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SENATOR HALFORD introduced HJR 36 (REPEAL 100 HOUR RULE FOR AID TO            
 FAMILIES TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN PROGRAM), and invited the prime                
 sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE, to testify.                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE explained the federal Department of Health and           
 Human Services has developed and implemented regulations relating             
 to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Unemployed Parent              
 Program, setting the number of hours at 100 per month, a grant                
 recipient can work and still maintain eligibility for the program.            
 If a job that exceeds 100 hours per month is accepted by the                  
 unemployed parent, the family becomes ineligible for AFDC and                 
 Medicaid even if employment earnings are less than the amount of              
 the AFDC grant.  He further explained how repealing the 100 hour              
 rule would allow those families to accept employment that exceeds             
 100 hours per month that may partially support them, reduce the               
 amount of aid they receive, promote self sufficiency, and save                
 state dollars at the same time.                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said there was a federal welfare reform                  
 working group meeting to formulate recommendations to be included             
 in a welfare reform package and indications suggest the repeal of             
 the 100 hour rule would be one of the recommendations.  He felt it            
 was important the State of Alaska supported this element of welfare           
 reform.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 499                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE offered to answer questions or refer the                 
 questions to persons attending from the Division of Public                    
 Assistance.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD, while approving basically of the legislation,                
 asked about adding more incentive for the program.                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said SENATOR HALFORD'S points had not been               
 considered, but he was interested in dealing with the incentives as           
 proposed by SENATOR HALFORD.                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said CURTIS LOMAS, Program Officer for the               
 Division of Public Assistance in the Department of Health and                 
 Social Services, might be able to suggest some ways to make SENATOR           
 HALFORD'S ideas work.  SENATOR HALFORD explained it might not be              
 possible under the title, but he would like to work in that                   
 direction.  REPRESENTATIVE BRICE thought the title was fairly                 
 tight, and SENATOR HALFORD agreed.                                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE asked REPRESENTATIVE BRICE whether he had seen any             
 of the polls as to what is happening in Washington as far as                  
 Welfare Reform.                                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said, in talking to SENATOR STEVENS' office,             
 a precise proposal has not been issued, and he again mentioned the            
 presidential task force on welfare reform that is meeting to                  
 formulate recommendations.                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD referred to the end of the Resolve Clause .... "as            
 long as the amount of their income does not exceed the state's                
 standard of need," to wonder whether it could be changed to reflect           
 dissatisfaction with the "standard of need" provision.  He thinks             
 the gap on the incentive side should be changed, and he suggested             
 someone from the department could explain his proposed change.                
                                                                               
 CURTIS LOMAS, representing the Division of Public Assistance,                 
 addressed SENATOR HALFORD'S question about the gap and admitted               
 difficulty in calculating AFDC benefit payments, but he did agree             
 with SENATOR HALFORD'S understanding of the income threshold for              
 eligibility for the program.  He continued to explain eligibility             
 for the program, benefits, and the calculation for the needs                  
 standard. He explained the state calculated the gap as the                    
 difference between the standard of need and the maximum payment               
 level the state has in effect.  He also explained HB 67 last year,            
 for the first time, created a small gap in the State of Alaska -              
 $25 for a family of two.                                                      
                                                                               
 TAPE 93-4, SIDE B                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. LOMAS continued to describe the computation of the gap and the            
 disregards involved.  He said the payment gap was only one way to             
 provide incentives for people to earn money, and he explained the             
 specific disregards.                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD said he called all of the disregards the gap, what            
 you can do without losing payments and medical.                               
                                                                               
 MR. CURTIS pointed out the 100-hour rule was a regulation the                 
 Department of Health and Social Services has the authority to                 
 repeal or modify, and he said the payment gap was imbedded in                 
 federal statute and requires congressional action to change.  He              
 suggested the committee keep their focus specifically on the 100-             
 hour rule.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD questioned the State's part in the standard of                
 need, and MR. LOMAS reiterated the State did not have the authority           
 to modify those time limited disregards.  SENATOR HALFORD asked for           
 a motion to move the bill.                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE moved to pass HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 36 (REPEAL            
 100 HOUR RULE FOR AFDC PROGRAM) from committee with individual                
 recommendations.  Without objections, so ordered.                             

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