Choices Guide –B-800: Non-cooperation

B-801: Full Family Sanction

(Revision 1/2017)

Human Resources Code, §31.0032 and House Bill 2292, passed by the 78th Texas Legislature, Regular Session (2003), mandated “pay for performance” requirements for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, effective September 1, 2003. Under the pay for performance model, TANF recipients who fail to cooperate with Choices program requirements face full family sanction of their TANF benefits. Additionally, under certain circumstances, sanction for non-cooperation can include removal of the adult’s Medicaid benefits.

B-801.a: Cooperation

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff verifies monthly that Choices participants meet one of the following requirements:

B-801.b: Non-cooperation

Non-cooperation is often determined by the following two situations:

If Choices participants do not cooperate with program requirements and do not have good cause, Boards must ensure the following:

Boards also must ensure the following:

Boards must ensure that within seven calendar days of noncompliance by a Choices participant, Workforce Solutions Office staff:

Boards must be aware that the seven-day time limit begins on the date of noncompliance or the date of discovery of noncompliance, whichever occurs later.

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B-802: Timely and Reasonable Attempt for Outreach Activities

Boards must ensure that all outreach letters state the consequences of failure to respond.

Boards must ensure within seven days of noncompliance, the customer reschedules his or her appointment, good cause is granted or a sanction is initiated.

Boards must ensure that participants agree to a specific, preferred contact method—phone, text, email, letter or in person—during the employment planning session and the method is documented in The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST) Counselor Notes.

Note: Voice mail is not an acceptable Outreach Activity.

Outreach Flowchart  PDF

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B-803: Timely and Reasonable Attempt for Failure to Meet Participation Requirements

(Revision 1/2017)

Boards must be aware of the following:

After the date of noncompliance with participation requirements, such as a missed appointment—or the date of Workforce Solutions Office staff discovery of noncompliance—a Choices participant has one business day to contact the Workforce Solutions Office.

Boards must ensure the following:

Ongoing Participation Flowchart, described below

Ongoing Participation Flowchart  PDF

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff documents the following:

Boards must ensure that if Workforce Solutions Office staff calls a Choices participant, a telephone conversation with the participant must occur for it to be considered an appropriate, timely and reasonable attempt. Leaving a voice mail for the participant or sending a text message is considered appropriate only if the participant indicated during the EPS that voice mail or text message was his or her preferred method of contact. The preferred method of contact must be documented in TWIST Counselor Notes.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff enters a notice of non-cooperation into TWIST in the Penalty tab, accessed through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) History menu selection under the Customer Information window. TWIST automatically forwards the notice to Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Example:   A participant is scheduled for an appointment on February 18, 2016, and fails to keep the appointment. This is the date that noncompliance is identified. If the participant fails to contact Workforce Solutions Office staff within 24 hours, the timely and reasonable attempt must be made. If the participant fails to respond to the timely and reasonable attempt, penalty must be initiated by February 24, 2016. That is seven calendar days from the date of noncompliance.

Example:   A participant is scheduled for an appointment on February 1, 2016, and fails to keep the appointment. This is the date that noncompliance is identified. If the participant fails to contact Workforce Solutions Office staff within 24 hours, the timely and reasonable attempt must be made. If the participant fails to respond to the timely and reasonable attempt, penalty must be initiated by February 8, 2016. That is allowing for the fact that the seventh calendar day fell on a Sunday.

Example:  A participant is scheduled for an appointment on February 16, 2016, and fails to keep the appointment. This is the date that noncompliance is identified. If the participant fails to contact Workforce Solutions Office staff within 24 hours, the timely and reasonable attempt must be made. Contact is made with the participant on February 18, 2016. The participant provided a good cause reason for missing the original appointment. The participant’s appointment is rescheduled for February 19, 2016, and the participant fails to keep the appointment. This is the new date of noncompliance. A new timely and reasonable attempt must be made. If the participant fails to respond to the timely and reasonable attempt, a penalty must be initiated by February 25, 2016. That is seven calendar days from February 19, the date of noncompliance.

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B-804: Demonstrated Cooperation for Sanctioned Families and Conditional Applicants

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff gives all sanctioned families and conditional applicants the opportunity to demonstrate cooperation with Choices in order to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. Sanctioned families can begin cooperation any time before the end of the month following the month in which a penalty is initiated.

Boards must be aware that conditional applicants are required to:

Boards may prorate a conditional applicant’s first week of demonstrated cooperation if the applicant begins demonstrating cooperation on any day other than Monday. The prorated hourly amount is derived by dividing the conditional applicant’s participation requirement by seven (number of days in the workweek) and applying the daily hours to the remaining days in the workweek.

Example:  A single parent with a participation requirement of 30 hours per week attends a WOA on Wednesday, which means the individual can participate four days that week—Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The weekly prorated participation requirement is obtained by taking the individual’s participation requirement (30 hours) and dividing it by the number of workdays in the week (7), which equals a daily hour requirement (4.29). The daily hour requirement (4.29) is then multiplied by the number of days the individual can participate (4), which results in the total number of prorated hours for the week (17.16). In this example, the individual must participate in activities for 17.16 hours to count this week as the first week of demonstrated cooperation. With the 30-hour per week requirement, the participant must complete an additional 90 hours after the first prorated week for a total of 107.16 hours by the end of the four-week period.

Boards may determine that sanctioned families and conditional applicants can be granted good cause during their period of demonstrated cooperation, if warranted.

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B-805: Penalty Status for Non-cooperation

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff is aware of the following:

Mandatory Choices participants sanctioned for non-cooperation with Choices or other elements of the PRA for two consecutive months will be denied Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits and the adult’s Medicaid benefits can be removed.  Families must reapply to have TANF and Medicaid benefits restored.

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B-806: Notice of Cooperation

During the demonstrated cooperation period, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) assumes non-cooperation unless notified otherwise. Therefore, Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff sends a notice of cooperation immediately to HHSC upon the successful completion of a mandatory Choices participant’s demonstrated cooperation period.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff enters the notice of cooperation for sanctioned families into The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST) in the Penalty tab, accessed through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) History menu selection under the Customer Information window. TWIST electronically transmits the notice to HHSC through the automated interface.

B-806.a: Choices Activities during Demonstrated Cooperation

Boards must be aware of the following:

B-806.b: Support Services

Boards must be aware of the following:

During the demonstrated cooperation periods, sanctioned families and conditional applicants are eligible to receive support services, which include the following:

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B-807: Voluntary Withdrawal from TANF

(Revision 1/2017)

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff uses Form H1802, Voluntary Withdrawal from TANF, when discussing a Choices participant’s voluntary withdrawal from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The form contains information on continued eligibility for Medicaid and other services and informs customers of their options and the consequences of voluntary withdrawal.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff completes an original Form H1802 and two copies, then:

Boards must ensure when a customer voluntarily withdraws from TANF, the customer is notified of the following:

Voluntary withdrawal from TANF does not withdraw the participant from Child Care services.

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B-808: Follow-Up after the Initiation of Penalty

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff follows up after the initiation of a penalty includes the following:

If local staff is not able to be of assistance, contact the regional contact. If HHSC has not received the penalty, a new penalty must be initiated by sending a new penalty using the original noncooperation date and documenting in The Workforce Information System of Texas (TWIST) Counselor Notes to show the date the penalty was originally sent and the date the reject code was received.

If there appears to be a discrepancy between the work code in the HHSC system and TWIST, complete the Data Discrepancy Log and take the following actions:

  1. Contact the Local HHSC office for resolution, if not resolved.
  2. Contact the Regional HHSC office for resolution, if not resolved.
  3. Forward completed Data Discrepancy Log to TWC Technical Assistance Staff.

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