Changes to the General Relief Noncompliance and Sanction Policy


Policy

Effective March 1, 2014, the new GR noncompliance and sanction policy changes are as follows:


A.

GR applicants will not be sanctioned for not complying with employment-related requirements; however they will be denied GR benefits for not complying with employment and program-related requirements.

As a requirement for GR eligibility, all GR employable applicants are mandated to comply with GR and GROW employment requirements, which are: Job Search verification, Employment Development Department (EDD) Registration, GROW Orientation and Evaluation. Failure to comply with any of these requirements during the application process will result in denial of the GR application; however, there will be no sanction (period of ineligibility) imposed. The GR applicant may reapply immediately.

  1.

Applicant:

Upon submission of an application for GR, the GR application must be approved or denied within 30 days.

An applicant, who fails to comply with any GR Program requirements during the Intake process, may have his application denied. However, no sanction is imposed and the applicant may re-apply immediately.

 

B. GR participants will not be terminated or sanctioned for noncompliance with employment-related program requirements during their first three months of receiving GR benefits in a 12-month period.;

  1. The "3-month Grace Period"

Employable GR participants are granted one "3-month Grace Period" during a 12 month period. The three months do not need to be consecutive. The time spent receiving GR benefits, as an employable or unemployable will be counted in calculating the "3-month Grace Period." During the "3-month Grace Period" a GR case must not be terminated or sanctioned for failure to comply with employment-related program requirements.


    a. Days 1-30: Applicants during days 1 to 30 of the "3-month Grace Period" may be denied for failing to comply with employable GR/GROW requirements, but they may not be sanctioned.

Employable participants whose cases were approved during this period must be encouraged to comply with employment- related program requirements. If a participant fails to comply with an employment-related program requirement, LEADER will send him/her a PA 4047-G, General Relief Informational Notice. However, the participant's case will not be terminated or sanctioned for failure to comply.

    b. Days 31-60: Employable participants during days 31-60 must be encouraged to comply with employment-related requirements. If a participant fails to comply with an employment-related program requirement, LEADER will send him/her a PA 4047-G, General Relief Informational Notice. However, participant's case will not be neither terminated nor sanctioned for failure to comply.

    c.

Days 61-90: Employable participants during days 61-90 must comply with employment-related requirements. If a participant fails to comply with an employment-related program requirement, LEADER will send him/her a Notice of Action. However, the participant's case will not be terminated or sanctioned for failure to comply until the 91st day after the first act of noncompliance within a 12-month period.

Example:

  • A participant applied for GR for the first time on February 1, 2013. On March 14, 2013, the participant commits their first act of noncompliance.
  • The "3-month Grace Period" begins on February 1, 2013.
  • The act of noncompliance occurred during month 2, March 2013, days 31-60.
  • An informational Notice of Action will be triggered by LEADER and mailed to the participant.
  • No termination or sanction will occur.
  2. Rolling Clock (Calculating the "3-Month Grace Period")

The way LEADER will track the "3-month Grace Period" is by using the "Rolling Clock" method.

    a. The Rolling Clock Period begins on the date the sanction would be imposed. LEADER will look back 12 months to see if the participant has received three months in that 12 month period.

    b. The Rolling Clock Period will identify if the participant has received aid as either an employable or unemployable for three months. The three months do not need to be consecutive.

    c.

When a participant receives two months of the Grace Period they are still eligible for one more month.

Example:

A participant applied for GR on March 1, 2013, and had no prior acts of noncompliance within the last 12 months. On June 12, 2013, the participant committed an act of noncompliance.
  • The Rolling Clock Period begins on June, 2013, the date the sanction would be imposed. LEADER will look back 12 months to determine if the participant has received aid for three months during the 12 month period and determine what type of action should occur.

  • The participant has received aid on April, May, and June of 2013.

  • June 2013 is month 3, Days 61-90. The noncompliance will be tracked and applied at the end of month 3.

  • LEADER will initiate the noncompliance with a termination date of June 31, 2013.

Example:

A participant applied for GR on April 1, 2013 and had no prior acts of noncompliance within the last 12 months. On May 18, 2013, the participant committed an act of noncompliance.

  • The Rolling Clock Period begins May 18, 2013, the date the sanction would be imposed. LEADER will look back 12 months to determine if the participant has received aid for three months during the 12 month period and determine what type of action should occur.

  • The participant has received aid April and May of 2013.

  • Since participant received cash aid for 2 months he is still entitled to one month of the "3-month Grace Period."
C. GR noncompliance not given Good Cause must be classified as either Willful or Negligent. A GR participant may be terminated and sanctioned for a single instance of Willful failure or three instances of Negligent failure.

  1.

Willful Failure

Willful noncompliance occurs when an applicant or recipient purposefully does not comply with program requirements and the circumstances were within their control. Willful noncompliance requires a deliberate, intentional refusal to comply. Willfulness cannot typically be implied from an action or failure to act; the person must clearly indicate intent not to do the action that was required. Normally, it will be difficult to show intent unless there is a clear indication that the person understood the rules and affirmatively chose not to follow them. An example would be, "I did not feel like doing the activity" (assuming there were no personal circumstances such as illness that lead to this statement.

  2.

Negligent Failure

Negligent Noncompliance occurs when a participant does not exercise adequate judgment or fails to take steps that a similarly-situated reasonable person would take in order to comply with GR Program requirements.

A negligent act includes a degree of fault which can range from a minor error in judgment or a gross error of judgment, but the noncompliance is not done with deliberate intent. Negligent actions might also be described as, neglectful, careless or inadvertent. An example would be "I woke up late and missed my bus."

 

  3.

Good Cause

Good Cause occurs when a participant is unable to comply with a requirement due to circumstances or events beyond the person's control, including a mistake (action or inaction) on the part of any member of DPSS, an action of an outside person or entity which renders the participant unable to comply, or is due to personal circumstances such as illness. Noncompliance with a program requirement that is neither negligent nor willful must be found to be with Good Cause. As long as circumstances support a valid basis for Good Cause, a GR participant is not required to call DPSS ahead of time to state that he/she will miss an appointment.


  4. Progressive Sanction Policy

Sanctions are progressive. This means every time participants get a sanction, the waiting time to apply again will increase. The most participants have to wait before they can apply for GR again is 60 days. The waiting period will reset back to 0 days after the participant has been free of any sanctions for 365 consecutive days.

    a. The first sanction imposed will result in a period of ineligibility of 0 days.
    b. The second sanction imposed results in a period of ineligibility of 30 days.
    c. The third sanction imposed results in a period of ineligibility of 60 days.
    d. Every sanction imposed thereafter, results in a period of ineligibility of 60 days.

  5. Applying Sanctions

Sanctions are applied depending on whether the noncompliance is Willful or Negligent.


    a. The first instance of one Willful act of noncompliance or at least three Negligent acts of noncompliance will result in a 0-day sanction.
    b. The second additional Willful act of noncompliance or at least three additional Negligent acts of noncompliance will result in a 30-day sanction.
    c. The third additional Willful act of noncompliance or set of three additional Negligent acts of noncompliance will result in a 60-day sanction.
    d. The first and second instance of negligent noncompliance will not result in a sanction. The third instance will result in a sanction.
    e. The progressive penalty is applied differently depending on whether a participant’s noncompliance is found to be Willful or Negligent (see Table 1)

Table 1:
Zero Day Sanction 30 Day Sanction 60 Day Sanction
One Willful Act One additional Willful Act within 365 days from the 1st sanction date One additional Willful Act within 365 days from the 1st sanction date
Three Negligent Acts in different months within 365 days from the 1st sanction date Three additional Negligent Acts in different months within 365 days from the 1st sanction date; Three additional Negligent Acts in different months within 365 days from the 1st sanction date


    f. Participants may fail to comply with more than one employable requirement. If there is more than one noncompliance in the same month, participant will be subject to only one sanction. Always count the most severe noncompliance. When there are multiple noncompliances of the same type, count the one that occurred the latest.

  6. 4-Day Grace Period

When a participant fails to comply with a GR employment-related or GROW requirement, the Department will not immediately send a Notice of Action (NOA) advising of the noncompliance. Instead, the Department will provide participants with a four-day grace period after the participant fails to comply with a GR employment/GROW requirement before starting the noncompliance procedures.

During this time, the Department will notify GR participants within two business days after any failure to comply with any GR Employment/GROW Program requirement by outbound phone call and email. The participant has until the 4th day of the four-day grace period to contact his/her EW/GCM worker to prevent any negative action from taking place on the GR case.

DPSS will take negative action and send a NOA after the four-day grace period has expired if the participant has not resolved all noncompliances.

  7. Noncompliance Review

GR and GROW Workers must conduct a Noncompliance Review, upon request by a participant. A participant may request a noncompliance review prior to and after the hearing date, but not after the third Thursday extended-suspend period deadline. GR and GROW participants have an opportunity to resolve the noncompliance.

    a. Prior to the Hearing Date
GR or GROW participants may contact their EW or GCM prior to the date of their corresponding hearing to resolve a noncompliance. The participant must provide the corresponding EW or GCM with documentation or information explaining why they failed to comply with a requirement.

During the Noncompliance Review, the EW or GCM may take good reason criteria into consideration when determining that a participant's situation prevented him/her from complying. If it did, then the EW/GCM may resolve the noncompliance.

If the EW/GCM is unable to make a determination or does not reverse the termination, they must advise the participant that he/she may attend the scheduled GR or GROW Hearing. If he/she disagrees with the EW/GCM's decision and they fail to attend their hearing their aid will be stopped and they will have to wait 0/30/60 days to reapply.

Also, the EW/GCM must advise them that the hearing officer is a supervisor who is a neutral fact finder that was not involved in the original decision and the hearing officer will not be their workers supervisor but another supervisor.

    b, After the Hearing Date
GR or GROW participants may contact their EW via the Customer Service Center or GCM after the date of their hearing and up-to the third Thursday of the month following the termination of the participants GR benefits to resolve a noncompliance. The participant must provide the EW or GCM, as appropriate, with documentation/information explaining why they failed to comply with a requirement.

If the EW or GCM determines that the participants’ situation prevented him/her from complying, the EW or GCM must reverse the termination and reopen the GR case. Any sanction applied to the case for this instance must be permanently removed.

For more details on the Noncompliance Review, refer to General Relief and GROW Noncompliance Review and Hearing Process.

  8. GR and GROW Hearings

GR and GROW participants have the right to: dispute the termination; review their records; have a hearing before an impartial Hearing Officer who has authority to reverse the decision if it is incorrect; provide Good Cause for the failure to comply with program requirements; and receive written notification on the result of the hearing.

The hearing must be conducted by a Hearing Officer at the level of an ES or above for a GR eligibility hearing or a GAIN Services Supervisor (GSS) or above for a GROW hearing.

The Hearing Officer will be a supervisor that was not the supervisor of the EW/GCM involved in the original decision.

Only Hearing Officers can determine Good Cause. If Good Cause is not determined, only Hearing Officers can determine if the noncompliance is Willful or Negligent.

For more details on GR and GROW Hearings, refer to General Relief and GROW Noncompliance Review and Hearing Process.

  9. Extended-Suspend Period

Individuals, except those terminated for time limits or duplicate filing, are provided an extended-suspend period through the third Thursday of the month following termination, to comply with all noncompliance issues. When noncompliance issues are not resolved during this period, aid remains terminated.

A participant may resolve any and all employment-related program noncompliances with their EW/GCM prior to and after the hearing; however, they may not resolve any noncompliances after the third Thursday extended-suspend period deadline.

If DPSS made an error or terminating or reducing a participant's benefits, then designated DPSS management will have discretion to restore benefits so long as the participant requests such review within 90 days after the adverse action is taken.

  10.

First Missed Hearing Appointment

The first time an employable participant fails to appear for a Hearing in a 12-month period or does not resolve the noncompliance by the end of the extended-suspend period, the case will be terminated, but no sanction will be imposed. Any subsequent instances of noncompliance will cause the case to be terminated and the participant to be sanctioned in accordance with the 0, 30, 60, day progressive sanction policy.

For more details on the Missed Hearing Appointment, refer to General Relief and GROW Noncompliance Review and Hearing Process.




Definitions
Term Description
Applicant: An individual who applied for GR and has an open pending application.
Participant: An Individual who is eligible for GR and is receiving a monthly GR cash grant.
Employment-Related Program Requirements: As a requirement for GR eligibility, all GR employable applicants are mandated to comply with GR and GROW employment requirements. For detail description of requirements, refer to Policy Section V.
"3-month Grace Period": Is the period of time in which a GR participant cannot be sanctioned or have their benefits terminated unless he/she has received three months of GR benefits in a 12 month period
12-month period: Is a period of 365 days.
Noncompliance: Is a failure to comply with employment-related requirements without Good Cause.
Sanction: Is a period of time participants must wait after their GR benefits are stopped before they can apply again.
Good Cause: Occurs when the participant is unable to comply with a requirement due to a reason beyond the person's control, a mistake (action or inaction) on the part of any member of DPSS, an action of an outside person or entity which renders the participant unable to comply, or is due to personal circumstances such as illness.
Willful Noncompliance: Requires a deliberate, intentional refusal to comply. Willfulness cannot typically be implied from an action or failure to act; the person must clearly indicate intent not to do the action that was required. An example would be, "I did not feel like doing the activity."
Negligent Noncompliance: Occurs when a participant does not exercise adequate judgment or fails to take steps that a similarly-situated reasonable person would take in order to comply with GR program requirements. An example would be "I woke up late and missed my bus."
Progressive Sanction: Means every time participants get a sanction, the waiting time to apply again will increase.
Extended-Suspend Period: Is a period through the third Thursday of the month following termination, to comply with all noncompliance issues.
Rolling Clock (Calculating the "3-month Grace Period"): Begins on the date of the first act of noncompliance, LEADER will look back 12 months to see if the participant has received three months of aid.
Noncompliance Review: A process that allows participants to resolve a noncompliance prior to or after a hearing.
GR and GROW Hearings: GR and GROW participants have the right to: dispute the termination; review their records; have a hearing before an impartial Hearing Officer who has authority to reverse the decision if it is incorrect; provide Good Cause for the failure to comply with program requirements and receive written notification on the result of the hearing.


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