5101:4-6-16 Food assistance: reduction of cash assistance benefits due to assistance group's failure to perform a required action.

For purposes of this rule, Ohio works first (OWF) and disability financial assistance (DFA) will be referred to as cash assistance.

(A) When are food assistance benefits not to be increased?

The county agency shall not increase the food assistance allotment as the result of a decrease in cash assistance when the decrease is due to the failure of an assistance group member to perform a required action. Cash assistance benefits shall be considered decreased if they are suspended or terminated.

(B) What is considered a failure to perform a required action?

Failure to perform a required action shall be limited to a situation in which benefits are being received and then decreased. The individual must be certified for food assistance benefits at the time of the failure to perform a required action for this rule to apply.

Failures to perform a required action include:

(1) Ohio works first:

(a) Learnfare failure as set forth in rule 5101:1-3-14 of the Administrative Code.

(b) Intentional violation of program requirements disqualification as set forth in rule 5101:1-23-75 of the Administrative Code.

(c) Termination of employment without just cause as set forth in rule 5101:1-3-14 of the Administrative Code.

(d) Fraud provisions (assistance group ineligibility) as set forth in rule 5101:1-23-75 of the Administrative Code.

(e) Refusal to accept unconditionally available income as set forth in rule 5101:1-3-14 of the Administrative Code.

(f) Refusal of a minor parent to reside in an adult-supervised living arrangement as set forth in rule 5101:1-3-03 of the Administrative Code.

(g) Failure of a learning, earning and parenting (LEAP) participant to perform a required action with the high school equivalency diploma as set forth in rule 5101:1-23-50 of the Administrative Code.

(h) Imposition of a LEAP sanction (does not apply to situations where the LEAP bonus is not paid, but no sanction is imposed) as set forth in rule 5101:1-23-50 of the Administrative Code.

(i) Failure to perform a required action with a provision of the OWF self-sufficiency contract as set forth in rule 5101:1-3-14 of the Administrative Code.

(j) Residence fraud as set forth in rule 5101:1-3-14 of the Administrative Code, that does not result in a period of ineligibility for food assistance benefits for the individual(s) who was convicted.

(2) Disability financial assistance:

(a) Erroneous payments as set forth in rule 5101:1-5-50 of the Administrative Code.

(b) Refusal to accept unconditionally available income as set forth in rule 5101:1-5-40 of the Administrative Code.

(c) Failure or refusal to take necessary and available legal action to make a resource owned, jointly with someone other than an assistance group member, available as set forth in rule 5101:1-5-30 of the Administrative Code.

(C) How are food assistance benefits affected when there is a penalty in both the food and cash assistance programs for the same failure to perform a required action?

(1) The appropriate food assistance penalty shall be applied.

(2) After the food assistance penalty is applied (i.e. individual failing or refusing is removed from the assistance group) the allotment is calculated based on the new assistance group size and the actual benefit amount issued by the cash assistance program, if any. If there is no increase, the calculated allotment shall be issued. For example, if a penalty occurs in the OWF program and a penalty is also applied to the food assistance OWF member, the food assistance allotment is calculated based on a zero OWF grant and one less member in the assistance group.

(3) If this allotment calculation results in a greater amount of food assistance benefits than the assistance group was receiving prior to the OWF penalty, the county agency shall issue the food assistance allotment being issued prior to the month of the OWF penalty. The county agency shall then subtract the allotment that the assistance group was receiving prior to the OWF penalty from the newly calculated allotment. This difference is the amount by which the food assistance benefits cannot increase when other changes occur. The calculated difference shall continue to be the amount deducted from a newly calculated allotment when other changes unrelated to the failure to perform a required action occur for the duration of the penalty.

(4) After the food assistance penalty is served, if there are any remaining months of the cash assistance program's penalty to be served, food assistance benefits shall not be increased during the remaining month(s) of the cash assistance program's penalty due to the decrease in the payments.

(D) How are food assistance benefits calculated if there is no penalty in the food assistance program for failure to perform a required action but there is a penalty for cash assistance?

If there is no penalty in the food assistance program for a failure to perform a required action with the cash assistance program, the county agency shall calculate the food assistance benefits using the cash assistance benefit amount which would be issued if no penalty has been imposed. If the cash assistance benefit amount cannot be specifically identified, the prohibition on increased food assistance benefits do not apply.

(E) How are food assistance benefits calculated when there is a recoupment and a reduction of benefits?

(1) In situations in which an assistance group is subject to both a recoupment and a reduction for the same act of noncompliance, food assistance benefits shall be calculated based on the amount of the cash assistance program's benefit prior to recoupment and reduction.

(2) Monies which are voluntarily or involuntarily withheld from a cash assistance program, or returned to repay a prior overpayment which is not considered a failure to complete a required action, shall be handled as recoupments in accordance with paragraph (L) of rule 5101:4-4-13 of the Administrative Code.

(F) How long does the prohibition on increasing food assistance benefits apply?

The prohibition on increasing food assistance benefits applies for no longer than the duration of the decrease in the cash assistance program. If the penalty is still in effect at the end of one year, the county agency shall review the case to determine if the penalty continues to be appropriate. If, for example, the assistance group is still not receiving cash assistance after one year, it may not be appropriate to continue the penalty. Penalties extended beyond one year must be reviewed at least annually but may be ended by the county agency at any time if appropriate. The penalty shall be concurrent with the reduction in the other assistance program to the extent allowed by normal food assistance change processing and notice procedures. If at anytime the county agency can no longer determine the amount of the reduction in assistance, the county agency must document the case accordingly and end the food assistance penalty.

(G) What requirements must the county agency meet to comply with this rule?

(1) The county agency must lift the ban on increasing food assistance benefits if it becomes aware that the person is ineligible for the cash assistance program during the disqualification period for some other reason.

(2) The county agency shall not decrease or terminate an assistance group's current food assistance allotment when the assistance group's benefits under another assistance program, other than cash assistance, have been decreased due to a failure to perform a required action of that program.

(3) If an individual joins a new assistance group, the prohibition on increasing food assistance benefits shall be applied unless that person is ineligible for the assistance program for some other reason. If the individual moves to a new state the prohibition on increasing benefits shall not be applied.

(4) The county agency must restore lost benefits when necessary in accordance with rule 5101:4-8-03 of the Administrative Code if it is later determined that the reduction in the cash assistance benefit was not appropriate.

(5) The county agency must act on changes which are not related to the assistance group's violation and that would affect the assistance group's benefits.

Replaces: 5101:4-6-16

Effective: 08/01/2011
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 06/01/2016
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.54
Rule Amplifies: 329.04 , 329.042 , 5101.54
Prior Effective Dates: 6/2/80, 3/20/83, 6/17/83, 12/31/84 (Emer.), 4/1/85, 5/3/85 (Emer.), 8/1/85, 1/16/87 (Emer.), 4/6/87, 5/1/87 (Emer.), 7/10/87, 7/20/88 (Emer.), 10/16-88, 4/1/89, 7/11/89 (Emer.), 9/17/89, 2/7/91, 2/3/92, 8/1/92 (Emer.), 10/30/92, 9/1/94, 8/1/95 (Emer.), 10/13/95, 7/1/96, 9/22/96 (Emer.), 10/1/96 (Emer.), 11/22/96, 1/1/97 (Emer.), 3/23/97, 10/1/97 (Emer.), 12/15/97, 1/2/98 (Emer.), 3/19/98, 10/11/01, 12/05/02, 5/1/06