Guidelines MWA case managers consider when discussing good cause with participants are:
- 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;
- Court-required appearance or incarceration;
- Emergency family crisis or sudden change of immediate family circumstances that renders participation unreasonable;
- Breakdown in transportation arrangements with no readily accessible alternate means of transportation;
- 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.
- Lack of social or supportive services necessary for participation; or
- 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:
- 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.
- The MWA Case Management System sends a sanction code in the overnight batch file to FAMIS.
- FAMIS begins the sanction process by:
- Completing a budget, reducing the TA grant by 50%;
- Generating an Adverse Action (FA-510) notifying the TA participant of the intent to sanction;
- 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.);
- Updating the sanction code Non-Cooperation with Work Requirement (TA ONLY) (WR5) on the Sanction/Disqualification (SANDISQ or FMAM) screen; and
- Sending the sanction code to the MWA service provider via the nightly batch.
- FAMIS generates a Claimant Action Notice (FA-150) after the Adverse Action (FA-510) expires.
- No action is necessary by the ES unless:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.