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Issue Alert - 03-10-01

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Date:

Oct 01, 2003

Issue Summary:

PEM 233B - FAP/Food penalties for quitting a job without good cause will only be applied if the job involved at least 30 hours per week of work. FAP/Food Stamp penalties for reducing hours of employment without good cause will only be applied if the hours before the reduction were more than 30 and the hours after the reduction are less than 30.

Persons Affected:

FAP/Food Stamp applicants and recipients who are not deferred from work requirements.


Background

Food Assistance Program (FAP) -- formerly known as Food Stamps

What's Happening?

Effective October 1, 2003, Food Stamp work penalties will only be applied if the individual quits work that involves at least 30 hours per week of work. Individuals who reduce hours of work will not be penalized unless the reduction results in their work hours changing from more than 30 hours a week to less than 30 hours a week. For example, after October 1, 2003, an individual who quits a 25-hour-a-week job will not be subject to a Food Stamp disqualification. Similarly, an individual who reduces hours of work from 25 hours a week to 20 hours a week, or from 40 hours a week to 35 hours a week will not be disqualified, because the reduction does not cause them to change from more than 30 hours a week to less than 30 hours a week. IMPORTANT REMINDERS:The categories of individuals who are deferred (exempt) from FAP/Food Stamp work requirements are much broader than the Work First deferrals. See PEM 230B. Work-related penalties should not be applied if the individual has good cause for reducing work hours or for quitting employment. Good cause reasons are in PEM 233B. After the minimum disqualification period of 1 month (for a first penalty) or 6 months (for a second or subsequent penalty) is applied, in order to be restored to the FAP/Food Stamp grant, the individual must complete a 20 hour compliance test within a 5 day period unless the individual is working twenty (20) hours per week or meets the criteria for being deferred (exempt) from FAP/Food Stamp work requirements. PEM 233B.

What Should Advocates Do?

Assist clients who have been disqualified from receiving Food Stamps because of a work-related penalty to establish good cause or deferral reasons whenever possible. Make sure that the client has engaged in activity that is subject to penalty under FIA policies.If the individual has been incorrectly penalized, assist them in requesting a hearing and obtaining legal advice.

What Should Clients Do?

Request a hearing and seek legal advice if you receive notice that you are disqualified from FAP/Food Stamps because of a work-related penalty.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services office handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan LawHelp website (www.MI.LawHelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.