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A09099 Summary:

COSPNSRSimon, Pheffer Amato
Add 131-ss, Soc Serv L
Provides for the automated identification of affordability program participants to enable such participants to be automatically entered into utility corporation energy affordability programs.
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A09099 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to providing for the automated identification of affordability program participants   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: OTDA will coordinate with utility companies on automated file matching to identify eligible Affordability Program Participants.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section one defines terms; provides that the Commissioner shall estab- lish a statewide program to provide for automated identification of eligible Affordability Program Participants for participation in Utility Corporation Energy Affordability Programs within 180 days; outlines cooperation between OTDA and utility companies; establishes file match- ing frequency and timeframe for enrolling eligible customers; ensures that information given to the utility corporations is only utilized for the purpose of confirming eligibility and that any personal information is redacted as necessary; gives the Commissioner the authority to adopt rules on an emergency basis; and allows the Commissioner to delegate the administration of the program. Section two establishes the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: New York's utilities offer Energy Affordability Programs that follow guidance from the New York Public Service Commission which required utilities to set low-income program discount levels that keep customer energy burden at or below a target goal of 6% of household income. The EAPs offer customers a monthly bill credit using a tiered discount structure that considers whether the customer is a heating or non-heat- ing customer. Utility customers who receive Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grants paid to the utility on the customer's behalf are automatically enrolled in utility corporation's Energy Affordability Programs (EAP). However, not all low-income customers receive HEAP. In Downstate New York, the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) conducts a file matching process to also capture customers who participate in other qualifying programs, including: *Public Assistance *Supplemental Security Income *Medicaid *Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) *Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program *Veterans' Disability Program *Veterans' Surviving Spouse Pension *Child Health Plus The inclusion of these programs and corresponding file-matching process dramatically increases participation in EAP programs. Outside of New York City, customers are largely responsible for self-identifying for being eligible for the program - limiting the number of those who bene- fit. An automated process is also more efficient and less costly to administer than identifying customers on a case-by-case manner. Making filing matching a statewide practice is an efficient utilization of state and utility resources in a streamlined manner. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating financial impact on New Yorkers, especially those who were already struggling to make ends meet. AARP recently estimated that 1.2 million New York households are in energy utility arrears, totaling more than $1.7 billion. It is essential that utility customers throughout the state are connected to any and all assistance programs for which they are eligible. This legislation would require OTDA to coordinate with utilities to automate that process in a manner similar to the HRA process in New York City. This will help ensure that more low-income New Yorkers are receiving the assistance to which they are entitled.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.9099 (Cusick) - referred to social services.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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A09099 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 31, 2022
        Introduced  by  M.  of A. CUSICK, SIMON -- read once and referred to the
          Committee on Social Services -- committee  discharged,  bill  amended,
          ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
        AN  ACT  to  amend the social services law, in relation to providing for
          the automated identification of affordability program participants

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1. The social services law is amended by adding a new section
     2  131-ss to read as follows:
     3    § 131-ss. Automated identification of  affordability  program  partic-
     4  ipants.  1. Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following
     5  terms shall have the following meanings:
     6    (a) "Commissioner" shall mean the commissioner of the office of tempo-
     7  rary and disability assistance.
     8    (b) "Affordability program participant" shall mean a household that is
     9  determined to be eligible by the  appropriate  agency  for  any  of  the
    10  following programs:
    11    (i) Public assistance;
    12    (ii) Supplemental security income;
    13    (iii) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
    14    (iv) Low income home energy assistance program;
    15    (v) Veteran's disability pension;
    16    (vi) Veteran's surviving spouse pension;
    17    (vii) Child health plus;
    18    (viii) Lifeline; and
    19    (ix)  Any  other  income-based  assistance  program  identified by the
    20  public service commission in consultation with the office.
    21    (c) "Office" shall mean the office of temporary disability assistance.
    22    (d) "Utility corporation" shall mean a corporation regulated  pursuant
    23  to article two of the public service law.
    24    (e)  "Utility  corporation  energy  affordability  programs"  shall be
    25  defined by the public service  commission  and  shall  include  programs
    26  which  are  intended  to  assist  customers with energy affordability by
    27  reducing customers' energy burden.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 9099--A                          2
     1    2. Within one hundred eighty  days  of  the  effective  date  of  this
     2  section, the commissioner shall establish a statewide program to provide
     3  for  automated  identification of eligible affordability program partic-
     4  ipants for participation in  utility  corporation  energy  affordability
     5  programs.
     6    3.  The  office  shall  engage  with utility corporations to establish
     7  automated file matching mechanisms that  will  provide,  via  electronic
     8  means,  to utility corporations a list of eligible affordability program
     9  participants within the utility corporation's service territory.
    10    4. The office shall conduct automated file matching to identify utili-
    11  ty corporation customer accounts that  are  also  affordability  program
    12  participants  and  such  information shall be provided to utility corpo-
    13  rations no  less  than  semi-annually.    Utility  corporation  customer
    14  accounts  identified  by  the  office  as  eligible for participation in
    15  available utility corporation energy affordability programs as a  result
    16  of  such  file  matching shall be enrolled in such programs within sixty
    17  days of receipt of the office communicating the results of the automated
    18  file matching to the utility corporation.  Any information  provided  to
    19  the  utility  corporations related to affordability program participants
    20  pursuant to this section shall be redacted as necessary to  protect  any
    21  information  that  is protected under any state or federal privacy laws,
    22  kept confidential, and  shall  only  be  utilized  for  the  purpose  of
    23  confirming  eligibility  in the utility corporation energy affordability
    24  program.
    25    5. The commissioner may adopt, on an emergency basis pursuant to arti-
    26  cle two of the state administrative procedure act, any  rules  necessary
    27  to carry out the provisions of this article.
    28    6.  The commissioner may delegate the administration of any portion of
    29  this program to any state agency,  city,  county,  town,  contractor  or
    30  non-profit  organization in accordance with the provisions of this arti-
    31  cle and applicable federal requirements.  Provided however, such privacy
    32  and confidentiality limitations prescribed in subdivision four  of  this
    33  section  shall  apply  to any entity that the commissioner delegates the
    34  administration of the program to.
    35    § 2.  This act shall take effect immediately.
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