When a NHEP participant fails or refuses to meet NHEP participation requirements without good cause, or a *Financial Assistance to Needy Families (FANF) applicant or recipient voluntarily quits a job without good cause (see PART 315, VOLUNTARY QUIT), that individual is sanctioned. Official notification is sent to inform the individual of the:
• specific act of noncompliance;
• opportunity to claim a good cause reason for voluntary quit or failure/refusal to meet NHEP work program requirements;
• need to provide verification of compliance if meeting requirements, or of good cause if not meeting requirements;
• action required by the individual to remove the sanction or to prevent benefits from terminating;
• right to an administrative appeal and the individual’s right to bring a representative of his/her choosing to the hearing; and
• option to participate in a home-based assessment by an Assessment and Intervention Unit (AIU) Counselor, if the individual has progressed to a LEVEL 3 SANCTION.
CONDITIONS FOR SANCTIONING
A sanction is applied under any of the following circumstances:
• the individual does not claim and provide verification of good cause within 7 business days from the date of the official notification of voluntary quit or noncompliance; or
Exception: Homeless individuals are not sanctioned for failing to respond to mailed notification of noncompliance, unless the client informs District Office or NHEP staff or other outside sources that the notification was received.
• the individual has claimed good cause but the supervisor or NHEP representative determines that the individual did not have good cause for voluntary quit or noncompliance, and has notified the individual in writing of the good cause decision.
Individuals sanctioned for voluntary quit or failure/refusal to cooperate with NHEP work program requirements without good cause remain eligible for all employment-related deductions and disregards, including the earned income disregard.
Sanctions, regardless of the LEVEL, are applied for a minimum of one payment period or until the individual complies with NHEP work requirements, including meeting full participation hours, for a minimum of 2 consecutive weeks, whichever is longer. Sanctions apply to both adults and dependent children who voluntarily quit a job without good cause or fail/refuse to meet NHEP program requirements without good cause. It is therefore possible to have one or more sanctioned individuals in the case at the same time. Progressive sanctions only apply to the parent or caretaker relative-included. Dependent children have only one uniform sanction regardless of how long the child fails to comply.
• LEVEL 1 SANCTION- After a voluntary quit or failure/refusal to comply with NHEP work requirements without good cause, apply a LEVEL 1 SANCTION. Reduce the payment standard by the monetary value of the needs of the non-compliant individual to determine the assistance group’s new financial assistance benefit. This figure is referred to as the adjusted payment standard (APS).
• LEVEL 2 SANCTION - After 2 weeks of continued noncompliance without good cause at LEVEL 1, the sanction progresses to a LEVEL 2 SANCTION. The APS resulting from the LEVEL 1 SANCTION is further reduced by 1/3 during the LEVEL 2 SANCTION.
• LEVEL 3 SANCTION - After 4 weeks of continued noncompliance without good cause at LEVEL 2, the sanction progresses to a LEVEL 3 SANCTION. The APS resulting from the LEVEL 1 SANCTION is further reduced by 2/3 during the LEVEL 3 SANCTION.
• TERMINATION OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE - After 4 weeks of continued noncompliance without good cause at LEVEL 3, terminate financial assistance for all members of the assistance group.
CONDITIONS FOR TERMINATING ASSISTANCE
Financial assistance is terminated for the entire assistance group when:
• the FANF financial assistance recipient progresses to a Level 3 sanction and remains in a level 3 sanction for a period of 4 weeks;
• the sanction, regardless of level, is applied to the AG’s benefits and causes the financial benefits to close because the grant amount is subsequently less than $10; or
• the FANF financial assistance recipient accumulates 3 months of NHEP work-program sanctions in a 12-month period.
EXCEPTIONS TO PROGRESSIVE SANCTION POLICY:
• Volunteers (adult or child) who fail to comply with the requirements of an approved activity are disallowed participation in the NHEP for 3 months from the date of noncompliance.
• Do not sanction mandatory individuals determined to be noncompliant with NHEP work program requirements without good cause during a temporary extension of eligibility beyond the 60-month lifetime limit (see PART 134, HARDSHIP EXTENSIONS TO THE FANF 60 MONTH LIFETIME LIMIT). AGs in a FANF hardship extension who are noncompliant with NHEP work program requirements must be allowed a special review process before the noncompliance is acted upon. See Section 134.11, FANF Hardship Extension Review Process, for more information.
A 12-month sanction clock tracks the months a FANF financial assistance recipient spends in an NHEP work program sanction. FANF financial assistance is terminated for the entire AG when a recipient accrues 3 months of any level of sanction in a 12-month period. The 3 months in sanction do not have to be consecutive, and any sanctioned period of the month will count as one month towards the 3-month limit.
• Individuals reapplying for FANF financial assistance after having their benefits closed for accumulating 3 months of sanction in a 12-month period must:
- fully participate with NHEP requirements for 2 consecutive weeks; and
- meet all other program eligibility requirements before eligibility can be redetermined.
• Previous months spent in a NHEP work program sanction continue to count towards the 3-month limit when a case reopens for FANF financial assistance after being closed due to the sanction clock.
UNIFORM SANCTIONS FOR DEPENDENT CHILDREN
Dependent children are not subject to progressive sanctions. Decrease the payment standard by the monetary value of the needs of the noncompliant dependent child when determining the adjusted financial assistance benefit amount. The benefit reduction is applied for one payment period or until the failure to comply ceases, whichever is longer.