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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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S.159

Introduced by Senator Snelling of Chittenden District, Senator Bartlett of Lamoille District and Senator Kitchel of Caledonia District

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Human services; asset building; individual development accounts

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to ensure greater economic security for low income Vermonters by allowing individuals to have certain types of savings and remain eligible for public programs.

AN ACT RELATING TO IMPROVING ECONOMIC SECURITY OF LOW INCOME VERMONTERS THROUGH ASSET BUILDING

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 1103(c)(5) is amended to read:

(c)  The commissioner shall adopt rules for the determination of eligibility for the Reach Up program and benefit levels for all participating families that include the following provisions:

* * *

(5)  The value of assets accumulated from the earnings of adults and children in participating families and from any federal or Vermont earned income tax credit shall be excluded for purposes of determining continuing eligibility for the Reach Up program.  The asset limitation shall be increased from $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 for participating families for the purposes of determining continuing eligibility.

Sec. 2.  33 V.S.A. § 2103(b) is amended to read:

(b)  Eligibility standards for general assistance and emergency assistance as established by the commissioner need not be the same as those applicable to the department's categorical assistance programs, except that the asset limitations shall be the same as for the Reach Up program established in chapter 11 of this title.  In addition, in determining eligibility, the commissioner, pursuant to regulation, may take into account payment to or for the benefit of the applicant under any department program.

Sec. 3.  ASSET BUILDING; STUDY

The agency of human services shall study how to unify the asset limitations across public assistance programs, including Reach Up, separate state and solely state-funded programs under chapter 11 of Title 33, general assistance, emergency assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, food stamps, and any subsidized housing programs with asset limitations, with the purpose of encouraging low income individuals and families to have a modest savings for emergencies, postsecondary education, the purchase of a home, starting a business, or retirement.  The agency shall report on any waivers of federal law available and necessary to allow individuals to build assets without becoming ineligible for public assistance programs.  The report shall be presented to the house committees on appropriations and human services and the senate committees on appropriations and health and welfare no later than December 15, 2007.  



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us