The Reconciliation Process is a way to:
- resolve disputes with the client about the activities in the plan; and
- address reasons why a client fails to comply with a requirement; and
- make sure the client is aware of the issue; and
- identify if a client has good cause for not doing an activity; and
- allow the client to perform the required activities without facing sanction.
Complete the process when:
- a client receiving TANF benefits fails to comply; or
- a disagreement about a TANF client's plan or participation cannot be resolved.
A client may request that reconciliation take place.
Start the reconciliation process right away, but no later than 14 days after the client fails to meet a requirement or there is a disagreement.
Hold the reconciliation meeting right away. If the client is in the office when a dispute arises or you learn that an activity was not completed, conduct the meeting then, unless the issue involves a mental health-related activity.
If the client is not in the office, the reconciliation meeting may be completed by telephone, if both parties agree. If the client is not in the office and a telephone reconciliation is inappropriate, send the client a notice of the reconciliation meeting. Allow a reasonable amount of time for mail delivery when scheduling the meeting.
If the dispute involves a mental health-related issue, hold a joint staffing with the mental health treatment provider before the reconciliation meeting to determine:
- if the client is able to follow through with the activity and
- the appropriate course of action.
If the client is deemed not able to follow through with a mental health-related activity, agree on an appropriate course of action with the mental health provider. If the client is deemed able to follow through with the mental health-related activity, hold the reconciliation meeting with the client. The mental health liaison also attends the reconciliation meeting.
If the client does not appear for the reconciliation meeting without good cause, impose a sanction for the original failure to comply. If the client appears for the reconciliation meeting, discuss the issue(s) with the client (or their representative) and attempt to come to an agreement.
If the client had good cause, give the client 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.
- If a change is needed, adjust the plan and impose no sanction.
- If the client 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 client's action.
- When the client failed to perform an activity, the worker and client attempt to agree on an action that the client can perform to show compliance with requirements.
A neutral party acts as a mediator if:
- the worker and client cannot agree on the plan, or
- the worker and client cannot agree on what the client must do to show compliance, or
- good cause is disputed.
The neutral person can be a supervisor, an appeals coordinator, or other staff person who has not had a direct role in the client's case management.
Attempt to have the mediator available at the time of the reconciliation meeting so mediation can occur immediately, if necessary. Schedule a separate meeting with the mediator if the mediator is unavailable. Give the client a written notice of the scheduled meeting with the mediator. If the client does not appear for the meeting with the mediator without good cause, impose a sanction for the original failure to comply.
The mediator makes the final decision based on policy and available information. Write up the reconciliation meeting and decision in the case record. Change the client's plan, if needed.
The reconciliation agreement records the action the client must take to show compliance with the requirement and the timeframe for the action. The timeframe can be no longer than 2 weeks. If a reconciliation agreement is needed and the client does not sign it, impose a sanction for the original failure to comply.
If the client signs and then fulfills the agreement, do not impose a sanction.
If the client signs and fails without good cause to fulfill the agreement, impose a sanction.
The reason for the sanction is the original failure to comply (prior to the reconciliation).