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Public Benefit SanctionsPrintE-mailPDF

What is a sanction? A sanction is a reduction or termination of certain public benefits. A sanction can happen if you fail or refuse, without good cause, to comply in full with any provision of your self-sufficiency contract. This can include work and child support requirements. Sanctions apply to OWF cash assistance or food stamp benefits. Medicaid benefits cannot be sanctioned unless there is a third failure to comply.

What are the sanctions for OWF and food stamp benefits?

(1) 1st occurrence: the assistance group loses cash assistance for 1 month or until the failure or refusal ceases, whichever is longer;

(2) 2nd occurrence: the assistance group loses cash assistance for 3 months or until the failure or refusal ceases, whichever is longer;

(3) 3rd occurrence: the assistance group loses cash assistance for 6 months or until the failure or refusal ceases, whichever is longer.

(4) Multiple failures that happen before a sanction is imposed are considered the same occurrence.

What do I have to do to get a sanction lifted?

If you failed to get a (re)assessment, you must sign an agreement to complete a (re)assessment interview. Once completed, cash assistance and food stamps will be reinstated. The minimum sanction period must be completed.

If you failed to complete a work activity, you must sign an agreement to participate in a work activity. The work activity is for 10 consecutive days for 6 hours to 8 hours each day. Once completed, cash assistance and food stamps will be reinstated. The minimum sanction period must be completed.

If you failed to meet a child support requirement, you must contact the child support worker and comply. Once completed, cash assistance and food stamps will be reinstated. The minimum sanction period must be met.

If you failed to act on your children services (CSB) plan, you must contact the children services worker and comply with the plan. Once completed, cash assistance and food stamps will be reinstated. The minimum sanction period must be met.

Do I have to cooperate with work activities? Usually yes. There are very limited exceptions. Some individuals may not have to participate in the regular work activity. They may be required to perform developmental work activity or alternate work activity:

A single parent with a child 3 months of age to 6 months of age must participate in parenting classes for 1 hour per week for 4 weeks. If the parent fails to attend the parenting classes, a sanction may occur. Once a child is 6 months old, the parent will be assigned to a work activity.

All other individuals are required to participate in work activity. For a single parent family, the adult head of household must:

  • perform 20 hours of regular work activity; and
    • 12 hours of either regular work activity; or
    • developmental work activity; or
    • alternate work activity.

For a two parent family receiving federal child care, both parents may split 50 hours of regular work activity and 5 hours of either regular work activity or developmental work activity or alternate work activity.

For a two parent family not receiving federal child care, both parents may split 30 hours of regular work activity and 5 hours of either regular work activity or developmental work activity or alternate work activity.

What if I can’t participate or cooperate as required?

You may have “good cause” for your failure or refusal to participate. Good cause is limited to the following:

(a) Illness of a work eligible individual or illness of another family member, if the work eligible individual was required to care for them;

(b) For a work eligible individual or a family member, an appointment necessary for medical, dental, or vision care;

(c) An appointment for a work eligible individual for a job interview including any further interviews and/or tests;

(d) Court ordered appearances;

(e) Appointment with another social service agency or program;

(f) Death in the family, with the length of absence to be determined by the CDJFS;

(g) A school, place of work or worksite is closed for the day;

(h) Lack of child care;

(i) A failure of the CDJFS to provide supportive services;

(j) A failure of the CDJFS to provide the individual with all information necessary about the assignment;

(k) Circumstances involving domestic violence which make it difficult for the individual to comply in full with a provision of the self sufficiency contract; or

(l) Other circumstances determined on a case by case basis by the CDJFS that are considered a fair or reasonable justification for the work eligible individual’s failure or refusal to comply in full with a provision of the self sufficiency contract.

How long do I have to report that I will miss an assignment or appointment?

You have one hour to report to your job counselor, child support worker or children services worker. You must have a good reason as listed above. It is not enough to report to your job site supervisor that you cannot attend.

 

 

This article is meant to give you general information and not to give you specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated April, 2012. CE-71-F222-CLAS

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