CHAPTER 21

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR

ADMINISTRATION OF GENERAL ASSISTANCE

21.01 POLICY

The Town of Menasha shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 49 of the Wisconsin Statutes to insure that all eligible dependent persons within the Town are provided general public assistance for themselves or for their school age children, of a kind and quality adequate to support life, health and welfare at a level commensurate with the standards of decency, safety and sanitation expected by citizens of Wisconsin.

21.02 DEFINITIONS

For the purpose of this ordinance, the following terms are defined as

follows:

(1) Applicant. Any person who is or may be eligible for general relief from the Town under these standards and Chapter 49 of the Wis. State Stats.

(2) Town. Town of Menasha.

(3) Denial. Refusal to approve or grant benefits to an applicant and includes the termination or modification of previously approved benefits or reduction of a public assistance recipient's benefit levels.

(4) Board of Review. The Board responsible for making the determination on an appeal from a denial of public assistance.

(5) Dependent Person or Dependent. A person without the present available money, income, property credit or other means by which the same can be presently obtained, sufficient to provide necessary commodities and services as specified in Subsection (9).

(6) Director. The Relief Director or his or her designee.

(7) Eligible. A person who is dependent as defined in Subsection (5).

(8) Employment. Full-time or part-time work for compensation.

(9) Relief. Such services, commodities, or money as reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to provide food, housing, transportation, and funeral expenses, and includes wages for work relief. All such relief/assistance is granted by the direct vendor/voucher system. Any assistance granted will be payable directly to the merchant, utility, grocery store, landlord, etc. No cash grants will be made. There will be no payments for debts incurred prior to the date of application.

(10) Group. All eligible persons listed on an application for assistance, who reside with the primary applicant and are dependent on the primary applicant for financial support.

(11) Shelter Cost. Rent payments allowed to a maximum of $150.00 per month rent for a family of two or more. Exception is made when utilities are include in the rent. Singles are expected to live in rooms (preferably with kitchen privileges). Exceptions are made if, in the opinion of the Relief Director, an undue hardship will result from adherence of these rules. All rent payments are paid directly to the legitimate landlord. The Town will make house payments on behalf of a welfare client only when approved by the Town Board of Supervisors. The payment of rent to relatives shall be left to the discretion of the Relief Director, with consideration being given to the needs of the relatives as well as the cost to the Town of Menasha welfare budget. Normally, no rent is paid to a welfare client's parents.

(12) Work Relief. Any monies paid on behalf of dependent persons entitled to relief who have been required by the Town to work on any work relief project.

(13) Work Relief Project. Any undertaking performed in whole or in part by persons receiving work relief.

21.03 STANDARDS AND STATUS REQUIREMENTS

(1) General. Relief shall be granted to any eligible dependent person by the proper authorities of the Town in accordance with the standards, policies and procedures contained herein. Relief shall not be denied any eligible person or family because of race, creed, color or national origin. Age or transient status of any applicant shall not in itself be a bar to receiving relief from the Town. The Relief Director may approve prorated payments of assistance until such time as arrangements have been completed for relief under another program administered by the County or the State.

(2) Income Standards. Persons whose monthly income equals or exceeds the allowance provided in Section 21.04 shall be presumed to be nondependent and ineligible for aid unless the Director determines that special facts and circumstances exist which pose an immediate threat to life, health or safety. All income on hand or readily available, without regard to deductions for debt payments must be considered in determining financial eligibility for relief under this program, including any public assistance readily available under other relief programs of the State, Federal or County Governments.

(3) Asset Standards. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Subsection, all assets which are readily convertible into cash shall be considered in determining financial eligibility for public assistance.

(a) Home Ownership. See Section 21.02(11) Shelter Cost Definitions incorporated herein by reference. Ownership of more than one home or a home and cabin or lake property makes a prospective client ineligible.

(b) Insurance. An insurance policy with a cash or loan value of $300.00 or less shall not act as a bar to receipt of assistance.

(c) Motor Vehicles. Assistance for the use of an automobile, truck, to provide transportation for certain listed expenses should include transportation to and from the Winnebago County Social Services Office for applications for medical, dental, and optical treatment.

(d) Failure to apply or to take necessary steps to apply nonexempt assets to the support of the applicant and dependents shall be cause for the denial or termination of assistance.

(e) Ownership of more than one motor vehicle in combination of either cars, trucks or motorcycles per household makes them ineligible for assistance.

(f) A snowmobile or camper or other recreational vehicle besides a car is a luxury item and is to be disposed of as a condition of eligibility.

(4) Employment Standards

(a) Employable Applicants. Employable applicants shall register with the Wisconsin Job Service. Persons determined by the Director to be employable but who refuse to seek employment shall not receive public assistance. An employable applicant or recipient who fails or refuses to register and maintain a valid registration for employment with Wisconsin Job Service, and to actively seek employment shall be presumed to be ineligible for assistance under this standard, except initial relief shall not be denied for failure to register for employment prior to application unless the applicant has been given notice and opportunity to register prior to application. Any change of employment status of Job Service registration shall be immediately reported to the Director, who may terminate benefits if efforts to seek employment are not maintained by an employable recipient. See Wis. State Stats. 49.002 which provides that refusal of a bonafide offer of employment or training without good cause, or acceptance and subsequent inadequate performance through willful neglect shall necessitate that Town Welfare Officials discontinue or deny relief payments to such individuals.

(b) Work Relief. Wis. State Stats. 49.05 states any municipality required by law to administer relief may require person entitled to relief to labor on any work relief project authorized by the municipality at work which they are capable of performing. Persons on work relief shall be compensated for such work for not less than the prevailing minimum wage rate. Any applicant or person receiving assistance from the Town who refuses work relief without a compelling reason, such as physical incapacity verified by a physician's statement, shall be denied or terminated from assistance.

(5) Eligibility for Other Programs. An applicant who is awaiting income sufficient to meet basic needs or whose aid or other condition qualified him or her for Social Security or other benefits shall be eligible for relief on an interim basis if other eligibility requirements for this program are met, provided all applicants who upon initial interview appear eligible for resources by the Director to proper resources, including, but not necessarily limited to:

(a) The County Department of Social Services

(b) Veteran's Service Offices

(c) Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

(d) Social Security Administration

(e) Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations Unemployment or Workmen's Compensation Division

(f) Wisconsin Job Service

(6) Actual Receipt of other Assistance. The receipt of assistance from another agency or program shall not, in itself, act as a bar to receipt of general assistance from the Town provided that the total income is not over the adopted income guidelines set up by the Town.

(7) Reimbursement Agreements. There is no requirement for a recipient or applicant to make any agreement relative to repayment for aid granted as a prerequisite to the granting of aid except where it may appear that the requisite for aid is the result of some unusual condition, and that it also appears that by the grating of aid, the unusual condition may be readily overcome, and the recipient will be in a position to easily repay the aid granted without jeopardizing present or future support.

Applicants shall be allowed to consult with their attorneys or other counsel before signing a reimbursement agreement. Aid may be granted pending execution of such agreements.

21.04 SCHEDULES OF ASSISTANCE

(1) The Director shall grant assistance based on consideration of the following schedule, subject to adjustments or proration permitted or required under 21.07.

Monthly Allowance

Group Size Maximum Allowance

1 $192.00

2 $341.00

3 $402.00

4 $478.00

5 $550.00

6 $594.00

7 $644.00

8 $682.00

9 $715.00

10 $732.00

For each additional member above 10, add $25.00

(2) The allowance provided in Section (1) are maximum allowances, and a lesser allowance may be provided.

(3) These schedules shall be reviewed at least annually by the Town Board of Supervisors to adjust for increases or decreases in the cost of living.

(4) Whenever possible, the family is encouraged to secure the burial plot. No relief funds may be expended to ship the remains outside of the County. If the deceased has no family and no burial plot, such can be authorized. Funeral and burial expenses shall not exceed necessary and reasonable charges authorized by the Director on an "as needed" basis.

21.05 APPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

Each applicant shall complete a written application for public assistance on a form supplied by the Town. Each application shall be signed, sworn to and dated by the applicant. The completed application shall be retained by the Director and shall be available for inspection by the applicant and the staff or designated representative of a public assistance agency filed upon by nonresident notice or directly involved.

21.06 INVESTIGATION

Upon receiving an application for relief, the Director shall examine the applicant regarding the factual circumstances supporting his or her claim to eligibility and needs and the corresponding amounts and thereafter shall make such other investigations as he or she deems reasonably necessary under the circumstances. Wisconsin Stats. 49.12(1) states "Any person who with intent to secure public assistance willfully makes any false representations shall be denied or discontinued relief and may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.'' Wisconsin Stats. 49.12(8) states "Any person who makes any false statements on a written application shall be denied or discontinued relief and may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both."

21.07 BUDGET AND DISTRIBUTION OF AID

(1) Assistance Budget. The Director shall prepare a budget for each applicant. All income and nonexempt assets on hand or readily available to the applicant shall be subtracted from the budget needs. The amount of the resulting budget deficit, if any, shall be the amount of assistance to which the applicant is entitled.

(2) Assistance Limited to Need. In determining the amount of the budgetary deficit, no allowance shall be provided for relief unless a demonstrated need exists, and shall be limited to the extent of such demonstrated need. There is no evidence of need where:

(a) Those physically able to work but refuse available jobs at current wage rates; and/or,

(b) The applicant or recipient is eligible for any of the Social Security Aids programs, or for assistance from other sources.

(3) Assistance Prorated. The assistance allowance of any applicant or recipient may be prorated on the basis of any part-time work relief or employment received; or, on the basis of any support received or receivable from nondependent persons because of a shared living arrangement.

(4) Excess Aid. Aid in amounts greater than those provided in 21.04 shall be granted by the Director only for significant additional needs that are not otherwise being met. The Director shall maintain records for any deviation from the schedule of aids set forth herein and shall make records available for inspection by the designated representative of a public assistance agency filed upon by nonresident notice or directly involved.

(5) Form of Grant. Assistance may be aranted in cash, in kind or by the vendor/voucher system payable directly to the merchant, landlord (mortgage holder), medical facility, physician, grocery store or other vendor.

21.08 HEALTH AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

All health and medical assistance is provided by Winnebago County Social Services. Request applications for medical, dental, and optical assistance will be filled out with the assistance of the Town of Menasha, with the client to take the application to the Winnebago County Social Service Office. The client should ask for "general relief medical."

21.09 PRORATION OF ASSISTANCE

The Director may, in his or her discretion, provide assistance on a daily, weekly, semimonthly or monthly schedule prorating the benefits. Grants made on a weekly basis shall be prorated on the basis of 7/30th of the weekly allowance. Semimonthly ciraiits shall be SO% of the monthly allowance.

21.10 DENIAL OF RELIEF

(1) Basis for Denial. Except when an application is withdrawn, the Director shall not deny public assistance in accordance with these guidelines except for one or more of the following reasons.

(a) Applicant does not meet the standards of eligibility set forth herein.

(b) Applicant has refused to submit a written application or to complete any portion of the application or to sign the application.

(c) Applicant has failed or refused to supply sufficient information from which the Director can form a good faith belief as to the applicant's identity, residence history or eligibility for public assistance.

(d) Recipient/applicant has failed or refused to seek or obtain employment or to register for employment with the Wisconsin Job Service after applicant has been given notice and opportunity to do so. Notice and opportunity to seek or obtain employment shall be deemed to mean the recipient/applicant has been notified of at least two suitable job opportunities commensurate with his or her physical ability, training and skills, and has failed or refused to contact the prospective employer or to make application for such opportunity or to accept the position if offered.

(e) Recipient/applicant has failed to sign an assignment of claim for third party liability agreement or reimbursement agreement, as provided in Chapter 49.08 and Chapter 49.65 of the Wis. State Stats.

(f) Recipient/applicant's eligibility or need is dependent on the truth of a representation which the Director has reasonable cause to believe to be a false representation.

(g) Recipient/applicant has refused a bonafide offer of employment or training without good cause, or has accepted and subsequently given inadequate performance through willful neglect.

(h) Recipient/applicant has refused to or failed to take full advantage of other resources available.

(i) Recipient/applicant has refused or failed to cooperate with the Director's investigation of the validity of his or her application.

(2) Denials

(a) Denial to State Reason. Denials shall state specific reasons for the denial in plain language. Written denials shall be mailed out by first class mail to the address given in the application within five (5) working days from date of application. Denial shall be deemed delivered when so mailed.

(b) Oral denial shall be reduced to writing upon the written requests of the applicant, pursuant to Section 68.07 of the Wis. State Stats.

(c) Written Denials to be Filed. The Director shall maintain a file of all written denials and supporting reasons.

(d) Each denial shall include a notice to the applicant of his or her right to appeal such denial as set forth in these standards and policies.

(e) Failure of the Director to respond to a written application for assistance within ten (10) working days shall be deemed denial of the applicant's request. In this Town, each applicant is told to call or come in the second working day following written application to find out if the applicant is approved or denied. The Director shall nevertheless provide the applicant with the notice of his or her right to appeal such denial as set forth in these policies and procedures.

(f) An aggrieved applicant or recipient may petition to the Town Board of Supervisors for an administrative hearing any time within thirty (30) days of receipt of written notice of the Relief Director's action.

(g) When an administrative hearing is requested by an applicant or recipient, it shall be held within five

(5) working days after the Town Board of Supervisors receives the request.

(h) General Relief Administrative Hearing Procedure

(1) The hearing shall be conducted by the Town Board of Supervisors, comprised of those Town Board Members who are not serving as relief director, and the Town Clerk, so long as he or she is not serving as relief director, shall be a member of the administrative hearing panel.

(2) The above designated administrative hearing panel shall give the petitioner timely written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing.

(3) The petitioner shall have an adequate opportunity:

(a) To examine all documents and records to be used at the hearing at a reasonable time prior to the date of the hearing, as well as during the hearing;

(b) At his or her option to present his or her case himself or herself, or with the aid of others, including legal counsel;

(c) To bring witnesses;

(d) To establish all pertinent facts and circumstances; and,

(e) To request or refute any testimony or evidence, including opportunity to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses.

(4) The petitioner shall be notified of the decision in writing, and of his or her right to judicial review. The decision shall be based conclusively on evidence and other material introduced at the hearing, and shall indicate the reasons for the decision and the evidence relied upon. A copy of this decision shall be furnished to the petitioner within five (5) working days after the hearing.

21.11 APPEALS

Any applicant denied relief by the director shall have the right of appeal as provided in Chapter 68 of the Wis. State Stats., or under any administrative review procedure adopted by the municipality in compliance with Chapter 68 of the Wis. State Stats.

See 21.10(2), Denials, and the policies and procedures set forth thereunder.

21.12 ORGANIZATION - MENASHA-NEENAH RELIEF COMMISSION

(1) In conjunction with the City of Menasha and the City of Neenah, the Town of Menasha has jointly created the Menasha-Neenah Relief Commission to exercise jurisdiction, management and supervision for the administration of general relief.

(2) Number and Appointment of Commissioners. The Town of Menasha Board of Supervisors shall appoint two (2) citizens of the Town of Menasha to act as members of said Commission as the Town's representatives, subject to similar appointments by the City of Menasha and the City of Neenah.

(3) Terms of Appointment. The terms of appointment for said representatives shall be for a two year period.

(4) Administration

(a) Each of the participating municipalities shall be solely responsible for its own relief costs, and said relief costs shall be itemized and detailed in each month's billing.

(b) The administration expenses of the Commission shall be divided equally among the three participating municipalities and shall be paid on a monthly basis in advance.

(5) Withdrawal. The Cities of Neenah and Menasha may withdraw from the Menasha-Neenah Relief Commission upon notice to all other municipalities not later than September 1 of the year of operation, and such notice cannot become effective prior to January 1 of the succeeding year. The Town of Menasha, in rejoining the Menasha-Neenah Relief Commission, agrees to participate in said Commission for the next ten (10) years. In the event the City of Menasha or the City of Neenah exercises their right to withdraw from said Commission within said ten (10) year period, the Town of Menasha could then also withdraw from participation it the Commission.[Added 8.84]

21.13 EFFECTIVE DATE

This ordinance shall become effective upon the date of publication or upon the date of passage by all participating municipalities of a substantially similar ordinance or resolution, whichever occurs first. It is the intent of this ordinance to specifically replace Resolution #840123-3 passed by the Town of Menasha Board of Supervisors on January 23, 1984. [Added 8/84]