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RULE §1.411Administration of Block Grants under Chapter 2105 of the Tex. Gov't Code

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to inform compliance with Tex. Gov't Code Ch. 2105, Administration of Block Grants.

(b) Applicability. This rule applies to all funds administered by the Department that are subject to Tex. Gov't Code Ch. 2105. The activities administered by the Department that are currently subject to Tex. Gov't Code Chapter 2105 are those funded by the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds that are required to be distributed to Eligible Entities, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds that are distributed to Subrecipients, and the funds that the Department administers and distributes to Subrecipients from the annual allocation from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. If additional block grant funds that would be subject to Tex. Gov't Code Ch. 2105 by its terms are assigned to the Department, they too would be subject to this rule. Capitalized terms used in this section are defined in the applicable Rules or chapters of this title or as assigned by federal or state law.

(c) Hearings required to be held by Subrecipients. Consistent with Tex. Gov't Code §2105.058, Subrecipients that receive more than $5,000 from one or more of the programs noted in subsection (b) of this section must annually submit evidence to the Department that a public meeting or hearing was held solely to seek public comment on the needs or uses of block grant funds received by the Subrecipient. This meeting or hearing may be held in conjunction with another meeting or hearing if the meeting or hearing is clearly noted as being for the consideration of the applicable block grant funds under this subsection.

(d) Complaints. The Department will notify a Subrecipient of any complaint received concerning the Subrecipient services. As authorized by Tex. Gov't Code §2105.104, the Department shall consider the history of complaints, for the preceding three year period, regarding a Subrecipient in determining whether to award, increase, or renew a Contract with a Subrecipient. The Department will not consider complaints in determining whether to award, increase, or renew a Contract with a Subrecipient that the Department has determined in accordance with 10 TAC §1.2 (relating to Department Complaint System to the Department) it has no authority to resolve, or that are not corroborated.

(e) Requests for Reconsideration. Subrecipient must establish written procedures for the handling of denials of service when the denial involves a household inquiring or applying for services/assistance. This procedure must include, at a minimum:

  (1) A written denial of assistance notice being provided to the affected person within 10 calendar days of the determination. Such a determination is defined as a denial of assistance, but does not include a level of assistance lower than the possible program limits or a reduction in assistance, as long as such process is in accordance with the written policy. This notification shall include written notice of the right of a hearing or secondary review of income documentation, as applicable, the timeframe the affected person has to respond to the decision, and specific reasons for the denial of assistance. The Subrecipient may adopt a policy limiting the time period during which a request for a hearing will be accepted and the format for the request, but the Subrecipient must provide the affected person with at least 10 calendar days to request a hearing or secondary review.

  (2) If requested by the affected person, Subrecipient shall hold a private, recorded hearing (unless otherwise required by law) either virtually, by phone, or in person in an accessible location within 15 calendar days after the Subrecipient received the hearing request from the affected person and must provide the affected person notice in writing of the time/location of the hearing at least seven calendar days before the hearing.

  (3) The hearing shall allow time for a statement by the Subrecipient's staff with knowledge of the case.

  (4) The hearing shall allow the affected person at least equal time, if requested, to present relevant information contesting the decision.

  (5) If a denial is based solely on income eligibility, the provisions described in paragraphs (2) - (4) of this subsection do not apply, however the affected person may request a secondary review of income eligibility based on initial documentation provided at the time of the original request for assistance. Such a secondary review must include an analysis of the initial calculation based on the documentation received with the initial request for services and will be performed by an individual other than the person who performed the initial determination. If the secondary review upholds the denial based on income eligibility documents provided at the initial request, the affected person must be notified in writing.

  (6) If the affected person is not satisfied with the Subrecipient's determination at a hearing or as concluded based on a secondary income eligibility review, the affected person may request a subsequent review of the decision by the Department if the affected person requests a further review in writing within 10 calendar days of notification of an adverse decision. If applicable, Subrecipient's should hold funds aside in the amount needed to provide the services requested by the affected person until the Department completes its decision.

  (7) Affected persons who allege that the Subrecipient has denied all or part of a service or benefit in a manner that is unjust, violates discrimination laws, or without reasonable basis in law or fact, may request a contested hearing under Tex. Gov't Code, Chapter 2001.

  (8) The hearing under subsection (e)(7) of this section shall be conducted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings on behalf of the Department in the locality served by the Subrecipient, for which the procedures are further described in §1.13 of this title (relating to Contested Case Hearing Procedures).

(f) Nonrenewal or Reduction of Block Grant Funds to a Specific Subrecipient.

  (1) As required by Tex. Gov't Code §2105.202(a), this section defines "good cause" for nonrenewal of a Subrecipient contract or a reduction of funding. Good cause may include any one or more of the following:

    (A) Consistent and repeated corroborated complaints about a Subrecipient's failure to follow substantive program requirements, as provided for in subsection (d) of this section;

    (B) Lack of compliance with 10 TAC §1.403 (relating to Single Audit Requirements);

    (C) Statute, rule, or contract violations that have not been timely corrected and have prompted the Department to initiate proceedings under 10 TAC Chapter 2, (relating to Enforcement), and have resulted in a final order confirming such violation(s);

    (D) Disallowed costs in excess of $10,000 that have not been timely repaid;

    (E) Failure by Subrecipient to select an option as provided for in §1.410 of this title (relating to Determination of Alien Status for Program Beneficiaries) by the deadline;

    (F) The ineffective rendition of services to clients, which may include a Subrecipient's failure to perform on a Contract, and which may include materially failing to expend funds;

    (G) A failure to address an identified material lack of cost efficiency of programs;

    (H) A material failure of the services of the Subrecipient to meet the needs of groups or classes of individuals who are poor or underprivileged or have a disability;

    (I) Providing services that are adequately addressed by other programs in that area;

    (J) The extent to which clients and program recipients are involved in the Subrecipient's decision making;

    (K) Providing services in a manner that unlawfully discriminates on the basis of protected class status; or

    (L) Providing services outside of the designated geographic scope of the Subrecipient.

  (2) Notification of Reduction, Termination, or Nonrenewal of a Contract and Opportunity for a Hearing. As required by Tex. Gov't Code §2105.203 and §2105.301, the Department will send a Subrecipient a written statement specifying the reason for the reduction, termination, or nonrenewal of funds no later than the 30th day before the date on which block grant funds are to be reduced, terminated, or not renewed, unless excepted for by paragraph (4) of this subsection. After receipt of such notice for reduction or nonrenewal, a Subrecipient may request an administrative hearing under Tex. Gov't Code Ch. 2001 if the Subrecipient is alleging that the reduction is not based on good cause as identified in subsection (f)(1) of this section or is without reasonable basis in fact or law. If a Subrecipient requests a hearing, the Department may, at its election, enter into an interim contract with either the Subrecipient or another provider for the services formerly provided by the provider while administrative or judicial proceedings are pending.

  (3) Notification of Reduction of Block Grant funds for a Geographical Area. If required by Tex. Gov't Code §2105.251 and §2105.252, the Department will send a Subrecipient a written statement specifying the reason for the reduction of funds no later than the 30th day before the date on which block grant funds are to be reduced.

  (4) Exceptions. As authorized by Tex. Gov't Code §2105.201(b), the notification and hearing requirements for reduction or nonrenewal of funding provided for in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection do not apply if a Subrecipient's block grant funding becomes subject to the Department's competitive bidding rules. The Department will require such competitive bidding for awarding block grant funding subject to Tex. Gov't Code Ch. 2105 for Subrecipients and in the Department's procuring of Subrecipients or contractors to administer or assist in administering such block grant funds, which includes the competitive release of Notices of Funding Availability and competitive Requests for Subrecipients or Providers. The criteria for evaluation of competitive responses shall be set forth in the applicable notices of funds availability, requests, or other procurement invitation document.

  (5) Nothing in this section supersedes or is intended to conflict with the rights and responsibilities outlined in §2.203 of this title (relating to Termination and Reduction of Funding for CSBG Eligible Entities).

Source Note: The provisions of this §1.411 adopted to be effective December 2, 2021, 46 TexReg 8009

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