Substitute Senate Bill No. 595

Public Act No. 00-115

An Act Concerning Collection Attorneys.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 4a-12 of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 99-2 and section 2 of public act 99-193, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Commissioner of Administrative Services shall be responsible for the following: (1) Investigation, determination, billing and collection of all charges for support of persons aided, cared for or treated in a state humane institution, as defined in section 17b-222, and enforcement of support obligations of the liable relatives of such persons; (2) billing and collection of any money due to the state in public assistance cases, and enforcement of support obligations of liable relatives in such cases; (3) collection of benefits and maintenance of trustee accounts therefor; and (4) such collection services for other state agencies and departments as shall be agreed to between said commissioner and the heads of such other agencies and departments.

(b) Any debt referred to the Department of Administrative Services by a state agency may be referred by the commissioner to a consumer collection agency, licensed under section 36a-801, or, with the approval of the Attorney General, to an attorney admitted under the provisions of section 51-80 who practices in the area of debt collection, for collection, provided the debtor has been given at least thirty days' notice that the debt will be so referred.

(c) For purposes of this section, "liable relative" means the husband or wife of any person receiving public assistance or aided, cared for or treated in a state humane institution, as defined in said section 17b-222, and the father and mother of any such person under the age of eighteen years, but shall not include the parent or parents whose financial liability for a child is determined by the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement under subsection (b) of section 17b-179. The Commissioner of Administrative Services, in consultation with the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 establishing: (1) A uniform contribution scale for liable relatives based upon ability to pay and the administrative feasibility of collecting such contributions, provided no such liable relative shall contribute an amount in excess of twelve per cent of the remainder, if any, after the state median income, adjusted for family size, has been deducted from such liable relative's taxable income for federal income tax purposes, or if such federal income tax information is unavailable, from such relative's taxable income, as calculated from other sources, including, but not limited to, information pertaining to wages, salaries and commissions as provided by such relative's employer; (2) the manner in which the Department of Administrative Services shall determine and periodically reinvestigate the ability of such liable relatives to pay; and (3) the manner in which the department shall waive such contributions upon determination that such contribution would pose a significant financial hardship upon such liable relatives.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (c) of this section, no liability shall be imposed upon a liable relative upon determination by the Department of Mental Retardation, Social Services, Children and Families, Mental Health and Addiction Services or Public Health that the benefit of the assistance or service provided would be significantly impaired by the imposition of such liability. Each such department may waive all or part of any liability resulting from its delay in establishing such liability if it determines that imposition of such liability would pose a significant financial hardship upon a liable relative.

Approved May 26, 2000