42 U.S.C. 609 - Penalties

Cite as:42 U.S.C. 609
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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(a) In general

Subject to this section:

(1) Use of grant in violation of this part

(A) General penalty

If an audit conducted under chapter 75 of title 31 finds that an amount paid to a State under section 603 of this title for a fiscal year has been used in violation of this part, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year quarter by the amount so used.

(B) Enhanced penalty for intentional violations

If the State does not prove to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the State did not intend to use the amount in violation of this part, the Secretary shall further reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year quarter by an amount equal to 5 percent of the State family assistance grant.

(C) Penalty for misuse of competitive welfare-to-work funds

If the Secretary of Labor finds that an amount paid to an entity under section 603(a)(5)(B) of this title has been used in violation of subparagraph (B) or (C) of section 603(a)(5) of this title, the entity shall remit to the Secretary of Labor an amount equal to the amount so used.

(2) Failure to submit required report

(A) Quarterly reports

(i) In general

If the Secretary determines that a State has not, within 45 days after the end of a fiscal quarter, submitted the report required by section 611(a) of this title for the quarter, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year by an amount equal to 4 percent of the State family assistance grant.

(ii) Rescission of penalty

The Secretary shall rescind a penalty imposed on a State under clause (i) with respect to a report if the State submits the report before the end of the fiscal quarter that immediately succeeds the fiscal quarter for which the report was required.

(B) Report on engagement in additional work activities and expenditures for other benefits and services

(i) In general

If the Secretary determines that a State has not submitted the report required by section 611(c)(1)(A)(i) of this title by May 31, 2011, or the report required by section 611(c)(1)(A)(ii) of this title by August 31, 2011, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year by an amount equal to not more than 4 percent of the State family assistance grant.

(ii) Rescission of penalty

The Secretary shall rescind a penalty imposed on a State under clause (i) with respect to a report required by section 611(c)(1)(A) of this title if the State submits the report not later than-

(I) in the case of the report required under section 611(c)(1)(A)(i) of this title, June 15, 2011; and

(II) in the case of the report required under section 611(c)(1)(A)(ii) of this title, September 15, 2011.

(iii) Penalty based on severity of failure

The Secretary shall impose a reduction under clause (i) with respect to a fiscal year based on the degree of noncompliance.

(3) Failure to satisfy minimum participation rates

(A) In general

If the Secretary determines that a State to which a grant is made under section 603 of this title for a fiscal year has failed to comply with section 607(a) of this title for the fiscal year, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year by an amount equal to the applicable percentage of the State family assistance grant.

(B) "Applicable percentage" defined

As used in subparagraph (A), the term "applicable percentage" means, with respect to a State-

(i) if a penalty was not imposed on the State under subparagraph (A) for the immediately preceding fiscal year, 5 percent; or

(ii) if a penalty was imposed on the State under subparagraph (A) for the immediately preceding fiscal year, the lesser of-

(I) the percentage by which the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title was reduced for such preceding fiscal year, increased by 2 percentage points; or

(II) 21 percent.

(C) Penalty based on severity of failure

The Secretary shall impose reductions under subparagraph (A) with respect to a fiscal year based on the degree of noncompliance, and may reduce the penalty if the noncompliance is due to circumstances that caused the State to become a needy State (as defined in section 603(b)(5) of this title) during the fiscal year or if the noncompliance is due to extraordinary circumstances such as a natural disaster or regional recession. The Secretary shall provide a written report to Congress to justify any waiver or penalty reduction due to such extraordinary circumstances.

(4) Failure to participate in the income and eligibility verification system

If the Secretary determines that a State program funded under this part is not participating during a fiscal year in the income and eligibility verification system required by section 1320b-7 of this title, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year by an amount equal to not more than 2 percent of the State family assistance grant.

(5) Failure to comply with paternity establishment and child support enforcement requirements under part D

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, if the Secretary determines that the State agency that administers a program funded under this part does not enforce the penalties requested by the agency administering part D against recipients of assistance under the State program who fail to cooperate in establishing paternity or in establishing, modifying, or enforcing a child support order in accordance with such part and who do not qualify for any good cause or other exception established by the State under section 654(29) of this title, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year (without regard to this section) by not more than 5 percent.

(6) Failure to timely repay a Federal Loan Fund for State Welfare Programs

If the Secretary determines that a State has failed to repay any amount borrowed from the Federal Loan Fund for State Welfare Programs established under section 606 of this title within the period of maturity applicable to the loan, plus any interest owed on the loan, the Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for the immediately succeeding fiscal year quarter (without regard to this section) by the outstanding loan amount, plus the interest owed on the outstanding amount. The Secretary shall not forgive any outstanding loan amount or interest owed on the outstanding amount.

(7) Failure of any State to maintain certain level of historic effort

(A) In general

The Secretary shall reduce the grant payable to the State under section 603(a)(1) of this title for a fiscal year by the amount (if any) by which qualified State expenditures for the then immediately preceding fiscal year are less than the applicable percentage of historic State expenditures with respect to such preceding fiscal year.

(B) Definitions

As used in this paragraph:

(i) Qualified State expenditures

(I) In general

The term "qualified State expenditures" means, with respect to a State and a fiscal year, the total expenditures by the State during the fiscal year, under all State programs, for any of the following with respect to eligible families:

(aa) Cash assistance, including any amount collected by the State as support pursuant to a plan approved under part D, on behalf of a family receiving assistance under the State program funded under this part, that is distributed to the family under section 657(a)(1)(B) of this title and disregarded in determining the eligibility of the family for, and the amount of, such assistance.

(bb) Child care assistance.

(cc) Educational activities designed to increase self-sufficiency, job training, and work, excluding any expenditure for public education in the State except expenditures which involve the provision of services or assistance to a member of an eligible family which is not generally available to persons who are not members of an eligible family.

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