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Legal Resources | Welfare and Institutions Code |  Wl  11327.5  

Sanctions   

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(a) Sanctions shall be imposed in accordance with subdivision (b) or (c), as appropriate, if an individual has failed or refused to comply with program requirements without good cause and conciliation efforts, as described in Section 11327.4, have failed.

(b) The sanctions provided for in subdivisions (c) and (d) shall not apply to an individual who is exempt from the requirements of this article but is voluntarily participating in the program. If that individual engages in conduct that would bring about the actions provided for in subdivisions (c) and (d), except for his or her status as a voluntary program participant, the individual shall not be given priority so long as other individuals are actively seeking to participate.

(c) Financial sanctions for failing or refusing to comply with program requirements without good cause shall cause a reduction in the family's grant, in accordance with subdivision (d).

(1) For families that qualify for aid due to unemployment of the family's primary wage earner, the sanctioned parent shall be removed from the assistance unit. Unless the spouse or the family's second parent meets the provisions of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2), if the sanctioned parent's spouse or the family's second parent is not participating in the program, both the sanctioned parent and the spouse or second parent shall be removed from the assistance unit. The county shall notify the spouse of the noncomplying participant or second parent in writing at the commencement of conciliation of his or her own opportunity to participate and the impact on sanctions of that participation.

(2) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), exemption criteria specified in Section 11320.3, conciliation specified in Section 11327.4, and good cause criteria specified in Section 11320.31 and subdivision (f) of Section 11320.3 shall apply to the sanctioned parent's spouse or the family's second parent.

(B) Exemption criteria specified in paragraphs (5) and (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3 do not apply to a spouse or second parent who is participating to avoid the sanction of the noncomplying parent.

(C) If the sanctioned parent's spouse or the family's second parent chooses to participate to avoid the noncomplying parent's sanction, subsequently fails or refuses to participate without good cause, and does not conciliate, he or she shall be removed from the assistance unit for a period of time specified in subdivision (d).

(D) If the sanctioned parent's spouse or the family's second parent is under his or her own sanction at the time of the first parent's sanction, the spouse or second parent shall not be provided the opportunity to avoid the first parent's sanction until the spouse or second parent's sanction is completed.

(3) For families that qualify due to the absence or incapacity of a parent, only the noncomplying parent shall be removed from the assistance unit.

(4) If the noncomplying individual is the only dependent child in the family, his or her needs shall not be taken into account in determining the family's need for assistance and the amount of the assistance payment.

(5) If the noncomplying individual is one of several dependent children in the family, his or her needs shall not be taken into account in determining the family's need for assistance and the amount of the assistance payment.

(d) (1) An instance of noncompliance without good cause shall result in a financial sanction, consisting of removing the noncomplying family member from the assistance unit, after the noncompliance persists for three cumulative months. The conciliation process described in Section 11327.4 shall occur during the first 30 days of this three-month period. A sanction under this section shall terminate at any point if the noncomplying participant performs the activity or activities he or she previously refused to perform.

(2) (A) If the instance of noncompliance persists for three cumulative months, the county shall review and assess the circumstances of the noncomplying individual in order to determine and identify potential barriers to participation, assess the need for services or resources, and provide tools to connect the individual with services and activities. The review and assessment shall be conducted by a social worker or employment services worker. The county shall make a good faith effort to remediate any barriers that are identified. If barriers relating to substance abuse, mental health, or domestic violence are suspected, the county shall schedule assessments with an employment specialist or social worker for the individual in order to assess and review for treatment. This review shall occur within 30 days after the grant reduction made pursuant to paragraph (1).

(B) If the county fails to conduct a review or remediate any issues pursuant to this paragraph, or if the county determines that the individual is in compliance pursuant to paragraph (1), or is exempt from welfare-to-work requirements, the sanction shall terminate. If failure to conduct a review or remediate an issue is the result of the recipient's noncompliance, the sanction shall continue.

(3) (A) If the instance of noncompliance persists for an additional three cumulative months after a grant reduction is made pursuant to paragraph (1), the grant shall be decreased by an amount equal to 25 percent of the child-only grant, which already reflects the removal of the parent.

(B) If the instance of noncompliance persists for an additional three cumulative months after the family's grant is reduced under subparagraph (A), a second review and assessment shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (2). The second review and assessment shall be conducted within 30 days of the most recent grant reduction pursuant to subparagraph (A). After the review and assessment conducted under this paragraph, if the instance of noncompliance persists for an additional three cumulative months after the most recent reduction, the family's aid grant shall be decreased by an amount equal to 50 percent of the child-only grant level that existed prior to the 25-percent reduction.

(C) At any time, if the noncomplying member is determined to be exempt, or comes into compliance with applicable CalWORKs work requirements, the sanction shall terminate and the full aid grant amount shall be restored.

(4) (A) With respect to an assistance unit from which the adult's share of the grant has been terminated due to the expiration of the 60-month period provided for pursuant to Section 11454, the county shall impose the sanctions provided for in this section only if the county makes available to the adult necessary child care services, and all applicable exemptions. If the Legislature has made a specific appropriation for transportation services for families who have exceeded the 60-month time limit and the county has not made this service available to the adult, as necessary, a sanction shall not be imposed. These cases shall receive a review pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 11320.2 at the 42nd or 54th month of aid in preparation for this assessment by the county, including reviewing possible exemptions and discussing possible grant reductions if the family is not in compliance after the 60 months with the state participation requirements, as determined by the county. The individual shall receive notice of the review, which shall include informing the individual of the risk of having the grant further reduced by 25 percent if the parent does not comply with CalWORKs requirements after the 48th or 60th month on aid, as well as opportunities to come into compliance and services that may be available from the county.

(B) If the county determines after the 48th or 60th month on aid that the adult is not in compliance and does not otherwise meet exemption criteria, such as SSI eligibility or being an elderly caregiver, and the service requirements of the county as specified in subparagraph (A) have been met, then the aid grant shall be decreased by an amount equal to 25 percent of the child-only portion of the grant, thus resulting in a grant level equal to 75 percent of the child-only grant level in the 47th or 59th month, or the month prior to entering the safety net. Review and assessment pursuant to paragraph (2) shall be scheduled with the adult in this assistance unit at this time.

(C) If the noncompliance persists for three cumulative months after the grant reduction pursuant to subparagraph (B), the review and assessment conducted pursuant to paragraph (2), and the county has met the service requirements specified in subparagraph (A), then the aid grant shall be decreased by an amount equal to 50 percent of the child-only aid grant thus resulting in a grant level equal to 50 percent of the child-only grant level in the 47th or 59th month, or the month prior to entering the safety net.

(D) At any time, if the noncomplying member is determined to be exempt from welfare-to-work activities, or comes into compliance with applicable CalWORKs work requirements, the sanction shall terminate and the full aid grant amount shall be restored.

(5) (A) After 60 full months of aid, with respect to an assistance unit for which there is no adult share due to the adult being (i) not lawfully present in the United States, (ii) a person described by Section 608(a)(9)(A) of Title 42 of the United States Code, or (iii) convicted of any offense classified as a felony by the law of the jurisdiction involved and that has as an element of the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance, as defined in Section 802(6) of Title 21 of the United States Code, the county shall apply the sanction provisions contained in subparagraph (B) to the assistance unit allowing for all applicable exemptions. If the county makes available to the adult, at county expense or pursuant to a specific General Fund appropriation, necessary supportive services of child care and transportation, in addition to community service opportunities, and the family is in compliance with work requirements the family shall receive the full child-only grant. These cases shall receive a self-sufficiency review pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 11320.2 at the 54th month of aid, in preparation for this assessment by the county, including reviewing possible exemptions, and discussing possible grant reductions if the family is not in compliance with the state participation requirements after 60 months, as determined by the county.

(B) If the county determines after the 60 months of aid that the adult does not otherwise meet exemption criteria, including those that acknowledge the adult's inability to work, such as SSI eligibility or being an elderly caregiver, and the service requirements of the county as specified in subparagraph (A) have been met, then the aid grant shall be decreased by an amount equal to 25 percent of the child-only portion of the grant amount, thus resulting in a grant level equal to 75 percent of the child-only grant level in the 59th month or the month prior to entering the safety net. Review and assessment pursuant to paragraph (2) shall be scheduled with the adult in this assistance unit at this time.

(C) If the noncompliance persists for three cumulative months after the review and assessment conducted pursuant to paragraph (2), and the service requirements of the county as specified in subparagraph (A) have been met, the family's aid grant shall be decreased to an amount equal to 50 percent of the child-only portion of the grant amount, thus resulting in a grant level equal to 50 percent of the child-only grant level in the 59th month prior to entering the safety net.

(D) At any time, if the noncomplying member is determined to be exempt from welfare-to-work activities, or comes into compliance with applicable CalWORKs work requirements, the sanction shall terminate and the full aid grant amount shall be restored.

(e) Sanctions shall become effective on the first day of the first payment-month that the sanctioned individual's needs are removed or further reductions are made to aid under this chapter.

(f) The additional monetary sanctions imposed in subdivision (d) shall not apply if the only sanctioned individual in the family is a dependent child.

(g) The county shall send individuals subject to sanction a notice by the end of their second cumulative month on sanction, and a notice by the end of their fifth cumulative month on sanction, reminding them that their aid will further decrease if the sanction is not cured by the end of the third or sixth month, respectively.

(h) In addition to the notice required pursuant to subdivision (d), counties shall attempt to contact the noncompliant individual prior to imposing a sanction reducing the family's aid. This contact may be achieved through telephone calls, letters, home visits, or some combination of these methods.

(i) The review and assessment described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements for a self-sufficiency review pursuant to Section 11320.2 if the review and assessment occurs within the same month that a self-sufficiency review under Section 11320.2 would have been scheduled. If failure to conduct the review or assessment is the result of the recipient's noncompliance, the sanction or further reduction shall become effective under this chapter.

(j) Any review or assessment required under this section may be conducted through face-to-face meetings or home visits.

(k) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2011.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 296, Sec. 323.)