City of Bangor, ME
Penobscot County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Bangor 2-27-2006 by Ord. No. 06-80.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 134, General Assistance Program, adopted as Ch. II, Art. 21, Sec. 5, as amended.
A. 
The City of Bangor shall administer a program of general assistance available to all persons who are qualified to receive general assistance in accordance with the standards of eligibility as set forth herein. Applications will be accepted during regular business hours from anyone who expresses a desire to receive assistance, and relief will be furnished to those who qualify within 24 hours of the date of the submission of the application.
B. 
Assistance in the City of Bangor will be provided for certification periods not to exceed one month. In order to be eligible for assistance the applicant must meet all eligibility requirements of these guidelines. Eligibility for assistance will be determined in accordance with § 134-10 of these guidelines. It is the policy of the Department not to make grants of cash directly to the recipients.
C. 
Every effort will be made by employees of the Health and Community Services Department to recognize and encourage dignity, self-respect and self-reliance. One of the goals of the General Assistance Program will be to assist each applicant in achieving self-maintenance and adequate social function. The incentive to work will be encouraged. An important focus of the general program will be the preservation and strengthening of the family unit in order to secure the rights of all children to a sound and healthy environment conducive to normal development.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
D. 
The General Assistance Program will place no restriction on the individual rights of any applicant, nor will there be any discrimination based upon race, sex, religion and political affiliation.
E. 
The Health and Community Services Department will take all reasonable steps to ensure that each client is made aware of his/her rights and responsibilities under the General Assistance Program. Each applicant will be evaluated individually, with fair and equal treatment being guaranteed to all applicants. Any applicant shall have the right to request a fair hearing of any decision concerning his/her right to assistance in accordance with these guidelines and 22 M.R.S.A. § 4322.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
F. 
As far as reasonably possible, decisions on all applications for assistance will be made at the time of application. Complete records will be maintained, and all information given by clients must be recognized as privileged and confidential. All decisions concerning the applicant's right to assistance will be given in writing stating the reasons why assistance was granted or denied.
G. 
A notice will be posted in the office of the Health and Community Services Department stating the hours and days that General Assistance will be administered. An updated copy of these guidelines will be maintained for easy access to any member of the public.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
H. 
A copy of these guidelines, together with a copy of all application forms and notices, shall be on file with the Commissioner of Health & Human Services. Any amendment or modification of these guidelines shall be submitted to the Commission for comment and filing.
Unless otherwise defined, all terms used herein will have their common meanings. Words and phrases having special definitions will be defined when they first appear in the guidelines, except as follows:
APPLICANT
A person who has expressed, by means of a written application form, either directly or through an authorized representative, a desire to receive general assistance.
APPLICATION
An action by which a person indicates in writing to the Health and Community Services Department his/her desire to receive general assistance.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
APPLICATION FORM
A document in a form prescribed by the Director of Health and Community Services formalizing, in writing, the applicant's desire to receive general assistance.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
BASIC NECESSITY
Food, clothing, shelter, fuel, electricity, nonelective medical services recommended by a physician, telephone where it is necessary for medical reasons and any other commodity or service determined essential by the Director of Health and Community Services. Basic necessities do not include security deposits for rental property, except for those emergency situations where no other permanent lodging is available unless a security deposit is paid.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
CASE RECORDS
Official files of forms, correspondence and narrative records pertaining to the application, determination of eligibility, reasons for decisions and actions by the caseworker or the Director of Health and Community Services and kinds of assistance given each applicant.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
CLAIMANT
Any applicant or recipient who has requested a fair hearing.
DEFICIT
The difference resulting from subtracting a household's net income from the overall maximum for the appropriate household size for a particular municipality.
DESTITUTE
In distress and standing in need of immediate relief.
DIRECTOR OF HEALTH AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
The municipal official designated to receive applications, to make decisions concerning a client's right to assistance and to prepare records and communications concerning granting of assistance. The Director of Health and Community Services may delegate such tasks to other employees of the Health and Community Services Department (caseworkers).
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
DISABLED PERSON
A person who by reason of any incapacity of a physical or mental nature verifiable by objective medical evidence is therefore unable to work or maintain a home.
DWELLING UNIT
A building or part thereof used for separate living quarters for one or more persons living as a single housekeeping unit.
EMERGENCY
Any life-threatening situation or a situation beyond the control of the individual which, if not alleviated immediately, could reasonably be expected to pose a threat to the health and safety of a person. If the applicant had sufficient income/resources to provide the basic necessities needed to alleviate the emergency but chose to use it for other than basic necessities, no emergency will exist for general assistance purposes and the applicant will not be eligible to receive assistance to replace that income/resource.
GENERAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
A service administered by a municipality for the immediate aid of persons who are unable to provide the basic necessities essential to maintain themselves or their families.
HOUSEHOLD
An individual or a group of individuals who share a dwelling unit. When an applicant shares a dwelling unit with one or more individuals, even when a landlord-tenant relationship may exist between individuals in a dwelling, eligible applicants shall receive assistance for no more than a pro rata share of the actual costs of the shared basic needs of that household according to the maximum levels of assistance established in this chapter. The income of household members not legally liable for supporting the household must be considered as available to the applicant only when there is a pooling of income.
INCOME
Any form of income in cash or in kind received by the household, including net remuneration for services performed; cash received on either secured or unsecured credit; any payments received as an annuity; retirement or disability benefits; benefit under any state or federal categorical assistance program, supplemental security income (SSI), social security (SS) and any other payments from government sources, unless specifically prohibited by any law or regulation; court-ordered support payments; income from pension or trust funds; and household income from any other source, including relatives or unrelated household members.
JUST CAUSE
Just cause for failure to meet work requirements or the use of potential resources shall be found when there is reasonable and verifiable evidence of:
A. 
Physical or mental illness or disability.
B. 
Below-minimum wages.
C. 
Sexual harassment.
D. 
Physical or mental inability to perform required job tasks.
E. 
Inability to work required hours or to meet piecework standards.
F. 
Lack of transportation to and from work or training.
G. 
Inability to arrange for necessary child care or care of an ill or disabled family member.
H. 
Any reason found to be good cause by the Bureau of Employment Security.
I. 
Any other evidence which is reasonable and appropriate.
LUMP SUM PAYMENT
A one-time or typically nonrecurring sum of money issued to an applicant or recipient after an initial application. Lump sum payment includes, but is not limited to, retroactive or settlement portions of social security benefits, workers' compensation payments, unemployment benefits, disability income, veterans' benefits, severance pay benefits or money received from inheritances, lottery winnings, personal injury awards, property damage claims or divorce settlements. A lump sum payment includes only the amount of money available to the applicant after payment of required deductions has been made from the gross lump sum payment. A lump sum payment does not include conversion of a nonliquid resource to a liquid resource if the liquid resource has been used or is intended to be used to replace the converted resource or for other necessary expenses.
MINOR CHILD
Any person who has not attained the age of 18 years.
MUNICIPALITY OF RESPONSIBILITY
The municipality which is liable for the support of an eligible person at the time of application.
NEED
The condition whereby a person's income, money, property, credit, assets or other resources available to provide basic necessities for the individual and the individual's family are less than the overall maximum levels of assistance established by this chapter.
NOTICE
Notice shall constitute that relief shall be furnished or denied within 24 hours of the submission of an applicant's benefit request.
REAL ESTATE
Any land, buildings, homes, mobile homes and any other things affixed to that land.
RECIPIENT
A person who has been found eligible to receive general assistance under these guidelines by the Director of Health and Community Services or his/her authorized assistant.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
RESIDENT
A person who has moved into a municipality with the intention of remaining in that municipality and establishing a household and who has no other residence.
ROOMING HOUSE
A home licensed by the City where the landlord rents to persons each of whom pays the landlord for his/her room although such persons may share other facilities, such as a bathroom, living room or kitchen.
STUDENT
An individual over the age of 18 years who is currently enrolled in a post-secondary educational or training program, not specifically designed to assist him/her in securing employment, during regular business hours and by virtue of this fact is unavailable for full-time employment during these hours.
UNEMPLOYABLE
An individual who, through no fault of his/her own, has, over a period of time, demonstrated an inability to secure or retain gainful employment in spite of continued diligent attempts and repeated efforts at training and retraining may be considered unemployable.
UNMET NEED
The difference resulting from subtracting a household's projected thirty-day net income from the household's thirty-day need, which is the sum of the client's actual thirty-day expenses for basic necessities, up to the specific chapter maximums.
A. 
Under 22 M.R.S.A. § 4306, records, papers, files and communications relating to an applicant or recipient of general assistance are confidential, and no information relating to an applicant or recipient of general assistance may be disclosed to the general public, unless expressly permitted by that applicant or recipient.
B. 
Information supplied to the municipality by the State Department of Health & Human Services under 22 M.R.S.A. § 4314, Subsection 1, concerning recipients of categorical assistance is to be held confidential by the municipality. Misuse of information, whether in state or municipal records, concerning public assistance clients is punishable by law as a misdemeanor (22 M.R.S.A. § 42). The Director of Health and Community Services should also be aware of laws concerning the confidentiality of records concerning narcotics prescriptions and records concerning birth, marriage and death (22 M.R.S.A. § 2706).
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
The Health and Community Services Department is required by statute to keep complete records of general assistance granted by the City of Bangor. In addition to general statistical records concerning the number of persons given assistance and the cost for such support, a separate case record is established for each individual or household applying for general assistance.
A. 
The purpose for keeping records of general assistance is three-fold:
(1) 
To provide a valid basis of accounting for expenditure of municipal funds.
(2) 
To support decisions concerning the applicant's eligibility.
(3) 
To assure availability of information if a client seeks administrative or judicial review of the caseworker's decision.
B. 
When verification of circumstances affecting eligibility is needed, information recorded will be limited to what is necessary to ensure validity of the decision concerning assistance. Narrative record will be utilized to explain the unique circumstances of each client.
C. 
Minimum information to be maintained in case records by the caseworker is the following:
(1) 
Completed application for assistance.
(2) 
Grounds for approval or denial of application.
(3) 
A narrative social history recording the need for assistance, the results of home visits, collateral information, referrals, changes in statutes, etc.
(4) 
Complete data concerning the type and amount of assistance granted.
(5) 
A copy of the notification of eligibility form.
Any person who makes an application for assistance and who has never applied for assistance in any municipality within the State of Maine shall have his/her eligibility determined solely on the basis of need. All subsequent applications shall be considered in accordance with these guidelines.
A. 
Right to apply.
(1) 
Any person has the right to apply for general assistance. An individual may do so by appearing in person before a caseworker and expressing a desire to receive general assistance and by completing a written application and other forms as may be required by the Director of Health and Community Services. If an individual is incapacitated, application may be made through a duly authorized representative.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
(2) 
In any case when an applicant is unable, due to illness, disability, lack of transportation, lack of child care or other good cause, to apply in person for assistance or unable to appoint a duly authorized representative, the caseworker shall accept an application by telephone, subject to verification by mail and a visit to the applicant's home, with the consent of the applicant. If the applicant fails to give such consent, assistance will be denied.
B. 
Caseworker's responsibilities at time of application. When application is made for general assistance, the caseworker shall inform the applicant of:
(1) 
The standards of eligibility for general assistance in the City of Bangor.
(2) 
The applicant's right to review and the nature of the review process.
(3) 
The applicant's responsibility for reporting all facts material to a proper determination of eligibility, and the penalties for false representation, to the caseworker in order to receive general assistance (see 22 M.R.S.A. § 4315) and that such false representation is a Class E crime and may, upon written notice, result in a disqualification of 120 days. Allegations of fraud and abuse made by members of the public may be investigated through a home visit conducted during regular working hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.).
(4) 
The joint responsibility of the caseworker and the applicant for presenting records or documents in his/her possession or readily available to him/her to support his/her statements.
(5) 
The kinds of verification needed.
(6) 
The fact that an investigation will be undertaken by the Health and Community Services Department as to the applicant's income, resources and assets and that such an investigation may include an announced home visit made during regular working hours.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
(7) 
The applicant's responsibility for notifying the caseworker of any change in circumstances that will affect his/her eligibility.
(8) 
Any other programs of assistance or service of which the caseworker may be aware of which the applicant may avail himself/herself in addition to or in lieu of receiving general assistance.
(9) 
The City of Bangor's rights and remedies for reimbursement from the applicant's relatives pursuant to 22 M.R.S.A. § 4319.
(10) 
The applicant's personal responsibilities for reimbursement to the City of Bangor under 22 M.R.S.A. § 4318.
C. 
Emergency benefits prior to full verification. Whenever an applicant for general assistance states to the caseworker that he/she is in need of immediate assistance to meet basic necessities, the caseworker shall, pending verification, issue to the applicant, within 24 hours of the application, sufficient benefits to provide the basic necessities needed immediately by the applicant, provided that the following conditions are met:
(1) 
Probability of eligibility for assistance after full verification. As a result of the initial interview with the applicant, the caseworker shall have determined that the applicant will probably be eligible for assistance after full verification is completed.
(2) 
Documentation. Where possible, the applicant shall submit to the caseworker at the time of the initial interview adequate documentation to verify that there is a need for immediate assistance.
(3) 
Information obtained. When adequate documentation is not available at the time of the initial application, the caseworker may contact at least one other person for the purpose of obtaining information to confirm the applicant's statements about his/her need for immediate assistance.
(4) 
Limitations. In no case:
(a) 
May the authorization of benefits under this Subsection C exceed 30 days.
(b) 
May there be further authorization of benefits to the applicant until there has been full verification confirming the applicant's eligibility.
D. 
Temporary refusal to accept applications. Under special circumstances the Department may refuse to accept applications. Such circumstances shall include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) 
Cases where the applicant's conduct is abusive and disruptive or in cases where the applicant is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The applicant may be required to leave. If he or she refuses to leave, the police may be summoned. The applicant will be informed that an application will be taken when the particular circumstances are no longer present.
(2) 
Cases where a third person desired to make application for assistance on behalf of the applicant. The person will be requested to provide written verification that he or she has been authorized to act as representative for the applicant.
Each applicant and recipient has a responsibility at the time of the application and continuing thereafter:
A. 
To provide accurate, complete and current information concerning his/her needs, resources and assets and the whereabouts and circumstances of responsible relatives.
B. 
To notify the caseworker when a change in his/her needs, resources and assets will affect eligibility for general assistance.
C. 
To apply for and utilize any other available benefits or resources that will reduce or eliminate the need for general assistance.
D. 
To reimburse the City for the costs of assistance granted in the event that he/she becomes of sufficient ability to pay the same. The City may recover the full amount expended for assistance either from the person relieved or from any person liable for the recipient's support, their executors or administrators in a civil action. In no case may the City be authorized to recover through a civil action, in full or part, the amount expended for assistance of a previously eligible person if, as a result of the repayment of that amount, this person would in all probability again become eligible for general assistance.
E. 
To use all moneys available to him/her for necessities first before requesting general assistance or purchasing luxury items.
Any initial interview or any later proceedings, including any investigation of the applicant's eligibility, shall be conducted in a manner that will not violate the privacy, personal dignity or individual rights of either the caseworker or the client and/or his or her family and personal acquaintances.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
Unless an application is withdrawn, the caseworker must make a decision concerning the applicant's eligibility and, if eligible, commence furnishing relief within 24 hours after the date of submission of a signed and completed application, together with all other forms required by the Director of Health and Community Services.
An application is considered withdrawn if:
A. 
The caseworker is unable to complete the interview, if the applicant refuses to cooperate with the caseworker;
B. 
The applicant dies before general assistance is furnished;
C. 
The applicant avails himself/herself of another service which makes him/her ineligible under these guidelines;
D. 
The applicant requests, in writing, that his or her application be withdrawn; or
E. 
The applicant fails to complete or sign the application or any other form required by the Director of Health and Community Services.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
A. 
The application form will show the duration of the limited periods of entitlement. Written notice of termination or suspension of benefits with opportunity for hearing will be given should a decision be made to discontinue assistance during this limited period of entitlement.
B. 
If a hearing is requested within the established time limit, assistance will continue pending a decision from the hearing authority. At no time will such an extension of benefits outlast the original certification period.
Under Maine law, the care and supervision of unemancipated minors becomes the responsibility of the Department of Health & Human Services when parents or legal guardians cannot/will not fulfill their parental responsibilities.
A. 
When an unemancipated minor applies for general assistance:
(1) 
The caseworker will attempt to contact the parents or legal guardians of the applicant to inform him/her of the application, action on the application and the parent's/guardian's responsibility to support. Contact will not be made if the caseworker has sufficient reason to believe that such contact may physically endanger the minor; and
(2) 
The Department of Health & Human Services Child Protective Services will be notified by the caseworker, in writing, that the minor may be living in circumstances which are seriously jeopardizing the health and welfare of the minor.
B. 
Minors will be expected to comply with all eligibility requirements set forth in this chapter.
C. 
Nothing in this section may permit the City of Bangor to deny assistance to an otherwise eligible minor when there is any dispute regarding parental or Department of Health & Human Services responsibility.
D. 
When sufficient funds to support the minor within the standards of these regulations are unavailable from the Department of Health & Human Services or from any other source, emergency assistance may be given to an unemancipated minor for a maximum of 30 days, pending a decision from the Department of Health & Human Services. Such assistance may be in the form of goods, household/personal items, rent in an already established household, etc. Emergency shelter may be provided in a City-run shelter.
A. 
A person under the age of 18 who has never married and who has a dependent child or is pregnant is eligible for assistance only if that person and child reside in a dwelling maintained by a parent or other adult relative at the parent's or relative's own home or in a foster home, maternity home or other adult-supervised supportive living arrangement, unless:
(1) 
The person has no living parent or the whereabouts of both parents are unknown;
(2) 
No parent will permit the person to live in the parent's home;
(3) 
The Department of Health & Human Services determines that the physical or emotional health or safety of the person or dependent child would be jeopardized if that person and dependent child lived with a parent;
(4) 
The individual has lived apart from both parents for a period of at least one year before the birth of any dependent child;
(5) 
The Department of Health & Human Services determines that there is good cause to waive this requirement; or
(6) 
The person has been legally emancipated by valid decree of a state, tribal or federal court.
B. 
For the purpose of this section, "parent" includes a legal guardian.
C. 
Under statute, the City of Bangor is absolutely immune from suit on any tort claims seeking recovery or damages by or on behalf of the minor recipient in connection with the provision of general assistance.
A. 
Residence is a factor in determining whether the City of Bangor is responsible for providing assistance to an individual. The City has a statutory duty to give assistance to residents (see definition) of the City who are in need. Assistance will be given to eligible persons who apply for assistance and who are neither residents of the City nor of any other municipality. When the City of Bangor assists a recipient to relocate, at the recipient's request, in another municipality the City will continue to be responsible for the support of said recipient for 30 days after relocation. An applicant who is in a group home, shelter, rehabilitation center, nursing home, hospital or other institution at the time of application and who has either been in that institution for six months or less or has a residence which he/she has maintained and to which he/she intends to return shall remain the responsibility of the municipality where the applicant was a resident immediately prior to entering the institution.
B. 
If a resident of another municipality falls into distress in the City of Bangor, emergency assistance may be given to that individual on behalf of the responsible municipality, provided that the administration in that municipality had given prior approval and has agreed to reimburse the City of Bangor for the assistance provided.
No person owning assets easily convertible into cash, including but not limited to bank deposits, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit or other marketable security or life insurance with a cash surrender value, will be eligible for assistance. In those cases where the need for relief is determined to exceed the cash value of such liquid assets, assistance may be granted for any remaining difference.
No person owning or possessing tangible assets consisting of more than one motor vehicle or a boat, trailer, recreation vehicle or other assets that are convertible into cash and nonessential to the maintenance of the applicant's household shall be eligible for general assistance.
A. 
Exceptions may be made when a person is making an initial application and when reasonable efforts to convert assets to cash at fair market value are unsuccessful.
B. 
Tools of a trade and other equipment used for the production of income are not considered available assets.
C. 
The ownership of one automobile under the value of $8,000 by an applicant or a dependent will not make the applicant ineligible for assistance if such automobile is essential for transportation to employment, medical care, rehabilitation or training facilities.
Applicants who are neither citizens of the United States nor lawfully admitted clients may be referred to the United States Department of Immigration for appropriate action. Emergency assistance may be granted to an applicant pending action by the Department of Immigration.
Any applicant or recipient must make a good faith effort to secure any potential resources which may be available, including but not limited to any state or federal assistance program; unemployment benefits; governmental or private pension programs; available trust funds; support from legally liable relatives; child support; jointly held resources where the applicant or recipient share may be available to the individual, etc. Assistance shall not be withheld pending receipt of such resources as long as application has been made or good faith effort is being made to secure the resource.
A. 
Any individual applying for or receiving assistance due to a disability must make a good faith effort to make use of any medical and/or rehabilitative resources that may be recommended by a physician and which are available without financial burden which would not constitute further physical risk to the individual.
B. 
Any applicant who forfeits receipt of or causes reduction in benefits from another public assistance program because of a knowing and willful violation of a program rule is not eligible to receive general assistance to replace the forfeited assistance.
A. 
Insurance that is available to an applicant on a noncontributory basis or that is required as a condition of employment will not be a factor in determining eligibility for general assistance. Life insurance with a cash surrender value may be considered as a tangible asset. The applicant must begin the process of liquidating this asset within seven days of application, and the proceeds from this asset must be used to purchase basic necessities.
B. 
Minimum liability coverage will not be a factor in determining eligibility when an automobile is essential for transportation to employment, medical care, rehabilitation or training facilities, except that the mileage reimbursement is intended to cover the cost of insurance, as well as registration, inspections, etc.
No person owning real property shall be eligible for assistance except as follows:
A. 
Where the applicant owns real property which he/she makes his/her home he/she may be eligible to receive assistance.
B. 
When the City spends general assistance funds to provide mortgage payments to an eligible person, such payment may not exceed the housing maximums stated in these guidelines. A lien may be placed upon that property for the amount of mortgage assistance given. Such a lien will not be claimed until the death of the recipient or the transfer of said property. Any recipient receiving assistance with a mortgage payment will receive written notification of these conditions.
C. 
When the City spends general assistance to make capital improvements to real estate, whether land or buildings or a combination of land and buildings, on behalf of an eligible client, a lien may be placed upon that property for the amount of the assistance given to make the capital improvement. No such lien shall be enforced by collection or other legal action until the death of the recipient or the transfer of the property to a third party. Any recipient receiving assistance with capital improvements will receive written notification of these conditions.
D. 
The Health and Community Services Department may provide assistance upon receipt of the initial application to persons owning real estate other than their home in case of emergency. Continued eligibility for any type of assistance will depend upon the applicant making a reasonable effort to dispose of such real property at a fair market value.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
Unless exempted herein, every person receiving assistance under this chapter shall actively seek and accept gainful employment. For purposes of this chapter, "gainful employment" shall mean any available employment within the recipient's skills and abilities resulting in the maximum possible income for the recipient. Such efforts shall include, but not be limited to, registration with the Bureau of Employment Services of the Maine Department of Labor, diligent solicitation of available job openings and making oneself available for work at all times during the night or day. The requirements of this chapter shall also apply to every member of the recipient's household, unless specifically exempted.
A. 
The only persons who shall be exempted from this requirement shall be:
(1) 
Dependent minor children.
(2) 
Persons over the age of 65.
(3) 
Persons who, by reason of illness or disability, are unable to perform any type of work. Any person claiming to be exempt from seeking or accepting employment because of illness or disability may be required by the Health and Community Services Department to be examined by a qualified physician at the Department's expense. Reimbursement for these services shall be at current Medicaid rates.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
(4) 
Persons whose presence is required in the home in order to provide care for a dependent child under the age of six years or for any ill or disabled member of the household.
(5) 
Persons 18 years of age and older who are regularly participating in a vocational training or primary or secondary educational program which would assist the individual in securing employment.
B. 
Applicants and recipients are ineligible for assistance for 120 days if, without just cause, they:
(1) 
Quit work or are discharged for misconduct. The disqualification commences with the date of separation from employment.
(2) 
Refuse to search for employment.
(3) 
Refuse to register for work.
(4) 
Refuse to accept a suitable job offer under this section.
(5) 
Refuse to perform or willfully fail to perform a job assigned under this section.
(6) 
Willfully perform a job assigned under this section below the average standards of that job.
(7) 
Refuse to participate in a training, educational or rehabilitation program which would assist them in securing employment.
C. 
This person may become eligible during this period of time if he/she becomes employed or otherwise satisfies the requirement of this section for which he/she was disqualified.
D. 
In no case may the requirement to search for work or participate in a work or training program interfere with:
(1) 
Existing gainful employment or participation in a vocational training or primary or secondary educational program which would assist the individual in securing employment;
(2) 
The individual's ability to follow up on a bona fide job offer;
(3) 
Attendance at an interview for possible employment;
(4) 
Participation in a primary or secondary educational program intended to lead to a high school diploma; or
(5) 
Participation in a training program which is operated under the control of the Department of Health & Human Services or the Department of Labor. This does not include participation in a degree-granting program, except when that program is under the Department of Health & Human Services or the Department of Labor.
All persons otherwise eligible for general assistance under this chapter may be required to perform work for the City of Bangor or to participate in a training or educational program which would assist him/her in securing employment as a condition of receiving such assistance. Any such work requirement shall be subject to the provisions of 22 M.R.S.A. § 4316-A, as modified by the following:
A. 
The work requirements of this chapter shall be under the direction of the Director of Health and Community Services, who shall be authorized to issue such administrative directives as may be necessary from time to time to ensure the proper implementation of the work requirement program.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
B. 
An otherwise eligible person who refuses a workfare assignment from the City of Bangor under this chapter without just cause shall be ineligible for general assistance for a period of 120 days.
(1) 
Refusal to accept a workfare assignment shall include:
(a) 
Failure to report for work.
(b) 
Leaving work without permission from the worker's supervisor before the work period has ended.
(c) 
Failure to perform work as directed.
(2) 
A recipient who is disqualified under this section will be given one opportunity to regain eligibility during the one-hundred-twenty-day disqualification. Any recipient who intentionally causes damage to property or harms other employees by his/her actions and is discharged by the work supervisor will not be entitled to regain eligibility by returning to the work program. Eligibility may be regained by otherwise becoming employed and meeting the definition of need.
C. 
In no case shall eligible persons performing work under this chapter replace regular municipal employees.
D. 
No person shall, as a condition of general assistance eligibility, be required to do any amount of work that exceeds the value of the net general assistance that person should otherwise receive under these general assistance standards. Any person performing work under this chapter shall be provided with net general assistance, the value of which is earned at a rate of at least the state's minimum wage. Expenses related to the work performed shall be considered in determining the amount of net general assistance being provided.
E. 
Work performed under this chapter shall not interfere with the eligible person's existing employment; ability to follow up on a bona fide job offer; attendance at job interviews; participation in a primary or secondary educational program intended to lead to a high school diploma; or participation in a training program which is either approved or determined, or both, by the Department of Labor to be reasonably expected to assist the individual in securing employment. This subsection does not include participation in a degree-granting program, except when that program is a training program operated under the control of the Department of Health & Human Services or the Department of Labor.
F. 
An eligible person may be required to perform work prior to receiving assistance when that assistance is not emergency in nature.
G. 
Failure of an otherwise eligible person to accept a suitable workfare assignment under this section shall not affect the general assistance eligibility of any member of the person's household who is incapable of working; a dependent minor child; an elderly, ill or disabled person; and a person whose presence is required in the home in order to provide care for a dependent child under the age of six years or for any ill or disabled member of the household.
H. 
General assistance recipients required to perform work for the City of Bangor under this chapter will complete and execute such forms as may be required by the Director of Health and Community Services for purposes of administering the work requirement program. All forms will be read to the recipient to ensure complete understanding of the conditions under which the general assistance is to be granted. The work order form will detail the amount of time the recipient is expected to work, the department to which he or she is assigned and the date, time and work location to which he or she is to report. Expenses related to work performed under this section by an eligible person shall be considered in determining the amount of net general assistance to be provided to the person.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319]
A. 
It is the policy of the City of Bangor not to expend public funds for security deposits. When the only suitable housing available requires a security deposit, the client will be required to enter into an agreement with the landlord to pay a portion of the deposit each month until the total payment is made or to apply for whatever other resources might be available to assist in the payment of security deposits. When no other solution is possible, the caseworker may issue a written guaranty for damages (in lieu of up to one month's rent).
B. 
Assistance is not available to pay a bill for a basic necessity when that bill is more than two months old and the person requesting assistance had sufficient income, money assets or other resources available to pay for the basic necessity when the bill was received. The person requesting the assistance shall be required to provide evidence of income for the applicable time period.
C. 
At the discretion of the Department, the current bill may be guaranteed to prevent an eviction or a utility shutoff.
No welfare funds shall be expended for hotel rooms where the costs exceed the rental allowance. However, an exception would be made for efficiency units where no shelter facilities are available.
A. 
It is the responsibility of the individual requesting assistance to provide enough information to verify that he or she is eligible. This verification may include but not be limited to wage statements, receipts for household expenditures, etc.
B. 
The caseworker may contact sources other than the applicant for verification only with the specific knowledge and consent of the applicant, except that the caseworker may examine public records without the applicant's knowledge and consent.
C. 
Home visits may be made in order to verify information supplied by the client at the time of application. Clients will be notified at the time of application that such a visit is possible. Visits will be conducted during regular working hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).
D. 
Any applicant who refuses to allow a home visit will be denied assistance under this section until such a visit is allowed.
E. 
When available information is inconclusive or conflicting regarding a fact which is material and necessary to determine eligibility, the applicant will be advised as to what questions remain. To be considered inconclusive or conflicting, the information on the application must be inconsistent with statements made by the applicant, inconsistent with other information on the application or previous applications or inconsistent with information received by the caseworker from other sources. Assistance may be denied or terminated if the applicant is unwilling to supply the caseworker with necessary verification or permission to make collateral contacts or if the caseworker cannot determine that eligibility exists after contact with the applicant or the applicant's collateral contacts.
Personal financial resources shall be used to meet current expenses before requesting assistance.
A. 
The deficit formula will be calculated by taking the overall maximum and subtracting income minus actual work-related expenses (if any) and adding in any unaccounted-for income.
[Amended 12-28-2009 by Ord. No. 10-030]
(1) 
If there is no deficit and no emergency is determined to exist, assistance will be denied.
(2) 
In cases where there is a deficit, an unmet need formula will be calculated by determining the actual cost of basic necessities up to the maximum levels established by this chapter for each need category and subtracting the income, minus actual work-related expenses (if any), and adding in any unaccounted-for income.
(3) 
An applicant may be granted assistance up to the lesser of the two amounts so determined.
(4) 
In case of an emergency which could not have been averted, a determination must be made as to whether or not all income has been used on basic necessities and that there is no other source available to assist with the emergency. If all of these conditions are met, assistance may be granted to alleviate the emergency.
B. 
Earned income. Earned income shall consist of income in cash or kind earned by the applicant or recipient or members of his or her household through wages, salary, commissions or profit, whether self-employed or as an employee. Rental income and profits from products sold are in this category. With respect to self-employment, total profit is arrived at by subtracting business expenses from gross income, when income taxes, social security and other payroll deductions which are required by state, federal or local law are deducted.
C. 
Income from other assistance or social insurance programs. State categorical benefits, supplemental security income (SSI) payments, social security benefits, veterans' (VA) benefits, unemployment insurance benefits and payments from other governmental or private sources will be considered as income unless specifically prohibited by any law or regulation. Any applicant who forfeits receipt of or causes reduction in benefits from another program because of a knowing and willful violation of a program rule is ineligible to receive general assistance to replace the forfeited assistance.
D. 
Court-ordered support payments. Alimony and child support payments will be considered income only if they are actually received by the applicant or recipient.
E. 
Income from other sources. Income from any source will be considered if it is intended for use by any member of the household, related or unrelated, and is actually available to the applicant.
F. 
Earnings of a child. The earnings of child under the age of 18 years who is a full-time student and who is not working full time will not be considered as income under these guidelines.
G. 
Retroactive benefits. If an applicant receives a lump sum payment, that payment must be prorated over future months. The period of proration is determined by disregarding any portion of the lump sum payment that the applicant/recipient has spent to purchase basic necessities, including but not limited to all basic necessities provided by general assistance; payments of funeral or burial expenses for a family member; travel costs related to the illness or death of a family member; repair or replacement of essentials lost due to fire, flood or other natural disasters; repair or purchase of a motor vehicle essential for employment, education, training or other day-to-day living necessities; and payment of bills earmarked for the purpose for which the lump sum is paid.
(1) 
The period of proration is then determined by dividing this total by the greater of:
(a) 
The verified actual prospective thirty-day budget for all the household's basic necessities; or
(b) 
By 150% of the applicable federal poverty guidelines.
(2) 
The prorated sum for each month must be considered available to the household for 12 months from the date of application or during the period of proration, whichever is less.
(3) 
Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, the City of Bangor shall have a lien for the value of all general assistance payments made to a recipient on any lump sum payments made to said recipient under the Workers Compensation Act of the State of Maine or similar law of any other state.
(4) 
All applicants who receive general assistance while receipt of their supplemental security income (SSI) assistance is pending or suspended and which therefore may be retroactively issued to the applicant at a later date will be required to sign a statement on a form distributed by the Department of Health & Human Services that authorizes the social security to direct a portion of any retroactive SSI payment to the City of Bangor and/or the state in repayment for the general assistance granted. Any general assistance applicant who has applied or who may be applying for SSI or who refuses to sign such an authorization will be found ineligible for general assistance until he/she provides the required signature.
(5) 
For good cause shown, an applicant's deficit may be consolidated and applied to housing costs (rent, utilities, heat, etc.) in an amount greater than the maximum specified. Whether there is good cause shown will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and shall be the exception rather than the rule.
H. 
Excludable income. Excludable income includes:
(1) 
Real or personal income-producing property, tools of trade and governmental entitlement specifically treated as exempt by state or federal law.
(2) 
Actual work-related expenses, whether itemized or by standard deduction, such as taxes, retirement fund contributions, union dues, transportation allowance to and from work, special equipment costs and child-care expenses.
(3) 
Earned income of children below the age of 18 years who are full-time students and who are not working full time.
I. 
Potential income. Potential income is defined as income that could be received by the applicant if action were taken to obtain it, e.g., social security, workers' compensation, unemployment compensation, TANF, SSI, etc.
J. 
Treatment of all other income. The full value of all income not defined as earned income, whether in kind or in cash, which is actually available for use in the household will be considered in determining need under the deficit/unmet need formula.
K. 
Agreement for housing. If an individual or family has provided living accommodation to a person or family, standard general assistance may not duplicate this service.
L. 
Other unrelated person(s) living in the home. When any other unrelated individual is residing with the applicant, certification must be made of the entire household, and the income and assets of all members of the household will be considered available to the applicant unless the applicant can prove otherwise. When it is proven by the applicant that he or she and the other unrelated individuals residing in the household are sharing expenses equally and are not pooling income, each such individual will be treated as a freestanding household.
M. 
Eligibility. An applicant's eligibility will be based on his/her total income and the basic total requirements of his/her household as established in these guidelines. There will be no automatic eligibility. All applicants must complete the application process.
N. 
Deficit formula assistance.
[Added 12-28-2009 by Ord. No. 10-030]
(1) 
In order to receive assistance under this section, the applicant must be maintaining his or her own household, have a need deficit under the deficit formula and satisfy all other eligibility rules and regulations set forth in these guidelines.
(2) 
All persons requesting general assistance in the City of Bangor must use their own income to purchase basic necessities. For the purposes of this section, rent will be considered the primary basic necessity, and clients making other than initial applications will be expected to expend their available income on paying the rent prior to applying for assistance.
(3) 
Except for initial applicants, recipients are not eligible to receive assistance to replace income that was spent within the thirty-day period prior to the application on goods and services that are not basic necessities.
(4) 
The income not spent on goods and services that are basic necessities is considered available to the applicant.
(5) 
Applications for assistance under this section must be processed within 24 hours of the date of application. Decisions shall be communicated, in writing, setting forth the reason(s) for the decision, If the applicant is found eligible, assistance shall be furnished within 24 hours of the date of submission of the application.
[Amended 11-13-2006 by Ord. No. 06-327; 10-22-2007 by Ord. No. 320; 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319; 11-10-2008 by Ord. No. 08-344; 4-13-2009 by Ord. No. 09-118; 10-26-2009 by Ord. No. 09-314; 12-28-2009 by Ord. No. 10-030]
A. 
The overall maximum levels of assistance shall be periodically adjusted to conform to 22 M.R.S.A. § 4305(3-B) as published annually in the Maine Municipal Association's General Assistance Ordinance Appendices. A copy of the maximum levels of assistance shall be on file in and available from the City's general assistance office.
B. 
Rental assistance.
(1) 
The level of weekly and monthly rental assistance is based on the size of the apartment occupied by eligible clients. The maximum amount of rental assistance based on apartment size shall be periodically adjusted to conform to the fair market rents promulgated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Bangor Metropolitan Statistical Area. A copy of the maximum levels of rental assistance shall be on file in and available from the City's general assistance office.
(2) 
Shared apartments. In the event that two or more persons share the rental of a single dwelling unit (not including rooms in rooming houses), the weekly or monthly maximum rental assistance rate shall be derived by dividing the maximum rental rate in Subsection B(1) by the number of renters in the dwelling unit.
(3) 
Landlord responsibilities.
(a) 
Landlords renting units to individuals receiving general assistance are responsible for accurately completing and updating the rental voucher request forms. The Director of Health and Community Services is authorized to require landlords renting to individuals receiving general assistance to provide such information as the Director may require to ensure that the appropriate level of assistance is being provided and that the unit rented complies with all applicable City codes.
(b) 
The provision of incorrect or false information by a landlord on a rental voucher request form shall constitute a civil violation. Upon conviction, the minimum penalty for intentionally providing false information or failing to update information on a voucher request form shall be $500; provided, however, that when it can be shown that there has been a previous conviction of the same party of this same provision within the last two years, the minimum penalty shall be $2,500 but shall not exceed $25,000. All fines collected hereunder shall inure to and be recovered by the City of Bangor.[1]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former § 134-27.1, Rental assistance, which immediately followed this section, was amended and renumbered as Subsection B of § 134-27.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319; 12-28-2009 by Ord. No. 10-030]
A. 
There are two categories of assistance which are administered by the Health and Community Services Department under the General Assistance Program: deficit formula § 134-26) and emergency assistance (this section). Eligibility under all emergency provisions other than those covered by § 134-5C of this Code shall be determined by this section.
B. 
Emergency shelter.
(1) 
The Health and Community Services Department is authorized to provide temporary shelter (in shelters operated by the City) for persons who, by reason of special emergency, are stranded, homeless or victims of family violence. Individuals and families housed in City-run shelters must qualify for general assistance. The length of time authorized in the shelter shall not exceed 30 days. An extension may be granted if circumstances warrant, and upon completion of an application for General Assistance. Such circumstances may include, but shall not be limited to, delay in application of categorical assistance, loss or delay of monthly benefit checks, etc. Individuals will be eligible for admission to shelter once in any 12 months. Exception to this rule may be made where verifiable circumstances warrant.
(2) 
General assistance funds may be expended to house eligible individuals and families in private not-for-profit shelters located in the City of Bangor, provided that the shelter has entered into an agreement with the City to provide such service. Eligibility will be contingent upon full general assistance application being taken within two working days of admission to shelter and general assistance eligibility being established.
C. 
Minor children. At times it might be necessary for the Health and Community Services Department to assist minor children whose needs are not being met by their parents. Reasons for this might include, but shall not be limited to:
(1) 
Disqualification of the head of household for quitting employment, failing to register for employment or refusing to participate in the workfare program.
(2) 
Failure of a responsible relative to provide necessary support.
D. 
Excessive assets. At the time of an initial application, an individual or family may be assisted even though it has excessive assets if an immediate need can be established. Continuing assistance will be contingent upon the applicant making a good faith effort to convert the assets into available funds to be used to purchase basic necessities.
E. 
Burial. The Health and Community Services Department shall provide for proper burial of indigent persons, provided that the total burial costs do not exceed $1,340 and it is determined that the burial costs cannot be paid in total, or in part, from any other source, including responsible relatives or from the estate of the deceased. The Health and Community Services Department will apply all moneys available from other sources toward the total burial costs. The allowance for full-service burials and cremations under these guidelines shall include the undertaker's services, clergy, personal attendants, casket, vault box, hearse and obituary. When required, a maximum of $550 may be paid for a liner. The expense of opening and closing the grave will be considered an additional cost to be paid directly to the cemetery up to a maximum of $225. The additional cost of a graveside service will not be considered a covered expense under these guidelines. The maximum payment for a direct cremation without other services may not exceed $1,000. The Health and Community Services Department will not be obliged to pay for any burial expenses if the Director has not approved such expenses prior to their delivery.
[Amended 11-8-2010 by Ord. No. 10-358]
F. 
Oversupplementation of total requirements. For various reasons, it might be necessary to assist an individual or family in excess of the amount established under the deficit formula. Such assistance will be granted only for food, fuel, medicine, clothing and household items, when such items are unavailable from any other source.
G. 
Other necessary expenses. Under this section, assistance that is absolutely necessary and cannot be obtained from any other source may be provided. Assistance granted under this section shall not exceed amounts listed in the basic total requirement charts.
A. 
Rights to review. Any applicant/recipient aggrieved by a decision, act, failure to act or delay in action concerning his/her application for general assistance under these guidelines shall have the right to appeal. If a person's application has been approved, there shall be no revocation of general assistance during the period of entitlement until that applicant/recipient has been provided notice and an opportunity for hearing.
B. 
Initiation of appeal.
(1) 
To request an appeal, the aggrieved person must file a written request for the same with the Health and Community Services Department:
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319; 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-236]
(a) 
Within five working days of receiving a written decision or notice of denial, reduction or termination of assistance; or
(b) 
Within 10 working days after any other act or failure to act by the municipality with regard to an application for assistance.
(2) 
If an aggrieved person fails to file a written request for appeal within the appropriate time period listed in Subsection B(1), any appeal filed after that time period shall be denied by the fair hearing authority by written notice without hearing.
[Added 10-10-2018 by Ord. No. 18-363]
C. 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection C, Interim review by the Director of Health and Community Services, as amended, was repealed 10-10-2018 by Ord. No. 18-363.
D. 
Time for fair hearing. Pursuant to the requirements of 22 M.R.S.A. § 4322, the requested hearing shall be held by the fair hearing authority within five working days following the receipt of the written request for an appeal. The Director shall inform the aggrieved person of the review procedure and the date, time and place of the fair hearing.
[Amended 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-236]
E. 
Fair hearing authority. All appeals under these guidelines shall be heard by the fair hearing authority, who shall consist of the Assistant City Manager, the Finance Director, and the Assistant Community Development Director. The City Manager and the Housing Rehabilitation Specialist shall serve as the first and second alternate members of the fair hearing authority, respectively. A majority of the members of said committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjourn a meeting from one time to another.
[Amended 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-236]
F. 
Conduct of hearing. All reviews by the fair hearing authority will be conducted in accordance with the following:
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319; 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-236]
(1) 
The proceeding will be conducted privately and openly only to:
(a) 
The aggrieved person, his/her witnesses, and legal counsel or other spokesperson.
(b) 
The Director of Health and Community Services and his/her staff and witnesses, the City Manager, and legal counsel.
(c) 
Legal counsel for the fair hearing authority.
(2) 
The proceeding will be conducted informally, without technical rules of evidence apart from the standard set in 5 M.R.S.A. § 9057(2), but subject to the requirements of due process.
(3) 
The review will be opened with a presentation of issues by the fair hearing authority or its legal counsel.
(4) 
After the presentation of issues, the aggrieved person shall present his/her position with the aid of legal counsel or other spokesperson and/or witnesses.
(5) 
The Director of Health and Community Services and/or his/her staff shall then present the position of the Health and Community Services Department with the aid of legal counsel or witnesses.
(6) 
All participants shall be given an opportunity to:
(a) 
Present their own and witnesses' oral or written testimony or documentary evidence.
(b) 
Offer rebuttal.
(c) 
Question all witnesses presented at the hearing.
(7) 
The Committee's decision shall be determined solely upon the evidence presented by all parties at the hearing. Said decision shall be in accordance with these guidelines and the state statutes relating to granting of general assistance.
G. 
Decision.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319; 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-236]
(1) 
Upon completion of the fair hearing, the fair hearing authority shall prepare a written notice of its decision which will contain the following information:
(a) 
A statement of the issue(s).
(b) 
Pertinent provisions of the general law and these guidelines relating to the Committee's decision.
(c) 
The Committee's decision and the reasons for it.
(2) 
Copies of the notice of decision will be provided within five working days of the hearing to the aggrieved person.
(3) 
When any decision by a fair hearing authority or court authorizing assistance is made, that assistance must be provided within 24 hours.
H. 
Further appeal. Further appeals may be taken from any action or failure to act of the fair hearing authority or the Director of Health and Community Services, by any party, to the Superior Court in accordance with Rule 80B of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure. The aggrieved person shall be notified of his/her right to such an appeal.
[Amended 11-14-2007 by Ord. No. 07-319; 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-236]
I. 
The City shall make a record of the fair hearing. The City's obligation is limited to keeping a taped record of the hearing. Costs for preparing any transcripts which are required to pursue an appeal of the fair hearing authority's decision shall be paid for by the applicant.
[Amended 7-25-2011 by Ord. No. 11-236]