State of Illinois
91st General Assembly

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[ Engrossed ][ House Amendment 001 ]



 1        AN  ACT  to  amend the Illinois Public Aid Code by adding
 2    Section 1-12.

 3        Be it enacted by the People of  the  State  of  Illinois,
 4    represented in the General Assembly:

 5        Section  5.   The  Illinois Public Aid Code is amended by
 6    adding Section 1-12 as follows:

 7        (305 ILCS 5/1-12 new)
 8        Sec. 1-12.  Family violence option.
 9        (a)  Findings.  The General Assembly finds that:
10             (1)  domestic violence may  make  it  difficult  for
11        some  individuals  to  attain  economic self-sufficiency,
12        because the  physical  and  mental  effects  of  past  or
13        present abuse may hinder job performance; because abusive
14        partners   may   attempt   to   sabotage  their  victims'
15        education,  training,  and  employment   to   keep   them
16        economically  dependent;  or because the demands of court
17        intervention, criminal prosecution,  or  safety  planning
18        may interfere with work, education, or training;
19             (2)  attempts  to escape violent living arrangements
20        may disrupt work or    require  relocation  from  another
21        state or both;
22             (3)  in situations where there is a risk of domestic
23        violence,  cooperation  with  child support and paternity
24        establishment may increase the risk  to  individuals  and
25        their children;
26             (4)  no  individual  should be forced to remain in a
27        violent living situation or place themselves or others at
28        risk  in  order  to  attain  or  retain  assistance,  for
29        economic survival, or because any applicable  time  limit
30        has expired; and
31             (5)  no  individual  should  be  unfairly  penalized
                            -2-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1        because  past or present domestic violence or the risk of
 2        domestic violence causes them  to  fail  to  comply  with
 3        requirements for assistance.
 4        (b)  Definition  of  domestic  violence.  For purposes of
 5    this Section, the term "domestic violence" means battering or
 6    subjecting a person to extreme cruelty by (i)  physical  acts
 7    that  resulted in or threatened to result in physical injury;
 8    (ii) sexual abuse; (iii) sexual activity involving a child in
 9    the  home;  (iv)  forcing  the  person  to   participate   in
10    nonconsensual  sexual  acts or activities; (v) threats of, or
11    attempts at, physical or sexual  abuse;  (vi)  mental  abuse;
12    (vii) neglect or deprivation of medical care.
13        (c)  Protection  of  applicants  and  recipients  who are
14    victims of domestic violence.  In recognition of the  reality
15    of   family  violence  for  many  individuals  who  may  need
16    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the State  of
17    Illinois   adopts  the  Family  Violence  Option  of  Section
18    402(a)(7) of the Social Security Act.
19        Adoption of the Family Violence Option shall increase the
20    State's flexibility in moving Illinois families from  welfare
21    to work to ensure that applicants and recipients who are past
22    or  present  victims of domestic violence or those at risk of
23    further domestic violence are not placed at risk or  unfairly
24    penalized,  and  to  ensure that victims of domestic violence
25    remain  on  the  path  to  economic  self-sufficiency   while
26    preserving  the    safety  and  well-being of the victims and
27    their children.
28        All State agencies  responsible  for  the  operation  and
29    implementation  of  any  portion  of  the  TANF program under
30    Article IV and child support programs under Articles IV and X
31    shall:
32             (1)  screen and identify applicants  and  recipients
33        of assistance for TANF who are past or present victims of
34        domestic   violence   or  at  risk  of  further  domestic
                            -3-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1        violence, while protecting confidentiality;
 2             (2)  refer  these  individuals  for  counseling  and
 3        supportive services; and
 4             (3)  waive, for so long as necessary, pursuant to  a
 5        determination  of  good  cause,  any program requirements
 6        that would make it more difficult for  these  individuals
 7        to  escape domestic violence or unfairly penalize past or
 8        present victims of domestic violence or those at risk  of
 9        further domestic violence, such as time limits on receipt
10        of assistance, work requirements, paternity establishment
11        and  child  support  cooperation  requirements, residency
12        requirements,  family  cap   provisions,   budgeting   an
13        abuser's  income  as  countable  income,  limitations  on
14        emergency   assistance,   or  any  penalty  or  sanction,
15        including reduction or  termination  of  assistance,  for
16        failure to comply with a program requirement.
17             (4)  For  purposes  of  this  Section,  a  victim of
18        domestic violence is someone who  has  been  battered  or
19        subject  to  extreme  cruelty  as that term is defined in
20        Section 408(a)(7)(C)(iii) of the Social Security Act.
21        (d)  Identification of victims of domestic violence.  The
22    Department of Human Services and the Department of Public Aid
23    shall jointly develop and monitor compliance with  procedures
24    for  identifying  victims  of  domestic  violence  for  State
25    agencies    and    their    employees,    contractors,    and
26    subcontractors.    Those   procedures  shall  provide  for  a
27    universal screening process  with  interview  questions  that
28    screen  for  issues  of  domestic    violence  and  universal
29    notification  to  all  applicants and recipients of aid under
30    Article IV of the following:
31             (1)  that referrals  to  counseling  and  supportive
32        services  as  detailed under subsection (f) are available
33        for past or present victims of domestic violence or those
34        at risk of further domestic violence;
                            -4-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1             (2)  that all past or present  victims  of  domestic
 2        violence  or  those  at risk of further domestic violence
 3        shall, upon showing of good cause, receive waivers of any
 4        program requirements that will make it more difficult for
 5        them  to  escape  from  domestic  violence  or   unfairly
 6        penalize  them  for being victims or potential victims of
 7        such violence; and
 8             (3)  the    procedures    for    voluntarily     and
 9        confidentially  identifying  eligibility for referrals to
10        supportive services and waivers and  the  procedures  for
11        obtaining services or applying for waivers.
12        Notification  shall  be both in writing and orally at the
13    time of application for benefits and recertification,  during
14    the development of the personal plan for achieving employment
15    and  self-sufficiency,  also  referred  to  as the individual
16    responsibility plan (IRP) or the responsibility and  services
17    plan  (RASP),  at  the  beginning of any job training or work
18    placement assistance program, and at any other time at  which
19    a  determination  is  being  made concerning the individual's
20    progress, eligibility, or  status  under  the  TANF  program,
21    prior  to  any  information  for  the purpose of establishing
22    paternity or child support enforcement being  requested  from
23    the  applicant  or recipient, and at the point of referral to
24    the  child  support  or  Medicaid  agency.    Screening   and
25    notification procedures shall allow applicants and recipients
26    to  voluntarily and confidentially disclose their eligibility
27    for services or waivers at any time.  At  no  time  shall  an
28    applicant or recipient's decision not to disclose eligibility
29    for  services  or  waivers  due to domestic violence preclude
30    disclosure at a later date,  nor  shall  it  preclude  future
31    access to services or waivers.
32        (e)  Confidentiality.   The  Department of Human Services
33    and the Department of Public Aid shall  jointly  develop  and
34    monitor  compliance  procedures  for  the  agencies and their
                            -5-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1    employees, contractors, and subcontractors to ensure that any
 2    information pertaining to any applicant or recipient  of  aid
 3    who  claims  to  be  a  past  or  present  victim of domestic
 4    violence  or  an  individual  at  risk  of  further  domestic
 5    violence, whether provided by the victim or by a third party,
 6    shall remain confidential.  This information shall be used by
 7    the Department of Human Services and the Department of Public
 8    Aid solely for the purpose  of  referral  to  services  under
 9    subsection  (f)  or determining eligibility for waivers under
10    subsection (g).   Information  with  respect  to  victims  of
11    domestic  violence  or  anyone  who  claims to be a victim of
12    domestic violence shall not be released to any outside  party
13    or   parties  or  other  governmental  agencies,  unless  the
14    information is required to be disclosed  by  law,  or  unless
15    authorized  in  writing  by the applicant or recipient.  This
16    includes but is not limited to information on  the  applicant
17    or  recipient's current address, workplace or work placement,
18    that the individual has been  identified  as  the  victim  of
19    domestic  violence,  or  any  details concerning the domestic
20    violence.
21        (f)  Procedures for referral to services.  The Department
22    of Human Services and the  Department  of  Public  Aid  shall
23    jointly  develop  and  monitor compliance with procedures for
24    the  agencies   and   their   employees,   contractors,   and
25    subcontractors  for referring victims of domestic violence to
26    appropriate services.  Whenever an applicant or recipient  of
27    aid self-identifies, or is otherwise identified, as a past or
28    present  victim  of  domestic violence or a person at risk of
29    further domestic violence, the Department of  Human  Services
30    and  the Department of Public Aid shall refer that individual
31    to an employee trained in domestic violence issues who  shall
32    provide  information  about  how  to  contact local services.
33    Services include  but  are  not  limited  to:   shelters  for
34    battered   individuals,   medical  services,  domestic  abuse
                            -6-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1    hotlines, emergency  aid  for  individuals  fleeing  domestic
 2    violence,   legal  counseling  and  advocacy,  initiation  of
 3    criminal proceedings, mental health care, counseling, support
 4    groups, and financial assistance for victims of crime.
 5        (g)  Waivers.
 6             (1)  The  Department  of  Human  Services  and   the
 7        Department  of  Public  Aid  shall  jointly  develop  and
 8        monitor  compliance  with procedures for the agencies and
 9        their  employees,  contractors,  and  subcontractors  for
10        waivers of program requirements.  Whenever  an  applicant
11        or  recipient  of  aid  self-identifies,  or is otherwise
12        identified as  a  past  or  present  victim  of  domestic
13        violence   or  a  person  at  risk  of  further  domestic
14        violence, the agencies shall notify that individual  that
15        they  may  be  eligible  for  a  good cause waiver of any
16        potentially applicable program  requirements  or  penalty
17        provisions, including, but not limited to:
18                  (A)  time limits on receipt of assistance;
19                  (B)  work requirements;
20                  (C)  paternity  establishment and child support
21             cooperation  requirements;
22                  (D)  residency requirements;
23                  (E)  family cap provisions;
24                  (F)  budgeting an abuser's income as  countable
25             income;
26                  (G)  limitations on emergency assistance;
27                  (H)  any  other  program requirements that will
28             make it more difficult to escape violence or further
29             penalize  past  or  present  victims   of   domestic
30             violence  or  those  at  risk  of  further  domestic
31             violence; or
32                  (I)  any penalty or sanction, including denial,
33             reduction, or termination of assistance, for failure
34             to comply with one of the above requirements.
                            -7-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1        With  the  applicant or recipient's informed consent, the
 2        agencies shall determine whether good cause exists for  a
 3        waiver  of any potentially applicable program requirement
 4        or penalty provision.
 5             (2)  Good cause for waiver of  program  requirements
 6        or  penalty provisions shall be found whenever imposition
 7        of the requirement or penalty would:
 8                  (A)  make it more difficult for an applicant or
 9             recipient to escape domestic violence; or
10                  (B)  unfairly penalize applicants or recipients
11             of aid who are past or present  victims  of,  or  at
12             risk of further domestic violence.
13             (3)  Examples   of   situations   that  require  the
14        Department of Human Services and the Department of Public
15        Aid to waive specific program  requirements  include  but
16        are not limited to:
17                  (A)  waivers  of work requirements or penalties
18             for failing to  comply with work requirements where:
19                       (i)  the  applicant   or   recipient   has
20                  difficulty  engaging in work  activity, because
21                  of  physical  injuries  caused  by   abuse   or
22                  psychological effects of abuse;
23                       (ii)  work  activity  is  disrupted due to
24                  domestic violence, including civil or  criminal
25                  legal  proceedings  related  to  the   domestic
26                  violence;
27                       (iii)  the abuse actively interferes  with
28                  the  applicant  or  recipient's  work activity,
29                  with  that  individual's  attendance  at   work
30                  activity,  or with that individual's child care
31                  arrangement; or
32                       (iv)  the   individual's   work   activity
33                  location puts the individual at risk.
34             For  purposes  of  this  subdivision  (3)(A),   work
                            -8-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1             activity  includes  but is not limited to subsidized
 2             or unsubsidized  employment  or  any  job  training,
 3             education, job readiness, work placement assistance,
 4             or community service program.
 5                  (B)  temporary  suspension of time limits where
 6             the applicant or recipient has  exhausted  the  time
 7             limit   for   receiving  aid  but  needs  continuing
 8             financial  aid  to  escape  domestic  violence,   or
 9             tolling  of  time limits where domestic violence has
10             prolonged the applicant or  recipient's    need  for
11             assistance before the time limit has been reached;
12                  (C)  waivers  of  requirements of disclosure of
13             information, such as paternity, where the  applicant
14             or recipient is afraid such disclosure will increase
15             the danger of abuse to the applicant or recipient or
16             that individual's children;
17                  (D)  waiver  of  paternity  and  child  support
18             cooperation requirements or penalties for failure to
19             cooperate   with  child  support  determination  and
20             paternity  establishment,  where  the  applicant  or
21             recipient reasonably believes that cooperation would
22             put the applicant or recipient or that  individual's
23             children at risk; and
24                  (E)  waiver  of  residency requirements when an
25             applicant  or  recipient  flees  to  the  State   of
26             Illinois to escape domestic violence.
27             (4)  Waivers   shall  be  automatically  offered  to
28        applicants or recipients upon a showing  of  good  cause,
29        for  as  long as necessary.  An applicant or recipient is
30        free to decline an offer of a  waiver,  or  terminate  an
31        existing  waiver  at any time, without penalty.  Granting
32        of  a  waiver  does  not  restrict  otherwise   qualified
33        applicants and recipients from voluntary participation in
34        any  work,  job  training, education, job readiness, work
                            -9-                LRB9104312SMdv
 1        placement  assistance,  or  community  service   program.
 2        Failure  to  follow  through on such voluntary activities
 3        when a waiver is in place shall not result in any denial,
 4        reduction, or termination  of  assistance  or  any  other
 5        penalty.
 6             (5)  Denials  of  requests  for  waivers  of program
 7        requirements that would penalize a past or present victim
 8        of domestic violence or  a  person  at  risk  of  further
 9        domestic  violence,  or  would make it more difficult for
10        that individual to escape domestic violence, shall be  in
11        writing  and  shall  state the reason for denial. Denials
12        shall be  transmitted  to  applicants  or  recipients  in
13        accordance    with    the    confidentiality   procedures
14        established  under  subsection  (e).   Denials   may   be
15        appealed through the fair hearing procedure applicable to
16        other  determinations  of  TANF eligibility, progress, or
17        status.
18             (6)  Nothing in this Section shall be interpreted to
19        require any actions by domestic violence victims such  as
20        seeking  orders  of  protection, attending counseling, or
21        other actions that are not required of  other  applicants
22        or   recipients.    Nothing  in  this  Section  shall  be
23        interpreted as allowing denial or reduction  of  benefits
24        to  domestic  violence  victims  because they do not take
25        actions not required of other applicants or recipients.
26        (h)  Evidence  of  domestic  violence.   Allegations   of
27    domestic   violence  by  a  victim  shall  be  sufficient  to
28    establish  domestic  violence  where  the   agency   has   no
29    independent,  reasonable  basis  to  find  the  recipient not
30    credible.  Evidence may also include, but is not limited  to,
31    police,  government  agency,  or court records; documentation
32    from a shelter worker, legal,  clerical,  medical,  or  other
33    professional  from whom the applicant or recipient has sought
34    assistance  in  dealing  with  domestic  violence;  or  other
                            -10-               LRB9104312SMdv
 1    corroborating evidence, such as a statement  from  any  other
 2    individual  with knowledge of the circumstances which provide
 3    the basis for the claim, or  physical  evidence  of  domestic
 4    violence, or any other evidence that supports the statement.
 5        Evidence  of  domestic violence may be established at any
 6    time.
 7        (i)  Domestic violence training.  Domestic  violence  and
 8    sexual   abuse  training  programs  shall  be  mandatory  for
 9    employees,   contractors    and    their    employees,    and
10    subcontractors  and  their  employees,  of  the Department of
11    Human Services and the Department of Public Aid who work with
12    applicants and recipients  under  Article  IV.  The  training
13    shall  take place within 180 days after the effective date of
14    this amendatory Act of the 91st General Assembly.  Employees,
15    contractors, and subcontractors of both Departments, and  the
16    employees  of  contractors and subcontractors, new to working
17    with  applicants  and  recipients  under  Article  IV,  shall
18    participate and complete the training within  45 days of  the
19    date  of hire or start date for the contract.  Within 90 days
20    after the effective date of this amendatory Act of  the  91st
21    General  Assembly,  each  local  office  of the Department of
22    Human Services  and  each  Department  of  Public  Aid  child
23    support  enforcement  client service office shall have at all
24    times at least  one  full-time  employee  designated  as  the
25    "domestic  violence resource worker".  The requirements for a
26    domestic violence resource worker are (1) the employee  shall
27    be  at  a  caseworker  or  higher level, and (2) the employee
28    shall have successfully completed  a  training  program  that
29    qualifies  the  employee  as  a domestic violence advocate or
30    counselor under Section 227 of the Illinois Domestic Violence
31    Act of 1986.
32        (j)  Consultation with  domestic  violence  experts.   In
33    establishing procedures under this Section for identification
34    of victims of domestic violence, maintaining confidentiality,
                            -11-               LRB9104312SMdv
 1    referral  to  services,  granting  waivers,  and  determining
 2    evidence  of  domestic  violence,  the  Department  of  Human
 3    Services  and the Department of Public Aid shall consult with
 4    experts on battering  and  advocate  organizations,  such  as
 5    shelters  for  battered individuals, legal services agencies,
 6    and State and local  domestic  violence  and  sexual  assault
 7    coalitions   and   resource   centers,  to  ensure  that  the
 8    procedures  protect  the    safety  and  confidentiality   of
 9    victims, and to develop training and education programs under
10    subsection (i).

11        Section  99.  Effective date.  This Act takes effect upon
12    becoming law.

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