Florida Senate - 2022 SB 1014 By Senator Burgess 20-00425A-22 20221014__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to disability claims coordinators; 3 creating s. 381.029, F.S.; defining the terms 4 “department” and “disability claims coordinator”; 5 authorizing counties to request the Department of 6 Health to assign disability claims coordinators to 7 their respective county health departments; providing 8 that the counties are responsible for such 9 coordinators’ employment terms, duty assignments, and 10 salaries and benefits; requiring the department to 11 certify disability claims coordinators if they meet 12 certain qualifications; requiring disability claims 13 coordinators to complete certain initial and annual 14 training; providing requirements for such training; 15 providing duties for disability claims coordinators; 16 requiring the department to designate at least five 17 employees to provide administrative support to, and 18 facilitate the exchange of information between, 19 counties, county health departments, and disability 20 claims coordinators; requiring the department to 21 maintain specified information on its website; 22 requiring the information to be made available on a 23 dedicated webpage and in a specified manner; 24 authorizing the department to adopt rules; providing 25 an effective date. 26 27 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 28 29 Section 1. Section 381.029, Florida Statutes, is created to 30 read: 31 381.029 Disability claims coordinators.— 32 (1) As used in this section, the term: 33 (a) “Department” means the Department of Health. 34 (b) “Disability claims coordinator” means a person 35 certified by the department to assist residents seeking state or 36 federal disability benefits. 37 (2) Counties may request the department to assign 38 disability claims coordinators to their respective county health 39 departments to assist residents seeking state or federal 40 disability benefits. A county that requests assignment of a 41 disability claims coordinator is responsible for determining the 42 employment terms, assigning duties, and paying the salary and 43 benefits for the position. 44 (3) The department must certify an individual as a 45 disability claims coordinator if he or she meets the 46 qualifications prescribed by the department in rule. Disability 47 claims coordinators must complete initial and annual training 48 approved by the department. The training must include, at a 49 minimum, coverage of all state and federal laws and rules 50 related to disability benefits, including eligibility 51 requirements, eligible benefits, and the application and appeals 52 processes for disability determinations and benefit claims. 53 (4) Disability claims coordinators shall do all of the 54 following: 55 (a) Meet, interview, counsel, and obtain information from 56 clients who are seeking state or federal benefits for 57 disabilities and assist them in preparing or submitting claims 58 for such benefits. 59 (b) Provide accurate and current information related to the 60 eligibility requirements and applications for and administration 61 of state and federal disability benefits. 62 (c) Review disability determinations, coordinate with the 63 claims examiners to ensure that the determinations accurately 64 reflect the clients’ medical conditions and comply with state 65 and federal laws and rules, and initiate corrective action or 66 appellate review if deemed appropriate in the disability claims 67 coordinator’s professional judgment. 68 (d) Assist clients in preparing and perfecting claims 69 appeals and provide representation at related hearings. 70 (e) Coordinate with the department’s Division of Disability 71 Determinations, including the area office responsible for the 72 county; local field offices for the Social Security 73 Administration; local regional offices for the United States 74 Department of Veterans Affairs; any local organizations that 75 assist residents in applying for disability benefits; and any 76 other state or federal agencies responsible for processing or 77 providing disability benefits in this state. 78 (f) Link clients to additional resources available in their 79 communities. 80 (5) The department shall designate at least five department 81 employees to provide administrative support to counties, county 82 health departments, and disability claims coordinators in 83 furtherance of their duties under this section and to facilitate 84 the exchange of information between them to implement the 85 purposes of this section. 86 (6) The department shall maintain on its website a list of 87 disability claims coordinators, including their contact 88 information and the county they serve, and links to any 89 corresponding county or county health department websites. The 90 website must also include a description of the role disability 91 claims coordinators serve in the disability determination 92 process, emphasizing that they are not claims examiners but 93 rather third-party resources for clients. The information must 94 be available on a dedicated webpage accessible through a 95 conspicuous link on the Division of Disability Determinations’ 96 homepage. 97 (7) The department may adopt rules to implement this 98 section. 99 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2022.