0210.015.50 Sanction

IM-#84, August 28, 2015, IM-#71, November 22, 2010, IM-#23, March 18, 2005, IM-#155 November 21, 2002 IM-#22, February 27, 2002

13 CSR 40-2.315 provides for the Temporary Assistance (TA) benefit to be reduced when it is established that a caretaker has refused, without good cause, to participate in required work-related activities. Effective August 28, 2015, the sanction amount is a fifty percent (50%) reduction of the Temporary Assistance grant.

Failure or refusal to participate occurs if an individual states orally or in writing an unwillingness to participate with work requirements or in developing or complying with the Individual Employment Plan (IEP). It may also occur when an individual's current performance, inaction, or pattern of behavior, such as repeated absences, suggests a lack of participation without good cause. Work requirement services are provided by the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program. The MWA case manager recommends the Family Support Division (FSD) impose a sanction for failure to cooperate/participate with work requirements.

0210.015.52 Good Cause for Missouri Work Assistance (MWA)

IM-#84, August 28, 2015, IM-#71, November 22, 2010

Guidelines MWA case managers consider when discussing good cause with participants are:

  1. Employment results in the family of the participant experiencing a net loss of cash income. Net loss of cash income results if the family's gross income (less necessary work-related expenses and any non-reimbursable child care costs paid by the participant) is less than the cash assistance the individual was receiving when the offer of employment was made. Gross income includes, but is not limited to, earnings, unearned income, and cash assistance;
  2. Court-required appearance or incarceration;
  3. Emergency family crisis or sudden change of immediate family circumstances that renders participation unreasonable;
  4. Breakdown in transportation arrangements with no readily accessible alternate means of transportation;
  5. Breakdown in child care arrangements; availability of child care is not suited for the special needs of the child for whom it is intended; or child care necessary for participation is unavailable;

    NOTE: A single parent with a child under the age of six cannot be sanctioned if they do not have child care available.

  6. Lack of social or supportive services necessary for participation; or
  7. Other good cause reasons. Example: inclement weather or personal illness.

MWA staff are not limited to these reasons; they are listed as examples. MWA staff are encouraged to use reasonable judgment when determining good cause. Sanctioning should be a last resort when all attempts to obtain cooperation have failed. A sanction is not imposed if a participant meets the criteria for an exemption or a temporary exclusion. MWA policy instructs MWA case managers to conduct conciliation efforts for six weeks and determine if good cause exists before recommending a sanction to the Family Support Division (FSD) for an individual due to noncompliance with work-related activities. When conciliation efforts are exhausted by the MWA case manager and it is determined that the individual failed to participate without good cause, the sanctioning process begins.

The sanctioning process:

  1. The MWA case manager recommends a sanction in the MWA Case Management System as a result of a participant not cooperating with the work requirements during the six week conciliation timeframe.
  2. The MWA Case Management System sends a sanction code in the overnight batch file to FAMIS.
  3. FAMIS begins the sanction process by:
    1. Completing a budget, reducing the TA grant by 50%;
    2. Generating an Adverse Action (FA-510) notifying the TA participant of the intent to sanction;
    3. Generating a reminder to the eligibility specialist (ES) when the payee also has an active Food Stamp case. (Refer to the Food Stamp manual section 1115.080.00 Prohibition In Increasing Food Stamp Benefits for the action that needs to be taken on the Food Stamp case ONLY.);
    4. Updating the sanction code Non-Cooperation with Work Requirement (TA ONLY) (WR5) on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ or FMAM) screen; and
    5. Sending the sanction code to the MWA service provider via the nightly batch.
  4. FAMIS generates a Claimant Action Notice (FA-150) after the Adverse Action (FA-510) expires.
  5. No action is necessary by the ES unless:
    1. The TA participant contacts FSD staff to comply with work requirements while the adverse action is pending. Advise the individual of the proposed sanction and specific reason for the action with the Adverse Action Notice (FA-510) and refer the individual to the MWA case manager.
    2. The participant contests the proposed sanction through the fair hearings process. Refer to the General Manual Chapter X, Section III for information regarding fair hearings. If a hearing is requested during the pending adverse action, FSD staff MUST take action to put the adverse action on hold (Refer to the FAMIS user guide CHANGING AN ADVERSE ACTION STATUS) and contact MWA staff to obtain evidence to submit to the hearing officer. When the hearing is scheduled notify MWA staff of the date, time, and location of the hearing so they can participate in the hearing.
    3. A reminder is generated to the eligibility specialist for the active Food Stamp case.

NOTE: The Temporary Assistance grant is not reduced if an exempt individual volunteers and then fails to participate without good cause. (Refer to Section 0255.015.00 Volunteers, for more information regarding Volunteers and Work Requirement.)

NOTE: An individual subject to work requirements may be sanctioned for non-cooperation with child support AND non-cooperation with work requirements. When this occurs, both sanctions will be open on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ or FMAM) screen; however the TA grant is reduced a total of 50%. The family is considered sanctioned for non-cooperation with the child support and non-cooperation with work requirements. If an individual is sanctioned for non-cooperation with child support only, the TA grant is reduced 25%.

Consider a sanction effective with the expiration of the adverse action period and reduction of the Temporary Assistance grant. FAMIS generates the sanction code to the MWA Case Management System the night the adverse action expires. The reduction of the Temporary Assistance grant occurs with the first payment after the adverse action period expires.

0210.015.55 Compliance with Work Requirement

IM-#84, August 28, 2015

When a sanction is imposed for non-compliance with work-related activities, the sanction follows the individual.

The Temporary Assistance grant continues at the reduced amount until the individual:

  1. complies with Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program work-related requirements;
  2. has good cause for not participating in the MWA program;
  3. meets an exemption; or
  4. meets an exclusion; or
  5. has received the reduced grant for ten weeks, and the TA case is closed for non-cooperation with the work requirements. This is called a full family sanction.

It is the responsibility of MWA staff to determine compliance with work activity requirements.

When the participant has complied with work requirements, the following steps are taken to lift the sanction:

  1. The MWA case manager recommends lifting the sanction in the MWA Case Management System.
  2. MWA Case Management System sends a code to lift the sanction in the overnight batch file that is sent to FAMIS.
  3. FAMIS begins the process to lift the sanction by:
    1. Completing a budget, removing the 50% sanction of grant, (if the individual is also sanctioned for failing to cooperate with child support, the 25% sanction will remain);
    2. Generating the Claimant Action Notice (FA-150);
    3. Generating a reminder to the eligibility specialist (ES) when the payee also has an active Food Stamp case. (Refer to the Food Stamp manual section 1115.080.00 Prohibition In Increasing Food Stamp Benefits for the action that needs to be taken on the Food Stamp case ONLY.); and
    4. Ending the WR5 sanction on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ or FMAM) screen.
  4. No action is necessary by the ES.

When an individual applies for TA after the case was closed due to a full family sanction, the following steps are taken to lift the sanction:

  1. When the application is registered, FAMIS will send a referral overnight to the MWA Case Management system.
  2. The case manager will schedule a meeting with the individual to explain what they must do to lift the sanction.
  3. When the individual has completed thirty hours in a work activity for at least one week, the MWA case manager will send an alert to FAMIS to end the full family sanction.
  4. FAMIS will end the WRF sanction on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ or FMAM) screen.
  5. No action is necessary by the ES.

NOTE: Review the work requirements with the applicant. If they now meet an exemption or exclusion, update the TA Work Requirement (COMPACT) screen and Work Requirement Indicator code. End the full family sanction (WRF) on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ) screen and enter the code for the end reason. No information or alerts are needed from the MWA case manager.

Refer to 0205.060.35 Sanctions for Refusal to Cooperate Child Support for information regarding sanctions due to non-cooperation with Child Support.