Bill Text: NY A03918 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Amended


Bill Title: Establishes a COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program; implements a program of rental and utility payment assistance to eligible households; defines terms.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 30-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-02-10 - print number 3918a [A03918 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-A03918-Amended.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                         3918--A

                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                   IN ASSEMBLY

                                    January 28, 2021
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by  M.  of  A. CYMBROWITZ, FAHY, O'DONNELL, TAYLOR, CARROLL,
          WOERNER, SIMON, RAMOS, DICKENS,  GRIFFIN,  GOTTFRIED,  WEPRIN,  ROZIC,
          GLICK,  SEAWRIGHT,  HEVESI,  RODRIGUEZ, EPSTEIN, NOLAN, THIELE, BRAUN-
          STEIN, CAHILL, MAGNARELLI, BRONSON -- read once and  referred  to  the
          Committee  on  Housing  -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

        AN ACT to amend the public housing law and the social services  law,  in
          relation  to  establishing  a  COVID-19  emergency  rental  assistance
          program; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon  expira-
          tion thereof

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
     2  the "COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program of 2021".
     3    §  2.  The public housing law is amended by adding a new article 14 to
     4  read as follows:
     5                                 ARTICLE XIV
     6                COVID-19 EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
     7  Section 600. Legislative findings.
     8          601. Definitions.
     9          602. Authority to implement emergency rental and utility assist-
    10                 ance.
    11          603. Allocation among the city of New York  and  the  respective
    12                 counties of the state.
    13          604. Eligibility.
    14          605. Application.
    15          606. Documentation.
    16          607. Restrictions on eviction.
    17          608. Payments.
    18          609. No repayment and assistance not considered income.
    19          610. Notice to tenants in eviction proceedings.

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD06457-05-1

        A. 3918--A                          2

     1          611. Notice to tenants receiving rent demands.
     2          612. Notice  to  applicants  for  assistance under the emergency
     3                 rent relief act of 2020.
     4          613. Outreach.
     5          614. Fair housing obligations.
     6          615. Reports by the commissioner.
     7    § 600. Legislative findings. The legislature finds that it is  in  the
     8  public  interest to ensure that New Yorkers are not rendered homeless or
     9  severely financially burdened because of an inability to pay the cost of
    10  housing and other necessities due to loss of income, increased necessary
    11  out-of-pocket expenses, or difficulty in  securing  alternative  housing
    12  related  to the widespread outbreak of the coronavirus commonly known as
    13  COVID-19.   The legislature further finds  that  providing  funding  for
    14  households  to pay rent and utility costs that they would otherwise have
    15  difficulty paying will promote the stability and proper  maintenance  of
    16  the  rental  housing stock and assist communities in recovering from the
    17  adverse social and economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
    18    § 601. Definitions. For the purposes of this article:
    19    1. "Commissioner" shall mean the state commissioner of social services
    20  as defined in section two of the social services law.
    21    2. "E-payment application transaction" shall mean a  financial  trans-
    22  action  conducted  on  an  online payment application. Such applications
    23  include but are not limited to: Zelle, Cash App,  Paypal,  Venmo,  Xoom,
    24  Circle  Pay,  Google  Pay,  Facebook  Messenger,  Apple Pay, WeChat Pay,
    25  AliPay, and KakaoPay.
    26    3. "Fair market rent" shall mean the fair market rent for each  rental
    27  area  as promulgated annually by the United States department of housing
    28  and urban development's office of policy development and research pursu-
    29  ant to 42 USC 1437f.
    30    4. "Federal emergency rental assistance program" shall mean the  emer-
    31  gency  rental  assistance  funding issued pursuant to section 501 of the
    32  Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Pub L. No. 116-260 §501, 888-97
    33  (2021).
    34    5. "Income" shall mean income from all sources of each member  of  the
    35  household, including all wages, tips, overtime, salary, recurring gifts,
    36  returns  on  investments,  welfare assistance, social security payments,
    37  child support payments, unemployment benefits, any benefit,  payment  or
    38  cash grant whose purpose is to assist with rental payments, any payments
    39  whose  purpose is to replace lost income, and any other government bene-
    40  fit or cash grant. The term "income"  shall  not  include:    employment
    41  income from children under eighteen years of age, employment income from
    42  children  eighteen  years  of  age  or older who are full-time students,
    43  foster care payments, sporadic gifts, groceries provided by persons  not
    44  living in the household, supplemental nutrition assistance program bene-
    45  fits, or the earned income tax credit.
    46    6.  "Manufactured  home tenant" shall have the same meaning as defined
    47  by section two hundred thirty-three of the real property law.
    48    7. "Occupant" shall have the same meaning as defined  in  section  two
    49  hundred thirty-five-f of the real property law.
    50    8.  "Rent"  shall mean rent as defined by section seven hundred two of
    51  the real property actions and proceedings law and subject to proceedings
    52  under article seven of the real property actions  and  proceedings  law,
    53  including  statutory  rents  and  maintenance  fees  paid  pursuant to a
    54  proprietary lease on a co-operative dwelling unit.
    55    9. "Rental arrears" shall mean unpaid rent owed to the  landlord  that
    56  accrued  on  or after March thirteenth, two thousand twenty, the date of

        A. 3918--A                          3

     1  the emergency declaration pursuant to section 501(b) of  the  Robert  T.
     2  Stafford  Disaster  Relief  and  Emergency  Assistance  Act,  42  U.S.C.
     3  5191(b).
     4    10. "Utility arrears" shall mean unpaid payments to providers of util-
     5  ity  services accrued on or after March thirteenth, two thousand twenty,
     6  the date of the emergency declaration pursuant to section 501(b) of  the
     7  Robert  T.  Stafford  Disaster  Relief  and Emergency Assistance Act, 42
     8  U.S.C. 5191(b), for separately-stated electricity,  gas,  water,  sewer,
     9  trash removal and energy costs, such as fuel oil.
    10    § 602. Authority to implement emergency rental and utility assistance.
    11  1.  The  commissioner is hereby authorized and directed to implement, as
    12  soon as practicable, a program of  rental  and  utility  assistance  for
    13  those eligible pursuant to section six hundred four of this article.
    14    2.  Such  program  shall be funded with: (a) all funds received by the
    15  state from the federal  Emergency  Assistance  Program;  (b)  any  funds
    16  remaining  that were allocated from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief,
    17  and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-136) for  the  Emer-
    18  gency  Rent  Relief Act of 2020, pursuant to chapter one hundred twenty-
    19  five of the laws of two thousand twenty, such that the sum of such funds
    20  actually expended pursuant to such chapter and that such  funds  reallo-
    21  cated  and  expended  pursuant  to  this article shall equal one hundred
    22  million dollars; and (c) any additional funds allocated by  the  federal
    23  government  to  the  state  of  New York for emergency rental or utility
    24  assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    25    3. The commissioner shall work with localities  throughout  the  state
    26  that  have  received  funds  directly  from the federal Emergency Rental
    27  Assistance Program so that one central point  of  application  shall  be
    28  made  available  for  any  and  all  federal Emergency Rental Assistance
    29  Program funds in the state of New York.
    30    4. The commissioner shall adopt, on an  emergency  basis  pursuant  to
    31  subdivision  six  of section two hundred two of the state administrative
    32  procedure act, any rules necessary to carry out the provisions  of  this
    33  article.
    34    §  603. Allocation among the city of New York and the respective coun-
    35  ties of the state. The commissioner and  each  locality  in  receipt  of
    36  funds  from  the  federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program shall work
    37  jointly to ensure that, in total, the  allocation  of  funds  from  this
    38  program for households within the city of New York or within each county
    39  outside  the  city of New York, whether granted to the state or directly
    40  to such localities is no less than ninety percent  of  the  proportional
    41  share  of all renter households in the state that reside in such city or
    42  county, and no more than one hundred ten percent  of  such  proportional
    43  share.
    44    §  604.  Eligibility.  The commissioner shall promulgate standards for
    45  determining eligibility for this program.
    46    1. All households, regardless of immigration status, shall be eligible
    47  for rental assistance, utility assistance, or both if the household:
    48    (a) is a tenant or occupant in their primary residence in the state of
    49  New York, including both tenants and occupants  of  dwelling  units  and
    50  manufactured home tenants;
    51    (b)  includes  an individual who qualifies for unemployment or experi-
    52  enced a reduction in household income, incurred  significant  costs,  or
    53  experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the
    54  COVID-19 outbreak;
    55    (c)  demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing insta-
    56  bility; and

        A. 3918--A                          4

     1    (d) has a household income at or below  eighty  percent  of  the  area
     2  median, adjusted for household size.
     3    2. For the purposes of this program, income may be considered:
     4    (a)  the household's total income for calendar year two thousand twen-
     5  ty; or
     6    (b) the household's current monthly income at the time of  application
     7  for  such  assistance.   If a household is applying for assistance using
     8  current monthly income, the household shall only be eligible for assist-
     9  ance for the months during which they meet the criteria  in  subdivision
    10  one of this section.
    11    3.  In addition to the eligibility criteria in subdivision one of this
    12  section, the commissioner may promulgate limits on assets as part of any
    13  determination of eligibility for this program.  The  commissioner  shall
    14  exclude  at  least  one  vehicle up to fifteen thousand dollars in value
    15  from any calculation made pursuant to this section.
    16    4. The commissioner shall establish preferences in processing applica-
    17  tions and allocating funds under this program. Such preferences shall at
    18  a minimum prioritize:
    19    (a) households whose income does not exceed fifty percent of the  area
    20  median income adjusted for household size; and
    21    (b)  households within which one or more individuals are unemployed as
    22  of the date of the application for assistance and have not been employed
    23  for the ninety days preceding such date.
    24    5. The commissioner may also grant preferences for households who meet
    25  one of the criteria in subdivision four of this section and:
    26    (a) are tenants of mobile homes or mobile  home  parks  whose  arrears
    27  have accrued for the land on which the mobile home is located;
    28    (b)  include  one  or  more  individuals  who  are victims of domestic
    29  violence;
    30    (c) apply jointly with their landlord; or
    31    (d) have eviction cases that are pending on or before February  first,
    32  two thousand twenty-one.
    33    6. A household may apply for utility assistance, rental assistance, or
    34  both.
    35    7.  Nothing  in this article shall be construed to disqualify applica-
    36  tions from tenants of state-funded public housing agencies.
    37    8. No rental assistance provided pursuant to  this  article  shall  be
    38  duplicative of assistance for rent or rental arrears previously received
    39  by the household.
    40    9.  Any  ambiguity  in eligibility criteria promulgated by the commis-
    41  sioner shall be resolved in favor  of  the  applicant  when  determining
    42  eligibility.
    43    10.  Any  information  collected  about  a household in the process of
    44  determining eligibility shall solely be used for the purposes of  deter-
    45  mining  eligibility  and shall not be shared with any other governmental
    46  agency.
    47    11. An individual full-time college student or a household  consisting
    48  exclusively of full-time college students is ineligible for this program
    49  unless  each  individual in the household satisfies the following condi-
    50  tions:
    51    (a) the individual shall have established a  household  separate  from
    52  his  or  her  parents  or legal guardians for at least one year prior to
    53  application for admission or shall meet the United States department  of
    54  education's definition of independent student; and

        A. 3918--A                          5

     1    (b)  the  individual shall not be claimed as a dependent by his or her
     2  parents or legal guardians pursuant to internal  revenue  service  (IRS)
     3  regulations.
     4    §  605. Application. 1. As soon as practicable and no later than March
     5  first, two thousand twenty-one, the commissioner shall make an  applica-
     6  tion  for the program available on its website. The application shall be
     7  available online in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Yiddish, Haitian
     8  (French Creole), Bengali, and Italian.  The  commissioner  shall  enable
     9  applications  to be accepted via telephone. The application period shall
    10  remain open for a minimum of one hundred eighty days unless  all  avail-
    11  able  funding  has been allocated prior to the expiration of one hundred
    12  eighty days.
    13    2. The commissioner shall designate non-for-profit organizations  that
    14  shall  be  permitted to assist households in applying for assistance and
    15  such organizations shall be permitted to file applications on behalf  of
    16  such households.
    17    3.  The  commissioner shall provide for procedures under which a land-
    18  lord or owner of a residential dwelling shall be permitted to submit  an
    19  application  for  assistance  on  behalf of a tenant or occupant of such
    20  dwelling. Such landlord or owner shall be required to:
    21    (a) obtain the signature of the tenant on such application, which  may
    22  be documented electronically;
    23    (b) provide the tenant with documentation of such application;
    24    (c)  use  any  payments  received  pursuant  to this article solely to
    25  satisfy the tenant's rental obligations to the landlord or owner; and
    26    (d) keep confidential any information or documentation from  or  about
    27  the tenant acquired pursuant to this application process.
    28    § 606. Documentation. The commissioner shall establish procedures that
    29  are  appropriate  and  necessary to assure that information necessary to
    30  determine eligibility provided by households applying for  or  receiving
    31  assistance  under  this  article is complete and accurate. Documentation
    32  may include but is not limited to: a signed lease, paycheck stubs, earn-
    33  ing statements, bank statements, tax records, W-2 or 1099 forms,  e-pay-
    34  ment  application  transaction history, written statements from a former
    35  or current employer, telephone or in-person contact  with  a  former  or
    36  current  employer,  self-attestation  by the applicant, or other methods
    37  approved by the commissioner. When self-attestation is used as  documen-
    38  tation,  the applicant shall also attest that the applicant has no other
    39  documentation available.
    40    § 607. Restrictions  on  eviction.  Eviction  proceedings  for  rental
    41  arrears that would be eligible for coverage under this program shall not
    42  be commenced against a household who has applied for this program unless
    43  or   until  a  determination  of  ineligibility  is  made.  If  eviction
    44  proceedings are commenced against a household who  subsequently  applies
    45  for  benefits  under  this  program,  all  proceedings  for  missed rent
    46  payments during the covered period shall be stayed until a determination
    47  of ineligibility has been made.
    48    § 608. Payments. 1. Payments shall be made for rental  and/or  utility
    49  arrears  accrued  on  or after March thirteenth, two thousand twenty. No
    50  more than twelve  months  of  rental  and/or  utility  assistance,  both
    51  arrears or prospective, may be paid on behalf of or to any household. No
    52  prospective rent may be paid unless or until all rental arrears payments
    53  have  been  made to or on behalf of households who are eligible for this
    54  program pursuant to section six hundred four of this article.
    55    2. If all eligible households whose applications are  received  within
    56  sixty  days  of  the start of the application period receive assistance,

        A. 3918--A                          6

     1  the commissioner may pay an additional three  months  of  rental  and/or
     2  utility  assistance for rental or utility arrears accrued after the date
     3  of application or prospective rent. No household may receive  more  than
     4  fifteen  months  of  total rental and/or utility assistance. Eligibility
     5  for assistance shall be reassessed  for  each  household  before  rental
     6  assistance is issued pursuant to this subdivision.
     7    3. Payments for rental arrears or prospective rent shall be the lesser
     8  of  the  monthly  rent for the household or one hundred fifty percent of
     9  the fair market rent for the dwelling unit. The rental assistance  shall
    10  be  paid  directly  to the landlord of the dwelling unit or manufactured
    11  home park occupied by the household for the total  amount  of  qualified
    12  rental arrears and prospective rental assistance pursuant to subdivision
    13  one  of  this  section. Utility assistance shall be paid directly to the
    14  utility.  The commissioner shall make reasonable efforts to  obtain  the
    15  cooperation  of  landlords and utility providers to accept payments from
    16  this program.  Outreach shall be considered complete if  a  request  for
    17  participation  is sent in writing, by certified mail, to the landlord or
    18  utility provider, and the addressee does  not  respond  to  the  request
    19  within  twenty-one  calendar  days  after mailing; or, if at least three
    20  attempts have been made by phone or email over a twenty-one calendar-day
    21  period to request the landlord or utility provider's participation.  All
    22  such outreach efforts shall be documented.
    23    4.  If  the landlord or utility provider is uncooperative or unrespon-
    24  sive after outreach efforts are made pursuant to  subdivision  three  of
    25  this  section, the commissioner may make payments directly to the eligi-
    26  ble household for the purpose of enabling the household to make payments
    27  to the landlord  or  utility  provider.  The  commissioner  may  require
    28  documentation  from  any  households receiving such payments that monies
    29  received were used in compliance with this program.
    30    5. Acceptance of payment for rental arrears from  this  program  shall
    31  constitute agreement by the recipient landlord or property owner:
    32    (a) to waive any late fees due on any rental arrears;
    33    (b)  to  keep constant the monthly rent due for the dwelling unit such
    34  that it shall remain the same as the amount that was due at the time  of
    35  application  to  the  program  for  any  and all months for which rental
    36  assistance is received and for one year after the first  rental  assist-
    37  ance payment is received; and
    38    (c)  not  to evict for reason of expired lease or holdover tenancy any
    39  household on behalf of whom rental assistance is received for  one  year
    40  after  the first rental assistance payment is received. Where the dwell-
    41  ing unit that is the subject of the lease or rental agreement is located
    42  in a building that contains  four  or  fewer  units,  the  landlord  may
    43  decline  to extend the lease or tenancy if the landlord intends to imme-
    44  diately occupy the unit for the landlord's personal  use  as  a  primary
    45  residence  or  the  use of an immediate family member as a primary resi-
    46  dence.
    47    § 609. No repayment and assistance  not  considered  income.  Eligible
    48  households  shall  not  be  expected or required to repay any assistance
    49  granted through this program. Assistance granted  through  this  program
    50  shall  not  be  considered income for purposes of eligibility for public
    51  benefits or other public assistance, but shall be considered  a  "source
    52  of  income"  for  purposes  of the protections against housing discrimi-
    53  nation provided under section two hundred ninety-six of the human rights
    54  law.  There shall be no requirement for applicants  to  seek  assistance
    55  from  other  sources, including charitable contributions, in order to be
    56  eligible for assistance under this program.

        A. 3918--A                          7

     1    § 610. Notice to tenants in  eviction  proceedings.  In  any  eviction
     2  proceeding  pending  as  of  the  effective date of this article and any
     3  eviction proceeding filed while  applications  are  being  accepted  for
     4  assistance  pursuant to this article, the court shall  promptly mail the
     5  respondent  information  regarding how the respondent may apply for such
     6  assistance in English, and, to the extent  practicable, in the  respond-
     7  ent's primary language, if other than English.
     8    §  611.  Notice  to tenants receiving rent demands. With every written
     9  demand for rent made  pursuant  to  subdivision  two  of  section  seven
    10  hundred  eleven  of  the real property actions and proceedings law, with
    11  any other written notice required by the lease or tenancy agreement, law
    12  or rule to be provided prior to the commencement of an eviction proceed-
    13  ing, and with every notice of petition served  on  a  tenant  after  the
    14  effective date of this article and while applications are being accepted
    15  for  assistance  pursuant  to  this  article, the landlord shall provide
    16  information regarding how a tenant may apply for such assistance,  in  a
    17  form approved by the commissioner or the office of court administration,
    18  in  English,  and,  to the extent   practicable, in the tenant's primary
    19  language, if other than English.
    20    § 612. Notice to applicants for assistance under  the  emergency  rent
    21  relief  act  of 2020. The commissioner, in consultation with the commis-
    22  sioner of the division  of  housing  and  community  development,  shall
    23  provide  notice  of how to apply for assistance pursuant to this article
    24  to each tenant who applied  for  assistance  under  the  emergency  rent
    25  relief  act  of 2020, pursuant to chapter one hundred twenty-five of the
    26  laws of two thousand twenty. Such notice shall be provided  in  English,
    27  and,  to  the extent   practicable, in the tenant's primary language, if
    28  other than English.
    29    § 613. Outreach. The commissioner shall ensure that extensive outreach
    30  is conducted to increase awareness of this  program  among  tenants  and
    31  landlords.  The  commissioner  shall prioritize for outreach communities
    32  where the median income of residents is less than eighty percent of  the
    33  area  median  income  for the region, communities with the highest unem-
    34  ployment rates, and communities that experienced the  highest  rates  of
    35  COVID-19  infections during the pandemic, and to the extent practicable,
    36  communities with high rates of ownership  of  rental  housing  by  small
    37  landlords. The commissioner shall ensure that such outreach is conducted
    38  with  materials  written  in  the languages listed in subdivision one of
    39  section six hundred five of this article, and to the extent  practicable
    40  in  other  languages  commonly  spoken by residents of those communities
    41  required to be prioritized pursuant to this section,  as  per  the  most
    42  recent American Community Survey from the United States Census Bureau.
    43    §  614. Fair housing obligations. Nothing in this article shall lessen
    44  or abridge any fair  housing  obligations  promulgated  by  the  federal
    45  government,  state,  municipalities, localities, or any other applicable
    46  jurisdiction.
    47    § 615. Reports by the commissioner.  The  commissioner  shall,  on  or
    48  before  April  twentieth,  two thousand twenty-one, and on or before the
    49  twentieth of each month thereafter for  the  duration  of  the  program,
    50  submit and make publicly available on its website a report to the gover-
    51  nor,  the  temporary  president  of  the  senate, and the speaker of the
    52  assembly, indicating the number of  households  that  have  applied  for
    53  rental  assistance  only, the number of households that have applied for
    54  utility assistance only, the number of households that have applied  for
    55  both  rental and utility assistance, the number of applications for each
    56  type of assistance approved, the number of applications for each type of

        A. 3918--A                          8

     1  assistance rejected, the status of any  pending  applications,  and  the
     2  monthly  expenditures  made  pursuant  to  this article for each type of
     3  assistance.  Each number required to be included in the report shall  be
     4  reported  as  a statewide total from the start of the program though the
     5  end of the preceding calendar month and as a subtotal for  each  county,
     6  based on the location of the premises for which the applicant has sought
     7  assistance.
     8    § 3. The social services law is amended by adding a new section 131-bb
     9  to read as follows:
    10    § 131-bb. Proof of eligibility for rental assistance. Under no circum-
    11  stances  shall  a  local  social  services district require proof that a
    12  court proceeding has been initiated against a tenant as a  condition  of
    13  eligibility  for  a  rent  arrears  grant  or  ongoing rental assistance
    14  including rental assistance provided pursuant to this article.
    15    § 4.Section 131-w of the social services law, as added by  chapter  41
    16  of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as follows:
    17    §  131-w.  Limitations  in  the  payment of rent arrears. 1. Districts
    18  shall not provide assistance to pay  rent  arrears,  property  taxes  or
    19  mortgage  arrears  for  persons  not  eligible  for  home relief, aid to
    20  dependent children, emergency assistance to needy families with children
    21  or emergency assistance for aged, blind and disabled persons, except  to
    22  persons  who  are  without  income or resources immediately available to
    23  meet the emergency need, whose gross household income  does  not  exceed
    24  one  hundred  twenty-five percent of the federal income official poverty
    25  line and who sign a repayment agreement agreeing to repay the assistance
    26  in a period not to exceed twelve months.   The districts  shall  enforce
    27  the repayment agreements by any legal method available to a creditor, in
    28  addition  to  any rights it has pursuant to this chapter. The department
    29  shall promulgate regulations to  implement  this  section  which  shall,
    30  among  other  things,  establish standards for the contents of repayment
    31  agreements and establish standards to ensure that assistance is provided
    32  only in emergency circumstances.
    33    2. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this  section,
    34  no repayment agreement shall be required for assistance provided between
    35  March  seventh,  two thousand twenty until the later of December thirty-
    36  first, two thousand  twenty-one  or  the  date  on  which  none  of  the
    37  provisions  that  closed or otherwise restricted public or private busi-
    38  nesses or places of public accommodation, or  required  postponement  or
    39  cancellation  of all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size
    40  for any reason in executive order numbers 202.3,  202.4,  202.5,  202.6,
    41  202.7,  202.8,  202.10, 202.11, 202.13 or 202.14 of two thousand twenty,
    42  as extended by executive order numbers 202.28 and 202.31 of two thousand
    43  twenty and as further extended by any future executive order, issued  in
    44  response  to  the  COVID-19  pandemic  continue  to apply in the service
    45  district. Any  payment  due  and  owing  under  this  section  shall  be
    46  suspended  until  the later of December thirty-first, two thousand twen-
    47  ty-one or the date on which none of the provisions that closed or other-
    48  wise restricted public or private businesses or places of public  accom-
    49  modation,  or required postponement or cancellation of all non-essential
    50  gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason in executive  order
    51  numbers 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13
    52  or 202.14 of two thousand twenty, as extended by executive order numbers
    53  202.28  and 202.31 of two thousand twenty and as further extended by any
    54  future executive order, issued in  response  to  the  COVID-19  pandemic
    55  continue to apply to the service district.

        A. 3918--A                          9

     1    §  5.  Subdivision  1  of section 131-s of the social services law, as
     2  amended by chapter 318 of the laws  of  2009,  is  amended  to  read  as
     3  follows:
     4    1. (a) In the case of a person applying for public assistance, supple-
     5  mental security income benefits or additional state payments pursuant to
     6  this  chapter,  the  social  services  official  of  the social services
     7  district in which such person resides shall, unless alternative  payment
     8  or living arrangements can be made, make a payment to a gas corporation,
     9  electric  corporation  or  municipality  for  services  provided to such
    10  person during a period of up to, but not exceeding,  four  months  imme-
    11  diately  preceding the month of application for such assistance or bene-
    12  fits if such payment  is  needed  to  prevent  shut-off  or  to  restore
    13  service. Persons whose gross household income exceeds the public assist-
    14  ance  standard of need for the same size household must sign a repayment
    15  agreement to repay the assistance  within  two  years  of  the  date  of
    16  payment as a condition of receiving assistance, in accordance with regu-
    17  lations  established  by the department. Such repayment agreement may be
    18  enforced in any manner available to  a  creditor,  in  addition  to  any
    19  rights the district may have pursuant to this chapter.
    20    (b)  Notwithstanding  the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subdivi-
    21  sion, no repayment agreement shall be required for  assistance  provided
    22  between  March  seventh, two thousand twenty until the later of December
    23  thirty-first, two thousand twenty-one or the date on which none  of  the
    24  provisions  that  closed or otherwise restricted public or private busi-
    25  nesses or places of public accommodation, or  required  postponement  or
    26  cancellation  of all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size
    27  for any reason in executive order numbers 202.3,  202.4,  202.5,  202.6,
    28  202.7,  202.8,  202.10, 202.11, 202.13 or 202.14 of two thousand twenty,
    29  as extended by executive order numbers 202.28 and 202.31 of two thousand
    30  twenty and as further extended by any future executive order, issued  in
    31  response  to  the  COVID-19  pandemic  continue  to apply in the service
    32  district.
    33    § 6. Section 106-b of the social services law, as amended  by  chapter
    34  81 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read as follows:
    35    §  106-b.  Adjustment  for  incorrect  payments.  1.  Any inconsistent
    36  provision of law notwithstanding, a social services official  shall,  in
    37  accordance  with  the  regulations of the department and consistent with
    38  federal law and regulations, take all necessary  steps  to  correct  any
    39  overpayment  or underpayment to a public assistance recipient; provided,
    40  however, that a social services official may waive recovery  of  a  past
    41  overpayment, in the case of an individual who is not currently a recipi-
    42  ent of public assistance, where the cost of recovery is greater than the
    43  cost  of  collections  as determined in accordance with department regu-
    44  lations consistent with federal law and regulations.   For  purposes  of
    45  this  section,  overpayment  shall  include payments made to an eligible
    46  person in excess of his needs as defined in this  chapter  and  payments
    47  made  to  ineligible  persons  (including  payments made to such persons
    48  pending a fair hearings decision).  The  commissioner  shall  promulgate
    49  regulations  to  implement  procedures  for  correcting overpayments and
    50  underpayments. The  procedures  for  correcting  overpayments  shall  be
    51  designed  to minimize adverse impact on the recipient, and to the extent
    52  possible avoid undue hardship.  Notwithstanding any other  provision  of
    53  law  to the contrary, no underpayment shall be corrected with respect to
    54  a person who is currently not eligible for or in receipt of home  relief
    55  or  aid  to  dependent  children, except that corrective payments may be
    56  made with respect to persons formerly eligible for or in receipt of  aid

        A. 3918--A                         10

     1  to  dependent  children  to  the extent that federal law and regulations
     2  require.
     3    2.  Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision one of this section,
     4  no collection of overpayments shall be conducted, regardless of when the
     5  overpayment accrued, until the later of December thirty-first, two thou-
     6  sand twenty-one or the date on which none of the provisions that  closed
     7  or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public
     8  accommodation,  or  required postponement or cancellation of all non-es-
     9  sential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason  in  execu-
    10  tive  order  numbers  202.3,  202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10,
    11  202.11, 202.13 or 202.14 of two thousand twenty, as extended  by  execu-
    12  tive  order  numbers 202.28 and 202.31 of two thousand twenty-one and as
    13  further extended by any future executive order, issued  in  response  to
    14  the COVID-19 pandemic continue to apply in the service district.
    15    § 7. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
    16  sion,  section  or  part  of  this act shall be adjudged by any court of
    17  competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment  shall  not  affect,
    18  impair,  or  invalidate the remainder of this act, but shall be confined
    19  in its  operation  to  the  clause,  sentence,  paragraph,  subdivision,
    20  section  or  part  of  this  act directly involved in the controversy in
    21  which such judgment shall have been rendered. It is hereby  declared  to
    22  be  the  intent of the legislature that this act would have been enacted
    23  even if such invalid clause, sentence, paragraph,  subdivision,  section
    24  or part had not been included herein.
    25    §  8.  This  act shall take effect immediately and shall expire on the
    26  later of December 31, 2021 or the date on which none of  the  provisions
    27  that  closed  or  otherwise  restricted  public or private businesses or
    28  places of public accommodation, or required postponement or cancellation
    29  of all non-essential gatherings of  individuals  of  any  size  for  any
    30  reason  in  executive  order  numbers 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7,
    31  202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13 or  202.14  of  two  thousand  twenty,  as
    32  extended  by  executive  order numbers 202.28 and 202.31 of two thousand
    33  twenty and as further extended by any future executive order, issued  in
    34  response  to  the  COVID-19  pandemic  continue to apply anywhere in the
    35  state, when upon such date the provisions of this act  shall  be  deemed
    36  repealed;  provided that the state commissioner of social services shall
    37  notify the legislative bill drafting commission upon the date  on  which
    38  none  of  the  provisions  that closed or otherwise restricted public or
    39  private businesses or places of public accommodation, or required  post-
    40  ponement  or cancellation of all non-essential gatherings of individuals
    41  of any size for any reason in  executive  order  numbers  202.3,  202.4,
    42  202.5,  202.6,  202.7,  202.8,  202.10,  202.11, 202.13 or 202.14 of two
    43  thousand twenty, as extended  by  executive  order  numbers  202.28  and
    44  202.31  of  two  thousand  twenty  and as further extended by any future
    45  executive order, issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to
    46  apply anywhere in the state, in order that the commission  may  maintain
    47  an  accurate  and timely effective data base of the official text of the
    48  laws of the state  of  New  York  in  furtherance  of  effectuating  the
    49  provisions  of section 44 of the legislative law and section 70-b of the
    50  public officers law.
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