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PROTECTIVE AND VENDOR PAYMENTS

ISSUE DATE: 12/2014

Protective and vendor payments are alternatives to issuing benefits directly to clients.

Protective payments give a clientís assistance benefits to a payee other than the client. The payee is responsible to pay for the clientís needs up to the amount of the benefit.

Vendor payments are cash assistance benefits paid directly to a provider of goods or services.

Protective and vendor payments may be mandatory or optional.

The county agency may not act as vendor of a clientís grant.

You may use the Mandatory Vendor Form - Request for Information (DHS-3365) to request shelter or utility expense information from clients. This is not a required form. Clients can provide this information in other ways if they choose.


MFIP:

Use alternative payment methods for the cash portion of MFIP in the following situations:

Issue to a vendor when you find this is the most effective way to resolve an emergency.

Issue to a vendor or protective payee when clients have a pattern of money mismanagement. The county agency director or directorís designee must approve a proposal for protective or vendor payments for money mismanagement. The county agency must provide training on managing money. Document the need for and the method of payment. If the need for protective payee or vendor payments will last beyond 2 years, ask the court to appoint a legal representative.

Issue to a vendor or protective payee if the client completes the Request for Voluntary Vendor Payment (DHS-2984) form.

Issue MFIP as a vendor payment out of the cash portion of assistance for shelter and utilities for units with a member who was convicted of a drug felony or failed a random drug test within 10 years from the date of application or recertification. If the vendorís refusal to accept partial payment is due to a legality or company policy, do not vendor pay the shelter cost (for example, real estate taxes). Vendor pay the shelter cost if the vendorís refusal to accept partial payment is based on an agreement made between the vendor and client. If there is an amount left over, issue it directly to the unit. See 0011.27.03 (Drug Felons).

When possible, issue MFIP to a protective payee when a minor caregiver and minor child live with the minor caregiverís parent, other adult relative, legal guardian or legal custodian, or in an adult-supervised supportive living arrangement. See 0012.06 (Requirements for Caregivers Under 20).

Issue voluntary vendor payments only for shelter and utilities.

Issue up to the cash portion of MFIP to a vendor for shelter and, at county option, utilities if the unit is subject to the 2nd through 6th month of any Employment Services, orientation, or child support sanction. Continue to vendor pay the shelter (and utilities, if applicable) for 6 months after the month in which the participant(s) return to compliance.


If the vendorís refusal to accept partial payment is due to a legality or company policy, do not vendor pay the shelter cost (for example, real estate taxes). Vendor pay the shelter cost if the vendorís refusal to accept partial payment is based on an agreement made between the vendor and client.

See 0028.30 (Sanctions for Failure to Comply - Cash).


Inform clients whose grants are vendor paid how fluctuating grants due to changes in earned or unearned income will affect the amount of their vendor payments.

When the information needed to pay the vendor(s) is not on file, send a 10-day notice of adverse action, proposing to terminate assistance unless you receive ALL of the following items before the effective date of the notice:

The amount of the shelter and/or utilities.

The date when shelter is due.

The name and address of the landlord/caretaker/mortgage holder and/or utility company.


Do not terminate assistance if the participant provides information about and completes a release to contact the vendor. Do not terminate assistance if the participant verifies he or she does not incur shelter and/or utilities.


To determine the amount to vendor pay for utilities, choose 1 of the following methods:

The average of the actual monthly cost of utilities for the family for the prior 12 months (if the family has maintained their current residence for 12 months or more).

The amount of the monthly budget plan set by the local utility company for the familyís current residence.

The estimated monthly utility costs (in consultation with the client) for the dwelling in which the family currently resides.


For the food portion of MFIP, follow the SNAP provisions of 0024.09.01 (Protective and Vendor Payments - SNAP/MSA/GA/GRH).

Document and review the need for the method of payment at least annually.


DWP:

Follow MFIP for protective payee and vendoring partial payment provisions. Vendor pay all family maintenance needs (housing and utilities) up to the amount of the DWP grant for the entire period of DWP eligibility when possible. Do not vendor pay the minimum cash benefit amount of $10. At county option, you may also vendor pay the standard phone amount of $35.00.

A unit with high shelter expenses may not be getting additional cash benefits (for example, personal needs) because the entire amount of the DWP benefits is paid out in a vendor payment for the familyís shelter needs. For units receiving personal needs allowance payments, issue the personal needs allowance payments via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT).

For more information, see 0022.12 (How to Calc. Benefit Level - MFIP/DWP/GA), 0020.09 (MFIP/DWP Assistance Standards) and 0024.04.03.03 (Benefit Delivery Methods--Program Provisions).


SNAP, MSA, GA, GRH:

See 0024.09.01 (Protective and Vendor Payments - SNAP/MSA/GA/GRH).

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