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256J.46 Sanctions.

Subdivision 1. Sanctions for participants not complying with program requirements. (a) A participant who fails without good cause to comply with the requirements of this chapter, and who is not subject to sanction under subdivision 2, shall be subject to a sanction as provided in this subdivision. A sanction under this subdivision becomes effective ten days after the required notice is given. For purposes of this subdivision, each month that a participant fails to comply with a requirement of this chapter shall be considered a separate occurrence of noncompliance. A participant who has had one or more sanctions imposed must remain in compliance with the provisions of this chapter for six months in order for a subsequent occurrence of noncompliance to be considered a first occurrence.

(b) Sanctions for noncompliance shall be imposed as follows:

(1) For the first occurrence of noncompliance, the participant's grant shall be reduced by ten percent of the applicable transitional standard. The reduction in the grant amount must be in effect for a minimum of one month and shall be removed in the month following the month that the participant returns to compliance.

(2) For a second or subsequent occurrence of noncompliance, the participant's rent shall be vendor paid up to the amount of the MFIP-S grant for which the participant's assistance unit is eligible. At county option, the participant's utilities may also be vendor paid up to the amount of the MFIP-S grant remaining after vendor payment of the participant's rent. The vendor payment of rent and, if in effect, utilities, must be in effect for six months from the date that a sanction is imposed under this clause. The residual amount of the grant after vendor payment, if any, must be reduced by an amount equal to 30 percent of the applicable transitional standard before the residual is paid to the participant. The reduction in the grant amount must be in effect for a minimum of one month and shall be removed in the month following the month that the participant returns to compliance. The vendor payment of rent and, if applicable, utilities shall be removed six months after the month in which the participant returns to compliance.

(c) No later than during the second month that a sanction under paragraph (b), clause (2), is in effect, the participant's case file must be reviewed to determine if:

(i) the continued noncompliance can be explained and mitigated by providing a needed preemployment activity, as defined in section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (16);

(ii) the participant qualifies for a good cause exception under section 256J.57; or

(iii) the participant qualifies for an exemption under section 256J.56.

If the lack of an identified activity can explain the noncompliance, the county must work with the participant to provide the identified activity, and the county must restore the participant's grant amount to the full amount for which the assistance unit is eligible. The grant must be restored retroactively to the first day of the month in which the participant was found to lack preemployment activities or to qualify for an exemption or good cause exception.

If the participant is found to qualify for a good cause exception or an exemption, the county must restore the participant's grant to the full amount for which the assistance unit is eligible. If the participant's grant is restored under this paragraph, the vendor payment of rent and if applicable, utilities, shall be removed six months after the month in which the sanction was imposed and the county must consider a subsequent occurrence of noncompliance to be a first occurrence.

Subd. 1a. Transitional rule; sanctions for AFDC, family GA, STRIDE, ACCESS, MFIP, or MFIP-R recipients. For purposes of determining a sanction under subdivision 1, for the first occurrence of noncompliance with a provision of this chapter or with section 256.741, if enacted, a recipient of assistance under AFDC, family general assistance, STRIDE, ACCESS, MFIP, or MFIP-R who was under a sanction in the month immediately preceding the receipt of assistance under MFIP-S shall be subject to sanction as provided in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), clause (1). The reduction in grant amount must be in effect for a minimum of one month. For a second or subsequent occurrence of noncompliance, the sanction shall be as provided in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), clause (2).

Subd. 2. Sanctions for refusal to cooperate with support requirements. The grant of an MFIP-S caregiver who refuses to cooperate, as determined by the child support enforcement agency, with support requirements under section 256.741, if enacted, shall be subject to sanction as specified in this subdivision. The assistance unit's grant must be reduced by 25 percent of the applicable transitional standard. The residual amount of the grant, if any, must be paid to the caregiver. A sanction under this subdivision becomes effective ten days after the required notice is given. The sanction must be in effect for a minimum of one month and shall be removed only when the caregiver cooperates with the support requirements. Each month that an MFIP-S caregiver fails to comply with the requirements of section 256.741 must be considered a separate occurrence of noncompliance. An MFIP-S caregiver who has had one or more sanctions imposed must remain in compliance with the requirements of section 256.741 for six months in order for a subsequent sanction to be considered a first occurrence.

Subd. 2a. Dual sanctions. (a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivisions 1 and 2, for a participant subject to a sanction for refusal to comply with child support requirements under subdivision 2 and subject to a concurrent sanction for refusal to cooperate with other program requirements under subdivision 1, sanctions shall be imposed in the manner prescribed in this subdivision.

A participant who has had one or more sanctions imposed under this subdivision must remain in compliance with the provisions of this chapter for six months in order for a subsequent occurrence of noncompliance to be considered a first occurrence. Any vendor payment of rent or utilities under this subdivision must remain in effect for six months after the month in which the participant is no longer subject to sanction under subdivision 1.

(b) If the participant was subject to sanction for:

(i) noncompliance under subdivision 1 before being subject to sanction for noncooperation under subdivision 2; or

(ii) noncooperation under subdivision 2 before being subject to sanction for noncompliance under subdivision 1;

the participant shall be sanctioned as provided in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), clause (2), and the requirement that the county conduct a review as specified in subdivision 1, paragraph (c), remains in effect.

(c) A participant who first becomes subject to sanction under both subdivisions 1 and 2 in the same month is subject to sanction as follows:

(i) in the first month of noncompliance and noncooperation, the participant's grant must be reduced by 25 percent of the applicable transitional standard, with any residual amount paid to the participant;

(ii) in the second and subsequent months of noncompliance and noncooperation, the participant shall be sanctioned as provided in subdivision 1, paragraph (b), clause (2).

The requirement that the county conduct a review as specified in subdivision 1, paragraph (c), remains in effect.

(d) A participant remains subject to sanction under subdivision 2 if the participant:

(i) returns to compliance and is no longer subject to sanction under subdivision 1; or

(ii) has the sanction under subdivision 1, paragraph (b), removed upon completion of the review under subdivision 1, paragraph (c).

A participant remains subject to sanction under subdivision 1, paragraph (b), if the participant cooperates and is no longer subject to sanction under subdivision 2.

HIST: 1997 c 85 art 1 s 36; 1997 c 245 art 4 s 2