An Act To Prioritize Use of Available Resources in General Assistance Programs
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §4301, sub-§12-B is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 22 MRSA §4317, first ¶, as amended by PL 1993, c. 410, Pt. AAA, §11, is further amended to read:
An applicant or recipient must make a good faith effort to secure any potential resource that may be available, including, but not limited to, any state or federal assistance program, employment benefits, governmental or private pension programs, available trust funds, support from legally liable relatives, child-support payments and jointly held resources where the applicant or recipient share may be available to the individual. Assistance may not be withheld pending receipt of such resource as long as application has been made or good faith effort is being made to secure the resource.
Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §4317, 3rd ¶, as amended by PL 1993, c. 410, Pt. AAA, §11, is further amended to read:
An applicant who refuses to utilize potential resources without just cause, after receiving a written 7-day notice, is disqualified from receiving assistance until the applicant has made a good faith effort to secure the resource. It is the responsibility of the applicant to establish the presence of just cause.
Sec. 4. 22 MRSA §4317-A is enacted to read:
§ 4317-A. Use of available resources
Failure of an otherwise eligible person to comply with this section may not affect the general assistance eligibility of any member of the person's household.
This bill makes an applicant for general assistance who voluntarily abandons or refuses to use an available resource without just cause ineligible to receive general assistance to replace the abandoned resource for a period of 120 days from the date the applicant abandons the resource. The bill defines "available resource" as a resource that is immediately available or can be secured without delay. The bill also makes an applicant who forfeits an available resource due to fraud, misrepresentation or intentional violation or refusal to comply with rules without just cause ineligible to receive general assistance to replace the forfeited resource for the duration of the sanction imposed on the applicant for violation of a rule or 120 days, whichever is greater. The bill identifies circumstances relating to use of an available resource under which just cause must be found.