WorkFirst Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS)

Created on: 
Oct 29 2015

See ACES Screens and Online Pages for an example of pages or screens used in this chapter.

What is a WorkFirst Sanction?

A WorkFirst Sanction is a reduction or termination of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) benefits based on non-cooperation with WorkFirst program requirements. The cash benefits are:

  • Reduced by either the client's share of the cash benefits or 40%, whichever is greater when the client receives the sanction grant reduction penalty; or 
  • Closed or terminated when the client receives the sanction case closure penalty because they did not participate in their in-office Good Cause appointments and home-visits.

For more information on WorkFirst Sanction, see EAZ Manual - WAC 388-310-1600 WorkFirst Sanctions

What is a WorkFirst Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) Termination?

A WorkFirst NCS termination stops the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) benefits when:

  • The client has received the sanction grant reduction penalty and has been in WorkFirst Sanction for a specified time period.
  • The client received the case closure penalty for not participating in their in-office Good Cause appointments and home-visits.

For information about the WorkFirst NCS process, see EAZ Manual - WAC 388-310-1600 WorkFirst Sanctions or the WorkFirst Handbook - Section 3.6.1 Entering Sanction

What is a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) permanent disqualification?

A TANF permanent disqualification happens when a client has been terminated from TANF three or more times due to a Non-Compliance Sanctions (NCS) since March 1, 2007. The permanent disqualification affects eligibility for TANF, State Family Assistance (SFA) and Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA).

When a person is permanently disqualified, the TANF Assistance Unit closes with Reason Code 349 - NCS Permanently Disqualified. Households that include a person that has been permanently disqualified cannot receive TANF, SFA or DCA.

For more information about TANF permanent disqualification, see EAZ Manual - WAC 388-310-1600 WorkFirst Sanctions or the WorkFirst Handbook - Section 3.6.4 Permanent TANF Disqualification.

Online Processing

How does ACES count the months in WorkFirst Sanction? 

ACES counts the number of months in sanction beginning with the effective date of the sanction. Each month that the client receives a sanctioned Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) cash benefit amount, it is counted as a month in sanction. The ongoing month is not included since the cash benefits have not been issued. 

The number of sanctioned months increases each month at monthly issuance and stops when the client is terminated from TANF/SFA. The count begins again when the client starts receiving TANF/SFA cash benefits, if they are still in sanction.

When the TANF/SFA Assistance Unit (AU) is reinstated and contains a client in Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS), the Months in Sanction field on the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page is reduced by one month. 

The sanction code is set to zero when the Participation Status field on the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page is changed to any code other than Refused - Mandatory Participant (RE).

If a sanction is coded in error, or is removed due to a pending Administrative Hearing, the Months in Sanction field on the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page can be adjusted historically.

NOTE: When manually adjusting the count in historical months it is important that the count and the sanction begin date reflect the same number of months in sanction.

Where are the WorkFirst Sanction months and the Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) termination counts displayed?

The number of consecutive months in sanction displays in the Months in Sanction field on the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page.

The NCS termination dates display in the Non-Compliance Sanction Termination Months field on the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page.

How do I process a WorkFirst Sanction Reduction?

To process a WorkFirst Sanction reduction, take the following steps:

  1. From the Case Actions page, select Start Changes.
  2. On the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page, in the Participation Status field select Refused - Mandatory Participant (RE) with the date that the sanction becomes effective.
  3. From the Navigation tree, select Review.
  4. If there are no errors on the Review page, click Eligibility on the Navigation tree.
  5. On the Eligibility page, a Details link displays to the right of any AU that is currently active. Click the Details link.
  6. Confirm the following for the sanctioned client on the Eligibility Details page before clicking Confirm Benefits:
  • ​Financial Responsibility field - Recipient (RE).
  • Reason field - 40% WorkFirst Sanction (268).
  1. Click Commit Changes on the Eligibility page.

How do I lift a WorkFirst Sanction?

To lift a WorkFirst Sanction, take the following steps:

  1. In the Change of Circumstances section of the Case Actions page, select the change month from the drop-down list and then click Start Changes.
  2. On the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page, in the Participation Status field select Mandatory Participant (MP) or Exempt Not Participating (NI) from the drop-down list.
  • The Re-Qualifying Date field is auto populated by the system with today’s date.
  1. Confirm the following for the client on the Eligibility Details page before clicking Confirm Benefits:
  • Financial Responsibility field - Recipient (RE).
  • Reason field - No longer displays 40% WorkFirst Sanction (268).
  1. Click Commit Changes on the Eligibility page.

How do I terminate Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) for Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS)?

To terminate TANF/SFA for a NCS sanction, take the following steps:

  1. In the Change of Circumstances section of the Case Actions page, select the change month from the drop-down list and then click Start Changes.
  2. On the appropriate client's Work Registration/Participation - Cash page, check mark the Closed while in Non-Compliance Sanction box.
  3. On the Eligibility Details page, verify that the TANF/SFA assistance unit (AU) is closing with Reason Code 252 - Non-Compliance Sanction Process and click Confirm Benefits.
  4. Click Commit Changes on the Eligibility page.

How is the number of Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) terminations tracked in ACES?

On the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page, the Non-Compliance Sanction Termination Months section has three date fields. Each time a client is closed for NCS, the month field is automatically updated.

If a NCS termination is coded in error or needs to be removed, the user is able to manually remove the NCS Termination Month.

NOTE: If the NCS Termination dates are not entered in an increasing chronological order, workers receive Edit Enter NCS Termination Dates in Order from Earliest to Latest.

What if the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) needs to remain open when the client has been in reduced grant sanction?

If there is a reason for the client to remain active on TANF/SFA even though they have been in reduced grant sanction, select a closure delay reason from the drop-down list in the Closure Delay Reason field on the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page. 

The Closure Delay Reason code can be viewed in aces.online on the Work Registration page.

How do I reopen Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) for a client previously terminated for Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS)?

To reopen TANF/SFA for a client previously terminated for NCS, take the following steps:

  1. Reopen the previously closed TANF/SFA Assistance Unit (AU) with an application date to the first of the month. For more information, see Reopen - How do I reopen a previously closed or denied AU?
  2. Complete the interview following the steps in Interview - How do I initiate and complete an intake interview?
  3. On the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page for the client who was previously terminated for NCS, update the following fields:
  • Re-Qualifying Reason field - Select the appropriate re-qualifying reason from the drop-down list
  • Re-Qualifying Date field - Enter the appropriate date of application to the first of the month.
  1. After committing the interview data, for all pending months follow the instructions in Process Application Months - How do I complete Process Application Months?
  2. After all pending months have been processed, follow the instructions in the Finalize Application - How do I complete Finalize Application?
NOTE: If a re-qualifying reason code is not selected on the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page, the client and the AU are denied and Letter 004-01 (Cash Denial for AU) is generated.

How do I deny a reapplication for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) for a client previously terminated for Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS)?

To deny an application for TANF/SFA for a client previously terminated for NCS who has not met the participation requirements, take the following steps:

  1. From the Case Actions page, in the Pending Applications section, click Start Interview
  2. On the Work Registration/Participation - Cash page, for the client who was previously terminated for NCS, make sure there is not a re-qualifying reason code in the Re-Qualifying Reason field.
  3. Complete the interview following the instructions in Interview - How do I initiate and complete an intake interview?
  4. After committing the data, for all pending months follow the instructions in Process Application Months - How do I complete Process Application Months?
  5. After all pending months have been processed, follow the instructions in Finalize Application - How do I complete Finalize Application?
  • The TANF/SFA assistance unit is denied and displays Reason Code 252 - Non-Compliance Sanction Process.

Mainframe Processing

How does ACES count the months in WorkFirst Sanction? 

ACES counts the number of months in sanction beginning with the effective date of the sanction. Each month that the client receives a sanctioned Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) cash benefit amount, it is counted as a month in sanction. The ongoing month is not included since the cash benefits have not been issued. 

The number of sanctioned months increases each month at monthly issuance and stops when the client is terminated from TANF/SFA. The count begins again when the client starts receiving TANF/SFA cash benefits, if they are still in sanction.

When the TANF/SFA Assistance Unit (AU) is reinstated and contains a client in Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS), the Months in Sanction field on the WORK screen is reduced by one month. 

The sanction code is set to zero when the Partic Stat field on the Work screen is changed to any code other than [RE] - Mandatory Part/No Cooperation.

If a sanction is coded in error, or is removed due to a pending Administrative Hearing, the Months in Sanction field can be adjusted historically.

NOTE: When manually adjusting the count in historical months it is important that the count and the sanction begin date reflect the same number of months in sanction.

Where are the WorkFirst Sanction months and the Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) termination counts displayed?

The number of consecutive months in sanction displays in the Months in Sanction field on the Work screen.

The NCS termination dates display in the NCS Termination Months 1st, 2nd, 3rd fields on the Work screen.

How do I process a WorkFirst Sanction? 

To process a WorkFirst Sanction Reduction, take the following steps:

  1. From the AMEN screen, enter Option [R ]- Interim/Hist Change and complete the following fields:
  • AU ID field - Enter the [assistance unit ID] or
  • Client ID field - Enter the [client ID].
  • Benefit Month field - Enter the [appropriate benefit month].
  1. On the WORK screen, in the Partic Stat field, enter [RE] - Mandatory Part/No Cooperation.
  • The Partic Date field auto populates with the date that the sanction becomes effective.
  1. Call DONE and the ELIG screen displays.
  2. On the ELIG screen, confirm the following for the sanctioned client and commit the data:
  • Fin Resp field - [RE] - Recipient.
  • Rsn field - Reason Code 268 - 40% WorkFirst Sanction.

How do I lift a WorkFirst Sanction?

To lift a WorkFirst Sanction, take the following steps:

  1. From the AMEN screen, enter Option [R] - Interim/Hist Change and complete the following fields:​
  • AU ID field - Enter the [assistance unit ID] or
  • Client ID field - Enter the [client ID].
  • Benefit Month field - Enter the [appropriate benefit month].
  1. On the WORK screen, in the Partic Stat field, enter [MP] - Mandatory Participant or [NI] - Exempt Not Participating.
  • The Requalifying Dt field is auto populated with today’s date.
  1. Call DONE and the ELIG screen displays.
  2. Verify the ELIG screen displays the following and commit the data:
  • Fin Resp field - [RE] - Recipient.
  • Rsn field - No longer displays Reason Code 268 - 40% WorkFirst Sanction.

How do I terminate Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) for Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS)?

To terminate for NCS, take the following steps:

  1. From the AMEN screen, enter Option [R] - Interim/Hist Change and complete the following fields:
  • AU ID field - Enter the [assistance unit ID] or
  • Client ID field - Enter the [client ID].
  • Benefit Month field - Enter the [appropriate benefit month].
  1. On the WORK screen, enter a [Y] - Yes in the Closed while in NCS field.
  2. Call DONE and the ELIG screen displays.
  3. On the ELIG screen, confirm the assistance unit closes with Reason Code 252 - Non-Compliance Sanction Process and commit the data.

How is the number of Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) terminations tracked in ACES?

On the WORK screen, the NCS Termination Months section has three date fields. Each time a client is closed for an NCS, the month field is automatically updated.

If a NCS termination is coded in error or needs to be removed, the user is able to manually remove the NCS Termination Month.

NOTE: When Edit 1819 - ENTER NCS TERMINATION DATES IN ORDER FROM EARLIEST TO LATEST appears, the worker must make sure that the NCS Termination dates are entered in an increasing chronological order.

What if the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) needs to remain open when the client has been in reduced grant sanction? 

If there is a reason for the client to remain active on TANF/SFA even though they have been in Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS), a Closure Delay Reason code must be entered in the Closure Delay Reason field on the WORK screen. For a list of reason codes, see <F1> Help.

How do I reopen Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) for a client previously terminated for Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS)?

To reopen TANF/SFA for a client previously terminated for NCS, take the following steps:

  1. Reopen the previously closed TANF/SFA Assistance Unit (AU) with an application date to the first of the month. For more information, see Reopen - How do I reopen a previously closed or denied AU?
  2. Complete the interview following the steps in Interview - How do I initiate and complete an intake interview?
  3. On the WORK screen for the client who was previously terminated for NCS, update the following fields:
  • Select [the appropriate Re-qualifying Reason Code] in the Requalifying Reason field
  • Enter [the appropriate date of application to the first of the month] in the Requalifying Dt field.
  1. After committing the interview data, for all pending months follow the instructions in Process Application Months - How do I complete Process Application Months?
  2. After all pending months have been processed, follow the instructions in Finalize Application - How do I complete Finalize Application?
NOTE: If a Re-qualifying Reason Code is not entered on the Work screen, the client and the AU are denied and Letter 004-01 (Cash Denial for AU) is generated.

How do I deny reapplication for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) for a client previously terminated for Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS)?

To deny reapplication for TANF/SFA for a client previously terminated for NCS and who has not met the participation requirements, take the following steps:

  1. From the AMEN screen, access the pending AU or pending person via Option O - Interview.
  2. On the WORK screen for the client who has previously terminated for NCS, make sure there is no Re-qualifying Reason Code in the Requalifying Reason field.
  3. After committing the data, follow the instructions in the Process Application Months - How do I complete Process Application Months? chapter for all pending months.
  4. After all pending months have been processed, follow the instructions in the Finalize Application - How do I complete Finalize Application? chapter.
  • The TANF/SFA AU is denied and display Reason Code 252 - Non Compliance Sanction Process.

 

See ACES Screens and Online Pages for an example of pages or screens used in this chapter.