340:10-2-2. Sanction process
(a) Applicability. The sanction process provides for the determination of good cause and the use of penalties for individuals who refuse or fail to participate in assigned work activities. • 1
(b) Failure or refusal to participate. It is the responsibility of the worker to make the determination that an individual has refused or failed to participate without good cause in an assigned work activity.
(1) Refusal to participate occurs when an applicant or recipient states orally or in writing that he or she will not participate or continue to participate in work activities. Refusal also occurs when an individual's action or inaction indicates the individual, without good cause for refusing, will not participate in the program.
(2) Failure to participate in the program includes failure to:
(A) assist in the assessment and development of employability plans that includes screening for substance abuse and literacy;
(B) attend orientation, scheduled meetings, or assessments;
(C) maintain a minimum of required hours in scheduled activities;
(D) accept or maintain appropriate employment;
(E) report absences from the work activity to the worker, facility coordinator, or employer;
(F) comply with a substance abuse treatment plan; or
(G) follow the rules of the facility or employer.
(c) Failure to participate without good cause. The worker must contact the individual to determine good cause. • 2 If it is determined at this contact that good cause does exist, the worker assists the individual with either updating the employability plan or helping the individual resume the activity as soon as possible. • 3 If it is determined there is not good cause for failure to participate or no contact was completed, the worker closes or denies the cash assistance. • 4
(d) Determination of good cause. All good cause situations are temporary in nature. An individual may have good cause for refusing or failing to participate in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Work. The worker determines whether or not good cause exists. • 5
(e) Procedure following denial of cash assistance. When an application for cash assistance is denied for failure to participate in the work activity without good cause, a new application must be completed.
(f) Procedures following termination of cash assistance.
(1) When there has been no contact with the individual 30 calendar days after the effective date of closure, the worker makes a home visit to determine the family's circumstances and offers appropriate services, unless the worker's personal safety is in question. • 6
(2) Individuals who agree to participate within 60 calendar days of the date of the benefit termination may have their benefit reopened on reconsideration of the administrative action after the individual participates in an agreed upon appropriate activity for a specified length of time. • 7 If an appropriate activity is not available due to the client's previous behavior, the case remains closed. The effective date of the reopen action is dependent upon the successful participation of the individual in an assigned work activity and the circumstances of the case. • 8
(g) TANF hearing. An individual who responds to a written notice of denial or termination of cash assistance as a result of failure or refusal to participate in work activities, and the matter cannot be resolved locally, is assisted in requesting a hearing before a hearing officer in accordance with OAC 340:2-5. • 9
(h) Grievances and appeals by employees of Work Experience Program (WEP), Subsidized Employment Program (SEP), and On-the-Job Training (OJT) facilities. Grievances may be filed by employees of facilities where TANF work participants are assigned to WEP, SEP, or OJT, when they believe they have been harmed by the violation of one of the assurances in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(1) WEP, SEP, or OJT assignments must not result in the filling of any established vacancy which:
(A) results in the displacement of any currently employed worker or position, including partial displacement, such as a reduction in hours or non-overtime work, wages, or employment benefits;
(B) impairs existing contracts for services;
(C) results in the employment or assignment of a participant, or the filling of a position, when any other person is on lay-off from the same organizational unit, or when an employer has terminated any employee or otherwise reduced its work force with the effect of filling the vacancy created by hiring a participant whose wages are subsidized under this program; or
(D) infringes in any way upon promotional opportunities of any currently employed individual.
(2) If an employee or authorized representative wishes to file a grievance for any of the reasons stated in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the request is submitted in writing to the attention of the county director of the county in which the alleged violation occurred. The request:
(A) contains the date of the request, the date of the alleged violation, and a description of the alleged violation including the effect on the employee;
(B) is signed by the employee or authorized representative; and
(C) includes the mailing address and telephone number of the person signing the request.
(3) The worker contacts the individual making the request within ten calendar days from the date of receipt of the request in the local office, and attempts to resolve the grievance on an informal basis.
(A) When the grievance cannot be resolved on an informal basis within the ten calendar days, the case is referred to the county director for review and assistance in resolving the grievance.
(B) If the grievance is not resolved within ten calendar days from the date of referral to the county director, the worker notifies the employee in writing of the:
(i) point(s) still at issue in the grievance; and
(ii) right to request a fair hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of this decision.
(C) The 20-day period allowed for resolution of the grievance is part of the 90-day period allowed for disposition of the appeal if the employee appeals.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:10-2-2
1.(a) The worker ensures persons understand their rights and responsibilities and the possible consequence of refusal to participate.
(b) The computer automatically closes the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefit when the TANF Work participant participated less than nine hours for two- consecutive months and good cause was not determined to exist.
(1) A subject to sanction notice is sent to the participant at the end of the first month of less than nine hours of TANF Work participation informing the participant to contact his or her worker for a good cause determination.
(2) The TANF case automatically closes on code "52B" at the end of the second month, when the worker does not enter more than nine hours of participation or open a good cause authorization.Supervisory review is required prior to recertification.
2.(a) The preferred contact is a face-to-face interview.The worker attempts to contact the client by phone to schedule a face-to-face interview in the office or in the client's home.
(b) When the client refuses to schedule a face-to-face interview, the worker gathers as much information as possible over the phone about why the client was unable to meet participation hours.
(c) When the worker is unable to reach the client by phone to schedule an interview, the worker may use Form 08AD092E, Client Contact and Information Request, to request contact.
(d) Family Assistance/Client Services (FACS) case notes must clearly document the worker's efforts to contact the client and, when contact is made, the client's reasons for failure to participate.
3.The case record and FACS case notes must clearly document when good cause is established and when there is an updated employability plan.
4.(a) The worker:
(1) must clearly document that a refusal or failure to participate is without good cause in FACS case notes;
(2) enters a closure action in the Action Type field in the Fin. Assistance tab of the Eligibility Notebook with a reason code of TANF Work sanction (52A), Refused to Meet TANF Work Requirements (52B), or TANF Extension Failed (29B);
(3) codes a TANF Work sanction in the ET&E status field of the Interview Notebook TANF Work tab;
(4) closes food benefits with the same effective date as the TANF closure when the household receives Simplified Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SSNAP) food benefits per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:50-11.When the household does not receive SSNAP food benefits, the worker enters a change action in the FACS SNAP tab rather than a closure action.The system applies a food benefit income penalty by continuing to count the previous TANF payment standard as income;
(5) closes the SoonerCare (Medicaid) benefit with the same effective date as the TANF closure; and
(b) The worker uses the Food Stamp Penalty Update (FSPU) transaction to end the food benefit income penalty, when the:
(A) TANF cash assistance is recertified within 60-calendar days of the closure effective date;
(B) person becomes employed; or
(C) person did not comply with TANF Work requirements within 60-calendar days of the TANF closure effective date.
5.The worker must document the reason good cause is approved in FACS case notes and image any documentation provided by the participant in the case record. Examples of good cause are:
(1) appropriate child care for the child(ren) is not available.Appropriate child care is care provided by:
(A) a licensed, contracted child care facility;
(B) an approved in-home caregiver;
(C) a dependable relative who is able and willing to assume responsibility for care and supervision of the child for a part of the day;
(D) a free or low cost facility, such as a pre-school, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, Head Start, Early Head Start, or tribal child care program; or
(E) informal arrangements made by the parent with a neighbor or friend for occasional care;
(2) the custodial parent caring for a child younger than 6 years of age because he or she demonstrated an inability to obtain needed child care.This is demonstrated by the unavailability:
(A) of appropriate child care within a reasonable distance from theparent's home or work site.A reasonable distance is a distance determined and agreed upon by the parent and the worker and is dependent upon the individual needs of the parent and child(ren);
(B) or unsuitability of informal child care provided by a relative or provided under other arrangements.Unsuitability of informal child care is an arrangement that does not:
(i) afford the child(ren) adequate care and supervision.Supervision of a child means the function of observing, overseeing, and guiding a child;
(ii) encourage social development or stimulate the child(ren)'s mental capabilities; and
(iii) afford the child(ren) a safe and stable environment that provides for learning opportunities; or
(C) of affordable child care.Affordable child care is defined as the availability of licensed and contracted child care;
(3) the illness or incapacity of the participant or any household member who cannot give self-care and for whom special care is unavailable.When the illness or incapacity of the participant or any household member does not appear temporary, refer to OAC 340:10-2-8(c)(6), Disability Advocacy Program (DAP);
(4) the participant's court-required appearance or incarceration;
(5) the participant's attendance at parent and teacher conferences;
(6) a family crisis or markedly changed individual or family circumstances;
(7) the unavailability of planned transportation, when needed, or the inability to arrange transportation;
(8) the occurrence of inclement weather that prevented the participant, and other similarly situated persons, from traveling to, or participating in, the prescribed activity;
(9) the lack of necessary social services or work activity;
(10) the assignment or job referral not meeting the appropriate work activity criteria per OAC 340:10-2-3(d);
(11) the refusal to accept major medical services even when such refusal precludes participation in the program;
(12) racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, physical or mental disability, age discrimination, or harassment by an employer or other employees;
(13) a participant is engaged in another work activity consistent with the employability plan;
(14) the lack of available treatment in the community for substance abuse or mental health issues affecting the family;
(15) crisis intervention needed due to domestic violence issues; or
(16) pending Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application with legal representation.Refer to OAC 340:10-2-8(c)(6) for instructions regarding DAP.
6.FACS case notes must document the home visit and describe the family's circumstances or document the reason the home visit was not made.County Worker Activity (CWA) Report 70 is provided for the 30-calendar day follow-up.The worker also documents in FACS case notes if a Child Welfare Services visit was made.
7.A new application is not required.The worker enters the new certification date.This can be a date other than the first day of the month.Action type is certification (1) and reason is "Reopen Cure TANF Work Sanction" (18T).The FSPI must be removed using the FSPU Transaction.
8.FACS case notes and Form 08TW002E, TANF Work/Personal Responsibility Agreement, Section 7, must document any work activity the person is required to complete prior to TANF recertification and the agreed upon work plan after certification.
9.For complaints involving situations covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, such as excessive hours or environmental conditions, the county director or designee notifies the Oklahoma Department of Labor.