SB 0810 Modifies provisions relating to supplemental assistance payments for the elderly and disabled
LR Number:2809L.07T Fiscal Note:2809-07
Committee:Commerce and Environment
Last Action:07/02/02 - Signed by Governor Journal page:
Title:HS HCS SCS SB 810
Effective Date:August 28, 2002
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Current Bill Summary

HS/HCS/SCS/SB 810 - This act expands the Utilicare program for elderly, disabled and other qualifying individuals.

Currently, Sections 660.100 through 660.136, RSMo, establish the Utilicare program to provide financial assistance for the heating and cooling of elderly, disabled and qualifying households. This act modifies these two sections by changing the definition of "qualified individual household" and, thus, expanding program eligibility. Eligibility will be based on a household income of less than or equal to 150 percent, rather than 110 percent, of the current federal poverty level or 60 percent of the state median income (Sections 660.100, 660.105).

Current law requires the Department of Social Services to coordinate all federal heating assistance programs along with the Utilicare program. This act requires the Department to coordinate all federal programs into the Utilicare program (Section 660.110).

Current law allows a payment of $150 to each eligible household from the Utilicare fund for heating and cooling. This act increases that amount to $600. Language limiting program expenditures is also deleted (Section 660.115). Section 660.120 is repealed.

Currently, funds may be used to pay for reconnecting or maintaining service of eligible households. New eligibility language is again added for qualified households. Language limiting program expenditures is also deleted (Section 660.122).

Section 660.135, RSMo, specifies the amount of appropriations allowed for the program at five million dollars and includes a cost of living adjustment allowance. The Department may currently combine funds with the Department of Natural Resources' low-income weatherization assistance program.

The law established the "Utilicare Stabilization Fund". New language provides that funds may come from any source, including federal funds under the Community Opportunities Accountability and Training and Educational Services Act. Existing language regarding the investment of such funds is removed and new language requires all funds to be used for Utilicare and LIHEAP (Section 660.136).

In order to expedite adult guardian/conservatorship cases the Department may retain legal counsel on a case-by-case basis.

The Division of Family Services is required to perform a division of assets for married couples when determining eligibility for supplemental nursing care payments when one spouse is living in a residential care facility.

Cities, towns, and village are prohibited from passing any ordinance which would prohibit charitable organizations from engaging in the business of reselling donated goods; provided that 80% of the revenue is used to fund the charitable purpose of the organization.

Further limits moneys available for heating and cooling assistance to provide that the respective shares of overall funding received by primary and secondary heating and cooling source suppliers on behalf of their customers shall be substantially maintained.

All refunds of rates generated by the refund of natural gas or electric rates shall be transferred to the Utilicare stabilization fund. Such transfers shall be held for one year before distribution and if unused within one year thereafter shall be transferred to general revenue.

The act also modifies provisions relation to guaranteed cost savings contracts. Guaranteed cost savings contracts for measures related to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act are allowed. Also, allows the Division of Design and Construction to contract for guaranteed energy cost savings. Contractors must be selected based on experience, capability, past performance and proximity of the firm. The contract must otherwise be in accordance with section 8.231, RSMo.

The act also extends the period of payments on guaranteed energy cost savings contracts to ten years or 80% of the useful life of energy conservation measures. This portion is similar to HB 2087 and SCS/SB 821 (2002).