(Does not apply to Work First participants and providers)
If a participant receiving TANF cash benefits fails to comply with their assigned work and training activities, reconciliation must be attempted. If reconciliation is unsuccessful, a sanction should be requested from the FCRC.
The purpose of reconciliation is to:
- resolve disputes with a participant about the activities in their Responsibility and Services Plan (Form 4003);
- address reasons why a participant fails to comply with a requirement;
- make sure the participant is aware of the issue;
- identify if a participant has good cause for not doing an activity; and
- allow the participant to perform the required activities without facing sanction.
Complete the reconciliation process when:
- a participant receiving TANF cash benefits fails to comply; or
- a disagreement about a TANF cash participant's Plan or participation cannot be resolved; or
- the participant requests reconciliation.
Start the reconciliation process right away, but no later than 14 days after the participant fails to meet a requirement or there is a disagreement.
3. Reconciliation Meeting
Hold the reconciliation meeting right away. If the participant is in the Provider's office when a dispute arises or when it becomes known that an activity was not completed, conduct the meeting then. If the participant is not in the Provider's office,
the reconciliation meeting may be completed by telephone, if both parties agree. If the participant is not in the office and a telephone reconciliation is inappropriate, send the participant a notice of the reconciliation meeting using the Reconciliation
Appointment Notice (Form 2846). Allow a reasonable amount of time for mail delivery when scheduling the meeting.
If the participant does not appear for the reconciliation meeting without good cause, request a sanction from the FCRC for the original failure to comply within 48 hours by sending the Change Progress Report Form (Form 2151A) and a copy of the
Reconciliation Appointment Notice (Form 2846).
If the participant appears for the reconciliation meeting, discuss the issue(s) with the participant (or their representative) and attempt to come to an agreement. If the participant had good cause, give the participant another chance to comply and
take no negative action. If there is a disagreement, discuss the plan and assigned activities to make certain they are appropriate; then:
- if a change is needed, adjust the plan and do not request a sanction;
- if the participant failed to work, turned down a job offer, quit employment, or reduced their hours on the job, assess the suitability of the employment and reasons for the participant's action; or
- when the participant failed to perform an activity, the Provider and the participant attempt to agree on an action that the participant can perform to show compliance with the requirements.
A neutral party acts as a mediator if:
- the Provider and the participant cannot agree on the plan; or
- the Provider and the participant cannot agree on what the participant must do to show compliance; or
- good cause is disputed.
The neutral person can be a supervisor or other staff person who has not had a direct role in the participant's case management.
Schedule a separate meeting with the mediator if the mediator is unavailable at the time of the reconciliation meeting by giving or sending the participant another Reconciliation Appointment Notice (Form 2846) as a written notice of the scheduled
meeting with the mediator. If the participant does not appear for the meeting with the mediator without good cause, request that the FCRC impose a sanction for the failure to comply.
Write up the reconciliation meeting and decision in the case record. Change the participant's Plan, if needed.
5. Reconciliation Agreement
The Reconciliation Agreement (Form 2846A) records the action the participant must take to show compliance with the requirement and the timeframe for the action, if the action must be taken after the meeting. The timeframe can be no longer than two
weeks. All persons taking part in the reconciliation process are to sign the form: participant, Provider, and mediator (if any). Give the participant the Reconciliation Agreement (Form 2846A) and file a copy in the case record. Provide any other
information or instructions the participant may need to complete the agreement. Set a control to follow up at the appropriate time.
When the participant is able to show cooperation at the meeting and no additional action is needed, do not complete the Reconciliation Agreement (Form 2846A). Write up the meeting in the participant's case record. If a reconciliation agreement is
needed and the participant does not sign it, impose a sanction for the original failure to comply.
If the participant signs and then fulfills the agreement, do not request a sanction.
If the participant signs and fails without good cause to fulfill the agreement, request that the FCRC impose a sanction.
The reason for the sanction is the original failure to comply (prior to reconciliation).
6. Good Cause
A participant may claim good cause for failing or refusing to meet the activity requirements. If a participant claims that their action was due to good cause, review the facts. If good cause exists, do not request a sanction.
7. 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 participant's appointment or participation in another required activity (e.g., Child Support Enforcement, DCFS Intact Family, substance abuse treatment);
- scheduled job interview;
- lack of reading or writing skills by the participant; or the participant does not understand written or oral communications due to language barriers or mental or physical disability;
- failure of the participant because they should be in a different activity, in rehabilitation services or in SSI Advocacy;
- non-receipt of mail by the participant, including notices advising the participant of program requirements;
- failure to participate in a work activity because of violations of workplace rights as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor; and
- other reasons that prevent compliance and are outside the participant's control.
A participant who claims good cause for failure to meet the activity requirement may be required to provide evidence of good cause.