(a) General. A sample of actions to deny applications, or suspend or terminate a household in the sample month shall be selected for quality control review. These negative actions shall be reviewed to determine whether the State agency's decision to deny, suspend, or terminate the household, as of the review date, was correct. Depending on the characteristics of individual State systems, the review date for negative cases could be the date of the agency's decision to deny, suspend, or terminate program benefits, the date on which the decision is entered into the computer system, or the date of the notice to the client. State agencies must consistently apply the same definition for review date to all sample cases of the same classification. The review of negative cases shall include a household case record review; an error analysis; and the reporting of review findings, including procedural problems with the action regardless of the validity of the decision to deny, suspend or terminate. In certain instances, contact with the household or a collateral contact may be permitted.
(b) Household case record review. The reviewer shall examine the household case record and verify through documentation in it whether the reason given for the denial, suspension, or termination is correct. Through the review of the household case record, the reviewer shall complete the household case record sections and document the reasons for denial, suspension or termination on the Negative Quality Control Review Schedule, Form FNS-245.
(c) Error analysis.
(1) A negative case shall be considered valid if the reviewer is able to verify through documentation in the household case record that a household was correctly denied, suspended, or terminated from the program in accordance with the reason for the action given by the State agency in the notice. Whenever the reviewer is unable to verify the correctness of the State agency's decision to deny, suspend, or terminate a household's participation through such documentation, the QC reviewer may contact the household or a collateral contact to verify the correctness of the specific negative action under review. If the reviewer is unable to verify the correctness of the State agency's decision to deny, suspend, or terminate the case for the specific reason given for the action, the negative case shall be considered invalid.
(2) The reviewer shall exclude a variance when the State agency erroneously denied, suspended or terminated a household's participation based on an erroneous verification of alien documentation by the Immigration and Nationalization Services (INS) Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program. The reviewer shall exclude the variance only if the State agency properly used SAVE, and the State agency provides the reviewer with:
(i) The alien's name;
(ii) The alien's status; and
(iii) Either the Alien Status Verification Index (ASVI) Query Verification Number or the INS Form G-845, as annotated by INS.
(d) Reporting of review findings. When a negative case is incorrect, this information shall be reported to the State agency for appropriate action on an individual case basis, such as recomputation of the allotment and restoration of lost benefits. In addition, the reviewer shall code and record the error determination on the Negative Quality Control Review Schedule, Form FNS-245.
(e) Disposition of case review. Each case selected in the sample of negative cases must be accounted for by classifying it as completed, not completed, or not subject to review. These case dispositions shall be coded and recorded on the Negative Quality Control Review Schedule, Form FNS-245.
(1) Cases reported as not complete. Negative cases shall be reported as not completed if the reviewer, after all reasonable efforts, is unable to locate the case record. In no event, however, shall any negative case be reported as not completed solely because the State agency was unable to process the case review in time for it to be reported in accordance with the timeframes specified in § 275.21(b)(2), without prior FNS approval. This information shall be reported to the State agency for appropriate action on an individual case basis.
(2) Cases not subject to review. Negative cases which are not subject to review, if they have not been eliminated in the sampling process, shall be eliminated in the review process. In addition to cases listed in § 275.11(f)(2), these shall include:
(i) A household which was dropped as a result of a correction for oversampling;
(ii) A household which was listed incorrectly in the negative frame.
(f) Demonstration projects. A household whose application has been denied or whose participation has been suspended or terminated under the rules of an FNS-authorized demonstration project shall be reviewed following standard procedures unless FNS provides modified procedures to reflect the rules of the demonstration project. If FNS determines that information obtained from these cases would not be useful, then these cases may be excluded from review.