Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 63.2. Welfare (Social Services)
7/23/2019

Subtitle II. Public Assistance.

Chapter 5. General Provisions.

§ 63.2-500. Definitions.

For purposes of this subtitle, unless the context otherwise clearly requires:

"Agreement" means the written individualized agreement of personal responsibility required by this chapter.

"Case manager" means the worker designated by the local department, a private-sector contractor or a private community-based organization including nonprofit entities, churches, or voluntary organizations that provide case management services.

"Intensive case management" means individualized services provided by a properly trained case manager.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.42; 1995, c. 450; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-501. Application for assistance.

A. Except as provided for in the state plan for medical assistance services pursuant to § 32.1-325, application for public assistance shall be made to the local department and filed with the local director of the county or city in which the applicant resides; however, when necessary to overcome backlogs in the application and renewal process, the Commissioner may temporarily utilize other entities to receive and process applications, conduct periodic eligibility renewals, and perform other tasks associated with eligibility determinations. Such entities shall be subject to the confidentiality requirements set forth in § 63.2-501.1. Applications and renewals processed by other entities pursuant to this subsection shall be subject to appeals pursuant to § 63.2-517. Such application may be made either electronically or in writing on forms prescribed by the Commissioner and shall be signed by the applicant or otherwise attested to in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner under penalty of perjury in accordance with § 63.2-502.

If the condition of the applicant for public assistance precludes his signing or otherwise attesting to the accuracy of information contained in an application for public assistance, the application may be made on his behalf by his guardian or conservator. If no guardian or conservator has been appointed for the applicant, the application may be made by any competent adult person having sufficient knowledge of the applicant's circumstances to provide the necessary information, until such time as a guardian or conservator is appointed by a court.

B. Local departments or the Commissioner shall provide each applicant for public assistance with information regarding his rights and responsibilities related to eligibility for and continued receipt of public assistance. Such information shall be provided in an electronic or written format approved by the Board that is easily understandable and shall also be provided orally to the applicant by an employee of the local department, except in the case of energy assistance. The local department shall require each applicant to acknowledge, in a format approved by the Board, that the information required by this subsection has been provided and shall maintain such acknowledgment together with information regarding the application for public assistance.

C. Local departments or the Commissioner shall provide each applicant for Medicaid with information regarding advance directives pursuant to Article 8 (§ 54.1-2981 et seq.) of Chapter 29 of Title 54.1, including information about the purpose and benefits of advance directives and how the applicant may make an advance directive.

Code 1950, §§ 63-116, 63-140.3, 63-142, 63-180, 63-206; 1962, c. 621; 1968, cc. 578, 781, § 63.1-107; 1970, c. 721; 1972, c. 718; 1975, cc. 524, 585; 1996, c. 511; 1997, cc. 801, 921; 2002, c. 747; 2012, cc. 240, 530; 2015, c. 513; 2017, c. 106.

§ 63.2-501.1. Application for public assistance; accurate contact information; authorized disclosures.

A. Every local department shall obtain accurate contact information from each applicant for public assistance, which shall include the best available address and telephone number of the applicant. Local departments shall also obtain alternative contact information, such as the applicant's email address and cell phone number, and the applicant's preferred method of contact, including direct mail, email, text message, or phone call.

B. To the extent required by federal law and regulations, recipients of public assistance shall notify the local department of any change in address or telephone number within 30 days of such change, and the local department shall update any records maintained by the local department to reflect the change in the recipient's contact information.

C. Contact information received and maintained by local departments shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed except as required pursuant to § 63.2-102. However, information related to any application for or receipt of medical assistance services pursuant to § 32.1-325 may be disclosed for purposes directly connected to administration of the state plan for medical assistance services pursuant to § 1902(a)(7) of the Social Security Act.

2012, c. 367; 2017, c. 472.

§ 63.2-502. False application or false swearing; penalty.

Any person who knowingly makes any false application for public assistance or who knowingly swears or affirms falsely to any matter or thing required by the provisions of this title or as to any information required by the Commissioner, incidental to the administration of the provisions of this title, to be sworn to or affirmed, shall be guilty of perjury and, upon conviction therefor, shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of § 18.2-434.

1975, c. 585, § 63.1-107.1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-503. Procedure upon receipt of application.

A. Upon receipt of the application for public assistance, the local director or Commissioner shall make or cause to be made promptly an investigation to determine the completeness and correctness of the statements contained in the application and to ascertain the facts supporting the application and such other information as the local department or the Commissioner may require to determine whether an applicant is eligible for public assistance.

B. In conducting the investigation required by subsection A, and only when consistent with federal law and regulations, the local director shall verify each applicant's identity, income, assets, and any other information necessary for the purpose of determining eligibility for public assistance, eliminating the duplication of assistance, and deterring fraud.

C. In cases in which information obtained as a result of the investigation required by subsection A is inconsistent with information provided by the applicant at the time of application or otherwise suggests that the applicant may not be eligible for public assistance, the local director shall notify the applicant in writing and provide opportunity for the applicant to explain the discrepancy. If the applicant fails to respond within 10 days of the date of such notice, the local director shall deny the application for public assistance. If the applicant responds within 10 days of such notice, upon receipt of such response, the local director shall conduct such further investigation as may be necessary to verify the applicant's response and resolve the discrepancy or other issue arising from comparing the information provided by the applicant with information obtained as a result of the investigation required by subsection A. If the local director determines that the information obtained as a result of the investigation required by subsection A is accurate, and that as a result the applicant is ineligible for public assistance, the local director shall so notify the applicant and public assistance shall be denied. In any case in which the local director believes that the applicant has obtained or attempted to obtain public assistance by means of willful false statements or representations, impersonation, or other fraudulent devices, the local director shall initiate a fraud investigation pursuant to § 63.2-526.

D. The Department shall establish a means to obtain and provide the data necessary for the local departments to conduct the search required by subsection B in an automated electronic format. In doing so, the Department may use a third-party contractor. The local department shall immediately take action upon obtaining information indicating a change in a recipient's circumstances that could warrant reconsideration, cancellation, or changes in the amount of public assistance paid to the recipient in accordance with the provisions of § 63.2-514.

E. The Department shall report to the General Assembly no later than December 1 of each year the following:

1. Which specific types or sources of information local directors used, either directly or through a third-party contractor, during the past year for the purpose of verifying applicants' identity, income, assets, and other information pursuant to subsection B; and

2. Any types or sources of information that the Department plans to make available to local directors to use in the future to verify applicants' identity, income, assets, and other information and the approximate date on which the local directors plan to begin using those types or sources of information.

F. The Department shall include in its report required pursuant to subsection E the number of applications for public assistance received in accordance with this section, the number of cases in which eligibility for public assistance was approved or denied, and the number of cases referred for investigation and the reasons in each case.

G. The Board may by regulation authorize the local directors to provide immediate and temporary assistance to persons pending action of the local departments.

H. In the event that any provision of this section conflicts with federal law or regulations, provisions of federal law shall prevail.

Code 1950, §§ 63-117, 63-140.4, 63-143, 63-181, 63-207, 63-212; 1960, c. 440; 1962, c. 621; 1966, c. 112; 1968, cc. 578, 781, § 63.1-108; 1974, c. 422; 2002, c. 747; 2015, cc. 509, 513.

§ 63.2-503.1. Legal presence required for public assistance; exceptions; proof of legal presence.

A. In addition to meeting the existing eligibility requirements of the benefits applied for, no person who is not a United States Citizen or legally present in the United States shall receive state or local public assistance pursuant to this subtitle, except for state or local public assistance that is mandated by Federal Law pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1621.

B. In addition to providing proof of other eligibility requirements, at the time of application for any state or local public benefit, an applicant who is 19 years of age or older shall provide affirmative proof that he is a U.S. citizen or is legally present in the United States. Such affirmative proof shall consist of documentary evidence as required pursuant to § 46.2-328.1 or a social security number as verified by the Social Security Administration. An applicant who is under the age of 19 years shall not be required to provide such affirmative proof; however, such person upon reaching the age of 19 years shall comply with the provisions of this section.

An applicant who cannot provide proof that he is a citizen or legally present at the time of application shall sign an affidavit under oath attesting that he is a U.S. citizen or legally present in the United States in order to receive temporary benefits as provided in this section. The affidavit shall be on or consistent with forms prepared by the Commissioner, and shall be subject to and include an explanation of the provisions of § 63.2-502 relating to penalties for knowingly providing false information on a public document. The agency shall report in writing to the appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth those who are determined to have falsely attested to lawful presence.

Once an applicant has provided the sworn affidavit required by this subsection, he shall be eligible to receive temporary benefits for either:

1. Ninety days or until such time that it is determined that he is not legally present in the United States, whichever is earlier, or

2. Indefinitely if the applicant provides a copy of a completed application for a birth certificate that has been filed and is pending and being actively pursued in accordance with § 32.1-259 or 32.1-260 or any substantially similar law of another state, the District of Columbia, or United States territory or commonwealth. Such extension shall terminate upon the applicant's receipt of a birth certificate or a determination that a birth certificate does not exist because the applicant is not a United States citizen.

C. The provisions of subsection B shall not apply to persons applying for benefits exempted by subsection A of this section and subsection A of § 32.1-325.03.

2005, cc. 867, 876.

§ 63.2-504. Decision of local department that applicant entitled to public assistance.

Upon completion of the investigation, the local department shall determine whether the applicant is eligible for public assistance under this subtitle, and, if eligible, the amount of such public assistance and the date upon which such public assistance shall begin. If the local department approves the payment of public assistance, such public assistance shall thereupon, until changed, modified, or revoked, be paid as hereinafter provided.

Code 1950, §§ 63-118, 63-144, 63-182, 63-208; 1968, cc. 578, 781, § 63.1-109; 1974, c. 422; 2002, c. 747; 2015, c. 513.

§ 63.2-505. Determining the amount of public assistance.

The Board shall adopt regulations governing the amount of public assistance persons receive under the provisions of this subtitle. In making such regulations, the Board shall consider significant differences in living costs in various counties and cities and, unless otherwise precluded by law, shall establish or approve such variations in monetary public assistance standards for shelter allowance on a regional or local basis, as may be appropriate.

The amount of public assistance any person receives under the provisions of this subtitle shall be determined according to Board regulations with regard to (i) the property and income of the person and any support he receives from other sources, including from persons legally responsible for his support, and (ii) the average cost of providing public assistance statewide. It shall be sufficient to provide public assistance that, when added to all other income and support of the recipient (exclusive of that not to be taken into account as hereinafter provided), provides such person with a reasonable subsistence. In determining the income of and support available to a person, the amount of income required to be exempted by federal statute, or if the federal statute makes such exemption permissive, then such portion thereof as may be determined by the Board shall not be considered in determining the amount of assistance any person may receive under this subtitle.

Any amounts received by a person pursuant to a settlement agreement with, or judgment in a lawsuit brought against, a manufacturer or distributor of "Agent Orange" for damages resulting from exposure to "Agent Orange" shall be disregarded in determining the amount of public assistance such person may receive from state public assistance programs and from federal public assistance programs to the extent permitted by federal law or regulation, and such amounts shall not be subject to a lien or be available for reimbursement to the Commonwealth or any local department for public assistance, notwithstanding the provisions of § 63.2-409.

Any individual or family applying for or receiving public assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, medical assistance services for low-income families with children, food stamp, or energy assistance programs, to the extent permitted by federal law and regulation, may have or establish one savings or other investment account per assistance unit not to exceed $5,000. Any such account, including any interest earned thereon or appreciation in value thereof, shall be exempt from consideration in any calculation under any specified public assistance program as long as no funds are withdrawn from the account. The State Board shall promulgate regulations permitting the withdrawal of funds from the account for purposes related to self-sufficiency, disregarding the funds withdrawn for such purposes in any calculation under any specified public assistance program, and establishing penalties for amounts withdrawn for any other purposes or other misuse of these funds.

Code 1950, §§ 63-119, 63-145, 63-183, 63-209; 1950, p. 624; 1952, c. 62; 1954, c. 659; 1958, c. 519; 1962, cc. 363, 403; 1964, c. 92; 1966, c. 456; 1968, cc. 578, 781, § 63.1-110; 1970, c. 721; 1974, c. 328; 1977, c. 503; 1989, cc. 333, 521; 1993, c. 922; 1994, c. 263; 2001, c. 483; 2002, cc. 360, 747.

§ 63.2-505.1. Transitional food stamp benefits.

To the extent permitted by federal law, the Department shall provide transitional food stamp benefits for a period of not more than five months after the date on which Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance is terminated. However, no household shall be eligible for transitional food stamp benefits if TANF cash assistance was terminated because all children in the assistance unit were removed from the home as a result of a child protective services investigation.

2005, c. 463.

§ 63.2-505.2. Eligibility for food stamps; drug-related felonies.

A person who is otherwise eligible to receive food stamp benefits shall be exempt from the application of section 115(a) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, P.L. 104-193, and shall not be denied such assistance solely because he has been convicted of a felony offense of possession of a controlled substance in violation of § 18.2-250, provided such person is complying with, or has already complied with, all obligations imposed by the criminal court, is actively engaged in or has completed a substance abuse treatment program, participates in periodic drug screenings, and any other obligations as determined by the Department.

2005, c. 576.

§ 63.2-506. Public assistance not transferable or subject to execution.

Except as provided in § 63.2-512, no public assistance given under this subtitle shall be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the money paid or payable as public assistance under this subtitle shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency laws.

Code 1950, § 63-102; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-88; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-507. Personal representatives for recipients of public assistance funds.

A. If any otherwise qualified applicant for, or recipient of, benefits accruing under the provisions of this subtitle is or shall become unable to manage the funds accruing thereunder, or otherwise fails so to manage, to the extent that deprivation or hazard to himself or others results, or, in the case of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the benefits are not being used for the children, a petition may be filed by the local director of the county or city wherein the applicant or recipient resides, in any court of that county or city having jurisdiction in fiduciary matters for the appointment of a personal representative not an employee of the local department, for the purpose of receiving and managing any such payments accruing thereunder for any such recipient or payee. The petition shall allege one or more of the above grounds for the appointment of such representative.

B. The court shall summarily order a hearing on the petition and shall cause the applicant, recipient, or payee to be notified at least five days in advance of the time and place for the hearing. Findings of fact shall be made by the court without a jury. The court may require the local director to furnish a report containing any information necessary and this report shall remain confidential. Reports and findings of fact under this section shall not be competent as evidence in any proceeding dealing with any subject matter other than provided in this section.

C. If the court finds that the applicant, recipient, or payee is unable to manage such payments, or otherwise fails so to manage, to the extent that deprivation or hazard to himself or others results, or, in the case of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the payment is not being used for such child or children, the court may enter an order stating its findings and appointing some responsible person, not an employee of the local department, as personal representative of the applicant, recipient or payee for the purpose set forth herein.

D. The court may in its discretion at the time of the appointment or subsequently require the personal representative to give bond to assure the faithful performance of the duties required. An accounting by the personal representative shall be made at least annually and the court may require additional accounting at such intervals as may be deemed necessary. Failure to render such accounts and to account satisfactorily for all proceeds received shall be sufficient cause for the removal of the personal representative. The personal representative may be removed by the court upon the petition of the local director and another such representative may be appointed. No court costs shall be assessed in proceedings under this section; however, when the accruing benefits exceed $500 per year per applicant or recipient, the clerk of the court shall assess a fee of $5.

Code 1950, § 8-750.1; 1962, c. 418; 1972, c. 73; 1975, c. 118; 1977, c. 624, § 63.1-88.1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-508. Fees for representing applicant or recipient.

No person shall make any charge or receive any fees for representing an applicant for or recipient of public assistance with respect to his application or request for increased assistance prior to a determination thereon by the local board, whether such fee or charge is paid by the applicant or recipient or any other person.

Code 1950, § 63-103; 1968, cc. 466, 578, § 63.1-89; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-509. Public assistance subject to amendment or repeal of laws.

All public assistance granted under this subtitle shall be deemed to be granted and to be held subject to the provisions of this subtitle and any amending or repealing act that may hereafter be passed, and no recipient shall have any claim for compensation, or otherwise, by reason of his public assistance being affected in any way by any amending or repealing act.

Code 1950, § 63-104; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-90; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-510. Obligation of person to support certain children living in same home; penalty.

A person shall be responsible for the support and maintenance of any child or children living in the same home in which he and the natural or adoptive parent of such child or children cohabit as man and wife and any such person who without cause willfully neglects or refuses or fails to provide for such support and maintenance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of § 20-61.

A pregnancy or the birth of a child during the time a person occupies the status set out above shall not be required as proof of cohabitation.

The obligations imposed herein shall continue so long as such person occupies the status herein described.

1972, c. 536, § 63.1-90.1; 1974, c. 464; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-511. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2016, c. 452, cl. 1.

§ 63.2-512. Recovery of public assistance erroneously paid.

Any assistance or part thereof erroneously paid to a recipient or former recipient may be recovered by the Board or local board from the recipient or former recipient as a debt. In accordance with Board regulations, the amount erroneously paid may also be recovered from the income, assets or other property of the recipient or former recipient or from the public assistance payable to the recipient.

1975, c. 320, § 63.1-127.2; 1983, c. 449; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-513. Notification of change in circumstances.

If at any time during the continuance of public assistance any change occurs, including but not limited to, the possession of any property or the receipt of regular income by the recipient or by any person who is included within a recipient's grant, that, in the circumstances upon which current eligibility or amount of assistance were determined, would materially affect such determination, it shall be the duty of such recipient to notify as defined by regulation the local department of such change, and the local board may either cancel the public assistance, or alter the amount thereof.

Any recipient who knows or reasonably should know that such change in circumstances will materially affect his eligibility for assistance or the amount thereof and willfully fails to comply with the provisions of this section, is guilty of a violation of § 63.2-522.

Code 1950, §§ 63-124, 63-149.1; 1952, c. 533; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-112; 1973, c. 482; 1975, c. 320; 1980, c. 19; 1986, c. 93; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-514. Reconsideration or changes in amount of public assistance; cancellation.

A. Eligibility for public assistance shall be reconsidered in accordance with federal law or regulations by the local department at least annually or upon receipt of information indicating a change in the recipient's circumstances that may affect the amount of assistance paid to a recipient or the recipient's eligibility for assistance and at such other times as the local board may deem necessary. As part of such reconsideration, the local department shall conduct an investigation to determine whether a recipient is eligible for renewal of public assistance. Such investigation shall include a review of information described in subsection B of § 63.2-503 for each applicant. After such investigation, the amount of public assistance may be changed or public assistance may be entirely withdrawn, if the local department finds that the recipient's circumstances have altered sufficiently to warrant such action.

B. In cases in which information obtained as a result of the investigation required by subsection A is inconsistent with information provided by the applicant, the local department shall notify the applicant in writing and provide opportunity for the applicant to explain the discrepancy. If the applicant fails to respond within 10 days of the date of such notice, the local department shall refuse to renew the applicant's eligibility for public assistance. If the applicant responds within 10 days of such notice, upon receipt of such response, the local department shall conduct such further investigation as may be necessary to verify the applicant's response and resolve the discrepancy between information provided by the applicant and information obtained as a result of the investigation required by subsection A. If the local department determines that the information obtained as a result of the investigation required by subsection A is accurate and that as a result the applicant is ineligible for public assistance, the local director of social services shall so notify the applicant and public assistance shall be denied. In any case in which the local department believes that the applicant has obtained or attempted to obtain public assistance by means of willful false statements or representations, impersonation, or other fraudulent devices, the local director shall initiate a fraud investigation pursuant to § 63.2-526.

C. If the local director does not act within 30 days of the receipt of information affecting the amount of assistance or the eligibility therefor as to any recipient, or if the circumstances require immediate action, the Commissioner may make necessary adjustments in the amount of public assistance or suspend further assistance to any such individual pending action by the local department.

Code 1950, §§ 63-123, 63-149, 63-187, 63-214; 1968, cc. 578, 781, § 63.1-113; 2002, c. 747; 2015, c. 509.

§ 63.2-515. Notice to applicant or recipient of decision.

As soon as the local board makes any decision granting, denying, changing or discontinuing any grant of public assistance, it shall give written notice thereof to the applicant or recipient.

Code 1950, §§ 63-121, 63-140.5, 63-147, 63-149, 63-185, 63-187, 63-214; 1962, c. 621; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-114; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-516. Record of decision.

The local board shall preserve for such time as the Commissioner may prescribe, a record of its decision and all supporting documents and records including the findings and recommendations of the local director.

Code 1950, §§ 63-122, 63-140.6, 63-148, 63-186, 63-211; 1962, c. 621; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-115; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-517. Right of appeal to Commissioner.

Any applicant or recipient aggrieved by any decision of a local board in granting, denying, changing or discontinuing public assistance, may, within thirty days after receiving written notice of such decision, appeal therefrom to the Commissioner.

Any applicant or recipient aggrieved by the failure of the local board to make a decision within a reasonable time may ask for a review of the same by the Commissioner.

The Commissioner may delegate the duty and authority to duly qualified hearing officers to consider and make determinations on any appeal or review by an applicant for or recipient of public assistance concerning any decision of a local board. The Commissioner shall establish an appeals review panel to review administrative hearing decisions upon the request of either the applicant or the local board. Such panel shall determine if any changes are needed in the conduct of future hearings, or to policy and procedures related to the issue of the administrative appeal, and periodically report its findings to the Commissioner.

Any applicant or recipient aggrieved by any decision of a local board concerning food stamps may appeal to the Commissioner in accordance with federal law and regulation.

Code 1950, §§ 63-131, 63-140.8, 63-153, 63-195, 63-216; 1962, c. 621; 1968, cc. 578, 781, § 63.1-116; 1970, c. 361; 1972, c. 718; 1975, c. 524; 1997, c. 412; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-518. Action by Commissioner on appeal.

The Commissioner shall provide an opportunity for a hearing, reasonable notice of which shall be given in writing to the applicant or recipient and to the proper local board in such manner and form as the Commissioner may prescribe. The Commissioner may make or cause to be made an investigation of the facts. The Commissioner shall give fair and impartial consideration to the testimony of witnesses, or other evidence produced at the hearing, reports of investigations of the local board and local director or of investigations made or caused to be made by the Commissioner, or any facts which the Commissioner may deem proper to enable him to decide fairly the appeal or review.

Code 1950, §§ 63-132, 63-140.9, 63-154, 63-196; 1962, c. 621; 1968, cc. 578, 781, § 63.1-117; 1972, c. 718; 1975, c. 524; 1997, c. 412; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-519. Finality of decision of Commissioner.

The decision of the Commissioner shall be binding and considered a final agency action for purposes of judicial review of such action pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

Code 1950, §§ 63-134, 63-140.11, 63-156, 63-198; 1962, c. 621; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-119; 1989, cc. 677, 734; 1997, c. 412; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-520. How public assistance paid.

Public assistance shall be paid to or on behalf of the applicant monthly, or at such other time or times as the regulations of the Board may provide, by the treasurer, the district fiscal officer, or other disbursing officer of the county or city, upon order of the local board or local director, from funds appropriated or made available for such purpose by the local governing body of such county or city. Wherever two or more counties or cities have been combined to form a district pursuant to § 63.2-306, such public assistance payments shall be made by the district fiscal officer.

In the event, however, that the Board adopts regulations to provide for state issuance of public assistance payments, such public assistance shall be paid by the State Treasurer. In emergency situations or in the event of delay or error in a state issuance of public assistance payments, emergency payments may be issued by local boards as authorized by Board regulations.

Code 1950, §§ 63-126, 63-140.7, 63-150, 63-190, 63-213; 1956, c. 578; 1962, c. 621; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-120; 1970, c. 721; 1972, c. 718; 1973, c. 201; 1974, cc. 488, 503; 1975, c. 337; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-521. Change of residence.

Any recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or medical assistance who moves from one county or city in this Commonwealth to another county or city therein, shall thereafter be treated as if the grant of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or medical assistance had been made by the county or city into which he moves, and the local board of the county or city from which he moves shall transfer all necessary records relating to the recipient to the local board of the county or city into which such recipient moves.

Code 1950, §§ 63-130, 63-152, 63-194; 1952, c. 449; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-121; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-522. False statements, representations, impersonations and fraudulent devices; penalty.

Whoever obtains, or attempts to obtain, or aids or abets any person in obtaining, by means of a willful false statement or representation, or by impersonation, or other fraudulent device, public assistance or benefits from other programs designated under regulations of the Board, State Board of Health or the Board of Medical Assistance Services to which he is not entitled or who fails to comply with the provisions of § 63.2-513 is guilty of larceny. It shall be the duty of the local director, the Commissioner of Health or the Director of the Department of Medical Assistance Services to investigate alleged violations and enforce the provisions of this section. A warrant or summons may be issued for each violation of which the local director, the Commissioner of Health or the Director of the Department of Medical Assistance Services has knowledge. The local director, the Commissioner or the Director shall ensure that the attorney for the Commonwealth is notified of any investigation or alleged violation under this section. Trial for violations of this section shall be in the county or city from whose local department assistance was sought or obtained.

In any prosecution under the provisions of this section, it shall be lawful and sufficient in the same indictment or accusation to charge and therein to proceed against the accused for any number of distinct acts of such false statements, representations, impersonations or fraudulent devices that may have been committed by him within six months from the first to the last of the acts charged in the indictment or accusation.

Code 1950, §§ 63-137, 63-140.14, 63-159, 63-201, 63-217; 1952, c. 533; 1962, c. 621; 1968, c. 578, § 63.1-124; 1972, c. 659; 1975, c. 207; 1978, cc. 535, 672; 1982, c. 282; 1984, c. 578; 1986, cc. 93, 551; 1995, c. 294; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-523. Unauthorized use of food stamps, electronic benefit transfer cards, and energy assistance prohibited; penalties.

Whoever knowingly and with intent to defraud transfers, acquires, alters, traffics in or uses, or aids or abets another person in transferring, acquiring, altering, trafficking in, using, or possessing food stamps, electronic benefit transfer cards or other devices subject to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations regarding Electronic Fund Transfers, 12 C.F.R. § 1005.1 et seq., or benefits from energy assistance programs, or possesses food coupons, authorization to purchase cards, electronic benefit transfer cards or other devices subject to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations regarding Electronic Fund Transfers, 12 C.F.R. § 1005.1 et seq., or benefits from energy assistance programs in any manner not authorized by law is guilty of larceny.

A violation of this section may be prosecuted either in the county or city where the public assistance was granted or in the county or city where the violation occurred.

1975, c. 388, § 63.1-124.1; 1978, c. 731; 1984, c. 535; 1994, c. 249; 2002, c. 747; 2016, c. 501.

§ 63.2-524. Denial of benefits upon finding of fraudulent acts.

Any individual applying for or receiving benefits under the federal Food Stamp program or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program may be denied such benefits in accordance with federal law if such person is found by a court or pursuant to an administrative hearing to have intentionally (i) made a false or misleading statement or misrepresented, concealed or withheld facts, or (ii) committed any act intended to mislead, misrepresent, conceal or withhold facts or propound a falsity, for the purpose of establishing or maintaining eligibility for such benefits.

The Board is authorized to adopt regulations governing conduct of administrative hearings and denial of benefits authorized by this section.

1989, c. 373, § 63.1-124.2; 1992, c. 189; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-525. Payment by Department for legal services.

Notwithstanding any provision of §§ 2.2-2814, 2.2-2815, 2.2-2816, 2.2-2823, 2.2-2824, 2.2-2825 or § 2.2-2826 to the contrary, whenever there shall be authorized by law an assistant attorney for the Commonwealth and such assistant's duties consist of the prosecution of public assistance fraud cases pursuant to §§ 18.2-95, 18.2-96, 63.2-502, 63.2-513, 63.2-522, 63.2-523 or § 63.2-524, the Department may, with the consent of the attorney for the Commonwealth of the jurisdiction, contract with the county or city or combination thereof for whom such assistant attorney for the Commonwealth is authorized regarding the duties of such assistant and regarding the payment by the Department of the entire salary, expenses, including secretarial services, and allowances of such assistant, as shall be approved by the Compensation Board, for the entire time devoted to these duties. Any such contract may provide that the county, city, or combination thereof shall pay the entire amount of such salary, expenses, and allowances and that the Department shall reimburse such county or city therefor. The amount of such salary, expenses, and allowances shall be set by the Compensation Board as provided by law.

1991, c. 5, § 63.1-124.3; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-526. Statewide fraud control program.

A. The Department shall establish a statewide fraud control program to ensure that fraud prevention and investigation are pursued throughout the Commonwealth. The Board shall adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this section.

B. Each local department shall establish fraud prevention and investigation units only insofar as money is appropriated therefor, which shall be staffed with sufficient qualified personnel to fulfill the regulations adopted by the Board. Solely for the purposes of obtaining motor vehicle licensing and registration information from entities within and without the Commonwealth, each local department fraud prevention and investigation unit shall be deemed to be a criminal justice agency as defined in § 9.1-101. The local departments may contract with other local departments to share a fraud prevention and investigation unit and may contract with private entities to perform fraud investigation. Any private entity performing fraud investigations shall comply with the requirements of § 30-138 and shall not be deemed to be a criminal justice agency.

C. The duties of fraud units may include but shall not be limited to (i) developing methods to prevent the fraudulent receipt of public assistance administered by the local board and (ii) investigating whether persons who receive public assistance through the local board are receiving it fraudulently. The fraud unit shall provide whatever assistance is necessary to attorneys for the Commonwealth in prosecuting cases involving fraud.

D. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Fraud Recovery Special Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All overpayment moneys collected or recovered by local departments related to food stamp, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and other federal benefit programs administered by the Department net of any refunds due the federal government shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund, except as prohibited by federal law or regulation. Any moneys remaining in the Fund at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purpose of funding state and local fraud control programs.

Funding for local and state fraud control activities shall be comprised of (i) general funds appropriated for this activity, (ii) any federal funds available for this purpose, and (iii) balances in the Fund.

E. Local departments shall apply to the Commissioner for reimbursement from the Fund for the local share of direct costs. The Commissioner shall authorize reimbursements to the local departments from the Fund as provided in the general appropriation act. To receive or continue receiving reimbursements from the Fund, the local departments shall administer their fraud and investigation units in compliance with Board regulations. The number of local fraud workers for which the state will provide reimbursement in each locality shall be determined by Board regulations.

1992, c. 190, § 63.1-58.2; 1998, c. 775; 2000, c. 459; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-527. Notice of earned income tax credit.

The Department shall provide notice regarding the availability of the federal earned income tax credit authorized in § 32 of the Internal Revenue Code and the state earned income tax credit authorized in subdivision B 2 of § 58.1-339.8 to all recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families pursuant to Chapter 6 (§ 63.2-600 et seq.), food stamps pursuant to § 63.2-801, or medical assistance pursuant to § 32.1-325 who had earned income in the prior tax year based on information available through the Virginia Employment Commission and, according to information made available by the Virginia Department of Taxation, either did not file federal or state income taxes or filed taxes and did not claim the federal or state earned income tax credit. Notice shall be distributed to recipients annually and shall include information on the qualifying income levels, the amount of credit available, the process for applying for the credit, and the availability of assistance in applying for the credit.

2008, c. 86; 2016, c. 29.

Chapter 6. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.

§ 63.2-600. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); purpose; administration.

A. There is hereby created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, hereinafter referred to as TANF or the "Program." The Program shall be administered by the Department in compliance with Titles IV-A and IV-F of the Social Security Act and related federal regulations (excluding 45 C.F.R. Parts 255 and 256), as such laws and regulations were in effect at the time of the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, P.L. 104-193 on August 22, 1996, to the extent that such laws and regulations do not conflict with (i) those sections of P.L. 104-193 which are mandatory; (ii) waivers granted by the Department of Health and Human Services to Virginia in effect as of January 1, 1997; (iii) state laws and regulations; (iv) the State Plan For Title IV-A of the Social Security Act: Financial Assistance Aid to Families with Dependent Children in effect as of September 30, 1996; or (v) the Title IV-F of the Social Security Act Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program State Plan in effect as of September 30, 1996. Further, in any instance where a state law or regulation enacted pursuant to a waiver conflicts with the terms of P.L. 104-193 or the Title IV-A or IV-F State Plans, such state law or regulation shall control.

B. The General Assembly declares that it is the policy of the Commonwealth to support the efforts of public agencies and charitable and community groups seeking to assist low-income Virginians in their efforts to become self-sufficient. To this end, the Department is designated as the state agency responsible for coordinating state efforts in this regard.

1997, cc. 575, 621, § 63.1-86.1; 2002, c. 747; 2011, cc. 4, 857.

§ 63.2-601. Virginia Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program; goals.

The goals of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program are to:

1. Offer Virginians living in poverty the opportunity to achieve economic independence by removing barriers and disincentives to work and providing positive incentives to work;

2. Provide families living in poverty with the opportunities and work skills necessary for self-sufficiency;

3. Allow families living in poverty to contribute materially to their own self-sufficiency;

4. Set out the responsibilities of and expectations for recipients of public assistance and the government; and

5. Provide families living in poverty with the opportunity to obtain work experience through the Virginia Initiative for Education and Work (VIEW).

None of the provisions of this chapter shall be construed or interpreted to create any rights, causes of action, administrative claims or exemptions to the provisions of the Program, except as specifically provided in §§ 63.2-609, 63.2-613, and 63.2-618.

The Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and the Virginia Employment Commission shall assist the Department in the administration of the Program.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.41; 1995, c. 450; 1996, cc. 589, 599; 2002, c. 747; 2013, c. 482; 2019, c. 210.

§ 63.2-601.1. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Fund established.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Fund, hereafter referred to as "the Fund." The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All donations and contributions to the Fund and such moneys as shall be appropriated by the General Assembly shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes set forth in this section. Moneys in the Fund shall be used to:

1. Supplement the assistance provided through the Department's administration of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant; and

2. Assist the Commonwealth in maximizing the amount of funds available to serve the stated purposes of the TANF program by leveraging individual, corporate, and charitable donations.

B. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner. Up to 10 percent of the Fund may be used to pay the Department's expenses in administering the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.

C. The Department shall administer the Fund in accordance with the provisions of this section.

2011, cc. 4, 857.

§ 63.2-601.2. Statewide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program Funding Pool Program.

A. The Department shall develop a Statewide TANF Program Funding Pool Program (the Funding Pool Program) and shall allocate to the Funding Pool Program that portion of the TANF block grant to be awarded to service providers for expanded TANF programs, which shall include all funds not transferred to the Child Care and Development Block Grant or Social Services Block Grant or used for cash assistance, employment services, or child-care benefits through the TANF program, up to an amount equal to 12 percent of the total amount of the TANF block grant for that year.

B. Prior to submission of its proposed biennial budget to the Governor, the Department shall issue a Request for Proposals for use of available funds from the Funding Pool Program to service providers providing expanded TANF programs through a competitive process that is designed in a manner that ensures that all service providers in the Commonwealth, regardless of size or geographic location, are afforded the opportunity to apply for funds. All programs and services funded through the Funding Pool Program shall comply with all federal and state statutory and regulatory requirements and shall serve the stated purposes of the TANF program.

C. In developing the Request for Proposals, the Department shall include:

1. A long-range planning and priority-setting process to identify state and local service needs and avoid overlap or duplication of services. The planning and priority-setting process shall include opportunity for citizen participation and consideration of local and statewide service needs and priorities;

2. A competitive process, to include uniform eligibility criteria for service providers seeking funding and uniform application and selection procedures for comparable service categories;

3. Uniform oversight, administrative, and reporting requirements for service providers receiving funding through the Funding Pool Program; and

4. Uniform program evaluation criteria to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of comparable services funded through the Funding Pool Program.

D. The Department shall require all service providers applying for funding through the Funding Pool Program to submit a detailed proposal that includes a proposed budget, proposed program outcomes, and proposed program outcome measures. Following review of applications for funding received pursuant to this section, the Department shall provide a summary of the requests for funding and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly of the programs to be funded in the proposed biennial budget, the levels of funding recommended, and the rationale for such recommendations, and the Governor shall consider such recommendations in developing the proposed budget.

E. The Department shall require all providers receiving Funding Pool Program funds to report annually on the use of the funds and outcomes achieved and shall include such information in its annual report to the General Assembly.

2011, c. 531.

§ 63.2-602. Eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); penalty.

A. A person shall be eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families if that person:

1. Has not attained the age of 18 years, or, if a full-time student in a secondary school or in the equivalent level of career and technical education, has not attained the age of nineteen years;

2. Is a resident of Virginia;

3. Is living with his father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, or niece in a residence maintained by such relative or is in placement under conditions specified by the Board;

4. Is in need of public assistance; and

5. If less than 18 years of age, is in compliance with compulsory school attendance laws (§ 22.1-254 et seq.) as described in § 63.2-606. Prior to imposing a sanction of benefits, the local department shall make reasonable efforts to discuss with the parent or caretaker, by personal contact that may include direct telephone contact, a plan to return the child to school. If such efforts fail, the local department shall mail a written advance notice of proposed action to the parent or caretaker advising that benefits may be reduced if the parent or caretaker fails to contact the local department to develop a plan to return the child to school.

B. An applicant for TANF shall:

1. Furnish, apply for or have an application made on his behalf, and on behalf of all children for whom assistance is being requested, for a social security account number to be used in the administration of the program;

2. Assign the Commonwealth any rights to support from any other person such applicant may have on his own behalf or on behalf of any other family member for whom the applicant is applying for or receiving aid, except for any support that accrued prior to the execution of the assignment;

3. Identify the parents of the child for whom aid is claimed, subject to the "good cause" provisions or exceptions in federal law or regulations. However, this requirement shall not apply if the child is in a foster care placement or if the local department determines, based upon the sworn statement of the applicant or recipient or of another person with knowledge of the circumstances, that the child was conceived as the result of incest or rape; and

4. Cooperate in (i) locating the parent of the child with respect to whom TANF is claimed, (ii) establishing the paternity of a child born out of wedlock with respect to whom TANF is claimed, (iii) obtaining support payments for such applicant or recipient and for a child with respect to whom TANF is claimed, and (iv) obtaining any other payments or property due such applicant or recipient for such child.

Any applicant or recipient who intentionally misidentifies another person as a parent shall be guilty of a Class 5 felony.

C. Unless an exception to the requirement set forth in subdivision B 3 applies, the Department's Division of Child Support Enforcement shall proceed to determine parentage pursuant to Chapter 3.1 (§ 20-49.1 et seq.) of Title 20. If paternity is not established after six months of receipt of TANF, the case shall be reviewed to determine the reason that paternity has not been established. If paternity has not been established due to the caretaker relative's noncooperation, the local department may suspend the entire grant or the adult portion of the grant, subject to Board regulations.

D. TANF shall be provided to two-parent families on the same terms and conditions that TANF is provided to single-parent families.

Code 1950, § 63-141; 1954, c. 495; 1966, c. 665; 1968, cc. 578, 667, 668, 781, § 63.1-105; 1970, c. 721; 1974, c. 418; 1976, c. 215, § 63.1-105.1; 1982, c. 386; 1993, c. 167; 1994, cc. 188, 934; 1995, c. 450; 1996, c, 848, 857; 1999, c. 638; 2001, c. 483; 2002, c. 747; 2010, c. 250; 2019, c. 376.

§ 63.2-603. Eligibility for TANF; childhood immunizations.

An applicant for TANF shall provide verification that all eligible children not enrolled in school, a licensed family day home, or a licensed child day center, have received immunizations in accordance with § 32.1-46. However, if an eligible child has not received immunizations in accordance with § 32.1-46, verification shall be provided at the next scheduled redetermination of eligibility for TANF after initial eligibility is granted that the child has received at least one dose of each of the immunizations required by § 32.1-46 as appropriate for the child's age and that the child's physician or the local health department has developed a plan for completing the immunizations. Verification of compliance with the plan for completing the immunizations shall be presented at subsequent redeterminations of eligibility for TANF.

If necessary, the local department shall provide assistance to the TANF recipient in obtaining verification from immunization providers. No sanction may be imposed until the reason for the failure to comply with the immunization requirement has been identified and any barriers to accessing immunizations have been removed.

Failure by the recipient to provide the required verification of immunizations shall result in a reduction in the amount of monthly assistance received from the TANF program until the required verification is provided. The reduction shall be fifty dollars for the first child and twenty-five dollars for each additional child for whom verification is not provided.

Any person who becomes ineligible for TANF payments as a result of this provision shall nonetheless be considered a TANF recipient for all other purposes.

1994, c. 188, § 63.1-105.2; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-604. Eligibility for TANF; children born to TANF recipients.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 63.2-602 and the TANF program regulations, the Board shall revise the schedule of TANF financial assistance to be paid to a family by eliminating the increment in TANF benefits to which a family would otherwise be eligible as a result of the birth of a child during the period of TANF eligibility or during the period in which the family or adult recipient is ineligible for TANF benefits pursuant to a penalty imposed by the Commissioner for failure to comply with benefit eligibility or child support requirements, subsequent to which the family or adult recipient is again eligible for benefits. The Board shall provide that a recipient family in which the mother gives birth to an additional child during the period of the mother's eligibility for TANF financial assistance, or during a temporary penalty period of ineligibility for financial assistance, may receive additional financial assistance only in the case of a general increase in the amount of TANF financial assistance that is provided to all TANF recipients. Applicants shall receive notice of the provisions of this section at the time of application for TANF. This section shall not apply to legal guardians, grandparents, or other persons in loco parentis who are not the biological or adoptive parents of the child.

There shall be no elimination of the increment in benefits for children born within ten months after the mother begins to receive TANF.

A single custodial parent who does not receive additional TANF financial assistance for the birth of a child pursuant to this section shall receive the total value of all child support payments due and collected for such child, and the value of such payments shall not be counted as income for the purposes of TANF eligibility and grant determination.

1995, c. 450, § 63.1-105.7; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-605. Eligibility for TANF; parolees and probationers who fail drug tests.

Upon receipt of notification from a probation or parole officer that a TANF caretaker under his supervision has failed a drug test, the local department shall provide future TANF cash benefits to such caretaker's assistance unit as protective or vendor payments to a third party payee for the benefit of the assistance unit. After twelve months, the local department may reinstate such caretaker as the payee for the assistance unit provided such caretaker has failed no subsequent drug test within such twelve-month period. Any caretaker who is reported to have failed a drug test under this section may appeal such report, including the validity of any test results, pursuant to §§ 63.2-517, 63.2-518 and 63.2-519.

1997, c. 526, § 63.1-105.8; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-606. Eligibility for TANF; school attendance.

In order to be eligible for TANF, members of the assistance unit, including minor custodial parents, shall be in compliance with compulsory school attendance laws (§ 22.1-254 et seq.). The Board shall adopt regulations to implement the provisions of this section, including procedures for local departments to (i) receive notification from local school divisions of students who are truant and (ii) assist families in noncompliance to achieve compliance. An applicant for or recipient of TANF or any member of his assistance unit who has been found guilty under § 22.1-263 shall not be eligible for TANF financial assistance until in compliance with compulsory school attendance laws. Any person who becomes ineligible for TANF financial assistance as a result of this section shall nonetheless be considered a TANF recipient for all other purposes.

1995, c. 450, § 63.1-105.4; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-607. Eligibility for TANF; minor parent residency.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, an unemancipated minor custodial parent may receive TANF for himself and his child only if the individual and his child reside in the home maintained by his parent or person standing in loco parentis. For purposes of TANF eligibility determination, a minor who receives government-provided public assistance is not considered emancipated unless married.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall not apply if:

1. The individual has no parent or person standing in loco parentis who is living or whose whereabouts are known;

2. The local department determines that the physical or emotional health or safety of the individual or his dependent child would be jeopardized if the individual and dependent child lived in the same residence with the individual's parent or the person standing in loco parentis for the individual; or

3. The local department otherwise determines, in accordance with Board regulations, that there is good cause for waiving the requirements of subsection A.

C. If the individual and his dependent child are not required to live with the individual's parent or the person standing in loco parentis for the individual, the local department shall assist the individual in locating an appropriate adult supervised supportive living arrangement taking into consideration the needs and concerns of the minor and thereafter shall require that the individual and his child reside in such living arrangement or an alternative appropriate arrangement as a condition of the continued receipt of TANF. If the local department is unable, after making diligent efforts, to locate any such appropriate living arrangement, it shall provide case management and other social services consistent with the best interests of the individual and child who live independently.

1995, c. 450, § 63.1-105.6; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-608. Virginia Initiative for Education and Work (VIEW).

A. The Department shall establish and administer the Virginia Initiative for Education and Work (VIEW) to reduce long-term dependence on welfare, emphasize personal responsibility, and enhance opportunities for personal initiative and self-sufficiency by promoting the value of work. The Department shall endeavor to develop placements for VIEW participants that will enable participants to develop job skills that are likely to result in independent employment and that take into consideration the proficiency, experience, skills, and prior training of a participant.

VIEW shall recognize clearly defined responsibilities and obligations on the part of public assistance recipients and shall include a written agreement of personal responsibility requiring parents to participate in work activities while receiving TANF, earned-income disregards to reduce disincentives to work, and a limit on TANF financial assistance.

VIEW shall require all able-bodied recipients of TANF who do not meet an exemption to participate in a work activity. VIEW shall require eligible TANF recipients to participate in unsubsidized, partially subsidized or fully subsidized employment or other allowable TANF work activity as defined by federal law and enter into an agreement of personal responsibility.

B. To the maximum extent permitted by federal law, and notwithstanding other provisions of Virginia law, the Department and local departments may, through applicable procurement laws and regulations, engage the services of public and private organizations to operate VIEW and to provide services incident to such operation.

C. All VIEW participants shall be under the direction and supervision of a case manager.

D. The Department shall ensure that participants are assigned to one of the following work activities within 90 days after the approval of TANF assistance:

1. Unsubsidized private-sector employment;

2. Subsidized employment, as follows:

a. The Department shall conduct a program in accordance with this section that shall be known as the Full Employment Program (FEP). FEP replaces TANF with subsidized employment. Persons not able to find unsubsidized employment who are otherwise eligible for TANF may participate in FEP unless exempted by this chapter. FEP shall assign participants to subsidized wage-paying private-sector jobs designed to increase the participants' self-sufficiency and improve their competitive position in the workforce.

b. Participants in FEP shall be placed in full-time employment when appropriate and shall be paid by the employer at an hourly rate not less than the federal or state minimum wage, whichever is higher. At no point shall a participant's spendable income received from wages and tax credits be less than the value of TANF received prior to the work placement.

c. Every employer subject to the Virginia unemployment insurance tax shall be eligible for assignment of FEP participants, but no employer shall be required to utilize such participants. Employers shall ensure that jobs made available to FEP participants are in conformity with § 3304(a)(5) of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act. FEP participants cannot be used to displace regular workers.

d. FEP employers shall:

(i) Endeavor to make FEP placements positive learning and training experiences;

(ii) Provide on-the-job training to the degree necessary for the participants to perform their duties;

(iii) Pay wages to participants at the same rate that they are paid to other employees performing the same type of work and having similar experience and employment tenure;

(iv) Provide sick leave, holiday and vacation benefits to participants to the same extent and on the same basis that they are provided to other employees performing the same type of work and having similar employment experience and tenure;

(v) Maintain health, safety and working conditions at or above levels generally acceptable in the industry and no less than those in which other employees perform the same type of work;

(vi) Provide workers' compensation coverage for participants;

(vii) Encourage volunteer mentors from among their other employees to assist participants in becoming oriented to work and the workplace; and

(viii) Sign an agreement with the local department outlining the employer requirements to participate in FEP. All agreements shall include notice of the employer's obligation to repay FEP reimbursements in the event the employer violates FEP rules.

e. As a condition of FEP participation, employers shall be prohibited from discriminating against any person, including program participants, on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, or disability;

3. Part-time or temporary employment;

4. Community work experience, as follows:

a. The Department and local departments shall work with other state, regional and local agencies and governments in developing job placements that serve a useful public purpose as provided in § 482(f) of the Social Security Act, as amended. Placements shall be selected to provide skills and serve a public function. VIEW participants shall not displace regular workers.

b. The number of hours per week for participants shall be determined by combining the total dollar amount of TANF and food stamps and dividing by the minimum wage with a maximum of a work week of 32 hours, of which up to 12 hours of employment-related education and training may substitute for work experience employment; or

5. Any other allowable TANF work activity as defined by federal law.

E. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections A and D, if a local department determines that a VIEW participant is in need of job skills and would benefit from immediate job skills training, it may place the participant in a program preparing individuals for a high school equivalency examination approved by the Board of Education, a career and technical education program targeted at skills required for particular employment opportunities, or an apprenticeship program developed by the local department in accordance with requirements established by the Department. Eligible participants include those with problems related to obtaining and retaining employment, such as participants (i) with less than a high school education, (ii) whose reading or math skills are at or below the eighth grade level, (iii) who have not retained a job for a period of at least six months during the prior two years, or (iv) who are in a treatment program for a substance abuse problem or are receiving services through a family violence treatment program. The VIEW participant may continue in a high school equivalency examination preparation program, career and technical education program, or apprenticeship program for as long as the local department determines he is progressing satisfactorily and to the extent permitted by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193), as amended.

F. Participants may be reevaluated after a period determined by the local department and reassigned to another work component. In addition, the number of hours worked may be reduced by the local department so that a participant may complete additional training or education to further his employability.

G. Local departments shall be authorized to sanction parents up to the full amount of the TANF grant for noncompliance, unless good cause exists.

H. VIEW participants shall not be assigned to projects that require that they travel unreasonable distances from their homes or remain away from their homes overnight without their consent.

Any injury to a VIEW participant arising out of and in the course of community work experience shall be covered by the participant's existing Medicaid coverage. If a community work experience participant is unable to work due to such an accident, his status shall be reviewed to determine whether he is eligible for an exemption from the limitation on TANF financial assistance.

A community work experience participant who becomes incapacitated for 30 days or more shall be eligible for TANF financial assistance for the duration of the incapacity, if otherwise eligible.

The Board shall adopt regulations providing for the accrual of paid sick leave or other equivalent mechanism for community work experience participants.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.49; 1995, c. 450; 1996, c. 1023; 1999, c. 759; 2000, cc. 483, 491; 2001, c. 483; 2002, c. 747; 2003, cc. 428, 467; 2005, c. 472; 2007, c. 568; 2014, c. 84; 2016, c. 101; 2019, c. 210.

§ 63.2-609. VIEW exemptions.

The following TANF recipients shall be exempt from mandatory participation in VIEW and shall remain eligible for TANF financial assistance:

1. Any individual, including all minor caretakers, under 16 years of age;

2. Any individual at least 16, but no more than 19 years of age, who is enrolled full-time in elementary or secondary school, including career and technical education programs. The career and technical education program must be equivalent to secondary school. Whenever feasible, such recipients should participate in summer work;

3. Any individual who is unable to participate because of a temporary medical condition that is preventing employment or training, as determined by a physician or other qualified medical professional and certified by a written medical statement. Such an exemption shall be reevaluated every 60 days to determine whether the person is still exempt;

4. Any individual who is disabled, as determined by receipt of Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplemental Security Income;

5. Any individual 60 years of age or older;

6. Any individual who is the sole caregiver of another member of the household who is disabled as determined by receipt of Social Security Disability Benefits or Supplemental Security Income or who is incapacitated by another condition as determined by the Board and whose presence is essential for the care of the other member on a substantially continuous basis;

7. A parent or caretaker-relative of a child under 12 months of age who personally provides care for the child. A parent or caretaker-relative exempt from mandatory participation in VIEW pursuant to this subdivision shall be exempt for a period of no more than 12 months. Months during which a parent or caretaker-relative is exempt may be consecutive or nonconsecutive. A parent of a child not considered part of the TANF public assistance unit under § 63.2-604 may be granted a temporary exemption of not more than six weeks after the birth of such child.

In a TANF-UP case, both parents shall be referred for participation unless one meets an exemption; only one parent can be exempt. If both parents meet an exemption criterion, they shall decide who will be referred for participation.

1994, cc. 858, 951, §§ 63.1-133.43, 63.1-133.48; 1995, c. 450; 2001, c. 483; 2002, cc. 81, 747; 2007, c. 568; 2011, c. 426.

§ 63.2-610. Participation in VIEW; coordinated services.

A. In administering VIEW, the Department shall ensure that local departments provide delivery and coordination of all services through intensive case management. VIEW participants shall be referred to a case manager. The case manager shall fully explain VIEW to the participant and shall provide the participant with written materials explaining VIEW.

B. The Department shall assist local departments in improving the delivery of services, including intensive case management, through the utilization of public, private and nonprofit organizations, to the extent permissible under federal law.

C. The Department shall be responsible for the coordination of the intensive case management. Job finding and job matching leading to independent employment shall be facilitated by the Virginia Employment Commission and the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity.

D. The Secretary of Health and Human Resources, assisted by the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, shall prepare and maintain an annual plan for coordinating and integrating all appropriate services in order to promote successful outcomes. The plan shall encourage the use of local and regional service providers and permit a variety of methods of providing services. Emphasis shall be placed on coordinating and integrating career counseling, job development, job training and skills, job placement, and academic and technical education. Public and private institutions of higher education and other agencies which offer similar or related services shall be invited to participate as fully as possible in developing, implementing and updating the annual coordination plan.

E. The Secretary of Health and Human Resources shall:

1. Increase public awareness of the federal earned income credit and encourage families who may be eligible to apply for this tax credit;

2. Pursue aggressive child-support initiatives as established by the General Assembly;

3. Work with community providers to develop adoption, education, family planning, marriage, parenting, and training options for Program participants;

4. Increase public awareness of the tax advantages of relocating one's residence in order to secure employment;

5. Provide leadership for the development of community work experience opportunities in VIEW;

6. Develop strategies to educate, assist and stimulate employers to hire participants and to provide community work experience opportunities, in consultation with representatives of employers and relevant public and private agencies on the state and local level; and

7. Provide technical assistance to local departments to assist them in working with employers in the community to develop job and community work experience opportunities for participants.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.45; 1995, c. 450; 1996, cc. 589, 599; 1999, cc. 840, 855; 2002, c. 747; 2013, c. 482.

§ 63.2-611. Case management; support services; transitional support services.

A. The Commissioner, through the local departments, with such funds as appropriated, shall offer families participating in VIEW intensive case management services throughout the family's participation in VIEW. Case management services shall include initial assessment of the full range of services that will be needed by each family including testing and evaluation, development of the individualized agreement of personal responsibility, and periodic reassessment of service needs and the agreement of personal responsibility. It shall be the goal of the Department to have a statewide intensive case management ratio not higher than the statewide average ratio in Title IV-F of the Social Security Act Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program State Plan as the ratio existed on July 1, 1995.

B. Local departments are authorized to provide services to VIEW families throughout the family's participation in VIEW subject to regulations adopted by the Board, including:

1. Child care for the children of participants if:

a. The participant is employed and child-care services are required to enable the continued employment of the participant;

b. Child-care services are required to enable a participant to receive job placement, job training or education services; or

c. The participant is otherwise eligible for child care pursuant to Board regulations.

2. Transportation that will enable parental employment or participation in services required by the agreement of personal responsibility.

3. Job counseling, education and training, and job search assistance consistent with the purposes of VIEW.

4. Medical assistance.

C. A participant whose TANF financial assistance is terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, shall receive the following services for up to 12 months after termination, if needed:

1. Assistance with child care if such assistance enables the individual to work or the individual is enrolled in an accredited public institution of higher education or other postsecondary school licensed or certified by the Board of Education or the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and is taking courses as part of a curriculum that leads to a postsecondary credential, such as a degree or an industry-recognized credential, certification, or license;

2. Assistance with transportation, if such transportation enables the individual to work;

3. Medical assistance, including transitional medical assistance for families with a working parent who becomes ineligible for TANF financial assistance because of increased earnings according to policies of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services; and

4. Financial assistance of $50 per month, if the participant is employed and is working at least 30 hours per week or more at the time of TANF closure and remains employed and continues to work at least 30 hours per week or more.

D. The Department or local departments may purchase or otherwise acquire motor vehicles from the centralized fleet of motor vehicles controlled by the Commissioner of Highways under Article 7 (§ 2.2-1173 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 2.2 and sell or otherwise transfer such vehicles to TANF recipients or former recipients. Purchases, sales, and other transfers of vehicles under this subsection shall not be subject to the provisions of the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.), or the provisions of §§ 2.2-1124, 2.2-1153, 2.2-1156, and 2.2-1177 relating to the sale, purchase, and transfer of surplus motor vehicles and other surplus state property.

E. Nothing in this section shall be construed or interpreted to create a cause of action or administrative claim based upon a right or entitlement to any specific services or an exemption or waiver from any provision of VIEW.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.46; 1995, c. 450; 1999, c. 910; 2002, c. 747; 2007, c. 568; 2019, cc. 166, 218.

§ 63.2-612. Time limit on the receipt of TANF.

Unless otherwise exempt, VIEW participants and their families may receive TANF financial assistance for a maximum of 24 months only, subject to § 63.2-613. VIEW participants and their families may receive TANF financial assistance, if otherwise eligible, after a subsequent period of 24 months. However, the 24-month period of ineligibility shall not apply when a child is removed from the parents' home as the result of a child protective services report or complaint as defined in regulations promulgated by the Board and is placed with a relative. In such cases, the relative with whom the child is placed shall be eligible to receive TANF financial assistance immediately and without waiting for the 24-month period of ineligibility to run.

The local department shall notify a VIEW participant and his family that his TANF financial assistance is scheduled to be terminated as provided in this section. Notice shall be given 60 days prior to such termination and shall inform the VIEW participant and his family of the exception regulations adopted by the Board and the procedure to be followed by the VIEW participant and his family if he believes that he is entitled to an extension of benefits.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.50; 1995, c. 450; 2002, c. 747; 2007, c. 568; 2008, cc. 132, 564.

§ 63.2-613. Hardship exceptions.

The Board shall adopt regulations providing exceptions to the time limitations of this chapter in cases of hardship. In adopting regulations, the Board shall address circumstances:

1. Where a VIEW participant has been actively seeking employment by engaging in job-seeking activities required pursuant to § 60.2-612 and is unable to find employment;

2. Where factors relating to job availability may be unfavorable;

3. Where the VIEW participant loses his job as a result of factors not related to his job performance; and

4. Where extension of benefits for up to one year will enable a participant to complete employment-related education or training.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.51; 1995, c. 450; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-614. Financial eligibility.

A. Pursuant to regulations adopted by the Board, the parent of an eligible child or children who is married to a person not the parent of the child or children shall not be eligible for TANF if the parent's spouse's income, when deemed available to the family unit according to federal regulations, in and of itself, exceeds the state eligibility standard for such aid. However, eligibility for the child or children shall be considered by counting the income of such parent and child or children, and any portion of the parent's spouse's income that exceeds 150 percent of the federal poverty level for the spouse and parent. If the income of the parent's spouse that is deemed available does not, in and of itself, exceed the state eligibility standard for TANF, none of the spouse's income shall be counted as available to the family unit, and eligibility shall be determined considering only the income, if any, of the parent and the child or children. If the parent fails or refuses to cooperate with the Department's Division of Child Support Enforcement in the pursuit of child support, the income of the parent's current spouse shall be counted in accordance with Title IV-A federal regulations at 45 C.F.R. 233.20(a) (3) (xiv) in determining eligibility for TANF for the parent's child or children.

B. Program participants shall be eligible for the income disregards and resource exclusions in § 63.2-505.

C. VIEW participants and their families shall also be eligible for the following income disregards and resource exclusions:

1. To reward work, a VIEW participant and his family who have earned income from any source other than VIEW, may continue to receive TANF financial assistance for up to two years from the date that both parties initially sign the agreement. However, in no event shall the TANF payment when added to the earned income exceed such percentage of the federal poverty level established by the Commissioner, and if necessary any TANF payment shall be reduced so that earned income plus the TANF payment equals such percentage of the federal poverty level established by the Commissioner.

2. The fair market value, not to exceed $7,500, of one operable motor vehicle per family.

Code 1950, § 63-141; 1954, c. 495; 1966, c. 665; 1968, cc. 578, 667, 668, 781, § 63.1-105; 1970, c. 721; 1974, c. 418; 1982, c. 386; 1993, c. 167; 1994, cc. 188, 858, 951, § 63.1-133.47; 1995, c. 450; 1996, c. 857; 1999, c. 638; 2001, c. 483; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-615. Payment of tuition and other expenses of public assistance recipients enrolled in skill development training programs.

The Board may authorize the payment of tuition fees, transportation costs or other necessary or incidental expenses for obtaining skill development training or retraining for qualified public assistance recipients. The Board may, by regulation, prescribe necessary requisites and conditions under which such payments may be made. Such assistance shall be in addition to any other public assistance for which such recipient may be eligible and shall not affect his entitlement thereto.

Code 1950, § 63-110.1; 1968, c. 586, § 63.1-96.1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-616. Provision of public assistance and social services.

Local departments may combine community resources to assist the families of persons who may be in need because of the limitations on TANF financial assistance and may arrange for appropriate care of needy families where the limitation on TANF financial assistance as a result of the birth of an additional child or the two-year limit on TANF financial assistance is executed. Public assistance and social services may be provided that include, but are not limited to, help for families in obtaining donated food and clothing, continuation of food stamps for adults and children who are otherwise eligible, child care, and Medicaid coverage for adults and children who are otherwise eligible for Medicaid.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.52; 1995, c. 450; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-617. Diversionary cash assistance.

The Board shall adopt regulations to enable TANF -- eligible applicants meeting certain criteria to receive at one time the maximum TANF cash assistance that the applicant would otherwise receive for a period up to 120 days. An individual may receive diversionary TANF cash assistance only one time in a 12-month period and, in so doing, waives his eligibility for TANF for a period of up to 160 days. Diversionary assistance shall be used to divert the family from receiving ongoing TANF cash assistance by providing assistance for one-time emergencies.

1995, c. 450, § 63.1-105.3; 2002, c. 747; 2009, cc. 61, 547.

§ 63.2-618. Notice and appeal.

A participant aggrieved by the decision of a local board granting, denying, changing or discontinuing public assistance may appeal such decision pursuant to § 63.2-517. If a hearing request is received prior to the effective date of any proposed change in benefit status, a participant appealing such change shall have the right to continued direct payment of TANF benefits pending final administrative action on such appeal.

1994, cc. 858, 951, § 63.1-133.53; 1995, c. 450; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-619. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2016, c. 23, cl. 2.

§ 63.2-620. Child care services for TANF and low-income families.

The Department shall identify strategies for Virginia to obtain the maximum amount of federal funds available for child care services for TANF recipients and families whose incomes are at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. The Department shall provide an annual report on these strategies to the chairmen of the House Committees on Appropriations and Health, Welfare and Institutions and Senate Committees on Finance and Rehabilitation and Social Services by December 15.

2001, c. 184, § 63.1-105.9; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-621. Restrictions on use of TANF cash assistance.

Recipients of TANF benefits pursuant to this chapter shall not access TANF cash benefits through an electronic benefit transaction (i) for the purchase of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, lottery tickets, or sexually explicit visual materials as defined in § 18.2-374.1; (ii) in any transaction in any (a) government store established for the sale of alcoholic beverages, (b) establishment in which pari-mutuel wagering or charitable gaming is conducted, or (c) establishment in which tattooing or body-piercing, as defined in § 54.1-700, is performed for hire or consideration; or (iii) in any establishment that provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers or other individuals connected with the business appear nude or partially nude.

2013, cc. 160, 733.

Chapter 7. Economic Employment Improvement Program for Disadvantaged Persons [Repealed].

§ 63.2-700. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2003, c. 428.

Chapter 7.1. Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

§ 63.2-703. Faith-based and community initiatives; responsibilities of Department.

A. The General Assembly finds that faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations make significant contributions to the welfare of our society and constitute an underutilized and underrepresented reservoir of assistance for social programs, and special efforts to increase utilization of faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations will enhance the Commonwealth's ability to carry out human welfare programs. To carry out these initiatives, the Department of Social Services shall have the following responsibilities:

1. Lead and facilitate meetings as necessary, with faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations for the purpose of sharing information to help carry out human welfare programs in Virginia;

2. Encourage conferences and meetings at the community level for faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations, as needed;

3. Provide procurement and funding information to faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations, as needed;

4. Provide information regarding faith-based and community initiatives and other information the Department may deem appropriate, to faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations, and other state agencies whose missions may be enhanced by increased awareness of such initiatives and information;

5. Encourage the development and maintenance of a statewide network of local liaisons to assist in the dissemination of information and assistance;

6. Develop a statewide list of available faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations. Such statewide list shall be made available to the public through the Department's website;

7. Obtain information concerning faith-based, volunteer, private and community organizations in other states;

8. Coordinate offers of assistance from faith-based organizations during natural disasters; and

9. Perform such other duties as the Department deems appropriate.

B. Nothing in this section shall imply or be inferred to mean that additional federal or state funds will be available for these purposes or that contractual preferences will be given to such organizations other than past or potential performance standards utilized under the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.).

2002, c. 326, § 63.1-133.59; 2006, cc. 142, 386; 2016, c. 23.

Chapter 8. Other Grants of Public Assistance.

§ 63.2-800. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2012, cc. 803 and 835, cl. 61, effective July 1, 2013.

§ 63.2-801. Food stamp program.

The Board is authorized, in accordance with the federal Food Stamp Act, to implement a food stamp program in which each political subdivision in the Commonwealth shall participate. Such program shall be administered in conformity with the Board regulations.

1974, c. 504, § 63.1-25.2; 1975, c. 311; 1981, c. 21; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-802. Eligibility for general relief.

If a local board has exercised its option to establish a program of general relief, a person shall be eligible for such components of the general relief program as the locality chooses to provide if he is in need of general relief. The establishment of and continued participation in such general relief program shall be optional with the local board. Nothing contained in this section shall restrict the authority of a local board under § 63.2-314. No person shall be deemed to be in need of general relief, however, if he fails to accept available employment which is appropriate to his physical and mental abilities and training, taking into consideration his home and family responsibilities which would affect his availability for employment. Prepaid funeral expenses, which do not exceed an amount established by the Board, shall not be considered a financial asset in determining a person's eligibility for general relief.

Code 1950, § 63-205; 1968, cc. 578, 666, § 63.1-106; 1972, c. 768; 1977, c. 241; 1980, cc. 18, 20; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-803. Payment for legal services in claims for Supplemental Security Income.

The Commissioner shall establish an advocacy project to assist recipients of general relief or children entrusted or committed to foster care who may be eligible for federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in obtaining such benefits. Local departments may determine and refer appropriate potential SSI claimants to attorneys, or advocates working under the supervision of an attorney, for representation under this project. This project shall provide for disbursements to any such attorney or advocate upon receipt of a favorable decision in such referred claims.

Such disbursements shall be in an amount determined by the Board to be sufficient to ensure prompt and adequate representation of such recipients. This amount shall not exceed the lesser of the recoupment for state and local assistance paid, as provided by the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1383 (g), as amended, or twenty-five percent of the maximum federal back-due SSI grant payable to an individual.

Such disbursement shall be made upon submission by the attorney of a petition and a copy of the favorable decision. Petitions must be presented within sixty days of the favorable Social Security Administration decision.

The Board, in consultation with the Virginia State Bar, shall adopt regulations necessary to implement this section.

1992, c. 170, § 63.1-89.1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-804. Eligibility to receive convict-made dentures.

Any person who is a recipient of dental care provided by the Department of Health is eligible to receive, if so prescribed, dentures manufactured in a state correctional facility.

1972, c. 54, § 63.1-110.1; 2002, c. 747.

§ 63.2-805. Home Energy Assistance Program; report; survey.

A. The General Assembly declares that it is the policy of this Commonwealth to support the efforts of public agencies, private utility service providers, and charitable and community groups seeking to assist low-income Virginians in meeting their residential energy needs. To this end, the Department is designated as the state agency responsible for coordinating state efforts in this regard.

B. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Home Energy Assistance Fund, hereinafter the "Fund." Moneys in the Fund shall be used to:

1. Supplement the assistance provided through the Department's administration of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Block Grant; and

2. Assist the Commonwealth in maximizing the amount of federal funds available under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program by providing funds to comply with fund-matching requirements, and by means of leveraging in accordance with the rules set by the Home Energy Assistance Program.

The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. The Fund shall consist of donations and contributions to the Fund and such moneys as shall be appropriated by the General Assembly. Interest earned on money in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes set forth in this section. The State Treasurer shall make expenditures and disbursements from the Fund on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner. Up to twelve percent of the Fund may be used to pay the Department's expenses in administering the Home Energy Assistance Program.

C. The Department shall establish and operate the Home Energy Assistance Program. In administering the Home Energy Assistance Program, it shall be the responsibility of the Department to:

1. Administer distributions from the Fund;

2. Lead and facilitate meetings with the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and other agencies of the Commonwealth, as well as any nonstate programs that elect to participate in the Home Energy Assistance Program, for the purpose of sharing information directed at alleviating the seasonal energy needs of low-income Virginians, including needs for weatherization assistance services;

3. Collect and analyze data regarding the amounts of energy assistance provided through the Department, categorized by fuel type in order to identify the unmet need for energy assistance in the Commonwealth;

4. Develop and maintain a statewide list of available private and governmental resources for low-income Virginians in need of energy assistance; and

5. Report annually to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before October 1 of each year through October 1, 2007, and biennially thereafter, on the effectiveness of low-income energy assistance programs in meeting the needs of low-income Virginians. In preparing the report, the Department shall:

a. Conduct a survey biennially in each year that the report is due to the General Assembly that shall collect information regarding the extent to which the Commonwealth's efforts in assisting low-income Virginians are adequate and are not duplicative of similar services provided by utility services providers, charitable organizations and local governments;

b. Obtain information on energy programs in other states; and

c. Obtain necessary information from the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and other agencies of the Commonwealth, as well as any nonstate programs that elect to participate in the Home Energy Assistance Program, to complete the biennial survey and to compile the required report. The Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and other agencies of the Commonwealth, as well as any nonstate programs that elect to participate in the Home Energy Assistance Program, shall provide the necessary information to the Department.

The Department is authorized to assume responsibility for administering all or any portion of any private, voluntary low-income energy assistance program upon the application of the administrator thereof, on such terms as the Department and such administrator shall agree and in accordance with applicable law and regulations. If the Department assumes administrative responsibility for administering such a voluntary program, it is authorized to receive funds collected through such voluntary program and distribute them through the Fund.

D. Local departments may, to the extent that funds are available, promote interagency cooperation at the local level by providing technical assistance, data collection and service delivery.

E. Subject to Board regulations and to the availability of state or private funds for low-income households in need of energy assistance, the Department is authorized to:

1. Receive state and private funds for such services; and

2. Disburse funds to state agencies, and vendors of energy services, to provide energy assistance programs for low-income households.

F. Actions of the Department relating to the review, allocation and awarding of benefits and grants shall be exempt from the provisions of Article 3 (§ 2.2-4018 et seq.) and Article 4 (§ 2.2-4024 et seq.) of Chapter 40 of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

G. No employee or former employee of the Department shall divulge any information acquired by him in the performance of his duties with respect to the income or assistance eligibility of any individual or household obtained in the course of administering the Home Energy Assistance Program, except in accordance with proper judicial order. The provisions of this section shall not apply to (i) acts performed or words spoken or published in the line of duty under law; (ii) inquiries and investigations to obtain information as to the implementation of this chapter by a duly constituted committee of the General Assembly, or when such inquiry or investigation is relevant to its study, provided that any such information shall be privileged; or (iii) the publication of statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of any individual or household.

2001, c. 676, §§ 63.1-336, 63.1-337, 63.1-338, 63.1-339, 63.1-340, 63.1-341, 63.1-342, 63.1-343, 63.1-339; 2002, cc. 243, 747; 2007, c. 312; 2009, c. 127.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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