N.J.S.A 44:10-63.1 Work First New Jersey Program, failure to cooperate, sanctions.

44:10-63.1 Work First New Jersey Program, failure to cooperate, sanctions.

2. In an assistance unit with a single adult or couple without dependent children or a single adult or couple with dependent children, the failure of a recipient to actively cooperate with the Work First New Jersey program, established pursuant to Phamplet Law 1997, Chapter 38 (44:10-55. Short title et seq.), or participate in work activities under the program, without good cause as determined by the commissioner, shall result in a loss of cash assistance benefits in accordance with the provisions of this section.

Prior to the imposition of a sanction, the county or municipal welfare agency shall determine whether good cause for noncompliance existS.Good cause shall include, but is not limited to, disability or other circumstances, as defined by the commissioner, which effectively impair a recipient’s ability to actively cooperate with the Work First New Jersey program or participate in work activities under the program.

a. Prior to the imposition of a sanction, the county or municipal welfare agency shall ensure that, in consultation with the recipient, an assessment has been given in accordance with subsection f. of section 8 of Phamplet Law 1997, Chapter 38 (44:10-62 Adult recipient to seek employment.), and a determination has been made that barriers do not exist which are likely to prevent the recipient from complying with the work requirements or other activities specified in the individual responsibility plan; provided that, this prerequisite to the imposition of a sanction shall not apply if the recipient, without good cause, has refused to cooperate with the conduct of the assessment.

The county or municipal welfare agency shall determine if a sanctionable offense has occurred and whether good cause exists by:

(1) reviewing the case record to determine whether a comprehensive assessment or other information in the file indicates that good cause for noncompliance exists, and

(2) outreaching to the recipient, to attempt, in consultation with the recipient, to determine the reason for noncompliance and whether it constitutes good cause.

If good cause requires that services be provided in order for the recipient to comply, then services shall be provided prior to any reassignment of work activities, as appropriate.

The recipient shall be provided with reasonable accommodations in work activities for identified disabilities and, when necessary given the condition, deferred from participation.

The recipient shall be advised of the right to contest the sanction if he disagrees with the agency determination to impose the sanction.

b. In an assistance unit with one adult, if the adult fails to actively cooperate with the program or participate in work activities without good cause, the cash assistance benefit provided to the assistance unit shall be reduced by the pro-rata share of the noncompliant adult for one month.

(1) If the adult fails to actively cooperate with the program or participate in work activities by the end of the first-month pro-rata sanction, without good cause, the assistance unit’s cash assistance case shall be suspended for one month. If the participant complies by the end of the suspension month, the suspension shall be lifted.

(2) If the adult fails to actively cooperate with the program or participate in work activities by the end of the suspension month, without good cause, the assistance unit’s cash assistance case shall be closed for a minimum one-month period, and the assistance unit shall be required to reapply in order to receive further cash assistance benefitS.

C. In an assistance unit with two adults, if one adult fails to actively cooperate with the program or participate in work activities without good cause, the cash assistance benefit provided to the assistance unit shall be reduced by the pro-rata share of the noncompliant adult for one month. If the adult fails to comply by the end of the sanction month, the pro-rata reduction shall continue until the recipient demonstrates an intent to comply.

If both adults fail to actively cooperate with the program or participate in work activities without good cause, the cash assistance benefit provided to the assistance unit shall be reduced by the pro-rata share of the noncompliant adults for one month. If both adults fail to actively cooperate with the program or participate in work activities by the end of the sanction month, without good cause, the assistance unit’s cash assistance case shall be closed for a minimum one-month period, and the assistance unit shall be required to reapply in order to receive further cash assistance benefitS.

d. If a dependent child 16 years of age or older fails to comply with the requirement for school attendance or other work activity participation, without good cause, the dependent child shall be subject to a pro-rata reduction of cash assistance benefits for one month. If the dependent child fails to comply by the end of the sanction month, the pro-rata reduction shall continue until the dependent child demonstrates an intent to comply.

e. If a cash assistance case is closed due to a sanction, and the recipient is receiving emergency assistance benefits, then the household shall continue to receive emergency assistance benefits for one month immediately following the case closure.

If the recipient comes into compliance and reapplies for cash assistance benefits, the emergency assistance benefits shall be reinstated if the emergency still existS.

f. If a recipient who is less than 18 years of age is living in a Work First New Jersey-funded appropriate living arrangement because the recipient is unable to live with a parent, guardian, or other adult relative, funding for the living arrangement shall continue for one month immediately following the case closure.

g. An adult recipient who voluntarily quits a job without good cause, as defined by regulation of the commissioner, shall render the entire assistance unit ineligible for cash assistance benefits for a period of two months from the date the county agency or municipal welfare agency, as appropriate, makes the determination that the recipient quit the job.

L.2007,C. 97,S.2.

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