H. B. 2691
(By Delegates Stalnaker, Williams and Bennett)
[Introduced February 23, 1995; referred to the
Committee on Government Organization.]
A BILL to amend chapter nine of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article three-a, relating
to public welfare; establishing workfare program for persons
receiving welfare assistance benefits; stating purpose;
requiring department of health and human resources to issue
forms; requiring counties to place persons on public works
projects; requiring work to equal benefits in order to
receive benefits; providing for rules; and providing that
persons not able to work will continue to receive benefits.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter nine of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding thereto
a new article, designated article three-a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3A. WORKFARE.
§9-3A-1. Workfare program established.
There is hereby established the West Virginia workfare
§9-3A-2. Legislative purpose.
The Legislature, in enacting this program, recognizes that
it is necessary for the general well-being of the state that
persons who are receiving public assistance maintain active job
skills until they are able to return to work.
§9-3A-3. Certification of ability to work; forms to be provided
by department of health and human resources and
returned to department.
Any person who is receiving any form of welfare assistance
as defined by section two, article one of this chapter, shall
within sixty days from the effective date of this article obtain
a certificate from a physician or other licensed health care
practitioner stating whether or not that person is physically
able to engage in work requiring physical exertion or, if not,
whether able to engage in work requiring a lesser degree of
physical exertion and to what extent. Certifications shall be made on forms to be provided by the department of health and
human resources and returned to the department within ten days
after the physician or other practitioner has made the
§9-3A-4. County commissions to place persons able to work on
public works projects.
The department of health and human resources shall forward
to each county commission a list of those persons who have been
certified under this article as able to work with a statement of
the type of job they have been certified to do.
Each person certified as able to work shall be placed by the
county commissions on any public works project within the county
according to the type of work the person has been certified to
§9-3A-5. Work must equal welfare benefits; absences.
In order to receive welfare assistance benefits under this
article, each person placed in a job under the workfare program
must work the number of hours per week it would take to equal
that person's welfare assistance benefits as if the person were
being paid at a rate of four dollars twenty-five cents an hour.
Any person who has three unexcused absences in any one workweek shall receive welfare assistance benefits equal to the
number of hours worked in that week at the applicable rate.
The department of health and human resources is empowered,
in accordance with law, to issue any rules necessary for the
implementation of this program.
A person receiving public assistance benefits shall continue
to be eligible to such benefits as that person is entitled in any
month notwithstanding the provisions of this article if the
(a) Is under age sixteen; and/or
(b) Attends, fulltime, an elementary, secondary, vocational
or technical school (except that such school attendance as a
required jobs opportunity and basic skill training program
hereafter referred to as "JOBS" activity for a child who loses
this exemption will not requalify the child for the exemption);
(c) Is ill, when determined by the bureau for children and
families on the basis of medical evidence or another sound basis
that the illness or injury is serious enough to temporarily prevent entry into employment or training; and/or
(d) Is incapacitated, when verified by the bureau for
children and families that a physical or mental impairment,
determined by a physician or licensed or certified psychologist,
by itself or in conjunction with age, prevents the individual
from engaging in employment or training under JOBS; and/or
(e) Is sixty years of age or older; and/or
(f) Resides in a political subdivision of the state where
the JOBS program is available, but in a location which is so
remote for a JOBS program or activity that effective
participation is precluded. The individual shall be considered
remote if a round trip of more than two hours by reasonable
public or private transportation, exclusive of time necessary to
transport children to and from a child care facility, would be
required for a normal work or training day. However, if normal
round trip commuting time in the area is more than two hours,
then the round trip commuting time shall not exceed the generally
accepted community standards; and/or
(g) Is needed in the home because another member of the
household requires the individual's presence due to illness or
incapacity as determined by a physician or a licensed or certified psychologist, and no other appropriate member of the
household is available to provide the needed care; and/or
(h) Is working thirty or more hours a week. The bureau for
children and families may establish minimum standards in its JOBS
plan for work that qualifies an individual for this exemption;
(i) Is pregnant, and it has been medically verified that the
child is expected to be born in the month in which participation
would be required or within the following six-month period;
(j) Is the parent or other relative of a child under three
years of age (or an age less than three but not less than one)
who is personally providing care for the child; or
(2) Is the parent or other relative personally providing
care for a child under six years of age, unless the bureau for
children and families assures that child care will be guaranteed
and that participation in the program by the parent or relative
will not be required for more than twenty hours per week; and/or
(k) Is a full-time volunteer serving under the volunteers in
service to america (VISTA) program.
Only one parent or other relative in a case may be exempt under subdivision (j), paragraph (1) or (2) of this section. In
the case of a family member eligible for aid to families with
dependent children (AFDC) by reason of the unemployment of the
parent who is the principal earner, only one parent may be exempt
under subdivision (j), paragraph (1) or (2) of this section. The
bureau for children and families may:
(A) Limit the exemptions in subdivision (j), paragraph (1)
or (2) of this section to the parent who is not the principal
(B) Make the exemptions in subdivision (j), paragraph (1) or
(2) of this section applicable to both parents and require their
participation in the program if child care is guaranteed.
The bureau for children and families shall reevaluate any
exemption at such time as the condition is expected to terminate
but no less frequently than at each redetermination of AFDC
eligibility. The bureau for children and families shall promptly
notify the recipient and any appropriate service providers of any
change in the recipient's exemption status.
NOTE: This bill would establish the West Virginia Workfare
Program in which welfare assistance recipients would be required
to be certified as able to work and placed by counties on public projects in order to receive benefits.
Article three-a, chapter nine is new; therefore,
strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.