(A) What happens when an individual does not comply with an employment and training requirement?
(1) With the exception of an appraisal failure, if an individual fails or refuses to meet the employment and training program requirements in rule 5101:4-3-11.1 of the Administrative Code, the individual shall be sanctioned from participation in the food assistance program as follows:
(a) For a first failure or refusal, the county agency shall sanction the individual by denying or terminating the individual's eligibility to participate in the food assistance program for a minimum of one benefit month.
(b) For a second failure or refusal, the county agency shall sanction the individual by denying or terminating the individual's eligibility to participate in the food assistance program for a minimum of three benefit months.
(c) For the third or subsequent failure or refusal, the county agency shall sanction the individual by denying or terminating the individual's eligibility to participate in the food assistance program for a minimum of six benefit months.
(2) If an individual stops receiving food assistance before the actual imposition of the sanction, the sanction will not be held in abeyance. The establishment of new residence in another county or another assistance group by a food assistance individual who has been proposed for a sanction or who is currently under sanction does not, in and of itself, negate the sanction.
(B) What is the process for notification of noncompliance?
It is the recipient's responsibility to contact the county agency within seven calendar days of the nonparticipation to show good cause for the failure. If the individual does not contact the county agency within seven calendar days or it is determined the failure was without good cause, in accordance with Chapter 5101:6-2 of the Administrative Code proper notice of adverse action shall be provided to the individual.
(1) The notification shall contain:
(a) The particular act of noncompliance committed;
(b) The proposed period of the sanction;
(c) Language explaining that the individual may reapply at the end of the sanction period;
(d) Information on or with the notice describing the action which can be taken to end or avoid the sanction;
(e) Notice and hearing requirements contained in Chapters 5101:6-1 to 5101:6-9 of the Administrative Code which apply in each instance of nonparticipation and subsequent sanction action.
(C) How does an individual comply to regain eligibility for food assistance?
The county agency shall require the individual to:
(1) Prior to reinstatement of benefits the individual shall sign the JFS 03804 "Ohio Works First/Food Assistance Sanction Compliance" (rev. 12/09) agreeing to participate in the work program and to comply with the employability plan developed by the individual and the county agency pursuant to the provisions of rules 5101:4-3-29 and 5101:4-3-31 of the Administrative Code.
(a) If the JFS 03804 is signed prior to the end of the sanction period the sanctioned individual shall regain eligibility and benefits shall be reinstated after the minimum sanction period is served.
(b) If the JFS 03804 is signed after the end of the minimum sanction period, the individual shall regain eligibility effective the day the JFS 03804 was signed and returned to the county agency and benefits shall be reinstated pursuant to paragraph (K)(3)(a) of rule 5101:4-7-01 of the Administrative Code.
(2) If the circumstances change and the individual qualifies for an exemption from work registration in accordance with rule 5101:4-3-11 of the Administrative Code, the individual may qualify for food assistance benefits. Such exemptions may occur before the minimum sanction period ends.
(D) How are failures for noncompliance with unemployment compensation or an Ohio works first (OWF) work requirement handled?
Individuals receiving unemployment compensation or OWF are exempt from food assistance work registration and therefore are not assigned to a food assistance employment and training activity. Instead the individual must comply with the unemployment compensation or OWF requirements. If the assistance group reports a loss or denial of unemployment compensation or OWF or if the county agency learns of the loss or denial, the county agency shall determine whether the loss or denial was caused by a determination by the administering agency that the individual refused or failed without good cause to comply with a requirement equivalent to a requirement of work registration or the employment and training program. If it is determined the individual failed or refused to meet these requirements the county agency shall:
(1) Determine if the assistance group is an OWF assistance group. An OWF assistance group is a group in which all members are receiving OWF. For OWF assistance groups the county agency shall follow rule 5101:4-3-09 of the Administrative Code. However, if all of the individuals in the assistance group are not receiving OWF cash benefits (i.e. one or more members are only in receipt of food assistance), the assistance group remains subject to the requirements of this rule.
(2) Determine if the individual meets one of the other work registration exemptions defined in rule 5101:4-3-11 of the Administrative Code. If the individual meets another work registration exemption, with the exception of paragraph (B)(4) or (B)(9) of rule 5101:4-3-11 of the Administrative Code, no action is required.
(3) If the individual does not meet another work registration exemption, and the failure is equivalent to the appraisal requirement, the individual shall be determined ineligible for food assistance. The income and resources of the individual shall be treated in accordance with rule 5101:4-6-15 of the Administrative Code.
(4) If the individual does not meet another work registration exemption, and the failure is equivalent to a food assistance employment and training program requirement, other than appraisal, the county agency shall sanction the individual. The requirements set forth in paragraph (B) of this rule, regarding notification of noncompliance, shall be followed.
(5) Assistance group members who fail to comply with an unemployment compensation or OWF requirement that is not equivalent to that of a food assistance work requirement shall lose their exemption and must be registered for work if not otherwise exempt.