WAG 03-13-04-a

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A client may claim good cause for failing or refusing to meet the activity requirement. If a client claims that their action was due to good cause, review the facts. If other staff are involved in the decision, contact them for additional information, if needed.

If good cause exists, do not impose a cash penalty or sanction. If one is already imposed, repeal it. Restore any lost benefits immediately with no gap. Issue a supplement to cover any period of unmet need before the regular roll action.

Good Cause Reasons

Good cause reasons include (but are not limited to):

  • Child care (or day care for an incapacitated person living in the same home with a dependent child) is needed for participation or to hold a job, and such care is not available for a child under age 13.
  • Death in the family.
  • Illness or incapacity.
  • Required court appearance or being temporarily in jail.
  • Severe weather.
  • Lack of support services presents a major barrier to participation.
  • Failure of staff to correctly forward information to other staff.
  • A conflict in a client's appointment or participation in another required activity (e.g., work or training, Teen Parent Services, Child Support Enforcement, DCFS Intact Family, substance abuse treatment, or mental health treatment).
  • Scheduled job interview, medical appointment for the client or an individual who lives with the client, or school appointment for the client or their child(ren).
  • Lack of reading or writing skills by the client; or the client does not understand written or oral communications due to language barriers or mental or physical disability.
  • Failure of the client because they should be in a different activity, in rehabilitation services, or in SSI Advocacy.
  • Non-receipt of mail by the client, including notices advising the client of program requirements.
  • Homelessness.
  • Failure to participate in a work activity because of violations of workplace rights as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Other reasons that prevent compliance and are outside the client's control.
  • Failure to participate in a work, training, or other self-sufficiency activity because the client sought medical attention for, or is recovering from, physical or mental injuries that were caused by domestic or sexual violence.
  • Failure to participate in a work, training, or other self-sufficiency activity because the client sought or obtained services from a victim services organization for themselves or a member of their household.
  • Failure to participate in a work, training, or other self-sufficiency activity because the client sought or obtained psychological or other counseling for themselves or a member of their household due to domestic or sexual violence.
  • Failure to participate in a work, training, or other self-sufficiency activity because the client relocated, or planned for relocation, whether on a temporary or permanent basis due to domestic or sexual violence, or because the client was unable to participate because of other causes related to relocation (e.g. difficulty with transportation, making purchases, enrolling children in new school).
  • Failure to participate in a work, training, or other self-sufficiency activity because the client sought out or participated in safety planning, or was taking other steps to increase their safety or that of members of the household due to domestic or sexual violence.
  • Failure to participate in a work, training, or other self-sufficiency activity because the client or applicant sought legal assistance or remedies to ensure their health and safety or that of their family due to domestic or sexual violence.
  • Failure to participate in a work, training, or other self-sufficiency activity for other reasons related to domestic or sexual violence, such as recovering from physical or psychological injuries, it was not safe for the client or a member of the household for the client to participate, or because they were at increased risk of danger because of the location of the activity or transportation to the activity.

Evidence of Good Cause

A client who claims good cause for a stated refusal to meet the activity requirement must provide evidence of good cause to avoid the cash penalty.

A client who claims good cause for failure to meet the activity requirement may be required to provide evidence of good cause.

Good cause cannot be denied just because the client did not tell staff about their good cause reason before they failed to meet the requirement.