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.
   27  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   29         Section 1. Section 381.029, Florida Statutes, is created to
   30  read:
   31         381.029Disability 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.