WorkFirst HandBook

Resolving Issues

6.8 Exemptions

Legal References:

The Exemptions section includes:

6.8.1 What are exemptions?

Exemptions waive participation for individuals who are not able to actively participate in working, looking for work or preparing for work. We may lift participation requirements and approve exemptions for parents of infants and older needy caretaker relatives. Individuals may be granted an exemption if they:

  1. Are the parent or legal guardian of an infant age 12 months or less,
  2. Are a needy caregiver relative and aged 55 or older,
  3. Have a severe and chronic medically verified condition (including individuals likely to be approved for SSI or other federal benefits),
  4. Are required to be in the home to care for a child with special needs, or
  5. Are required to be in the home to care for an adult relative with a severe and chronic medical condition.

Individuals who have health or family issues that temporarily interfere with their ability to work should be deferred (instead of exempt) from job search and other WorkFirst activities. See WFHB 6.3, Deferrals , for more information.

Documentation to support an exemption may come from a variety of sources based on the individual's situation. Medical documentation must be objective and adequate to identify the severity of the disability. Exemptions cannot be approved without the appropriate documentation.

6.8.2 Infant exemptions

For the Infant Exemption see WFHB 5.1, Pregnancy to Employment and WAC 388-310-0300 and WAC 388-310-1450 (exemption from full-time participation for a maximum of twelve months in a lifetime if caring for an infant less than one year of age).

6.8.3 Older needy caretaker relative exemptions

For an older, needy caretaker relative, proof of age (55 or older) is all that is needed to approve an exemption. These exemptions do not require periodic reviews to determine if the relative continues to meet exemption criteria.

6.8.4 Caring for a Child with Special Needs

We may approve an exemption for an individual who is needed in the home to care for a child with a special medical, developmental, mental or behavioral condition when the child is determined to require specialized care or treatment that significantly interferes with the individual's ability to prepare for work, look for work or work.

Documentation may include statements by a public health nurse, physician, mental health provider, school professional, other medical professional, HCS, MHD and/or a RSN.

To determine whether the individual qualifies for an exemption:

The exemption must be reviewed at least every 12 months to determine if the person continues to meet the exemption criteria. Depending upon the individual's circumstances, the review period may be shorter. You may also consider convening a case staffing as you review the case. See the 3.5 Case Staffing section for more information.

See 6.4 Children: Special Needs section for more information about children with special needs. See also Examples of Caring for a Child with Special Needs.

6.8.5 Caring for an adult relative with disabilities

We may approve exemptions for individuals needed in the home to care for an adult relative with a verified disability who cannot be left alone for significant periods of time and the individual is the only one available to provide care. Exempt the individual if she or he can only participate 10 hours or less per week because of providing this care.

Documentation includes evidence of disability from a medical/mental health professional or from DDD, DVR, MHD, RSN or HCS. The exemption approval process and review requirements are the same as those for Children with Special Needs.

6.8.6 Adults with chronic and severe disabilities

We may approve exemptions or long-term deferrals for adults with chronic and severe disabilities. To make the exemption/deferral decision:

If the medical evidence shows the person has a chronic and severe physical, mental or emotional disorder:

SSI referrals (XB), exemptions (ZD) and long-term deferrals (XG or XM) must be reviewed at least every 12 months to determine if the person continues to have a chronic and severe medical condition.

6.8.7 SSI Referrals

A person with chronic and severe disabilities may be approved for SSI, resulting in more income and long-term assistance and on-going health care coverage. However, it can take six to 12 months (or more) to get a final decision.

As shown on the SSI Track Flow Chart , determine who may receive facilitated SSI applications (similar to the GAX process) as follows:

6.8.8 DVR Referrals

You may also refer individuals with a chronic and severe medical condition to DVR, following the process in the Social Services Manual - DVR , if they want to become employable. If accepted into the program, DVR can provide:

6.8.9 Can exempt parents voluntarily participate?

Exempt individuals may voluntarily participate. WorkFirst will provide services or refer voluntarily participating individuals to other service providers to help them enhance their employability and move into employment.

For those who voluntarily participate, do not remove the eJAS exemption codes so you can ensure that sanction will not be imposed for failure to participate.

6.8.10 eJAS codes

Use the following codes on the eJAS component code screen when an individual is approved for an exemption or long-term deferral:

6.8.11 Exemptions - Step-by-step guide

The WorkFirst Program Specialist or Social Service Specialist works with individuals as described below.

  1. Needy Caretakers : Approves exemptions for needy caretaker relatives who are age 55 or older and codes it on the eJAS component code screen as " ZA "
  2. Infant Exemptions : Follows the process in WFHB 5.1, Pregnancy to Employment, to determine eligibility for the infant exemption see WFHB 5.1, Pregnancy to Employment
  3. Caring for a child or adult : Allows individuals who are needed in the home to care for a child or adult relative:
    1. 30 days to gather needed verification.
    2. May allow up to an additional 60 days, as needed, to give the individual more time to gather documentation, reviewing the case at least every 30 days.
    3. Reviews medical or other documentary evidence, including evaluations from the SSI facilitator or public health nurse, and approves the exemption if the parent is only able to participate 0 to 10 hours per week.
    4. May set up a case staffing, as needed, following the process in section WFHB 3.5 Case Staffing , (making sure to include the appropriate staff or medical professionals).
    5. After the exemption decision is made:
      1. Makes any needed changes to the IRP.
  4. Medical Exemption : For individuals with chronic and severe physical, mental or emotional conditions:
    1. Uses the process in WFHB 6.6, Disabilities , to obtain medical evidence.
    2. Approves XB and considers SSI if the medical evidence shows the condition is expected to last 12 months or more and the individual can participate 10 hours or less per week. (See SSI Track Flow Chart for details.)
    3. Also approves a 12-month XG or XM deferral, requiring treatment only, if treatment is available and expected to improve the medical condition.
    4. Completes a DVR referral if the person wants to become employable.
    5. Refers the case back to WorkFirst at any point the person does not appear SSI eligible, and approves a ZD exemption or continues the XG/XM long-term deferral.


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