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Sec. 17b-689. (Formerly Sec. 17-281a). Supported work, education and training programs. Definitions. Regulations. Employability plans. (a) As hereinafter provided, each town shall establish a work program which shall include work, work training or work readiness experience and may include substance abuse counseling for persons dependent on drugs and alcohol who are participating in such program. Except as provided in subsection (f), employable persons otherwise eligible for support, pursuant to sections 17b-116 and 17b-134, from any town shall be required to perform such work or participate in such program as may be assigned to them by the public welfare official of the town granting such support or to participate in an education or training program under section 31-3d or any other training or education program approved by the Labor Commissioner. The public welfare official shall assign to such work as is available in connection with the affairs of state or town government or to public work programs established by the Commissioner of Social Services, as approved by the Labor Commissioner, including the performance of work in the operation of or in an activity of a nonprofit agency or institution, as defined in Subsection (c)(3) of Section 501 of the United States Internal Revenue Code pursuant to a contract with a town, or to a private employer training program under section 17b-691, or to education or training, employable recipients of support provided such official is satisfied that such persons will not be used to replace, or to perform any work ordinarily performed by, regular employees of any department or other unit of a town or the state, or to replace, or to perform any work ordinarily performed for a town or the state by, craft or trade in private employment. Participation in an education, rehabilitation or training program not part of a work program may be deemed participation in a work program if approved by the Commissioner of Social Services. The number of hours of work to be required of each such person, except a person participating in a private employer training program under section 17b-691, shall be determined by the amount of the budget deficit of such person and his family. A person participating in a program pursuant to section 17b-691 shall receive wages in accordance with the provisions of that section. No such person, except a person participating in a private employer training program under section 17b-691, shall be required to work for more than the number of hours necessary to earn such amount or be paid more than such amount or less than the minimum hourly wage, pursuant to section 31-58, and no such person shall be required to work or attend training for more than eight hours in a day or more than forty hours in a week. In addition, each person in the workfare program may be required to attend substance abuse counseling. Any such person shall be liable for reimbursements for grants of support only to the extent of the excess of such grants over and above the work performed. Any such person who refuses or wilfully fails to report for work or to participate in an education or training program or substance abuse counseling to which he is assigned by the public welfare official shall be ineligible for assistance for ninety days. An employable general assistance recipient who (1) refuses to cooperate with the town in developing or carrying out his employability plan; (2) fails to accept employment without just cause when offered; or (3) accepts employment and subsequently quits his job voluntarily and without sufficient cause or is discharged for cause as set forth in subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 31-236 shall be ineligible for assistance for ninety days. Such a period of ineligibility shall commence on the day immediately following the actual date of termination.
(b) Each town shall separate the persons it is liable to support pursuant to sections 17b-116 and 17b-134 into either the category of employable recipient of general assistance or the category of unemployable recipient of general assistance. Each town shall maintain a list setting forth the name of any person receiving general assistance benefits and the category into which such person has been placed.
(c) For the purposes of this section and sections 17b-63, 17b-78, 17b-118, 17b-134 and 17b-690, an "employable person" means one (1) who is sixteen years of age or older but less than sixty-five years of age; (2) who has no documented physical or mental impairment or who has such an impairment which is expected to last less than six months, as determined by the commissioner, prohibiting him from working or participating in an education, training or other work-readiness program; (3) who is required to register with the Labor Department, pursuant to section 17b-118; and (4) who is not in full-time attendance in high school. For the purposes of sections 17b-63, 17b-78, 17b-118, 17b-134 and 17b-690, an "employable person who is job-ready" means a person who (A) has been employed at least six months within the last five years, (B) has a high school diploma or a general equivalency diploma, or (C) has completed vocational training. A person who is "employable but not job-ready" means a person who may otherwise be job-ready but (i) has a physical impairment as documented by a physician which is of such severity as to be a significant barrier to employment but not of such severity and duration as to qualify as unemployable; (ii) has a documented mental impairment, including substance abuse, which is of such severity as to be a significant barrier to employment but not of such severity and duration as to qualify as unemployable; or (iii) has been subject to domestic violence or a catastrophic event the impact of which prevents the person from entering employment for at least sixty days. No person shall be determined employable but not job-ready solely due to lack of transportation, lack of proficiency in English or homelessness, but may be determined not job-ready if lacking transportation, lacking proficiency in English and homeless. For the purposes of this section and sections 17b-134 and 17b-690, an "unemployable person" means one (1) who is under sixteen years of age or sixty-five years of age or older or fifty-five years of age or older with a history of chronic unemployment; (2) who has a physical or mental impairment which is expected to last at least six months, as determined by the commissioner; (3) who is pending receipt of supplemental security income, social security income or financial assistance through another program administered by the Department of Social Services; (4) who is needed to care for a child under two years of age or an incapacitated child or spouse; or (5) who is a full-time high school student. A person who is a substance abuser shall be required to participate in treatment, including counseling, as part of his employability plan and shall be eligible for assistance while waiting for treatment.
(d) Work performed by any person under a work program in accordance with the provisions of this section shall not affect the eligibility of such person for compensation under the provisions of chapter 567.
(e) Upon submission by any town to the Commissioner of Social Services of a plan for implementation of the provisions of this section in a manner deemed by said commissioner to be consistent with the intent of this section, payments for support by the town to general assistance recipients participating in a work program or training or education program approved by the Labor Commissioner shall be includable as a relief expenditure under the provisions of section 17b-134.
(f) At least two-thirds of the employable general assistance recipients of each town shall become participants in the work program or training or education program of the town within two years of approval, pursuant to section 17b-690, by the Commissioner of Social Services of the plan implementing such program. Each town shall maintain the two-thirds placement ratio for every month thereafter. Calculation of the two-thirds compliance ratio shall be made in accordance with regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Social Services in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. A town that is liable to support an employable recipient of general assistance pursuant to section 17b-116 shall not be required to include such recipient in its work program or training or education program if the recipient is not a resident of the town providing support. The Commissioner of Social Services shall develop positions in state, public or private nonprofit agencies for the placement of up to twenty-five per cent of the employable participants from each town which has over one hundred eighty such participants. If the commissioner fails to develop such positions and such town has the required number of participants minus twenty-five per cent, the town shall not be denied reimbursement for such twenty-five per cent. The commissioner of each state agency shall cooperate with the Commissioner of Social Services in the development of such positions. Notwithstanding any provision of the regulations of state agencies, the commissioner may exempt a town from the requirements of this subsection.
(g) For purposes of chapter 568, each employable person participating under this section in a work program or training or education program approved by the Labor Commissioner shall be considered to be an employee of the town from which he is receiving support, and participation in a work program or training or education program approved by the Labor Commissioner shall be considered to be such person's employment by such town at a wage equal to the minimum hourly wage, pursuant to section 31-58, or such higher amount as is provided in the plan for a work program submitted under section 17b-690. To the extent any such employable person participating in such work program or training or education program receives workers' compensation benefits, payments for support and other assistance to such person provided under this chapter by the town from which he is receiving support shall be correspondingly reduced.
(h) Each town shall develop an employability plan for each employable general assistance recipient. Such plan shall be designed to require and enable the recipient to improve his chances of finding employment.
(1961, P.A. 503; P.A. 75-420, S. 4, 6; P.A. 77-614, S. 608, 610; P.A. 79-337, S. 2; P.A. 80-395, S. 1, 7; P.A. 81-134, S. 1, 2; P.A. 82-78, S. 1, 2; 82-147, S. 2, 4; 82-214, S. 2, 3, 6; P.A. 83-535, S. 1, 3; P.A. 84-168, S. 1, 4; P.A. 86-415, S. 2, 10; P.A. 87-176; 87-308, S. 1, 2; P.A. 88-156, S. 17; 88-236; P.A. 89-62, S. 1, 2; 89-239, S. 3; 89-293; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-16, S. 11, 89; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; P.A. 96-268, S. 24, 34.)
History: P.A. 75-420 replaced welfare commissioner with commissioner of social services; P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of social services with commissioner of income maintenance, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 79-337 allowed towns to require persons receiving support to participate in education or training programs; P.A. 80-395 required towns to establish work programs and required assistance recipients to participate in town program or other approved work, training, education etc. program, amending provisions accordingly and designating former Subsecs. (b) and (c) as (d) and (e), deleting former Subsec. (d) and inserting new Subsecs. (b), (c) and (f); P.A. 81-134 amended Subsec. (e) to allow towns to apply the thirty-five dollar payment for each recipient toward the cost of workers' compensation insurance and added Subsec. (g) providing that workfare participants are included in definition of employee for purposes of workers' compensation insurance, establishing pay rates for participation in work, training or education program, etc.; P.A. 82-78 redefined "employable person" in Subsec. (c) to add the restriction that the person not be in full-time attendance in high school; P.A. 82-147 amended Subsec. (a) to allow placement of employable persons in private employers' training programs and added exceptions for persons participating in such programs to the hour and payment restrictions; P.A. 82-214 amended Subsec. (a) to (1) require that persons who refuse or wilfully fail to report for work or to participate in the program be ineligible to apply for assistance for thirty days for the first refusal or failure, sixty days for the second and ninety for the third and all subsequent refusals or failures, replacing provision whereby ineligibility continued until person reported for and performed work or participated in education or training program to which he was assigned, (2) give the person the ability to request placement during ineligibility and payment at his benefit rate at the end of each week's work, (3) specify that the period of ineligibility commence on the day immediately following the actual date of termination, (4) require the commissioner of income maintenance to adopt regulations to administer the ineligibility provisions and added the requirement that payment for work over the budget deficit be within thirty days and amended Subsec. (f) to require participation by at least two-thirds of the employable recipients within two years of plan approval and to require the commissioner of income maintenance to develop positions in state agencies for up to twelve per cent of the participants from each town with a population in excess of one hundred thousand, specifying that if such positions are not developed and the town has the required number of participants minus twelve per cent the town shall not be denied reimbursement for the twelve per cent; P.A. 83-535 amended Subsec. (f) to change the requirement from "all" employable recipients participating after "four" years to "eighty-five per cent" after "five" years, changed the number of positions which the commissioner has to develop for the placement of recipients from "up to twelve per cent of the workfare participants from each town whose population exceeds one hundred thousand" to "twenty-five per cent" from each town which has over "one hundred eighty" participants and added the provision for positions in public or private nonprofit agencies and the requirement that the commissioners of other state agencies cooperate in the development of positions; P.A. 84-168 amended Subsec. (a) by adding the one-time limitation on a request for placement during each period of ineligibility and by changing the payment date from at the end of the week's work to the next scheduled date for assistance payments and amended Subsec. (f) by removing the requirement that eighty-five per cent of the employable recipients become participants within five years of plan approval; P.A. 86-415 amended Subsec. (a) to require that if a one-year period elapses, from a prior to a subsequent refusal, the result shall be a thirty-day period of ineligibility; P.A. 87-176 amended Subsec. (a) by removing provisions increasing the time a person is ineligible to apply for assistance based on the number of times he refused or wilfully failed to report or to participate; P.A. 87-308 amended Subsec. (e) to increase the payment for administrative costs from "thirty-five" to "fifty" dollars; P.A. 88-156 authorized the continuation of the two-thirds placement ratio and required the commissioner to adopt regulations to establish the criteria for calculating such compliance ration in Subsec. (f); P.A. 88-236 added provision exempting a town liable to support a general assistance recipient from including the recipient in the town's work, education or training program if the recipient is not a resident of the town providing support in Subsec. (f); P.A. 89-62 deleted the references to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and added a reference to the minimum hourly wage pursuant to Sec. 31-58 in Subsecs. (a) and (g); P.A. 89-239 amended Subsec. (c) by excluding from the definition of "employable person" one who is without a permanent domicile and is temporarily residing in an emergency shelter for the homeless; P.A. 89-293 amended Subsec. (a) to authorize a work program to include substance abuse counseling; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-16 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting provision re retention of ten dollars per week by person participating in program and provision permitting a person deemed ineligible for assistance due to refusal to participate in program to be reinstated during the period of ineligibility, increasing period of ineligibility for refusal to participate in program to ninety days, adding Subdivs. (1), (2) and (3) establishing grounds for the imposition of a ninety-day period of ineligibility, and deleting requirement that the commissioner adopt regulations to administer the ineligibility provisions of this section, amended Subsec. (c) by redefining "employable person" and defining "unemployable person", amended Subsec. (e) by deleting provision granting a town fifty dollars per month for administrative costs for each employable recipient who participates in the program, amended Subsec. (f) by adding a provision permitting the commissioner to exempt a town from the requirements of the Subsec. and added Subsec. (h) requiring towns to develop an employability plan for each employable recipient; P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department of income maintenance, effective July 1, 1993; Sec. 17-281a transferred to Sec. 17b-689 in 1995; P.A. 96-268 amended Subsec. (c) to add definitions of "employable person who is job-ready" and "employable but not job-ready", effective July 1, 1996.
See Sec. 17b-118 re circumstances where assistance to employable persons is prohibited.
Cited. 232 C. 599, 604, 612. Cited. 233 C. 557, 564. Subsec. (a): Cited. 232 C. 599, 604, 605, 608. Subsec. (c): Cited. 233 C. 557, 563, 564.
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State of Connecticut
Workers' Compensation Commission
Page last revised: July 10, 1997
Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/law/rel-stat/1997/17b-689.htm