Food Stamp participants are required to comply with quality control reviews. Noncompliance is "refusal to cooperate". "Refusal to cooperate" is the EU's unwillingness to cooperate. For a determination of refusal to be made, the EU must be able to cooperate, but clearly demonstrates that it will not take actions that it can take, to complete the quality control review.
The QC reviewer will contact the eligibility specialist (ES) when the EU does not respond to attempts to contact or attain information. The IM-311Q, QC Referral for Contact/Sanction, will be sent to the ES. The 311Q will notify the ES of the determination of refusal or failure to cooperate made by the QC reviewer. Once received, the ES has 5 days to attempt contact either by telephone or by sending the IM-31Q Notice of Contact Requested.
The EU has 10 days to respond to the ES. If the EU responds, advise them to contact the QC reviewer by telephone and to cooperate with the QC reviewer to prevent the case from being sanctioned for refusal to cooperate. If the EU does not respond, start the process for sanction if QC determined a refusal to cooperate.
It is the responsibility of the ES to enter the sanction in FAMIS for refusal to cooperate. The EU is no longer eligible to receive Food Stamp benefits once the determination is made. It is important to explain to all participants the need to cooperate with reviews and consequences of refusal.
Instances where the EU's unwillingness to cooperate with a quality control review shall include:
NOTE: The EU may want to cooperate but lacks transportation or a telephone to contact the office. This is a failure to cooperate. If there is any question as to whether the EU has merely failed to cooperate, as opposed to refuse to cooperate, the QC reviewer will not request to terminate benefits. If the EU wants to cooperate but does not have transportation, the reviewer will arrange to meet them.
EXAMPLE: Mr. Black has been interviewed by the QC Reviewer. Additional information is requested from Mr. Black concerning the EU's income. Mr. Black does not provide the information within 10 days. The QC Reviewer contacts an ES to request that they contact the EU. The ES sends an IM-31Q requesting the EU contact an ES. Mr. Black calls an ES and states he will not provide income information. This is a refusal to cooperate. The ES begins the sanction process.
EXAMPLE: QC contacts an ES and has determined a failure to cooperate and requests they contact the EU. An IM-31Q is sent requesting the EU contact the ES. The EU does not respond within 10 days. The address is correct and mail is not returned. This remains a failure to cooperate as no contact has been made with the EU. It must be verified that the EU has knowledge of the QC review to establish a refusal to cooperate.
When an EU refuses to cooperate with a QC review, the entire EU is subject to sanction. A sanction will close the food stamp case. The EU is sanctioned from the food stamp program until 125 days after the end of the annual review period or the EU cooperates with the quality control review.
The annual review period is from October 1 through September 30 following the Federal governments' fiscal year. The EU is ineligible until February 2, of the next year.
EXAMPLE: QC reports that an EU refused to cooperate with a review of its case for the sample month of September 2012. The EU is not eligible for food stamp benefits until February 2, 2013 because the annual review period is October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012.
EXAMPLE: QC reports that an EU refused to cooperate with a review of its case for the sample month of October 2012. The EU is not eligible for food stamp benefits until February 2, 2014 because the annual review period is October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013.
The sanction is still entered even if the case is already closed. The EU is not eligible if they re-apply and will be denied until the sanction timeframe is up or they comply with QC.
When the EU's sanction is complete, notify the QC reviewer of the action (s) taken on the food stamp case. Follow the instructions in the FAMIS User Guide Quality Control Sanction.
The EU may participate in the Food Stamp Program when they have cooperated with the QC review or when the penalty period is exhausted. To cooperate with the QC review, direct the applicant/participant to the appropriate QC reviewer. Contact may be made by calling the QC Reviewer collect or if co-located, the FSD ES can contact the QC worker and inform them of the EU's desire to cooperate. Follow the instructions in the FAMIS User Guide Quality Control Sanction.
If the EU does not cooperate with the QC review, the EU can reapply for food stamp benefits, but will remain ineligible until after February 2 of the next federal fiscal year.
If the EU applies for benefits in the month in which they comply or applies in February, when the sanction ends, FAMIS will reject the application for the first month, and if otherwise eligible will approve the case for the subsequent month. To issue benefits in the month of application, complete a WIBCA budget, using the date of compliance (if the EU complied) or February 2 (if the sanction is ending) as the prorate date. Refer to the WIBCA FAMIS User Guide for more information.