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Alabama PYs 2020-2023 Published Approved

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

Section Modification Complete
Located in:
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

    States that include TANF in the Combined State Plan must outline how the State will meet the requirements of section 402 of the Social Security Act including how it will:

    (OMB Control Number: 0970-0145)

g. Implement policies and procedures as necessary to prevent access to assistance provided under the State program funded under this part through any electronic fund transaction in an automated teller machine or point-of-sale device located in a place described in section 408(a)(12), including a plan to ensure that recipients of the assistance have adequate access to their cash assistance (section 402(a)(1)(A)(vii) of the Social Security Act)

Current Narrative:

Statement of Policy: Use of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to withdraw FA benefits or process a payment for merchandise or a service from an automated teller machine (ATM) or point of sale (POS) device physically located in liquor, wine or beer stores, casinos or other gambling establishments, strip clubs, tattoo or body piercing facilities or facilities providing psychic services is prohibited. Such use constitutes an unauthorized EBT transaction. Use of any portion of the FA benefits whether in cash or an EBT transaction to purchase alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or lottery tickets is also prohibited. Purchase of any of these items is referred to as unauthorized FA expenditures.

Definitions:

Unauthorized EBT Transaction: Use of an EBT card to withdraw FA benefits or process a payment for the purchase of merchandise/goods or services from an ATM or POS device physically located in a liquor, wine or beer store, gambling establishment, strip club, tattoo or body piercing facility or a facility providing psychic services.

Liquor, wine or beer store: Any retail establishment selling exclusively or primarily alcoholic beverages.

Gambling establishment: A retail establishment offering casino, gambling or gaming activities as the primary purpose of the establishment.

Strip Club: Any retail establishment providing adult—oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.

Tattoo or body piercing facility: Any retail establishment selling exclusively or primarily tattoo or body piercing services.

Psychic services facility: Any retail establishment selling exclusively or primarily psychic services.

Unauthorized FA expenditures: Use of any portion of the benefits whether in cash or an EBT transaction for the purchase of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or lottery tickets.

Alcoholic beverages: Any alcoholic, spirituous, vinous, fermented, or other alcoholic beverage or combination of liquors and mixed liquor, a part of which is spirituous, vinous, fermented, or otherwise alcoholic, and all drinkable liquids, preparations or mixtures intended for beverage purposes, which contain one—half of one percent or more alcohol by volume, and shall include liquor, wine and beer.

Tobacco products: Any product that contains tobacco such as cigars, cigarettes, pipe and chewing tobacco and associated paraphernalia.

Lottery ticket: Any ticket purchased for a game of chance operated by a state government such as instant lotteries, general lotteries and lotto.

Practices: Educate clients; investigate reported violations; and impose penalties on FA recipients.

Client Education Clients are educated about the spending restrictions as follows: mandatory discussion of the prohibition by the eligibility worker with all new applicants; public information materials which state the prohibition to include program summarized eligibility rules, client EBT brochures, automated client notices of case action, the program applicant/recipient affirmation and agreement statement which requires client certification of understanding and agreement to adhere to the prohibition in writing. The prohibition language is posted on the Department website and the EBT client portal. Further recipient grantee relatives must acknowledge in writing understanding of the rule as part of the Family Responsibility Plan (FRP) under the JOBS Program as discussed in section (c) above.

Automated Prevention Actions-Alabama’s EBT vendor blocks ATMs in the specified prohibited locales. The vendor also blocks prohibited transactions using merchant category codes.

Financial Penalties (1) For the first instance of non—compliance, the assistance unit will be disqualified from receiving benefits for a one—month period. (2) For the second instance of non—compliance, the assistance unit will be disqualified from receiving benefits for a three—month period. (3) For the third instance of non—compliance, the assistance unit may continue to receive benefits if otherwise eligible, but the grantee relative is permanently disqualified from receiving benefits as a grantee relative, and, if included in the assistance unit is permanently disqualified to be a member of the assistance unit. Payment to the assistance unit will be made to another relative living in the home or other protective payee pursuant to Department operating guidelines. The disqualified grantee relative may continue to receive benefits for other eligible assistance unit members for a temporary period while appointment of another grantee relative is being processed. (4) In addition to penalties in (1) — (3) above, the recipient must reimburse the Department as follows: For unauthorized EBT transactions, the amount withdrawn and/or used; for unauthorized FA expenditures, the amount of the purchase. Reimbursement in the full amount must be made before the assistance unit can again receive benefits following a period of disqualification as described in (1) and (2) above or before another relative living in the home or a protective payee can be approved to receive as described in (3) above.