135.2 Employment and Training Activities

 

 

To become self-sufficient, an individual must seek and accept employment. An individual must accept referrals to employment, seek and accept any bona fide offer of employment, maintain employment and participate in employment activities specified on the AMR.   The federal government defines the types of activities that count toward the Work Participation Rate (WPR). There are two types of activities; core activities and non-core activities.  

55 Pa. Code § 165.31(a)(1) & (2)

Core activities are required for all individuals who are mandatory to participate in RESET.

Noncore activities are available if additional hours are needed to meet the minimum work requirement after the required core activity hours are met, when the individual has been granted good cause or an exemption for core hourly requirements, or when all opportunities to participate in a countable core activity have been exhausted or are not available.

NOTE: If the CAO and/or E&T program assert there is no core activity available, prior to engaging individuals in noncore or other activities listed on the AMR, approval must be secured by contacting the Bureau of Employment Programs (BEP) via e-mail at RA-PWBEP.TANF@pa.gov.

 

The CAO must narrate the intention to seek approval and how they intend to engage the individual. This does not pertain to individuals 22 and older participating in High School Equivalency (HSE), Adult Basic Education (ABE), or English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) programming or individuals participating in post-secondary education past 12 months in a lifetime with granted good cause (GC 74). The CAO must narrate when all opportunities to participate in a countable core activity have been exhausted or are not available.

Individuals, who are mandatory to participate, must engage in non-core or other activities listed on the AMR, even when no core activity is available.  This includes accepting referrals from the CAO to companies that may be hiring and conducting an independent job search from home.

Individuals must be referred to a contracted E&T program prior to considering a CAO-directed activity; CAO-directed activities are restricted to specific instances. See Section 135.11, RESET Enrollment Status, Program Referral Chart.

An individual can participate in more than one core activity to meet the minimum work requirement. Once the required number of core hours is met, an individual may choose to participate in any additional core or noncore activity to fulfill hourly requirements.

Example: A parent is required to participate for a minimum of 30 hours weekly in work activities. At least 20 of the 30 hours must be in a core activities.

A parent is working at the movie theater for 10 hours per week and  participating in community service for 10 hours per week. As these are both core activities, the parent  is participating for 20 of the 30 weekly hours in core activities, as required.

To meet or exceed the required 30 weekly hours, the parent  may participate in any core or non-core activity for the remaining 10 hours.

For example, the parent  could:

Core Activities

Full or part-time employment. This includes self-employment.

Income-in-Kind or in-kind employment is also considered unsubsidized employment (AC 30)

Full or part-time employment in which the employer receives a time limited wage subsidy paid by the E & T contractor. The amount of the subsidy is negotiated by the E & T contractor and the employer.

This includes Paid Work Experience (PWE). (AC 26)

NOTE:  Work study is counted as subsidized employment. (AC 31) Work study income is excluded for eligibility calculation purposes. See Chapter 150.5 Income Excluded in Computing Eligibility.

Full or part-time employment that combines a period of subsidized employment with training.

CAO-directed (AC 44)

Contractor-directed (AC 42)

Activity of seeking employment combined with instruction for finding, accepting and keeping employment. Consists of workshops and time the individual spends looking for employment on their own including registering with CareerLink, attending workshops, job fairs and computer labs.

Substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and other rehabilitative treatments are included with job search and job readiness when the necessity of treatment is documented by a qualified medical, substance abuse, or mental health professional.  (AC 49)

NOTE: This does not include individuals participating in physical health rehabilitative activities.

There is a combined time limit of 12 weeks in a rolling 12-month period for participation in job search/job readiness and rehabilitative service activities to count as a core activity for TANF recipients in Pennsylvania.

Guidance from the Administration of Children and Families indicates that the amount of time spent in job search or rehabilitative activities that count toward the 12-week limit can be calculated using actual hours engaged in the activity rather than in weeks. Participation for one or several hours per week does not constitute a full week.

For example: A single custodial parent, a single custodial parent of a two-year old child, participates in mental health treatment for five hours a week. Four weeks of the mental health treatment (4 weeks x 5 hours/week = 20 hours) would use only one week of the  12-week time limit for the 12-month period.

One week of job search is defined as:

To determine the 12-month period, begin with the activity start date and count the number of hours used during the previous 12 months.  As this is a rolling 12 months, the 12-month period changes as the months proceed.

There must be a break of one week (seven consecutive days) after four consecutive calendar weeks of job search activities regardless of the number of hours the client participates during those four weeks.  The individual must engage in a different core activity during the one week break.  The individual may continue participation in this new activity and is not required to immediately return to job search.

If an individual chooses to continue in job search activities during the one-week break, participation hours from that week must be excluded when adding the number of hours used toward the 12-week limit. After the one-week break concludes, the CAO may resume counting job search activities as a core activity for up to another four consecutive calendar weeks followed by a one-week break, until the 12-week time limit is exhausted.

 

Unpaid work for the federal, state or local government, or a non-profit organization to increase skills and attain an employment history including AmeriCorp Vista Volunteer Community Service. For information on calculating allowable Community Service hours, see Section 135.213

Specific training provided by a contracted employment and training vendor, accredited educational provider or accredited Internet- based educational institution intended to prepare an individual for a specific occupation. For information on time limits, see Section 135.212.

Caring for the child(ren) of another TANF individual, without payment, while the TANF individual is participating in community service. Individuals providing the child care must have child abuse and FBI  clearances.

Education activity for those up to the age of 22 providing a high school diploma or its equivalent when it is generally required as a minimum requirement in the individual’s anticipated field of employment.

 

Non-Core Activities

Formal training specifically designed to improve an individual’s skill on the job.

Supplementary educational activity specifically designed to improve an individual’s employability.

Education activity specifically designed to improve an individual’s proficiency in English or increase literacy to levels consistent with employment goals.

NOTE: When literacy activities such as High School Equivalency (HSE), English-as-a-Second Language (ESL), and Adult Basic Education (ABE) are embedded in a core work activity they may also be counted as core hours within the career pathway.

Identifies the activity of job search and job preparation training when AC 42 and AC 44 have been exhausted but job search and preparation is required or requested by the individual continue to seek or prepare for employment. Use this noncore activity only after core hours have been satisfied.

135.21 Employment and Training Hourly Requirements

Family composition determines the hourly requirement for an individual who is mandatory to participate in RESET. An individual who is mandatory to participate in RESET must begin participation in an approved employment and training activity as soon as possible, but no later than seven (7) calendar days from the date of TANF opening and contractor referral entered into the eCIS. The following is a summary of the required hours of participation. A Participation Requirements Desk Guide is also available in the Desk Guides section of the OIM Homepage.

A Single Parent/Single Specified Relative

 

Single Parent/Specified Relative

with a child under age six

20 hours in a core activity.

all children age six or older

30 hours with at least 20 hours in a core activity.

Pregnant/No other children

30 hours with at least 20 hours in a core activity.

under age 22, head of household

Meeting participation requirement if satisfactory attendance at a secondary school or GED program.

Participating in education or training directly related to employment for an average of 20 hours per week. 

 

A Two-Parent Family

 

Two-Parent Family

both parents under age 22, heads of household

Meeting participation requirement if maintaining satisfactory attendance at a secondary school or GED program.

Participating in education or training directly related to employment for an average of 20 hours per week.

not receiving federally funded childcare

35 hours combined. One parent must do at least 30 in a core activity.

receiving federally funded childcare

55 hours combined at least 50 hours in a core activity. One parent must do at least 30 hours in a core activity. *Either parent may participate for any remaining activity hours in non-core activity.

one parent DS, NS, or DF not receiving federally funded childcare

One parent must do 35 at least 30 hours in a core activity.

one parent DS, NS, or DF receiving federally funded childcare

One parent must do 55 at least 50 hours in a core activity.

one parent disabled receiving SSI – (J, A, or M) and youngest child is age six or older

30 hours depending on the age of the youngest child. One parent must participate for 20 hours in core activities and childcare does not affect the number of participation hours.

one parent disabled receiving SSI – (J, A, or M) and youngest child is under age six

20 hours depending on the age of the youngest child. One parent must participate for 20 hours in core activities and childcare does not affect the number of participation hours.

one parent is ETP code 53 (PA 635 completed denoting a temporary or permanent disability)

30 hours. One parent must participate for 20 hours in core activities and childcare and age of youngest child does not affect the number of participation hours.

 

NOTE:  In a family where one parent receives TANF and the other parent is not legally responsible for any TANF recipients, the parent receiving TANF must meet the single parent participation requirement based on the age of the TANF child.

Example: A household consists of two unmarried parents. The mother is receiving TANF with her 9 year old child. Her boyfriend and their common child are not receiving TANF. She is required to participate for 30 hours per week with at least 20 hours in a core activity.

The case worker and/or employment and training provider, with the individual, determine the appropriate project, referral, and/or activity based on the Job Readiness Assessment (JRA) and create the Agreement of Mutual Responsibility (AMR) that details the hourly requirements once the required hours of participation are determined. See Chapter 107, The Agreement of Mutual Responsibility.Employed individuals who are working fewer than the required number of hours are required to participate with a contracted program to:

These individuals should be referred to the appropriate program/provider for wraparound employment and training services. See Section 135.11, Reset Enrollment Status.

 If eligible for special allowances (SPALs) supportive services, an individual may receive a special allowance for the supportive services if required to enable participation in employment, education or job skills training. This may include payment for child care. See Section 135.6, Special Allowances for Supportive Services.

135. 211 Contracted Programs

Participants must be referred to a contracted E&T program prior to considering a CAO-directed project. See Section 135.11, RESET Enrollment Status, Program Referral Chart.

Available contracted programs include:

135.212 Vocational Educational Training and Postsecondary Education

Vocational Educational Training is defined as a specific curriculum of training provided by a contracted employment and training vendor, an accredited educational provider, or an accredited Internet-based educational institution that is intended to prepare the participant for a specific occupation.   

Vocational education training is limited by the federal government to 12 countable months in a lifetime with respect to any individual. Pennsylvania chooses to allow individuals to claim good cause to participate in approved vocational educational training that are not federally counted such as noncore activities or activities that last beyond the 12-month limit. See Section 135.41, Good Cause Circumstances and Section 135.212, Six-month Extension Criteria.

A lack of general education, English proficiency, adult basic education, and postsecondary training/education have been identified as major barriers to recipient employability and ability to obtain jobs with family-sustaining wages. Pennsylvania aims to improve client access to education and training to improve employability. All cash assistance recipients, regardless of TANF/ETANF status, without a high school diploma or GED, regardless of age, may pursue HSE, (which includes GED exam, or High School Equivalency Test (HiSET)). Likewise, all cash assistance recipients in need of ESL or ABE may pursue English language training or adult basic education. In all instances, recipients will receive good cause to waive the requirement to fulfill additional core or noncore hours and activities. See Section 135.41, Good Cause Circumstances.

If the CAO indicates an individual’s interest in education or educational barriers on the individual’s AMR, a referral should be made to the appropriate contracted program. The provider may then enroll the participant in vocational education activities, including postsecondary education if it facilitates the short- and long-term goals indicated on the AMR The E&T provider will complete a service plan for the participant that indicates the anticipated start and end date of the vocational educational activity.

Vocational educational training and postsecondary education may only be counted in the federal Work Participation Rate (WPR) for 12 months in a lifetime. Any amount of education time used in a month counts as one month used.

When a TANF student is meeting their participation hours in core activity other than vocational educational, the educational time does not need to be counted against their 12-month federal limit. The educational activity in this instance should be coded Activity 38 on the ETP Project Enrollment screen. TANF clients who meet their hourly core RESET requirement in another approved activity may continue to receive SPALs to support their education activity.

For an individual who is choosing a post-secondary vocational education activity that is expected to last more than 12 months, they must utilize good cause (GC 87) to continue that activity to improve employability and facilitate the short- and long-term goals outlined on the AMR. The CAO and the individual will complete and attach the Vocational Education Extension Addendum to the AMR for any individual participating in a vocational educational activity past 12 months.

NOTE:  The CAO may not approve education plans for individuals regardless of how many months of TANF they have received.. 

Verification of participation is required. The contracted program will request and verify hours for each student prior to entering them into CWDS. In limited situations where the student is unable to participate in an accredited educational institution via a contracted program, the CAO will verify hours.

Due to changes in technology, a client participating in vocational educational activities on campus or online may have their hours of participation verified utilizing several different methods. Methods include:

·       Documentation of the class schedule and accredited educational institution’s study policy if applicable.

The student may have hours verified by:

1.     An instructor, or other college personnel, such as, but not limited to, a staff member in the registrar’s office, financial aid office, or academic department, may sign the PA 1895 to verify hours of participation on a weekly basis at minimum.

NOTE: Please contact the Bureau of Employment Programs if the job title of the college personnel who has verified hours of participation is questionable. Signatures may be physical or electronic.

2.     An E&T program case manager when the E&T provider is facilitating the vocational educational activity.

3.     Electronic time sheets, time clocks, swipe cards, or telephone time and attendance sheets to verify the hours of participation via the accredited educational institution or the E&T program.

The accredited educational institution’s study policy must be obtained and retained. This document identifies the number of study hours expected by the school.

In the rare instance where an individual is not enrolled with a contracted program, if adequate verification cannot be obtained, the CAO will schedule a compliance review appointment to secure verification of participation in the self-initiated vocational education/training activity.

The CAO will continue to follow the compliance review process when: 

 

If the individual responds to the compliance review, determine the appropriate next step based on the discussion with the individual.  If the interview and case review reveals no good cause for the non-compliance, begin the sanction process.

Vocational educational training includes:

Postsecondary education includes:

NOTE: All TANF applicants or recipients who self-initiate into one of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges are required to be referred to KEYS if available.

NOTE: Nonspecific degree programs like liberal arts, general studies, and graduate degree programs cannot be approved or supported on the AMR. Exceptions exist when the school recommends the individual enroll as non-declared or general studies with the intent to enroll or transfer into a High Priority Occupation (HPO) program.

Individuals participating in an educational activity can meet the core participation hours through a combination of course and study time hours. 

If the individual does not meet the core participation hours the individual must participate in additional core activities unless they qualify for good cause.  For a list of core activities see Section 135.2, Employment and Training Activities.

During breaks that occur between semesters the student’s work participation requirement must continue to be met. Students who do not enroll in classes during the summer session must meet their hours of participation in other core work activities.

 

Defining Study Time Hours

Study time is the time that a student spends preparing for or completing course work assignments. A student may receive one hour of unsupervised study time for each one hour of class time with no additional verification needed other than the school’s study policy. Study time that is documented and monitored by the employment and training contractor or accredited educational provider can also be counted. Total study time hours, unsupervised and supervised,may not exceed the number of study time hours expected for the course as determined by the school’s study policy. Count the combination of monitored and unmonitored study time toward participation hours.

Example:A TANF parent attends community college and participates in KEYS. The TANF parent is enrolled in 4 classes and has 12 hours of class time scheduled weekly.

The TANF parent is eligible for 12 hours of unsupervised study time per week. The TANF parent also meets with a tutor at the KEYS facilitator’s office 2 hours weekly for supervised study time.

The 12 hours of unsupervised and 2 hours of supervised study time equal 14 hours of countable study time; however, the institution The TANF parent attends has determined that 2 hours of study time weekly per class is expected.

The maximum study time for which The TANF parent can be credited is 8 hours weekly.

 

Distance Learning and Remote Participation

The options of remote E&T participation and distance learning are available for consideration by the E&T program upon request by a participant or when an individual’s circumstances make it the best fit. This includes any external factors that may preclude in-person participation such as, but not limited to, exhaustion of annual transportation SPALs, limited participation options in rural locations, and/or health risks/conditions for the individual or other household members.

Distance learning, including blended learning (hybrid of online and in-person classes), is remote participation in a vocational educational activity via an accredited educational institution or DHS contracted provider. The availability of local, in-person vocational education opportunities does not prevent an individual from participating in distance learning.

Remote E&T participation can be defined as using technology such as a telephone, computer, or other electronic device to engage in unpaid work-related activities. Remote participation also includes the provision of paper packets, workbooks, and assignments when internet access or a digital device is not an option or participant’s preference. This also refers to a blended approach of remote and in-person activities.

For both remote E&T and distance learning individuals may provide their own Internet access, OR Internet access may be provided by the accredited educational institution, E&T program, or other community resource.

All E&T providers in the commonwealth are expected to offer approved remote E&T activities, services, and case management to individuals. Remote participation as defined above, does not necessarily mean the individual will be participating online. The E&T program may provide workbooks, services, and case management in a variety of approved ways to ensure that participation is maximized. Lack of internet or digital device must not prevent an E&T referral. The E&T program is responsible to find alternative methods of providing and maintaining individuals in remote participation.

Verification of actual hours of participation is the responsibility of the E&T contractor. When an individual is engaged in remote E&T participation or distance learning, supervision is required to track and verify participation. Daily supervision is provided by the E&T program, the accredited educational provider, or an accredited educational institution on the days the individual is scheduled to participate.  Daily supervision does not mean daily in-person contact.  The supervision may be by telephone or electronic contact and ensures that the individual participates and progresses in assigned activities.

The CAO does not need to seek approval from the Bureau of Employment Programs (BEP) to allow students to take online classes or distance learning to meet their required hours of participation.

 

Remote Referrals and Enrollments

The CAO will refer a mandatory TANF or volunteer individual to an E&T program if that individual is not currently enrolled in a program. When referring a TANF individual to a program to participate remotely or via distance learning, the CAO will follow the referral policy outlined. See Section 135.11, RESET Enrollment Status, Program Referral Chart.

The process for data entry on an AMR will be the same whether the individual is participating in-person or remotely. The AMR will include all information to ensure the participant is able to contact the E&T program including program name, case manager (if known), phone number, address, and email address (if available). All E&T programs are required to conduct outreach prior to an individual’s enrollment date to ensure their needs are addressed for the purposes of participation.

Childcare and other SPALs are available for individuals participating remotely who have a verified need and are eligible for the SPAL type. If an individual requires a SPAL to support remote participation or distance learning activities and need is verified, process the SPAL per policy. This includes, but is not limited to, transportation SPALs to and from childcare locations even when the parent is participating remotely.

The E&T program will assess the individual’s needs and find local solutions to assist mandatory individuals to participate remotely when possible. In instances where they are unable, and the individual is engaged in an allowable activity (per ESA-20048-135) that requires a device. See Section 135.6, Special Allowances for Supportive Services.

Second and Subsequent Trainings

For the purposes of second and subsequent training policy, the CAO will not consider the following to be countable past trainings:

 

Requests for training do not need to be submitted to the Bureau of Employment Programs (BEP) when the individual’s training history is limited to the above scenarios.

The CAO will consider a request to pursue a progressively higher credential in the individual’s field (e.g., CNA to LPN) to be a continuation of the prior countable training, rather than a new countable training.  Requests for continuation do not need to be submitted to BEP for approval.

Obtaining BEP Approval

Requests for second and subsequent countable trainings must be submitted to BEP for approval. BEP will approve the request when the individual is pursuing an occupation listed on the local Workforce Development Area’s High Priority Occupation (HPO) list, as published by the Department of Labor and Industry; AND

Example 1: A TANF recipient who received a cosmetology license prior to the receipt of TANF benefits requests to start schooling to become a CNA. This is an initial training request and does not require BEP approval. The individual is able to participate in the training.

Example 2: An individual who received their CNA license while a TANF recipient and is now receiving SNAP only wishes to continue education to become an LPN which will increase wage potential significantly. This is not a second training because the individual is continuing to pursue a progressively higher credential in the same field; this is considered a continuation of the first training and does not require BEP approval.

Example 3: An individual graduated from college in 2007 with an associate degree in Performing Arts while receiving TANF benefits. They cannot find work in their field of study. They are now receiving SNAP benefits and wish to seek further education to improve employability. The individual wishes to pursue a non-specific Liberal Arts degree. This second training request must be submitted to BEP.

Example 4: A TANF recipient receives a cosmetology license and obtains a job paying $10 per hour, which is enough to close the TANF budget, but not the SNAP budget.  They use five months of vocational education time obtaining this credential.  The recipient then requests to pursue a CNA.  The CAO submits the second training request to BEP.  BEP approves the request, because the individual was unable to find employment in the field paying a high enough wage to close the SNAP budget.

Example 5: The individual described in Example 4 is later charged with an offense that causes them to no longer be able to work in the medical field, reapplies for SNAP only, and now wishes to pursue a CDL.  This subsequent training request must be submitted to BEP.

Example 6: An individual, receiving ETANF benefits, obtains their certificate for cosmetology while originally a TANF recipient. The only hairstylist in town shutters their doors and the individual cannot find employment. The recipient wishes to open their own shop and wants to take business class at the local community college. This subsequent training request must be submitted to BEP.

NOTE: Post-graduate (for example, a master’s degree) vocational education activities are not allowable activities for TANF or SNAP E&T participants regardless of DHS support in past trainings.

Submitting Second and Subsequent Training Requests

All second and subsequent training requests should be submitted to the BEP.

Please include case record information and pertinent details regarding the individual and their previous education. Please allow two business days for a response.

 

If BEP advises the second or subsequent training is not approved, the citation for denying a second training is 55 PA Code 165.31(d) (1-6).

135.213 Self Employment and Community Service Hours

Calculating the Number of Hours for Self-Employment

Self-employment is considered unsubsidized employment. This is a core activity. See Cash Assistance Handbook Chapter 152, Self Employment Income.

To calculate the hours of self employment for work participation:

1. Use the gross earned income

2. Subtract allowable business expenses

3. Divide the number by the applicable state or Federal minimum wage whichever is higher in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The resulting number will count towards meeting the work requirements. Round to the nearest whole hour when the result is a fraction of an hour.  If the fraction is less than .5 hour, round down.  Round up to the next whole hour if the fraction is .5 or above.

Example: An eligible specified relative applies for TANF for themself  and 2 children, ages 3 and 5.The eligible specified relative has a work requirement of 20 hours per week. The eligible specified relative is a self-employed artist. The eligible specified relative provides the CAO with the most recent tax return indicating gross earnings of $7,540 after deducting allowable business expenses.

1. $7,540 divided by $7.25 equals 1,040 hours of annual participation.

2. This result divided by 52 weeks is 20 hours per week.

3. The case worker records Jane’s hours of participation as 20 hours per week in eCIS on the Employment and Wages screen.

 

135.214 Calculating the Number of Hours for In-Kind Employment

Work compensated with in-kind services or goods is also considered employment. The number of hours of work that is compensated by in-kind goods or services and counted toward participation is determined by the individual providing the in-kind compensation.  The Commonwealth does not count income-in-kind or other benefits received at a reduced rate or at no charge when determining eligibility for TANF assistance.

The value of the in-kind goods or services should be totaled and divided by the applicable federal or state minimum wage in accordance with FLSA to determine the number of countable, verified hours of participation in AC 33.

As a reminder, when the CAO receives verification of employment, if the verification is representative of ongoing, unsubsidized employment at initial entry, the corresponding activity hours are input into the activity and prospectively for a six-month period. A copy of at least one pay stub that was current at the time is used to project hours for no more than six months. Hours of participation will be adjusted if the individual reports and verifies a change in employment status such as increased or decreased hours, loss of job, or new employment.  Upon expiration of the six-month period or at the semi-annual review, whichever comes first, the individual must again provide verification that will be used to project the hourly participation for the subsequent six-month period.

Example 1: A parent completes odd jobs for their landlord in exchange for rent (valued at $800 per month). Divide by four weeks. $200, the result, is divided by minimum wage. The result is 27.6, which equals the number of hours per week the adult is considered working.

Example 2: An eligible specified relative cleans their mother’s house weekly in exchange for their mother paying their cell phone bill. The mobile plan is $100 per month. Divide by four weeks. $25, the result, is divided by minimum wage. The result is 3.5, which equals the number of hours per week the adult is considered working.

 

Calculating the Number of Hours for Community Service

The CAO will indicate on the AMR the number of allowable hours in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) calculation.  The FLSA calculation takes into consideration the cash assistance grant along with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in addition to other applicable deductions and adjustments.

Individuals cannot be permitted to participate for more community service hours than the determined amount indicated on the AMR. Only the CAO is permitted to perform this calculation. 

 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) limits the number of hours an individual may participate in community service. To determine the maximum number of hours an individual may participate for the purpose of counting toward the work requirement, use the following calculation:

1. Determine which monthly benefits will be used:

TANF ONLY household - use only the monthly cash assistance grant

TANF/SNAP household - add the monthly cash assistance grant to the monthly SNAP grant.

2. Subtract any child support paid to DHS on behalf of a child in the budget group, including the child support pass-through up to the maximum allowed.

3. Divide the result by the current minimum wage( this can be the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage whichever is greater) to determine the number of hours an individual may participate in community service during the entire month; then

4. Divide the monthly figure by 4.0 to determine the number of weekly hours an individual may participate in community service. When the calculation results in a fraction of an hour, round the result down to the nearest whole hour.

Additional earned or unearned income is already adjusted to the cash grant so it is not used to calculate the hours of community service.

If an individual is issued a special allowance, do not include the amount of the allowance when calculating the maximum allowable community service hours.

Example: An eligible specified relative and children receive a monthly cash assistance grant only of $403 per month. The calculation is:

Total monthly cash assistance grant

$403

Divided by state minimum wage

÷ $7.25

Maximum hours per month

=55

Divided by

÷ 4.0

Maximum hours per week

=(13.75) 13

 

Example: A parent and 10-year-old son receive a cash assistance grant of $316 per month. The monthly SNAP grant is $298. The calculation is:

Total monthly cash assistance and SNAP grants

$614

Divided by state minimum wage

÷ $7.25

Maximum hours per month

=84

Divided by

÷ 4.0

Maximum hours per week

=21

Example: An eligible specified relative and children receive a monthly cash assistance grant of $497 per month. The monthly SNAP grant is $542. Child support in the amount of $350, including the support pass through is collected by DHS monthly. The calculation is:

Total monthly cash assistance and SNAP grants

$1039

Minus child support

-$350

Net monthly cash assistance grant

=$689

Divided by state minimum wage

÷$7.25

Maximum hours per month

=95

Divided by

÷4.0

Maximum hours per week

=(23.75) 23

Deeming Hours for Community Service:

TANF recipients of TANF-only or TANF/SNAP households participating in community service are deemed to have met their core hourly requirement if they participate for the maximum number of hours determined by the FLSA calculation.

Single-Parent

Example: In a single-parent household, regardless of the age of the youngest child, the parent can deem their community service hours to equal 20 hours per week. Therefore, if the parent has an FLSA maximum of 14 hours of community service per week, and participate for all 14 hours in any given week, the participant is deemed to have met their core participation requirement and 20 hours is entered into eCIS.

Two-Parent Family

Example 1: In a two-parent household which does not receive federally-funded child care, the two-parent family can deem their community service hours to equal 30 hours per week. Therefore, if that two-parent household has an FLSA maximum of 28 hours of community service per week, and one parent participates in at least 28 hours in each week, they are deemed to have met their core participation requirement and 30 hours is entered in eCIS.

Example 2: When a two-parent household does receive federally-funded child care, and both parents participate, the hours can be deemed to 50 hours per week if one or both parents participate in community service for the total maximum number of community service hours for the household. Therefore, if that two-parent household has an FLSA maximum of 42 hours of community service per week, and one parent participates in at least 30 hours and either parent participates for any remaining hours of the 42 hours in a given week, they are deemed to have met their core participation requirement and 50 hours is entered into eCIS.

135.22 Excused Absences and Holidays

Excused Absences

Individuals engaged in unpaid work activities, including community service, may get participation credit for excused absences. An individual may get excused absence credit for up to 80 hours in the preceding 12-month period, but no more than 16 hours per month. This does not include the 10 countable holidays.

Individuals can be excused from participation for:

NOTE:  To count an excused absence as actual hours of participation, the individual must have been scheduled to participate in a countable work activity for the period of the absence.

Holidays

If the activity is closed on holidays observed by the Department, individuals will get participation credit based on the number of hours they would have attended an employment and training activity.

Holidays observed by the Department include:

NOTE:  Individuals who are participating in paid work activities must continue to participate in that activity as scheduled by the employer.

For absences not covered above, including holidays not observed by the Department, the contractor and/or CAO should allow participants to “bank” hours in the month the absence is to occur and/or makeup hours within the same month of the absence.

The participant must notify the contractor/CAO of their intentions in advance and together they must develop a plan to make sure hourly requirements are still met within the month of the absence.

 

NOTE: For participants that do not meet their required number of hours in any week, the contractor/CAO is required to develop a plan for the client to make-up the hours within that month in which the hours were missed. If the participants are unable to make-up hours within the month, they should still be encouraged to make up missed hours, but they are not required to do so once the month has passed.

Makeup plans should be developed between the participant and caseworker within a week of the absence. The plan should be narrated in the case record. Hours in a previous month are not expected or required be made up once the month has passed.

 

 

Updated September 21, 2021, Replacing May 25, 2017