HOUSE BILL NO. 84
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 AND 2
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE DIVISION OF SERVICE FOR AGING AND ADULTS WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES; AND PROVIDING FOR A MONEY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE :
Section 1. Amend Chapter 79, Title 29 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new section, which shall read as follows:
“§7920-A. Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities; Money Management Program
(a) Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) 'Bill payer' shall mean a person appointed by the Division to provide one or more of those services set forth below for a low-income individual who is able to make responsible decisions about financial matters, but who needs assistance for any of the following:
a. paying bills each month, and keeping records;
b. establishing a budget;
c. opening, organizing, and sending mail;
d. check writing, and balancing checkbook amounts;
e. obtaining needed assistance from appropriate governmental agencies.
(2) 'Representative payee' shall mean a person appointed by the United States Social Security Administration, the United States Office of Personnel Management, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, or the United States Railroad Retirement Board to provide one or more of the following financial management services, without compensation, in order to assist an individual who is receiving government benefits, but who is determined by the benefit-granting agency to be incapable of making certain financial decisions. The representative payee has responsibility for:
a. allocating government benefits received by the individual in such individual’s best interests, and providing for such individual’s necessities, including but not limited to food, shelter and medical care;
b. keeping an accurate record of the individual’s financial transactions;
c. maintaining responsibility and control over the individual’s benefits, and signing all checks for expenditures from such government benefits; and
d. referring the individual to other agencies if the individual needs additional assistance.
(b) Money Management Program.
(1) The Division may establish a Money Management Program to assist any low-income individual who is not able to manage such person’s financial matters, and there are no friends or relatives to assist such person in the management of financial affairs.
(2) The Division may administer statewide Money Management Program; may provide such staff and other support for the program as its budget shall permit; and may, in accordance with the Division’s rules and regulations, establish and direct an advisory council. The Division may negotiate bank services for the program.
(3) The Division shall have authority to monitor each bill payer, and representative payee; may audit any transaction of any bill payer, and any representative payee; and may review any or all bank statements or cancelled checks for any account managed by a representative payee, or bill payor.
(c) Volunteers; bill payers, representative payers.
(1) The Division may designate unpaid volunteers, including but not limited to bill payers and representative payees, as information sources for the program, to inform interested persons and agencies about the program. The Division may provide for the training of bill payers and representative payees, and may otherwise assist such bill payers and representative payees.
(2) Any person acting as a bill payer or representative payee is also acting as a fiduciary, and is liable for any act or omission which constitutes the breach of any fiduciary duty or responsibility imposed by law.
(3) The Division shall safeguard participants through establishment of a screening system which includes, but is not limited to, the following features:
(a) a standardized application comprehensively addressing each prospective bill payer and representative payee's background;
(b) a criminal background check at State expense; and
(c) a check of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and financial exploitation registries, including those authorized by Chapters 9 and 11 of Title 16.
(4) To effectively implement this screening system, the Division is vested with the following powers, duties and authority:
(a) the Division shall require any person seeking to serve as a bill payer or representative payee under this chapter to share any and all information, including fingerprints, necessary to obtain a report of the person's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification and a report of the person's entire federal criminal history record;
(b) notwithstanding any requirements of Chapter 85 of Title 11 to the contrary, the State Bureau of Identification shall furnish information pertaining to the entire Delaware criminal history record of any person seeking to serve as a bill payer or representative payee under this chapter. Such information shall be provided to the Department of Health and Social Services pursuant to the procedures established by the Superintendent of the State Police;
(c) notwithstanding any contrary provision of Title 16, Chapter 9, the Division is authorized to obtain child abuse and neglect registry information from the Department of Services for Children Youth & Their Families pertaining to any person seeking to serve as a bill payer or representative payee under this chapter;
(d) the Division shall adopt criteria through its regulations, which shall disqualify a person from serving as a bill payer or representative payee under this chapter; and
(e) the Division may adopt criteria through regulations authorizing exemption from this section for persons for whom a qualifying screening was conducted within the previous five years.
(5) Any person who either fails to make a full and complete disclosure on an application or a full and complete disclosure of any information required to obtain a registry or criminal background check as required in this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for each violation.".
(d) Memoranda of understanding.
In order to obtain certain specialized assistance for the Program, the Division may enter into a memorandum of understanding with the legal counsel of any association which represents the interests of retired persons.
Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon the specific appropriation of funds for such purposes in the Annual Appropriations Act.
Approved July 12, 2001