Food Stamp participants are required to comply with quality control reviews. Noncompliance is “refusal to cooperate”. “Refusal to cooperate” is the EU’s unwillingness to cooperate. For a determination of refusal to be made, the EU must be able to cooperate, but clearly demonstrates that it will not take actions that it can take, to complete the quality control review.
The QC reviewer will contact the eligibility specialist (ES) when the EU does not respond to attempts to contact or attain information. The IM-311Q, QC Referral for Contact/Sanction, will be sent to the ES. The 311Q will notify the ES of the determination of refusal or failure to cooperate made by the QC reviewer. Once received, the ES has 5 days to attempt contact either by telephone or by sending the IM-31Q Notice of Contact Requested.
The EU has 10 days to respond to the ES. If the EU responds, advise them to contact the QC reviewer by telephone and to cooperate with the QC reviewer to prevent the case from being sanctioned for refusal to cooperate. If the EU does not respond, start the process for sanction if QC determined a refusal to cooperate.
It is the responsibility of the ES to enter the sanction in FAMIS for refusal to cooperate. The EU is no longer eligible to receive Food Stamp benefits once the determination is made. It is important to explain to all participants the need to cooperate with reviews and consequences of refusal.
Instances where the EU’s unwillingness to cooperate with a quality control review shall include:
- the EU does not respond to an IM-31Q, Notice of Contact Requested, that has been handed to an EU member;
- the EU, verbally or in writing, demonstrates that it will not take actions that it can take;
- the EU does not return a signed release of information within 10 days of agreeing to do so; or
- the EU does not keep a scheduled appointment they agreed to and does not make contact with QC to reschedule.
NOTE: The EU may want to cooperate but lacks transportation or a telephone to contact the office. This is a failure to cooperate. If there is any question as to whether the EU has merely failed to cooperate, as opposed to refuse to cooperate, the QC reviewer will not request to terminate benefits. If the EU wants to cooperate but does not have transportation, the reviewer will arrange to meet them.
EXAMPLE: Mr. Black has been interviewed by the QC Reviewer. Additional information is requested from Mr. Black concerning the EU’s income. Mr. Black does not provide the information within 10 days. The QC Reviewer contacts an ES to request that they contact the EU. The ES sends an IM-31Q requesting the EU contact an ES. Mr. Black calls an ES and states he will not provide income information. This is a refusal to cooperate. The ES begins the sanction process.
EXAMPLE: QC contacts an ES and has determined a failure to cooperate and requests they contact the EU. An IM-31Q is sent requesting the EU contact the ES. The EU does not respond within 10 days. The address is correct and mail is not returned. This remains a failure to cooperate as no contact has been made with the EU. It must be verified that the EU has knowledge of the QC review to establish a refusal to cooperate.