View all text of Subpart E [§ 96.50 - § 96.53]

§ 96.50 - Complaints.

(a) This section applies to any complaint (other than a complaint alleging violation of the nondiscrimination provisions) that a State has failed to use its allotment under a block grant in accordance with the terms of the act establishing the block grant or the certifications and assurances made by the State pursuant to that act. The Secretary is not required to consider a complaint unless it is submitted as required by this section.

(b) Complaints with respect to the health block grants must be submitted in writing to either the Assistant Secretary for Health or: For the preventive health and health services block grant, the Director, Centers for Disease Control; for the alcohol and drug abuse and mental health services block grant, the Administrator, Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration; for the maternal and child health services block grant, the Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration. Complaints with respect to the social services block grant must be submitted in writing to the Assistant Secretary for Human Development Services. Complaints with respect to the low-income home energy assistance program and the community services block grant must be submitted in writing to the Director, Office of Community Services. (The address for the Director, Center for Disease Control is 1600 Clifton Road, NE., Atlanta, Georgia 30333. For each of the other officials cited above the address is 200 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20201.) The complaint must identify the provision of the act, assurance, or certification that was allegedly violated; must specify the basis for the violations it charges; and must include all relevant information known to the person submitting it.

(c) The Department shall promptly furnish a copy of any complaint to the affected State. Any comments received from the State within 60 days (or such longer period as may be agreed upon between the State and the Department) shall be considered by the Department in responding to the complaint. The Department will conduct an investigation of complaints where appropriate.

(d) The Department will provide a written response to complaints within 180 days after receipt. If a final resolution cannot be provided at that time, the response will state the reasons why additional time is necessary. Under the low-income home energy assistance program, within 60 days after receipt of complaints, the Department will provide a written response to the complainant, stating the actions that it has taken to date and, if the complaint has not yet been fully resolved, the timetable for final resolution of the complaint.

(e) The Department recognizes that under the block grant programs the States are primarily responsible for interpreting the governing statutory provisions. As a result, various States may reach different interpretations of the same statutory provisions. This circumstance is consistent with the intent of and statutory authority for the block grant programs. In resolving any issue raised by a complaint or a Federal audit the Department will defer to a State's interpretation of its assurances and of the provisions of the block grant statutes unless the interpretation is clearly erroneous. In any event, the Department will provide copies of complaints to the independent entity responsible for auditing the State's activities under the block grant program involved. Any determination by the Department that a State's interpretation is not clearly erroneous shall not preclude or otherwise prejudice the State auditors' consideration of the question.

[47 FR 29486, July 6, 1982; 47 FR 43062, Sept. 30, 1982, as amended at 52 FR 37967, Oct. 13, 1987; 57 FR 1977, Jan. 16, 1992; 60 FR 21358, May 1, 1995]