Section 112.79  Sanctions


a)         Sanctions may be imposed against those nonexempt participants who fail to participate without good cause.  Exempt individuals who volunteer to participate are not subject to sanctions.  Sanctions shall be based on instances of non-cooperation which occur on or after July 1, 1997.  The sanction penalty shall be as follows:


1)         For the first instance of non-cooperation, the cash assistance payment is reduced by 50 percent of the family's payment level until the cooperation requirement is met.  If the cooperation requirement is not met after three months of reduced payments, the entire cash payment is stopped.


2)         For the second instance of non-cooperation, the cash assistance payment is reduced by 50 percent of the family's payment level for three months.  If the cooperation requirement is not met after three months of reduced payments, the entire cash payment is stopped.


3)         For the third instance and any subsequent instance of non-cooperation, the family's entire cash assistance payment is stopped for at least three months.  Cash assistance will be reinstated for the fourth month if the cooperation requirement is met during the three-month sanction period.


4)         Sanction penalties accumulate by family, not by person, during any single period of continuous assistance.  A loss of all cash assistance due to sanction shall not be considered a break in assistance.  If a family member's non-cooperation occurs during a sanction period which was the result of another member's non-cooperation, the next progressive sanction shall apply.


b)         Sanction Reasons


            Sanctioning of a participant will result from one instance of any of the following without good cause unless reconciliation is successful:


1)         failure to respond to a job referral;


2)         failure to accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment (see Section 112.72(a)(3) and (4));


3)         discontinuing part-time employment;


4)         reducing employment;


5)         failure to participate in the activity;


6)         failure to respond to a written notice for a meeting.  For the purpose of determining attendance at meetings, if participant arrives anytime within 30 minutes after the start of the scheduled meeting, the participant will be considered present and will be seen.  If the participant has good cause (see Section 112.80) for being more than 30 minutes late the tardiness will be excused.  The worker will include the participant in a scheduled group or other meeting or re-schedule the participant for another meeting;


7)         failure to make the required number of acceptable employer contacts every 30 days when employer contact activity is required;


8)         failure to accept transportation, family counseling or other social service or employment and training services such as testing or employment counseling, thereby precluding or interrupting participation in work or training activities; or


9)         failure to provide verification of education/training activities, employability status, etc.


c)         No sanction will be imposed until staff has sent the participant a written notice scheduling a good cause determination/reconciliation meeting to determine whether the participant had good cause for his or her failure to comply with requirements and the participant has either failed to attend the meeting or failed to show good cause.  If the participant failed to show good cause, the reconciliation process will continue (see Section 112.77) to enable resolving disputes related to participation. The written notice shall explain the purpose of the appointment and the consequences for failure to attend or failure to show good cause.  Failure of the participant to appear for the scheduled meeting is not considered an instance of noncooperation.


d)         A sanction against participants may be rescinded at any level of the sanction process up through and until the final agency decision, including any appeal hearing, if the participant establishes good cause (see Section 112.80 for good cause criteria).


e)         The notice of change form issued for a sanction shall include the following:


1)         a description of the acts of noncooperation, including dates where applicable; and


2)         a statement that the participant's acts were without good cause (see Section 112.80 for good cause criteria).


f)         A sanction under this Section shall not affect receipt of Medical Assistance.  Likewise, a sanction for child support enforcement or the school attendance initiative does not affect any instances of non-cooperation under this Section.


g)         Individuals who are sanctioned will be contacted at least one time per month to attempt to re-engage the client back into the program. Supportive services (see Section 112.82) will be paid while in sanction status if the individual is participating.  If the family is also sanctioned for failure to cooperate with child support enforcement or school attendance initiative requirements, the sanctions are served simultaneously.


h)         A person must cooperate to end the sanction.  When the person cooperates, benefits are restored as of the date of cooperation or, for second or third instances of sanction, at the end of the three month period, whichever is later.


(Source:  Amended at 28 Ill. Reg. 5655, effective March 22, 2004)