ARIZONA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Fifty-sixth Legislature

First Regular Session

 


HB 2559: DCS; federal benefits; dependent children.

Sponsor: Representative Montenegro, LD 29

Committee on Health & Human Services

Overview

Directs the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) to determine eligibility for benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for all children in their care. Requires DCS to apply for those federal benefits on the children's behalf if they're deemed eligible.

History

The primary purpose of DCS is to protect children. To achieve this, DCS will do and focus equally on: 1) investigating reports of abuse and neglect; 2) assessing, promoting and supporting the safety of a child in a safe and stable family or other appropriate placement in response to allegations of abuse and neglect; 3) cooperating with law enforcement regarding reports that include allegations of criminal conduct; and 4) coordinating services to achieve and maintain permanency for the child, strengthen the family and provide prevention, intervention and treatment services without compromising the child's safety (A.R.S. 8-451).

SSA is responsible for administering the nation's primary income support programs for older adults and individuals with disabilities: Social Security and Supplemental Security Income. Each program has different rules that determine how funds can be accessed, used or managed.

The VA offers a variety of benefits to veterans of the U.S. Armed forces and to certain members of their families. These benefits include financial assistance, health care, education and housing. Certain criteria must be met to be eligible for benefits administered by the VA.

Provisions

1.   ☐ Prop 105 (45 votes)	     ☐ Prop 108 (40 votes)      ☐ Emergency (40 votes)	☐ Fiscal NoteDirects DCS to determine eligibility for SSA or VA benefits for all children in their care. (Sec. 1)

2.   Requires DCS to apply for SSA or VA benefits on the child's behalf if DCS determines they are eligible for those federal benefits. (Sec. 1)

3.   Instructs DCS to determine the best representative payee for receiving the child's federal benefits. (Sec. 1)

4.   Specifies that if DCS is serving as the representative payee it must:

a)   not use the child's federal benefits to pay or reimburse themselves or the state for any costs of the child's care;

b)   use the child's federal benefits for the child's unmet needs beyond what the agency is obligated or required to pay;

c)   establish an appropriate special needs trust for each child who is receiving federal benefits or name the child a beneficiary of a pooled special needs trust and conserve the child's unspent benefits in a manner consistent with federal and state requirements for special need trusts and that appropriately avoid any federal asset or resource limit; and

d)   provide an annual accounting of the child's federal benefits to the child, child's attorney and their parents or guardians in addition to the reporting and accounting requirements for custodial trustees. (Sec. 1)

5.   Specifies that the accounting must describe how and in what amount the child's federal benefits have been spent and conserved. (Sec. 1)

6.   Requires DCS to notify the child, their parents, guardian and attorney of DCS's application for the child federal benefits. (Sec. 1)

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10.  HB 2559

11.  Initials AG Page 0 Health & Human Services

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