[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 6-9-1993 by L.L. No. 15-1993 (Ch. 211 of the 1985 Code). Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws amending these provisions are included at the end of this chapter.]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that providing experience and training for individuals not otherwise able to obtain employment in order to assist them to move into regular employment through the establishment of community work experience programs designed to improve the employability and marketability of participants through actual work experience and training will enable such individuals to move promptly into regular public or private employment and off of public assistance. Work experience programs should include projects which serve a useful public purpose in fields such as health, social services, environmental protection, education, suburban development and redevelopment, welfare, recreation, public facilities, public safety and child care.
This Legislature further finds that, when an aggressive work experience program was implemented in Suffolk County in the mid-1970s, the number of Employable Home Relief (EHR) recipients decreased substantially over the course of a three-and-one-half-year period, and the percentage of public assistance denials increased almost 20% for that same period. (See Exhibit A annexed hereto and made part hereof.)
Editor's Note: Exhibit A is on file in the office of the Clerk of the Legislature.
This Legislature also finds that the County Department of Social Services' (DSS) 1991 Annual Report shows that home relief case loads increased 15% from September 1990 to May 1991; that, from December 1990 to December 1991, the actual home relief case load number rose 21.9% (from 3,354 to 4,090); that, during the same period, the number of EHR recipients increased over 46% (from 1,351 to 2,538); that independent Budget Review Office statistics indicate a continuing increase in monthly AFDC, HR case loads from January 1991 to February 1993 (See Exhibits A and B annexed hereto and made part hereof); that federal and state laws and regulations provide for participation by EHR recipients in work experience programs (i.e., work in exchange for public assistance grants); and that, although past use in this County of a work experience program reduced the EHR case load, the current mechanism to place EHR recipients into work positions could be utilized even further.
Editor's Note: Exhibits A and B are on file in the office of the Clerk of the Legislature.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to establish a connection between the expenditure of public funds for such public assistance recipients and the performance of necessary work beneficial to the taxpaying citizens of this County who provide the means to pay for the public assistance in the first instance, while at the same time stabilizing County property taxes and getting back for taxpayers some tangible work product from the recipients of public assistance.
The following terms, as used in this chapter, shall have the meanings indicated:
- AID TO FAMILIES WITH DEPENDENT CHILDREN (AFDC)
- That public assistance as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 606(b), as amended, together with any pertinent federal, state, and/or local regulations.
- The Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Social Services.
- The Suffolk County Department of Social Services.
- HOME RELIEF/AFDC APPLICANTS
- Those individuals/families in the process of applying for and not having been accepted as eligible for ongoing public assistance.
- HOME RELIEF/AFDC RECIPIENTS
- Those individuals/families that have been accepted as eligible to receive ongoing public assistance benefits.
- HOME RELIEF (HR)
- That public assistance provided under Article 5, Title 3, §§ 157 through 166, of the New York Social Services Law.
Any employable person receiving home relief shall be required to perform such work as shall be assigned to him or her.
The Commissioner shall establish a Work Experience Program in accordance with the provisions of § 164 of the New York Social Services Law. All contract agencies receiving County funds shall, as a condition precedent to receiving future County funds, agree to become work sites for public assistance clients of Suffolk County.
Editor's Note: Social Services Law § 164 was repealed by L. 1997, c. 436, effective 8-20-1997. See Social Services Law § 336-c, Work experience.
Any employable person receiving HR benefits shall be assigned to a Work Experience Program in accordance with the following action plan:
EHR recipients, as determined by the Department, shall be referred for job placement in compliance with the recipient's career plan.
Upon request from the Department, the County Department of Labor (Labor) shall develop sufficient work-experience job slots to accommodate the number of EHR recipients reporting to Labor each month for assessment and assignment to a work-experience position.
In accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, all EHR recipients refusing to participate in a work-experience job when assigned thereto by Labor shall be denied HR benefits.
The Department and Labor, working in conjunction, shall notify a minimum of 1/12 of the EHR undercare case load per month to report to Labor for assignment to a work-experience job.
EHR recipients who fail to comply with the work-experience assessment requirement and participation in work-experience job assignment shall be sanctioned pursuant to state laws and regulations.
The Department and Labor, working in conjunction, shall assure the distribution to EHR recipients of their HR benefit checks upon their placement in work-experience jobs.
The Department shall refer all EHR applicants to Labor, which shall assign recipients in accordance with their career plans, to perform the work indicated, provided that such persons shall not be used to replace or to perform any work ordinarily and actually performed by regular employees of the Department or other unit of the County of Suffolk. Persons shall be assigned to perform only such work as they are able, in the judgment of the Commissioner, to perform.
The Department shall establish a Community Work Experience Program for the assignment of employable persons in receipt of aid to families with dependent children to perform work for the County of Suffolk. The head of any department, bureau, division or other unit of the County of Suffolk may request that such persons be assigned to his or her unit.
The Community Work Experience Program established under this section shall be implemented consistent with § 336-c of the New York Social Services Law as follows:
Appropriate standards for health, safety and other conditions applicable to the performance of work.
That the program does not result in the displacement of persons currently employed or the filling of budgeted, unfilled positions.
Reasonable conditions of work.
That participants will not be required, without their consent, to travel an unreasonable distance from their homes or remain away from their homes overnight.
That provision will be made for transportation and other costs reasonably necessary and directly related to participation in the program.
That public work within such programs may also include the performance of work in the operation of or in an activity of a nonprofit agency or institution pursuant to a contract with the state or County in accordance with the regulations of the Department.
The Department shall submit this program to the New York State Commissioner of Social Services for approval pursuant to § 333 of the New York Social Services Law. Such submissions shall include a description of the number of recipients to be served and the services to be provided to such recipients.
The County Executive shall coordinate the Work Experience Program with any existing work experience programs operated in the County so as to ensure that job placement will have priority and that individuals eligible to participate in both programs are not denied HR/AFDC benefits on the grounds of failure to participate in one such program if they are actively and satisfactorily participating in the other. The County Executive may provide that part-time participation in both such programs may be required, where appropriate.
The County Executive shall assign participants in the Work Experience Program to projects which serve a useful public purpose and include but are not limited to fields such as health, social services, environmental protection, education, suburban development and redevelopment, welfare, recreation, public facilities, public safety and child care.
This chapter shall not apply to the following:
This chapter shall be enforced by the Department of Labor.
Any person who refuses to report for or perform work as provided for in federal and state law and regulation to which he or she has been assigned by the Department shall thereupon become ineligible for AFDC or HR benefits, as the case may be, as is consistent with §§ 164 and 336-c of the New York Social Services Law.
The Commissioner of the Department is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to adopt, issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as he or she shall deem necessary to carry out and fully implement this chapter.
The Commissioner shall issue periodic written reports on the status of the program authorized by this chapter, including the number of public assistance recipients participating and the cost savings, if any, generated by the program, to the County Executive and to each member of the Health and Human Services Committee of the County Legislature, or any successor committee thereto, on June 30 and December 31 of each year.
Labor and the Department are hereby authorized, empowered and directed to prepare a written report which shall contain the following information on AFDC and HR case loads:
The overall case loads.
The number of applicants denied.
The number of undercare recipients interviewed for placement in work-experience job slots.
The number of recipients assigned to job slots.
The number of recipients recommended to be sanctioned for refusal to accept assignment or to participate in the work experience program.
The number of recipients sanctioned.
Said report is to be distributed to each member of the County Legislature and to the County Executive on March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 of each year.