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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

256J.46 SANCTIONS.

Subdivision 1.Participants not complying with program requirements.

(a) A participant who fails without good cause under section 256J.57 to comply with the requirements of this chapter, and who is not subject to a sanction under subdivision 2, shall be subject to a sanction as provided in this subdivision. Prior to the imposition of a sanction, a county agency shall provide a notice of intent to sanction under section 256J.57, subdivision 2, and, when applicable, a notice of adverse action as provided in section 256J.31.

(b) A sanction under this subdivision becomes effective the month following the month in which a required notice is given. A sanction must not be imposed when a participant comes into compliance with the requirements for orientation under section 256J.45 prior to the effective date of the sanction. A sanction must not be imposed when a participant comes into compliance with the requirements for employment and training services under sections 256J.515 to 256J.57 ten days prior to the effective date of the sanction. 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. If both participants in a two-parent assistance unit are out of compliance at the same time, it is considered one occurrence of noncompliance.

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

(1) For the first occurrence of noncompliance by a participant in an assistance unit, the assistance unit's grant shall be reduced by ten percent of the MFIP standard of need for an assistance unit of the same size with the residual grant 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.

(2) For a second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth occurrence of noncompliance by a participant in an assistance unit, the assistance unit's shelter costs shall be vendor paid up to the amount of the cash portion of the MFIP grant for which the assistance unit is eligible. At county option, the assistance unit's utilities may also be vendor paid up to the amount of the cash portion of the MFIP grant remaining after vendor payment of the assistance unit's shelter costs. The residual amount of the grant after vendor payment, if any, must be reduced by an amount equal to 30 percent of the MFIP standard of need for an assistance unit of the same size before the residual grant is paid to the assistance unit. 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 in a one-parent assistance unit returns to compliance. In a two-parent assistance unit, the grant reduction must be in effect for a minimum of one month and shall be removed in the month following the month both participants return to compliance. The vendor payment of shelter costs and, if applicable, utilities shall be removed six months after the month in which the participant or participants return to compliance. If an assistance unit is sanctioned under this clause, the participant's case file must be reviewed to determine if the employment plan is still appropriate.

(d) For a seventh occurrence of noncompliance by a participant in an assistance unit, or when the participants in a two-parent assistance unit have a total of seven occurrences of noncompliance, the county agency shall close the MFIP assistance unit's financial assistance case, both the cash and food portions, and redetermine the family's continued eligibility for food support payments. The MFIP case must remain closed for a minimum of one full month. Before the case is closed, the county agency must review the participant's case to determine if the employment plan is still appropriate and attempt to meet with the participant face-to-face. The participant may bring an advocate to the face-to-face meeting. If a face-to-face meeting is not conducted, the county agency must send the participant a written notice that includes the information required under clause (1).

(1) During the face-to-face meeting, the county agency must:

(i) determine whether the continued noncompliance can be explained and mitigated by providing a needed preemployment activity, as defined in section 256J.49, subdivision 13, clause (9);

(ii) determine whether the participant qualifies for a good cause exception under section 256J.57, or if the sanction is for noncooperation with child support requirements, determine if the participant qualifies for a good cause exemption under section 256.741, subdivision 10;

(iii) determine whether the work activities in the employment plan are appropriate based on the criteria in section 256J.521, subdivision 2 or 3;

(iv) determine whether the participant qualifies for the family violence waiver;

(v) inform the participant of the participant's sanction status and explain the consequences of continuing noncompliance;

(vi) identify other resources that may be available to the participant to meet the needs of the family; and

(vii) inform the participant of the right to appeal under section 256J.40.

(2) If the lack of an identified activity or service can explain the noncompliance, the county must work with the participant to provide the identified activity.

(3) The grant must be restored to the full amount for which the assistance unit is eligible retroactively to the first day of the month in which the participant was found to lack preemployment activities or to qualify for a family violence waiver or for a good cause exemption under section 256.741, subdivision 10, or 256J.57.

(e) For the purpose of applying sanctions under this section, only occurrences of noncompliance that occur after July 1, 2003, shall be considered. If the participant is in 30 percent sanction in the month this section takes effect, that month counts as the first occurrence for purposes of applying the sanctions under this section, but the sanction shall remain at 30 percent for that month.

(f) An assistance unit whose case is closed under paragraph (d) or (g), may reapply for MFIP and shall be eligible if the participant complies with MFIP program requirements and demonstrates compliance for up to one month. No assistance shall be paid during this period.

(g) An assistance unit whose case has been closed for noncompliance, that reapplies under paragraph (f), is subject to sanction under paragraph (c), clause (2), for a first occurrence of noncompliance. Any subsequent occurrence of noncompliance shall result in case closure under paragraph (d).

Subd. 1a.

[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 9 art 10 s 67]

Subd. 2.Sanctions for refusal to cooperate with support requirements.

The grant of an MFIP caregiver who refuses to cooperate, as determined by the child support enforcement agency, with support requirements under section 256.741, shall be subject to sanction as specified in this subdivision and subdivision 1. For a first occurrence of noncooperation, the assistance unit's grant must be reduced by 30 percent of the applicable MFIP standard of need. Subsequent occurrences of noncooperation shall be subject to sanction under subdivision 1, paragraphs (c), clause (2), and (d). The residual amount of the grant, if any, must be paid to the caregiver. A sanction under this subdivision becomes effective the first month following the month in which a required notice is given. A sanction must not be imposed when a caregiver comes into compliance with the requirements under section 256.741 prior to the effective date of the sanction. The sanction shall be removed in the month following the month that the caregiver cooperates with the support requirements. Each month that an MFIP caregiver fails to comply with the requirements of section 256.741 must be considered a separate occurrence of noncompliance for the purpose of applying sanctions under subdivision 1, paragraphs (c), clause (2), and (d).

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.

Any vendor payment of shelter costs 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:

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

(2) noncooperation under subdivision 2 before being subject to sanction for noncompliance under subdivision 1, the participant is considered to have a second occurrence of noncompliance and shall be sanctioned as provided in subdivision 1, paragraph (c), clause (2). Each subsequent occurrence of noncompliance shall be considered one additional occurrence and shall be subject to the applicable level of sanction under subdivision 1. The requirement that the county conduct a review as specified in subdivision 1, paragraph (d), 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:

(1) in the first month of noncompliance and noncooperation, the participant's grant must be reduced by 30 percent of the applicable MFIP standard of need, with any residual amount paid to the participant;

(2) in the second and subsequent months of noncompliance and noncooperation, the participant shall be subject to the applicable level of sanction under subdivision 1.

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

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

(1) returns to compliance and is no longer subject to sanction for noncompliance with section 256J.45 or sections 256J.515 to 256J.57; or

(2) has the sanction for noncompliance with section 256J.45 or sections 256J.515 to 256J.57 removed upon completion of the review under subdivision 1, paragraph (e).

A participant remains subject to the applicable level of sanction under subdivision 1 if the participant cooperates and is no longer subject to sanction under subdivision 2.

Subd. 3.Restrictions on sanctions.

A participant shall not be sanctioned for failure to meet the agreed-upon hours in a participant's employment plan under section 256J.521, subdivision 2, when the participant fails to meet the agreed-upon hours of participation in paid employment because the participant is not eligible for holiday pay and the participant's place of employment is closed for a holiday.