60. Failing to fill out the Quarterly Report (QR) form and send it in
- Incomplete QR7
- Notice requirements for a late or incomplete QR7
- “Good cause” for a late QR7
- Restoration of Aid for incomplete or missing QR7
All households (except those that are “change-reporting”) must turn in a Quarterly Report (QR), once every three months. (For related information, see the section about prospective (quarterly) budgeting.) NOTE: Starting April 1, 2013, counties will start moving towards semi-annual reporting. The transition shall finish by October 1, 2013. See. AB 6 and ACL 12-59, the implementing instructions which will govern until regulations are promulgated.
California operates its quarterly reporting system under a federal waiver of monthly reporting. [7 C.F.R. § 273.21(a)(3).]
The Quarterly Report form (QR7), is due the 5th of the “submit month” – the 3rd month of the quarter. [MPP § 63-508.5.] (For example, in a Jan-Mar quarter, March is the submit month.) It is late by the 11th. [MPP § 63-508.52.] The family will be terminated by the first day of the next “payment quarter” (April 1st, in the foregoing Jan-March example) if the county does not have a QR7 or it is incomplete. [MPP § 63-508.532; 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(k)(2)(ii).] The county must comply with notice requirements for late and incomplete QR7s, prior to terminating aid. If the household does not turn in a complete QR7 by the 1st of the next quarter, the household will be terminated from aid and must reapply, unless they had “good cause.” [See MPP § 63-508.63; 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(m)(1)(ii). See also ACL 10-32, Q 2 regarding good cause.]
If a household gets a notice of incomplete QR7 when it thinks it has turned one in, it can ask for a hearing prior to the termination and get “aid paid pending”, i.e., pending the opportunity for a fair hearing to resolve the request for impartial review. If the family has already been cut off, it still can ask for a hearing, but won’t get aid pending the hearing, and should reapply and/or talk to the worker about “good cause.”
The food stamp office will say that your monthly report is incomplete if:
- signed prior to the first day of the submit month [MPP § 63-508.41.]; or
- the QR7 doesn’t list sufficient information to locate the household, though it is not incomplete just because a household is homeless [MPP § 63-508.42.]; or
- the head of household (or authorized representative) did not sign it [MPP § 63-508.43; 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(j)(1)(ii)(A).]; or
- the eligibility questions are not fully answered or verified (wage stubs, etc.), including not listing on the QR7 information previously reported mid-quarter or failing to list a previously reported item without reporting a change (e.g., no longer listing earned income without reporting a loss of job). [MPP § 63-508.44; 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(j)(1)(ii)(B) and (C).]
Failure to verify child support or spousal payments, or other deductions, do not render the QR7 incomplete. Rather, the county just will not allow the deduction. [MPP § 63-508.44 and .44(d); MPP § 63-508. .616 (a).]
If elements pertaining to one program’s requirements are missing from the QR7, the QR7 will be considered incomplete for that program only. [MPP § 63-508.44(c).]
Notice requirements for a late or incomplete QR7
The county welfare department must provide a notice of action to a prospective budgeting/quarterly reporting household that fails to file a QR7 by the 11th day of the “submit month,” or files an incomplete QR7. This notice must tell the household:
- if the monthly report is late or incomplete;
- what the household must do to complete the form;
- what papers the household needs to send in with the form;
- the date by which the household must file the late monthly report (the close of the first business day of the next “payment quarter”);
- that the food stamp office will help the household complete the monthly report form if the household asks for help.
[MPP § 63-508.6; 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(j)(3)(ii)(A-F).]
The county also must provide notice if it considers information reported on the QR7 to be questionable, it must inform the household it has until the 1st of the following month to submit the necessary clarifying information or verification. [MPP § 63-508.616(d).]
The county must send the notice no later than 10 days before the end of the “submit month.” [MPP § 63-508.62; 7 C.F.R. § 273.21(j)(3)(i).]
“Good cause” for late QR7
The Food Stamp Program uses CalWORKs [TANF] rules to determine “good cause” for late filing of a QR7. [MPP § 63-508.642.] Good cause exists only when the recipient cannot reasonably be expected to fulfill his/her reporting responsibilities due to factors outside of his/her control. The burden of proof rests with the recipient. [MPP § 40-181.23.]
Good cause is:
- when the recipient is suffering from a mental or physical condition which prevents timely and complete reporting.
- when the recipient’s failure to submit a timely and complete report is directly attributable to county error.
- when the county finds other extenuating circumstances.
[MPP § 40-181.233.]
Generally, the household MUST ask for a good cause finding. [MPP § 63-508.231.] The household does not need to use specific words, but must clearly expression to the county, whether verbal or written, that the recipient wants an opportunity to present his/her explanation for not meeting the quarterly reporting requirements. A request for a fair hearing also may be considered a request for good cause determination. [MPP § 63-508.231(a).]
The county is required to make a good cause finding if a household discontinued for failure to submit a complete QR7 requests restoration of CalWORKs during the calendar month following discontinuance, but after the extended filing deadline (the first working day of the next payment quarter). [MPP § 40-125.94.] Also, the county has the discretion to make its own good cause finding, without a household request. [MPP § 40-181.232.]
Once a full calendar month has passed since the QR7 discontinuance date, the household may not claim good cause and must reapply for benefits. [MPP § 63-508.644.]
If the county finds good cause, it rescinds the discontinuance action and determines food stamp eligibility and benefit amount based on the information on the QR7. [MPP § 63-508.643.] If information reported on the QR7 results in a decrease in benefits, the county must issue the regular (higher) allotment, provide 10-day notice before taking action to decrease benefits, and establish an overpayment. [MPP § 63-508.645.] If there was good cause for late filing, and the household is due an increase, the county must issue a supplement for the first month of the next QR payment quarter. [MPP § 63-508.645(c).]
Restoration of aid after Missing/incomplete QR 7
If a household either does not turn in a complete QR 7 during the extended filing period (up through the close of the first business day of the month after the report was due), or fails to turn in any QR 7 at all, the household is discontinued. If the household turns in a completed QR 7 any time in the month after the QR 7 was due, the household will be restored to aid, if otherwise eligible, pro-rated from the date the form was turned in. ACL 12-35. (So, good cause is still important, as it will give the household the full aid back.) Households being restored to aid are treated as recipients, not applicants. The exception is for households who are receiving Transitional CalFresh, as the law prohibits getting both CalWORKs and (regular) CalFresh in the same month. ACIN I-50-12. For those families, the full aid (both CalWORKs and CalFresh) are restored the 1st of the following month (after turning in the completed QR 7), after proper notice. Id.