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Proposed Rules: Open to Comments

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Agency:
Comment By: 
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Proposed Rules Content: 

Notice of Public Hearing and Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Rule

 

What are we proposing?  In May, the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) issued an emergency rule increasing the HRA burial allowance to $1700 and making other changes to the burial claims process.  HRA now proposes extending the $1700 allowance through the end of the calendar year and making the other provisions of the emergency rule permanent.  

When and where is the hearing?  The New York City Human Resources Administration will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule.  Due to COVID-19, the public hearing will take place remotely via WebEx on July 23 at 11:00AM.  Those wishing to attend the hearing may join by:

 

 

 

Phone:

Dial 646-992-2010.  When prompted, enter Meeting ID: 129 932 2460.

 Internet Video and Audio: 

Visit:  https://nyc-dss.webex.com/nyc-dss/j.php?MTID=m9d8c896bf57be4b442041325357a19bf 

When prompted, enter 

Meeting ID:    129 932 2460

Password:     Burials

How do I comment on the proposed rules?  Anyone can comment on the proposed rules by:

Website.  You can submit comments to HRA through the NYC rules website at http://rules.cityofnewyork.us.

Email.  You can email comments to NYCRules@hra.nyc.gov.   Please include “Burials” in the subject line.

Mail.  You can mail comments to:

 

HRA Rules

c/o Office of Legal Affairs

150 Greenwich Street, 38th Floor

New York, NY   10007

Please make clear that you are commenting on the Burial Claims rule.

 

Fax.  You can fax comments to 917-639-0413.  Please include “Burials” in the subject line.

Speaking at the hearing.  You may sign up to speak at the hearing by calling 929-221-7220 or emailing NYCRules@hra.nyc.gov on or before July 22.  Speakers will be called in the order that they signed up and will be able to speak for up to three minutes.

 

Is there a deadline to submit comments?  The deadline to submit comments is midnight on July 23.  Comments, including those sent by mail, must be received by HRA on or before July 23.

 What if I need assistance to participate in the hearing?

You must tell us if you need interpretation services for the hearing. You can tell us by email at NYCRules@HRA.nyc.gov. You may also tell us by telephone at 929-221-7220. Advance notice is requested to allow sufficient time to make arrangements. Please tell us by July 16.

Can I review the comments made on the proposed rules?  You can review the comments made online on the proposed rules by going to the website at http://rules.cityofnewyork.us/. Shortly after the hearing, copies of all comments submitted online, copies of all written comments, and a summary of oral comments concerning the proposed rule will be available to the public on HRA’s website.

 

What authorizes HRA to make this rule? Sections 603 and 1043 of the City Charter and Section 141 of the New York Social Services Law authorize HRA to make this proposed rule. 

Where can I find HRA’s rules?  HRA’s rules are in title 68 of the Rules of the City of New York.

Was the proposed rule included in HRA’S regulatory agenda?  This rule was not contemplated when HRA issued its most recent regulatory agenda.

What laws govern the rulemaking process?  HRA must meet the requirements of Section 1043 of the City Charter when creating or changing rules. This notice is made according to the requirements of Section 1043 of the City Charter.

 

 


 

Notice of Extension of Emergency Rule

 

Notice is further given, pursuant to New York City Charter Section 1043(i)(2), that the emergency rule issued on May 2, 2020 making certain changes to HRA’s burial claims program is hereby extended an additional sixty (60) days, to August 31, 2020.  The additional sixty (60) days are needed for HRA to adopt a final rule after completing the public comment and hearing process set forth in New York City Charter Section 1043(e). 

 

 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

In order to address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on New York City and the number of fatalities affecting the City’s most vulnerable and low-income populations in dire need of financial assistance to provide for respectful and solemn final disposition of their loved ones, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services / Human Resources Administration (DSS/HRA) issued an emergency rule concerning its Burial Claims program on May 2, 2020.

Under the City Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA), a rule adopted on an emergency basis remains in effect for 60 days unless the agency initiates a public notice and comment process for a “final” rule prior to the sixtieth day. Therefore, HRA is now initiating the notice and public comment process in order to extend or make permanent the various provisions of the emergency rule.

Currently, State law only provides for partial reimbursement of burial allowances up to $900. In other words, burial allowances of $900 or less are partially reimbursable by the State, but any amounts paid by local social services districts above $900 come entirely out of local funds. The emergency rule increased the available burial allowance from $900 to $1700. HRA proposes making the $1700 burial allowance available through December 31, 2020. The City will seek a legislative change that would provide for additional reimbursement from the State. Whether there is a legislative change may affect the amounts that the City determines to be practicable in the future. Additionally, HRA proposes making the rest of the provisions of the emergency rule permanent. Specifically, the HRA proposes making permanent the provisions of the emergency rule that do the following:

(1) Increase the expense cap from $1,700 to $3,400 and adds the costs charged by a funeral director associated with the disinterment of decedent remains from Hart Island to the items that will not count towards the total expense cap.

(2) Make clear that the requirement in the existing rule that applications must be made in-person is not being enforced at this time.

(3) Change the time within which a friend, relative or organizational friend of the decedent can file an application for a burial allowance, from 60 days from the date of death to 120 days from the date of death.

(4) Allow anyone who may qualify for an allowance for burial expenses to apply for such an allowance either prior to or following burial or cremation and suspends the requirement that DSS/HRA must respond to pre-burial or pre-cremation applications within two business days.

(5) Provide that the value of any resources or income that are not liquid or available at the time of the decedent’s death and not available at the time of application will not be deducted from the burial allowance in determining the amount that will be paid.

However, DSS/HRA will reserve the right to recover against such resource consistent with State law. (6) With respect to veteran burials in particular, remove the prohibition on providing burial expenses pursuant to Section 2-09 of Title 68 for the burial of veterans in private cemeteries other than Calverton Cemetery. DSS/HRA’s authority for this proposed rule may be found in section 141 of the New York Social Services Law and sections 603 and 1043 of the New York City Charter. New text is underlined. Deleted text is [bracketed].

Subject: 

Proposed Rule - Changes to Burial Claims

Location: 
https://nyc-dss.webex.com/nyc-dss/j.php?MTID=m9d8c896bf57be4b442041325357a19bf
Meeting ID: 129 932 2460 Password: Burials / To join by phone: Dial 646-992-2010 and enter Meeting ID: 129 932 2460.
Contact: 

Phone: 929-221-7220 Fax: 917-639-0413 or email: NYCRules@hra.nyc.gov

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Emergency Rule

In order to address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on New York City and the number of fatalities affecting the City’s most vulnerable and low-income populations in dire need of financial assistance to provide for respectful and solemn final disposition of their loved ones, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services / Human Resources Administration (DSS/HRA) issues this emergency rule concerning its Burial Claims program.

Under subdivisions 3(a) and 5 of Social Services Law Section 141, the State will provide reimbursement to local social services districts for payments of up to $900 that the district makes towards the burial of indigent individuals, but only where the expense of such burial does not exceed an amount fixed by the district.

DSS/HRA’s current rule concerning burial claims, set forth in Chapter 2 of Title 68 of the Rules of the City of New York, which was last amended in 2008, sets the maximum allowance for burial and funeral expenses payable by DSS/HRA at $900 and provides that an allowance from DSS/HRA shall not be available where the total burial and funeral expenses (exclusive of the cost of cremation or the burial plot and grave opening) exceed $1700.[1]  The $900 maximum burial allowance and the $1700 expense cap apply to both veteran and non-veteran burials, but the rule sets forth a special process for certain veteran burials.

This emergency rule will enable additional families to arrange for private burials or cremations for their loved ones who have passed away during this pandemic, at rates adjusted to better

[1] In 2008, DSS/HRA increased the burial allowance payable by DSS/HRA from $800 to $900, and the burial expense cap from $1,400 to $1,700. Portions of the rule were amended to reflect this, but some references to the older amounts were erroneously left in sections 2-01 and 2-04 of the rule. 2 reflect current costs. Specifically, this emergency rule does the following with respect to both veteran and non-veteran burials until such time as the final rule is in place:

(1) Increases the maximum allowance for burial and funeral expenses payable by DSS/HRA from $900 to $1,700, with the City responsible for costs that are not otherwise reimbursed by New York State, [2] and provides that such allowance may be used towards expenses that are excluded from the cap, including cremations.

(2) Increases the expense cap from $1,700 to $3,400 and adds the costs charged by a funeral director associated with the disinterment of decedent remains from Hart Island to the items that will not count towards the total expense cap.

(3) Makes clear that the requirement in the existing rule that applications must be made inperson is not being enforced at this time.

(4) Changes the time within which a friend, relative or organizational friend of the decedent can file an application for a burial allowance, from 60 days from the date of death to 120 days from the date of death.

(5) Allows anyone who may qualify for an allowance for burial expenses to apply for such an allowance either prior to or following burial or cremation and suspends the requirement that DSS/HRA must respond to pre-burial or pre-cremation applications within two business days.

(6) Provides that the value of any resources or income that are not liquid or available at the time of the decedent’s death and not available at the time of application will not be deducted from the burial allowance in determining the amount the applicant will receive. However, DSS/HRA will reserve the right recover against such resource consistent with State law.

With respect to veteran burials in particular, the rule removes the prohibition on providing burial expenses pursuant to Section 2-09 of Title 68 for the burial of veterans in private cemeteries other than Calverton Cemetery.

[2] Currently, State law only provides for partial reimbursement of burial allowances up to $900. In other words, burial allowances of $900 or less are partially reimbursable by the State, but any amounts paid by local social services districts above $900 come entirely out of local funds. The City will seek a legislative change that would provide for additional reimbursement from the State. Whether there is a legislative change may affect the final amounts that the City determines to be practicable in the CAPA rule-making to follow this emergency rule.

Effective Date: 
Mon, 05/11/2020