State law requires the Department to provide cash benefits in the form of vendor payments, with respect to housing and utility payments, when a determination is made that the grant has not been used in the best interest of the child or the assistance unit, or where other chronic misuse of benefits is occurring. The law provides that:
- mismanagement of benefits may be presumed whenever rent, mortgage, heat, fuel and/or utilities payments have not been regularly made for three or more months without reasonable cause;
- at application and redetermination, the Department must screen households to determine if rent and utilities have been chronically unpaid and if it is appropriate to institute or terminate vendor payments; and
- households must be referred to the Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs) and community-based resources for assistance in managing expenses.
Note: There are nine HCECs throughout the state, funded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), as resources for housing stability and homelessness prevention.
This Operations Memo obsoletes Operations Memo 2013-42.
Purpose of Memo
The purpose of this Operations Memo is to advise TAO staff about:
- the screening process to determine potential cash mismanagement in BEACON;
- the referral process to an HCEC in BEACON; and
- when to place clients on vendor payments and when vendor payments may be terminated.
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