MEMORANDUM
2004 Memorandums
IM-101      09/28/04
SUBJECT:
REVISED FOOD STAMP DISQUALIFICATION PROCEDURES
FORMS MANUAL REVISION # 12
IM-161 WAIVER OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING DISQUALIFICATION CONSENT AGREEMENT
IM-161A WITHDRAWAL OF WAIVER OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING DISQUALIFICATION CONSENT AGREEMENT
DISCUSSION:
This memorandum's purpose is to clarify policy and revise procedures regarding establishing Intentional Program Violations (IPV). Revised procedures, better communication between FSD staff and Welfare Investigation Unit (WIU) investigators, a new WIU/FSD investigation tracking sheet, a revised waiver form, and a new waiver withdrawal form will ensure good customer service while correctly establishing when a disqualification should be imposed. Claim policy discussed in Memorandum IM-#100, dated September 28,2004, works in conjunction with this policy.

The policy and procedures presented in this memorandum are effective immediately.

Upon receiving a suspected program violation (SPV) referral or DOI-1 Referral for Investigation form, WIU decides whether or not to initiate an investigation. When the investigation is complete, WIU may decide to:

  • take no action due to lack of evidence of IPV,
  • pursue criminal or civil prosecution, or
  • pursue an administrative disqualification.

Once the decision is made to pursue an administrative disqualification, the WIU investigator needs to work with the county staff to ensure that the Administrative Disqualification hearing (ADH) will be held. The investigator discusses the evidence with the County Manager, and they make a joint decision to pursue the hearing. FSD has responsibility to initiate the ADH.

Procedures and a new tracking form are developed to support the communication process.

Referral Process

Claims that are suspected program violations (SPV) are automatically referred to WIU upon establishment of the claim. It is important that the worker entering the claim records the circumstances and reason for a specific overpayment on the CARS SYSTEM NOTE ADD screen (OVNA) by using the Discovery ID. WIU investigators use the notes entered on this screen to help determine if an investigation is warranted.

In some case situations it may be appropriate to pursue a disqualification, but there is no claim involved, such as in the instance of an apparently fraudulent application for which no benefits are issued. These are referred to WIU using the DOI-1 Referral for Investigation form.

The investigation must be completed and a determination made whether to pursue a criminal or civil prosecution or an ADH. The individual must be clearly advised of his/her rights and the proposed course of action.

WIU Returns Referral Without Investigating

WIU may return the SPV referral or DOI-1 referral to the county office without investigating, in which case the county may still decide to initiate an Administrative Disqualification Hearing (ADH) if they feel there is enough evidence to warrant a hearing. The county manager or designee (other than the worker who made the claim determination or referral) must review the claim or referral and the available evidence before the county initiates the ADH. To initiate the ADH, county staff must:

  • enter Y in the ADH field on the CARS Change Claim Information (OVCC) screen, and
  • forward the IM-160 Advance Notice of Administrative Disqualification Hearing to the Hearing Unit.
  • The Hearing Unit schedules the hearing and mails the hearing packet, including the IM-161 Waiver of Administrative Hearing Disqualification Consent Agreement and IM-161A Withdrawal of Waiver of Administrative Hearing Disqualification Consent Agreement.

WIU Decides To Investigate

When WIU completes the investigation and determines that there is sufficient evidence of an IPV, they may opt to pursue an administrative disqualification rather than go to court. The investigator sends the county the FSD/WIU Investigation Tracking Sheet (attachment below) and requests that the county manager call the investigator within two weeks to discuss the circumstances and the evidence, and determine if the evidence is sufficient to pursue an ADH.

NOTE: If WIU interviews the individual as a part of the investigation before contacting the county manager, WIU cannot offer the IM-161.

  • If the investigator and county manager agree that the individual may have committed an IPV and that the evidence supports this, the investigator interviews the individual, and may offer the IM-161. The IM-161A waiver withdrawal is provided as well if the IM-161 is offered.

    NOTE: If the individual provides evidence during the interview that casts doubt upon whether an IPV occurred, the investigator will not offer the IM-161.

  • If the investigator and county manager agree that the individual may have committed an IPV but there is any doubt about the evidence or the individual's intent, the investigator may contact the individual to gather more information but cannot offer the IM-161.
  • If the investigator and county manager do not agree that there is enough evidence to present the IM-161 at the investigator's interview with the suspected individual, the county manager and investigator submit the issue through normal supervisory channels to attempt to resolve the issue. If discussion through channels still does not result in agreement, FSD and WIU Central Office staff may act as mediators to arrive at a decision.
  • If the investigator and county manager agree that there is no information to support an IPV, the tracking sheet is filed in the claim record (or case record, if there is no claim) and no other action is taken.

After the decision is reached, the county manager returns the tracking sheet to the investigator confirming the results of the discussion.

After contacting or attempting to contact the individual, the investigator returns the tracking sheet to the county manager, informing FSD of whether or not the IM-161 was offered. File the tracking sheet in the claim record (or case record, if there is no claim).

WIU Recommends an ADH

WIU may recommend that the county initiate an ADH, even if the IM-161 was not offered to the individual. Take action as appropriate:

  • If the county agrees that there may have been an IPV, initiate the ADH.
  • If the investigator and county manager agree that there was a possible IPV and the IM-161 was offered but the individual did not sign it, or the individual signed the IM-161 but later withdraws it, initiate the ADH.
  • If the county does not agree that an IPV may have occurred, do not initiate the ADH.

County staff must initiate the ADH by entering Y in the ADH field on the CARS Change Claim Information (OVCC) screen, and forwarding the form IM-160 Advance Notice of Administrative Disqualification Hearing and a copy of the tracking sheet to the Hearing Unit.

Upon receipt of the IM-160, the Hearing Unit schedules the hearing and mails the hearing packet. The Hearing Unit may or may not include the IM-161 and IM-161A with the hearing packet, as follows:

  • if the individual was not previously offered the IM-161 by the investigator, according to the tracking sheet, the hearing packet will include the IM-161 and IM-161A, or
  • if the individual was previously offered the IM-161 by the investigator, according to the tracking sheet, the hearing packet will not include the IM-161.

    NOTE: The claimant must not be offered the IM-161 more than one time. This may be interpreted as coercion to sign the waiver rather than conduct the hearing.

Individual Waives the Right to the ADH or is Found Guilty in the Hearing

If the individual waives the right to the administrative hearing by signing the IM-161, no action is taken until at least ten days have passed after the waiver is received by WIU, the Hearing Unit, or FSD.

  • The individual is allowed five days to withdraw the waiver by signing the form IM-161A Withdrawal of Waiver of Administrative Hearing Disqualification Consent Agreement (described later in this memorandum), and
  • another five days are allowed for mailing time for the IM-161A.

The individual is instructed to return the IM-161A to the county office. Upon receipt of the IM-161A, the worker must immediately forward the IM-161A to the appropriate Hearing Unit or WIU office, as indicated on the form.

  • If no waiver withdrawal is received, staff from the section which offered the IM-161 to the individual (WIU or Hearing Unit) enter the disqualification information on the FAMIS Sanction/Disqualification screen (FMAM).
  • If the individual does return the waiver withdrawal within five days of signing the IM-161, the ADH continues as scheduled if the Hearing Unit sent the waiver, or WIU recommends that the county initiate the ADH if the investigator presented the waiver. In this situation, the county office must initiate the ADH by entering Y in the ADH field on the CARS Change Claim Information (OVCC) screen, and forwarding the form IM-160 Advance Notice of Administrative Disqualification Hearing and a copy of the tracking sheet to the Hearing Unit.

If the individual is found guilty of an IPV in the hearing, staff from the Hearing Unit enter the disqualification information on the FAMIS Sanction/Disqualification screen (FMAM).

Use of IM-161 WAIVER OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING DISQUALIFICATION CONSENT AGREEMENT

Prior to providing the IM-161, notifying the EU member that the individual can waive his/her right to an ADH, FSD must:

  • ensure that the evidence against the individual is reviewed by someone other than the eligibility worker assigned to the individual's EU, and
  • determine that there is sufficient evidence to hold an Administrative Disqualification Hearing (ADH), and
  • intend to conduct the ADH if the individual does not choose to waive the hearing.

The IM-161 cannot be offered when there is a suspicion of guilt but the evidence is not convincing.

  • If it is determined that there is sufficient evidence to hold a hearing and the individual has been offered an opportunity to waive the hearing, an ADH is scheduled if the individual does not sign and return the waiver by the specified date.
  • The individual may withdraw the waiver within five business days by signing and returning the IM-161A Withdrawal of Waiver of Administrative Hearing Disqualification Consent Agreement (described below) to the county office. County office staff must immediately forward the IM-161A to the Hearing Unit or WIU, as indicated on the form. The hearing will be scheduled as if the waiver had not been signed.
  • If the waiver has been offered prior to the hearing, it will not be sent out again with the hearing packet.

Revisions to IM-161 Waiver of Administrative Hearing Disqualification Consent Agreement

The following changes are made to the IM-161 form:

  • The form is completed by WIU or Hearing Unit staff, as appropriate. FSD staff no longer enter some of the information on the form and forward it to the Hearing Unit for completion.
  • An "SCN" field is added.
  • The first penalty statement is removed, regarding violations that occurred before 6/1/1983.
  • Two statements are added:

    • "The penalty remains the same whether you choose to waive the Administrative Hearing or you choose to have the hearing and are found guilty."
    • "For options A and B above, you may withdraw this waiver within five (5) days of signing it. The hearing will be conducted as scheduled. If you want to withdraw this waiver, sign and return the attached form within five (5) days to the county office."
  • A "Date Signed" field is added.
  • The statement telling the individual whom to contact for questions is revised to read "If you need additional information regarding this Waiver/Agreement, please call the Hearing Officer/Investigator at:".

IM-161A Withdrawal of Waiver of Administrative Hearing Disqualification Consent Agreement

A new waiver withdrawal form, the IM-161A, is developed. This form must be provided with every IM-161 offered. If the individual agrees to waive the ADH and then later changes his/her mind, the individual must sign and return the withdrawal form to the FSD office within five days of receiving the IM-161. The worker must then immediately forward the IM-161A to the appropriate Hearing Unit or WIU office, as indicated on the form.

The Hearing Unit or WIU office sending the form enters the individual's name, address, DCN, and SCN, the name of the hearing officer or investigator, the Hearing unit or WIU office address, and the date the IM-161 is offered.

Forms

An initial distribution of the revised IM-161 is being sent to the county offices. Order additional copies from the warehouse as necessary. When the initial distribution is received, destroy or recycle any IM-161 forms with a revision date earlier than 09/04. The Forms Manual instructions have been revised to reflect these changes, and are available on the Intranet on the Forms Instructions page.

An initial distribution of the IM-161A is being sent to the county offices. Until the forms are received in the county office, use the IM-161A form attached to this memorandum. Order additional copies from the warehouse as necessary. The Forms Manual instructions for the use of the IM-161A are available on the DSS Employee Intranet on the Forms Instructions page.

An initial distribution of the FSD/WIU investigation tracking sheet is being sent to the county offices. Until the forms are received in the county office, use the FSD/WIU investigation tracking sheet attached to this memorandum. Order additional copies from the warehouse as necessary.

Policy Manual Revisions

The Food Stamp Manual sections discussing disqualifications are being revised and will be available soon.

 
NECESSARY ACTION:
  • Discuss this memorandum with appropriate staff.
MRT
Attachments:
pdf file IM-161A Withdrawal Of Waiver Of Administrative Hearing Disqualification Consent Agreement
pdf file FSD/WIU Investigation Tracking Sheet