108.7 Guidance on Good Cause Waivers of Specific TANF Program Requirements

This section reviews the types of welfare waivers most commonly requested and provides guidance on how to counsel individuals so they understand the potential risks they may face, as well as the protections and supports that the CAO can provide.

108.71 Support Cooperation

As a condition of eligibility, each TANF applicant/recipient must cooperate in the determination of paternity and the establishment or enforcement of a support order, unless this requirement is waived for good cause. A good cause waiver may be granted based upon domestic violence. The PA/CS 173 WP (Support and Good Cause Notice), which must be provided to all applicants, provides information to assist individuals in evaluating whether they can pursue support safely or want to seek a waiver.      55 Pa. Code § 187.23(b)   55 Pa. Code § 187.23(d)

 

Examples of reasons why an individual might seek a waiver of the requirement include but are not limited to:

Good cause may be granted if:

NOTE: The standards and procedures for processing claims of good cause based on these circumstances are covered separately in Cash Assistance Handbook Section 131.6.

Rape may serve as a basis for a good cause waiver under both the domestic violence and the rape, incest, and adoption policy/procedure. If documentation of rape is available, the individual may complete the PA/CS 173 GC (“Good Cause” Determination Based on Factors Other Than Domestic Violence for Child Support or Paternity). The PA/CS 173GC is available on Docushare . If documentation of rape is not available to the client, the CAO should advise the individual to follow the domestic violence procedure, using the PA 1747. (See Section 108.81, Verification: Domestic Violence Verification Form (PA 1747).

As soon as the determination is made on a good cause waiver of child or spousal support requirements, the CAO will send a copy of the PA/CS 173 GC or PA 1747 establishing entitlement to the waiver to the BCSE Area Office. The PA 1747 and PA/CS 173 GC must be accurately completed and must include the county code with the case number.

The CAO must explain essential points about the support process for individuals to make an informed decision about whether they can safely pursue support. The essential points they need to know are:

The Support Process

All of these actions will require that:

Addressing Safety Risks

Any of the actions discussed above could potentially place an individual who is experiencing domestic violence at risk or could place a client who has experienced domestic violence at risk of further violence. It is therefore important to thoroughly explain the support process.

Once the individual is given information to assess the risk of pursuing support, the options available to address safety risks need to be explained:

Occasionally, an individual already has a support order in place but has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence. In such a case, the CAO should ask the individual whether she believes continued receipt of support will place her at risk and inform her that the CAO can ask the DRS to close the support case. If the individual believes continued enforcement of the support order poses a risk, the CAO should contact the DRS to request the case be closed.

Remember also that if an individual requests good cause for not complying with support requirements:

Support Forms

The PA 643A, Certification of Cooperation, is completed for a support referral to the Domestic Relations Section when a support action is pursued.      55 Pa. Code § 187.23(d)

The PA/CS 173 WP is provided to individuals at each application and redetermination. The individual’s signature on the PA 173 WP is required at application and reapplication whether or not the individual requests a waiver.

The PA 1747 (Family Safety Notice and Domestic Violence Verification Form) is provided prior to imposition of a sanction for failure to cooperate with support requirements.

108.711 Child Support Referral Codes

The CAO should use caution when choosing the support referral code for each absent relative if domestic violence is an issue in the case or if the individual claims good cause. There are different actions and outcomes depending upon which code is entered. The codes are as follows:

NOTE: Codes 02 and 03 are used only for cases of rape, incest and adoption. Codes 11 and 12 are used only for cases of family violence/domestic violence.

 

At application:

NOTE: To reinstate a support order that has been stopped, the CAO must update both the support referral code and referral date on eCIS. Use support referral code 11 if family violence is a factor or code 6 if family violence is not a factor. Also, update the referral date to match the system date to generate a new referral to PACSES.

Anytime other than application:

Occasionally, individuals who have requested good cause for not complying with support requirements file for child support directly at the DRS. DRS staff will be encouraged to check CIS for an open cash assistance case whenever an individual initiates court action for support at the DRS. If an open case is found, the DRS will contact the CAO liaison. If an FVI is on the case, the DRS will discuss the circumstances with the individual and let the CAO know that the good cause code (12) should be replaced with another code (06 or 11). In the absence of a system link, this manual check of each system may help eliminate situations where an individual claims good cause at the CAO, then files for child support at a later date, resulting in simultaneous receipt of cash assistance and support.

NOTE: Neither the CAO nor the DRS shall access a DRS file unless access to the file is needed in the performance of their duties.    55 Pa. Code § 108.16(b)(2)  

108.72 Work Requirements

TANF Road to Economic Self-Sufficiency through Employment and Training (RESET) work requirements, including but not limited to the initial job search and the 20-hour per week work requirement, can be waived for good cause based upon domestic violence.     55 Pa. Code § 165.52(a)(8)

Examples of why an individual might seek a waiver of work requirements include but are not limited to:

Prior to imposing a sanction for failure to comply with RESET work requirements, the CAO will provide the PA 1747 (Family Safety Notice and Domestic Violence Verification Form) and information concerning the availability of good cause for domestic violence and information on how to complete the PA 1747 Domestic Violence Verification form.

When an individual seeks a waiver of work requirements due to domestic violence, the worker should explore whether the individual needs a reduction of hours, a different activity or if participation in any employment or training activity poses a risk. When the worker determines, using the standards set forth under Section 108.62, Standard For Evaluating/Granting Waiver Requests, that the individual needs a reduction of hours or a different activity or that participation in any employment and training activity poses a risk, good cause must be granted.

Individuals who are mandatory RESET participants and who have been granted a RESET good cause waiver based on DV shall be informed that:

NOTE: Verification of RESET activity participation must be provided in order to receive a special allowance to cover transportation, child care or other supportive services.

The exempt volunteer policy applies to both pre- and post-60 months and exempt volunteers may not be sanctioned for failure to participate in an education or training activity. See Section 135.5, Volunteering to Participate in RESET.

108.73 Time Limits

DHS recognizes that victims of domestic violence may need more than 60 months of benefits in order to maintain the family’s physical, emotional, and financial stability. For this reason, individuals are eligible to receive both Time-Out and Extended TANF on the basis of domestic violence.       55 Pa. Code § 141.53

 

Individuals may be eligible for cash assistance under this section regardless of whether the alleged abuser is in the household.       55 Pa. Code § 108.9(c)

108.731 Time-Out

Individuals may receive up to 12 months of Time-Out based on domestic violence. The 12 months need not be sequential. An otherwise eligible domestic violence victim may qualify under the kinship caregiver criteria for as long as necessary.    55 Pa. Code § 108.9(a)

108.732 Extended TANF

Individuals may receive Extended TANF based on domestic violence for as long as necessary to overcome the effects of the domestic violence. These individuals are eligible for Extended TANF in the DV Track (Track 1).    55 Pa. Code § 141.53(c)

Individuals who qualify for Extended TANF based on domestic violence are subject to the weekly RESET work requirement. Individuals who are experiencing, have experienced or are at risk of further domestic violence may:

Adults in the DV track, who have not obtained a good cause waiver of the RESET requirements are not subject to sanction for failure to meet these requirements. Should this situation occur, the CAO will explore whether the individual has good cause based on domestic violence or other factors. If good cause cannot be established, the individual becomes ineligible for Extended TANF until the individual complies with RESET work requirements.      55 Pa. Code § 141.53(e)

108.74 Minor Parents

A TANF minor parent and dependent child are required to reside in the home of the minor parent’s parent, legal guardian, other adult relative or in an adult-supervised supportive living arrangement, unless exempt from this requirement.       55 Pa. Code § 141.21(p)

 

A minor parent may be exempt from this “live at home” requirement if there is a threat to the minor parent’s or child’s physical or emotional health or safety from another individual residing in or visiting the residence. Other bases for exemptions are discussed in Cash Assistance Handbook 110.6.       55 Pa. Code § 141.21(q)(4)

In cases of domestic violence, the PA 1747 is completed by checking “other TANF or CCIS program requirement” in block 1 and specifying “living arrangement” as the requested good cause claim.

CAOs must inform minor parents of the option to be excused from meeting the living arrangement requirements if domestic violence is an issue, and provide notice about the availability of a good cause waiver and information on how to request or establish good cause prior to denying or terminating TANF benefits based upon the teen parent living arrangement requirements.

108.75 Verification of Eligibility Factors

Generally, individuals must provide verification of certain eligibility requirements at application, redetermination and the Semiannual Reporting review. However, there may be instances when a victim of domestic violence, due to safety considerations or the effects of past abuse, will not be able to provide verification when requested. Examples of verification requirements that a victim may request be waived include but are not limited to the following:

 

Issued May 16, 2018, replacing September 17, 2014