Bill Text: CA AB2313 | 2017-2018 | Regular Session | Enrolled


Bill Title: Electronic benefits transfer system.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Enrolled) 2018-09-06 - Enrolled and presented to the Governor at 3 p.m. [AB2313 Detail]

Download: California-2017-AB2313-Enrolled.html

Enrolled  August 31, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  August 27, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  August 29, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  August 21, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  August 17, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  June 25, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  June 14, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 12, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2313


Introduced by Assembly Member Mark Stone

February 13, 2018


An act to amend Section 10072 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2313, Mark Stone. Electronic benefits transfer system.
Existing law provides for the establishment of a statewide electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system, administered by the State Department of Social Services, for the purpose of providing financial and food assistance benefits. Existing law provides that a recipient shall not incur any loss of cash benefits that are taken by an unauthorized withdrawal, removal, or use of benefits, that does not occur by the use of a physical EBT card issued to the recipient or authorized 3rd party, as specified, and requires the prompt replacement of the taken benefits.
This bill would additionally provide that a recipient shall not incur any loss of cash benefits that are taken by an unauthorized contact. The bill would also require the prompt replacement of the taken benefits if a recipient knowingly provides his or her EBT card number and personal identification number to an unauthorized 3rd party that the recipient mistakenly believes to be the contracted EBT vendor, an approved retailer, or a governmental entity, but not more than one time in a 36-month period. The bill would authorize the department to issue mass reimbursements to recipients for the loss of cash benefits if the department finds that the benefits of multiple recipients were taken by an unauthorized withdrawal, removal, or use of benefits in which the recipients’ EBT card numbers or personal identification numbers were obtained by means of a data breach. The bill would require a mass reimbursement to be approved by the Department of Finance. 
This bill would authorize the State Department of Social Services to implement and administer the above-described provisions through all-county letters or similar instructions until regulations are adopted, and would require the department to adopt emergency regulations and final regulations, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 10072 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

10072.
 The electronic benefits transfer system required by this chapter shall be designed to do, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(a) To the extent permitted by federal law and the rules of the program providing the benefits, recipients who are required to receive their benefits using an electronic benefits transfer system shall be permitted to gain access to the benefits in any part of the state where electronic benefits transfers are accepted. All electronic benefits transfer systems in this state shall be designed to allow recipients to gain access to their benefits by using every other electronic benefits transfer system.
(b) To the maximum extent feasible, electronic benefits transfer systems shall be designed to be compatible with the electronic benefits transfer systems in other states.
(c) All reasonable measures shall be taken in order to ensure that recipients have access to electronically issued benefits through systems, including, but not limited to, automated teller machines, point-of-sale devices, or other devices that accept electronic benefits transfer transactions. Benefits provided under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 shall be staggered over a period of three calendar days, unless a county requests a waiver from the department and the waiver is approved, or in cases of hardship pursuant to subdivision (p).
(d) The system shall provide for reasonable access to benefits to recipients who demonstrate an inability to use an electronic benefits transfer card or other aspect of the system because of disability, language, lack of access, or other barrier. These alternative methods shall conform to the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12101, et seq.), including reasonable accommodations for recipients who, because of physical or mental disabilities, are unable to operate or otherwise make effective use of the electronic benefits transfer system.
(e) The system shall permit a recipient the option to choose a personal identification number, also known as a “PIN” number, to assist the recipient to remember his or her number in order to allow access to benefits. Whenever an institution, authorized representative, or other third party not part of the recipient household or assistance unit has been issued an electronic benefits transfer card, either in lieu of, or in addition to, the recipient, the third party shall have a separate card and personal identification number. At the option of the recipient, he or she may designate whether restrictions apply to the third party’s access to the recipient’s benefits. At the option of the recipient head of household or assistance unit, the county shall provide one electronic benefits transfer card to each adult member to enable them to access benefits.
(f) The system shall have a 24-hour per day toll-free telephone hotline for the reporting of lost or stolen cards that will provide recipients, at no additional cost to the recipient, with information on how to have the card and personal identification number replaced, and that will allow an authorized representative or head of household to access, over the telephone, the transaction history detail for at least the last 10 transactions and to request that the transaction history detail for at least the past two months be sent by mail.
(g) The system shall have an Internet Web site that will provide recipients, at no additional cost to the recipient, with information on how to have the card and personal identification number replaced, and that will allow an authorized representative or head of household to view the transaction history detail for at least the last 10 transactions and to request that the transaction history detail for at least the past two months be sent by mail.
(h) In addition to the ability to receive transaction history detail pursuant to subdivisions (f) and (g), a county human services agency shall make available to an authorized representative or head of household, at no additional cost to the authorized representative or head of household, all electronic benefit transaction history details that are available to the county human services agency within 10 business days after a request has been received by the agency.
(i) (1) A recipient shall not incur any loss of electronic benefits after reporting that his or her electronic benefits transfer card or personal identification number has been lost or stolen. The system shall provide for the prompt replacement of lost or stolen electronic benefits transfer cards and personal identification numbers. Electronic benefits for which the case was determined eligible and that were not withdrawn by transactions using an authorized personal identification number for the account shall also be promptly replaced.
(2) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a recipient shall not incur any loss of cash benefits that are taken by an unauthorized contact, withdrawal, removal, or use of benefits, including, but not limited to, use that results from an unauthorized solicitation, request, or representation that does not occur by the use of a physical electronic benefits transfer card issued to the recipient or authorized third party to directly access the benefits. Benefits taken as described in this subparagraph shall be promptly replaced in accordance with the protocol established by the department pursuant to paragraph (3).
(B) If a recipient knowingly provides his or her electronic benefits transfer card number and personal identification number to an unauthorized third party that the recipient mistakenly believes to be the contracted electronic benefits transfer vendor, an approved retailer, or a governmental entity, any benefits taken as described in subparagraph (A) shall be promptly replaced in accordance with the protocol established by the department pursuant to paragraph (3), but not more than one time in a 36-month period.
(3) The State Department of Social Services shall establish a protocol for recipients to report electronic theft of cash benefits that minimizes the burden on recipients, ensures prompt replacement of benefits in order to minimize the harm to recipients, and ensures program integrity. This protocol may include the automatic replacement of benefits without the need for recipient reporting and verification.
(4) (A) Notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (3), the State Department of Social Services may issue mass reimbursements to recipients for the loss of cash benefits if the department finds that the benefits of multiple recipients were taken by an unauthorized withdrawal, removal, or use of benefits in which the recipients’ electronic benefits transfer card numbers or personal identification numbers were obtained by means of a data breach.
(B) A mass reimbursement made pursuant to subparagraph (A) requires the approval of the Department of Finance with notice given to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
(j) Electronic benefits transfer system consumers shall be informed on how to use electronic benefits transfer cards, how to protect their cards from misuse, and where consumers can use their cards to withdraw benefits without incurring a fee, charge, or surcharge.
(k) The electronic benefits transfer system shall be designed to inform recipients when the electronic benefits transfer system does not function or is expected not to function for more than a one-hour period between 6 a.m. and midnight during any 24-hour period. This information shall be made available in the recipient’s preferred language if the electronic benefits transfer system vendor contract provides for services in that language.
(l) Procedures shall be developed for error resolution.
(m) A fee shall not be charged by the state, a county, or an electronic benefits processor certified by the state to retailers participating in the electronic benefits transfer system.
(n) Except for CalFresh transactions, a recipient may be charged a fee, not to exceed the amount allowed by applicable state and federal law and customarily charged to other customers, for cash withdrawal transactions that exceed four per month.
(o) The electronic benefits transfer system shall be designed to ensure that recipients of benefits under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 have access to using or withdrawing benefits with minimal fees or charges, including an opportunity to access benefits with no fee or charges.
(p) A county shall exempt an individual from the three-day staggering requirement under subdivision (c) on a case-by-case basis for hardship. Hardship includes, but is not limited to, the incurrence of late charges on an individual’s housing payments.
(q) A county shall use information provided by the department to inform recipients of benefits under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of all of the following:
(1) The methods of electronic delivery of benefits available, including distribution of benefits through the electronic benefits transfer system or direct deposit pursuant to Section 11006.2.
(2) Applicable fees and charges, including surcharges, consumer and privacy protections, and liability for theft associated with the electronic benefits transfer system.
(3) How to avoid fees and charges, including opting for delivery of benefits by direct deposit and using the electronic benefits transfer card solely at surcharge free locations.
(4) Where to withdraw benefits without a surcharge when using the electronic benefits transfer system.
(5) That a recipient may authorize any available method of electronic delivery of benefits and instructions regarding how the recipient may select or change his or her preferred method of electronic delivery of benefits and that the recipient shall be given the opportunity to select the method prior to the first payment.
(6) That a recipient may be entitled to an alternative method of delivery if the recipient demonstrates an inability to use an electronic benefits transfer card or other aspect of the system because of disability, language, lack of access, or other barrier pursuant to subdivision (d) and instructions regarding how to determine whether the recipient qualifies for an alternative method of delivery.
(7) That a recipient may be entitled to an exemption from the three-day staggering requirement under subdivision (c) on a case-by-case basis for hardship pursuant to subdivision (p) and instructions regarding how to determine whether the recipient qualifies for the exemption.
(r) A county is in compliance with subdivision (q) if it provides the recipient a copy of the information developed by the department. A county may provide a recipient information, in addition to the copy of the information developed by the department, pursuant to subdivision (q), either verbally or in writing, if the county determines the additional information will benefit the recipient’s understanding of the information provided.

SEC. 2.

 (a) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the State Department of Social Services may implement and administer this act through all-county letters or similar instructions until regulations are adopted.
(b) The department shall adopt emergency regulations implementing these provisions no later than January 1, 2021. The department may readopt any emergency regulation authorized by this section that is the same as, or substantially equivalent to, emergency regulations previously adopted pursuant to this section. The initial adoption of regulations pursuant to this section and one readoption of emergency regulations shall be deemed to be an emergency and necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety, or general welfare. Initial emergency regulations and the one readoption of emergency regulations authorized by this section shall be exempt from review by the Office of Administrative Law. The initial emergency regulations and the one readoption of emergency regulations authorized by this section shall be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law for filing with the Secretary of State, and each shall remain in effect for no more than 180 days, by which time final regulations shall be adopted.
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