WorkFirst Handbook

Welcome to the WorkFirst Handbook

Recent Updates and Memos for Staff

For more information about the WorkFirst HandBook, contact Anna Minor, WorkFirst Program Manager.

About WorkFirst Handbook

WorkFirst has Six Main Performance Goals

  • Reduce the TANF caseload
  • Increase the number of participants in unsubsidized jobs.
  • Increase the percentage of participants with earnings.
  • Increase the earnings of participants.
  • Reduce TANF returns.
  • Increase child support collections.

Participant Flow Chart

There are various stages a participant might go through to become independent of TANF. The process begins with an application for TANF cash aid and ends with a successful exit from the TANF program using job retention and wage and skill progression strategies for lasting gains. The interim steps include activities (like job search) and processes (like evaluation and helping the participant develop an IRP) that will help them meet their goals.

Not every participant goes through every stage. Our experience shows that people can find jobs and independence at any step in the process. This handbook has information about every stage in the program.

WorkFirst Partner Roles

The WorkFirst program mandates a new level of coordination between state agencies, tribal governments, and other key local area partners. Each WorkFirst partner has an important role to play and areas of expertise to contribute in helping participants achieve self-sufficiency.

You can find a link to a list of key WorkFirst partners and a description of the role they each play in the title of this section.

Local Area Planning

The WorkFirst program also instituted a formal process to coordinate between the state agencies and other WorkFirst partners. This process is called local area planning.

Washington State has been divided into local area planning groups. WorkFirst partners within each local area are held jointly accountable to work together and meet local area WorkFirst performance goals and targets. Each area's progress is measured and reported on a monthly basis.

We have included a link to the local area planning web page in the title of this section. If you visit this site you will find more information about local area planning groups and the monthly reports on their progress in meeting major WorkFirst targets and goals.

About the Handbook

Created on: 
Jul 12 2016

Revised on:  November 16, 2016

WorkFirst program staff at Economic Services Administration (ESA) of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) primarily wrote this handbook. Others contributing to the contents of this handbook include:

  • Employment Security Department (ESD)
  • The State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC)
  • The Department of Commerce (Commerce)
  • Workforce Development Councils (WDC)
  • Tribal Governments and other partners
Handbook chapters include.
Tools The tools we use to process cases (such as Individual Responsibility Plans and eJAS screening/evaluation)
Supports The supports we provide to participants (such as child care and support services)
Setting the Stage How we introduce participants to the WorkFirst program
The Pathways

The pathways participants may take to self-sufficiency include:

  • Career Scope – provides services to help participants find jobs
  • Community Jobs – paid work activity that help a participant prepare for work
  • Community Works – unpaid work activity that help a participant prepare for work
  • Education & Training – education and training programs that help participants build knowledge and skills needed for work
  • Employment - Services and requirements for employed participants
  • LEP – services provided to limited English proficiency participants
  • Issue Resolution - Working with issues that interfere with participants’ ability to work (like family violence)
  • Exempt – provides services to participants who may take alternative routes to self-sufficiency (like SSI)

Using the WorkFirst Handbook

Each section of the WorkFirst Handbook may have:

  • A legal reference list and key principles at the top;
  • The body of text in the center with special requirements, examples or activities notated in special fonts or colored boxes; and
  • A list of resources at the bottom.

The use of participant and parent/caregiver are interchangeable throughout this handbook. 

Desk Aids

This page contains useful desk aids that may be printed for convenience.  Policy and procedure changes will result in revisions to this information.


 

Chapter 1: Engaging Parents in WorkFirst

1.1 Overview

The Engaging Parents in WorkFirst Overview section includes:

  • 1.1.1 How do we introduce parents to WorkFirst?
  • 1.1.2 What brought you here?
  • 1.1.3 What is the very first step?
  • 1.1.4 What are the next steps?
  • 1.1.5 What are the WorkFirst principles?

1.1.1 How do we introduce parents to WorkFirst?

How do you introduce parents to the WorkFirst program? You get them engaged, right from the start and begin to develop a trusting relationship. Tell them that WorkFirst offers many supports and services to help them through their temporary situation, but they must do their part by taking advantage of program opportunities to help them find and keep a job. They need to know that:

  • All mandatory WorkFirst participants must complete a WorkFirst Orientation;
  • WorkFirst can help connect parents to different opportunities, including employment ;
  • There are people and resources available to provide support as we help them build a plan for their family; and
  • If they choose not to participate, they risk losing their cash grant.

1.1.2 What brought you here?

This is a very simple question that you should ask every parent when she or he first applies for WorkFirst. Their answer can give us important clues about how to get them off to a good start in the WorkFirst program.

Begin by building a rapport and a partnership with the parent. Then focus on how they need to do their part and take advantage of WorkFirst supports and services to better their lives and become self-sufficient.

Perhaps this is their first time on public assistance and they only came in because they faced an unexpected crisis, like illness, divorce, or job loss. Emphasize all the services WorkFirst offers, get the client connected to the right programs, and help guide them down the path to self-sufficiency .

For returning families, start off talking about how they managed to leave WorkFirst before, what happened while they were off, and what made them reapply. Knowing what worked for them in the past can help you figure out where to start in getting them back on track.

1.1.3 What is the very first step?

First you deal with the immediate financial crisis. You:

  • Review every other resource available to the parent such as child care, unemployment compensation, social security benefits, labor and industries compensation, or other local resources.
  • Find out if $1,250 in diversion benefits, Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA) is all the cash aid the parent(s) need to stabilize their family's situation. If they chose DCA:
    • Determine eligibility for Basic Food, and
    • Remind the parent that if they go on WorkFirst cash assistance within one year, this will be a loan that they will have to repay.
  • If the parent declines DCA, determine eligibility and authorize benefits for TANF cash assistance and Basic Food.
  • Provide information for resources (like Health Benefits Exchange, food banks or emergency housing) to maintain the family until their public assistance benefits are approved .
  • Get information about the noncustodial parent(s) and make a referral to the Division of Child Support to get child and medical support collections started.

1.1.4 What are the next steps?

The next step is to tell the parent about the WorkFirst program, it's message, "A job, a better job, a better life" and how they can earn a living for their family. Be sure to explain that TANF is a temporary program and they are responsible to participate in the WorkFirst program, . They may not remember everything you are telling them, particularly if they are in crisis mode the first time you meet. This makes it very important to continue WorkFirst engagement throughout a person's stay on assistance.

The following sections of this chapter describe the other important "first steps" you take with newly approved WorkFirst families: setting appropriate participation requirements, making referrals and orienting them to the program. The chart below shows this initial work you do to help families become engaged as quickly as possible.

Triage the case for required…
Accountability

Explain program participation requirements and the parent's responsibility to participate. Let them know that if they choose not to participate, they risk losing TANF benefits.

Participation

Determine what the family's WorkFirst participation requirements will be. Is someone in the family:

  • Exempt from participation?
  • A dependent teen (16-19 years old)
  • Pregnant (third trimester) or parenting an infant?
  • A minor parent (unmarried and under the age of 18)?
  • In need of stabilization or issue resolution?
  • Able to participate in work or work activities?
Up-front referrals All families must get family planning and family violence information and be offered referrals for more in-depth follow-up.
Orientation Reach out to all adult members of the family; tell them what is available, what you expect from them and what you can do for them.
Comprehensive Evaluation Let the family know that they will receive a comprehensive evaluation to help get them into appropriate WorkFirst activities as quickly as possible.

1.1.5 What are the WorkFirst Principles?

Telling people the WorkFirst message is the best way to set the stage for a successful WorkFirst experience. Look at the program through their eyes and talk about it the way most people would. These parents want to earn a living for their family. Build on that.

A job, a better job, a better life. Eight words sum up the common goal of the many pieces that make up Washington WorkFirst.
A job, a better job, a better life. A job…Work is still first. Paid work offers the best opportunity for families to escape poverty. Work is better than welfare. Work pays more than welfare. A job – any job – is the best place to start. Employment is still at the center of WorkFirst.
A better job… But that first job is likely to be entry level or part-time for people who have spotty work histories or other barriers to overcome. Once parents go to work—even if they earn enough to leave assistance–-WorkFirst continues to support them. WorkFirst parents can take advantage of training opportunities, job referrals, Basic Food benefits and help with child care, transportation and medical coverage. Even help managing the chaos of balancing work and home.
A better life… WorkFirst helps connect families to services that include : treatment for drug/alcohol addiction, English language training, reliable transportation, domestic violence services, education, and education and training programs . All these things are offered to help people become more employable, but they also improve people's lives in general. Increased self-esteem. Better role models. Healthier kids.
A job, a better job, a better life. While every story is different and every traveler takes his or her own unique journey, the destination is clear. Work hard, improve yourself and take care of your family. WorkFirst is there to help.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources

1.2 Required Participation

Created on: 
Oct 18 2017

Revised October 19, 2017

Legal References:

The Required Participation section includes:

  • 1.2.1 What is participation and how does it count?
  • 1.2.2 What are the WorkFirst participation requirements?
  • 1.2.3 What are the participation requirements for two-parent households?
  • 1.2.4 What is the participation requirement for single parents with a child under six?
  • 1.2.5 How do we determine the best employment pathway?
  • 1.2.6 When can someone participate in various WorkFirst activities?
  • 1.2.7 What does participation look like for families in crisis situations?
  • 1.2.8 What are contracted services?
  • 1.2.9 What if someone isn't exempt but can't participate in regular employment activities?
  • 1.2.10 What are the WorkFirst requirements for dependent teens and pregnant or parenting minors?
  • 1.2.11 Home schooling
  • 1.2.12 eJAS/ACES Codes
  • 1.2.13 Participation step-by-step guide

1.2.1 What is participation and how does it count?

Most participants are required to participate in work or work-related activities full-time, which is defined as "getting as close as possible to 40 hours per week," with a goal of at least 32 hours a week.  In order to develop a full-time Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) we count the actual hours involved in an activity.  When working with the participant to develop the IRP, it is very important that we make every effort to reach 40 hours of activities per week.

Work with the participants who aren't in full-time (32-40 hours) activity(ies) to ensure that every hour of activity is properly recorded in the IRP, as close to 40 hours a week as possible, with a minimum of 32 hours.  See the 3.3, Individual Responsibility Plan, section for more information on Individual Responsibility Plans.

Federal rules reduce funding for states that fail to meet a federal work participation rate.  To meet the rate, states must have a percentage of participants in the required number of hours of countable activities each month.  The percentage is higher for two parent families.

To be a two-parent family, neither parent can be:

  • An undocumented immigrant;
  • Disabled (on SSI/SSA disability or with a ZD exemption); or
  • Caring for a disabled family member (with a ZB or ZC exemption).

Federal rules define activities as "core" or "non-core".  As shown on the Core & Non-core Activity chart, some core activities only count for a limited amount of time.  This chapter outlines Washington’s WorkFirst participation requirements; however, a WorkFirst participant may be fully participating in WorkFirst activities and still not meet the federal work participation rate.

1.2.2 What are the WorkFirst participation requirements?

The chart below shows WorkFirst (WF) requirements for parents/caregivers who are able to participate and includes strengthened participation requirements. Most parents/caregivers  are still required to participate 32-40 hours per week with at least 20 of those hours in core activities.  Even though the participant has these requirements, it is also important to meet them where they are and engage them in WorkFirst activities that count and move them forward to self-sufficiency. 

Most participants must meet the requirements in row 1.  WorkFirst doesn't require the following to participate in core activities (rows 4 through 6 below):

  • One parent in a two-parent family when s/he meets the conditions in WFHB 1.2.3
  • Exempt participants in the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption or Infant Exemption Extension (See WFHB 5.1.11)
  • Teen head of households (age 18 or 19 years of age) who don’t have a High School Diploma or GED
  • Minor parents who do not have a child under 12 weeks old

Strengthened participation is an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the participant’s IRP to assist them in meeting the federal participation rate when participants may have unexcused absences or too many excused absences.

The strengthened participation requirements are shown in the chart below.

Who Core Activity Requirements  Core/Non-Core Activity Requirements   WF Participation Requirements   Strengthened Participation Requirements  
1.  Each participant    20 hrs/wk 12-20 hrs/wk 32-40 hrs/wk

35 hrs/wk (at least 20 hrs core)

2.  Recipient parents in a two-parent household who qualify for the two-parent options (see 1.2.3) 30 hr/wk 5 hrs/wk 35 hrs/wk

38 hrs/wk (at least 30 hrs core)

3.  Single parent/caregiver with a child under 6 20 hrs/wk None (additional hours are voluntary) 20 hrs/wk 23 hrs/wk (at least 20 hrs core)
4.  Participants claiming the  Infant Exemption or Infant Exemption Extension None None None (exempt) None
5. Teen head of households (age 18 or 19 years of age) that don’t have a High School Diploma or GED None

Participate in HS as per school requirements to progress towards graduation

Based on school requirement but can be a minimum of 1 hr/wk None

6. Unmarried pregnant or parenting minors  (age 17 and younger); except between infant’s birth and turning 12 weeks old

None Participate in HS as per school requirements to progress towards graduation Based on school requirement but can be a minimum of 1 hr/wk None

 

The following activities in most cases meet strengthened participation without adding additional hours (add additional hours when necessary):

  • Community Jobs and Career Jump
  • Work Study students as long as they meet the requirements in WFHB 8.1.10
  • Vocational Education

The following are important to remember when including strengthened participation in a participant’s IRP: 

  • A 38-hour per week full time job search is available when only one parent in a two-parent family is participating under the two-parent option.
  • Don’t exceed the FLSA maximum hours for Community Service or Community Works.  You can substitute non-core hours for core hours as needed to stay within the FLSA maximum.  See WFHB 3.3.2.5 for more information about deeming rules and the FLSA maximum.
  • 20 hours of unsubsidized employment (or 30 hours for a two-parent family) meets the core activity requirement.  For two-parent families or single parents with no children under six in this situation, consider adding non-core activities to meet the strengthened participation requirements.

Examples:

1.  Nancy is a single parent with no children under six in a full-time vocational education (VE) program.  The college she is attending has a 35 hour per week vocational education program in her field of study.  Her education plan shows 35 hrs/week in a VE.  She meets the 35 hrs/week strengthened participation requirements for a parent/caregiver. 

2.  Mary is a single parent with no children under six pursuing a specialized certificate program taking 15 credits including 15 hrs/week homework and 2 hrs/week lab time.  Her education plan shows VE 32 hours per week.  This is acceptable even though it doesn't meet the minimum 35 hrs/week strengthened participation requirement because adding hours in her case isn't possible.

3. Sharon is a single parent with ten-year-old child.  She works 5 hrs/week at an unsubsidized job and participates 12 hrs/week in a high school equivalency program.  Sharon agrees to participate in 18 hrs/week of job search to meet the strengthened participation core requirement of 23 hours per week. Her 5 PT, 18 JS, and 12 GE meet the 35 hrs/week strengthened participation requirements. 

a. Update:  Sharon loses her job and completes her high school equivalency.  Her WFPS increases her to 35 hrs/week full-time job search.  She meets the 35 hrs/week strengthened participation requirements for a parent/caregiver. 

b. Update: The father of Sharon’s child, Mark, returns to the home and they qualify for the two-parent participation options. Sharon and Mark decide that Sharon will continue participating and Mark will opt out of participation.  Her WFPS increases job search to 38 hrs/week.  Sharon and Mark meet the 38 hrs/week strengthened participation requirements for a two-parent household.

4.  Tom is a single parent raising a teen-age son participating in Community Works with a 25 hrs/week FLSA maximum.  His WFPS schedules him for 25 hrs/week Community Works and 10 hrs/week high school equivalency for a total of 35 hours per week participation.  Tom meets the 35 hrs/week strengthened participation requirements for a parent/caregiver.

a. Update:  Tom's FLSA maximum is 16 hrs/week.  Under deeming, this will meet his 20 hours of core activity, but we can't require any additional hours of Community Works.  Tom continues to participate in high school equivalency classes for 10 hours per week. To help Tom reach strengthened participation, Tom agrees to participate 3 hours/week in a Life Skills activity.  His 16 WC, 3 LS, and 10 GE meet the 35 hrs/week strengthened participation requirement.  

b. Update:  Tom’s FLSA maximum is still 16 hrs/week, but there is no Life Skills class or other core activity available that can be added to Community Works to bring his core activity up to 23 hours per week (16 hrs/week deems to 20 hrs/week). He has been doing 10 hrs/week of high school equivalency at the local community college.  College staff agreed to provide an additional 5 hrs/week by enrolling Tom in a study hall to meet the 35 hours/week strengthened participation requirements.

1.2.3 What are the participation requirements for two-parent households?

The participation standard for two-parent households is full-time (32-40 hours per week) for each parent.  However, under some circumstances, we can allow a household to choose a two-parent option.

Two-parent options are available to two-parent families who are:

  • In compliance with WorkFirst,
  • Appropriate for the option, and
  • Electing to choose that option after a discussion that includes both parents and the WFPS/WFSSS.  

Use these options when appropriate to assist two-parent families towards family stability and self-sufficiency.

In order to utilize the two-parent options, a conversation must occur with the family to determine whether this option is appropriate for their household and to determine if one parent may opt out of participation.  The conversation must focus on the whole family to determine the best participation option for the family to reach self-sufficiency. 

The two-parent options are only available when both parents are in full compliance with WorkFirst requirements.  Any time one or both of the parents utilizing the two-parent option falls out of compliance, the household will return to the full time participation standard for each individual.

Option One: Recipient two-parent families may choose to have one parent opt out of participation requirements to stay home and care for the children as long as:

  • Both parents are participating satisfactorily, meaning they have completed their Comprehensive Evaluation and any assessments needed.  If one or both parents are in WorkFirst sanction, the sanction(s) must be cured before the household can be offered the 2-parent participation option;
  • The parent opting to stay home is capable of caring for the child(ren);
  • The other parent agrees to  participate 35 hours per week (30 hours core and 5 hours core or non-core); and
  • Both parents engage in any needed chemical dependency or mental health treatment. 

If the WFPS or WFSSS and the TANF family determine that this option is appropriate, use the participating parent’s time spent in treatment to help meet the family’s work participation requirements.  If the participating parent stops participating as required without good cause, pursue sanction and send an appointment letter to the parent who was opting to stay home scheduling him or her for an appointment to develop an IRP.

Note: If there is a child under two years old and no mandatory participation is required, one parent can opt out of participation instead of using their infant exemption or infant exemption extension (IE or TE).  Parents must complete all requirements found in section 5.1 before considering the opt-out option.  This family would still be subject to all of the requirements under option one.

Option Two: Recipient two-parent families may choose to have both parents split participation requirements, as long as:

  • Both parents are participating satisfactorily, meaning they have completed their Comprehensive Evaluation and any assessments needed.  If one or both parents are in WorkFirst sanction, the sanction(s) must be cured before the household can be offered the 2-parent participation option;
  • They meet the core requirement of 30 hours per week, in addition to at least 5 hours of core or non-core; and
  • Both parents engage in any needed chemical dependency or mental health.

 

Note: If there is a child under two years old and no mandatory participation is required, neither parent would need to use the Infant Exemption or Infant Exemption Extension.  Parents must complete all requirements found in section 5.1 before considering the split participation option.  The family would still be subject to all of the requirements under option two above.

If one parent ceases to participate without good cause, pursue sanction and send an appointment letter to the other parent to come in for an appointment to build a full time IRP.

Examples:

Julie and Tom have two children ages 3 years old and 8 months old.  Julie and Tom choose full participation for Tom and Julie will stay home with the children.  Tom agrees to JS 35 hours per week.  This family meets participation requirements for a two-parent household. Even though they have a child that meets the IE criteria, Julie shouldn’t use IE months because Tom is fulfilling the two-parent participation requirement.  
Pam and Shawn have a 5-year-old child.  Pam and Shawn choose full participation for Shawn and Pam will stay home with the child.  Shawn agrees to CJ 20 hours per week and JT 15 hours per week.  This doesn’t meet the participation requirements for a two-parent household, as Shawn doesn’t have 30 hours of core activity participation.  Pam agrees to participate in Community Works (WC) 10 hours per week.  They now meet the participation requirements for a two-parent household.    

1.2.4 What is the participation requirement for single parents/caregivers with a child under 6?

For single parents/caregivers with a child under the age of six, the participation requirement is 20 hours per week in a core activity.  Parents/caregivers must participate satisfactorily and cure a sanction to avoid Non-Compliance Sanction termination. 

Parents/caregivers may voluntarily participate for more than 20 hours per week.  Parents/caregivers who wish to participate in Vocational Education activities must participate full time. 

1.2.5 How do we determine the best employment pathway?

Everyone has skills and abilities needed in today's workforce.  Weaving those skills and abilities with labor market realities and education levels is the cornerstone of the CE.  Its design is to help achieve better and quicker engagement in employment-related activities.

The CE is a key tool in leading participants directly to employment and job search continues to be the most appropriate pathway for the majority of participants.  For other participants, the CE will lead to employment through activities like education, Community Jobs or Career Jump.

The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) refers the participant to the appropriate employment pathway identified by the CE using the appropriate code(s).  The pathways include:

  • Job Search
  • Education & Training Activity
  • Unsubsidized Employment
  • LEP Pathway
  • Issue Resolution
  • Exempt
  • 3rd trimester of pregnancy Deferral
  • Infant Exemption

See section 3.2 and the "Comprehensive Evaluation Referral Criteria" document in the Resources section below for pathway details.

The information gained from the CE will also be available to the WorkFirst partners and the participant to ensure they engage in the employment pathway that will move them most effectively toward self-sufficiency.

If there is an indication or the participant discloses involvement with Children's Administration (CA) and/or the Department of Corrections (DOC) at any time, we must work collaboratively to address the needs of the family. 

Participants involved with CA and/or DOC may be required to do activities like counseling or treatment to help keep their families together.  It's critical to consider and include these activities, as appropriate, when developing the participant’s IRP.  We want to make sure that WorkFirst requirements don't interfere with the activities needed to comply with CA and/or DOC requirements and resolve their family issues and emergencies.

Participation Example #1 
After a newly approved WorkFirst participant completes the CE, s/he will start with full-time employment services (35 hrs/week) as their first activity. Employment Security staff define and direct full-time and part-time employment service activities and attendance. See 4.2 Job Preparation/Work Search section for more information on job search.
Participation Example #2
The WorkFirst participant is working 25 hrs/week at a local restaurant and is also in an approved educational component for 10 hrs/week.  Record the actual number of hours for each activity in the IRP and input the number of hours for each component on the component screen in eJAS, for a total of 35 hrs/week participation.
Participation Example #3
The WorkFirst parent is able to participate full time but is involved in the Department of Corrections (DOC) Community Parenting Alternative (CPA) programmer the Family & Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA) program.  The parent/caregiver is subject to electronic home monitoring and only allowed to leave the home to participate in required DOC activities, which include substance abuse treatment, parenting classes, and other activities agreed upon by the DOC Community Corrections Officer (CCO) and the WFPS/WFSSS. These could include, but are not limited to community jobs, education, and job search. The WFPS/WFSSS verifies these activities with the DOC Community Corrections Officer, records the actual number of hours for each activity in the IRP, and inputs the number of hours for each component on the component screen in eJAS.

1.2.6 When can someone participate in the various WorkFirst activities?

Unless the CE indicates otherwise, employment services are the first activity for almost everyone.  The CE is the key tool in leading participants to employment through job search, education, or other employment pathway activities like Community Jobs, Career Jump or Community Works approved by the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS).

For participants who aren't successful in job related activities, it is important to determine what factors may be contributing to the lack of success.  The participant may have an undisclosed disability or deficit and you can't provide assistance without knowing what obstacles he or she is facing.  Inform the participant that you want to see him or her succeed and that support services are available for people needing special consideration.  Ask whether circumstances have changed and/or has the participant disclosed all information that may be affecting her/his success.

1.2.7 What does participation look like for families in crisis situations?

The WFPS considers and takes action for those participants in crisis/issue resolution situations that will count as full-time participation.  The WFPS can develop an IRP with the participant that specifically addresses the crisis issues.  When necessary, consult with expert personnel for assistance, including Social Service Specialists (SSS), tribal representatives, family violence specialists, and other WFPS or supervisors.  This should be done when assistance and expertise is needed to develop specific steps the person should take to mitigate her/his circumstances.

Living or working in an area impacted by a declared disaster may  affect a parent/caregivers’ ability to participate in WorkFirst activities.  Please see the Disaster Impact (DI) step by step for more information.

Both state and federal rules recognize that not all parents/caregivers are able to participate all the time. It is important that we stabilize families, resolve issues and provide participants with exemptions when that is the best plan for the family.

Deferrals and exemptions won’t necessarily make it harder to meet the federal rate.  As shown on the WorkFirst Stacking Strategy chart, some exempt participants qualify for federal exemptions, and participants in countable "X" codes may be able to add enough hours to meet federal participation requirements.

The WFPS directs a participant to the SSS after the CE via the Issue Resolution pathway for assessment and services when s/he has an urgent issue.  The SSS addresses the immediate need, determines appropriate participation activities, and outlines these activities in the IRP.

Be sure that the participant understands how and when to report progress or lack of progress in completing the steps outlined in the IRP.  The parent/caregiver meets required participation with completion of the activities outlined in the IRP until the SSS determines the issue is resolved or adds other activities to the IRP.

1.2.8 What are contracted services?

Refer participants to contractors to receive specific services and may include community or faith-based organizations, for profit providers, and others.  Contractors provide services that aren’t otherwise available through the partner agencies.  They address barriers or issues   to support  individuals in finding and keeping employment.  Notify contractors of any necessary accommodations.

WorkFirst has established strong certification standards for contractors and service providers.  Contractors and service provides must meet the standards to obtain WorkFirst certification, which occurs during the contracting process.  Contractors must meet the standards for reporting to the WFPS or WFSSS by providing monthly verification reports.  Contractors must report non-participation immediately.

1.2.9 What if someone isn't exempt but can't participate in regular employment service activities?

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)

Some participants may need specialized services to participate and progress to self-sufficiency. For example, a person with a physical impairment that doesn’t  exempt them from participation, might best participate with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) who can provide specific vocational services. Coordinate with the DVR counselor or other professionals when the participant is on a waiting list for services such as alcohol treatment or mental health counseling. In some cases, all a participant may do is complete necessary applications and prepare for another program, such as DVR or SSI. Through consultation with WorkFirst Social Service Specialists (WFSSS) and other professionals, determine the appropriate activities and level of participation while the participant is waiting for services such as chemical dependency treatment, parenting classes, counseling, adult education, and/or money management education. Participants who need DVR services may be able to work part-time in an entry-level job while waiting for the services that will help them obtain career employment.

Children’s Administration (CA)

Some participants working with Children’s Administration (CA) may not be able to participate in employment service activities while being required to attend court appointments, counseling or treatment. If at any time, there is an indication or the participant discloses involvement with CA at any time, it is critical to consider these activities when developing the participant's IRP.

Department of Corrections (DOC)

Some participants working with DOC in a sentencing alternative program may not initially be able to participate in employment service activities. An offender who is accepted into the “Family & Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA)” program will be under community custody supervision and those in the DOC “Community Parenting Alternative (CPA)” program will be subject to electronic home monitoring. Offenders in either program will report to a specialized DOC Community Corrections Officer (CCO) and can only leave the home to participate in required activities such as mental health or chemical dependency treatment, parenting classes, work, vocational education, life skills, or other similar productive activities that DOC allows. However, as the offender progresses through the phases of the program, additional activities may be included with approval from the CCO, such as community jobs, community service, or job search.

It is critical to collaborate and coordinate with DOC and consider these activities when developing the participants’ IRP. Please contact Jennie Fitzpatrick at fitzpjr@dshs.wa.gov or 360-725-4648 or Tom Berry at berrytj@dshs.wa.gov or 360-725-4617 if you have any questions.

1.2.10 What are the WorkFirst requirements for dependent teens and pregnant or parenting minors?

Dependent teens that are on an adult's WorkFirst cash assistance grant aren’t required to do an IRP or verify school attendance.

The following chart summarizes the CE, IRP, participation, and verification requirements for dependent teens/pregnant or parenting minors and teen head of households:

Age Dependent Teen Teen Head of Household
Federal Reporting Not included in the work participation rate. Included in the work participation rate.
17 and younger Parent’s responsibility to ensure the child is in school. No IRP required.

Participate in High School Completion or Equivalency courses as per school requirements to progress towards graduation is required unless parenting a child under the age of 12 weeks.

  • CE required
  • IRP required
  • Must verify actual hours of high school attendance monthly
18-19

Parent's responsibility to ensure the child is in school. No IRP required.

Note:  This category may include 20-year-old dependents receiving SFA.

Participate in High School Completion or Equivalency courses as per school requirements to progress towards graduation is required unless parenting a child under the age of 12 weeks.

  • CE required
  • IRP required
  • Must verify actual hours of high school attendance monthly

Note:  These participants may be eligible for the Infant Exemption or Infant Exemption Extension.

Upon Graduation N/A Same as adult parent/needy care relatives:
  • CE required
  • IRP required
  • Participate in required core and non-core activities as described in the participation requirements table in 1.2.2

There are no WorkFirst requirements for dependent teens that are in an adult's WorkFirst cash assistance grant. It is the participant's responsibility to ensure the child is in school. However, a Children’s Administration (CA) referral may be appropriate if a dependent teen isn’t in school.

Some pregnant or parenting minors must go to school and be in an approved living arrangement as a condition of TANF/SFA eligibility. See these sections of the EAZ Manual for more information:

1.2.11 Home Schooling

Unmarried pregnant or parenting minors and teen head of household families that are home schooled can meet the WorkFirst participation requirement for schooling upon approval by the household's local school district and meets the state law requirements. See RCW 28A.200 for more information.

When non-assistance unit caregiver reports they are providing, or intend to provide home-based instruction, they must submit a signed statement to the school district declaring their intent to home school. This is a yearly requirement. Once the participant files the document and provides a copy to the WFPS, then the home schooling can be added to the IRP.

Home schooling is WorkFirst participation for the minor parent or teen head of household only. A parent/caregiver providing the home schooling can’t satisfy WorkFirst participation requirements by providing the instruction.

1.2.12 eJAS/ACES codes

  • RO (referred to social service specialist)
  • HS (High School completion or High School equivalency for participants 19 years of age or younger)
  • BE (High School completion, including High School 21, for participants 20 years of age or older)
  • GE (High School equivalency for participants 20 years of age and older)

1.2.13 Participation - Step-by-Step Guide

Refer to the IRP section for a step-by-step guide to regular participation.  For all others, the WFPS or WFSSS looks at the age of all assistance unit members to determine participation.

 

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources

1.3 Up-front Screening and Referrals

Revised: August 30, 2016

Legal References:

The Up-front Referrals section includes:

  • 1.3.1 What up-front referrals are required?
  • 1.3.2 What does Equal Access mean?
  • 1.3.3 Equal Access step-by-step guide
  • 1.3.4 What is family planning?
  • 1.3.5 How to screen for family planning?
  • 1.3.6 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?
  • 1.3.7 Examples of various types of family planning screenings  
  • 1.3.8 Family Planning step-by step guide

1.3.1 What up-front referrals are required?

Some issues may need to be considered when developing an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). Up-front referrals or additional evaluations include the:

  • Comprehensive Evaluation (CE),
  • Social Service Specialist assessment,
  • Teen Parent assessment,
  • Pregnant/parenting assessment,
  • Learning Needs screening,
  • Chemical Dependency assessments, and
  • Other resources.

The remainder of this section describes Equal Access (formerly known as NSA) and family planning. Other assessments and evaluations are described in the Resolving Issues and Pregnancy to Employment sections. You can find links to these other sections, and more information listed in the resource section below.

1.3.2 What do Equal Access (EA) services mean?

CSO staff screen all heads of household to determine if the individual requires a reasonable accommodation resulting from a disability or learning or literacy issue to access and maintain DSHS services.

EA screening is needed to complete the:

  • Application process,
  • CE, and
  • Actively participate in the WorkFirst program.

When identified or requested, reasonable and necessary accommodations are given to ensure these individuals can access and maintain WorkFirst services and benefits. See Equal Access WAC .

EA plans support the IRP and allow the individual to access and maintain services for which the individual is eligible.

Staff may refer the individual to the WFSSS when the WFSSSs expertise in completing the EA Screen or Plan is required.

Limited English-Proficiency Program (LEP):

Equal Access services DO NOT include referrals for Limited English Program (LEP). The focus of EA services is on accommodation of disabilities and learning and literacy issues (not to be confused with services for persons having limited-English proficiency.

Screening of Heads-of- Household:

EA screening is completed on each head of household at the time of:

  • Application;
  • Eligibility review; and,
  • At any time the person's circumstances change which may require an accommodation.

Screening of Others (Non-Heads-of- Household):

All other household members age 16 and older, who are required to participate in WorkFirst activities, are screened upon initial contact. Reasonable and necessary accommodations are provided under EA WAC prior to the required participation,

Equal Access Screens and Documents:

Client Handout (link to be added)

  • Staff Desktop Guide (link to be added)
  • Screening Tool (link to be added)
  • Accommodation Plan (link to be added).

The EA Screening tool is used to determine:

  • If accommodations are necessary,
  • Why the accommodation is needed (if relevant to situation), and
  • The types of accommodations needed.

The EA Plan is electronically developed depending upon the responses given during the EA Screening.

Staff may refer to the WFSSS when the l a referral is necessary to best serve the individual.

In some cases it may be necessary to refer the individual to the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) for completion of the EA Screening and Plan (if needed).

1.3.3 Equal Access - Step-by-Step Guide

Using the aces.online EA Screen, if not already completed, the WFPS screens individuals applying for WorkFirst cash assistance or State-Funded Assistance require necessary supplemental accommodations. The WFPS refers the individual to a WFSSS if the WFSSS's expertise is needed.

  1. The EA Plan is automatically developed based upon the response received during the EA Screening.
  2. Other Non-Heads-of-Household members age 16 an older whom are required to participate in WorkFirst activities are required to be screened at first contact.
  3. EA Services may differ from services to address barriers to participation.

See E A-Z Manual Equal Access for more details.)

1.3.4 What is Family Planning?

Family planning services are educational, health care and social services that help male and female individuals make decisions regarding additional pregnancies while on WorkFirst cash assistance/SFA. Advantages for offering these services include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning what their Washington Apple Health care cover can provide.
  • Learning about the variety of birth control methods to help plan, if or when, to have another child, and
  • Learning how to talk about birth control with family members.

1.3.5 How to screen for Family Planning?

Family Planning screening is only required for adults and emancipated minors. In situations involving screening of 16 or 17 year old dependent teens, DSHS staff does not want to pull them out of school to screen them. Staff may want to help their parents talk about family planning with them or offer to meet with this group of minors for the parent. 
Screen and offer all individuals family planning information at least once a year. The family planning information should be given at the following times:

  • Comprehensive evaluation;
  • Eligibility review; and/or
  • Each time the WFPS or WFSSS determines the individual (or their children, if appropriate) may benefit from these services.

Use the following script when individuals call the Customer Service Center about family planning services: 
"If you have Washington Apple Health coverage, you can get family planning services. If you do not currently have Washington Apple Health, you may apply for it or you may be able to get family planning services from a health care program called TAKE CHARGE. To find a provider near you, or to get more information about family planning, go to the family planning website at https://www.hca.wa.gov/free-or-low-cost-health-care/apple-health-medicaid-coverage/take-charge-family-planning-non-medicaid

 

1.3.6 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?

DSHS is responsible to provide adults and emancipated minors with family planning information. The purpose of providing information is to make individuals aware of the family planning services available to them so they are able to make an informed decision about future pregnancies. 
It is mandatory to provide adults and emancipated minors with the following information:

Providing information about available family planning services to each individual can help us meet the goal of zero unintended pregnancies while on WorkFirst cash assistance/SFA. Every individual should:

  • Know of available family planning services through Washington Apple Health.

1.3.7 Examples of various types of family planning screenings

Young Adult:

Melanie has just been approved for WorkFirst. June, her WFPS/WFSSS asks if she has received the information on Family Planning. Melanie is 24 years old with a 14 month-old son. June asks her what her ideal family size would be. She has always wanted three children but has not been able to get above a minimum wage job. June encourages Melanie to consider the expense of having another child, and reminds her that an unplanned pregnancy can make it difficult to get to a higher paying job where she could afford more children and provide for all their needs. WorkFirst will work on increasing her ability to earn more money and family planning providers have information and supplies that can help her plan when she wants more children. June encourages her to  go to the family planning  website at https://www.hca.wa.gov/free-or-low-cost-health-care/apple-health-medicaid-coverage/take-charge-family-planning-non-medicaid to find out more about family planning options.

Male:

Todd is a 27 year-old single father of two young children. At the eligibility interview the WFPS gives the WorkFirst Opportunities brochure DSHS 22-1125 [PDF] to Todd, asking him if he has thought about how an additional child would affect his dreams for the future. The WFPS explains how some pregnancies are unplanned and that there are family planning services that can assist him so this would not happen to him. The WFPS also explains how he can get various birth control methods using his Washington Apple Health in case he should want to obtain any other method some time in the future.

Middle-Age, non-childbearing female:

Barbara is a 41 year-old mother of two children, 17 year old Kristi and 15 year old Josh. She has come in for cash assistance. Through the course of your intake interview, Barbara revealed that she just ended a short relationship and made the comment that over the last year, she has "gone through three losers" and that she can hopefully snag someone worth keeping soon. Upon her up-front family planning screening, Barbara states she had a hysterectomy about four years ago.

There are several issues to consider in this example. Even though birth control is not the first issue for Barbara, she is in multiple relationships that put her at an increased risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In this situation, the DSHS staff can provide information regarding local family planning services or she can see her primary care physician for STD counseling, education and care. A second issue is that her daughter, Kristi, and, her son, Josh, are at an age where they may become sexually active. Discuss the benefits of giving information to them and acknowledge that talking with your children may be difficult, but family planning resources are available. By assuming that just because Barbara cannot have children she doesn't need family planning information and resources, we are also making decisions for her that she and her family can't benefit from family planning services.

1.3.9 Family Planning - Step-by-Step Guide

When a WorkFirst individual is screened for family planning, the WFPS may:

  1. Enter the eJAS Screening/Evaluation or Comprehensive Evaluation, click on "Family Planning,"
  2. Give the individual, at a minimum:
  3. Document what was given to the individual in the comment section at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Click on “Save this Page” or "Save/Pend DSHS Foundation" button.

Note: Staff must screen and offer family planning information at least once per year and document this in eJAS under the Family Planning note type. (For this purpose, a year has been defined as 350 days.)

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Forms & Other Resources

1.4 WorkFirst Orientation

Created on: 
Jun 02 2015

Revised on: September 1, 2017

Legal References:

The WorkFirst Orientation section includes:

  • 1.4.1 What is WorkFirst Orientation?
  • 1.4.2 How is the WorkFirst orientation delivered?
  • 1.4.3 Who needs a WorkFirst orientation?
  • 1.4.4 What happens during the WorkFirst orientation?
  • 1.4.5 What is covered during the WorkFirst orientation?
  • 1.4.6 eJAS/ACES codes
  • 1.4.7 WorkFirst orientation - Step-by-Step Guide

1.4.1 What is the WorkFirst Orientation?

The WorkFirst orientation is an upfront orientation completed by DSHS staff at initial application, or returner after 30 days of exiting TANF prior to the TANF grant being approved. It provides applicants/returners an overview of all the programs and services available to their families once their grant is approved. By providing an upfront orientation of the WorkFirst requirements, families will have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and what opportunities are available to them while receiving a TANF grant .   
An effective orientation:

  • Builds a positive working relationship.
  • Engages and motivates.
  • Shows “what’s in it for you” and how the client is responsible to take advantage of what the program offers.
  • Demonstrates how employment and participation are important responsibilities and opportunities.
  • Gives information so the parent can be an active, informed partner in making decisions.
  • Stresses that welfare is temporary and that work is the best avenue to provide a better life for them and their children.

1.4.2 How is the WorkFirst orientation delivered?

The primary responsibility to deliver the WorkFirst orientation belongs to the Community Services Division (CSD), although any of our partners are welcome to provide information on the services they provide. The orientation should be delivered in a group setting, with an option for one-on-one orientations in small or rural community service offices. The orientation:

  • Must be an in-person orientation, unless the client is
    • Employed;
    • Has serious health conditions; or
    • Can’t come into the office due to domestic violence issues
  • If the client meets the criteria for a phone orientation, document why behind the adult's WORK screen in ACES  
  • Should be presented a minimum of one time per week
  • Should take a minimum of 30 minutes to present
  • Must be delivered by a WorkFirst staff member

1.4.3 Who needs a WorkFirst orientation?

All individuals who will be mandatory WorkFirst participants as described in WAC 388-310-0200 once TANF/SFA is approved must complete a WorkFirst orientation. An orientation is not required for clients who received TANF/SFA within the past 30 days.

1.4.4 What happens during the WorkFirst orientation?

The WorkFirst Program Specialist/Social Service Specialist conducts the orientation before WorkFirst cash assistance approval to provide a broad overview of the WorkFirst Program. Subsequent contacts with the person will provide other opportunities to engage the person in WorkFirst activities.

When presenting WorkFirst opportunities:

  • Establish a positive rapport with the group or person you are working with to make a human connection.
  • Use the orientation Power Point and 'Talking Points' tools to focus on strengths, responsibilities, and the consequences of decisions, while addressing barriers.
  • Give local resource information, in writing, for future reference.
  • Discuss WorkFirst expectations in a positive manner.
  • Be clear about the consequences if a person chooses not to participate.
  • Invite partners to share their messages and what they have to offer.
  • Get parents into activities as soon as possible for as many hours as possible.
  • Let parents know they can call their case manager if they have questions or concerns about participating.

1.4.5 What is covered during the WorkFirst orientation?

As shown in the chart below, there is some basic material that should be covered.

The WorkFirst orientation includes.

An Introduction to WorkFirst
  • Everyone participates and does the best they can!
  • A job, a better job, a better life
  • Work pays!
  • WorkFirst = Options
  • Supports are available
The Employment Pathway & How Work Pays A written and/or oral demonstration, including a description of child care, support services and other benefits (like EITC) available to working families. See "Talking Points"
WorkFirst Time Limit Information and a reminder about the five-year time limit (Possible WorkFirst Cash Assistance Extension at 60 months)
Rights, Responsibilities & Consequences Explanation of the person's rights, responsibilities, participation requirements & sanction. The key message here is that WorkFirst offers many supports and services to help get through a temporary situation, but parents must participate in the program and take advantage of the supports designed to help them find and keep a job. It is important for them to understand that if they chose not to participate, they risk losing their cash grant.
Working Relationship Emphasize that this is a working relationship and that open communication can help the parent succeed sooner and avoid problems like sanction.
DSHS Responsibilities The department must provide appropriate support services and child care while the person is in required activities
Post-Employment Services Introduce people to the types of services available once they are working 20 hours or more per week (WorkFirst & post-WorkFirst)
Post TANF Employment Services

Specific types of services and information may vary from office to office, such as:

  • Opportunities for accessing training - skills upgrade.
  • Mentoring, coaching, and employment counseling.
  • Resource information for accessing:
    • Money Management classes
    • Work Skill Assessment
    • Labor Market Information
    • Community Resources - Food Banks, Utilities Assistance, Community Action Programs
    • Basic Food & Education Training (BFET)
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Local WorkFirst Services Let people know what types of programs and services are available in your area .
WorkFirst Opportunities Brochure (DSHS 22-1125) A required publication which provides an overview of the WorkFirst program.
Q&A Give people a chance to ask questions.

1.4.6 e-JAS/ACES codes

There are no WorkFirst engagement e-JAS or ACES codes.

1.4.7 WorkFirst Orientation - Step-by-Step Guide

The WorkFirst Program Specialist or Social Service Specialist:

  1. Makes a positive connection with each group/participant.
  2. Provides an overview of the WorkFirst program, stressing all the opportunities that are available
  3. Provides accommodations for those who need them or who do not understand English.
  4. Uses the orientation PowerPoint and WorkFirst Talking Points to make sure the participant gets a good understanding of the employment pathway, their responsibility to take advantage of what the program offers, how work pays and the risk of a lowered or complete loss of the cash grant for non-participation.
  5. Provides a WorkFirst folder, DSHS 22-395, to each participant which includes, at a minimum, the following documents:
    • WorkFirst Opportunities Brochure, DSHS 22-1125
    • Domestic Violence Flyer, DSHS 22-265

     Other resources can be included in the folder, including but not limited to, the following documents:

  • Commerce Brochure, DSHS 22-1584
  • Education Brochure, DSHS 22-1579
  • Transitioning Off TANF or WorkFirst, DSHS 22-1586
  • BFET Flyer
    • DSHS 22-1681 Region 1
    • DSHS 22-1682 Region 2
    • DSHS 22-1683 Region 3
  • Child Care information
  • Local Resource list

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Forms & Other Resources

 

1.5 Application Screening

Legal References:

The Application Screening section includes:

  • 1.5.1 What is WorkFirst application screening?
  • 1.5.2 Is the parent eligible for other sources of income or benefits?
  • 1.5.3 Can the parent apply or access unemployment insurance?
  • 1.5.4 Is Diversion Cash Assistance an option?
  • 1.5.5 Is child support a potential source of income?
  • 1.5.6 Who needs a Comprehensive Evaluation?

1.5.1 What is WorkFirst Application Screening?

A WorkFirst application screening is part of the process we go through when an individual or family applies for WorkFirst or SFA cash assistance. When an application for benefits is submitted to the Community Services Office (CSO), a DSHS worker will conduct a screening of the application before the eligibility interview. However, this screening must not delay the screening for expedited Basic Food assistance nor take the place of required application processing for WorkFirst or other programs. The process from application until determination of eligibility will take an average of 11 calendar days

The purpose of the screening is to provide information and review a family's situation in order for a family to decide whether WorkFirst/SFA is the best choice or whether financial needs can be met with other programs or income. This is called "positive prevention." The goal is to:

  • Determine if the parent or family has other income.
  • Identify possible sources of income or other types of benefits for the family.
  • Assist parents and their families in making a decision that will best serve their needs.
  • Reduce or eliminate the ongoing need for WorkFirst/SFA.

All CSOs must offer positive prevention services as a minimum standard to include:

  • Child Care
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Child Support
  • Community Resources
  • Other Income (Social Security, Veterans Benefits, Labor and Industry, etc)
  • Diversion Cash Assistance
  • Health Benefit Exchange referral
  • Basic Food Assistance

1.5.2 Is the parent eligible for other income or benefits?

The DSHS worker must review available resources to help individuals and families avoid ongoing cash assistance if other services will meet their needs. The DSHS worker:

  • Determines if the person has received WorkFirst in the past and whether he or she still qualifies for support services;
  • Determines if the person is receiving or could receive child support
  • Determines if the person is receiving or could receive unemployment insurance;
  • Offers Medical and Basic Food assistance as a way of decreasing the need for WorkFirst/SFA;
  • Completes an Equal Access (EA) Screening. If an EA screening was previously conducted, then reviews and updates the accommodation plan (See EA-Z Manual: Necessary Supplementary Accommodation for more details).

1.5.3 Can the parent apply or access Unemployment Insurance (UI)?

During the WorkFirst application process, DSHS workers will:

  • Review GUIDE to see if there is already a valid unemployment insurance (UI) claim. (GUIDE identifies available income and resources and helps meet and maintain Basic Food accuracy.)
  • Require parents who report working at least three of the past 18 months in the USA (and who have no UI claim) to file a UI claim and bring the resulting determination back to the DSHS worker.

A person can apply for and access UI benefits by telephone, computer, or kiosk. The Community Services Offices (CSOs) must provide resources for parents to access UI and will have phones that parents can use to apply for UI. DSHS worker should direct the parents to file a UI claim from home or by using the phone in the CSO designated for this purpose. It is preferable to have the parent apply for UI by telephone.

For parents who worked in other states, the UI worker can either file the claim or direct them to a phone number for the state they are filing against. Also, the UI worker can help parents find missing ("lost") wages, and explain other options to maximize benefits and eligibility for benefits. The UI determination will be mailed to the claimant the same day the UI claim is filed.

For those parents who quit their last job, who were fired, or who have other issues that need to be assessed, a final determination on UI eligibility will take longer. In this case, WorkFirst approval should take place as the customer has met the requirement to provide proof they attempted to make the resource available. However, they must be informed of reporting requirements if UI income is approved at a later date.

WorkFirst applicants who are approved for UI and found ineligible for WorkFirst due to UI income, or who choose not to receive WorkFirst because they can support themselves with UI and other available resources, will be connected with job search and job matching services available in the WorkSource Centers by the UI worker.

1.5.4 Is Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA) an option?

The best outcome for parents is to eliminate the need for WorkFirst/SFA cash assistance when possible. DCA is designed for this purpose. One of the first items to discuss with the person is whether DCA is an option ( See EA-Z Manual - DCA ).

If DCA is not appropriate and other benefits alone will not allow the family to support themselves without WorkFirst cash assistance, continue with the application process for monthly WorkFirst benefits.

The goal is to help the person and their family through their time of need as quickly as possible. If a family's situation cannot be resolved without the aid of the WorkFirst program, then try to ensure that the time spent receiving monthly WorkFirst case assistance will be as brief as possible. This will help applicants save their WorkFirst months.

1.5.5 Is child support a potential source of income?

When families receive other income (such as child support), they will have a better chance of exiting WorkFirst sooner.

During the screening process:

  1. Determine if Child Support is a potential source of income by discussing this with the person and reviewing information from the Division of Child Support (DCS) using the SEMS Quick Cash screen.
  2. Discuss the WorkFirst requirement of assigning child support rights to the state. In some situations, the difference between available child support and the amount of a WorkFirst grant is enough for a family to choose current child support rather than WorkFirst.
  3. Inform families of their right to request good cause to not cooperate with child support collection and explain how the process works. It is important to ensure that families do not withdraw their request for WorkFirst cash assistance because they are afraid of an absent parent.

For individuals who are deferred from receiving WorkFirst/SFA, a referral to DCS can be made and/or the family should be given information about DCS services and how to contact the appropriate office.

For families who need to continue with the WorkFirst application process: Refer to the EA-Z Manual for further details on child support, good cause for non-cooperation and the DCS referral process.

1.5.6 Who needs a Comprehensive Evaluation?

The Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) is for parents who are approved or likely to be approved, for WorkFirst/SFA. Likely to be approved applicants are referred to the CE to save time and quickly engage the parent quicker.

The WFPS will:

  • Schedule a CE appointment for the parent.  Place the parent in the Appointment Pending (AP) component through the date of the scheduled CE appointment.
  • Make sure transportation and child care are in place.
  • Complete the C E.
  • Write an IRP with the parent based on the CE, input from the parent, and the stacking strategy(See Section 3.3.2 Individual Responsibility Plan and Stacking Activities for stacking activities information ).
    • If the CE results do not identify an appropriate pathway(s), a CAP may be conducted immediately.
  • Refer the parent to the appropriate employment pathway(s) identified by the CE using the appropriate code(s).
  • Refer for crisis intervention services, as needed, if issues are identified.

Chapter 2: Supports

2.1 Overview

Revised 6/30/2016

The Supports-Overview section includes:

  • 2.1.1 What do we mean by "supports"?
  • 2.1.2 What supports are available?
  • 2.1.3 When do we offer supports?
  • 2.1.4 What are the overall principles for supports?

2.1.1 What do we mean by "supports"?

A person receiving WorkFirst/SFA gets cash assistance to help meet the basic needs of the family. WorkFirst offers a variety of supports to help families become and remain employed.

As wages increase, these supports gradually drop away, until the family can sustain themselves without any further help. This brings independence and a better life.

2.1.2 What supports are available?

It is very important that we explain to everyone that the supports listed below do not carry time limits and do not affect the family's WorkFirst cash assistance time limit. We also want to make sure people understand what supports are available, so they can start planning for their future independence.

WorkFirst support services and the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) program are described in the following sections of the chapter. Other supports available to low-income families include:

  •  Washington Apple Health: Families may have Washington Apple Health coverage while they are on WorkFirst cash assistance and for up to one year after leaving assistance (TANF closed for excess earned income). After that, children may qualify for  Washington Apple Health until the family reaches 200% of the federal poverty level.
  • Food assistance: The department provides food assistance based on family size, income, and expenses. Also, the department provides Transitional Food Assistance (TFA). TFA is a program to provide stable food benefits for up to five months to families leaving the WorkFirst cash assistance or Tribal TANF programs while receiving Basic Food except if the family was in Sanction when the case closed. TFA is meant to help meet a family's nutritional needs for five months as they transition into self-sufficiency.
  • Child support: The Division of Child Support uses innovative techniques to collect child support for low-income families. While on WorkFirst, child support collected goes to the state to repay the costs of the parent's WorkFirst. Once a person leaves WorkFirst, however, they start to receive any current child support collected.
  • Additional requirements (AREN): Supplemental WorkFirst cash assistance can be authorized by DSHS case managers for emergent needs such as homelessness. This grant can pay a family's rent (to prevent eviction) or utilities. It can also cover items such as first and last month's rent.
  • Post Employment services.  Specific types of services and information may vary from office to office but should include:
    • Opportunities for accessing training - skills upgrade.
    • Mentoring, coaching, and employment counseling.
    • Resource information for accessing:
      • Money Management classes
      • Work Skill Assessment
      • Labor Market Information
      • Community Resources - Food Banks, Utilities Assistance, Community Action Programs
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): The state has established a toll-free hotline to make it easier for workers to file for the EITC. The EITC provides up to $4,400 a year for low-income workers. For some families, taking advantage of the EITC means a 40 percent increase in take-home pay. The EITC hotline number is 1-800-755-5317. Calls are answered 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Information is available in both English and Spanish. Hearing impaired persons can call 1-800-833-6388 for TDD/TYY.
  • Community Resources: Many communities provide supports to low income families, like food or clothing banks. There are also federally funded benefits available, like food supplements from the Woman and Infant Care (WIC) program.

2.1.3 When do we offer supports?

There are some critical stages parents go through as they move from welfare to self-sufficiency. As shown on the chart below, the types of necessary supports may change as they make this transition, and should be reviewed regularly.

Stage Likely necessary supports
Before Cash Assistance approval Look at what support services and child care the family may need to attend the WorkFirst Orientation
WorkFirst Cash Assistance approval

The family will have a cash grant, and likely food assistance and Washington Apple Health. Child support will be pursued.

Look at what support services and child care the family needs to look for work, prepare for work.

Gets a Job Support service needs will likely change. Review with the participant:
  • EITC
  • How much child support is being paid
  • Employer-provided medical coverage
  • Post-Employment Services options
Exits WorkFirst Cash Assistance Family can continue to get food assistance, with no impact on their WorkFirst cash assistance time limit. Review with the parent how they might qualify for:
  • EITC
  • How much child support they will receive
  • How to access or apply for Washington Apple Health or other health care coverage
  • BHP and children's medical coverage
  • WCCC
  • Job retention/wage progression services
  • Diversion or AREN for emergencies
  • Transitional Food Assistance
First year off WorkFirst Cash Assistance We continue to help families, using the supports listed above, during their first year off WorkFirst cash assistance (like help with financial emergencies

2.1.4 What are the overall principles for supports?

There are some common themes you will see whenever we talk about supports for WorkFirst parents.

Support is available to help parents become and stay employed, for example health care coverage and child care that parents can access and afford. These supports can help lift low-income working families out of poverty and reduce their chance of going back on welfare.

Parents have the primary responsibility for supporting their children. Parents and the state share responsibility for helping families leave welfare. Parents are responsible for moving quickly into jobs. The state is responsible for helping parents find and keep a job, and for collecting child support.

WorkFirst gets involved with people's lives in ways that the old welfare system never could. Whether it is getting quality child care, child support, stable housing, reliable transportation, new clothes, a new hairdo or glasses. All these things are offered to help people become more employable, but they also improve people's lives in general. Increased self-esteem. Better role models. Healthier kids.

The types of support needed change as a person gets a job, then transitions off assistance. Continued supports once off WorkFirst cash assistance, like health care coverage, food assistance or wage progression services, can make all the difference in a family staying independent.

Remind parents on a regular basis what supports are available and what supports they can receive after they leave WorkFirst cash assistance (without affecting their time limit for WorkFirst cash assistance benefit receipt).

If receiving a low WorkFirst grant, parents might choose to "bank" months of WorkFirst for times of greater need.

Providing the appropriate supports, while encouraging employment, can help us increase WorkFirst exits, reduce WorkFirst returns, and keep caseloads down.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

Other Resources

2.2 Support Services

Revised July 2017

Legal References:

The Support Services section includes:

  • 2.2.1 What are support services?
  • 2.2.2 What is the purpose of support services?
  • 2.2.3 What are the support service limits?
  • 2.2.4 What are the support service expansions on licensing and fees for transportation (SFY18)?
  • 2.2.5 Are there any restrictions on support services?
  • 2.2.6 How do I encourage independence?
  • 2.2.7 Should support services be authorized?
  • 2.2.8 When should support services be denied?
  • 2.2.9 How do I request an Exception to Rule?
  • 2.2.10 Support services - Step-by Step Guide
  • 2.2.11 Special Circumstances

2.2.1 What are Support Services?

Support services are goods and services purchased to help participants become independent. We offer support services when there is no other way to meet a family's essential needs - so be creative while using sound judgment to determine what is reasonable. For example, a participant starting work may need work clothes. We can use support services to increase a participant's existing wardrobe so he/she can show up for work in suitable clothing.

We offer temporary and targeted supports a participant needs to work, look for work, prepare for work, or to participate in required WorkFirst activities. Support services are available, as needed, throughout a participant's time on WorkFirst cash assistance.

Support services are also available to:

  • Allow applicants to attend and complete a WorkFirst Orientation prior to TANF/SFA approval.
  • Participants who are curing sanction.
  • Ineligible minor parents who are working with the social service specialist to either enroll in school as required or move to an acceptable living arrangement.
  • Teens 17 and 18 years old in a WorkFirst Activity (school clothes are not a needed item for support services).

See Social Services Manual (Pregnant and Participating Minors)

WorkFirst Program Specialists, Job Services Specialists and Community Jobs (CJ) contractors can authorize support services.

2.2.2 What is the purpose of Support Services?

The purpose of WorkFirst support services is to offer a resource for participants who are actively engaged in job search or work activities. Some support services are also available to participants if they have a need while they are participating in other activities (such as completion of the WorkFirst Orientation), but the main focus is employment and advancing in employment. The support service chart in WAC 388-310-0800 shows the support services categories and when they can be offered.

Support services should be provided based on the real and immediate needs of the participant. The category recommendations should not be considered an entitled amount, but are the suggested limits the program can provide in any given category of support service. Do not automatically issue the maximum dollar amount for the support service. Issue the least amount needed to meet the participants need. The main focus for support services is to subsidize participants' efforts toward finding employment, remaining employed and advancing into better employment.

2.2.3 What are the support service limits?

There is a $3,000 yearly limit for each participant in the family - although some services do not count towards the yearly limit. There are hard edits in eJAS for the annual limit, meaning the eJAS system will not allow payments exceeding this limit.

"Use limits" include:

  • Work: Supports needed to work, look for work, or function in a workplace (like community jobs, OJT, or work experience).
  • Health/safety: Transportation supports needed to deal with significant family health or safety needs (like getting a household member with severe disabilities to doctor appointments or dealing with family violence).
  • Participation: A few types of support services can be authorized to help the participant prepare for work or meet other WorkFirst requirements.

The amount of support services authorized must be based on the participant's needs and must stay within the program limits. The only possible exceptions to the limit are when a participant has a crisis situation (like fleeing domestic violence) or a unique and justifiable need that can be approved through the formal exception to rule process. The process for requesting an exception to rule is described in its own subsection below (Exception to Rule).

The Support Services Directory lists the suggested use and dollar limits for each service.

2.2.4 What are the support service expansion on licensing and fees for transportation (SFY18)?

There is a statewide expansion to transportation-related licensing and fees support services from September 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018 for participants engaged in work or safety activities, and based on available funding. This means:

  • Working with the courts and collection agencies to assist participants in resolving the following transportation issues excluding any costs related to alcohol or drugs, including DUI and DWI:
    • Outstanding Traffic-Related Warrants
    • Traffic Tickets
    • Fines
    • Penalties
**Note: If there are already current payment arrangements in place, the participant is not eligible**

The WFPS/WFSSS may help the participant determine:

  • If the license is suspended
  • What court/s are showing the ticket/s
    • How much is owed?
    • Has it gone to collections?
    • Is the court willing/able to pull back from collections?
    • If there is an option for community service or work crew.
  • If community service/work crew is not an option:
    • Negotiate lower fees and payment plans:
      • Support services for down payment to set up payment plan
      • Support service to pay for fines when all other options have been exhausted.
Note: Payment of transportation-related fines to a court or collection agency must be authorized by Exception to Rule (ETR) only and accompanied by proof that it is not for alcohol or drug-related fines, including DUI or DWI.

Once the ETR is approved, the WFPS/WFSSS must:

  • Enter the LF indicator code in eJAS through 06/30/18,  
    • For Aberdeen, Alderwood, Moses Lake, Renton, and Wenatchee CSOs the indicator code is TI.
  • Create the voucher to the vendor and add in freeform text area:
    • Approval of ETR for Transportation Initiative
    • Ticket/s number
    • Cost of each ticket
    • Total cost of ticket/s

2.2.5 Are there any restrictions on support services?

Some items can never be purchased with Support Services. They include:

  • Weapons,
  • Motor vehicles,
  • Court-imposed fines (non-transportation related - See Section 2.2.4 for transportation-related court-imposed fines.)
  • Loan payments.
  • Services normally provided by state employees such as job placement or,
  • Items that the participant's Washington Apple Health benefits will cover.

As shown on the chart below, the types of services you can authorize also vary depending on the person's WorkFirst status.

Authorizing Support Services
WorkFirst Cash Assistance Applicants

Supports directly related to job search or to enable the participant to accept a job are allowed if the participant is:

  • Referred to Career Scope;
  • In pending status; and,
  • Appears to be eligible for WorkFirst cash assistance.
WorkFirst Cash Assistance Recipients

Authorize support services the participant needs to meet a temporary emergency so s/he can continue to look for, prepare for, or obtain work, or progress on the job. Examples include meeting the initial costs of employment, transportation, counseling, or skills training.

2.2.6 How do I encourage independence?

WorkFirst has a limited amount of resources that can be used as a supplement to the participant's own resources, and other available resources. This approach means that support services can be used as a teaching tool to help participants understand what they will need to transition off WorkFirst. As needed supports are issued, participants will also benefit from talking through:

  • How to use what they have on hand
  • How to budget their income
  • How to create contingency plans
  • How to plan for future expenses
  • Identifying what specific needs they plan to cover through increased wages

WorkFirst staff will combine the participant's resources with what the program can provide. For example, if a participant has a car repair need that will cost $700 so she can keep her job, the participant and the worker may find out from the vendor how much of the cost could be financed over time if the program paid for a large portion of the repair up front.

In the same way, WorkFirst can supplement the participant's clothing, hygiene items, transportation costs and so on, but should not be considered the only source to cover the costs. WorkFirst is there to help when the participant needs a hand, but should encourage the participant to become increasingly self-reliant with a goal of complete and lasting independence.

Services provided after the participant is working should be considered transitional in nature, to assist the participants when they need it. Again, the goal is to provide temporary help that meets their need, adds to their coping skills, and fosters the participant's growing sense of independence.

2.2.7 Should support services be authorized?

It is important to talk to the participant about the purposes of support services when they have a request. Support services are authorized to meet temporary, targeted needs and get people started towards independence. They are also a valuable and limited resource that needs to be conserved so they can be used wisely.

As you talk to participants about support services, you need to ask a few questions before you can decide whether to approve the request. Questions to ask include:

  1. Is the support service essential to move them towards employment or independence?
  2. What resources can they quickly bring to the table?
  3. How much do they need to reserve to cover their needs for the rest of the year?
  4. What is readily available from their community?
  5. Is there a lower cost alternative available?
  6. How do they plan to take over ongoing costs in the future?

As you explore whether the participant can use other resources to meet their need - do not hold off on authorizing needed supports until you explore every possible alternative. The intent is to use other resources that are readily at hand in place of support services when possible. For example, if you know that a community agency can supply work clothes, call them and set that up instead of authorizing support services. If, on the other hand, you do not know of a specific resource, use support services to cover the need.

Remember, support services are not meant to be an ongoing supplement if there are other sources. It may often make sense to deny requests, authorize less than originally requested, or find another way to meet the need or part of the need.

2.2.8 When should support services be denied?

We deny requests for support services when they are not needed to meet an appropriate purpose, the request exceeds the annual limit, or the participant can meet the need in another way. When we deny these requests, we need to:

  • Document the denial in eJAS,
  • Tell the participant why the request was denied,
  • Make sure the participant knows that a fair hearing can be requested.

It is particularly important to document support service denials in eJAS. That way, if a participant requests a fair hearing later on - we will have the information we need to justify the denial and process their request.

2.2.9 How do I request an Exception to Rule?

When necessary, you can request an exception to rule to exceed the support services annual limit. This is a formal exception request process where headquarters staff makes the final decision. These exceptions will only be considered when the participant's situation differs from the majority and has a significant impairment or limitation that is not addressed by current limits. Please explain to the participant that when you submit these requests there is no guarantee that they will be approved by state office.

To request an exception to rule, the WFPS must complete the Barcode ETR request process. For complete instructions on processing an exception to rule request:

  • For DSHS, the EA-Z Manual provides more details.
  • For Employment Security Department (ESD) workers, follow the procedure as outlined in the Internal Controls Manual (found under the HELP tab in CATS) and use the DSHS-05-010(X) Exception to Rule form.
  • For CJ providers, please refer to your Department of Commerce CJ contract.

When a participant has an emergency situation that seriously jeopardizes family health or safety, you can ask your supervisor to authorize emergency supports to exceed the annual limit. This option is really reserved for families who face imminent harm and need active crisis intervention, like covering gas and relocation costs for a family actively fleeing domestic violence. Your supervisor will be able to call in these emergency requests to state office for an immediate decision, or, if need be, authorize supports via an A-19 and get the exception approved by headquarters after the fact.

2.2.10 Support Services - Step-by-Step Guide

For complete eJAS directions please go to the eJAS Support Service Handbook.

  1. The WFPS/SSS or ESD employment services counselor:
    1. Determines needed support services based on the activities in the IRP.
    2. Reviews past support services authorized by ESD, DSHS, or Commerce to ensure no duplication of supports.
    3. Determines the best and/or lowest-cost alternative. (For example, we suggest getting two estimates for car repair.)
    4. Discusses with the participant the best option to provide services and vendors, and whether a voucher or Bank of America (BOA) fuel card, better fits their needs. (Based on the determined need, explain the process of how the services will be issued; i.e card or voucher.)
    5. Authorizes and issues support services, following your local office procedure, including:
      1. Creating voucher;
      2. Obtaining the appropriate approval;
      3. Vouchers must be given to WF participant's directly.
      4. Issuing BOA fuel cards, bus passes or bus tickets. Follow the CSD procedures handbook - Support Services Negotiables.
    6. Documents the reasons for selecting and authorizing support services:
      1. In eJAS under the support services notes section; and,
      2. (DSHS only) In the case record (including copies of verification used in the decision making).
    7. De-obligates the funds and cancels the voucher if the person does not use the support services voucher within a reasonable amount of time.
    8. Cancels pending requests if the BOA fuel card is not  picked up within 10 business days from the issuance date..
  2. To create a purchase authorization/voucher:
    1. Enter detailed information on the voucher, outlining what is being purchased and the cost of each participant item (e.g. "Car repair - For repair of the transmission on 1987 Buick LeSabre not to exceed $XXX).
    2. Emboss the voucher with the WorkFirst seal, which tells the vendor the document is an original. The voucher is “invalid unless embossed”.
      • For ESD, please refer to the Internal Controls Manual.
      • Commerce Program providers, refer to your Commerce WorkFirst Contract
    3. Obtain required approval and authorizing signatures from the:
      • WFPS/SW,
      • Supervisor, and
      • participant

In the event you cannot obtain the participant’s signature, and all efforts have been made to secure the signature, the issuing WFPS/SSS will:

  • Document the attempts in eJAS notes,
  • Write on the voucher (participant signature line) “see eJAS notes dated mm/dd/yy” for an explanation of attempts made, and submit the voucher for payment

The following procedures are for DSHS.

  1. To create a travel advance voucher or an advance to a vendor for gas:
    1. Give the participant the WorkFirst Travel and Attendance form, DSHS 07-073(X) .
    2. Instruct the participant to keep a detailed record of miles traveled for the WorkFirst activity(s).
    3. Inform the participant that the advance will be automatically deducted from the next travel payment.
  2. To purchase services or items from a single vendor for multiple participants (such as bus passes)
    1. Use a bulk purchase log to attribute the participant costs to the appropriate participants; and,
    2. A voucher for bulk purchases.

2.2.11 Special Circumstances

Revised August 8, 2017

Department of Licensing (DOL)

 When a participant requests DOL-related support services, WorkFirst Program Specialists or Social Service Specialists will follow the steps below to issue DOL vouchers :

  1. For person-level services  (such as a driver’s license, CDL, drivers abstract or state identification card:
    1. Create a voucher using vendor id: SWV001117511
    2. Inform the participant that they can take the voucher to any DOL office.

Note: If DOL does not accept the WF vouchers for person-level services outlined above, send an email to customercare@dol.wa.gov at DOL. This does NOT include vehicle-related issues.

  1. For vehicle-related services such as registration, license tabs and vehicle transfers:

    1. Create a voucher using vendor id: SWV0011175E6 and scan to Angela Bridges at ESA HQ - Fiscal.
    2. Finance will create a warrant and mail to the WFPS/SSS.
    3. The WFPS/SSS will receive the warrant and contact the participant to let them know the voucher is ready for them at the local office and:
      1. Require the participant to sign the voucher as a receipt of the warrant;
      2. Let the participant know they can take the warrant to any vehicle licensing office (Independent distributor or county office) to pay for the service.

Note: This process can take 5 to 10 business days.

Contractors:

  • ESD workers, please follow the procedure as outlined in the Internal Controls Manual found under the HELP tab in CATS.
  • CJ providers, please refer to your Commerce CJ contract.

U-Haul

When a participant requests U-Haul-related support services, WorkFirst Program Specialists or Social Service Specialists will follow the steps below to issue these vouchers:

  1. Require the participant to provide a quote for the rental services.
  2. Create an eJAS voucher using vendor number SWV007033600 and have the supervisor and participant sign it.Hold the voucher until steps 3 and 4 are complete.
  3. Email uhaul_corporate_accounts@uhaul.com with a request for a gift certificate in a specific amount for Account 990-04130. 

Note: You must cc Kathy Zimmerman and Angela Bridges if you manually email; however, if you select the link in this section, it will automatically select the correct group. Your request won’t be processed without this email.

  1. Receive gift certificate email from U-Haul and contact the participant to:
    1. Come to the office to pick-up the printed gift certificate; or
    2. Verbally give the participant the gift certificate number over the phone; and
    3. Ensure the participant understands that:
      1. They will present the gift certificate or number to U-Haul and sign the rental agreement.
      2. They must keep the gift certificate or number because a replacement can’t be issued.
      3. Neither DSHS nor Corporate U-Haul will be responsible for any additional charges.
  2. Mail signed voucher to ESA HQ – Fiscal.

Pearson VUE Testing Fee Process

  1. Participant/College notifies WFPS/SSS that the participant is ready for testing through Pearson VUE.
  2. WFPS/SSS prepares EJAS voucher with Pearson VUE (SWV000317209) as the name of the vendor. (This will allow for participant attribution).
  3. WFPS/SSS completes Pearson VUE voucher sales order, prints hard copy, and then selects "SUBMIT" at the bottom of the form to auto-send the sales order to vendor. You can find a sample of the Pearson VUE sales order form in the resource section below.
  4. WFPS/SSS scans the EJAS voucher and Pearson VUE voucher sales order and emails them to: eJASVouchersforESAFinance@dshs.wa.gov with "Voucher ID: 12345678 – Client Name- (Test Name) Testing Authorization" In the subject line and the following in the body:
    1. Participant Name
    2. Participant EJAS Number
  5. WFPS/SSS provides the hard copy of the voucher to the approved CSO staff pending the receipt of the test code.
  6. ESA Finance processes voucher and authorizes direct payment to Pearson VUE. Allow 3-5 days.
  7. Pearson VUE sends the testing code to the CSO listserv. (Only the Approved CSO Staff will have access to the listserv)
  8. CSO Staff with access to the listserv notifies the WFPS/SSS that the testing code has been received.
  9. WFPS/SSS notifies the participant that the testing code is available for pick up.
  10. When the participant comes and picks up the testing code, the WFPS/SSS:
    1. Writes the testing on hard copy of initial voucher;
    2. Has the participant sign voucher and then gives them a copy of the voucher;
    3. Scans and emails the voucher to: eJASVouchersforESAFinance@dshs.wa.gov with "Voucher ID: 12345678 – Client Name- Testing Code Issued" in the subject line and the following in the body:
      1. Participant Name
      2. Participant EJAS Number

For more testing information, please check Pearson VUE website

 Inpatient Treatment

This process outlines the steps staff should take when a participant is in an inpatient treatment facility and requests support services from a CSO outside their originating CSO’s catchment area.  The steps only apply to participants planning to return to their originating CSO after treatment:

  1. The originating CSO:

    1. Discusses necessary support services with participant for inpatient treatment.

    2. Issues support services at the time of setting up the IRP with inpatient treatment activity.

      1. Updates the mailing address to the treatment facility address and documents the change in ACES and eJAS.

    3. Reviews support service procedures if additional support services are requested while in inpatient treatment to determine if the participant meets support service criteria in this chapter.

Note: Many treatment centers offer supports including diapers, personal hygiene products and transportation if the participant can’t afford these items.
  1. When a participant is in inpatient treatment and goes into a local CSO for support services, the CSO:

    1. Coordinates with the WFPS/SSS of record to follow the above process.

    2. Determines that a support service is appropriate if unable to make contact with the WFPS/SSS of record.

    3. Transfers the case record to the CSO near the treatment facility to create and issue the support service.

    4. WFPS/SSS transfers the case record back to the originating CSO for continued case management. 

 

What should you do to use this year's allocation before the end of the program year on June 30?

Follow the instruction below:

1. Before or on June 30:

Vouchers

  • Give the voucher to the family member.
  • Receive the purchase or service.

Bulk Purchases

Beginning August 1, 2012, until further notice, transportation bulk purchases may not be made by any office or region without prior approval from ESA HQ Fiscal.

The following is the approval process for CSO bulk purchases:

  • CSO will submit the request to the Regional WorkFirst Coordinator for WorkFirst Support Services, and/or the Social Services Coordinator for ABD or MCS with the following information:
    • Program (i.e. WorkFirst or ABD or MCS)
    • Type of the bulk purchase (i.e. bus passes or tickets)
    • Item amount of the purchase (i.e. number of passes or tickets)
  • ESA HQ Fiscal makes the determination and notifies the appropriate Regional Coordinator. The Coordinator will notify the CSO of the approval or denial of the purchase.

After the CSO has received approval, the CSO will use tracking log when issuing bus tickets, bus passes and other transportation negotiable to a participant. The tracking log will need to be included with the monthly CSO Negotiable Inventory Reports sent to ESA HQ Fiscal.

  • Create voucher for purchase.
  • Receive the bulk purchase merchandise.

Mileage reimbursement

  • Obligate mileage reimbursement to the family member if the mileage form is turned in to be processed for payment.
  • If the reimbursement form is turned in after June 30, process the payment for the previous for the previous program year.

Payments

  • Process as usual
    • Payments are not made the last four days of the month.
  • All payments use this year's allocation.

 

2. After June 30:

Vouchers

  • If the family member did not use the voucher until July
    • Create a new voucher for the new program year.
    • Attach the returned voucher for payment to the new voucher.

Bank of America Fuel cards

  • If the family member did not pick up the BOA cards until July, cancel the pending authorization, and reissue the cards if appropriate.

Bulk Purchases

  • If the goods are received in July then the voucher must be redone using the new program year.

Payments

  • If the service or purchase was done before July 1 then process the payment using last year's funds.

    Allocation

    • Regions should add $10,000 to each offices Allocation for the new program year.

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

    Forms

    2.3 Working Connections Child Care (WCCC)

    Revised 6/30/2016

    Legal References:

    The Working Connections Child Care section includes:

    • 2.3.1 What is WCCC?
    • 2.3.2 Who is eligible for WCCC (and for how long)?
    • 2.3.3 Are Tribal families eligible for WCCC?
    • 2.3.4 What activities does WCCC cover?
    • 2.3.5 What is safe and affordable child care?
    • 2.3.6 What are the requirements for an in-home/relative child care provider?
    • 2.3.7 What are WCCC copayments?
    • 2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide

    2.3.1 What is WCCC?

    Working Connections Child Care, or WCCC, is a child care subsidy program that helps families with children pay for child care to find jobs, keep their jobs, and get better jobs. Because all WCCC clients help pay for the cost of their child care by making a monthly copayment, we refer to WCCC clients as "consumers".

    2.3.2 Who is eligible for WCCC (and for how long)?

    A family can get WCCC as long as they meet all of the program's eligibility requirements within 14 days of application (receipt of WCCC doesn't count toward the WorkFirst cash assistance five year time limit). The two main categories of WCCC-eligible families are:

    • WorkFirst cash assistance families: Parents who are DSHS or Tribal WorkFirst participants in approved WorkFirst activities, and parents waiting to enter an approved activity such as attending the new WorkFirst Orientation as a requirement of eligibility.
    • Non-WorkFirst families: Working families whose countable income is at or below 175% of the federal poverty guideline. The poverty guideline is adjusted for family size.

    A WorkFirst Program Specialist or Social Service Specialist can give families who have questions and need WCCC coverage a copy of the flyer called General Information for WorkFirst Participants Needing Child Care Subsidy Assistance. For example, you may want to use the flyer when you complete or update an adult’s Individual Responsibility Plan. The flyer gives basic information about how to apply for childcare.

    2.3.3 Are Tribal families eligible for WCCC?

    Tribal families are unique because they may participate in either a DSHS WorkFirst or a Tribal WorkFirst program and may require child care in order to participate.

    Tribal families continue to be unique because they have the benefit of "dual eligibility" for child care. This allows families to receive child care coverage from either the WCCC program or through their tribal organization. The WCCC program doesn't require the Tribal family be denied child care by the tribe before applying for WCCC. If a tribal family finds they aren't eligible through the WCCC program, they can still apply through the tribe.

    Tribal families receiving WorkFirst cash assistance from a Tribal TANF Program look like non-WorkFirst cash assistance families but have the unearned income code of TT. The Tribal program will need to contact WCCC to verify participation within 14 days of application. Tribal families who receive only food and/or medical benefits can be considered a Non-WorkFirst cash assistance recipient for WCCC purposes.

    2.3.4 What activities does WCCC cover?

    WCCC can subsidize child care needed during the hours a consumer is working, in an approved training plan or engaged in other types of approved WorkFirst activities, or waiting to enter an approved activity such as completing WorkFirst Orientation as a requirement of WorkFirst cash eligibility.

    A WorkFirst parent can be authorized for WCCC when they apply for TANF and/or begin participating in an approved WorkFirst activity.  Child care will be terminated if the parent isn't placed in an approved WorkFirst activity within 14 days of application. 

    2.3.5 What is safe and affordable child care?

    WCCC consumers can choose to use licensed/certified family child care homes and child care centers. Consumers may also use what we call "in-home/relative" providers. An in-home/relative provider must be:

    • An adult chosen by the WCCC consumer to provide child care in the consumer's own home, or
    • A certain category of adult relative the consumer chooses to provide child care in either the consumer's or the relative's home.

    It is very important to ensure that WorkFirst parents have safe and affordable child care (for their children under 13 years old) while they participate in work or other IRP activities. If a parent does not have adequate child care, we refer them to the WCCC worker for help.

    We never require WorkFirst parents to participate in WorkFirst activities until they locate child care (for their children under 13 years) that is:

    • Affordable (doesn't cost more than the copayment would under the WCCC program);
    • Appropriate (licensed, certified, or approved under federal, state, or tribal law and regulations for the type of care they use and that they were able to choose, within locally available options, who would provide it); and
    • Within a reasonable distance (within reach without traveling farther than is expected in their community).

    Parents who have children (0-18 years old) with special needs may have additional difficulties finding safe and affordable care. WCCC offers these families additional resources in the form of:

    • A special needs rate to providers, and
    • Referrals to Public Health Nurses for assessment of the child. The assessment determines how the child's needs impact the parent's ability to participate in WorkFirst activities (See the link to the PHN Referral Form in the Resource section below.)

    2.3.6 What are the requirement for in-home/relative childcare provider?

    Parents applying to use an in-home/relative care provider may need to wait to receive required background check results. The WCCC program does not pay for in-home/relative child care provided before all applicable background check results are received. This policy is designed to protect the health and safety of children.

    When establishing participation requirements for parents who are waiting for in-home child care approval, DSHS staff has the following options:

    • Under parental choice, a parent can decide to use an unapproved in-home/relative provider, but you must document clearly in the case record that they understand the department will not pay for these services.
    • The parent can be required to look for appropriate, alternative child care to be used until an in-home provider is approved for payment. The following situations are considered inappropriate for short-term, temporary child care, and would, therefore allow the parent to wait for in-home coverage before they participate:
      • Care is needed for a child under one year old;
      • Care is needed for multiple children and can only be provided by multiple child care providers;
      • The parent can demonstrate that the child cannot function outside of her or his home environment; or,
      • An exception to rule is approved for other situations, not covered above, that pose an unusual and significant risk to the family from using available child care.

    You may want to refer the parent to your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency to get help finding licensed child care. The CCR&R can be reached at 1-800-446-1114.

    Describe the circumstances in the parent's case notes if the parent will not be required to seek child care while an in-home/relative care request is pending. Refer to Participation While Resolving Issues section for the procedures to monitor the case while no child care is available.

    2.3.7 What are WCCC copayments?

    As we said earlier, a parent's monthly contribution toward the cost of child care is called a copayment. The copayment is based on family size and countable income in relation to 175% of the federal poverty guidelines.

    There are three copayment "levels". If the family's countable income is:

    • At or below 82% FPL.
    • Between 83% and 137.5% FPL.
    • From 137.6% FPL to 175% FPL.

    For additional information about copayments, please refer to the Working Connections Child Care Manual, Copayments chapter.

    2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide

    1. Consumers can contact the CSO directly for child care services.
    2. The WFPS ensures parents are participating in an approved WorkFirst activity that and refers them to WCCC authorizing workers.

    Note:  There may be cases where the parent has already applied for WCCC at application.  WCCC is approved initially for the parent to complete all TANF eligibility requirements and must be in an approved WorkFirst activity within 14 days of application to continue receiving WCCC without breaking the continuity of care.

    1. The WCCC authorizing workers will:
      1. Help the consumer find safe, affordable and appropriate child care, as needed.
      2. Confirm the consumer is in an approved activity plan, as necessary.
      3. Monitor use of child care and make all appropriate child care payments to the child care provider.

    Note: More detailed information about the WCCC Program can be found in the resource section below.

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

    Other Resources

    Chapter 3: Tools

    3.1 Overview

    Revised on August 8, 2017

    The Tools-Overview section includes:

    • 3.1.1 What are the tools we use?
    • 3.1.2 Tools and techniques
    • 3.1.3 Are any additional techniques to use when making contact with a participant?
    • 3.1.4 What are the tools & Techniques principles?

    3.1.1 What are the tools we use?

    This chapter describes the major tools and techniques we use to help WorkFirst participants succeed. To be fully effective -- most of these tools rely heavily on the partnerships and communication between the WorkFirst agencies.

    The main tools and techniques covered in this chapter include:

    • e-JAS
    • Customer Attendance Tracking System (CATS)
    • Individual Responsibility Plans (IRPs)
    • Predictive Risk Intelligence System (PRISM)
    • Stacking Activities
    • Intensive services
    • Case staffing
    • Sanctions,
    • Time Limits, and
    • Monitoring Participation.

    3.1.2 Tools and techniques

    The main tools and techniques used to manage a WorkFirst case are listed below with a brief description.

    Tools the WorkFirst Program Specialist can use:
    eJAS eJAS is an automation tool for WorkFirst Program Specialists (WFPS), Social Service Specialists, Community and Technical Colleges, job service specialists, and contracted service providers to identify and document issues that can interfere with employment. Service providers use e-JAS to report participation to the WFPS, in most cases.
    CATS The Customer Automated Tracking System is an electronic system that allows participants to sign in as required and that tracks attendance while engaged in Career Scope services provided by the Employment Security Department.
    PRISM
    PRISM is a Predictive Modeling tool intended to:
    • Identify sources of medical evidence;
    • Identify high medical risk/special needs participants;
    • Identify barriers and/or risk factors affecting employability; and
    • Assist with referral or treatment for chronic health issues.
    Note: Don't use PRISM to gather information for purposes of imposing sanctions for failure to adhere to program standards.
    IRP An Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) outlines a participant's action steps towards self-sufficiency.
    Bundled Services Bundling services requires the participant to engage in more than one activity at a time - perhaps working with different providers to access services.
    Intensive Services Intensive services are extra or exceptional supports provided to participants having the greatest difficulty finding and keeping jobs, and achieve success.
    Case staffing Case staffing is a group process, which creates an opportunity for the WFPS and Social Service Specialist to exchange information about a participant and gain consultation from other professionals and partners.
    Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) Continuous Activity Planning is an informal consultation or joint evaluation with available WorkFirst partners, DSHS co-workers, or other service providers.
    Sanction A sanction is a status that a participant enters when s/he is able, but refuses to participate as required.
    Protective payee Protective payees are contracted vendors that provide money management to assigned participants to make sure assistance funds are used for basic needs.

    3.1.3 Are there any additional techniques to use when making contact with a participant?

    There are additional techniques you may use in your communication and contacts with participants:

    • Give participants information verbally and in writing. Take the time required to make sure they understand what is required.
    • Let participants know why you are asking for information (generally, to determine eligibility or find issues that may require expert help to resolve).
    • Use Motivational Interviewing skills and open-ended questions to get better information. There are some classes available to help you improve your interviewing techniques and how to handle difficult situations.
    • If you have trouble deciding what to do, talk with co-workers, supervisors or community partners. Someone else may know of another resource or an approach you have not considered.
    • Foster relationships with partner agencies and community based organizations. We have a common goal and effective coordination can make the difference in creating effective plans.

    3.1.4 What are the tools & techniques principles?

    It is important to:

    Identify and resolve issues that interfere with employment as soon as possible without impeding the participant's progress towards self-sufficiency.

    Document issues, strengths and participation plans on a consistent basis. As you get to know each participant better, you can use new insights to create more effective IRPs.

    Offer bundled services with job search. Believe in the participant's ability. Let the job market determine employability--don't make an assumption that the participant cannot succeed.

    Spell out, in writing, specific action steps each participant can take to become independent from WorkFirst cash assistance. Even better, you can make joint plans with the participant and community partners so everyone is working towards a common goal.

    Pool resources and expertise with partners in the community.

    Require parent/caregivers to participate as close to full-time as possible to make full use of their time on WorkFirst cash assistance. Participants can often do more than one thing at a time and work with more than one provider.

    Remember, those who can work, should work. Participants who are able, but refusing to participate in WorkFirst activities will be sanctioned.

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

    3.2.1 Comprehensive Evaluation

    Created on: 
    Oct 18 2017

    Revised October 19, 2017

    Legal References:

    Note:  The DSHS Annual and Returner Updates will not be available until August 22, 2014.
    The Comprehensive Evaluation section is divided into three separate sub-sections:

    • Section 3.2.1 – Comprehensive Evaluation describes the purpose and content of the CE and continuous activity planning.  This section includes:
      • 3.2.1.1 What is the Comprehensive Evaluation?
      • 3.2.1.2 How do I complete the Comprehensive Evaluation interview?
      • 3.2.1.3 What topics does the Comprehensive Evaluation cover?
      • 3.2.1.4 What does "special records" category mean?
      • 3.2.1.5 What does "financial literacy evaluation" mean?
      • 3.2.1.6 Who must receive a Comprehensive Evaluation and when should it be conducted?
      • 3.2.1.7 What does "Continuous Activity Planning" mean?
      • 3.2.1.8 When is a new Comprehensive Evaluation or Continuous Activity Planning required?
      • 3.2.1.9 What does "likely to be approved" mean?
      • 3.2.1.10 What are the pathways of the Comprehensive Evaluation?
      • 3.2.1.11 Where is the Comprehensive Evaluation documented?
      • 3.2.1.12 What does "parent involvement in decision making" mean?
      • 3.2.1.13 How will the results of the Comprehensive Evaluation be used to develop an Individual Responsibility Plan?
      • 3.2.1.14 Can a parent be placed in sanction for failing to participate in the Comprehensive Evaluation?
      • 3.2.1.15 Comprehensive Evaluation - Step-by Step Guide
    • Section 3.2.2 – Initial Comprehensive Evaluation describes how to create and complete an active CE.
    • Section 3.2.3 – Comprehensive Evaluation Updates describes how DSHS and WorkFirst partners update recipients’ and returners’ CEs.

    3.2.1.1 What is the Comprehensive Evaluation?

    Everyone has skills and abilities needed in today's workforce. Weaving those skills and abilities with labor market realities and education levels is the cornerstone of the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE).

    The CE is an automated tool for WorkFirst Program Specialists or WorkFirst Social Service Specialists to learn more about an individual's strengths, readiness and ability to succeed in the work place. There are a series of evaluations designed to help parents achieve better and quicker engagement in employment-related activities that lead to self-sufficiency.

    The primary objectives of the CE are to:

    • Adopt a strength-based, whole family approach;
    • Gather better information about parents' skills and abilities and more quickly place them in an appropriate activity;
    • Identify barriers to WorkFirst participation that may need to be addressed upfront versus barriers that can be addressed along with work-related activities;
    • Gather information from the parent so staff can identify  when the parent meets  program criteria  and can help parents make objective decisions about what activities are appropriate;
    • Increase parent's involvement in developing their plan for participating in WorkFirst, resulting in more parent buy-in and better results; and
    • Increase consistency in how the WorkFirst program operates across the state.

    The CE is the key tool in leading parents directly to employment since job search continues to be the most appropriate pathway for the majority of parents. For other parents, the CE leads to employment through training or employment programs and also identifies areas in which the parent may need additional support. In some instances, parents receive services to help resolve issues while participating in work related activities.

    Active participation by the parent is essential. The CE is designated both as an engagement tool and the vehicle to move parents quickly to the most appropriate WorkFirst activity. The parent's involvement in the decision making process helps ensure the parent's success.

    As we learn more about WorkFirst families and document that information in the comprehensive evaluation and the on-going observation notes, we can make better informed choices about their participation and achieve the goal of self-sufficiency.

    eJAS notes provide a standalone screening for each category. This is an important feature for family violence, because this allows family violence screening to be completed when it is safe for the family member to do so.

    3.2.1.2 What is a Comprehensive Evaluation?

    First, set a positive tone about getting to Career Scope and work. Ask: "How can I help you get to work?" Explain to the person that we ask screening questions to:

    • Help the parent succeed in the workplace;
    • Ensure that their family circumstances are not a barrier to workplace success;
    • Provide necessary support services;
    • Resolve issues without delay;
    • Stack services, so the parent can make faster progress and preserve/bank months of WorkFirst Cash Assistance; and
    • Ensure the parent not only finds, but also keeps, a job.

    Second, start acquainting the person with workplace expectations, such as the need to show up on time, every day, and how to have reliable back up plans for child care and transportation.

    Third, some of the questions in the CE touch on sensitive topics (like family planning, substance abuse, or domestic violence). Set some expectations with the person to make the conversation go easier. Tell the person that your interview will:

    • Identify areas in which he or she may need additional help, supplemental accommodations or services that will help him or her be successful in WorkFirst.
    • Not require a lot of details.
    • Result in a referral to experts immediately if there is a serious crisis.
    • Result in other referrals once the comprehensive evaluation is completed.

    3.2.1.3 What topics does the Comprehensive Evaluation cover?

    As shown in the chart below, the CE covers all the topics needed to determine where the person is placed on the employment pathway. It also includes legally required screening for specific issues.

    Below you will find a list of categories reflecting the required screenings for WorkFirst families. Dependent teens do not have a CE requirement; however, it is recommended to document the dependent teen's educational activities, or other pertinent information in the dependent teen's eJAS case in the appropriate category. Equal Access status and limited English proficiency screening occurs in ACES.

    CE Topics

    Part 1 – Screening for Urgent/Emergent Needs

    • Housing
    • Medical Conditions
    • Mental Health
    • Substance Abuse
    • Family Violence

    Part 2 – Family Issues

    • Strengths, Supports & Goals
    • Children’s Education & Health
    • Caregiving
    • Housing Stability
    • Family Violence*
    • Mental Health/Substance Abuse*
    • Adult Health (includes optional special records for HIV/AIDS/STD*)

    Part 3 – Employability

    • Financial Literacy
    • Employment
    • Legal Issues
    • Transportation
    • Education

    *This is a special record screen and highly protected.

    For more information on CE topics and documentation please refer to the "Comprehensive Evaluation Documentation Guidelines"

    3.2.1.4 What does special records category mean?

    All individual information is confidential under state and federal law. In eJAS, there are also four categories of client information, called "Special Records", with increased protection. These categories contain information about:

    • Mental Health
    • Family Violence
    • Chemical Dependency, and
    • HIV/AIDS and STD* (Optional category)

    * Please note that DSHS staff is not required to screen for HIV/AIDS/STD. This is an optional category to be used when a parent voluntarily provides information about HIV/AIDS/STD issues that could interfere with WorkFirst work activities.

    It is important to document these four topics only in the matching note type in eJAS. Invite the person to discuss the matter(s) directly with her or his service provider (such as her or his job service specialist).

    3.2.1.5 What does financial literacy evaluation mean?

    For a variety of reasons many parents may lack the basic financial knowledge necessary to spend their money wisely, save for the future and manage money challenges. Financial literacy can provide families with tools for a smoother transition from a benefit-based to a wage-based income, and keep them from unknowingly entering into financially devastating credit arrangements. It is an essential element in parents' achieving financial stability, self-sufficiency and long-term financial well-being.

    During the CE determine if financial literacy activity might be beneficial to the parent, and, regardless of the results, ask if the parent wants a referral to money management training available in the local community. (This is not a mandatory activity and does not have an eJAS code).

    3.2.1.6 Who must receive a Comprehensive Evaluation and when should it be conducted?

    The CE is conducted by the WFPS in the Community Services Office (CSO) for:

    • Newly approved applicants, and,
    • Likely to be approved applicants,
    • Parents currently in sanction must do the sanction reengagement portion of the CE.

    Child only cases do not require the Comprehensive Evaluation.

    NOTE: CSOs refer "likely to be approved" applicants to the CE to save time and engage the parent quicker (see likely to be approved definition)

    The CE  is completed when the parent is approved (or likely to be approved) for WorkFirst cash assistance and stays active until the parent has been off TANF for at least 12 months., However, a new CE may be  done any time at staff discretion. (See Section 3.2.2 – Initial Comprehensive Evaluation.)

    Staff will update the active CE when a parent exits and reapplies within 12 months.  DSHS and WorkFirst partners will also update recipient’s CE periodically.  (See Section 3.2.3 –Comprehensive Evaluation Updates.)

    3.2.1.7 What does "Continuous Activity Planning" mean?

    "Continuous Activity Planning" (CAP) is an informal meeting or joint evaluation with the parent, available WorkFirst partner(s), DSHS co-workers and the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS). This meeting is to discuss the parent's progress and participation as well as a recommendation for the parent's next activity. This meeting can be conducted via phone or in person and must be documented in eJAS under the "Continuous Activity Planning" note type.

    The WFPS or WFSSS must document:

    • The names of all the participants in the meeting
    • How the meeting was conducted (phone or in person)
    • When the CAP took place
    • Results (the outcome of the meeting)

    3.2.1.8 When is a new CE or CAP required?

    The WFPS/WFSSS decides whether the parent needs a new CE or a CAP based on the last complete CE. This decision cannot be made based on a partial or incomplete CE.

      Timeframe (from CE finish date) Situation Required Action
    Complete Within 6 months

    A parent is:

    • Transitioning to a new activity,
    • Not progressing in an activity, or
    • Failing to complete the current activity
    Conduct a "Continuous Activity Planning" meeting.
    Over 6 months A parent is progressing in the plan identified in the previous CE and moving onto the next step. Conduct a "Continuous Activity Planning" meeting.
    Not progressing or participating

    Update the CE as needed unless the parent is going back to their last required activity.

      Every 12 months The family violence and family planning screenings are due. Complete the DSHS Annual CE Update (which completes the family violence and family planning screening).

    3.2.1.9 What does "likely to be approved" mean?

    • Definition : "Likely to be approved" means those who appear to meet financial and resource eligibility based on available information. The only reason the application is pending is for verification of items such as:
      • Personal identification
      • Household composition
      • Shelter costs
    • Pending verification : If eligibility is pending for other verification, such as applying for Unemployment Insurance, job start verification, or income, these parents may not be good candidates for a referral for a CE under the new "likely to be approved" definition. Applicants who do not appear to meet financial and resource eligibility should not be referred for a CE until eligibility is verified.
    • Participation : The parent begins to participate in activities that resulted from the CE when financial eligibility is determined. Parents are not required to participate in WorkFirst activities until financial eligibility has been approved. Parents cannot be sanctioned for not participating while their application is in pending status.

    3.2.1.10 What are the pathways of the Comprehensive Evaluation?

    The following criteria is designed to help the WFPS make an informed decision about which employment pathway(s) is most appropriate for a participant after completing the CE.

    CE recommendations should be designed to meet participants' needs while maximizing federal participation requirements. Refer to the Stacking Activities Chart when determining the appropriate stackable activities for the participant.

    Prior to approving referrals to any of the employment pathways listed, WorkFirst staff must advise participants of WorkFirst program requirements and their responsibility to participate in the activities identified in their Individual Responsibility Plan.

    Ensure participants have child care and transportation plans in place prior to referral. Participants reporting to an activity without arranged childcare and transportation may be referred back as they are unable to begin participating as required.

    If the CE results don't identify an appropriate pathway(s) based on the following criteria, a Continuous Activity Plan (CAP) may be conducted immediately.

    Career Scope

    Referrals to Career Scope may be appropriate for participants who:

    • Have current employment or employment within the last 90 days
    • Are receiving UI benefits or have a 'pending' UI claim ( note: JS should be the requirement for parents in this category )
    • Indicate an interest in pursuing employment
    • Are ready and able to accept employment within four (4) weeks
    • Have recently completed an education or supported work program
    • Are participating in another core activity for no more than 20 hours per week and need another activity to meet federal requirements and can accept employment within four (4) weeks
    • Would benefit from an On-the-Job Training (OJT)

    Exception: Participants who are working full-time and want assistance finding a better job are appropriate for Career Scope services as long as they can come into the office at least once a week to receive assistance. Otherwise, you may refer them to the WorkSource Center as a self-directed job seeker.

    Education & Training Activity

    Referrals to Education & Training may be appropriate for participants who:

    • Have little or no work history
    • Currently attend an educational activity
    • Indicate interest in pursuing educational opportunities or want to enter an occupation that requires training
    • Indicate an interest in getting a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate
    • Completed high school equivalency (HSE) but need or want to brush up on their skills
    • Have had difficulty in school with reading, writing, math, following verbal directions, etc. and want to improve their basic skills in order to get a job or a better job

    Community Jobs

    Referrals to full-time Community Jobs may be appropriate for participants who:

    • Are currently working on barrier/issue resolution and are ready to combine issue resolution with work in a supportive setting
    • Are ready to learn to self-manage issues that affect the ability to obtain or keep employment
    • Aren’t viable candidates for placement through Job Search
    • Are open in WF sanction and are interested in curing the sanction
    • Are ready and able to be employed full-time (32-40 hours per week) within six months of the CJ enrollment
    • Are able to participate full-time (40 hours per week) right now
    • Have childcare and transportation plans
    • Have demonstrated workplace behaviors that adversely affect the participant's ability to fully engage in Job Search
    • Have participated in other activities without success
    • Don’t currently hold an unsubsidized job unless these hours are minimal and career progression is unlikely.  These will be approved on a case-by-case basis by Commerce Headquarters. 

    Referrals to part-time Community Jobs may be appropriate for participants who:

    • Are single parents with a child under the age of six
    • Aren’t viable candidates for placement through Job Search
    • Are open in WF sanction and are interested in curing the sanction
    • Are ready and able to be employed at least part-time (20 hours per week) within six months of the CJ enrollment
    • Are able to participate 23 hours per week
    • Have childcare and transportation plans
    • Are managing known barrier removal issues (such as mental or physical health, chemical dependency and family violence)
    • Don’t currently hold an unsubsidized job

     

    Community Works Program

    Referrals to Community Works may be appropriate for participants who:

    • Are currently enrolled/interested in an education component.
    • Are employed less than 32 hours per week.
    • Need additional hours to meet WorkFirst participation requirements.
    • Are transitioning between activities,
    • Need additional support for re-training or additional experience to be competitive in the labor market
    • Will be in the work activity for 1-12 months for at least five hours per week

    Unsubsidized Employment

    Participants may be in this pathway full- or part-time:

    • Have a paid, unsubsidized job
    • Are self-employed
    • Are participating in a college work study
    • Are participating in a paid work experience, practicum or internship

    LEP Pathway

    Referrals to the LEP Pathway may be appropriate for participants who:

    • Receive Cash Assistance
    • Have difficulty understanding or communicating in English
    • An LEP participant with ESL Level 1 through 6 who is identified by college staff or an employment counselor as needing specialized assistance to participate
    • Individuals receiving Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) or Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA)

    Issue Resolution

    Participants may be in this pathway full- or part-time, depending on their ability to participate in work or work-like activities. Whenever possible, these issue resolution activities should be stacked with one of the above activities as appropriate.

    Issue resolution activities assist in helping participants (such as parenting minors, teen head of households or pregnant, hard to engage, sanctioned, and disabled/incapacitated individuals)  resolve issues, including:

    • Mental, physical, and/or learning disabilities
    • Caring for a child with special needs
    • Alcohol or substance abuse/chemical dependency
    • Family violence
    • Homelessness
    • Family planning
    • Parental education or support
    • Pregnancy to Employment
    • Child Protective Services

    Exempt

    Referrals to the Exempt Pathway may be appropriate for participants who:

    • Are a needy caregiver relative and aged 55 or older
    • Have a severe and chronic disability (including those likely to be approved for SSI or other federal benefits)
    • Are required to be in the home to care for a child with special needs
    • Are required to be in the home to care for an adult relative with a disability

    3rd trimester of pregnancy Deferral

    • Participants in the third trimester of pregnancy can choose not to participate in WorkFirst activities if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.

    Infant Exemption and Infant Exemption Extension

    • The Infant Exemption and Infant Exemption Extension may be appropriate for participants who parent a child two years or younger (24 month lifetime in this exemption).

    3.2.1.11 Where is the Comprehensive Evaluation documented?

    The CE is recorded in the CE screens in eJAS. The information, except special records, is accessible and readable by all the WorkFirst partners and will be used to make decisions regarding program participation and expectations.

    3.2.1.12 What does "parent involvement in decision making" mean?

    Parent input is essential to an effective CE. We want and value the parent's input and take their desires and wishes into account when developing a plan.

    However, a parent's wishes alone do not substitute for the CE and program pathway criteria. Parent input should not be the sole basis for deciding what activity a parent will participate in. A parent's wishes need to be factored into the larger picture, which includes family and health issues, education, skills and abilities, job availability, and training or rehabilitation resources.

    Decisions on what pathway a parent participates in must first be made on the basis of program criteria and policy. At that point the parent's wishes should be a major factor in deciding on the pathway choice.

    3.2.1.13 How will the results of the Comprehensive Evaluation be used to develop an Individual Responsibility Plan?

    The results of the CE will be used to develop the IRP. It will indicate the best pathway for the parent and what support services WorkFirst will provide the parent to participate. Decisions will be made objectively and consistently, based on program policy criteria - See "Criteria for Decision Making" . The IRP will be developed by the WFPS and the parent to:

    • Describe the parent's responsibilities, activity requirements and authorized support services.
    • Maintain progress towards independence.
    • Document the action steps the parent agreed to do. (This is essential to holding the parent responsible for her or his participation.)
    • Describe DSHS responsibilities and which support services will be provided.
    • Describe for the parent the consequences of not meeting the requirements.

    IRPs will be developed for longer-term activities if parents are participating in consecutive program elements. The expectation is that all activities are preparing parents to go to work. IRPs will be developed to find the best mix of activities, including for those clients who are participating in issue resolution activities. Parents will be expected to participate full-time.

    WFPSs will use the criteria for developing an IRP and making referrals to a pathway as outlined in "Criteria for Decision Making" .

    Community Jobs referrals will be made only for the parents least likely to succeed in attaining unsubsidized employment. Based on the CE results, CJ will be an option for those parents who have participated in other activities and have not been successful or where other activities may not be deemed appropriate.

    3.2.1.14 Can a parent be placed in sanction for failing to participate in the Comprehensive Evaluation?

    Yes. If a parent fails to show to any CE appointment, the worker must go through the good cause process to determine if the parent had a good reason for not completing the CE. For more on excused and unexcused absences, see section 3.9.1.5 - How do we treat excused and unexcused absences?

    Sanction is a tool of last resort which will be used as a consequence for parents who refuse to participate in the WorkFirst program. It is very important to determine and document whether a person is refusing, or simply unable to comply.

    3.2.1.15 Comprehensive Evaluation: Step-by-Step Guide

    Refer to the Application and Screening section for a step by step guide of the process leading to the determination of eligibility and the CE. Application information will be used as appropriate in terms of the CE and developing the parent's IRP.

    The WFPS:

    1. Conducts Positive Prevention strategies as part of the WorkFirst Cash Assistance application process. Child care, transportation and/or other needed support services are provided by DSHS staff at the time of positive prevention so the parent can complete the CE and prepare for employment pathway participation.
    2. Documents whether the person will need Equal Access accommodations to complete the application process and actively participate. (See Up-front referrals.)
    3. Uses the questions in the CE section in eJAS to complete the CE. (To view a list of all areas covered in the CE, refer to What topics does the CE cover? Section 3.2.1.3.) Determine who are returners and conduct the returner portion of the CE.
    4. Determines the appropriate employment pathway(s) using the information documented and the parent's input . ( To view the employment pathways refer to What are the pathways of the Comprehensive Evaluation? Section 3.2.1.9 )
      • If the CE results do not identify an appropriate pathway(s) based on the following criteria, a CAP may be conducted immediately.
    5. Develops the IRP by:
      1. Using the criteria for developing an IRP and making referrals to employment pathway(s) activities as outlined in "Criteria for Decision Making".
      2. Documenting results from the CE in eJAS.
      3. Updating the IRP outlining the required activities and level of participation the parent must achieve.
      4. Opening the appropriate referral code(s) in eJAS.

    Resources

    3.2.2 Initial Comprehensive Evaluation

    Legal References:

    Note:  The DSHS Annual and Returner Updates will not be available until August 22, 2014.

    The Comprehensive Evaluation section is divided into three separate sub-sections:

    • Section 3.2.1– Comprehensive Evaluation describes the purpose and content of the CE and continuous activity planning. 
    • Section 3.2.2 – Initial Comprehensive Evaluation describes how to create and complete an active CE. This section includes:
      • 3.2.2.1 What is an active comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.2 When do I create an initial comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.3 What are the three parts of the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.4 When do I do Part 4 (sanction reengagement) of the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.5 When do I complete the initial comprehensive evaluation in-person?
      • 3.2.2.6 When do I complete the initial comprehensive evaluation by telephone?
      • 3.2.2.7 How do I schedule an in-person initial comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.8 How do I complete Part 1 of the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.9 How do I pend after Part 1 of the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.10 How do I complete the rest (Parts 2 and 3) of the initial comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.2.11 What are the requirements for pregnant dependent minors?
      • 3.2.2.12 How do I complete the chemical dependency/mental health screening?
      • 3.2.2.13 How do I complete the housing stability section in Part 2 of the CE?
      • 3.2.2.14 Initial Comprehensive Evaluation - Step-by Step Guide
    • Section 3.2.3– Comprehensive Evaluation Updates describes how DSHS and WorkFirst partners update recipients’ and returners’ CEs.

    3.2.2.1 What is an active comprehensive evaluation?

    Our goal is to do a thorough initial comprehensive evaluation (CE) up-front when we approve TANF and then build on it as we hear back from partners and providers who have been working with the family.  Once we have created the initial CE, we use CE updates, instead of a new CE, to track the family’s progress. 

    The initial CE stays active, open and updateable until the parent has been off TANF for 12 months.  See the WorkFirst Comprehensive Evaluation Client Flow Chart for additional details about how we create the initial CE and keep it updated.

    The active CE is a living document that shows, in one place, what has been going on with the parent and his or her children through their TANF stay.  Key features of the initial CE include:

    • Allows applicants to complete the initial CE in stages, starting by screening for emergencies and then moving to finding out about the family and employability.
    • Uses trigger and follow up questions, as well as scripts and prompts, to help guide the conversation.  When you get a prompt, you can ask the question, put the question in your own words, or the parent may provide the information before you ask the question.  Just make sure that you cover these elements and document any that pertain to the parent in the CE.
    • Uses in-person interviews and specialized questions to promote an open-ended conversation that gathers more information about the family and adds a focus on strengths and supports.
    • Creates a follow up list as you complete the initial CE to ensure we address issues that came up during the interview.
    • Uses specialized sanction reengagement questions to start a sanction cure for recipients and for NCS re-applicants.
    • Imports ACES data for some questions, including the parent’s children (including SSI children) and relative children who are included in the assistance unit.  Staff will confirm with the parent that this information is accurate and can change the imported information before they save/finish that part of the CE when needed.
    • Provides ‘declined’ buttons to indicate when a parent doesn’t want to answer a question.  Also provides a ‘N/A’ button for some questions to indicate when it doesn’t apply to a family member, such as the question about a child’s pregnancy or family planning needs.  This question may not be appropriate when all of the parent’s children are under the age of 12.

    3.2.2.2 When do I create an initial comprehensive evaluation?

    You do the initial CE at application for parents who are approved or likely to be approved for TANF.  This CE will stay active until the parent has been off TANF for 12 months. 

    You can also create an active CE under two other circumstances:

    • You will create an active CE when the parent doesn’t have an active CE in eJAS.  This will happen as we transition parents from the former, to the new, CE.
    • You can close an active CE at any time by opening a new active CE.  However, if you do this, you will need to complete an entire new CE (Parts 1 through 3).  Another alternative would be to keep the CE active and update it.

    3.2.2.3 What are the three parts of the comprehensive evaluation?

    The CE Redesign breaks the CE into three parts, so that staff can stop during the initial CE to address a crisis or significant barrier when needed and then finish the rest of the questions after the situation is stabilized.

    • Part 1 screens for emergencies
    • Part 2 covers family issues
    • Part 3 covers education and employment

    Whether the parent does one part, or all three parts of the CE, the CE interview ends with an IRP and referral.  You will need to save/finish Part 1 before you can save/finish Part 2, and save/finish Part 2 before you can save/finish Part 3.

    3.2.2.4 When do I do Part 4 (sanction reengagement) of the comprehensive evaluation?

    When a parent wants to cure sanction, instead of doing a new CE, the parent will complete the sanction re-engagement questions in Part 4 of the CE.  These questions focus on why they got into sanction and how they will participate successfully in the future.

    You will also complete these Part 4 sanction reengagement questions during the initial CE for NCS re-applications. These re-applicants will need to do Parts 1-3 of the CE because they are an applicant and Part 4 to start their sanction cure.  Please note that it is NOT necessary to ask NCS re-applicants the screening question at the end of Part 4.

    You can save/finish Part 4 at any time.

    3.2.2.5 When do I complete the initial comprehensive evaluation in-person?

    You will create the initial CE for an approved, or likely to be approved, TANF family, including both parents in a two-parent family.  Whenever possible, a WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) does the TANF financial intake.

    If the parent is in the office, a same day, in-person CE can be done by the WFPS who did the financial intake, by another WFPS or by a WorkFirst Social Services Specialist, as appropriate.  After completing Part 1, the parent also has the option to schedule an in-person CE within 10 days of their financial intake to complete the rest of his or her CE with the WorkFirst worker of record.

    When the parent does their financial intake by phone, staff will normally arrange for an in-person CE with the parent’s WorkFirst worker of record.  This makes it easier to conduct the interview in a private setting where staff will get visual cues as to what is going on with the client.  An in-person exchange also promotes relationship-building that may produce a more effective IRP. Depending on who did the telephone red intake, the process will vary:

    • A WFPS will do Part 1 of the CE over the phone so we are aware of any emergencies that require immediate attention.  The WFPS will use an ACES General Appointment Letter (50-05) or eJAS appointment letter allowing 10-day notice to complete an in-person CE with the worker of record unless exceptions apply.
    • A Financial Services Specialist (FSS) won’t do Part 1 of the CE.  The FSS will set a tickler @WPS for a CE.

    Whether a WFPS or FSS does the telephone red intake, the WorkFirst worker of record will then do an in-person CE to review Part 1 and complete Part 2 (and possibly Part 3).

    3.2.2.6 When do I complete the initial comprehensive evaluation by phone?

    An in-person CE is required for an approved or likely to be approved, adult.  The intention is to do the CE in-person, when possible, because it promotes engagement and you will get a better understanding of what is going on with the parent and how they are reacting to the questions.

    A WFPS or WFSSS  may decide to waive the in-person CE under some circumstances.  When this occurs, they must document why the in-person CE (which may include parts 1, 2, and/or 3 depending on the adult’s circumstances) when they determine it is not possible for the adult to come into the office.  When this occurs, they must document why the in-person CE was waived in the eJAS CE note type and then may complete the CE by phone.

    The in-person CE can be waived when the adult:

    • Is working
    • Has health issues
    • Has another reason why, in your judgment, it isn’t possible to complete the interview in person.  For example, it may not be possible to do an in-person interview when the adult is experiencing family violence or when the adult lives in a remote area and there is no public transportation.

    It is also acceptable to complete a pended Part 3 by phone if the adult has completed Part 2 of the CE in-person.  The goal is to have face-to-face contact, when possible, as you complete the three parts of the initial CE for an approved or likely to be approved applicant, to enhance relationship building, case management, engagement and communication.

    3.2.2.7 How do I schedule an in-person initial comprehensive evaluation?

    If you cannot complete an in-person, same day CE for an approved, or likely to be approved, TANF parent, you will need to schedule an in-person appointment.  Mail an ACES Online 50-05, General Appointment Letter, or the eJAS appointment letter to the parent stating an in-person CE/IRP  is required within 10 days using the following text:

    Your household is receiving, or is likely to receive, cash from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  You are required to participate in the WorkFirst program when you receive TANF benefits. The WorkFirst program is designed to assist you in obtaining employment in order for you and your family to become self-sufficient.

    I have scheduled the above appointment to meet with you in-person to complete a WorkFirst Comprehensive Evaluation and an Individual Responsibility Plan (otherwise known as an IRP).

    • We will discuss any issues that you or your family may have that would need to be taken into consideration when deciding your WorkFirst participation.
    • We will work together to create an IRP that best fits your needs and the goals of the WorkFirst Program.
    • The IRP will clearly outline the activities we agreed you will participate in to become self-sufficient.
    • We will also discuss any needed support services that will enable you to follow your IRP.

    It is very important that you attend this in-person meeting to complete your WorkFirst Comprehensive Evaluation and develop your Individual Responsibility Plan.  If you are unable to keep this appointment, you will need to contact me prior to the appointment to reschedule your appointment to avoid possible sanction penalties.

    There are many participation options with WorkFirst.  I look forward to working with you and helping you develop a plan to become self-sufficient!

    For telephone intakes, you can find out what time and date works best for the parent.  Otherwise, make sure to take into account how long it will take for the parent to receive the appointment letter in the mail.  That way, they will have sufficient time to make arrangements to attend the appointment.

    3.2.2.8 How do I complete Part 1 of the comprehensive evaluation?

    Part 1 of the CE is designed to screen for emergencies that require our immediate attention.  The parent may need to resolve his or her crisis situation before they can focus on some of the other issues raised in the rest of the CE. 

    We allow parents with an emergency to come in later to complete the rest of the CE so we are asking the right questions at the right time.  It is important to ask all of the questions in Part 1 before you pend Part 2 to make sure we make a plan to address all of the parent’s emergent/urgent issues up front.  The goal is to get a good understanding of the parent’s situation to make a solid plan to address their crisis situation.

    When the parent answers ‘yes’ to a Part 1 question, we get more information (by asking some of the Part 2 questions) and then document the issue and action plan in Part 1 .  The parent may answer ‘yes’ to more than one question in Part 1.  If the parent wants to pend Part 2, develop an IRP to address all of the identified urgent/emergent issues within 30 days, save/finish Part 1 and use the P2 eJAS component code to pend Part 2 of the CE for up to 30 days.  Once you save/finish part 1, you will be able to go to the DSHS final decision and record the 30-day issue resolution IRP.

    When the parent answers ‘no’ to all Part 1 questions, or there are no urgent/emergent issues, or the parent wants to continue, save/finish Part 1 and go on to Part 2.

    3.2.2.9 How do I pend after completing Part 1 of the comprehensive evaluation?

    As discussed above, staff may pend the comprehensive evaluation after completing Part 1 when the parent:

    • Did their red intake by phone and needs to come into the office to do the rest of their CE in-person within 10 days.  Use an AP IRP, ACES General Appointment Letter (50-05), or the eJAS appointment letter allowing 10-day notice to require the in-person appointment.
    • Did their red intake in person, but would prefer to do the rest of their CE within 10 days.  This may happen when it is late in the day by the time they finish their intake or when they want to come in without their children.  Use an AP IRP, ACES General Appointment Letter (50-05), or the eJAS appointment letter allowing 10 day notice to require the in-person appointment.
    • Indicates they have an emergency (by answering yes to at least one of the questions in Part 1) and would like to take up to 30 days to address their emergency before they resume their CE.  Save/finish the DSHS final decision and develop an IRP to address the urgent/emergent issue with the appropriate eJAS component code and use the P2 eJAS component code to track when Part 2 is due.

    You may want to set up the follow up CE appointment at the same time you pend the CE.  In addition, the P2 eJAS component code will pop up on the CLMR when Part 2 of the CE is due.

    3.2.2.10 How do I complete the rest (Parts 2 and 3) of the initial comprehensive evaluation?

    Part 2 is designed to learn more about the family and longer-term issues that may need to be addressed (such as an exemption or long-term deferral) before the parent can move into employment. Part 3 covers the parent’s employment and education history and plans.

    You can pend completion of Part 3 of the CE until the DSHS Annual Update (for up to 12 months) to address serious health or family issues.  Save/finish Part 2, complete and save/finish the appropriate DSHS final decision, use an IRP to address the issue and the P3 eJAS component code to track when the parent is expected to come back into the office to complete the rest of the CE.  When you pend after Part 2 of the CE, reminders will pop up on the CLMR when Part 3 of the CE is due.

    If there are no serious issues, or if the parent wants to continue, save/finish Part 2 and go on to Part 3.  Complete and save/finish Part 3, complete and save/finish the DSHS final decision and end with an IRP and referrals to activities or needed services.

    Once you have completed all three parts of the CE, you will not need to complete these sections again while the CE remains active.  You will keep the CE up to date by using WorkFirst partner and annual CE updates described in section WFHB 3.2.3, Comprehensive Evaluation Updates.  You can also go into the CE at any time to update it and complete a new DSHS final decision as appropriate.

    The CE will remain active until the parent has been off TANF for 12 months unless you decide to close the active CE by doing another full CE before then.  If a parent exits TANF and returns within 12 months, you will do a returner CE, as described in section WFHB 3.2.3, to review and update the active CE.

    3.2.2.11 What are the requirements for pregnant dependent minors?

    Staff should follow the policy for mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, neglect or child rape in the EAZ Manual, Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting when a parent reports a minor, pregnant dependent child in the Child Education and Health Section (Part 2 of the CE).   Under the mandatory reporting policy:

    • Staff will offer a referral to First Steps for the pregnant minor.
    • Staff shouldn’t report child rape to law enforcement unless we know the age of the father; staff are not required to ask the age of the father. 
    • If the parent volunteers that information, and we become aware that it meets the criteria of child rape, a law enforcement referral is required. 
    • Once the child is born, more information about the age and identity of the father may become available as part of the child support enforcement process.

    3.2.2.12 How do I complete the chemical dependency/mental health screening?

    The chemical dependency/mental health screening in Part 2 is the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs – Short Screener (GAIN-SS tool).  GAIN-SS is used by other state agencies to screen for chemical dependency/mental health issues and the tool was specifically designed for use by staff who are not experts in these areas.  The GAIN-SS isn’t intended to be an in-depth assessment that explores the history or severity of these conditions.  Rather, it helps staff determine when a follow-up assessment would be helpful or needed.

    When you administer the GAIN-SS tool, please read the introductory script and questions verbatim and make sure the parent understands the questions.  We should also be sensitive to the parents’ need for privacy and conduct interviews behind closed doors whenever possible.  Ask the questions as neutrally as possible in order to get the most honest responses.  When the parent indicates they have been thinking about ending their life, an immediate intervention, such as a referral to a crisis line, is required.

    You can refer the parent for a social services assessment if there are indications of possible chemical dependency or mental health issues, even when the parent answers no to all of the questions or declines to answer the questions.  You can make referrals based on a parent’s behavioral responses to the questions or behavior overall.  The parent’s yes or no responses to the questions are not intended to override your judgment or experience on when a social services referral would be helpful.

    Also, it isn’t necessary to refer for a chemical dependency or mental health assessment if the parent is already in treatment, but you should consider making a social services specialist referral so they can explore the situation with the parent and get additional information that may help us develop a more effective IRP.

    3.2.2.13 How do I complete the housing stability section in Part 2 of the comprehensive evaluation?

    The housing stability section in Part 2 of the CE includes three questions to guide staff in making referrals to housing resources.  Staff answer yes or no to all three questions.  A yes response to either of the first two questions indicates that the parent is homeless or about to become homeless and meets the criteria for a referral.  A yes response to the third question will ensure that a housing referral appears on the CE follow up list.

    3.2.2.14 Initial Comprehensive Evaluation - Step-by Step Guide

    1. The WFPS (or FSS when no WFPS is available) completes the red intake, followed by an in-person CE for approved or likely to be approved TANF applicants.
      1. A WFPS/WFSSS completes the CE when the parent is in the office.  Alternatively, the WFPS/WFSSS can use ACES General Appointment Letter (50-05) or the eJAS appointment letter to schedule an in-person CE appointment allowing 10-day notice.
      2. For telephone red intakes (or for the second parent in a two parent family who is not in the office):
        1. The WFPS:
          1. Conducts a telephone CE if the parent is working, has health issues or it is not possible to do an in-person CE for another reason and documents the reason in eJAS CE case notes.
          2. If an in-person CE is required, conducts Part 1 of the CE via telephone to screen for emergencies.
          3. Schedules an in-person CE allowing 10-day notice with the worker of record to review Part 1 and do the rest of the CE, ACES General Appointment Letter (50-05), or the eJAS appointment letter.
        2. The FSS sets a tickler @WPS for a CE without completing Part 1 of the CE.
    2. The WFPS/WFSSS completes the CE as follows:
      1. Asks each question in Part 1 to screen for urgent/emergent issues. 
        1. If there are urgent/emergent issues:
          1. Gathers more information by asking related questions in Part 2 and documents issue and plan in Part 1; and
          2. Can pend completion of Part 2 for up to 30 days while the parent addresses and urgent/emergent issue using an IRP to address the issue and the P2 eJAS component code to track when Part 2 is due;
          3. Saves/finishes Part 1.  Once you save/finish Part 1 you will be able to complete and save/finish the DSHS final decision for the issue resolution IRP. 
        2. If there are no urgent/emergent issues, or at the parent’s request, saves/finishes Part 1 and goes on to Part 2
      2. Asks each question in Part 2 to learn more about the family and longer-term issues that may need to be addressed (such as an exemption or long-term deferral) before the parent can move into employment. 
        1. If there are significant issues:
          1. Can pend completion of Part 3 until the DSHS Annual Update (for up to 12 months) completing and save/finishing the DSHS final decision and using an IRP to address the significant issue and the P3 eJAS component code to track when Part 3 is due; and
          2. Completes required actions on the follow-up list; and
          3. Saves/finishes Part 2.
        2. If there are no significant issues, or at the parent’s request, saves/finishes Part 2 and goes on to Part 3.
      3. Completes and save/finishes Part 3 to identify employment and education history and plans, completes required actions on the follow-up list, completes and save/finishes the DSHS final decision and completes an IRP.
      4. For NCS re-applicants, completes and save/finishes Part 4 and the DSHS final decision to start the sanction cure.
    3. Uses the process in WFHB 3.2.3, Comprehensive Evaluation Updates, to keep the information in the active CE current.  
    4. The WFPS completes the full CE per above when the parent has no active CE in eJAS.  They may also close an active CE and complete a new full CE as needed.

    Resources

    3.2.3 Comprehensive Evaluation Updates

    Legal References:

    Note:  The DSHS Annual and Returner Updates will not be available until August 22, 2014.

    The Comprehensive Evaluation section is divided into three separate sub-sections:

    • Section 3.2.1– Comprehensive Evaluation describes the purpose and content of the CE and continuous activity planning. 
    • Section 3.2.2– Initial Comprehensive Evaluation describes how to create and complete an active CE.
    • Section 3.2.3 – Comprehensive Evaluation Updates describes how DSHS and WorkFirst partners update recipients’ and returners’ CEs.  This section includes:
      • 3.2.3.1 When do we update an active comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.2 What is included in a DSHS Annual Update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.3 What is included in a Sanction Re-engagement update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.4 What is included in a short-term returner update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.5 What is included in a mid-term returner update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.6 What is included in an ESD partner Update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.7 What is included in a Commerce contractor update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.8 What is included in a community/technical college update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.9 What is included in a LEP Pathway Provider update to the comprehensive evaluation?
      • 3.2.3.10 Comprehensive Evaluation Updates - Step-by Step Guide

      3.2.3.1 When do we update an active comprehensive evaluation?

      The active initial CE is a living document that shows, in one place, what has been going on with the parent and his or her children through their TANF stay and as we hear back from partners and providers who have been working with the family.

      Staff will update the initial active CE at the following times:

      • DSHS Annual Update: DSHS staff will do an annual CE update when the annual family violence and family planning screenings are due.  All three functions can be completed by doing the DSHS CE annual update.
      • Sanction Re-engagement: DSHS staff will complete Part 4 of the active CE when a parent wants to start a sanction cure.
      • Short-term Returner: DSHS staff will do the short-term returner CE update when a parent exits TANF/SFA and returns within six months.
      • Mid-term Returner: DSHS staff will do the mid-term returner CE update when a parent exits TANF/SFA and returns between 7-12 months.
      • Partner Updates:  The WorkFirst partners (ESD staff, Commerce contractors, community and technical college staff and LEP Pathway Providers) will update the CE as parents achieve employment or educational milestones such as completing a resume, high school equivalency, or language gains or resolving a barrier to employment.

      DSHS staff will update an active CE by opening the active CE and selecting the appropriate follow up type.  They can also update any portion of an active CE at any time at user discretion.

      Partners will update an active CE by submitting changes to their designated update sections.

      See the WorkFirst Comprehensive Evaluation Client Flow Chart for additional details about how we create the initial active CE and keep it updated.

      3.2.3.2 What is included in a DSHS Annual Update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      The WFPS or WFSSS will open the active CE, select the Annual CE Update follow-up type.   You will only be able to select the Annual CE update when Part 1 of the CE has been previously saved/finished.  You will be required to save/finish Parts 2 and 3 during the Annual CE Update if you have not previously saved/finished those parts to ensure the entire CE has been completed within a year.

      For a Part that has been previously saved/finished, you will complete the annual update scripts and prompts at the top of each section in Parts 2 and 3 of the active CE, the family violence section in Part 2 and the family planning question in the adult health section of Part 2.  These scripts and prompts are intended as guidance for staff, not as text that must be read to the parent verbatim.  The important goal is to address each of these topics in whatever way staff feel comfortable, according to their skill and experience.

      The prompts at the top of each section are geared to screen for emergencies, surface any changes over the past year and to complete the annual family violence and family planning screenings.  The WFPS or WFSSS may also update other areas in Part 2 and Part 3 as they feel appropriate.

      Save/finish Parts 2 and 3 of the CE when you have completed the DSHS Annual Update.  Once that is done, the system will recognize that the family violence and family planning screenings have been completed and not display red notification to complete those on the Client Main Page.

      3.2.3.3 What is included in a Sanction Re-engagement update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      The WFPS or WFSSS will open the active CE, select the Sanction Re-engagement follow-up type and ask the six questions that focus on how the parent will successfully participate in WorkFirst. The script at the end of the section screens for any issues that the parent may have forgotten to mention during the interview that might affect his or her ability to participate. You will not need to use this script for a NCS re-applicant as they will also be completing or updating the rest of their CE as part of their intake process.

      Save/finish Part 4 of the CE when you have completed the sanction re-engagement update.  You will be able to find the results of previous sanction re-engagement updates in the sanction re-engagement history.

      3.2.3.4 What is included in a short-term returner update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      The WFPS or WFSSS will open the active CE, select the Returner 0-6 Months follow-up type and complete:

      • Parts 1 of the active CE to screen for emergencies. 
      • The returner questions to find out more about why the parent returned to TANF.
      • Part 2 of the active CE if it has not been previously saved/finished.  If Part 2 has been previously saved/finished, you only need to complete:
        • The family violence section in Part 2 to complete a family violence screening.
        • The family planning question in Part 2 to complete a family planning screening.

      The WFPS or WFSSS may also update other areas in Part 2 and Part 3 that appear relevant based on the conversation with the parent.

      Save/finish Parts 1 and 2 of the CE when you have completed the short-term returner update.  You will also want to save/finish part 3 if you made any updates to that part.

      3.2.3.5 What is included in a mid-term returner update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      The WFPS or WFSSS will open the active CE, select the Returner 7-12 Months follow-up type.  You will only be able to select the Returner 7-12 Months CE update when Part 1 of the CE has been previously saved/finished.   You will be required to save/finish Parts 2 and 3 during the Mid-term Returner Update if you have not previously saved/finished those parts to ensure we are getting a good picture of the parent’s situation.

      For a Part that has been previously saved/finished, you will complete the 7-12 returner prompts at the top of each section in Parts 2 and 3 of the active CE, the family violence screening in Part 2 and the family planning question in the adult health section of Part 2.  The scripts and prompts will be very similar to those used in the Annual CE update with a focus on what has changed since the parent left TANF as well as screening for family violence or other emergencies, as well as family planning.

      As with any CE update, the WFPS or WFSSS may also update other areas in Part 2 and Part 3 that appear relevant based on the conversation with the parent.  The scripts and prompts are intended to guide an open ended conversation that is conducive to conducting a motivational interview with a parent.

      Save/finish Parts 2 and 3 of the CE when you have completed the mid-term returner update.  Once that is done, the system will recognize that the family violence and family planning screenings have been completed and not display red notification to complete those on the Client Main Page.

      3.2.3.6 What is included in an ESD partner Update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      Employment Security coaches will provide the following information upon referral to Career Scope and updates as necessary.  See WFHB 4.2 for more information.

      • SECTION 1:  Employment Skills Assessment Summary – includes information as related to the participant’s Employment Skills Assessment (ESA).  The ESA covers their readiness to seek and accept employment, career goals and current skills and abilities.
      • SECTION 2:  Assets Inventory – Provides completion dates for:
        • Assessment (ESA)
        • Employment Assets
          • Master Application
          • Resume
          • Interviewing Skills
          • 60 Second Commercial
          • Labor Market Research
      • SECTION 3: Update Notes for Section 1 and 2 as necessary. 

      3.2.3.7 What is included in a community/technical college update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      When the user opens the community/technical college update section in the Comprehensive Evaluation, they will have access to any Employment and Training (E & T) plan for that student from the E & T menu.  In the selected E & T plan, staff can enter information into the “Education Milestones “section (which follows the “Progress Notes” section).

      There are four education milestones:

      • High School Diploma
      • High School Equivalency
      • I-BEST Completion
      • Certificate or Degree

      There is a date field and text box following each milestone, where additional information such as completion date and type of certificate or degree can be entered. The dates and text may be modified until the plan is closed.

      3.2.3.8 What is included in a Commerce contractor update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      When the user accesses the Commerce Partner Updates link from the CE Main Page, the user will be taken to the Commerce Plan Exit History summary page.  The Commerce Plan Exit History summary page will allow for the exit section of closed Community Jobs Individual Development Plans and Community Works Plans in which the parent has been enrolled to be viewed.  The page will also display Community Works Plans in which the parent has been enrolled to be viewed.  Note: Only plans created on or after 3/21/14 will be viewable in this section.

      The plans will be viewable in the following order:

      To view the detailed Exit section of the plan, select the hyperlinked date that appears under ‘Update Date’ on the Commerce Plan Exit History summary page.  Please see the example below:  (If a confidential Exit Category was selected by the Commerce Contractor, the Exit Reason and Explanation for Exit will only be viewable by DSHS).

      1. The Individual Development Plans and Community Works Plans will display in descending order by the most recent Creation Date. 
        1. The following exit information will be displayed for each closed Individual Development Plan, Job Connection Career plan, and Community Works Plan-
          • Exit Date
          • Exit Category
          • Exit Reason
          • Explanation of  Exit
          • Unsubsidized Employment Start Date, if applicable
      2. IDP and CW Exit History

        exit history 

      3.2.3.9 What is included in a LEP Pathway Provider update to the comprehensive evaluation?

      The LEP Pathway Provider is required to update service milestones in the CE by checking the appropriate box and entering free-form text.  eJAS will send an e-message to the WorkFirst worker of record when an LEP Pathway Provider update is done and eJAS notes will auto-populate with a summary of the update.

      3.2.3.10 Comprehensive Evaluation Updates - Step-by-Step Guide

      1. The WFPS or WFSSS will update the comprehensive evaluation for parents who exit and return within one year, to do the annual CE update or start a sanction cure as follows:
        1. Open the active CE and select the follow up type
        2. Complete the mandatory parts, scripts, prompts, questions and sections for that type of update,
        3. Update other sections of the active CE that appear relevant
        4. Save/finish all Parts of the CE that have updated material.
      2. The WFPS or WFSSS can also update an active CE at any time, and save/finish any amended Part of the CE.
      3. WorkFirst partners will update their designated sections of the active CE as parents achieve employment or educational milestones.

      Resources

    3.3.1 Individual Responsibility Plan and Stacking Activities

    Legal References:

    The 3.3 IRP and Stacking Strategy section has two separate sub-sections:

    3.3.1.1 What is an IRP?

    An Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) is a working document that clearly defines the specific activities, timeframes and expectations for each WorkFirst participating family member. The IRP may also indicate what support services WorkFirst will provide to help the person to participate. The IRP is developed by the parent with her or his WFSSS/WFPS to:

    • Describe the individual's responsibilities, activity requirements and authorized support services.
    • Keep him or her moving toward independence.
    • Document the action steps the individual has agreed to do. This is essential to holding the individual responsible for her or his participation.
    • Direct the individual to find and accept employment
    • Describe DSHS responsibilities to document which support services will be provided.
    • Describe for the individual the consequences for not meeting the requirements.

    3.3.1.2 When is an IRP done?

    Create or update an individual's IRP when the individual:

    • Has been determined eligible for WorkFirst and he or she is required to complete the comprehensive evaluation.
    • Has an eligibility evaluation, if there are any changes.
    • Must apply for Washington Apple Health through the Health Benefit Exchange to access needed health care coverage (such as chemical dependency treatment). (See WAH Application IRP for suggested IRP language)
    • Has a change that affects her or his existing IRP (like homelessness or family violence issues).
    • Has new activities such as training or services approved.
    • Gets a job. (This may include other services such as retention services or needed support services.)
    • Is within two weeks of completing a component, to keep her or him continually participating.
    • Has completed a comprehensive evaluation or screening/evaluation, which provides recommendations for a pathway or service.
    • Has disclosed, or there is an indication, that they are involved with Children's Administration (CA) and are required to do activities like counseling or treatment.

    In two parent families, both parents must have an IRP (unless one qualifies for, and chooses to take an exemption). Once a parent goes off WorkFirst, an IRP is no longer required to access services or support services.

    NOTE: Parents who do not have  Washington Apple Health due to citizenship verification requirements and who have an activity requirement that is dependent on  Washington Apple Health coverage are not required to participate in these activities until  Washington Apple Health eligibility is established. Until  Washington Apple Health coverage is established, these parents will be coded with the component code 'CV'. This is an indicator code only and has no IRP or monitoring requirements.

    For more information, please refer to section 6.3.5- How do we treat parents with medical issues who do not have Washington Apple Health.

    3.3.1.3 How to write an IRP?

    We build an IRP by talking to the individual about her or his family circumstances, using the stacking strategy in 3.3.1 to maximize countable participation and, when a comprehensive evaluation is done, by reviewing the results. Conversations with the parent are very important, as it will help us build the initial IRP and subsequent IRPs that are relevant to the individual's situation.

    The IRP spells out what needs to be done to get the person employed as quickly as possible, and then break those tasks into action steps. The comprehensive evaluation and eJAS notes types also helps indicate issues that may need assessment, referrals and resolution.

    When appropriate, the WFSSS/WFPScan create or update the IRP while the parent is meeting with a WorkFirst partner.  The WorkFirst partner can then print the IRP for the parent’s record and signature. If there are confidential items in the IRP, the partner will only be able to print the non-confidential portion of the IRP. The WFPS/WFSSS will need to mail the full IRP to the client.

    Some families may also be involved with CA and required to do activities like counseling or treatment to help keep their families together. It is critical to take these activities into consideration when developing the parent's IRP.

    As shown in the chart below, there are key techniques to create an effective IRP.

    How to build an IRP:

    Involve the individual

    Give a clear picture of the goal of financial independence for the family and what the program will do to support their efforts. Talk about what the individual plans to do after employment to get a better job and move up the wage ladder. Are the plans achievable? If so, how?

    Focus on the goal

    The goal, for most families, is independence from WorkFirst. Getting a job or increasing employment or wages is the path. When setting the individual's goal, also take into consideration:

    • What was discovered during the comprehensive evaluation.
    • Whether there are short-term issues to be resolved for faster progress (like homelessness)
    • What supports or other income will be available while seeking work or once working

    Discuss the options

    Use all the available information and the stacking strategy to develop the IRP and create a step-by-step plan. As you do this:

    • Deliver a strong message of work as a goal of participation,
    • Use the IRP to document support services, and
    • Build participation expectations using the hours of activities that add up to full-time participation (32-40 hours) and that take the person's circumstances into consideration.

    Write the IRP

    Write the IRP in the first person (like "I will report to my Community Jobs assignment.")

    The templates for each activity are to be included in the IRP so the individual knows the specific details about their activities.

    Use action steps

    Use the IRP to give the individual a step-by-step explanation of what she or he is supposed to do and what supports are available. Include:

    • Whom to contact,
    • When to report to an activity, and
    • What her or his responsibilities are.

    3.3.1.4 How to monitor IRPs

    WFSSS/WFPS will monitor IRPs closely to make sure that everyone is engaged in full-time activities and making progress. Service providers are required to verify participation and progress on a monthly basis to the WFSSS/WFPS.

    In addition, non-participation will be reported immediately. ESD uses the Customer Automated Tracking System (CATS), to send an electronic message to the WFSSS/WFPS automatically when the individual fails to attend as directed. ESD staff will sometimes refer the parent back to the WFPS as part of their "Continuous Activity Planning" process and document in eJAS notes if the parent is failing to participate as directed. The WFSSS/WFPS must immediately begin the sanction process by sending the ACES letter 0085-1 for non-participation.

    The WFSSS/WFPS includes all activities that meet the participation requirements in the IRP and track participation, even those that are not approved by the program. For example, an individual may work 20 hours a week and go to school 20 hours and meet the participation requirements even if the training cannot be approved or supported with support services or child care. This participation must be tracked to ensure progress is being made and that the person is attending.

    There are two types of participation verification:

    1. Automated monthly verification by provider through CATS or eJAS, where available.
    2. Written monthly verification signed by the provider where eJAS is not available, using a standard form with a release of information. The individual submits the form to the WFSSS/WFPS.

    3.3.1.5 Does sanction status require a special IRP?

    An individual in sanction status does not require a special "sanction IRP" just because they have entered sanction. Everyone is required to have a current IRP based upon his or her activities. If a family member enters sanction status, the IRP should reflect the activities they failed to do, without good cause.

    When the person agrees to cure his or her sanction, the IRP must be updated to include current dates and any new activities or components need to be changed to meet the individual's new circumstances.

    3.3.1.6 How IRP helps with coordination?

    The IRP is a valuable tool for the individual, the WFSSS/WFPS, and others working with the person. It ensures that everyone is clear about the individual's responsibilities, requirements, and supports.

    • The IRP is available in eJAS and can be read and reviewed by Employment Security Department staff and others who work with the person and have eJAS access.
    • Both the WFSSS/WFPS and the individual sign the IRP and a copy is given to him or her so the person knows what action steps to follow.

    3.3.1.7 Stacked Services

    Stacking services requires the individual to engage in more than one activity at a time - perhaps working with different providers to access services. We "stack" (or combine) activities to make sure the person moves from welfare to self-sustaining work as soon as possible. It also helps an individual to build new strengths while resolving issues in her or his life.

    Activities are combined to add up to full-time participation (32-40 hours). See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible. 

    eJAS provides language (templates) that can be put on the IRP for most activities and service providers, with the number of hours the individual will participate. In the few cases that eJAS does not provide the template language to be used, the WFPS/WFSSS will include the following information on the IRP:

    • The start and end dates of the activities
    • The date and time the individual must report to the service provider
    • The specific participation requirements, including the number of days per week the person must attend and hours of participation
    • The number to call if the she or he cannot attend as required
    • What support services and the child care the program can provide

    3.3.1.8 Special Records

    To be effective, the individual's IRP must spell out, in detail, what the person will do to become self-sufficient. All personal information is confidential under state and federal law. In eJAS, there are also four categories of client information, called 'Special Records', with increased protection. Only DSHS staff are able to view the notes written in these categories. These categories contain information about:

    • Mental Health;
    • Family Violence;
    • Chemical Dependency, and
    • HIV/AIDS/STD* (Optional category).

    * Please note that DSHS staff is not required to screen for HIV/AIDS/STD. This is an optional category to be used when a parent voluntarily provides information about HIV/AIDS/STD issues that could interfere with WorkFirst work activities.

    For these four topics in eJAS, it is important to:

    • Develop/create the IRP under "Special Record" section,
    • Document actions in the matching note type, and
    • Discuss with parent how sharing the information with other partners or contractors may provide better services. If the parent agrees to share the information then you must get a signed consent form (DSHS 14-012) to share this information or invite the person to discuss the matter(s) directly with the service provider they are going to be working with.

    3.3.1.9 eJAS coding

    When creating an IRP, do the following in eJAS:

    • Enter activity component code on the eJAS component/IRP screen.
    • Enter the participation requirements using the templates for the activities and for each of the contractor codes.

    3.3.1.10 IRP - Step-by-step guide

    To develop an IRP, the WFSSS/WFPS will:

    1. Develop the IRP based on the conversation with the individual, the stacking strategy, recommendations from the comprehensive evaluation, the information in eJAS, and observations. Review the results of any comprehensive evaluation and consult with WorkFirst partners or Social Service Specialist if appropriate to determine the best plan for the person.
      1. Include employment, other income, and issue resolution goals.
      2. Discuss options with the individual.
      3. Write a sequential, step-by-step plan for achieving the individual's goals, including:
        1. Where to go, when, and who to see,
        2. Start and end date for each activity and a description of what the individual will be doing, and
        3. Any actions needed to prepare for the activity (like making child care or transportation arrangements).
    2. Document the services made available to her or him by DSHS (like child care, or transportation).
    3. Have the individual sign the IRP, and make a copy for him or her. If the IRP is done over the phone, then a copy is mailed to the individual. If the IRP is done over the phone while the parent is meeting with a WorkFirst partner, the partner may print the IRP, obtain the parent’s signature and provide a copy to the parent. The signed original IRP would remain in the partner’s parent file.
    4. Document that the IRP has been done, that you explained the requirements of the IRP to the individual, any referrals made, and enter the activities in eJAS. Document that the IRP was mailed if you mail the IRP to the individual.

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters/Attachments

    Forms & Other Resources

    3.3.2 Stacking Activities

    Created on: 
    Mar 02 2017

    Revised on February 28, 2017

    Legal References:

    The 3.3 IRP and Stacking Activities section has two separate sub-sections:

    • Section 3.3.1 Individual Responsibility Plan.
    • Section 3.3.2 Stacking Activities. This section describes the stacking process including:
      • 3.3.2.1 What is stacking activities?
      • 3.3.2.2 What are countable core and non-core activities?
      • 3.3.2.3 How to maximize the CE recommendations to meet WorkFirst and participation goals.
      • 3.3.2.4 How to build an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) that meets the rate.
      • 3.3.2.5 How to deem.
      • 3.3.2.6 When do I use the local minimum wage and how do I process these cases?
      • 3.3.2.7 How to Deem Step-by-Step Guide

    3.3.2.1 What are stacking activities?

    Federal rules reduce funding to states that fail to meet a federal work participation rate. To meet the rates, states must have a percentage of parents in the required number of hours of countable activities each month.

    Section 1.2.1 What is participation and how is it counted describes the participation requirements for parents and teens who are able to participate. Stacking goes beyond the basic participation requirements and gives guidance about how we might best meet the needs of parents, achieve the most important WorkFirst goals, and maximize our ability to meet the federal rate.

    3.3.2.2 What are Countable Core and Non-Core Activities?

    All WorkFirst activities were designed for a purpose - but not all of them count towards meeting the federal Work Participation Rate (WPR). WorkFirst activities fall into one of five broad categories:

    • Fully countable core activities (paid and unpaid work).
    • Time-limited countable core activities (job search, independent life skills training, issue resolution and vocational education) which only count for a limited period of time.
    • Countable Non-core activities (skills enhancement training, high school completion or high school equivalency for participants age 20 or older), which count once a participant has met her or his core activity requirements.
    • Exemptions and exceptions, which may count or qualify for federal participation exemptions.
    • Stabilization services, uncountable ‘X’ codes that don’t count towards the rate but are needed temporarily to resolve a barrier.

    The Core & Non-Core Activity chart lists countable core and non-core activities.

    The Stacking Activities Chart sorts WorkFirst activities by how they count towards meeting the rate, listing all exemptions, exceptions, stabilization (uncountable), and core activities. The chart gives an overall strategy for core and non-core activities you may stack to help move the participant towards employment.

    3.3.2.3 How to maximize CE Recommendations to Meet WorkFirst and Participation Goals

    Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) recommendations designed to meet participants' needs while maximizing our ability to meet federal participation requirements should:

    • Address the participant’s primary need and build from that.
    • Start with employment, job search, or unpaid work (like Community Works) as the participant's primary activity whenever possible.
    • Make strategic use of time-limited core activities, while headquarters staff maximizes the work participation count:
      • Do issue resolution and job search when needed.
      • Add activities to issue resolution to make it short-term and full-time when possible.
      • Enroll participants in job search 4 weeks at a time with work experience activities interspersed between enrollments.
      • Start vocational education once the participant is ready and help them progress to full-time.
    • Stabilize the participant's situation as soon as possible if they are unable to participate in countable activities.
    • Offer participation exceptions (that is, pregnancy to employment and high school completion or high school equivalency for minor parents/dependent teens).
    • Plan ahead and use continuous activity planning to keep participants in countable activities and moving towards employment goals whenever possible. You can do this by:
      • Speeding up handoffs and start-ups.
      • Resolving sanction and re-engaging participants who have failed to participate.
      • Making current activities support the participant's next steps.

    3.3.2.4 How to Build an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) that Meets the Rate

    We build an IRP based on the primary activity the participant needs to progress. Some participants will be exempt and others will be required to access stabilization services (uncountable "X" codes).

    Note:  Please refer to section 6.3.5- How do we treat participants with medical issues who don’t have Washington Apple Health? for participants who do not have Washington Apple Health (WAH) due to citizenship verification requirements AND have an activity requirement that is dependent on WAH coverage.

    You can require a participant to apply for WAH in their IRP, and sanction for failure to follow through, if they are potentially eligible but have never applied or let their coverage lapse.  For example, use an IRP to require WAH application for a participant who needs chemical dependency treatment but has no current WAH coverage (See WAH Application IRP for suggested IRP language.).

    A few parent/caregivers, minors and teens will meet the rate while participating fewer hours under federal participation exceptions. Participation requirements are:

    • Up to 20 hours per week of core, non-core, or uncountable activities for participants (20 and older) with reduced participation requirements under the pregnancy to employment pathway or who have a child under six years old
    • Up to 20 hours per week of high school completion or high school equivalency for teen participants age 18 and 19 if they don’t already have their high school diploma or high school equivalent (Hours are based on school requirements to progress towards graduation).
    • Participation in high school completion or high school equivalency as per school requirements to progress towards graduation for pregnant and parenting minors age 17 and younger, unless they have a child under the age of 12 weeks old (Hours are based on school requirements to progress towards graduation). 

    Most parents/caregivers are able to participate and don't qualify for federal participation exemptions. You can stack activities to build an IRP that meets the rate as follows:

    1. Start with 20 hours per week of core activities, and see WFHB 1.2.2 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the participant’s IRP when possible:
      1. The participant can do more than one type of core activity to reach 20 hours per week.  Just add a few hours of a "good match" core activity to the participant's primary core activity to meet the 20-hour requirement.
      2. Working the FLSA maximum hours of WEX or community service meets the full core activity requirement. [See 3.3.2.5. How to Deem below]
    2. Add 12-20 hours per week of countable activities:
      1. More hours of the core activity
      2. Add a "good match" core activity
      3. Non-core activities (job skills training, basic education, high school completion or high school equivalency)
    3. Using this formula, the participant will end up with 32-40 hours total hours of participation each week.

    Example: Jacques and Sarah are married with two children and on WorkFirst. Jacques is working 25 hours per week and Sarah has been staying at home with the children. Both Sarah and Jacques want to participate in WorkFirst activities. Their WorkFirst Program Specialist looks at their CE results, talks to them and develops an IRP that meets the two-parent participation requirement of 38 hours per week including three hours of strengthened participation. See WFHB 1.2.2 for participation requirements.

    Jacques' employment meets 25 hours of the household’s 30-hour core activity requirement. Based on Jacques’ CE options, he selects and agrees to the option of attending job skills training classes for 6 hours per week.

    Based on the results of Sarah’s CE options, she agrees to go to job search for 32 hours per week. The household exceeds their 38 hour per week participation requirements by doing 57 hours per week of core activity and 6 hours per week of countable non-core activity.

    3.3.2.5 How to Deem

    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has rules that apply to parents in community service and work experience (unpaid work activities).

    • Parents must have Labor and Industry Insurance coverage.
    • Parents cannot be required to work more hours than their grant plus food stamp benefits divided by the state or local minimum wage, whichever is higher, each month. We call this the "FLSA maximum hours".  See section 3.3.2.6 for more information on the local minimum wage rates.

    Under federal rules, parents who work the FLSA maximum hours meet their full core activity requirement. The FLSA maximum hours for the past, current and upcoming month is calculated and displayed in eJAS, and visible to contractors. Only the upcoming month, however, will show for newly approved WorkFirst applicants and re-applicants.  Also, the eJAS calculation always uses the state minimum wage, so if a client is subject to a local minimum wage the FLSA hours will need to be calculated manually.  See section 3.3.2.6 for more information about determining FLSA hours based on local minimum wages.     

    When a parent is first approved for WorkFirst cash assistance, and the parent is entering a community service or work experience activity, DSHS staff can go to the work experience/community service FLSA calculator to calculate the hours for the current month and pass that information to community service and work experience providers. Print a copy of the calculation and send it to DMS so it can be stored in the parent's case record and it is available for future audits. Once the parent has been on WorkFirst for a month, eJAS will start to calculate and display the FLSA maximum hours to all partners and contractors for the current and upcoming month.

    Staff can use the work experience/community service FLSA calculator to calculate the FLSA maximum hours based on the parent's grant and food stamp benefits, divided by the state or local minimum wage. The result is the maximum FLSA hours for the month. The calculator divides the monthly maximum FLSA hours by 4.33 and rounds down to determine how many hours the parent will perform unpaid work, on average, each week.

    For example, Dorothy will be doing Community Works, skills enhancement training and her FLSA maximum hours are 14 hours per week. Under FLSA we can only require Dorothy to do 14 hours per week of Community Works and that meets her 20-hour core activity requirement. Dorothy does an additional 12 hours per week of skills enhancement training to bring her up to 32 hours per week of countable participation and we add 3 additional hours of skills enhancement training (instead of Community Works) per WFHB 1.2.3 to add additional hours without exceeding the FLSA maximum.

    There are special rules for deeming in two-parent families. Most important, the FLSA maximum hours apply to the entire family, not to each parent. To be classified as a two-parent family under federal rules, neither parent can be:

    • An undocumented immigrant;
    • Disabled (on SSI/SSA disability or with a ZD exemption); or
    • Caring for a disabled family member (with a ZB or ZC exemption).

    Under WorkFirst, we want each parent to participate 32-40 hours per week unless one parent is opting out, or the parents are splitting the hours, under WFHB 1.2.4. When we maximize participation at the headquarters level, we will use federal rules to deem 30 hours of core activities if either parent works the family's FLSA maximum hours. When we do this, the whole family will meet the rate if either parent does an additional 5 hours of another type of core or non-core activity.

    Some families FLSA maximum hours will exceed 20-30 hours per week so we will not be deeming additional hours. In these cases you may:

    • Credit excess hours towards the additional 12-20 hours of core/non-core activities; or,
    • Limit the community service/work experience to 20 hours per week so the parents can participate in other beneficial, countable activities.

    See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible.  Don’t exceed the FLSA maximum hours for unpaid work activities.  You can substitute non-core hours for core hours as needed to stay within the FLSA maximum.

    3.3.2.6 When do I use the local minimum wage and how do I process these cases?

    Under FLSA and state law, DSHS must use the state or local minimum wage, whichever is higher, when determining hours of participation in unpaid work experience and community service activities.  Local ordinances are only in effect within the local government's boundaries and may only apply to some types of employment.  For the purposes of FLSA deeming, DSHS is an employer. 

    For local minimum wage cases, the WorkFirst partner/contractor must send the local minimum wage rate to DSHS to receive the adjusted FLSA hours.  The WFPS/WFSSS is responsible to calculate the adjusted FLSA hours, update, eJAS, and as needed, update the IRP for all local minimum wage cases.  Please note, WorkFirst staff cannot use the FLSA hours displayed in eJAS for local minimum wage cases.

    Note:  When the WFPS/WFSSS sets up the unpaid work activity, they will use the FLSA Local Minimum Wage Chart (for staff use only) to determine whether local minimum wage applies.   

    3.3.2.7 How to Deem Step-by-Step Guide

    1. For unpaid work activities, WorkFirst staff and contractors determine if the local minimum wage rate applies using the FLSA Local Minimum Wage Rate Chart.
    2. When the state minimum wage applies:
      1. For newly approved WorkFirst applicants and re-applicants, the WFPS/WFSSS uses the work experience/community service FLSA calculator to determine FLSA hours for the current month based on household size and the cash and food benefit amounts.
      2. For all other cases, and for an applicant’s upcoming month, eJAS will calculate and display the FLSA hours.
    3. When the local minimum wage rate applies:
      1. WF partners and contractors send the local minimum wage rate to DSHS to get the adjusted FLSA hours.  They cannot use the FLSA hours displayed in eJAS.
      2. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Enters the local wage rate into the FLSA calculator to determine the adjusted FLSA hours.
        2. Notifies the WF partner/contractor, as needed, of the adjusted hours.
        3. Documents local minimum wage data in ongoing eJAS notes:
          1. Local minimum wage applies,
          2. Local minimum wage rate, and
          3. FLSA hours.
        4. Updates the IRP, as needed.
    4. If there is a change in cash/food benefits during the parent’s unpaid work activity:
      1. DSHS and affected partners will get an eJAS FLSA change notice.
      2. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Check to see if this is a local minimum wage case.
        2. For local minimum wage cases they will:
          1. Recalculate FLSA hours;
          2. Document (the local minimum wage, the local minimum wage rate, and the FLSA hours) in ongoing eJAS notes;
          3. Modify the IRP; and,
          4. Notify the WorkFirst partner/contractor, as needed.

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters/Attachments

    Forms & Other Resources

    3.4 Intensive Services

    Legal References:

    The Intensive Services section includes:

    • 3.4.1 What are intensive services?
    • 3.4.2 Who needs intensive services?
    • 3.4.3 What are intensive in-home services?
    • 3.4.4 What is the role of assessment?
    • 3.4.5 What are Stacked Services?
    • 3.4.6 Intensive Services - Step-by-Step Guide

    3.4.1 What are intensive services?

    Intensive services are extra or exceptional support to help those having the greatest difficulty finding and keeping jobs achieve success. There are four key elements in the intensive services model:

    • Comprehensive Evaluation:
    • The Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) will help the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) find out information about the family's situation and to determine whether the person might benefit from intensive services.. See 3.2 Comprehensive Evaluation section for more information on CE.
    • Assessment: A series of in-depth questions to find out more about the person's circumstances and how this might impact her or his ability to work. Assessments are conducted by DSHS WorkFirst Social Service Specialists (WFSSS). See section 6.2 for more information on Assessment .
    • Collaborative IRP: An IRP developed through a case staffing at the comprehensive evaluation follow-up appointment to create a unified approach for dealing with issues and to set clear, obtainable expectations for the person. See section 3.3 for more information on Individual Responsibility Plans .
    • Stacked services: A changing mixture of services and activities to help the person become and remain employable, often by working with more than one service provider at a time.

    3.4.2 Who needs intensive services?

    The WFPS should conduct or review a comprehensive evaluation and consider whether intensive services would be beneficial for the following individuals:

    • Pregnant women and parents with infants (always, and always followed by a WFSSS assessment);
    • Those deferred from job search or school because of issues like homelessness, family violence or chemical dependency;
    • Those referred back early from job search;
    • Those who complete job search without finding a job;
    • Those who complete other work activities without progressing towards steady employment;
    • Those who are able to find work, but repeatedly lose their jobs; and
    • Anyone who does not progress.

    Intensive In-Home Services (IIHS) are contracted services that may be appropriate for individuals needing intensive services.

    3.4.3 What are intensive In-Home Services?

    Refer individuals for this service who have multiple issues and may be in sanction status, at-risk of becoming sanctioned or have refused to cooperate with WorkFirst requirements. Individuals are referred for contracted IIHS services, only after DSHS has been unsuccessful in engaging the person in a WorkFirst activity and family or personal issues are complex.

    The IIHS Contractor:

    • Conducts an In-home evaluation and reports results to the Community Service Office within five business days from the date of the home visit.
    • Participates in case staffings and assists in the development of the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
    • Completes Service Delivery Plans (within ten business days from the date of the case staffing).

    3.4.4 What is the role of assessment?

    If the comprehensive evaluation does not show what a person needs to progress, she or he should have access to intensive services (an assessment, collaborative IRP and stacking services within 30 days). The next section in this chapter, on case staffing, will give the basics for developing a joint IRP. Here we discuss vital information provided by the WFSSS assessment (followed with information on stacking services).

    As shown in the chart below, the last page of the WFSSS assessment compiles the person's information to discuss at the case staffing and help develop a joint IRP with stacked services. This analysis, plus the results of the comprehensive evaluation, will give the "case staffers" the information they need to determine next steps for the person.

    Last page of the assessment shows the person's:
    • Strengths/successes
    • Test or evaluation results (if obtained) and implications
    • Prioritized list of issues/needs and impact on employability
    • Ability to combine work/work activity with issue resolution
    • Appropriate treatment, resources and referrals
    • Length of time needed for issue resolution
    • Expected outcome; short-term and long-term goals.

    3.4.5 What are Stacked Services?

    Stacked services will include some combination of WorkFirst activities, job search services, treatment, and other needed services (life skills, parenting, mental health, domestic violence, chemical dependency treatment, time and money management, housing, etc.). Continued communication and monitoring between the WFPS or WFSSS and these other providers is of primary importance to ensure:

    • Multiple services/referrals are kept reasonable for the person;
    • We share appropriate information;
    • We know when to change the IRP;
    • Participation requirements are enforced; and
    • The person receives appropriate support services and child care.

    The WorkFirst partner agencies, and most contractors, have established standards for their activities so they can be counted in actual hours. So WFPS or WFSSS can build full-time IRPs by adding up the actual hours of participation.

    There may be rare occasions when the service provider has not established standards, and for which the WFPS or WFSSS will have to estimate the activities and the corresponding value, but these will be the exception, not the rule.

    Use the IRP to spell out required participation and the supports we will provide.

    For information about independent Life Skills training, please refer to section 7.3.6- What is Independent Life Skills Training?

    For information about Life Skills training as part of other job preparation activities, please refer to section 7.3.7.

     

    3.4.6 Intensive Services - Step-by-step guide

    1. The WFPS:
      1. Initiates a comprehensive evaluation in eJAS for potential intensive services individuals.
      2. Considers referring an individual for intensive services when it is unclear from the comprehensive evaluation what the person needs to progress towards self-sufficiency.
      3. Refers the individual to a WFSSS if an emergent issue arises during the comprehensive evaluation.
    2. The WFPS ensures that individuals who might benefit from intensive services have access to the following at their comprehensive evaluation follow-up appointment:
      1. An assessment from the WFSSS (including any necessary testing)
      2. A collaboratively developed IRP (via case staffing)
      3. Stacked services, as appropriate.
    3. The collaboratively developed IRP will meet WorkFirst requirements. The WFPS or WFSSS will have the final responsibility to develop and document this plan, as follows:
      1. Identifies, prioritizes then determines who will meet each of the person's needs
      2. Increases emphasis on work/work activities as other issues are resolved
      3. Sets short-term and long-term goals, with plans to meet each need.
      4. Sets time frames for results or review of the IRP
    4. Once the collaborative IRP is developed, the WFPS or WFSSS acts as the central point of contact, but all WorkFirst partners are responsible to create dependable communication. As part of this:
      1. One person should be designated to coordinate stacked services for each person (such as the WFPS or one of the providers)
      2. All partners ensure continuous, dependable communication to make sure the plan is working, so we can make any necessary adjustments.

    What is the referral process for contacted Intensive In-Home Services?

    1. Once it has been decided that a referral will be made for contracted Intensive In-Home Services, the WFPS will:

      Note: The II component code will be counted as no activity on the Client Accountability Report (CAR).

      1. Enter II (the contracted Intensive In-home Services identifier) on the eJAS component screen.
      2. Enter the appropriate contractor code.
      3. Complete the eJAS referral form.
      4. Document "notes" under the issue type that is requiring the referral for services.
      5. Once the contractor accepts the referral, enter the appropriate component activity on the eJAS component screen with the actual number of hours.
      6. The II code will remain on the component screen, with the contractor code and the accompanying component, until the contracted In-Home Services are terminated.

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

    3.5 Case Staffing

    Created on: 
    Aug 15 2017

    Revised on August 15, 2017

    Legal References:

    The Case Staffing section includes:

    • 3.5.1 What is a case staffing?
    • 3.5.2 Who needs a case staffing?
    • 3.5.3 When are case staffings mandatory?
    • 3.5.4 Who do you involve in a case staffing?
    • 3.5.5 What are the benefits of a case staffing?
    • 3.5.6 Case Staffing - Step-by-Step Guide

    3.5.1 What is case staffing?

    Case staffing is an opportunity for the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) and/or the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) to exchange information about the participant and gain consultation from other professionals. It is a group process in which the case worker (WFPS or WFSSS) invites two or more professionals and others involved with the participant to help identify issues, suggest problem resolution strategies, and recommend service options.

    WFPS/WFSSS:

    • Gather demographics (names, ages of family members and others in the household)
    • Invite at least two other relevant professionals such as social service specialists or persons from other agencies that work(ed) with the participant. A minimum of two professionals, the WFPS/WFSSS and at least one other professional must be present to conduct a case staffing.
    • Advise sanctioned participants that they can invite anyone they choose.
    • Document in eJAS Case Staffing notes:
      • Who attended (relevant professionals).
      • Circumstances of the case
      • Issues, strengths, concerns and anticipated duration of issues or concerns. Strengths may be having a high school diploma, stable housing, or reliable transportation. If possible, identify how strengths may help address any barriers such as how the participant's education may be helpful in obtaining employment.
      • Whether you screened the participant for EA and if there is an EA plan. Take appropriate steps to modify the EA plan as needed.
      • Past or present issues and how they were addressed. 
      • Roles and responsibilities of those involved with the participant.
      • Create a joint action plan with time-frames and expected outcomes.
    • Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) Case Staffing Documentation Standard: In addition to the eJAS Case Staffing documentation, you must:
      • Document that you reviewed and discussed all available information with one or more professionals, and
      • Include an explanation of the decision whether or not to pursue sanction.

    3.5.2 Who needs a case staffing?

    The participant may need a case staffing at any point when it appears they are not making progress or there are significant issues to address. It is important that you do everything you can for families before they reach 60 months on WorkFirst. Staff can conduct case staffings as early and regularly as possible. Some case staffings are mandatory, others are conducted based on the recommendation of the WFPS, WFSSS, partner agency or contractor such as Community Jobs.

    Below are some strategies local Community Service Offices use to make this effective tool available to a broad range of participants:

    • All Cases: Conduct case staffings on an entire caseload to ensure all participants met with WF staff, have a reasonable and timely IRP, and have timely IRP, and have timely and appropriate referrals. This is helpful to maximize participation. This can be an in depth review or the case including identifying issues and action steps addressing the issues. You must invite at least two other professionals such as WFSSS or persons from other agencies that have worked with the sanctioned participant.
    • Cases with common characteristics: Staff common cases (such as all employed, all sanctioned, or all X cases) to develop specialized processes and resources to address the needs of groups of participants. With this type of staffing, you may refer participants to existing services and make plans to fill gaps in services. Depending on the type of case being staffed, staff may invite Employment security Department, college staff, community jobs contractors, or other community contractors.
    • Difficult cases: Staff cases discussed in 3.4 Intensive Services. This particular type of case staffing will generally require more time to conduct a review of the case and develop a plan to meet the participant's needs.
    • Employment Security Department (ESD) and DSHS staff will talk to the participant about options available for the next step who are nearing completion of Career Scope services without finding a job. Options include Work Experience (WEX), on-the-job training opportunities, Community Jobs, approved training, including basic education, or or additional Career Scope services if appropriate. Local staff should work together to develop processes that will make sure participants don't lost momentum in participation as they transition from one activity to another.

    3.5.3 When are case staffings mandatory?

    Case staffings are mandatory for participants who haven't participated in WorkFirst activities, without good cause, before entering sanction status.

    The goal of the NCS Case Staffing is to re-engage the participant into appropriate WorkFirst activities.

    A good cause/non-compliance Sanction (NCS) case staffing requires the assigned worker to invite two other relevant professionals such as the WFPS/WFSSS, Public Health Nurse, Chemical Dependency Professional, etc. The worker (WFPS or WFSSS) assigned to the case counts as one professional.

    It is extremely important to invite a Children's Administration (CA) Social Service Specialist if CA is working with the individual.

    For more information regarding good cause/NCS case staffings, please refer to section 3.6.1 Entering Sanction.

    3.5.4 Who do you involve in a case staffing?

    As shown in the chart below, depending on the participant's circumstances, you may want to invite different people to attend a case staffing.

    Most state employees will come at no cost. Support services are available if a psychologist or similar professional needs to be paid.Your local region or office may consider some instances, such as "all case" reviews, as staff training and pay as a training cost. Other payment options include exception to rule, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation or Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) funds, Social Services Payment System dollars, school district support, or Labor & Industries, accommodation and diagnostic money.

    If key professionals can't attend, then the WFPS or WFSSS should attempt to gather information prior to the staffing through phone calls and/or other correspondence.

    WorkFirst staff

    Note: PRISM is a useful tool to identify potential issues that prevent participation; however, use of PRISM to gather information for purposes of imposing sanctions for failure to follow through with requirements is prohibited.
    Suggested case staffing participants
    Children's special needs
    • DDD case manager
    • Child psychologist
    • Public Health Nurse
    • Health or Mental Health Provider
    Depression
    • Mental Health Provider
    Chemical Dependency
    • Alcohol & Drug Assessment staff
    • Mental Health provider
    • Children's Administration staff
    Cultural issues
    • Refugee service providers
    • Tribal representatives
    • Indian Policy and Affairs staff
    • Migrant & Seasonal Farm Worker representative
    • Affiliate from Religious Organization
    Wage progression
    • Community/technical college staff
    • ESD staff
    • Employer
    Child care
    • Child Care Information & Referral
    • Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) staff
    • Children's Administration staff
    Job retention
    • ESD staff
    • Employment-focused Mental Health Provider
    • Independent living specialist
    • Employer
    • Community/technical college staff
    Family violence
    • Family violence advocate and/or community service provider
    • Mental health provider
    • Children's Administration staff
    • Attorney of criminal and/or civil case(s)
    Legal, probation & parole
    • Dept. of Corrections staff
    • Local judicial staff

    3.5.5 What are the benefits of case staffing?

    Case staffings usually provide another approach to identify concerns by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of experts to review cases, identify resolution strategies, and recommend solutions. Bringing the group together for this purpose increases everyone's understanding of services and expertise available in the community and provides an opportunity for creative problem solving and resource development.

    A good case staffing brings the right people to the table to identify the needs and suggest or supply the resources to meet those needs. For more information regarding good cause/NCS case staffings, please refer to section 3.6.1 Entering Sanction.

    3.5.6 Case Staffing - Step-by-step guide

    1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. Determines the type of case staffing needed (all cases, specified type of cases or a difficult case);
      2. Invites the appropriate case staffing attendees; and
      3. Prepares copies of the IRP/case demographics for the staffing.
    2. The case staffing group:
      1. Identifies, prioritizes and determines who will meet each participant's need;
      2. Increases emphasis on work/work activities as other issues are resolved;
      3. Creates short-term and long-term goals, with plans to meet each; and
      4. Establishes and documents in eJAS time frames for results or review of the IRP.
    3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. Makes the agreed upon referrals, updates the IRP and EA plan as needed;
      2. Authorizes needed support services; and
      3. Documents
        • The attendees,
        • Circumstances of the case,
        • Case staffing results including issues, strengths, EA plans and any steps necessary to address issues,
        • When doing NCS case staffing, an explanation of the decision whether or not to pursue sanction/NCS. Please refer to section 3.6.1 Entering Sanction for more information.
    Note: Case Staffing screens are considered special records (highly protected) for DSHS-only (see guide below).
    Note: It is critical that you invite the Children's Administration (CA) Social Service Specialist to the good cause/NCS case staffing if the family is involved with CA.

    eJAS Case Staffing Step-by-Step Guide

    1. Log into eJAS, enter the participant's JAS ID number and from the main menu, click on the "Case Staffing/Extension Review" link. Once the Case Staffing page, click on the "Create Case Staffing" link.
    2. Case Data Tab:
      • Staffing Date: Enter the date. To display the calendar help screen, click the icon beside the staffing date entry box.
      • Component IRP: To display the active components and IRP screen, click this button.
      • Referral: To create and send a referral, click this button.
      • Completed Date: Complete this box ONLY when you have fully finished the case staffing. Once completed you can't modify this Case Staffing event anymore.
    3. Attendees Tab:
      • Enter a minimum of two Case Staffing attendee's names in the boxes provided. A minimum of two professionals are required to conduct the case staffing, the assigned worker (WFPS/WFSSS) counts as one professional.
    4. Issues/Notes Tab:
      • Click "Create New Notes."
      • On the Create Notes page, select the issues prior to documentation
      • Click "Begin Notes."
      • Enter your notes on the text box.
      • Click "Continue with Note List" to go to the next issue or go back to Case Staffing.
    5. Case Staffing Result Letter:
      • Select the Case Staffing Result Letter and customize the letter to reflect the results of the case staffing. Print the letter and give/send the participant a copy of the letter. If necessary, translate the Case Staffing Result Letter into the appropriate language and send translated document to DMS.
    6. Saving:
      • Clicking from one tab to another will save the entries for the previous tab.
      • To save a Case Staffing entry as complete, you need to enter a date and select the appropriate case staffing event type(s)
        • Sanction
        • 60 month
        • Exempt
        • Other

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

    3.6.1 Entering Sanction

    Created on: 
    Aug 15 2017

    Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) Policy

    Revised August 8, 2017

    Legal References:

    The Non-compliance Sanction Policy section is divided in three separate sub-sections:

    • Section 3.6.1 - Entering Sanction describes how to make the sanction decision. This section includes:
      • 3.6.1.1 What is the non-compliance sanction policy?
      • 3.6.1.2 What are sanctions?
      • 3.6.1.3 How long do sanction reductions last?
      • 3.6.1.4 When do I send a good cause appointment/NCS case staffing letter?
      • 3.6.1.5 What is the good cause 10-day period?
      • 3.6.1.6 How do I set up the good cause/NCS case staffing?
      • 3.6.1.7 How do I set up the home visit (or alternative meeting)?
      • 3.6.1.8 What if the post office returns the participant’s mail?
      • 3.6.1.9 What happens at the good cause/NCS case staffing?
      • 3.6.1.10 How do I decide if the participant has good cause?
      • 3.6.1.11 What if I determine the participant doesn’t have good cause?
      • 3.6.1.12 What if the participant fails to attend the good cause/NCS case staffing?
      • 3.6.1.13 What is the NCS case staffing documentation standard?
      • 3.6.1.14 What do I do after the NCS case staffing?
      • 3.6.1.15 What if no contact is made with the participant at the home visit (or alternative location meeting)?
      • 3.6.1.16 What happens at the home visit (or alternative meeting)?
      • 3.6.1.17 What if the supervisor disagrees with the recommendation for sanction/sanction penalty?
      • 3.6.1.18 When do I send the adverse action notice?
      • 3.6.1.19 eJAS/ACES Codes
      • 3.6.1.20 Entering Sanction - Step-by-Step Guide
    • Section 3.6.2 - Ending Sanction describes what happens after a participant is sanctioned and if they decide to stay in sanction for two months.
    • Section 3.6.3 - NCS Reapplications describes how to process reapplications
    • Section 3.6.4 - Permanent TANF Disqualification describes why and how a participant becomes permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA.

    3.6.1 Entering Sanction

    3.6.1.1 What is the Non-compliance Sanction policy?

    The non-compliance sanction (NCS) policy  terminates TANF when participants refuse to do their part to actively prepare for and seek employment, or otherwise participate, for  two months in a row. We don't require dependent teens to participate and don't sanction them for failure to participate.

    The non-compliance sanction policy also terminates TANF when mandatory WorkFirst participants fail to attend a non-compliance case staffing and we aren't able to make contact with them at the subsequent home/alternative site visit.

    The ultimate goal of the NCS policy is to re-engage WorkFirst families currently in sanction status and to encourage them to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the program. Sanction is a tool to promote personal accountability and responsibility.

    The policy provides numerous opportunities for the participant(s) to re-engage in appropriate WorkFirst activities and address any barriers to participation. For best results, staff should intervene early and take any opportunity to contact the participants who are in non-compliance with their WorkFirst requirements.

    3.6.1.2 What are sanctions?

    A sanction is a penalty that reduces or terminates a family's  TANF cash assistance. We impose a sanction penalty when a participant is able, but refuses without good cause to:

    • Provide information needed to develop the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP), including completing any required Comprehensive Evaluation(s),
    • Show up for scheduled appointments with the people who provide WorkFirst services and follow participation and attendance rules,
    • Sign the IRP,
    • Participant in IRP activities, or
    • Accept a job (that meets the criteria in WAC 388-310-1500).

    If we discover a participant is unable to participate in the activities in the IRP, we may:

    • Revise the IRP to an appropriate activity;
    • Defer; or
    • Exempt the person from participation.

    There are two types of sanction penalties:

    • Sanction reduction penalty: we reduce the family’s TANF cash assistance by the participant’s share, or 40%, whichever is more, when the participant doesn’t have good cause and attends their NCS case staffing or home visit.
    • Sanction case closure penalty: We terminate TANF cash assistance when the participant doesn’t have good cause and fails to attend their NCS case staffing and home visit.

    3.6.1.3 How long do sanction reductions last?

    Months of sanction count because participants who stay in sanction for two months in a row without good cause may lose their cash assistance.

    If a sanctioned participant exits TANF for a reason other than NCS termination, and then reapplies for TANF, the sanction count will resume:

    • In month one of sanction if TANF closed after sanction was approved but before the month benefits were scheduled to be reduced,
    • In month two of sanction if TANF closed while the participant was receiving a reduced grant due to sanction.

    For example, a participant's sanction was approved on 8/15/16, the sanctioned grant scheduled for 9/1/2016. This participant's TANF terminated 8/31/16 for no Eligibility Review (ER). If the participant reapplies for TANF, they will return in month one of sanction. If this same participant closed 9/30/16 for no ER after receiving a sanctioned grant, they would return in month two of sanction.

    3.6.1.4 When do I send a good cause appointment/NCS case staffing letter?

    When a participant isn't participating as required, the WFPS/WFSS will receive an immediate notification from the service provider. When this occurs, the WFPS/WFSSS does a Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) staffing with the provider, and if the provider refers the participant back to the CSO, determines whether or not they had a good reason for not participating. (See 3.9.1.5 How do we treat excused and unexcused absences step-by-step.)

    WAC 388-310-1600(2) states participant have 10 days to contact us when they don’t meet WorkFirst requirements so they can talk to us about the situation. Participants can contact us in writing, by phone, by going to the appointment described in their good cause letter, or by asking for a different appointment time. It also states we must always send a good cause letter and give the participant 10 calendar days to provide information about why there may "good cause" for not complying. This ensures:

    • We meet policy and legal requirements,
    • We involve more than one person in making the sanction decision, and
    • The participant has an opportunity to bring someone with them to their good cause/NCS case staffing appointment.

    WFPS/WFSSS must follow all of the steps of the good cause process, even if you are able to reach the participant by phone to discuss the situation. You need to complete a thorough review of the case and document that you conducted the review and that the participant had the opportunity to explain the non-participation.

    If a participant calls or comes in prior to the scheduled good cause appointment and wants to participate – you have two choices:

    • Cancel the good cause appointment, complete a new IRP and pursue sanction if they fail to comply with the new IRP; or
    • Conduct a good cause determination right then (if they waive their 10-day notice) following established guidelines, sanction as appropriate, and use the new IRP as the start of the participant’s cure.

    If the parent doesn't wish to waive their 10-day notice, attempt to re-engage them at the scheduled good cause/NCS case staffing.

    If you give a participant less than 10 calendar days to establish good cause or make the good cause determination over the phone without sending a letter, the case isn't procedurally correct and the sanction is invalid.

    3.6.1.5 What is the good cause 10-day period?

    In counting the 10 days, day 1 begins when we mail or give the "good cause" letter to the participant. This is the same as how we count the 10-day period for adverse action notices. Allow for an additional business day when the letter isn’t mailed out the same day that it generates (either locally or centrally printed in Olympia). If the 10th day falls on a weekend or holiday, the participant has until the following business day to provide the information requested.

    Document in eJAS how you sent the letter to the participant (in-person delivery, locally mailed, or centrally printed/mailed).

    The following scenarios are examples of how to count the 10-day good cause period. All scenarios assume that today's date is 8/4/2010:

    Day 1 is 8/4/10 and Day 10 is 8/13/10

    • You locally print and hand the good cause letter to the participant in the office. The date on the letter is 8/4/10. Document in eJAS that you handed the participant the letter on 8/4/10.

    • You locally print and place the good cause letter in outgoing CSO mail before the afternoon local mail cutoff. The date on the letter is 8/4/10. Document in eJAS that you locally mailed the letter on 8/4/10 before the afternoon cutoff.

    Day 1 is 8/4/10 and Day 10 is 8/16/10

    • You locally print and place the good cause letter in outgoing CSO mail after the afternoon local mail cutoff. The letter will go out the next business day. The date on the letter is 8/4/10. Since 8/14/10 falls on a weekend, the participant has until the end of the next business day (8/16/10) to provide good cause.

    • You choose central print to mail the good cause letter to the participant. The letter will go out the next business day. The date on the letter is 8/4/10. Since 8/14/10 falls on a weekend, the participant has until the end of the next business day (8/16/10) to provide good cause.

    3.6.1.6 How do I set up the good cause/NCS case staffing?

    The first step is to set up a good cause appointment/NCS case staffing with the participant to find out if there is a good reason for not participating. Mail a good cause (WorkFirst Non-Participation 085-01) appointment letter to the participant, with the appointment date as close to the 10th day as possible while allowing for 10-day notice. Also schedule the participant’s home visit (or alternative meeting) in case the participant doesn’t attend the scheduled non-compliance case staffing in the space provided in this letter.

    Arrange for the good cause/NCS case staffing in compliance with any limited-English proficiency (LEP) and Equal Access (EA) plans to communicate effectively with the non-participating parent/caregiver.

    Conduct an NCS case staffing during the good cause appointment to decide whether to initiate a sanction for refusal to participate without good cause. Follow the procedures in section 3.5 Case Staffing to set up the staffing. Document any information the participant provides about the non-participation (phone calls or documents) before the case staffing occurs.

    Include the following people in the case staffing:

    • The non-participating parent/caregiver (if they show up for the good cause appointment).

    • Anyone the non-participating parent/caregiver brings with them.

    • Two other relevant professionals, such as a Social Service Specialist or applicable persons from other agencies involved with the participant, which may include tribal representatives, WorkFirst partners, family violence advocates, or LEP pathway providers.

    • Children's Administration (CA) staff if they currently work/recently worked with the family. Incorporate supported activities CA may require the families to do like counseling or treatment into the IRP. CA staff can help re-engage the participant into moving towards a more positive direction. Document that you checked to see whether there was CA involvement and if so, they received an invitation.

    Make sure that a minimum of two professionals attend the case staffing. Remember that the assigned worker (WFPS or WFSSS) counts as one professional. In no case can a case manager be the only one making a decision to sanction.

    3.6.1.7 How do I set up the home visit (or alternative meeting)?

    The WFPS or WFSSS:

    • Schedules the home visit (or alternative meeting) for a time no more than seven days after the noncompliance case staffing, but may be the same day.
    • Schedules the two meetings at least one day apart if it is an alternative meeting instead of a home visit, and both meetings are at the CSO.
    • Notifies the participant of the date, time and location of the home visit (or alternative meeting) in the good cause (WorkFirst Non-Participation 085-01) appointment letter discussed in 3.6.1.6.
    • Explains in the 085-01 that the WFPS or WFSSS shows for a home visit (or alternative meeting) if the participant doesn't attend the noncompliance case staffing. 
    Note:  Please see 6.5.12 for more information about what to include in letters to a participant in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).

    The address for the home visit is the participant's residential address. In some circumstances, an alternate location (and an alternative meeting) may be advisable.  If homelessness or safety for the family or the case manager prevents the completion of a home visit, the WFPS/WFSSS may complete the alternative location meeting at the CSO or at an alternate location. The WFPS/WFSSS must clearly document the reason for using an alternative location meeting in eJAS sanction case notes. Make sure any meeting at an alternative location is easily accessible for the participant.  It should be as close to the participant's home as possible. Only use the CSO when it is the best or only option for the participant.

    3.6.1.8 What if the post office returns the participant’s mail?

    Returned mail may prevent us from putting participants into sanction status. For example, if a participant’s mailed IRP returns, they have good cause for failure to participate because they didn't know the requirement. We also can't place a participant into sanction if the postal service returns their good cause interview appointment letter because they have a right to attend those case staffings.

    However, once we make the sanction decision, per WAC 388-458-0025 and 388-310-1600(4), we are only obligated to send out a 10-day change in benefits letter. There are no provisions to lift sanction/reinstate full benefits if the post office returns the change in benefits letter.

    In these cases, the grant will likely close for loss of contact. If the participant reapplies, staff should reissue the adverse action notice and open the case in sanction.

    3.6.1.9 What happens at the good cause/NCS case staffing?

    There are two stages at the NCS case staffing. First, determine if the participant has good cause for failure to meet WorkFirst requirements. Second, if you determine the participant doesn’t have good cause, use the eJAS Non-Compliance Case Staffing & Review Criteria tool to determine the next appropriate step for them.

    As you conduct the case staffing, comply with any LEP and EA plans so you can communicate as effectively as possible with the non-participating parent/caregiver. Use the case staffing guidelines established under 3.5.1 What is a Case Staffing?

    Once you have made the decision, document issues discussed and the results of the case staffing. Explain why the department determined good cause or decided to sanction, using the NCS Case Staffing Documentation Standard. You must also send the participant a case staffing results letter.

    3.6.1.10 How do I decide if the participant has good cause?

    Our goal is to involve participants in WorkFirst activities to increase their family's ability to earn a living and provide support for their children, not to place them in sanction status. It is very important to determine and document whether a participant is refusing, or unable to comply. If a participant is unable to comply and tells us why, then we can work more effectively with them and their family.

    We need to be particularly careful not to place participants in sanction status who don't comply because they don't have affordable or appropriate child care, and don't know what help is available. There is a special brochure (WorkFirst Opportunities Brochure DSHS 22-1125) that you can use to give basic Child Care information to all persons who face sanction.

    Anyone who isn't fully participating as required has good cause if there are significant barriers outside of their control that prevent full participation. Some problems to review with every participant that may prevent compliance include having:

    • An unmet need for Equal Access services (EA).
    • Limited-English proficiency (LEP), not addressed through interpreters or translations that result in the participant not understanding WorkFirst requirements.
    • An emergent or severe medical condition (verified by health care professional) of the participant or a family member in the participant's care.
    • Mental health or chemical dependency issues.
    • Family violence.
    • Immediate legal concerns.

    Don't consider non-participation due to unexcused absences good cause unless there is a significant circumstance outside of the participant's control, such as but not limited to, family violence or hospitalization that made it impossible for the participant to call in to get the absence excused.

    If you don’t have enough information to make a good cause decision, give the non-participating parent/caregiver a written request for any needed additional proof. For example, if the participant reports a new barrier, it is critical to give/send them a letter requesting documentation or verification of the barrier. Don't send a recommendation to impose a sanction until you make a decision based on the verification provided.

    If we find the participant had good cause for failure to participate in their assigned activities, document the decision in eJAS sanction case notes using the NCS documentation standard. Determination of good cause requires a change in the IRP to reflect the appropriate activities and level of services the person needs to successfully participate in the program and may require:

    • A comprehensive evaluation;
    • Modified participation requirements and/or support services and a new IRP;
    • A deferral from a specific activity or an exemption.
    Note: PRISM is a useful tool to identify potential issues that prevent participation; however, use of PRISM to gather information for purposes of imposing sanctions for failure to follow through with requirements is prohibited.

    3.6.1.11 What if I determine the participant doesn't have good cause?

    If you determine the participant doesn't have good cause for failure to participate, complete the eJAS Non-Compliance Sanction Case Staffing & Review Criteria tool (NCS eJAS tool).

    The purpose of the NCS eJAS tool is to document that we followed the sanction process, gave the participant every opportunity to participate, and reviewed the case with others and agreed with the sanction decision. It also helps you determine the next appropriate step based on all available information. The participant could be placed in sanction reduction, sanction termination, or be re-engaged.

    In addition, if the participant attends their NCS case staffing, go over the following as you go through the NCS case staffing & review tool:

    • Discuss how participation will help them and their family.
    • Make sure the participant has an opportunity to participate, which may include:
      • Changing IRP requirements if different WorkFirst activities will help the participant move towards independence and employment sooner.
      • Providing support services the participant needs to participate.
    • Describe the sanction penalties, what happens if a participant stays in sanction and how to end the sanction.
    • Explain that continued refusal to participate without good cause, may result in a decision to close the cash grant once the participant has been in sanction status for two months in a row;
    • Explain that if a participant has three NCS case closures, they will permanently disqualify from receiving TANF/SFA, and that their entire family will be ineligible for TANF/SFA as long as the disqualified participant lives in the home;
    • Explore how the participant plans to care for and support their children (this is called the Child Safety Review) if their case closes, including local resources that may help meet their needs;
    • Explain to the non-participating parent/caregiver that they may be able to receive CEAP if the supervisor or designee approves their case for closure (see Section 3.6.3.2)
    • Document issues discussed and the results of the case staffing in the NCS eJAS tool, using the NCS Case Staffing Documentation Standard.

    3.6.1.12 What if the participant fails to attend the good cause appointment/NCS case staffing?

    If the participant fails to attend the good cause appointment/NCS case staffing:

    • Determine whether the participant was able to participate (in the required activities as outlined in the IRP) during the sanction case staffing based on whatever information is available (such as case notes, information from other professionals and medical records).
    • Document issues discussed and the results of the case staffing in the NCS eJAS tool, using the NCS Case Staffing Documentation Standard
    • Use the Case Staffing Result Letter to document that they waived the opportunity to attend and to describe the outcome of the staffing.
    • If the case staffing results in a finding of no good cause, attempt to contact the participant via the scheduled home visit or alternative meeting .
    • Mail the participant information about resources the family may need if their TANF grant is closed.. This qualifies as the Child Safety Review if the person does not show up for their NCS case staffing.

    3.6.1.13 What is the NCS case staffing documentation standard?

    In addition to any eJAS Case Staffing documentation, the WFPS/WFSSS who conducted the staffing must document the following:

    • That you reviewed and discussed all available information, including strengths and barriers, with one or more professionals.
    • An explanation of the decision whether or not to pursue sanction.
    • That you provided a sanctioned participant information about resources they may need if their case closes.

    3.6.1.14 What do I do after the NCS case staffing?

    After the NCS case staffing, send the case staffing result letter explaining:

    • What the participant failed to originally do.
    • The results of the NCS case staffing.
    • Recommendations to impose sanction as appropriate.
    • The date and time of the scheduled home visit/alternative meeting (if the participant didn't attend the staffing and good cause wasn't found).

    If the participant attended the staffing, and good cause wasn't found, the  WFPS/WFSSS sends a sanction/sanction penalty recommendation to the supervisor or designee for approval. If the supervisor approves sanction/sanction penalty, the WFPS/WFSSS applies the reduced grant sanction and sends an adverse action notice.

    If the participant didn't attend the staffing, the WFPS/WFSSS will attempt to contact them at the previously scheduled home visit (or alternative meeting). If the participant contacts you before the home visit occurs, you may treat this as an alternative meeting and complete the home visit in the office or over the phone.  Document when and where the meeting occurred in the NCS tool.

    3.6.1.15 What happens at the home visit (or alternative meeting)?

    The WFPS/WFSSS attempts to contact the participant at the date, time and address specified on the 085-01 for the home visit (or alternative meeting).

    If contact is made with the participant at the home visit (or alternative meeting), the WFPS/WFSSS explains to them that good cause wasn't found at the noncompliance case staffing and that they will be referred for a reduced grant sanction unless it is determined that they have good cause.

    If the participant is willing to discuss the case, the WFPS/WFSSS uses the NCS Home Visit Summary form to take the actions below.  If the participant doesn't have good cause, when the WFPS/WFSSS returns to the office, they enter this information into eJAS and send the NCS Home Visit Summary to DMS stamped “completed”.

    Note: Be sure to document any reason for delay.
    • Review the good cause decision with the participant.
    • Discuss how participation will help their family.
    • Make sure the participant has an opportunity to participate, which may include:
      • Changing IRP requirements if different WorkFirst activities will help the participant move towards independence and employment sooner.
      • Providing support services the participant needs to participate.
    • Describe the sanction penalties; what happens if a participant stays in sanction and how to end the sanction.
    • Explain that continued refusal to participate without good cause, may result in a decision to close the TANF cash grant once the participant has been in sanction status for two months in a row;
    • Explain that if a participant has three NCS case closures, they will be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA, and that their entire family will be ineligible for TANF/SFA as long as the disqualified participant lives in the home;
    • Explore how the participant plans to care for and support their children (this is called the Child Safety Review) if their case is closed, including local resources that may help meet their needs;
    • Explain to the sanctioned participant that they may be able to receive CEAP if the supervisor or designee approves their case for closure (see Section 3.6.3.2);
    • Offer to start the sanction cure if the participant has decided to reengage in WorkFirst activities by completing the sanction reengagement portion of the CE and the IRP.  Staff can use the NCS Home Visit Summary form to document client CE responses and the IRP activities if they don’t have access to eJAS during the home visit, and then document the results in eJAS and mail the IRP to the client when they return to the office.  
    • Schedule an in-person CE at the CSO if the participant chooses to engage and needs a new CE.

    If contact is made with the participant at the home visit (or alternative meeting), and there is no reason to change the good cause decision, the WFPS/WFSSS recommends sanction reduction and termination after two months of sanction. If the supervisor/designee approves the sanction and subsequent termination, the WFPS/WFSSS applies the reduced grant sanction and sends an adverse action notice.

    The WFPS/WFSSS closes out the NCS eJAS tool, updates the IRP and re-engages the parent in appropriate WorkFirst activities if they determine good cause at the home visit (or alternative meeting).

    3.6.1.16  What if no contact is made with the participant at the home visit (or alternative location meeting)?

    The WFPS/WFSSS documents in the NCS eJAS tool the reason that contact wasn't possible and sends any sanction penalty recommendation to the supervisor or designee for approval. The WFPS/WFSSS applies the sanction case closure penalty (without a reduced grant period) and sends an adverse action termination notice when the supervisor/designee approves the sanction penalty.

    The WFPS/WFSSS:

    • Documents the reason under #15 in the Sanction Review tool if you reschedule the home visit/alternative meeting.
    • Documents under the appropriate confidential note if you reschedule the home visit due to an unsafe location.
    • Sends an 85-01 with the new home visit date/time and location (if applicable), allowing adequate mailing time.
    Note: Contact, defined as a conversation about the sanction/termination between the sanctioned participant and a WFPS/WFSSS, either in person or by phone, must be made before reinstating TANF/SFA. A voicemail, receipt of an application, or some other message doesn't qualify as contact. Contact with anyone other than WF staff won't qualify for the purpose of reinstatement.   

    A WFPS/WFSSS takes the following steps if contact happens after completing an approval of sanction case closure penalty and sending the notice of proposed termination, but prior to the effective date of termination:

    1. Remove the NCS termination so it won't count as one of the three NCS case closures that leads to permanent disqualification;

    2. Determine whether to open the TANF grant effective the beginning of the month using the reinstate function, without requiring participation for the 4 week cure period.You won’t reinstate the case when the participant received 10-day notice of case closure for sanction and for another reason, unless they resolve the other reason for case closure prior to termination, and;

    3. Determine whether to code the sanction grant reduction penalty so the month after the proposed termination will be month one of a two-month reduced grant sanction.You won’t code a sanction grant reduction penalty when the participant is unable to participate.

    4. The WFPS/WFSSS must offer the participant an opportunity to reengage in WorkFirst, just as would have been done had they been available at the home visit.

    Example:
    Amber didn't attend her NCS staffing March 19 and wasn't available for her home visit March 22.  Sanction was approved, and her TANF termination would be effective April 30.
    On March 31, a WFPS returns a call and speaks with Amber. No evidence is provided that would reverse the good cause decision made at the staffing and Amber is currently able to participate. 

    The WFPS:

    • Reinstates TANF as of May 1,

    • Removes the NCS termination,

    • Codes the sanction reduction penalty. May will be month one of a two-month reduced grant sanction, and

    • Offers Amber an opportunity to reengage in WorkFirst and start her sanction cure.

    If the participant is willing to engage in WorkFirst, complete a reengagement interview including the REIN tool and Part Four of the CE.   Note: The original NCS tool would have been completed when the proposed termination notice was sent.

    If the participant is not willing to engage in WorkFirst, track the sanction in the CLMR by completing the first two questions in the REIN tool, using the date of the reinstatement letter in the field for the approval letter date.


     

    3.6.1.17 What if the supervisor disagrees with the recommendation for sanction/sanction penalty?

    When a participant is referred for sanction, the supervisor/designee will review the NCS eJAS tool to determine whether the sanction policy and process was correctly followed.
    The supervisor/designee may deny the sanction/sanction penalty recommendation due to:

    • Inadequate or untimely notice for the good cause/NCS case staffing appointment
    • Case staffing done incorrectly (such as one participant did the staffing and made the decision)
    • CA involvement, but failed to invite CA
    • Failure to do a Child Safety Review (or send out material to no-shows)

    The supervisor/designee may also deny the sanction/sanction penalty recommendation when the participant:

    • Didn’t know what their IRP required
    • Was sanctioned for an activity not in their IRP
    • Had unaddressed barriers to participation
    • Reported a barrier and we failed to respond
    • Had good cause for failure to participate

    A denial will send the case back to the case manager to review and correct. The case manager can make necessary corrections and send the case back for a decision or close out the tool when the sanction or case staffing was invalid.

    3.6.1.18 When do I send an adverse action notice?

    The department cannot sanction participants until a 10 day notice of adverse action is sent to the client. The earliest date you can make the sanction decision and send out the adverse action notice depends on whether the parent contacts you within the 10-day good cause period. If the participant does not show up for his or her NCS case staffing, do not send the notice until after you have attempted the follow up home visit/alternative meeting.

    • Contact from participant within the 10 days good cause period: When participants contact us to tell us they will not participate or do not have a good cause anytime during the 10-day period, the notice of adverse action can be issued. The department does not have to wait until the 10th day to issue the adverse action notice. Document the contact and the participant's statements in eJAS.
    • Incomplete information from participant within the 10 days: When a participant provides some information but not everything needed to make a good cause determination, the department must inform the participant in writing what else is needed and allow a reasonable amount of additional time to respond. A reasonable amount of time is not necessarily 10 days. This second request does not make the first good cause letter invalid. Send an updated good cause letter with the date this information is due.
    • No contact within the 10-days: When a participant does not respond at all and does not attend the scheduled good cause meeting, the department must wait until the 10th day to send the adverse action notice. However, if the participant contacts you and establishes good cause by the end of the 10th day, you must rescind the adverse action letter.
    • Simultaneous notice of non-participation and intent to not participate: A participant may tell you that they do not intend to participate at the same time you find out that they have not been participating. When this occurs, hand the participant a good cause letter or mail the letter. See 3.6.1.4, When do I send a good cause appointment/NCS case staffing letter? for more information.
    • The adverse action letter addressed to head of household must specify the name of the participant in the household who is being placed in sanction.
      • This applies for both one and two parent households.

    WAC 388-310-1600(5) states once we decide that a participant did not have a good reason for failing to meet WorkFirst requirements, we must tell them what they failed to do. This must be added to the participant's adverse action notice. We must tell the participant how to cure their sanction.

    The participant needs to know what specific activity in the Individual Responsibility Plan they did not follow through with. This is particularly important when there is more than one activity. We must state who did not do the activity as there may be more than one mandatory participant in the family.

    To summarize, include the following information in the adverse action letter:

    • Who is being placed in sanction (specific participant)
    • What they failed to do (specific activity in IRP)
    • That the specific participant is in sanction status
    • The penalties that will be applied to the grant
    • When the penalties will be applied
    • Administrative hearing rights
    • How to end the penalties and get out of sanction status

    Please note that on the 08-01 Change in Benefits letter staff only need to enter the information corresponding to the first three bullets. The rest of the information is automatically printed on the letter. However, on the 06-02 Termination of TANF/SFA letter for those receiving the case closure sanction penalty, staff must enter the information corresponding to the first three bullets and also add the following text, including appropriate dates:

    • The penalty for this sanction is case closure because you did not attend your staffing appointment scheduled on ________ and you were not available for your home visit or alternative meeting scheduled on ________.
    • If your case is closed, you will need to reapply and may need to follow your IRP for 4 weeks in a row before you can receive a grant.
    • If your case is closed 3 or more times, you may be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA.

    If these points are not met in the notice of adverse action, then the requirements have not been met and the family cannot be placed in sanction status.

    3.6.1.19 eJAS/ACES codes

    When someone is sanctioned, use the following ACES and eJAS codes:

    • SA (eJAS code indicating the person is in sanction).
    • IC (eJAS code showing that a component has been closed incomplete)
    • RE (ACES WORK screen sanction code for households 60 months or less on WorkFirst cash assistance)
    • SN (eJAS sanction code for households 61 or more months on WorkFirst cash assistance)

    3.6.1.20 Sanctions - Step-by-step guide

    Note: The NCS process and automated supports track each specific incidence of non-participation. If you consider sanction again based on another incidence of non-participation, you must conduct new appointments and create a separate NCS eJAS tool.

    A. Setting up the good cause/NCS case staffing appointment

    The WFPS/WFSSS identifies participants who aren't complying with program requirements and sends the participant the WorkFirst Non-Participation Appointment letter (085-01) scheduling a good cause/NCS Case Staffing appointment within 10 calendar days to find out if there is good cause for noncompliance.

    • The WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Addresses the letter to the non-participating parent/caregiver.
    2. Specifies in the body of the letter who is in noncompliance.
    3. Adds the required text explaining what the participant failed to do. You can be vague such as "You didn't meet with your provider on [date] at the scheduled time [time]."
    4. Tells them they can choose to bring anyone they want to the appointment.
    5. Adds the following text to the letter regarding the case staffing and who has been invited to attend. “At this appointment, we will also be reviewing your participation in the WorkFirst program with other involved agency staff. I have invited (list agency staff) to this appointment.”
    6. Adds the date, time and location of the home visit (or alternative meeting) that will be attempted if the participant doesn't attend the good cause/NCS Case Staffing appointment.
    7. Closes affected component code(s) with IC and contractor code(s) with actual ending date.
    8. Enters PR component code in eJAS with a scheduled end date that coincides with the good cause appointment date, not to exceed 14 calendar days.
    9. Invites at least two other relevant professionals, such as a social service specialist or someone from another agency who is working with the participant, to the good cause/NCS case staffing appointment. A minimum of two professionals is required with the assigned worker (WFPS or WFSSS) counting as one professional.
    10. Documents that we determined whether Children’s Administration (CA) was involved with the family, and if so, that CA was invited to the good cause/NCS case staffing appointment.

    B. Conducting the good cause/NCS case staffing interview

    At the good cause/NCS case staffing appointment, with appropriate professionals, the WFPS/WFSSS:

    1. Determines whether good cause exists by:
      1. Reviewing available information and determining if activities were appropriate.
      2. Discussing program requirements with the participant and what they failed to do.
      3. Discussing strengths and barriers with the participant.
    2. If the participant doesn’t have good cause:
      1. Ensures the participant was given 10 days to contact the office and establish good cause.
      2. Explains why the department is recommending sanction.
      3. Explains that the participant can be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA once they have been closed for NCS three times, going back to March 1, 2007.
      4. Ensures the participant knows how many NCS closures they have had.
      5. Offers re-engagement.
      6. Completes or schedules the Sanction Reengagement CE interview and modifies the IRP, as required, based on the CE outcome, the participant agrees to participate
      7. Conducts a Child Safety review to help the participant plan for case closure, including:
        1. How the participant plans to support their family once they lose cash aid.
        2. Explaining the possible continuation of Washington Apple Health and Basic Food Assistance.
        3. Providing a list of community resources (like WIC) that are available to help meet the family’s need.
        4. Explaining that they may be able to apply for CEAP at reapplication if the case is closed for non-compliance sanction.
    3. If the participant doesn’t attend, bases the decision on all available information, such as case notes or medical records.
    4. Closes the PR component code.
    Note: PRISM is a useful tool to identify potential issues that prevent participation; however, use of PRISM to gather information for purposes of imposing sanctions for failure to follow through with requirements is prohibited.

    C. Processing good cause determinations

    1. When it is determined the participant has good cause, the WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. Enters the appropriate codes for the required activities.
      2. Adjusts the IRP.
      3. Makes appropriate referrals.
      4. Authorizes support services as needed.
      5. Documents the decision in eJAS sanction case notes using the NCS documentation standard.
    2. When it is determined the participant doesn’t have good cause, the WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. Completes the NCS eJAS tool questions 1 through 15, using the NCS documentation standard, and refers to the supervisor or designee for approval.
      2. Sends the case staffing results letter with required text from the Sanction Letters and Documentation Resource including:
        1. Who attended the good cause/NCS case staffing,
        2. What the participant failed to comply with originally,
        3. The results of the NCS staffing,
        4. A reminder of the scheduled home visit (or alternative meeting) if the participant didn't show up for the noncompliance case staffing, and
        5. Any recommendation to impose sanction.
      3. Mails a local resource list if the participant doesn't show up for the case staffing (which counts as a Child Safety Review).
      4. Completes question 15 on the NCS eJAS tool if the participant does show up for the noncompliance case staffing, and refers to the supervisor or designee for approval of a sanction/sanction penalty.
      5. Monitors the NCS Review Pathway report in the Caseload Management Report (CLMR) for supervisor/designee decision if a referral to supervisor was done.
      6. Enters PR component code in eJAS with a scheduled end date that coincides with the home visit/alternative meeting appointment date.

    D.   Conducting the home visit (or alternative meeting) 
    When the participant no shows for the noncompliance case staffing and no good cause was found, the WFPS/WFSSS will attempt to make contact with the participant at the date, time and address specified on the 085-01 for the home visit (or alternative meeting).

    1. If contact is made with the participant at the home visit (or alternative meeting), the WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. Reviews the good cause decision.
      2. Uses the NCS Home Visit Summary form to cover the other topics required during good cause case staffings and offer to start a sanction cure. You can access this form on the CSD WF SharePoint Sanction Documents page. Document this discussion and send a copy of the completed form to be scanned into the client’s Electronic Case Record (ECR) in Barcode as ‘completed’ after transferring the information to eJAS and sending the client the new IRP (if a new plan was agreed upon).
      3. Completes questions 15 and 16 on the NCS eJAS tool, and refer to the supervisor or designee for sanction/sanction penalty approval.
      4. Monitors the NCS Review Pathway report in the Caseload Management Report (CLMR) for supervisor/designee decision.
    2. If contact isn't made with the participant, the WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. Documents why contact wasn't possible in the NCS eJAS tool.
      2. Completes question 15 and 16 on the NCS eJAS tool, and refer to the supervisor or designee for sanction/sanction penalty approval. If approved, the case will close without a grant reduction.

    E. Processing Sanction Decisions

    1. The CSO Supervisor/designee routinely monitors the Clients Awaiting Sanction/Term Approval report in eJAS for participants newly referred for sanction. When a participant is referred for sanction, the supervisor/designee:
      1. Reviews the NCS eJAS tool questions 1 through 15 (and 16 on home visit cases) to ensure:
        1. Policy was followed.
        2. Entries are accurate.
        3. Documentation is complete.
        4. There is no issue with returned mail, such as the IRP, eJAS appointment letters, or the good cause appointment letter (85-01).
      2. Completes question 16 (or 17 for home visit cases) of the NCS eJAS tool to document the sanction/sanction penalty decision.
        1. A denial returns the document (monitored through the NCS Review Pathway report) to the WFPS/WFSSS for further action. The WFPS/WFSSS can either modify the NCS Review Criteria and resend it to the supervisor/designee for review, or complete the review by clicking the ‘Complete’ button.
        2. An approval approves sanction and the penalty.
        3. Entry of brief additional comments is optional.
    2. The WFPS/WFSSS can monitor the decision of the supervisor/designee on the NCS Review Pathway report. Once a decision has been made, the WFPS/WFSSS:
      1. If the case is returned for rework, make the necessary corrections and resubmit to the supervisor/designee.
      2. If the sanction/sanction penalty is denied:
        1. Completes the NCS eJAS tool, and
        2. Schedules/contacts the participant for IRP development.
      3. If the sanction/sanction penalty is approved:
        1. Processes the sanction in ACES and eJAS,
        2. Actively attempts monthly follow-up and re-engagement contacts with the sanctioned person until their case is closed, to discuss the benefits of participation and explain how to cure sanction.

    F. ACES/3G Processing for Approved Sanctions

    1. If the supervisor or designee approves the sanction reduction penalty, the WFPS:
      1. Changes the Participation Status on the sanctioned individuals Work Registration screen to Refused – Mandatory Participant (RE). The effective date will auto populate to the first of the following month, allowing for advance notice.
      2. Sends the adverse action notice, Change in Benefits (08-01) allowing for 10 day advanced notice and adding required text:
        1. Who is being placed in sanction (specific participant).
        2. What they failed to do (specific activity in IRP unless the activity is confidential).
        3. That the specific participant is in sanction status.
        4. The penalties that will be applied to the grant.
        5. When the penalties will be applied.
        6. Administrative hearing rights.
        7. How to end the penalties and get out of sanction status.

    Note: Staff only need to enter the information corresponding to the 1-3. The rest of the information is automatically printed on the letter.

    1. If the supervisor or designee approves the sanction case closure penalty, the WFPS:
      1. Leaves the Mandatory Participant (MP) code on the sanctioned individual's Work Registration screen;
      2. Checks the box on the Work Registration screen for "Closed while in Non-Compliance Sanction", and;
      3. Sends the adverse action notice, Termination of TANF/SFA (06-02) allowing for 10 day advanced notice and adding the required text:
        1. Who is being placed in sanction (specific participant),
        2. What they failed to do (specific activity in IRP unless the activity is confidential),
        3. That the specific participant is in sanction status, and 
        4. Add the following text including appropriate dates;
          • The penalty for this sanction is case closure because you didn't attend your staffing appointment scheduled on ________ and you weren't available for your home visit or alternative meeting scheduled on ________.
          • If your case is closed, you will need to reapply and may need to follow your IRP for 4 weeks in a row before you can receive a grant.
          • If your case is closed 3 or more times, you may be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA.

    Note: Administrative hearing rights are automatically printed on the letter.

    G.   eJAS Processing for Approved Sanction/Sanction Penalties

    The WFPS/WFSSS:

    1. Denies any support services being received until the participant starts curing the sanction.
    2. Depending on how long the participant has been on WorkFirst cash assistance, enter the SA or SN component through the end of month 1 of the sanction reduction penalty or through the end of the month after the paid through date of the sanction case closure penalty and update the codes in monthly increments for the sanction reduction penalty.
    3. Completes NCS eJAS tool question about the adverse action letter:
      1. Enters the Change in Benefits letter (08-01) or the Termination of TANF/SFA letter (06-02) date.
      2. Enters the sanction effective date.
      3. Selects one sanction reason.

    Resources

    Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

    Forms & Other Resources

    3.6.2 Ending Sanction

    Non-Compliance Sanction Policy

    Legal References:

    The Non-Compliance Sanction Policy section is divided in three separate sub-sections:

    • Section 3.6.1 Entering Sanction describes how to make the sanction decision.
    • Section 3.6.2 -Ending Sanction describes what happens after a person is sanctioned and if they decide to stay in sanction for two months. This section includes:
      • 3.6.2.1 What happens after a case is placed in sanction?
      • 3.6.2.2 What are the CE & IRP requirements for sanctioned persons?
      • 3.6.2.3 How does a person cure a sanction?
      • 3.6.2.4 How might changes in circumstances change a person's grant, IRP or cure requirements
      • 3.6.2.5 When do I withdraw cases referred for NCS case closure?
      • 3.6.2.6 What if a supervisor approves a case for sanction/sanction penalty and it is time to close the case?
      • 3.6.2.7 What if the sanction lasts longer than two months?
      • 3.6.2.8 How do I resolve procedural issues & reapply sanction penalties?
      • 3.6.2.9 What happens when a person is closed for NCS for the third time?
      • 3.6.2.10 Ending Sanction - Step-by-Step Guide
    • Section 3.6.3NCS Reapplications describes how to process reapplications from non-compliance sanction case closures..
    • Section 3.6.4 – Permanent TANF Disqualification describes why and how a person can be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA. 

    3.6.2 Ending Sanction

    3.6.2.1 What happens after a case is placed in sanction?

    The non-compliance sanction policy is designed to provide numerous opportunities for the parent(s) to re-engage in appropriate WorkFirst activities and address any barriers to participation. For best results, staff should intervene early and take any opportunity to contact the people who are in non-compliance with their WorkFirst requirements. Once the sanction/sanction penalty decision is approved, continue to attempt to work with the person to cure their sanction.

    Continue to attempt reengagement each month until the sanction is waived, cured or the case closes.

    The NCS Review Pathway (2-Month) report on the Caseload Management Report will display the date in the Reengage Contact column whenever a “Reengagement” note type is entered into eJAS.  This note type is entered when;

    • an NCS Reengagement Contact Letter is printed from eJAS, or when;
    • the WFPS/WFSSS makes other reengagement contact and selects the “Reengagement” note type to post a note.

    The information in this section should only be followed after a case has been placed in sanction status following the procedures in section 3.6.1-Entering Sanction.If the supervisor or designee approves sanction/sanction penalty, we will close the case after:

    • the person has been in sanction for  2 months in a row; or
    • We give the individual10-day notice to close the case because they did not attend either their non-compliance case staffing or their home visit/alternative meeting.

    3.6.2.2 What are the CE & IRP requirements for sanctioned persons?

    Every sanctioned person must complete the Sanction Re-engagement portion of the CE to start a sanction cure after entering sanction status. The Sanction Re-engagement portion of the CE ensures the sanctioned person and their families are in the most appropriate activities to meet their needs and to help them move out of sanction.

    The Sanction Re-engagement CE is a series of six questions to discuss how the person will successfully cure their sanction.  It also screens for changes that may affect the person’s ability to participate.

    CE process:

    • Schedule (via an appointment letter) a Sanction Re-Engagement CE for the sanctioned person.
    • Complete the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview,
    • Develop an Individual Responsibility Plan.

    The person does not require a special "sanction IRP" just because they have entered sanction. Everyone participating in the WorkFirst program is required to have a current IRP based upon his or her activities. If someone agrees to a sanction cure plan, the IRP should reflect the activities not done without good cause. The person must complete a CE and comply with their existing IRP requirements to cure the sanction.

    When the person agrees to cure the sanction, update the IRP with current dates and any new activities needed to meet any new circumstances, including any activities recommended by the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview.

    3.6.2.3 How does a person cure a sanction?

    Once the sanction decision has been approved, a person must start and continue to do the required WorkFirst activities to cure the sanction. This holds true even if the person was originally sanctioned for failure to provide information or for refusing to accept a job. An individual must do what is in her or his IRP when the sanction decision was made, unless circumstances change and the IRP is modified (including any changes made as a result of the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview).

    The length of time required to end a sanction is referred to as the "cure period". The cure period starts on the day the person completes their Sanction Re-engagement CE interview and agrees to their IRP activities. To cure the sanction, the sanctioned individual must participate for 4 weeks (28 days) in a row. After four weeks of satisfactory participation, the sanction is removed effective the first of the following month. This same process is used for each subsequent sanction.

    3.6.2.4 How might changes in circumstances change a person’s grant, IRP or cure requirements?

    If circumstances change, a person's grant, IRP and/or cure requirements may change.

    • Grant:
      • If a sanctioned case is found where the required steps to impose a sanction were not taken, done incorrectly or, the department knew about a barrier to participation and did not respond, then the sanction on the case must be removed back to the original date it was imposed. A supplement must be issued following the established procedures in the EAZ manual under "Benefit Errors -F ." Cash and Food Assistance Underpayments ". Follow the instructions in 3.6.1.14 to resolve the procedural error and re-apply the sanction penalty.
      • If a person reports a change of circumstance which prevents the person from participating and had not been previously reported, then, once verified, the sanction on the case must be removed the first of the following month after the change of circumstances was reported.
    • IRP: 
      Create a new IRP if:
      • We did not respond to a barrier we knew about,
      • The person discloses a barrier after the fact,
      • The person agrees to new activities based on her or his Sanction Re-engagement CE interview, or
      • The person's situation changes so he or she can no longer meet prior IRP requirements.
    • Four-week cure requirement:
    Anyone able to participate (with a new IRP and participation requirements appropriate to their new circumstances) must comply for four weeks before they get a full grant.  However, if they are only able to participate in family violence related activities, the cure requirement should be waived.  Once they comply or the cure requirement is waived:
    • Remove the sanction penalty the first of the following month.
    • The person starts over with a clean slate (zero months in sanction).

    Waive a person's four-week cure requirement only when:

    • They enter the third trimester of pregnancy if they have completed a Pregnancy to Employment assessment and are not required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment.
    • Family, personal, or health issue is now severe enough that they cannot participate.
    • Family violence is directly or significantly contributing to their inability to participate – see examples of family violence situations in 6.5.18.

    Examples: A woman is sanctioned for refusing to do job search. Below are three different circumstances with the appropriate response for each.

    • #1: She now discloses chemical dependency issues but her chemical dependency treatment provider indicates she is able to participate in other WorkFirst activities. She must participate in activities for four weeks to get a full cash grant (in her case, go through a Sanction Re-engagement CE interview, followed by a mix of training, job search and chemical dependency treatment).
    • #2: After she entered sanction, she was in a car accident and hospitalized. This woman will be working with a social service specialist (who verifies her circumstances) after the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview is completed and we waive her four-week cure requirement and remove the sanction penalty the first of the following month.
    • #3: The woman is now entering her 3rd trimester of pregnancy. We do not require participation during the 3rd trimester, as long as the Pregnancy to Employment assessment has been completed and there are no mandatory requirements.  Waive the four-week cure requirement and remove the sanction penalty the first of the following month.

    3.6.2.5 When do I withdraw cases referred for NCS sanction/sanction penalties?

    You can withdraw a case that has already been referred to the supervisor/designee for sanction/sanction penalties only on a limited exception basis. The table below outlines what constitutes an appropriate reason for withdrawal:

    What if circumstances change after I refer a case for NCS sanction and sanction penalties?

    Cases that may be removed

    Cases that cannot be removed

    Parent cured the sanction 
    Sanction lifted (e.g., unaddressed barriers discovered; parent now exempt from WorkFirst activities) 

    Closed cases

    3.6.2.6 What if a supervisor approves a case for sanction/sanction penalty and it is time to close the case?

    The WFPS or Financial Services Specialist closes the WorkFirst cash assistance by:

    • Entering a "Y" in the "Close AU Due to NCS" field on the WORK screen in ACES or checking the “Closed while in Non-Compliance Sanction” box on the Work Registration/Participation – Cash screen in 3G. . The case will close for reason code 252.
    • Sending an adverse action notice following the adverse action rules in the EAZ Manual and adding the following information:
      • Who is receiving a Non Compliance Sanction termination (specific person)
      • What the person failed to do to justify the sanction status.

    In addition, this text should be added to the 06-02 Termination of TANF/SFA letter:

    • If your case is closed, you will need to reapply and may need to follow your IRP for 4 weeks in a row before you can receive a grant.
    • If your case is closed 3 or more times, you may be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA.

    For case closure sanction penalties only, also add the following text including appropriate dates:

    • The penalty for this sanction is case closure because you did not attend your staffing appointment scheduled on _________ and you were not available for your home visit or alternative meeting scheduled on ___________.

    When this is done, staff should complete the question, “Was an adverse action letter sent to the parent 10 days prior to the NCS termination effective date?” on the eJAS NCS tool.

    Staff must also make sure that the family receives other types of public assistance benefits they may qualify for, like Basic Food or Washington Apple Health. Encourage persons who file an administrative hearing and request continued benefits to re-apply and meet participation requirements in case they lose the hearing.

    3.6.2.7 What if a sanction lasts longer than two months?

    If a sanction goes beyond  2 months, input the appropriate "delay reason" code on the ACES WORK screen.

    • FH is used when a case closure is delayed by an administrative hearing request.

    3.6.2.8 How do I resolve procedural issues & reapply sanction penalties?

    This process is used when a case was sanctioned in error.

    • End the sanction: For invalid sanction/case staffing, send a change letter to end the sanction. If only the good cause/NCS case staffing is invalid, explain that we are reinstating full benefits until we resolve a procedural error.
    • Restore lost benefits: Remove the sanction on the case back to the original date it was imposed. Issue a supplement following the established procedures in the EAZ manual under "Benefit Errors -F. Cash and Food Assistance Underpayments ".
    • Reinstate sanction: If you must reinstate the sanction because the good cause/NCS case staffing was invalid send out a new good cause appointment letter, describing what the parent did not originally do. Follow the regular sanction process from this point forward to do a good cause/NCS case staffing, complete the sanction review checklist and make the sanction decision. If the sanction is found appropriate, send a new adverse action notice (describing what the parent did not originally do) and impose a new sanction. The parent will start over in month 1 of the new sanction.
    • Insufficient information in the adverse action notice: If we did not state who did not comply and/or adequately describe what was not done, you will not need to make a new sanction decision. Lift the sanction and restore lost benefits. Send out a new adverse action letter naming who and/or describing what the parent originally did not do and impose a new sanction with advance and adequate notice. The parent will start over in month 1 of the new sanction.
    • Curing requirements: Allow parents who have already begun to cure their sanction to continue their cure by doing their required activities. If the parent has not started to cure and wishes to re-engage, do a new CE and IRP based on current circumstances. Lift the new sanction after the parent participates for four consecutive weeks. See section 3.6.2.4 for a description of when you can waive a person's four-week cure requirement

    3.6.2.9 What happens when a person is closed for NCS for the third time?

    When a person’s case closes that has been terminated for NCS three times, that person is permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA benefits. In addition, the disqualified person’s household is ineligible to receive TANF/SFA benefits while the person lives in the home. For more information about permanent TANF disqualification, please refer to section 3.6.4 – Permanent TANF Disqualification.

    See section 3.6.3.2 for instructions on removing the permanent disqualification when you reinstate a sanction case closure penalty case.

    3.6.2.10 Ending Sanction - Step-by-Step Guide

    Note: The NCS process and automated supports track each specific incidence of non-participation. If you consider sanction again based on another incidence of non-participation, you must conduct new appointments and create a separate NCS eJAS tool.

    • Curing Sanction

    When a sanctioned person agrees to participate to cure the sanction:

    1. Complete the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview.
    2. Open the appropriate components(s) in eJAS (but keep the SA or SN code in place).
    3. Authorize any needed support services and update the IRP.
    4. After 4 weeks of satisfactory participation is verified:
      1. Change the Participation Status from Refused – Mandatory Participant (RE) to Mandatory Participant (MP) on the Work Registration screen and enter the sanction cure date in the ‘ Re-qualifying Date’ field.
      2. Remove the SA or SN code from eJAS by entering the CS closing code.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      3.6.3 Non-Compliance Sanction Re-applications

      Created on: 
      Aug 15 2017

      Tools

      Revised 8/15/17

      Legal References:

      The Non-Compliance Sanction Policy section is divided in three separate sub-sections:

      • Section 3.6.1 - Entering Sanction describes how to make the sanction decision.
      • Section 3.6.2 - Entering Sanction describes what happens if a participant decides to stay in sanction for more than three months. This section includes:
      • Section 3.6.3 - NCS Reapplications describes how to process reapplications from non-compliance sanction case closures. This section includes:
        • 3.6.3.1 Can a participant reapply for TANF cash assistance after non-compliance sanction case closure?
        • 3.6.3.2 What is a WorkFirst Sanction Reopen (WFSR) case?
        • 3.6.3.3 Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP) for non-compliance case closures for non-compliance sanction.
        • 3.6.3.4 What if a participant reapplies before their case is closed?
        • 3.6.3.5 How do I decide and track an applicant's participation requirements?
        • 3.6.3.6 What if the participant stops participating?
        • 3.6.3.7 How is the application approved?
        • 3.6.3.8 What if a participant is reopened and they stops participating again?
        • 3.6.3.9 NCS reapplication - step-by-step guide
      • Section 3.6.4Permanent TANF Disqualification describes why and how a participant can be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA.

      3.6.3 Non-Compliance Sanction Reapplications

      3.6.3.1 Can a participant reapply for TANF cash assistance after non-compliance sanction case closure?

      A participant may reapply for TANF cash assistance or State Family Assistance by filing a new application. Unless it is a WorkFirst Sanction Reopen case, they will need to participate 4 weeks in a row before they get cash. The sanctioned family may be eligible for CEAP while they meet the participation requirement (see Section 3.6.3.3).

      If a participant has three NCS case closures, they are permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA benefits.  If a participant with three or more NCS closures reapplies for TANF/SFA, deny their application. Please refer to section 3.6.4 – Permanent TANF Disqualification. 

      3.6.3.2 What is a WorkFirst Sanction Reopen (WFSR) case?

      A WorkFirst Sanction Reopen (WFSR) case is when a participant receives a sanction case closure penalty, applies for TANF, and completes a financial interview by the end of the month following the paid through date. 

      For example, if a participant received the sanction case closure penalty with a 2/28 paid through date, and they reapply and complete their financial interview in March, process the application as a WFSR case. In this scenario, an application received prior to 3/1 isn't a WFSR case yet because TANF is still open.

      Refer to the CSD Procedures Handbook, ‘Processing a WFSR Red Application’, to process a WFSR case.  To summarize, the WFPS:

      1. Removes the NCS termination so it won't count as one of the three NCS case closures that would lead to permanent disqualification.
      2. Determines whether to open the TANF grant effective the beginning of the month using the reopen function, without requiring participation for the 4 week cure period first.  Don't reopen the case when the participant received 10-day notice of case closure for sanction and for another reason unless the participant resolves the other reason for case closure when they reapply.
      3. Determines whether to code the sanction grant reduction penalty so the month of application will be month one of a two-month reduced grant sanction.  Don't code a sanction grant reduction penalty when the participant is unable to participate.

      Use the text blocks below for WFSR approval and denial letters.  You can access the text blocks at the CSD WorkFirst SharePoint Sanction Documents page.

      Text Block

      Used For

      WFSR reopened in sanction

      Approval letter when the WFSR case closed for NCS only and the client is able to participate

      WFSR reopened without sanction

      Approval letter when the WFSR case closed for NCS only and the client is NOT able to participate

      Ineligible  WFSR– remains in sanction status

      Denial letter when the WFSR case closed for NCS and another reason and the client is able to participate.  If the client later reapplies and is found eligible, they will reopen in sanction status.

      Ineligible WFSR – no longer in sanction status

      Denial letter when the WFSR case closed for NCS and another reason and client is NOT able to participate.  If the client later reapplies and is found eligible, they will NOT reopen in sanction status.

      Example #1 (WFSR reopens in sanction)

      • A participant fails to attend his scheduled non-compliance staffing appointment at the office on 07/10 and is not available for his scheduled home visit on 07/15. He receives the sanction case closure penalty and his TANF grant is terminated for non-compliance sanction on 07/31.  His case is closed for NCS only.
      • On 08/20, he submits an application for TANF and he completes a financial interview on 8/28; this is a WFSR case.   The WFPS determines that he is able to participate.
      • The WFPS removes the NCS termination and opens TANF, and follows the CSD Procedures Handbook to open as of 08/01 in month one of sanction.  The WFPS uses the ‘WFSR reopened in sanction’ text block on the approval letter.
      • The participant does not cure or end his sanction by the end of September, so the WFPS imposes the NCS case closure effective 09/30.

      Example #2 (WFSR reopened without sanction)

      Same scenario as example #1 except the WFPS determines the participant is no longer able to participate due to a recent verified back injury.  The WFPS:

      • Removes the NCS termination and documents that the client is unable to participate and is no longer in sanction status.
      • Reopens the case as of 8/1 and uses the ‘WFSR reopened without sanction’ text block on the approval letter.

      Example #3 (ineligible WFSR – remains in sanction status)

      Same scenario as example #1 except the participant received 10-day notice for both NCS case closure and for having no eligible child. 

      • On 8/28, when he completes a financial interview, the WFPS determines that there is still no eligible child in the household and the participant is able to participate. 
      • The WFPS removes the NCS termination and keeps the case closed as the applicant has already received 10-day notice of case closure due to no eligible child.  The WFPS uses the ‘ineligible WFSR – remains in sanction status’ text block on the denial letter.
      • The participant reapplies three months later, the child has returned home, and he is financially eligible and able to participate.  The WFPS reopens the case in month one of sanction.  The participant does not need to cure the sanction before we reopen the case because he met the WFSR criteria on 8/28.

      Example #4 (ineligible WFSR – no longer in sanction status)

      Same scenario as example #1 except the participant received 10-day notice for both NCS case closure and for having no eligible child and is NOT able to participate. 

      • On 8/28, when he completes a financial interview, the WFPS determines that there is still no eligible child in the household and the participant is no longer able to participate due to a serious chemical dependency issue. 
      • The WFPS removes the NCS termination and keeps the case closed as the participant has already received 10-day notice of case closure due to no eligible child.
      •  The WFPS documents that the participant is unable to participate and is no longer in sanction status.
      • The WFPS uses the ‘ineligible WFSR – no longer in sanction status’ text block on the denial letter.  If the participant later reapplies and is reopened, he will not reopen in sanction.

      3.6.3.3 Consolidated Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP) for non-compliance sanction case closures.

      Participants closed for non-compliance sanction (NCS) may qualify for CEAP. They are eligible to apply for CEAP under the same rules as other applicants.

      To determine eligibility and authorize benefits follow the CEAP eligibility and procedures described under WAC 388-436-0015.

      3.6.3.4 What if a participant reapplies before their case is closed?

      If the case closed due to a sanction case closure penalty and contact is made, see WFHB 3.6.1.16 for definition of contact and instructions on reinstating TANF/SFA.

      If the case closed due to a sanction case closure penalty and no contact is made, the application is a WFSR application as of the first of the month. (See CSD Procedure Handbook, Processing TANF/SFA Application Forms Received Prior to Case Closure Penalty.)

      Example:

      Greg’s TANF is closing November 30 due to sanction case closure penalty.  He submits an online application form on November 25. The case manager attempts contact, but Greg doesn't speak with WF staff before November ends. As of December 1, the application form becomes a WFSR application and staff can't reinstate TANF.

      If TANF/SFA is closing after two months of the grant reduction sanction penalty and an application is received before the NCS termination date:

      • Track the application in DMS, and

      • Attempt to contact the participant right away.

      Note: Staff won't be able to input the application into ACES until the first of the following month.

      After the participant completes an interview and staff determines financial eligibility, the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) determines if they are able to participate.

      • If the participant can't participate, lifts the sanction and restores full benefits the first of the following month.
      • If the participant can participate, manually track participation until the 1st of the following month. After the 1st of the month, tracks participation in eJAS.

      3.6.3.5 How are an applicant's participation requirements determined and tracked?

      When a client applies after the NCS termination, the intake worker:

      • Determines financial eligibility.
      • Pends application approval for WorkFirst participation.
      • Refers the case to WorkFirst staff to find out whether the participant must participate before they receive cash.

      Once that decision is made, the WFPS/WFSSS lets the intake worker know so they can update the application pend letter as needed. Once the participant is in pending status, they appear on the 'NCS Re-applicant report' on the Caseload Management Report. Only the participant who caused the termination appears on the report.

      The person must participate, if able, four weeks in a row (28 consecutive days) before they are eligible for cash benefits.

      • Waive the 4-week participation requirement (and remove the SA or SN code) when the participant enters the third trimester of pregnancy if they:
        • Have completed a Pregnancy to Employment assessment and;
        • Don't have a mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment requirement.
      • Waive the requirement if their situation is now severe enough that they are exempt.
      • The participant starts over with zero months in sanction when you waive the participation requirement.
      • Notify the application intake worker if you lift the participation requirement so they can update the pend letter or approve the application.

      If the participant is able to participate, the WFPS/WFSSS:

      • Tracks the participation in eJAS.
      • Schedules the participant for a Sanction Re-engagement Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) interview. The Sanction Re-engagement CE interview must be done in addition to the short-term, mid-term or long-term returner comprehensive evaluation for re-applicants.  It isn't necessary to complete the last question (screening for other issues) of the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview.
      • Develops the participant's IRP and set up necessary supports, such as WCCC and transportation,needed to participate.

      If both parents in a 2-parent household refused to participate and caused their case to close, both parents need to meet the 28-day participation requirement. Don't approve the application until both parents meet this requirement.

      Day one of participation begins when the participant completes the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview and IRP. Excused absences count towards meeting the 28-day requirement. Credit any uninterrupted participation in month 2 up to the end of the month towards meeting the 4-week participation requirement.

      The WFPS/WFSSS must complete:

      • A comprehensive evaluation every time a participant reapplies for benefits. 
      • A Sanction Re-engagement CE interview for applicants who are re-entering TANF in sanction. 

      After the CE and Sanction Re-engagement CE interview is completed, refer the participant to other approved activities until the full 4 weeks of participation is completed.

      Tell the application intake worker when the four week participation requirement is met. TANF benefits start on the date the participant meets all other eligibility factors.

      3.6.3.6 What if the participant stops participating?

      When an applicant has stopped participating, deny the application. Tell the applicant to contact WorkFirst staff if they want a reconsideration of the denied application. The WFPS/WFSSS determines whether there was a good reason for interrupting participation.

      Good reason may be granted if the participant is determined unable to perform the required WorkFirst activities or if significant barriers outside their control prevented participation as described under WAC 388-310-1600(3). Good reason that may be considered include:

      • An unmet need for Equal Access (EA) Accommodation Plan
      • Limited-English Proficiency (LEP) not addressed through interpreters or translations that result in the participant not understanding what is required
      • Emergent or severe medical condition (verified by a health care professional) of the participant or a family member in their care
      • Family Violence
      • Immediate legal concerns

      Non-participation because of unexcused absences isn't considered good reason unless there is a significant circumstance outside the participant's control (such as family violence or hospitalization). This circumstance must make it impossible for the participant to call in to show a good reason for stopping the 4-week participation.

      If the WFPS/WFSSS decides good reason exists, the excused days will count towards the participant's cure period. For example, a participant stops participating on March 7th, which is the 6th day of the 28-day period. On March 12th, it is determined that good reason exists and the participant will start to participate again on March 15th. March 15th is now day 14 of participation of the 28-day period.

      If the WFPS/WFSSS decides good reason doesn't exist, WFPS denies the application and sends the denial letter with required free-form text.

      If the WFPS/WFSSS decides that no participation is required and the participant meets an exemption criteria, approve the application if otherwise determined eligible.

      3.6.3.7 How is the application approved?

      When the applicant meets the participation requirement, remove the SA or SN code from eJAS and approve the application back to the date financial eligibility was met.

      Follow the approval instructions in the CSD procedures handbook, for WFSR cases.

      3.6.3.8 What if a participant is reopened and they stop participating again?

      Follow the sanction or NCS process; the participant will have two months to complete four weeks of participation or the case will close again for NCS.

      After following the sanction guidelines of section 3.6.1- Entering Sanction the WFPS/WFSSS must:

      • Schedule the sanctioned participant to go through the Sanction Re-engagement comprehensive evaluation interview.
      • Continue to try to reengage the sanctioned participant.

      3.6.3.9 NCS Reapplication - Step-by-step guide

      Non-WFSR Step-by-Step

      The intake application worker refers applicants to WorkFirst who have been closed for non-compliance sanction to meet a 4-week WorkFirst participation requirement. Once the participant is in pending status, they appear on the 'NCS Re-applicant report' on the Caseload Management Report. Only the participant who caused the termination appear on the report.

      The WFPS:

      1. Decides if the participant is able to participate.
        1. If the participant can't participate, they pend the application for financial eligibility or approve.
        2. If the participant reapplies before the NCS termination effective date and can't participate, lift the sanction and restore the grant effective the first of the following month per 3.6.1.10.
        3. If the participant can participate, the WFPS/WFSSS
          1. Schedules a CE.
          2. Develops an IRP.
          3. Approves needed supports.
          4. Tracks participation.
      2. Decides if there is good reason if the participant stops participating as required. If the participant:
        1. Is no longer able to participate, they will only need to meet financial eligibility criteria.
        2. Has good reason, they will pick up participation where it left off until the 28-day requirement is met.
        3. Doesn't have good reason, the application denial will stand.
      3. Removes the SA or SN code once all participation and financial eligibility criteria are met.

      WFSR Step-by-Step

      Follow the procedures in the CSD procedures manual to reopen the case, and refer sanctioned recipients to meet a 4-week WorkFirst participation requirement, as needed, to cure their sanction.  Once TANF reopens, the WFPS:

      1. Opens the REIN on the eJAS NCS tool menu:
        1. Selects the date of the approval letter from ACES letter history,
        2. Completes the questions in the REIN tool.
      1. If the participant is unable to participate:
        1. Completes the ‘When Sanction is Cured or Lifted’ section of the REIN tool; and,
        2. Removes the SA or SN code.
      2. If the participant is able and willing to participate:
        1. Completes or schedules the Sanction Reengagement CE interview,
        2. Develops an IRP.
        3. Approves needed supports.
        4. Tracks participation.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      3.6.4 Permanent TANF Disqualification

      Non-Compliance Sanction Policy

      Legal References:

      The Non-Compliance Sanction Policy section is divided in four separate sub-sections:

      • Section 3.6.1 Entering Sanction describes how to make the sanction decision.
      • Section 3.6.2 -Ending Sanction describes what happens after a person is sanctioned and if they decide to stay in sanction for four months.
      • Section 3.6.3NCS Reapplications describes how to process reapplications from non-compliance sanction case closures.
      • Section 3.6.4 – Permanent TANF Disqualification describes why and how a person can be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA.  This section includes:
        • 3.6.4.1– What is permanent TANF disqualification?
        • 3.6.4.2 – What do I tell sanctioned persons about permanent TANF disqualification?
        • 3.6.4.3 – What happens to parents who already have three NCS terminations who are currently complying with WorkFirst requirements?
        • 3.6.4.4 - How do I keep track of a parent’s NCS terminations?  
        • 3.6.4.5 - What is the process for permanently disqualifying someone?

      3.6.4 Permanent TANF Disqualification

      3.6.4.1 What is permanent TANF disqualification?

      When a parent has been closed for non-compliance sanction three or more times since March 1, 2007, he or she will be permanently disqualified from receiving TANF/SFA benefits. This means that this person will never again be eligible to receive TANF/SFA nor Diversion Cash Assistance (DCA) from the State of Washington.

      In addition, the entire household that lives with the permanently disqualified person is ineligible to receive TANF/SFA or DCA as long as the disqualified person lives in the home.

      The permanent disqualification does not apply to medical or food assistance.

      We start the NCS termination count from March 1, 2007, because that is when the department began NCS case closures.

      3.6.4.2 What do I tell sanctioned persons about permanent disqualification?

      It is important to continually remind those parents who are falling out of compliance with their WorkFirst requirements about permanent TANF disqualification.  When parents are entering sanction, they must be reminded that if they are closed for non-compliance sanction three times, they will be permanently disqualified. Remind parents of the number of NCS closures they have so far.

      3.6.4.3 What happens to parents who already have three NCS terminations who are currently complying with WorkFirst requirements?

      Parents with three or more NCS terminations who are still active on TANF will be allowed to continue to receive TANF/SFA benefits.  However, if their case closes for any reason, they will be permanently disqualified. 

      EXAMPLE 1:

      Mary has had 3 prior NCS terminations.  Effective January 31, 2012, her case closes for no eligibility review.  She reapplies for TANF on March 3.  Her application for TANF will be denied because she is permanently disqualified.

      EXAMPLE 2: 

      Ted has had 3 prior NCS terminations.  His case closes for no Mid-Certification Review (MCR) effective March 30, 2012.  On April 10, he calls and completes his MCR.  Because he is within his 30 day window, he can be reinstated.  Since his case can be reinstated back to the date of closure, he does not need to reapply, and is therefore not permanently disqualified.

      EXAMPLE 3: 

      Robert has had 2 prior NCS terminations.  Effective May 31, 2012, his case closes due to an NCS termination.  He is now permanently disqualified.

      EXAMPLE 4:

      Theresa has had 2 prior NCS terminations.  She goes into sanction again in April.  Her case is scheduled to close effective May 31 for NCS.  She cures her sanction effective May 30.  Because she cured her sanction prior to the end of the second month, her case can be reinstated and she is NOT permanently disqualified.  

      ** NOTE:  In cases where someone cures their sanction before the end of the second month, or when the NCS termination is overturned in fair hearing, be sure to go into the ACES WORK screen and remove that termination date when reinstating the case. **

      3.6.4.4 How do I keep track of a parent’s NCS terminations?

      The dates of NCS terminations are tracked on the ACES WORK screen.  It will list the months and years of a parent’s NCS case closures (these are the paid through months, so if it says 11/2010, that means the parent received TANF through 11/30/2010). It will also list the date the parent requalified for TANF benefits.

      It is extremely important that if a parent cures a sanction after deadline for the second month, that the WORK screen is corrected by removing that termination date. 

      Remember that these dates will tell ACES when to permanently disqualify someone from receiving TANF. 

      3.6.4.5 What is the process for permanently disqualifying someone?

      When denying an application for TANF/SFA or DCA because someone has been permanently disqualified, or terminating TANF/SFA because of a third NCS closure, the three NCS terminations that caused the disqualification must be manually reviewed and verified.  To do this:

      1. Go into the ACES WORK screen to see the month and year of the three NCS termination dates.
      2. Go into the “B” menu for the TANF assistance unit (AU) in the month after each NCS termination month to view the reason why the case closed.  NCS closures have a 252 termination code. 
      3. Look through the narrative to ensure that none of the NCS closures listed were overturned by fair hearing. 

      Once you have ensured that the NCS terminations are correct, you can process the case.  ACES will generate a denial or termination letter.  When a case is closing for the third NCS and is also being permanently disqualified, it is important to continue to follow the NCS closure process and list in the letter why they are being terminated and what they failed to do.  Please refer to chapter 3.6.2.6 – What if a supervisor approves a case for sanction/penalty and it is time to close the case? 

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      3.7.1 Time Limit Extension Decisions

      Updated: August 24, 2017

      Legal References:

      TANF time limit policy has two separate sub-sections:

      Section 3.7.1 Time Limit Extension Decisions describes how to make TANF/SFA time limit extension decisions. This section includes:

      • 3.7.1.1 What is the time limit for TANF and SFA?
      • 3.7.1.2 What is the difference between the adult recipient and ineligible parent time limit?
      • 3.7.1.3 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 56 months on TANF/SFA?
      • 3.7.1.4 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 58 months on TANF/SFA?
      • 3.7.1.5 What are the time limit extension categories?
      • 3.7.1.6 How do I determine whether an ineligible parent qualifies for a disability time limit extension?
      • 3.7.1.7 Who qualifies for the family violence time limit extension?
      • 3.7.1.8 How do I know if an adult recipient parent qualifies for a child in dependency time limit extension?
      • 3.7.1.9 What is the time limit hardship extension process?
      • 3.7.1.10 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for any time limit extensions?
      • 3.7.1.11 How do I send time limit decision notices to parents?
      • 3.7.1.12 Can a parent who was denied a time limit extension request an Administrative Hearing and receive continued benefits?
      • 3.7.1.13 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent offers more time limit extension evidence before we close their case?
      • 3.7.1.14 What if an adult recipient/ineligible parent reapplies before their case closes?
      • 3.7.1.15 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent states they qualify for a time limit extension after we close their case?
      • 3.7.1.16 Time Limit Client Interview - Step-by-step guide

      Section 3.7.2 – Approved Time Limit Extensions describes how to maintain an approved TANF time limit extension case.

      3.7.1.1 What is the time limit for TANF and SFA?

      Federal law states an adult in the assistance unit can receive 60 months of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) in their lifetime. For adults who qualify for a TANF/SFA time limit hardship extension, cash assistance may extend past 60 months for up to 20 percent of the WorkFirst caseload to adults who qualify for a TANF/SFA time limit hardship extension.

      State law applies the 60-month time limit to ineligible parents (SSI, disqualified or undocumented parent) during months they receive TANF/SFA for their children.  

      See EA-Z manual, TANF/SFA Time Limits and Indian Country Disregard for more details about:

      • When months count towards the time limits;
      • How to add an adult recipient (but not ineligible parent)
      • Determining who qualifies for the Indian Country disregard;
      • ACES adjustments for repaid months of total ineligibility and L&I reimbursements.

      ACES will send the Re-Certification letter (027-01) to an adult participant or an adult recipient/ineligible parent when they reach 48 months of cash assistance. The letter includes information on the 60-month time limit and lists all months of TANF/SFA assistance for each adult in the household, including any Tribal TANF months received. Staff determines whether the adult recipient/ineligible parent qualifies for a time limit hardship extension before they reach 60 months of TANF/SFA.

      3.7.1.2 What is the difference between the adult recipient and ineligible parent time limit?

      ACES uses the following definitions to track each adult’s 60-month limit, list each countable month as an ineligible parent or adult recipient month and indicate whether the case is closed or extended under the adult recipient or ineligible parent time limit:

      • An adult recipient is an adult who is receiving assistance in a TANF/SFA assistance unit. The adult recipient may be the parent or relative caregiver.

      • An ineligible parent is a non-recipient parent who is receiving a TANF/SFA grant for their child(ren).

      The TANF/SFA months an adult recipient/ineligible parent receives for their child(ren) counts toward their 60 month limit. The assistance unit (AU) closes once an adult recipient/ineligible parent in the AU has 60 countable TANF/SFA months unless the adult qualifies for a time limit extension.

      Examples:

      • Jane received 60 months for herself and her son between 2005 and 2010. Jane’s portion of the TANF grant was terminated due to a fraud conviction, but her son continued receiving TANF. Jane doesn't qualify for a time limit extension. Under the ineligible parent time limit, we close the case using the 60 adult recipient months even though Jane is no longer a recipient in the assistance unit.
      • Matthew, an undocumented father, gets 40 ineligible parent months due to his daughter’s TANF child-only grant. Matthew becomes a citizen (adult recipient) and is added to the TANF grant for 20 months. He doesn't qualify for a time limit extension. The AU will close using the 40 ineligible parent months plus the 20 adult recipient months.
      • A mother on SSI, Leah, receives TANF for her daughter for 50 months before she gets married to Damien. Damien and daughter receive TANF for an additional 10 months. Under the ineligible parent time limit, Leah now has 60 ineligible parent months. Because Leah receives SSI, approve a disability time limit extension to keep the TANF grant open.

      3.7.1.3 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 56 months on TANF/SFA?

      An indicator appears in the eJAS demographic screen and the Time Limit Extension tool becomes available when an adult in the AU or ineligible parent reaches 56 months of cash assistance.

      3.7.1.4 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 58 months on TANF/SFA?

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent appears on the CLMR in eJAS when they reach 58 months of TANF/SFA notifying the WFPS/WFSSS the adult recipient/ineligible parent is nearing the 60 month time limit. Each parent in a two-parent household appears separately on the CLMR when they reach 58 months.

      Schedule an appointment with the adult recipient/ineligible parent using the ACES Online General Appointment Letter (50-05) or eJAS appointment letter to complete the time limit hardship extension between month 58 and 60. Include in the letter:

      "Once you reach 60 months on TANF/SFA, you will only qualify for TANF/SFA cash aid if you qualify for a time limit hardship extension. Our records show you have [number] months of TANF/SFA. I need to meet with you on [date /time] to determine if you will qualify for an extension and review your plans for supporting your family if your case closes.

      Please come to this appointment to make sure we know of any employment, family violence issues, child welfare actions and your (or a family members’) health problems. We may be able to use this information to approve an extension and can help you get any needed evidence.”

      Give the adult recipient/ineligible parent 10 calendar days of adequate notice for the scheduled appointment.

      To complete the Time Limit Hardship Extension appointment, parent may contact the WFPS/WFSSS:

      • in writing
      • by phone
      • by attending the scheduled appointment on their letter.

      Note: An adult recipient/ineligible parent can ask for a different appointment time if needed.

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent may waive the 10-day adequate notice and complete the time limit extension appointment if they are in the office or contact WFPS/WFSSS prior to their scheduled appointment.  

      Document when an adult recipient/ineligible parent waives the 10-day notice and provide an eJAS appointment letter reflecting when the time limit extension hardship appointment occurred.

      3.7.1.5 What are the time limit extension categories?

      The entire assistance unit is ineligible for TANF/SFA when an adult recipient/ineligible parent in the assistance unit receives 60 months of TANF/SFA, unless the adult recipient/ineligible parent qualifies for a time limit hardship extension.

      The entire assistance unit remains eligible for TANF/SFA if at least one parent has 60 months or more and qualifies for an extension.

      Examples:
      #1 Jasmine is on SSI and has received 45 months on TANF for her two children.  She marries Albert and he is added to the TANF grant.  When Jasmine reaches 60 months she will qualify for a time-limited extension and the TANF grant will continue.  When Albert reaches 60 months, they will continue to be eligible because Jasmine hit 60 months first and qualifies for the TLE as long as she is on SSI.
      #2 Tommy has been on receiving TANF for himself and his son for 55 months.  He married Tina who is on SSI and has a daughter on TANF for 30 months.  Tommy doesn’t qualify for a TLE and the three person TANF grant will close with Tommy’s 60 months on TANF.

      A caregiver relative who doesn't live with the child’s parent and has 60 months or more of TANF/SFA may choose to receive a child-only grant as allowed under WAC 388-408-0025(2)(c).  There are no time limits for child-only TANF cases.

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent may qualify for a time limit extension (See #4 through #11 on the Time Limit Hardship Extension chart) when the adult recipient/ineligible parent:

      1. Qualifies for an exemption under WAC 388-310-0350; because they are:
        • A needy caretaker relative age 55 or older (#4); or
        • Applying for SSI as required in their IRP (#8); or
        • An adult with mental, physical, emotional or cognitive condition, based on medical evidence, that prevents them from working more than 10 hours per week and is expected to last 12 months or longer (#5) or,
        • Receiving SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance (#5) or,
        • Caring for a child or adult with a disability (#6 or #7).
      2. Participates satisfactorily in specialized family violence activities according to a service plan developed by a person trained in family violence (#9);
      3. Has an open child welfare case with a state or tribal government and this is the first time the adult recipient/ineligible parent has had any child in dependency (#10);
      4. Works 32 hours or more per week in an unsubsidized job (#11). Use the ACES calculated number of hours for self-employment unless the person chooses to provide alternative proof from a credible, knowledgeable, reliable source to confirm self-employment hours (see WAC 388-490-0005). Please note this alternative proof doesn't affect how we determine actual hours of participation or whether we allow the adult recipient to engage in full-time employment as described in the WorkFirst Handbook 8.2, Self-employment;
      5. Is 65 years old, or older, blind as defined by the Social Security Administration or likely disabled as defined under chapter 388-449 WAC (#5).

      Base the determinations for time limit extensions on whether the adult recipient/ineligible parent meets the criteria for an extension. See the Time Limit Hardship Extensions chart for more details about the extension categories, criteria, required documentation, participation requirements and review cycle.

      Note: An adult recipient/ineligible parent may qualify for more than one time limit extension at a time. WFPS/WFSSS reviews the case and marks all extensions that apply to the adult recipient/ineligible parent in the eJAS time limit tool and eJAS will use the extension with the longest duration to extend TANF/SFA.

      • eJAS will use any other approved extension if an adult recipient/ineligible parent no longer qualifies for the longest duration time limit extension.

      TANF/SFA ends when an adult recipient/ineligible parent no longer meets time limit extension criteria or TANF/SFA eligibility criteria during the hardship time limit extension.

      3.7.1.6 How do I determine whether a parent qualifies for a disability time limit extension?

      Note: WorkFirst support services can’t pay for medical evidence for any undocumented or fraud-disqualified individual (parent, caregiver, or disabled child/adult relative). Funds are available in ICMS to purchase medical evidence for undocumented or fraud-disqualified individuals. Don’t pay for more medical evidence than is needed to determine time limit extension eligibility.

      For example, the adult recipient/ineligible parent may be able to access free clinics, or, if the parent is already seeing a doctor, we can purchase a report instead of a full medical exam.

      Give the adult recipient/ineligible parent the Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter requesting medical evidence using the same timeframes we use for all other time limit cases with the following text:

      “You must provide documentation of your [or your child or adult relative’s] mental, physical, emotional or cognitive impairment and your ability to engage in work from a source such as one of the primary medical professionals or supplemental medical evidence described in WAC 388-447-0005.

      Medical documentation must include:

      • Your [or your child’s or adult relative’s] diagnosis,
      • How long your [or your child’s or adult relative’s] impairment is expected to last; and
      • Whether you are able to engage in work or work-like activities for 10 hours or less per week or 11 hours or more per week.”

      WFPS/WFSSS signs in to Barcode to access the ICMS subsystem and use the 06030 ineligible parent medical evidence code to pay for medical evidence when they receive the required medical evidence. The system uses the same medical evidence fee schedule as Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD) program. See the Social Services Manual – Medical Evidence Requirements and Fee Schedule section and the Ineligible Parent Medical Evidence Desk Aid for more information on how to process these payments.

      3.7.1.7 Who qualifies for the family violence time limit extension?

      When an adult recipient/ineligible parent with 60 months of TANF/SFA declares family violence issues, the WFPS/WFSSS:

      1. Documents the family violence in eJAS,
      2. Obtains a family violence service plan created by someone trained in family violence, and
      3. Monitors the case to ensure the adult recipient/ineligible parent is following his or her family violence service plan.

      Use the same verification requirements as the Division of Child Support (DCS) Good Cause process to document the family violence. Verification may include one of the following:

      • Completed 18-334(X) or other signed statement from the victim, outlining fears and/or concerns,
      • Civil/criminal court orders (domestic violence protection order, restraining orders, no-contact orders),
      • Medical, police, or court reports, or
      • Written statement from clergy, friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers.

      Document family violence information in the eJAS family violence note type (but not on any eJAS or ACES letters). Offer a referral to the on-site or community based family violence advocate (or pro bono services, as available, for ineligible parents).

      We follow the same requirements as DCS Good Cause to document a family violence issue but the adult recipient/ineligible parent may pursue the time limit extension without filing a DCS Good Cause claim.  Encourage the adult recipient/ineligible parent to request DCS Good Cause if establishing and/or collecting cash and/or medical support may result in serious physical or emotional harm to the child or adult recipient/ineligible parent.  

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent must follow a family violence service plan developed by a person trained in family violence to be eligible for the family violence time limit extension. An on-site advocate or a trained WFPS/WFSSS can create a family violence plan.

      Note: A family may qualify for the family violence time limit extension with past or current family violence. A parent doesn't have to be in immediate danger to qualify for a family violence time limit extension.

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent living with an abuser may be approved for a family violence time limit extension. Develop a family violence service plan the adult recipient/ineligible parent can follow safely if living with the abuser.  Connect the adult recipient/ineligible parent to an on-site or local family violence advocate where appropriate for the family’s safety.

      Family violence can also occur in a two-parent assistance unit. Use office protocol to interview parents separately (see WFHB 6.5.6). WFPS/WFSSS should omit any direct references to family or domestic violence in eJAS notes or the IRP for confidentiality.

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent can complete a family violence service plan with a family violence advocate whenever possible. They can also complete a temporary service plan requiring a service plan within 30 days of creating a temporary plan (up to 90 days with a supervisor approval).  A WFPS/WFSSS trained in family violence can complete the plan if the adult recipient/ineligible parent does not want to complete a plan with a family violence advocate. The family violence service plan must be listed in the IRP as a condition of remaining eligible for a family violence time limit extension.

      Create a reasonable and safe plan for ineligible parents, drawing on locally available resources. See Ineligible Parents' Family Violence Plans for more information. Document the ineligible parents' family violence plan in eJAS family violence case notes.

      See the Social Services manual, Good Cause chapter, and the WorkFirst Handbook, Section 6.5, Family Violence, for more information about DCS Good Cause verification requirements and family violence.

      3.7.1.8 How do I know if an adult recipient/ineligible parent qualifies for a child in dependency time limit extension?

      Contact Children’s Administration (CA) to determine if the family has an open child welfare case and work collaboratively with them to address the family needs from both the child welfare system and the WorkFirst program. For a family who may have an open tribal child welfare case, send the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s name and eJAS ID to WorkFirst program managers Miranda Adams with a cc to Anna Minor to determine eligibility for the extension.

      Approve an adult recipient/ineligible parent for a child in dependency time limit extension if:

      • It is the first-time any of the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s children are in court ordered dependency, and
      • There is an anticipated CA case closure of six months or less.

      Note: This time period can cover any concurrent benefit period and six-month follow up while CA continues to work with the family.

      Note: Voluntary placements or shelter care status doesn't qualify for the extension.

      Document in eJAS any CA/tribal child welfare court ordered dependency considerations or actions and the actions taken on case including forwarding tribal child welfare cases to WorkFirst headquarters staff.

      CA or tribal child welfare involved families may be required to do counseling or treatment activities to help keep their families together. Add these activities as WorkFirst participation requirements appropriately.

      Involve CA or tribal child welfare in case staffings, assessments, and any intensive work with the family during a child dependency time limit extension to create joint plans that will meet the family’s needs.

      3.7.1.9 What is the time limit hardship extension process?

      The WFPS/WFSSS determines if the adult recipient/ineligible parent qualifies for a time limit hardship extension. You can’t authorize WorkFirst support services for ineligible parents per WAC 388-310-0800(1)(a).

      Prior to the TLE appointment, review the case for evidence of potential eligibility for a time limit extension and identify:

      • Medical evidence received in the past 12 months for the adult recipient/ineligible parent, their child or adult relative who is living in the home
      • SSI applications, even if it’s an application filed by the adult on their own
      • Receipt of SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance Payments for ineligible parents
      • A history of family violence
      • A history of child welfare involvement
      • Current employment

      Determine time limit eligibility during the time limit extension appointment by:

      • Reviewing adult recipient/ineligible parent’s current information in case record
      • Completing the eJAS time limit tool with the adult recipient/ineligible parent (if present)
      • Discussing the TANF time clock with the adult recipient/ineligible parent to confirm accurate TANF months
      • Discussing the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s plan for supporting their family if TANF/SFA terminates at 60 months
      • Explaining additional support to the family such as:
        • Transitional Food Assistance (TFA)
        • On-going medical
        • WCCC
        • Child support
        • Community resources
        • CEAP benefits that are available due to the 60-month lifetime limit

      Note: If necessary, explain the process for obtaining additional medical or other needed evidence.

      Note: If the adult recipient/ineligible parent is age 65 years or older or blind, approve the time limit hardship extension.

      When reviewing the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s medical evidence and it doesn't meet the WorkFirst severity and duration requirements, refer adult recipient/ineligible parent to the TLE disability evaluation process using the Disability Determination section of the Social Services Manual.  Please see the Using the Sequential Evaluation Process (SEP) for TANF TLE Desk Aid (for staff use only) for detailed steps.

      When an adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't meet the criteria for an extension, generate a time limit extension denial letter after completing the eJAS tool. Add the appropriate text to the time limit denial letter using the eJAS template text or as shown on the Time Limit Hardship Extensions chart describing the evidence we took into consideration in making our decision. Notify the adult recipient/ineligible parent if they only meet some of the criteria needed to qualify. Save the eJAS denial letter or print for translation, if needed. Don’t mail the letter until the adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 60 months of TANF/SFA assistance to ensure the worker mails the eJAS and ACES letters at the same time. 

      Note:  Don't document an adult recipient/ineligible parent's history of family violence on the eJAS letter to maintain client confidentiality and safety.

      When an adult recipient/ineligible parent qualifies for an extension, eJAS automatically enters the time limit extension code(s) 4-11 in the time limit extension tool. When an adult recipient/ineligible parent qualifies for more than one time limit extension, ACES automatically allows the longest extension. When both parents have 60 months or more on a two-parent TANF/SFA AU, and one is approved for an extension while the other is denied, approval overrides the denial in ACES and TANF/SFA remains open for the entire AU. The ACES notice reflects the information for the approved time limit extension.

      Enter the time limit decision into eJAS before the end of an adult recipient/ineligible parent’s 60 months, whenever possible, to avoid overpayments. ACES generates a 10-day notice in month 60 to close or extend TANF/SFA assistance based on the time limit extension decision. See 3.7.1.11, How do I send the time limit decision notices to the adult recipient/ineligible parent, for additional processing instructions.

      3.7.1.10 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for any time limit extensions?

      When an adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for a time limit extension, provide the following information regarding additional support to the family:

      • Transitional Food Assistance (TFA)
      • On-going medical,
      • WCCC,
      • Child support,
      • Community resources, and
      • CEAP benefits that are available due to the 60-month lifetime limit

      If necessary, explain the process for obtaining additional medical or other needed evidence.

      Add explanatory text to the eJAS time limit decision letter when there isn't enough evidence to qualify for a time limit extension. View the Time Limit Hardship Extensions chart.

      If the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for an extension, eJAS passes information to ACES on a real-time basis and enters the extension reason 13 in ACES. Cases close once reason 13 is in eJAS, populated in ACES and the parent has reached 60 months.

      ACES generates a 10-day notice to close the case by the end of the 60th month and an extension denial is in the eJAS time limit tool. See 3.7.1.11, How do I send the time limit decision notices to the adult recipient/ineligible parent, for additional processing instructions.

      3.7.1.11 How do I send the time limit decision notices to an adult recipient/ineligible parent?

      Process and send out English ACES and eJAS denial notices in one envelope. Approved time limit extension require no action. ACES generates and, as needed, translates the approval notices.

      Translated time limit denial letters require the following action:

      • WFPS/WFSSS prints, translates and holds the eJAS denial notice after the time limit appointment without sending the translation to Barcode for imaging.
      • WFPS receives a tickle in Barcode when an ACES Termination Letter (006-02 Termination of TANF/SFA) generates and requires action.
      • If the ACES letter is in a supported language, staff:
        • Sends a copy of the translated eJAS time limit denial letter to Barcode for imaging.
        • Locally prints the ACES letter and mails it to the client with the original translated eJAS denial letter in one envelope.
        • Documents in eJAS time limit note type English and translated letters manually mailed out together from local office.
        • Clears the tickle in Barcode.

      Note: When the ACES letter is in a non-supported language, the ACES letter requires translation following the translation process.

      3.7.1.12 Can an adult recipient/ineligible parent who was denied a time limit extension request an Administrative Hearing and receive continued benefits?

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent may request an administrative hearing if they receive 60 months of TANF/SFA and their case terminates, or they don’t agree with the months used towards their 60-month lifetime limit.

      When an adult recipient/ineligible parent is eligible for continued benefits per the EAZ manual, Fair Hearing- Pending Continued Benefits, the Administrative Hearing Coordinator notifies the WFPS/WFSSS to approve an administrative hearing (#12) time limit extension in the eJAS time limit tool. Use the first month the case will remain open pending an administrative hearing decision as the start date in the eJAS tool, approve the extension in three-month increments and reinstate the case. ACES keeps the case open and sends a notice.

      The Administrative Hearing Coordinator conducts the hearing and finalizes the decision, processing the case per the EAZ Manual, Fair Hearing-The Decision.

      • If the DSHS’s decision isn't upheld at the administrative hearing, WorkFirst staff:
        • Modifies the TANF/SFA months on the 3G Time Clock page when the ALJ modifies the month count, or
        • Enters the ALJ-approved time limit extension as of the first of the month of the ALJ decision date in the eJAS time limit tool.
        • Approves the extension for the maximum allowed review period. For example, if the ALJ approves a family violence time limits extension on June 10, staff will approve the extension for six months (June 1 through December 31).
      • If the adult recipient/ineligible parent receives continued benefits and the department decision is upheld at the administrative hearing, WFPS creates a new eJAS time limit extension tool with the time limit extension code 13. The Administrative Hearing Coordinator recalculates eligibility and adds the following language to the ACES termination letter in the free form text box:

      "You requested an administrative hearing on [date] to contest [your TANF months/TANF time limit extension denial]. We continued TANF benefits on your case pending an administrative hearing decision. The Department's action was upheld on [date] and you no longer qualify for TANF continued benefits. WAC 388-418-0020 and 388-458-0040."

      3.7.1.13 What happens when an adult recipient/ineligible parent offers more time limit extension evidence before we close their case?

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent’s circumstances may change or the adult recipient/ineligible parent may be able to provide more evidence of time limit extension eligibility. For example, a medical condition may worsen, they may disclose family violence, or they may increase their hours at work.

      When an adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for a time limit extension and offers more or new evidence before we close their case:

      1. Document the contact and type of new circumstances or evidence offered in eJAS time limit note type.
      2. Create an IRP to request additional information within 10 days or by no later than the last day of the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s 60th month on TANF/SFA. Use a Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter.
      3. Offer to schedule an appointment with the adult recipient/ineligible parent if they want to meet to discuss the situation.

      Once you receive the new evidence, re-determine eligibility for a time limit hardship extension. If the parent fails to provide the requested information by the date on the IRP or a Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter, review the case and determine eligibility based on the information in the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s case record.

      Use the eJAS time limit extension tool to document the decision. Translate the eJAS time limit extension decision letter as needed, adding any needed details per the eJAS time limit denial letter template or the time limit hardship extension chart, if the adult recipient/ineligible parent remains ineligible.

      3.7.1.14 What if a person reapplies before their case closes?

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent may choose to reapply for benefits before their TANF case closes due to time limits. WorkFirst staff obtains necessary information for TANF or Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) eligibility immediately:

      1. Ensure adult recipient/ineligible parent provides proof of pregnancy and the estimated due date if adult recipient/ineligible parent is pregnant.
      2. Gather necessary evidence to determine TANF time limit extension eligibility.

      See 3.7.1.16 for instructions on processing the screened application in ACES.

      3.7.1.15 What happens when the adult recipient/ineligible parent states they qualify for a time limit extension after we close their case?

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent may reapply for cash assistance after termination of benefits due to time limits, including when they have new evidence or a change of circumstance (e.g., a new, serious medical condition) that may qualify them for a time limit extension.

      1. Treat the application in the same manner as any other TANF application.
      2. Complete a family violence screening along with the time limit interview and the intake interview.
      3. If the parent doesn't qualify for a time limit extension, deny the time limit extension tool in eJAS. 
        1. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s case terminated for another reason and the adult recipient/ineligible parent was eligible for an extension, review to ensure they still meet the extension criteria.  You won’t need to do another eJAS time limit tool.
        2. Determine eligibility per the Pregnant Women’s Assistance (PWA) if the adult recipient/ineligible parent is pregnant.
      4. Give the parent a pending letter for any information needed to determine financial, disability and time limit extension eligibility. Complete the CE if the adult recipient/ineligible parent is likely to qualify for TANF, including those we expect to meet time limit extension criteria.
      5. Use WorkFirst support services, categories 34 (testing/diagnostic) and/or 37 (medical exams/services) or Washington Apple Health (if services are available in the area) to pay for necessary medical evidence for adult recipients as described in WFHB 6.6, Disabilities, How do I pay for medical evidence.
        1. See section 3.7.1.6 for ineligible parents.
      6. If adult recipient/ineligible parents claiming mental or physical health issues don’t qualify for a time limit extension with current medical evidence, refer adult recipient/ineligible parent to a disability specialist for the Sequential Evaluation Process (SEP) for TANF TLE.
        1. The disability specialist notifies WF staff of the TLE determination after receiving medical evidence for the SEP process.
      7. Deny the extension in the eJAS time limit tool and the application will remain in pending status if you can’t determine TANF time limit extension eligibility without further information from the disability specialist.
      8. Once you have the time limit decision from the disability specialist and SEP process, use the eJAS time limit tool to document the time limit extension decision.
      9. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for an extension, add appropriate free form text from the eJAS denial letter template or the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart to the ACES denial letter explaining why the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for an extension (No separate eJAS time limit denial letter is required).
      10. Send a separate ACES approval letter when the adult recipient qualifies for PWA due to pregnancy or HEN due to incapacity.

      3.7.1.16 Time Limit Extension Decisions- Step-by-step guide

      Prior to interview/appointment

      1. The adult recipient/ineligible parent receives a prominently displayed notice of the months of TANF receipt on the recertification notice as they approach 48 months on TANF/SFA.
      2. Once the adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 56 months on TANF, the eJAS demographic screen updates and the WFPS/WFSSS may access the eJAS time limit tool to process a decision.
      3. Once the adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 58 months on TANF/SFA, the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s case appears on the CLMR indicating a required time limit extension decision by the end of month 58 (when possible) and no later than the end of month 60.
      4. The WFPS/WFSSS sends an ACES Online 50-05, General Appointment Letter or the eJAS appointment letter and:
        1. Notifies the adult recipient/ineligible parent when they will reach 60 months and the need for a time limit extension decision, and
        2. Gives the adult recipient/ineligible parent at least 10 days to come to the scheduled appointment. The adult recipient/ineligible parent can waive the appointment and complete the time limit interview sooner.

      At the time limit extension appointment, the WFPS/WFSSS:

      1. Explains the TANF/SFA time limit policy
      2. Reviews the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s TANF/SFA months for accuracy, including the adult recipient/ineligible parents out of state or tribal TANF months
      3. Discusses the available supports, such as transitional food or medical, for those who don’t qualify for a time limit extension and provides the adult recipient/ineligible parent a list of community resources
      4. Uses the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart to determine whether the adult recipient/ineligible parent qualifies for one or more extensions
      5. Makes the TLE decision based on the evidence available, and requests any additional necessary evidence for a hardship determination using an IRP (or a Missing Verification for Interview pend letter (0023-01) for ineligible parents)
      6. Completes the eJAS time limit tool to document the appointment and time limit extension decision.

      After the time limit extension interview/appointment, the WFPS/WFSSS:

      1. Refers the adult recipient/ineligible parent for a TLE disability evaluation when available medical evidence doesn't meet the severity or duration requirements for the disabled adult TANF/SFA exemption.
        1. The disability specialist:
          1. Follows the Disability Determination Process to determine eligibility.
          2. Communicates the determination to WF Staff.
        2. The WFPS/WFSSS:
          1. Denies the TLE if disability specialist determines the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s condition does not meet ABD criteria.
          2. Approves the TLE, using the XB reason code, if disability specialist determines the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s condition meets ABD criteria.
      2. Documents the evidence used to make the decision in the free form text box of the eJAS time limit tool, using language from the eJAS time limit denial letter template or the Time Limit Hardship Extension chart if the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for a time limit extension.
      3. Saves the letter. Or, for non-English letters, print, translate and hold (without imaging in DMS) the Time Limit Decision Letter. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for an extension, eJAS will enter the information on the ACES TWEP Screen and ACES automatically creates the 10-day notice to extend or close TANF/SFA when the adult recipient/ineligible parent reaches 60 months.
        1. During month 60, ACES sends out extension approvals and English extension denial letters. When receiving a Barcode tickle for extension denial letters needing translation, Staff:
          1. Sends a copy of the translated eJAS denial letter for imaging
          2. Translates the ACES termination notice if it’s in a non-supported language
          3. Locally prints and mails the translated ACES and eJAS letters to the adult recipient/ineligible parent in one envelope
          4. Documents that the letters were sent in the eJAS time limit note type and
          5. Clears the Barcode tickle
      4. Determines time limit extension eligibility decision based on available information if the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't show up for the time limit extension appointment.

      When the adult recipient/ineligible parent offers additional evidence before we close their case, the WFSSS/WFPS:

      1. Documents the adult recipient/ineligible parent contact and type of new evidence received in the eJAS time limit note type.
      2. Uses the IRP (or a Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter for ineligible parents) to request additional information within 10 days, or no later than the last day of the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s 60th month.
      3. Schedules an appointment if the adult recipient/ineligible parent wants to meet and discuss the updated information.
      4. Uses the new medical evidence to determine eligibility for a time limit hardship extension.
      5. Makes the decision based on existing information in the case if the adult recipient/ineligible parent fails to provide new evidence by the required date.
      6. Uses the eJAS time limit tool to determine eligibility for a time limit extension and document the decision. If the extension is denied, print and translate the eJAS time limit decision letter, as needed (adding any needed details per the Time Limit Hardship Extension chart).

      When a former adult recipient/ineligible parent states they qualify for a time limit extension after we close their case, they will need to reapply. The WFPS/WFSSS will use the application process and:

      1. Complete a family violence screening along with the time limit interview and the intake interview
      2. Approve (if you have documentation) or deny the time limit extension in the eJAS tool and note any information needed to determine financial and time limit extension eligibility on the pend letter.
      3. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for a time limit extension, deny the time limit extension tool in eJAS. 
        1. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s case terminated for another reason and the recipient/ineligible parent was eligible for an extension, review to ensure the client still meets the extension criteria.  You won’t need to do another eJAS time limit tool.
        2. Determine eligibility per for Pregnant Woman’s Assistance (PWA) if the parent is pregnant.
      4. Give the person a pending letter for any information needed to determine financial, disability and time limit extension eligibility. Complete the CE if the adult recipient/ineligible parent is likely to qualify for TANF, including those we expect to meet time limit extension criteria.
      5. Use WorkFirst support services, categories 34 (testing/diagnostic) and/or 37 (medical exams/services) or Washington Apple Health (if services are available in the area) to pay for necessary medical evidence for recipient/ineligible parents as described in WFHB 6.6, Disabilities, How do I pay for medical evidence.
        1. See section 3.7.1.6 for ineligible parents.
      6. If adult recipient/ineligible parents claiming mental or physical health issues don’t qualify for a time limit extension with current medical evidence, refer adult recipient/ineligible parent to a disability specialist for the Sequential Evaluation Process (SEP) for TANF TLE.

        1. Deny the extension in the eJAS time limit tool and the application will remain in pending status if you can’t determine TANF time limit extension eligibility without further information from the disability specialist.

      Note: The disability specialist follows the instructions in the Social Services Manual – PWA or disability determination if the adult recipient/ineligible parent is pregnant or claims a mental or physical health issue prevents them from working to determine ABD eligibility and communicates the determination to WF staff.

      1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Denies the TLE if the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s condition does not meet ABD criteria.
        2. Approves the TLE, using the XB reason code, if the adult recipient/ineligible parents condition does meet ABD criteria.
        3. Uses the eJAS time limit tool to document the time limit extension decision, after receiving the time limit decision from the disability specialist and SEP process.
      2. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for an extension, add appropriate free form text from the eJAS denial letter template or the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart to the ACES denial letter explaining why the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn't qualify for an extension (No separate eJAS time limit denial letter is required).
      3. Send a separate ACES approval letter when the adult recipient qualifies for PWA due to pregnancy or HEN due to incapacity.

      If the adult recipient/ineligible parent files an administrative hearing because benefits are terminated and qualifies for continued benefits:

      1. The worker processing the administrative hearing request will notify the WFPS/WFSSS.
      2. The WFSSS/WFPS will enter continued benefits due to the administrative hearing into the eJAS time limit tool to continue cash aid.
      3. If the ALJ rules in favor of the adult recipient/ineligible parent, process the ALJ approved extension into the eJAS time limit tool.
      4. If the department’s decision is upheld by the ALJ, close the administrative extension and enter specialized text into the ACES termination notice.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

      Forms & Other Resources

      3.7.2 Approved Time Limit Extensions

      Legal References:

      The TANF time limit policy is divided in two separate sub-sections:

      Section 3.7.1 – Time Limit Extension Decisions describes how to make TANF/SFA time limit extension decisions.

      Section 3.7.2 - Approved Time Limit Extensions describes how to maintain the case once a TANF time limit extension is approved. This section includes:

      • 3.7.2.1 What happens when the adult recipient/ineligible parent no longer qualifies for his or her time limit extension?
      • 3.7.2.2 What happens when the adult recipient/ineligible parent with a time limit extension stops participating as required?
      • 3.7.2.3 What happens when the adult recipient/ineligible parent with an approved family violence time limit extension stops participating as required in his or her family violence service plan?
      • 3.7.2.4 How do I process the case when a time limit extension is about to expire?
      • 3.7.2.5 Approved Time Limit Extensions – Step-by-step guide

      3.7.2.1 What happens when the adult recipient/ineligible parent no longer qualifies for his or her time limit extension?

      An adult recipient/ineligible parent’s circumstances may change once he or she is approved for a time limit extension.  For example, you may be notified on the CLMR that the parent’s employment hours have changed and dropped below 32 hours per week.  Or, a child dependency issue may be resolved.

      Follow the normal financial change and reporting rules when you learn of a change in employment hours.  Financial will verify hours if the hours drop and we must verify hours for all job starts.  If the person reports an increase in employment hours, verification isn’t required until the next ER or MCR, but check verification obtained to authorize WCCC if available.

      When a person no longer qualifies for his or her time limit extension, you can do a new decision in the eJAS time limit tool without a client interview if she or he has another type of approved time limit extension.  Review the current tool and make a note of the types and duration of approved extensions and reenter the ones the person still qualifies for in a new eJAS time limit tool.  For example, if a parent is approved for a disability and an SSI extension and we are no longer requiring a parent to pursue SSI, use the eJAS tool to re-approve the disability time limit extension only.  Since the parent is still eligible for an extension, there is no need to create an eJAS denial letter for the extension(s) you closed.

      If the person isn’t already approved for another type of time limit extension follow the process in 3.7.1, Time Limit Extension Decisions, to decide whether to close the case.  That is, schedule an appointment for a time limit interview and complete the eJAS time limit tool.  If no extension is approved, you will need to add appropriate free form text from the eJAS denial letter template or the Time Limit Hardship Extensions chart including a description why the person no longer qualifies for the originally approved time limit extension. 

      3.7.2.2 What happens when the adult recipient with a time limit extension stops participating as required?

      Adult recipients with an approved time limit extension must still participate in any WorkFirst activities required in their IRP or go through the sanction process under WAC 388‑310‑1600. This includes adults who are approved for an SSI extension because s/he is required to apply for SSI in his or her IRP. As long as the adult still qualifies for a time limit extension, we pursue sanction and don’t close the case until the adult remains in sanction for two months in a row or receives the sanction case closure penalty (when there is no good cause and the parent fails to attend their NCS case staffing and home visit).  However, the adultmust participate in her or his family violence service plan to remain eligible for a family violence time limit extension.

      See the next section for information on how to process family violence extensions when the adult stops following the family violence service plan. See also the participation column on the time limit hardship extension chart for a brief description of each extension’s participation requirements. See also the Time Limit Extensions and Sanctions Chart.

      3.7.2.3 What happens when the adult recipient/ineligible parent with an approved family violence time limit extension stops participating as required in his or her family violence service plan?

      To qualify for a family violence time limit extension, the adult recipient/ineligible parent must participate in activities needed to address his or her family violence issues according to a service plan developed by a person trained in family violence. When the person stops following his or her family violence service plan, and refuses to participate, the person would no longer qualify for the extension.

      When you are notified that the person is not participating in his or her family violence service plan:

      • Schedule a good cause appointment to determine whether the person has good cause for not participating in the plan. Mirror the good cause process for ineligible parents (including adjusting activities as needed) but enter the decision in the eJAS family violence case notes, since we do not sanction non-recipients. See Ineligible Parents’ Family Violence Plans for more information.
      • Schedule and send an appointment letter for a follow up time limit extension appointment (which can be the same day, but at a different time) in case the person doesn’t have good cause and doesn’t intend to participate.
      • Use the good cause interview and the eJAS sanction tool for adult recipients to determine good cause for non-participation and place the  adult in sanction if there is no good cause.  This will support the decision that the adult didn’t have good cause should the  adult file an administrative hearing.
      • If sanctioned for failure to follow the family violence service plan, find out if the adult will participate in the future. If so, impose sanction but keep the family violence extension open.
      • If the adult recipient /ineligible parent doesn’t have good cause for failure to participate and also commit to start participating in his or her family violence service plan, use the time limit interview and the eJAS time limit tool to document the person no longer qualifies for the family violence time limit extension. Determine whether the person qualifies for another type of time limit extension, and, if not, close the case for no time limit extension.
      • If the person does not attend his or her appointments, make the determination of good cause and time limit extension eligibility based on the information you have.

      If the adult recipient /ineligible parent is closed for no time limit extension, later reapplies and now agrees to participate in his or her family violence plan, the family violence extension can be re-approved.  Adult recipients’ cases are re-opened in sanction and they would need to participate for 28 days and cure their sanction in order to get a full grant.

      If the case closes for no time limit extension (229 exceeds the time limit) and non-compliance sanction (252 NCS process) in the same month, the NCS case closure will override the time limit case closure in ACES and the adult will be required to participate for four weeks, if able, before we reopen TANF.

      3.7.2.4 How do I process the case when a time limit extension is about to expire?

      Cases with an approved time limit extension will begin to appear on the CLMR two months before the current time limit extension is slated to end. Begin the review process as quickly as possible as it may take some time for the adult recipient/ineligible parent to provide updated evidence, such as medical evidence for themselves or a disabled family member.

      You will need to:

      • Update the service plan for family violence extensions.
      • Except for SSI/SSDI ineligible parents, obtain new medical evidence for disability and SSI extensions (disabled or caring for a disabled family member) following the process in WFHB 6.6, Disabilities.
      • Contact child welfare for an update on child dependency extensions.

      Staff may use verification needed to continue an older caretaker relative, SSI parent or employment time limit extension gathered by call center staff during the person’s concurrent eligibility review (ER) or mid-certification review (MCR). For older caretaker/employment/SSI extensions, schedule the time limit interview and obtain any needed documentation that won’t be obtained during a concurrent ER/MCR following financial eligibility change and verification rules. There is no requirement to follow up and ensure a concurrent ER/MCR was done as the case will close if the person fails to meet review requirements.

      Follow the process in 3.7.1, Time Limit Extension Decisions, to decide whether to close the case or approve another time limit extension. That is, schedule an appointment, gather evidence, complete the eJAS time limit tool and translate the eJAS Time Limit Extension denial letter as needed. ACES will generate a letter to notify the adult recipient/ineligible parent of the result.

      3.7.2.5 Approved Time Limit Extensions - Step-by-step guide

      1. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent’s circumstances change so they no longer qualify for his or her current time limit extension, the WFPS/WFSSS :
        1. Determines if the person is already approved for another type of extension.  If so, they use the eJAS time limit tool to end the current extension and  re-approve any other approved time limit extension(s) through  their review date. 
        2. If the person doesn’t appear to qualify for another type of time limit extension, follow the process in 3.7.1, Time Limit Extension Decisions, to determine whether to close the case and include why the person no longer qualifies for the originally approved time limit extension on the eJAS time limit denial letter when no other extension is approved.
      2. If the adult recipient/ineligible parent stops participating as required, the WFSSS or WFPS:
        1. Follows the sanction process to determine good cause and pursue sanction, as appropriate.
        2. Schedules a time limit interview if the adult recipient/ineligible parent isn’t participating in his or her family violence service plan.
          1. Uses the good cause interview and the eJAS sanction tool to impose sanction if the adult recipient/ineligible parent doesn’t have a good reason for failure to follow the family violence service plan. For ineligible parents, use the good cause interview only, adjust activities as needed and document the results in eJAS family violence case notes.
          2. Uses the time limit interview and eJAS time limit tool to:
            1. End the family violence time limit extension if the person doesn’t have good cause and doesn't agree to start participating in his or her service plan.
            2. Determine whether the person qualifies for another type of time limit extension.
            3. Document the time limit approval or denial decision and notify the person why he or she no longer qualifies for the family violence extension on the eJAS time limit decision letter.
        3. When the current time limit extension is due to expire, the WFPS/WFSSS will:
          1. Be notified via the CLMR two months before the time limit extension is due to expire.
          2. May use a concurrent ER/MCR to gather any needed documentation for the older caretaker relative, SSI parent or employment extension.
          3. Obtain updates or required evidence for the other time limit extensions.
          4. Use the process in 3.7.1, Time Limit Extension Decisions, to determine whether to approve another time limit extension or close the case.
          5. Modify the IRP and update the family violence service plan and eJAS component codes as appropriate.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

      Forms & Other Resources

      3.9.1 Federal Participation Requirements

      The Federal Participation Requirements section includes:

      • 3.9.1.1 Overview of federal requirements
      • 3.9.1.2 When do the federal participation verification rules apply?
      • 3.9.1.3 Who documents and reports participation every month?
      • 3.9.1.4 What are the federal rules for holidays and absences?
      • 3.9.1.5 How do we treat excused and unexcused absences?
      • 3.9.1.6 What is the Work Verification Plan?

      3.9.1.1 Overview of federal requirements

      The federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) requires States to report actual hours of participation and be able to show that all reported activities were countable, supervised, documented and verified according to federal specifications. States also face new federal restrictions on the types of activities we can count towards participation.

      States must also have a system of internal controls in place by October 1, 2007 to ensure they accurately report participation data to the federal government. Washington's system of internal controls, WorkFirst Quality Assurance, is described in section 3.9.3.

      This section describes the federal participation verification requirements, when they apply and the Work Verification Plan.

      3.9.1.2 When do the federal participation verification requirements apply?

      We monitor all participation to make sure parents are following their Individual Responsibility Plan and getting the services and activities they need to progress. Under the new federal rules, however, we will need to take additional steps for unpaid core and non-core activities to document and report that the parent participated as required.

      The chart below shows the additional federal requirements for unpaid core and non-core activities.

      These requirements don't apply to paid core activities: employment, self-employment, Community Jobs, Career Jump, on-the-job training, WIA paid WEX (coded as PT or FT in eJAS) and work study. The hours of paid core activities will be collected using ACES data and verified as required under the WorkFirst eligibility rules. The average weekly hours of employment will be calculated in ACES and displayed in eJAS so every WorkFirst partner will know how many employment hours we are reporting to the federal government.

      Requirements for All WorkFirst Activities

      Additional Federal Requirements for Unpaid Core and Non-core Activities

      Set IRP requirements and record the scheduled hours of participation on the eJAS component code screen. Document, then report, how many of the scheduled hours the parent actually participated each month.
      Providers/partners monitor participation. Providers/partners must document actual hours of participation in a State-approved format on a regular basis and be able to produce the documentation upon request.
      Don't count non-job search travel time as participation.
      Activity/Job Search Logs document on and off-site job search activities.
      Providers/partners confirm the parent participated each month no later than the 10th of the following month. Providers/partners report actual hours of participation in eJAS (including non-contracted activities).
      Providers/partners excuse absences if the parent is unable to attend scheduled activities. Providers with eJAS access must document and report hours of excused absence.
      Providers/partners report unexcused absences immediately. Providers with eJAS access must also report hours of unexcused absence.
      Parents aren't asked to make up hours missed due to absences. Parents are asked to make up missed hours, as possible, by the end of the month.

      3.9.1.3 Who documents and reports participation each month?

      Each contractor or partner documents and reports participation for the activities they directly provide. Partners must obtain documentation and do the eJAS reporting for non-contracted activities as follows:

      • Community Jobs providers, for non-contracted activities they arrange to be stacked on top of a Community Job.
      • The WFPS or WFSSS, for any other non-contracted activities (such as counseling and some educational activities).
      • The employment counselor, for their short-term work experience (since their contractors do not have eJAS access).

      DSHS staff will use the eJAS WorkFirst participation verification form to document participation in non-contracted activities. These forms will not collect information about absences and school breaks, so eJAS reporting in these areas are not required.

      3.9.1.4 What are the federal rules for holidays and absences?

      DRA only allows States to report documented, actual hours of participation. At the same time, DRA created other rules to compensate for the "actual hour" rules. For example, since FLSA limits how many hours of community service and work experience States can require, DRA allows States to "deem" a parent's core activity requirement met as long as s/he participates the maximum allowable hours.

      DRA also allows States to count excused absences and holidays as participation. WorkFirst will claim the following absences and holidays towards participation:

      • All Washington State holidays.
      • Excused absences, including absences excused in observance of a parent's religious holiday.

      DRA limits the number of excused absences we can count towards participation to 10 a year, with no more than 2 absences in any given month. Many parents will likely need more excused absences than this over the course of the year.

      • Approve and report excused absences whenever parents call in as soon as they can and have a good reason for their absences.
      • Ask parents to make up excused and unexcused absences if possible.
      • Headquarters will track how many excused absences a person receives and decide whether we need to count any given excused absence towards participation. If we don't need to use the excused absence to meet the rate, we won't.

      For excused absences step-by-step, please refer to Monitoring Participation - Step by Step Guide.

      3.9.1.5 How do we treat excused and unexcused absences?

      We treat excused and unexcused absences differently. With excused absences, the determination we need to make is whether the parent is in the right activity and whether we need to negotiate a new activity. For unexcused absences, we need to follow the current good cause process to determine the reason the parent is not participating, while ensuring the parent has the opportunity to reengage quickly.

      In either case, after 2 absences, the WorkFirst partner/provider (excluding ESD) will send an immediate notification to the case worker. ESD will contact the WFPS (either by phone, email, etc) and document the contact.

      For Excused Absences, the WorkFirst partner/provider will then:

      • Keep the activity open, and
      • Contact the parent (if possible) and case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

      This allows the parent to remain in the activity while the service provider, case manager and parent have an opportunity to discuss if participation in this activity is appropriate. This is also consistent with current policy to have continuing conversations with parents and service providers to ensure parents are engaged in appropriate activities.

      For Unexcused Absences, the WorkFirst partner/provider will then:

      • Keep the activity open, and
      • Contact the parent, if possible, and case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

      This allows the parent to remain in the activity while the service provider, case manager and parent, when possible, have an opportunity to discuss whether participation in this activity is appropriate.

      If it is decided that the activity is not appropriate for the parent, the WorkFirst partner/provider will refer the parent back to DSHS.

      The Case Manager will:

      • Initiate the good cause process.

      Note: Immediate notification allows the activity to remain open and appointments to be rescheduled while notifying the case manager of the presenting issue that is being addressed.

      For how to treat excused and unexcused absences step-by-step, please refer to section 3.9.2.8 - Monitoring Participation, Step-by-Step Guide.

      For more information on how ESD treats excused and unexcused absences, please refer to section 4.1.6 - What are participation requirements? Or section 4.2.18- Career Scope Services Step-by-Step Guide.

      3.9.1.6 What is the Work Verification Plan?

      DRA requires each state to submit a Work Verification Plan describing how the State will comply with federal participation verification requirements. The plan must be approved by the federal government and amended, as needed, to reflect changes in our participation verification procedures and rules.

      Washington State's Work Verification Plan describes:

      • All the WorkFirst core and non-core activities and how we will document participation for that activity.
      • How WorkFirst will verify and project forward hours of employment for up to 6 months, including when we must re-verify hours.
      • How WorkFirst applies federal limits for time-limited core activities, infant exemptions and sanctions.
      • How WorkFirst applies the federal exemption for parents caring for a disabled family member who is not a full-time student.
      • The WorkFirst holiday and excused absence policies.
      • How we calculate the monthly FLSA maximum hours and deem additional hours towards participation.
      • The WorkFirst Quality Assurance process and internal controls to assure data accuracy.

      Federal auditors will read to the WorkFirst Work Verification Plan to determine if we are out of compliance with federal participation verification requirements. Failure to comply with our approved plan results in an up to five percent reduction in our federal block grant.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      3.9.2 Documenting and Reporting Participation

      The Documenting and Reporting Participation section includes:

      • 3.9.2.1 What is monitoring participation?
      • 3.9.2.2 What is participation and progress?
      • 3.9.2.3 Who monitors participation?
      • 3.9.2.4 What is Documenting participation?
      • 3.9.2.5 What are Contracted service requirements?
      • 3.9.2.6 What are Non-contracted service requirements?
      • 3.9.2.7 Are there requirements for individuals in "X" components?
      • 3.9.2.8 Monitoring Participation - Step-by-Step Guide

      3.9.2.1 What is monitoring participation?

      When we refer to "monitoring participation", we are talking about a monitoring and reporting system that makes sure WorkFirst parents are actively doing required activities. Monitoring individuals in their WorkFirst activities is a key element in ensuring strengthened accountability.

      WorkFirst parents benefit from this strengthened accountability because it will help them model the type of behavior that is required by employers. Close monitoring, and learning to come in or call in to scheduled activities, will help parents build transferable skills for the workplace.

      As we monitor participation, partner agencies, contractors and non-contracted service providers will be following the same basic guidelines to report attendance, participation and progress for WorkFirst parents:

      • Most parents in non-contracted activities will have the monthly WorkFirst participation verification form turned in to the WFPS or WFSSS by the 5th of each month.
      • The WFPS or WFSSS enters the WorkFirst participation information into eJAS by the 15th of each month for the previous month's activity.
      • eJAS/CATS participation and progress reports must be input by the 10th of each month.
      • Unexcused absences will be reported immediately to the WFPS or WFSSS.
      • Partners, contractors and providers must also document participation for parents in unpaid core or non-core activities. There are additional reporting requirements for these activities, as described in Section 3.9.1.2.

      3.9.2.2 What is participation and progress?

      All partners and contractors must report whether a parent is participating and progressing satisfactorily each month, as follows:

      • Partners and contractors use eJAS to report progress in basic education, high school and GED completion. They also use eJAS to report actual hours of participation for unpaid core and non-core activities.
      • Non-contracted providers report actual hours of participation and progress on the eJAS WorkFirst participation verification form (but not hours missed due to holidays or absences).
      • Any provider may also communicate issues in other ways (such as meetings, e-messaging or phone calls).

      Satisfactory participation means the individual is actively involved in doing the required activities. Satisfactory progress means that the individual is making gains, learning new skills, and becoming more employable.

      • For reports of unsatisfactory participation, the parent may be unable or unwilling to participate. The WFPS or WFSSS must determine if there is good cause for nonparticipation or start the sanction process if appropriate.
      • For reports of unsatisfactory progress, the WFPS or WFSSS determines what the individual needs to do to meet the activity requirements or whether another activity would be more appropriate.

      The WFPS and WFSSS also access eJAS ad-hoc, the Client Accountability Report (CAR) and the Caseload Management Report (CLMR) each day to track whether a parent has had an unexcused absence or has been referred back via eJAS.

      3.9.2.3 Who monitors participation?

      WFPSs or WFSSSs will monitor participation on a regular and consistent basis. If the parent is working with a contractor or partner agency, participation and progress reporting will occur electronically through eJAS. If the parent is working with a non-contracted service provider, the participation and progress information from the eJAS WorkFirst participation verification form will be input into eJAS by the WFPS or WFSSS by the 15 th of each month for the previous month's activity.

      You can find information about how partners document and report participation in the Employment Services, WorkFirst Training, LEP Pathways, Supported Work and Community Jobs sections. The remainder of this section describes how to document and report participation in contracted and non-contracted services.

      3.9.2.4 What is Documenting Participation?

      We must document excused absences and actual hours of participation for unpaid core and non-core activities. Under federal rules, we must obtain written documentation in a State-approved format, such as time sheets or attendance records, to verify the specific hours of attendance by each parent in scheduled activities. Non-contracted providers will document participation by filling out an eJAS WorkFirst participation verification each form each month.

      Partners and contractors must also document their approval of excused absences in eJAS notes. The eJAS note should describe why the parent was unable to attend his or her scheduled activity, the date of absence and the hours absent.

      The eJAS notes, time sheets, attendance records and eJAS forms become the source documents for participation reporting in eJAS. In addition, documentation must be held by the provider, contractor or partner agency for at least 30 months so it is available for state or federal audits.

      3.9.2.5 What are Contracted service requirements?

      The service provider will document the individuals' attendance in the program and report any unexcused absences within one business day to the WFPS or WFSSS via eJAS. The WFPS or WFSSS will start the good cause determination and start the sanction process, if appropriate, when a parent exceeds the allowable limit for unexcused absences.

      By the 10th of each month, contractors will report to the WFPS or WFSSS, via eJAS, to confirm the parent's progress (when required) and participation for the previous month's unpaid core or non-core activity. Participation for community jobs, career jump, on-the-job training and work study participation will be collected from ACES earnings data.

      Specifically, the contractor will report:

      • Actual hours of participation.
      • The number of hours and instances for excused absences.
      • The number of hours missed due to holidays (See List of State Holidays).
      • The number of hours of unexcused absences.
      • Progress reports are only required for basic education, high school or GED completion.

      For excused absences, contractors and partners report regularly scheduled hours missed due to excused absences, listing the date of the absence and the number of hours missed on that date. If the parent only misses part of a day, enter actual hours and excused absence hours separately in eJAS. For example, a parent is scheduled to participate for 7 hours on the 12th, but gets an excused absence for 3 hours in the afternoon for a doctor's appointment. Enter 4 actual hours of participation and 3 excused absence hours for the 12th into eJAS.

      For holidays, contractors report regularly scheduled hours missed due to state holidays. For example, a parent is scheduled to participate 5 hours per day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Everyone is given 2 days off for the Thanksgiving holiday. When reporting participation for this parent:

      • Do not report any holiday hours for the Thursday.
      • Report 5 holiday hours for the Friday (since the parent normally participates for 5 hours every Friday).

      Contractors will ask parents to make up absences if possible. Any makeup time should be reflected in the contractor's documentation and entered into eJAS under actual hours of participation.

      The WFPS or WFSSS will receive an e-message from the contractor when an individual has an unexcused absence or is referred back electronically. When this happens:

      • A magenta colored flag will appear on the contractor caseload screen for the individual in the corresponding column to indicate the WFPS or WFSSS needs to take action on the case.
      • The e-message text line will auto fill when a contractor reports an unexcused absence to the WFPS or WFSSS.
      • The contractor will complete the text box of the e-message.
      • eJAS takes the contractor to the Client Notes issue type that corresponds to the action being taken.
      • The contractor will make case notes to add any relevant comments for your future reference.
      • The magenta flag will turn to a green flag once the WFPS or WFSSS has entered notes in the Sanction/SafetyNet category, to indicate action has been taken on the case.

      Contracted providers are required to report unexcused absences immediately and participation/progress monthly. WorkFirst partner agencies will make sure that their contractors are reporting each month, and can withhold payment if this requirement is not met.

      3.9.2.6 What are Non-contracted service requirements?

      We may refer individuals to non-contracted services, such as free basic education, doctors, or various types of services from non-profit agencies. Since these providers do not have eJAS access, the WFPS or WFSSS must manually monitor participation for these cases. For unpaid core or non-core activities, the WFPS or WFSSS must also enter documented actual hours of participation into eJAS.

      A standard WorkFirst Participation Verification Form is available in eJAS for these cases. This form is the tool to be used by the WFPS or WFSSS to document the parent's progress and participation in their WorkFirst activities. The form will collect information about actual hours of participation but not ask for information about absences. For unpaid core or non-core activities, use DMS to store the form so this documentation can be made available to state and federal auditors.

      The WFPSs or WFSSSs print the form from eJAS and give or mail the form to the parent. Add to the parent 's IRP that it is the parent ' s responsibility to have the service provider complete the form and return the form to the WFPS or WFSSS by the 5th of the month. The WFPS/WFSSS enters the WorkFirst participation information into eJAS by the 15th of each month for the previous month's activity.

      The WFPS or WFSSS must ensure these forms are turned in each month. When these cases are set up, open the component code for 30 days if it is not a core or non-core activity. The IRP end date should be the anticipated end date of the entire activity. The IRP is not required to have the end date of the activity coincide with the date of the 30-day review. For not countable activities, eJAS reports will alert you that a monthly participation report is due based upon the end date of the component code. Core and non-core activities will appear on the WFPS or WFSSS Multiple Client Monthly Participation eJAS screen.

      For not countable activities, if the report confirms the individual is making progress, update the component code for another 30 days. The IRP must have the actual start and end date for the non-contracted activity so we can track how long the activity is supposed to last.

      If the individual has a medical deferment, with written documentation from a medical provider that indicates the individual is unable to perform any activities or attend any appointments for a length of time greater than 30 days, the individual is not required to provide the monthly reviews to the WFPS or WFSSS.

      Examples:

      • An individual may be on bed rest for 90 days. The medical provider confirms the individual is unable to do any activity and will not have recurring medical appointments during that time frame. The WFPS or WFSSS extends the appropriate X component code for 90 days and does not need the WorkFirst Participation Verification Form every 30 days.
      • An individual has documentation from a licensed medical provider that he/she is unable to work for a period of 90 days but will be receiving physical therapy twice per week. The component code would be established for 30 days and the WorkFirst Participation Verification Form would be required every month to verify the participation in the physical therapy appointments.

      If the WorkFirst Participation Verification Form is unclear or is missing necessary information to confirm the participation is occurring, the WFPS or WFSSS contacts the non-contracted service provider to verify the information (documenting the contact's name, title, phone number and date of contact). For countable core or non-core activities, enter zero hours into eJAS if you cannot obtain actual participation hour documentation from the provider.

      3.9.2.7 Are there requirements for individuals in "X" components?

      WorkFirst parents who are engaged in issue resolution as their WorkFirst participation must have the parent's participation reviewed every 30 days.

      When an parent is receiving services from a contracted provider, the WFPS or WFSSS will receive the monthly report electronically via eJAS. If the parent is in a countable X code, they will appear on the WFPS or WFSSS multiple client monthly participation eJAS screen. These individuals may have the "X" component code with an end date of greater than 30 days, because the reporting will occur through eJAS.

      Individuals who are in "X" component codes and receiving not countable services from a non-contracted service provider must have the component code for a maximum of 30 days, the end date of the activity will be used as the tickler to ensure the WorkFirst Participation Verification form has been received.

      3.9.2.8 Monitoring Participation - Step-by-step guide

      1. The WFPS or WFSSS refers the parent to the contractor by:
        1. Entering both the component code and contractor code on the component code screen;
        2. Building an IRP that states the agreed activity, contractor or contact information, and the scheduled number of hours;
        3. Completing the eJAS referral form and transmitting the form to the contractor; and,
        4. Entering the presumed start and end date on both the component code screen and the contractor screen.
      2. The WorkFirst contractor will:
        1. Accept or reject the referral in eJAS;
        2. Make an entry in Client Notes in eJAS to document first contact with the individual, this will auto fill the date of the entry in the first contact column on the contractor caseload screen,
        3. Enter the actual start date of the activity in eJAS;
        4. Report unexcused absences in eJAS within one business day and document this in the parent's Client Notes in eJAS;
        5. Report excused absences in eJAS and document the reason the parent was unable to attend in the parent's Client Notes in eJAS.
        6. Report regularly scheduled hours missed due to an official state holiday.
        7. Report the parent's actual hours of participation, absences, and progress in BE, HS or GE by the 10th of each month for the previous month's activities.
        8. Round participation hours up to the next ¼ (.25) hour increment. Example: parent reports for class one day for 6 hours and 10 minutes. The participation hours for that day would be 6.25 hours.
      3. The WFPS or WFSSS will:
        1. Start the good cause determination or the sanction process, whichever is appropriate, for unexcused absences or unsatisfactory participation;
        2. Determine next steps, using the case staffing process if desired, for unsatisfactory progress;
        3. Check the contractor screen in eJAS on a regular basis to make sure that all reports of unexcused absences or unsatisfactory participation/progress are responded to in a timely manner.

      How to Treat Excused and Unexcused Absences - Step-by-Step

      The WorkFirst partner or contractor will:

      Upon 2 excused or unexcused absences, send an immediate notify via eJAS to the WFPS.

      ESD will:

      Upon 2 excused or unexcused absences, contact the parent , if possible, and the case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to determine whether the activity is appropriate for the parent and discuss next steps.

      Excused Absence

      Upon receipt of the immediate notification or contact from ESD, the WFPS will:

      1. Keep the current activity open.
      2. Have a conversation with the parent, if possible, and the service provider to determine if the parent is in a correct activity and review next steps.
      3. Update IRP if needed.

      Unexcused Absence

      Upon receipt of the immediate notification or contact from ESD, the WFPS will:

      1. Keep the current activity open.
      2. Have a conversation with the parent, if possible, and the service provider or partner as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS. to determine if the parent is a correct activity and review next steps .

      If it is identified that the appropriate next step would be to refer the client back, then the component can be closed (ESD will close the component and refer the parent back). The WFPS will then:

      1. Open a PR component and ensure the activity code is closed.
      2. Initiate the good cause/sanction process, following the steps laid out in WFHB Section 3.6.1.5 , "Steps for the Sanction Case Staffing."

      eJAS Entering Excused Absences - Step-by-Step

      1. On the Client Monthly Participation Screen or Multiple Client Monthly Participation Screen, enter the date range of monthly participation.
      2. Click the link in the Excused Hours/Dates column.
        • This brings up a new pop-up screen "DSHS Excused Absences Reporting".
      3. Click in the required date box.
      4. Click on the specific calendar date to enter the date of the absence.
      5. Enter the number of excused hours missed on that date in the "Excused Hours" box.
        • Users can enter excused absence hours in ¼ hour increments.
      6. Click the "Close" button after entering the excused absence hours - this will take you back to the participation page.
        • Users will get an alert when they click the "Close" button on the excused absences page reminding them to click the update button on the participation page to save the information.
      7. Click "Update" button on the participation page to save excused dates and absences.
        • The history of excused absences is on the same "Actual Hours Transaction History" screen. To view details of the excused absences, click on the Excused Hour link from the Transaction History screen. This will open the DSHS Excused Absences Reporting page which lists date range start and end dates, the date of the excused absence(s) and the excused hours.

      Non-contracted services- Step-by-step guide

      1. The WFPS or WFSSS refers the parent to the non-contracted provider by:
        1. Entering the component code on the component code screen. Open the component for 30 days for not countable activities. The end date of the component will indicate that when a WorkFirst Participation Verification form is due (the CLMR is used to monitor these cases); or
        2. Entering an "RO" component code to refer the parent if the start date is unknown or if it is unknown whether the parent will be accepted for services;
        3. Creating an IRP with the actual start and end date of the service and requiring the parent to turn in the WorkFirst Participation Verification form each month (unless the parent has a medical deferment, with written documentation from a medical provider indicating the parent is unable to perform any activities or attend any appointments for a length of time greater than 30 days); and
        4. Completing the WorkFirst Participation Verification form in eJAS, printing the form and either handing it or mailing it to the parent.
      2. The Service Provider will be asked to:
        1. Accept or reject the referral manually; and
        2. Report the parent's participation and progress by the 5th of each month for the previous month's activities on the WorkFirst Participation Verification form.
      3. By the 15th of each month, the WFPS or WFSSS enters the WorkFirst Participation Verification information into eJAS for the previous month's activity and will:
        1. For core or non-core activities:
          1. Enter the actual hours of participation into eJAS. If this data is not made available, enter zero hours of participation into eJAS.
          2. DMS the WorkFirst Participation Verification form.
          3. Update the component code to match the IRP end date.
        2. Start the good cause determination or the sanction process, whichever is appropriate, for unsatisfactory participation;
        3. Determine next steps, using the case staffing process if desired, for unsatisfactory progress;
        4. Update the component code for another 30 days if the parent is in a not countable activity, is making satisfactory progress and it is appropriate for the parent to continue in the activity; or
        5. If the parent is in an X component code for a total of 90 days, the case needs supervisory review/approval prior to granting additional time to remain in the same component.

        Resources

        Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

        Forms & Other Resources

      3.9.3 WorkFirst Quality Assurance

      The WorkFirst Quality Assurance section includes:

      • 3.9.3.1 What is WorkFirst Quality Assurance?
      • 3.9.3.2 What are data accuracy initiatives?
      • 3.9.3.3 How will we do case reviews?
      • 3.9.3.4 What is the WorkFirst Participation Review Committee?

      3.9.3.1 What is WorkFirst Quality Assurance?

      The federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) requires States to accurately report actual hours of WorkFirst participation. States must also establish a system of internal controls to make sure they find and fix any systematic errors in the participation data they report to the federal government.

      The federal government will do its own audits as well. States that are found substantially out of compliance with meeting federal participation verification requirements may lose up to five percent of their federal block grant.

      WorkFirst Quality Assurance is a partnership effort to examine how well we are doing with implementing WorkFirst Forward and to create joint plans for any needed corrective action. The primary elements of WorkFirst Quality Assurance are:

      • Data accuracy initiatives.
      • Case record reviews.
      • WorkFirst Participation Review Committee.

      The WorkFirst partnership will also use contract monitoring, staff training and local planning area coordination meetings to identify and address areas that could lead to federal errors.

      3.9.3.2 What are data accuracy initiatives?

      Data accuracy initiatives will assess whether the data we report to the federal government is free of data input errors and omissions. The goal is to improve WorkFirst data accuracy and eliminate factors that generate errors. This proactive approach will result in fewer errors, reduce re-work and preserve federal funding.

      Data accuracy initiatives will likely change over time as we review cases and identify root causes of errors. The overall strategy includes:

      • Automating calculations and processes to reduce human error and workload.
      • Using automation to maximize participation (such as strategic use of time limits and excused absences).
      • Validating data produced by our automated systems (such as self-employment and monthly FLSA maximum calculations).
      • Identifying potential system errors.
      • Reducing data input discrepancies.
      • Auditing at a supervisory, agency and WorkFirst partnership level.

      The federal government already reviews the WorkFirst data we send them and lets us know when they find possible errors. Examples of the errors they find are incorrect marital status or parents in sanction with no grant reduction. WorkFirst Quality Assurance has set a process in place to handle these potential errors before we submit data to reduce our risk of federal penalties. This process will:

      • Send discrepancy cases to local or headquarter staff for correction.
      • Let the federal government know when there is no discrepancy.
      • Change procedures, manuals or automated systems as needed so fewer discrepancies are generated.

      3.9.3.3 How will we do case reviews?

      The DSHS Office of Quality Assurance will draw a statistically valid sample of WorkFirst cases each month and work with the WorkFirst partnership to conduct case reviews. Each WorkFirst partner who provided an activity to the family will be on point to provide supporting documentation on the case.

      WorkFirst Quality Assurance case record reviews will identify areas that, if left unaddressed, will lead to federal discrepancies. Key elements of the reviews include:

      • Were the hours countable?
      • Were the hours documented and reported correctly?
      • Did we capture all stacked activities in eJAS timely and accurately?
      • Did we follow the rules for approving excused absences?
      • Did we report school breaks correctly?
      • Did we record progress for high school equivalency and basic education?
      • Did we stay within the FLSA maximum hourly limits each month?
      • When we deemed, did the actual hours equal the monthly FLSA maximum?
      • Did we verify employment hours when required?
      • Did parents sign in on each scheduled day of job search and review their Daily Activity/Job Search Log with their employment counselor at their scheduled one-on-one coaching session?
      • Did we use the correct eJAS component codes and ACES valid values?
      • Did we enter the correct number of hours into eJAS and ACES?

      The case record review will also look at how well we are doing with meeting WorkFirst participation requirements. Not every parent is able to participate full-time all the time, but we do want to make sure staff understand how to stack activities correctly. We also want to determine causes and solutions when parents' actual participation does not match their scheduled hours of participation.

      3.9.3.4 What is the WorkFirst Participation Review Committee?

      The WorkFirst Participation Review Committee (PRC) meets monthly to review potential problem cases from the case reviews. The idea behind the PRC is that bringing together the combined expertise of partners will help identify ways in which discrepancies may be reduced.

      The PRC committee will:

      • Strengthen communication and understanding among all partners by encouraging dialog, discussion and mutual solutions.
      • Focus on short- and long-term discrepancy prevention and corrective action.
      • Identify discrepancy-prone cases, policy or automation issues and staff training needs.
      • Provide an opportunity to identify and discuss problem issues locally, regionally and statewide.
      • Allow the sharing of best practices statewide.

      The PRC will distribute case record review findings prior to each meeting. Representatives from each WorkFirst partner agency will attend the meetings, as well as information technology staff.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      Chapter 4: Career Scope Services

      4.1 Career Scope Services Overview

      The Career Scope Services Overview includes:

      • 4.1.1 What is Career Scope?
      • 4.1.2 What are Career Scope services?
      • 4.1.3 How are WorkFirst participants connected to Career Scope services?
      • 4.1.4 What is the referral process to Career Scope services?
      • 4.1.5 How long do Career Scope services last?
      • 4.1.6 What are Career Scope participation requirements?
      • 4.1.7 What are other considerations for accessing Career Scope services or other activities?
      • 4.1.8 Who provides post Career Scope services?

      4.1.1 What is Career Scope?

      Career Scope is a four phased WorkFirst employment services and career development pathway that

      • Moves beyond getting a job to helping participants move forward on a pathway towards self-sufficiency.
      • Focuses on value to the participant and meaningful engagement in activities that support skills development and employment.
      • Utilizes proven engagement and employment coaching techniques for more participant buy-in.
      • Defines ‘work ready’ to focus on those participants most ready for employment as a next step.
      • Provides individualized employment pathways to meet participants where they are – Coach Assisted, Coach Supported, and Coach Supervised work search services.
      • Shifts service delivery away from a one-size-fits-all approach to an individualized approach with flexible options for engagement.
      • Focuses on the development of ‘employment assets’ to ensure participants are fully prepared and packaged to look for work.
      • Utilizes peer to peer activities for added support.
      • Connects participants to ‘better fit’ employment (expanding sectors and demand occupations, career ladders and benefits) through targeted job development, including on-the-job training.
      • Expands skill development and online learning opportunities.
      • Utilizes strength-based employment assessments to help participants identify career pathways.
      • Focuses on long-term connections with post TANF working families through optional ongoing retention and career development services.

      4.1.2 What are Career Scope Services?

      Career Scope services are a package of structured employment activities that help participants find and keep jobs. For most participants, Career Scope services are their first WorkFirst activities and the key to their independence from public assistance. Career Scope services consist of Job Preparation and Work Search.

      1. Job Preparation: Activities to provide the skills needed to be successful in obtaining the best job possible.
        • Phase 1 – Orientation and Assessment (up to one week)
        • Phase II – Asset Development (up to two weeks)
      2. Work Search: Activities that continue to build on skills learned during job preparation with a focus on actual employer contacts.
        • Phase III – Employment Pathways (up to 9 weeks)
        • Phase IV – Workers and Careers (Post TANF Job Retention Services)

      Work Search may also include:

      Others, like LEP Pathway providers, may also provide employment services. See Pathways in the resource section below.

      4.1.3 How are WorkFirst participants connected to Career Scope services?

      DSHS case managers discuss work activity options with WorkFirst participants based on what they need in order to prepare to go to work. A Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) is conducted by DSHS case managers to determine participants' work readiness. Participants that meet the following work ready criteria may be referred to Career Scope.

      The “Work Ready Criteria” aids in ensuring participants are ready, willing and able to benefit from employment activities. Using these criteria should result in fewer Refer Backs (RB), time saved and more effective participant engagement.

      Participants referred to Career Scope services need to have:

      • A child care plan in place, with a back-up plan.
      • A reliable transportation plan or ability to get reliable transportation, including back-up transportation plan.
      • A current Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) in eJAS per the WorkFirst Handbook.
      • A picture ID and Social Security information or be able to obtain within the first 4 weeks of Career Scope.

      Participants being referred to Career Scope need to be –

      • Willing, able, and available to accept employment if offered – FT employment being the goal in helping move families toward self-sufficiency.
      • Able to -
        • participate in Career Scope FT (33 - 38 hours per week)or
        • 20 hours per week for single parents with a school aged child under the age of 6 or
        • participate in Career Scope PT (a minimum of 10 hours per week) while completing the last 4 weeks of another work readiness activity (Commerce Programs, training and/or education) or
        • participate in Career Scope PT (a minimum of 10 hours per week) while participating in barrier removal activities as outlined in their Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).

      Preferred, but not required – A high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate or be enrolled in a high school equivalency program and making satisfactory progress.

      For more on when it is appropriate to refer Community Jobs participants to job search, please refer to section 8.3.12 - Stacking CJ with part time Job Search?

      Participants who are employed and still on WorkFirst may be referred to Career Scope for services to find a full-time or better job regardless of the number of hours they can participate as long as they are meeting full-time participation and can come into the WorkSource Center as agreed to with their WFPS and listed on their IRP. ESD employment coaches will determine the services   participants need to be successful.

      4.1.4 What is the referral process to Career Scope services?

      DSHS staff refers participants to ESD Career Scope services by using the RIcomponent code. Participants need to have childcare and transportation plans in place before they enter Career Scope activities. The RI should only be opened for the actual time participants need to prepare for Career Scope services, but no more than 7 days. The RI can be extended an additional 7 days if necessary, but should only be opened for the actual time participants need to prepare for Career Scope services. DSHS workers must case manage the RI component to ensure  participants are making progress in preparing to enter Career Scope.

      (Exceptions: For Limited English Proficient (LEP) refer to Chapter 5.2 LEP Pathway or for Tribal participants, the worker enters the JS code with the contractor code, if the tribe has one, and also uses the RT indicator.)

      4.1.5 How long do Career Scope services last?

      Career Scope services last up to twelve weeks, divided into three active phases and one post TANF phase for job retention and wage progression  (Workers and Careers). DSHS staff can approve additional Career Scope services based on participation and the recommendations of ESD Career Scope coaches as part of the " Continuous Activity Planning" process.

      • The first two phases of Career Scope services are spent conducting Job Preparation activities in Phase I – Orientation, Assessment and Phase II – Asset Development. Job Preparation is planned for and conducted during the first three weeks (21 calendar days) of Career Scope services. The time spent in Job Preparation activities can be reduced or extended based on what the participant requires to prepare them to make employer contacts.
      • The second two phases of Career Scope services occurs after Job Preparation when participants begin their job search and are placed in an employment pathway (Phase III). Phase III lasts until participants reach the end of their 12 weeks, become employed or are determined inappropriate for job search and referred back to DSHS for other services. Phase IV – Workers and Careers is a voluntary post-TANF support program that can last up to one year.

      4.1.6 What are Career Scope participation requirements?

      Participants are expected to engage in activities designed to reflect a workplace-like environment in order to prepare them to interact with employers, enter employment and keep their jobs. Attendance, punctuality, participation and appropriate attire should all be considered.

      1. Each participant is required to participate:
        • Daily (if in fulltime Work Search), or
        • As directed in the IRP and agreed to with the ESD Career Scope coach (if in part time Job Search),
      2. Participants will sign in or be signed into CATS each daythey are required to report to their local office. At a minimum participants in fulltime or part time work search must physically come into the office and sign in or be signed into CATS once per calendar week (Monday – Friday).
      3. Career Scope coaches will discuss participation standards with participants after each excused or unexcused absence to improve participant's engagement in activities. The intervention (contact or attempt to contact)will be documented in eJAS notes. The Career Scope coaches will also contact (phone, email, etc.) the WFPS after each unexcused absence. This contact or attempt to contact will be entered in eJAS notes.
      4. On the day following 2 excused or 2 unexcused absences, Career Scope coaches will immediately notify the WFPS to determine if job search is the appropriate activity. If job search is determined to be the most appropriate activity, Career Scope coaches will document in eJAS notes the corrective action(s) being taken to improve participation. If participation does not improve, the steps in #5 below will be followed.
      5. After conducting a CAP, if it is apparent that Career Scope services are not the appropriate activity for a participant, Career Scope coaches will manually refer the participant back to DSHS. Whenever possible include participants in the joint evaluation process. Also, note a recommendation for alternative services following the Criteria for Decision Making . If contact with the case manager cannot be made by the second day following a second unexcused absence, and the participant continues to not engage in job search, a CAP note will be entered detailing the reason for the referral back and attempts to contact the WFPS or DSHS supervisor. Career Scope coaches will then close the activity code and enter an RB for no more than 4 days.
      6. When participants call in to be excused, they are excused from participation only for the number of hours necessary. This could be for the entire day. Career Scope coaches document excused absences in CATS or if circumstances require, excused absences will be documented in eJAS notes. This system must be foolproof in each office to ensure that not even one participant is referred back to DSHS for non-participation.
      7. Career Scope coaches will ensure all cases of non-participation and action to correct the situation are documented in eJAS notes. Career Scope coaches must make every attempt to work with participants and WFPS so an RB is not required.

      DSHS must begin the sanction process for non-participation if participants fail to participate in Career Scope services, such as being referred back for failing to phone in to be excused   2 or more times. Good cause must be determined for the reasons participants did not call in as well as the reasons why they did not participate. (For Good Cause information, refer to Handbook section 3.6 Sanctions.)

      4.1.7 What are other considerations for accessing Career Scope services or other activities?

      Participants may be referred to various "pathways" to access Career Scope services or other activities such as education and training, Community Services or Community Jobs. Referral and job search documentation procedures may differ. They may be referred to the Pregnancy to Employment Pathway or LEP Pathway. For additional information on Pregnancy to Employment Pathway see section 5.1 or the LEP Pathway in section 5.2

      4.1.8 Who provides Post Employment Career Scope services?

      Employment Security staff and/or Career Scope coaches can provide post-employment services to help participants who are employed to find full-time or better jobs. Refer to Chapter 4.2 Career Scope Services - Job Preparation/Work Search (Post Employment Services) for details.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      4.2 Job Preparation/Work Search

      (Time-limited core)

      Revised June 30, 2017

      Legal References:

      The Employment services - Job Preparation/Work Search section includes:

      • 4.2.1 What is "Job Preparation" (Phase I - Orientation/Assessment and Phase II Asset Development)?
      • 4.2.2 What activities and resources are available during Job Preparation?
      • 4.2.3 What is a Career Scope Services Determination?
      • 4.2.4 What is a Work Skill Assessment (WSA) as part of the Employment Skills Assessment/SKIES Registration?
      • 4.2.5 What is a Labor Market Research?
      • 4.2.6 What is  a Plan of Activities?
      • 4.2.7 What is Life Skills Training as part of Career Scope Services?
      • 4.2.8 What are Employment Assets?
      • 4.2.9 What is Career Scope Employment Pathways (Work Search)?
      • 4.2.10 What are the requirements for full or part time Work Search?
      • 4.2.11 What is the process for early referral back from Career Scope Services?
      • 4.2.12 How are actual hours of participation figured?
      • 4.2.13 What is Temporary Employment and how is it recorded?
      • 4.2.14 What is required to supervise (monitor), document, verify and report work search participation, and record keeping (archiving)?
      • 4.2.15 How are participants in a Family Violence situation assisted?
      • 4.2.16 What are Post Career Scope Services?
      • 4.2.17 eJAS Codes
      • 4.2.18 Career Scope Services - Step-by-step guide
      • 4.2.19 Strategies for Success Step-by-step guide: Participants enrolled in job search

      4.2.1 What is "Job Preparation"(Phase I – Orientation/Assessment and Phase II Asset Development)?

      Job preparation, the initial part of Career Scope services (Phases I and II), is intended to immediately engage participants in activities designed to help them build the skills to progress toward employment. It can last up to three weeks, and allows participants the opportunity to assess their skills and acquire the basic skills necessary to more readily make the right job match with a quality job. Job preparation provides opportunities to learn the life skills needed to deal with everyday issues that may interfere with employment. It may also include activities related to achieving an employment goal (such as attending training).

      4.2.2 What activities and resources are available during job preparation?

      1. Activities and resources that are available or completed during job preparation Phase I are:
        • Receive an employment skills assessment
        • Participate in a WorkSource and Career Scope Orientation
        • Access to a comprehensive Employment Assessment using instruments on the Work Skill Assessment Tool Matrix
        • Interpretation of completed formal and informal assessment results
        • Introduction to career exploration tools and resources
        • Learn about peer to peer mentoring activities
        • Awareness of Workers & Careers
        • Establish an email account
        • Information on the local labor market to help identify a career pathway
        • Identification of short and long-term employment goals
        • Overview and expectations of Phase II – Asset Development
        • Completion of a post-orientation Customer Service Satisfaction Survey using Survey Monkey.
      2. Activities and resources that are available or completed during job preparation Phase II – Asset Development:
        • An Employment Skills Assessment will be completed within 5 business days of entering employment services.  The results will be recorded in the ESD section of the participant’s Comprehensive Evaluation (CE).  The completion date of the Assessment and Assets as recorded on the Asset Inventory Screen will populate onto the ESD Section of the CE when checked as completed.
        • Record the assessment service in SKIES for all new or updated Employment Skills Assessments.
        • Labor market research.
        • Completion of a Plan of Activities at 7, 14 or 28 calendar days recommending -required activities. Required activities to be recorded in eJAS notes.
        • Employment Workshops and job clubs.
        • Assessment tools for career exploration and skills improvement.
        • Resource rooms, with computers, software, phone banks, SKIES and other materials to help participants find job leads and develop work search tools.
        • Referrals to other activities, including short-term Job Skill Enhancement Training (JT), Life Skills Training, Customized Job Skills Training (PE), On-The-Job Training (OT) or Work Experience (WE).
        • Completion of (5) Employment Assets (each asset is linked to the required standard): :
        • A completed Portfolio containing all Employment Assets and
          • List of 3 references
          • Cover Letter/Thank you note examples
          • Example of Labor Market Research (an occupation in demand).
        • Upon completion of each Plan of Activities, Career Scope coaches record participants’ progress and/or lack of progress/participation in eJAS notes
        • Life Skills/Soft Skills training

      On the first day of work search, Career Scope coaches, will at a minimum:

      1. Assess participants’ job readiness. If participants are not job ready, refer them back (RB) to DSHS while in the RI component after attempting to contact their case manager as outline in the Refer Back Guide. When entering the RB code, select the appropriate reason for referring them back and enter a note in eJAS detailing the reason for referring them back.
      2. If the participant meets the Work Ready Criteria:
        1. Complete  a  Plan of Activity.  
        2. Enter/record services into SKIES as appropriate.
        3. Sign them into the Customer Automated Tracking System (CATS) and set the days they will sign in or be signed into CATS if they are not required to attend every day.
        4.  Enter participants into an Employment Track in CATS. 

      Within 5 business days of participants entering Career Scope, employment coaches will:

        • With participant involvement, complete the Employment Skills Assessment Summary in the ESD Section of the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) in eJAS using the results from the Employment Skills Assessment and their initial SKIES registration.  The completion date of the Assessment and Assets as recorded on the Asset Inventory Screen will populate onto the ESD Section of the CE when checked as completed.

      Within 21 calendar days of participants entering Career Scope, employment coaches will:

      • Ensure the completion of all 5 Employment Assets.

      4.2.3 What is a Career Scope Services Determination?

      A career services determination allows Career Scope coaches to determine the appropriate level and type of services for participants in order to find the best job for which they are qualified. The services provided and activities planned will correspond to the hours of participation required in the IRP.

      Career Scope coaches will review and take into consideration the following:

      • The Individual Responsibility Plan, completed sections of the Comprehensive Evaluation, SKIES registration and the Employment Skills Assessment/Labor Market Information to build activities on the specific strengths and needs of participants;
      • The participant's:
        • Ability to demonstrate the employment assets,
        • Recent work history,
        • Current employment,
        • Length of time on WorkFirst, and
        • Number of hours required to participate.

      Career Scope coaches will:

      • Orient work ready participants one on one or in a group setting to services, expectations and requirements for participation while engaged in Career Scope services.
      • Conduct one-on-one sessions with participants as determined appropriate at 7, 14 or 28 calendar days.
      • Evaluate completion of agreed to activities from the previous week(s) and/or days listed on their  Plan of Activities (if applicable) and record progress or areas needing improvement in the participant’s eJAS notes during the scheduled session.   
      • Develop new Plan of Activities with participants for the following week(s) and/or days.
      • Use the   Plan of Activities from the previous week(s) to review and verify completed activities job search contacts and determine actual hours of participation.
      • Record actual hours for participation, verified temporary employment and excused or unexcused absence hours in CATS.
      • Provide participants a copy of their completed Plan of Activities for their records.   
      • Provide participants a copy of Plan of Activities or instructions on using the Electronic  Plan of Activities as required.
      • Set the Customer Automated Tracking System (CATS) to reflect the days participants must sign in or be signed into CATS, if not each day.
      • At a minimum, participants in work search must physically come into the office and sign in or be signed into CATS once per calendar week (Monday – Friday).
      • Schedule participants to attend a job club at least once every week (if offered).   Complete or update participants’ Employment Skills Assessment and/or SKIES registration as appropriate.
      • Determine, at any time, whether the participant would benefit more from services other than Career Scope. For example, participants who could benefit from Community Jobs services can, after coordination with the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS), be referred back (RB) to their WFPS. This can be done directly out of the Orientation/Assessment phase, the Asset Development phase or at any time during their Career Scope participation.
      • For participants that would benefit from an On the Job Training Program (OJT), close the JS component and open an OT component. Follow the OJT process in Chapter 4.3 for enrollment in an OT. Note: The start date of the OJT cannot be before the date the contract is signed. Notify the WFPS that the participant will have earnings.
      • For participants that would benefit from a Work Experience -WEX, follow the WEX process in Chapter 4.4 for enrollment in an ESD WEX.  Identify appropriate and concurrent activities that can be stacked with the ESD WEX to ensure the participant remains engaged in full time activity. The ESD WEX will not begin until stacked activities are in place to have the participant maintain fulltime participation. Close the JS component and enter a WE component. Any activity stacked with an ESD WEX will be monitored, verified and coordinated with DSHS.

      When an evaluation points to a pathway other than career scope, Career Scope coaches must have a process for "Continuous Activity Planning" (a joint evaluation) that ensures ESD, along with participants (when possible), other service providers and DSHS work together to determine the services that will benefit participants the most and help them  move toward employment. The process must include:

      Career Scope coaches:

      • Documenting their recommendation for future services using the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) "Criteria for Decision Making" document (including reasons supporting the recommendation) in the participant’s eJAS Notes.
      • Manually closing the JS component code, entering an RB code and appropriate RB reason in eJAS, if services other than Work Search, an ESD WEX or On-the-Job Training, is recommended

      DSHS staff will coordinate with participants and other providers to identify next steps for participation, update components, make necessary referrals and update IRPs.

      Optional pathways for consideration during "Continuous Activity Planning" may include, but are not limited to:

      4.2.4. What is a Work Skill Assessment (WSA) as part of the  Employment Skills Assessment/SKIES Registration?

      The Work Skill Assessment examines work history, education, job skills, and employment strength and other elements as determined from the interpretation of the results of of the Employment Skills Assessment and SKIES Registration and one or more assessment tools, if used, and in person meetings with the participant. The results of the assessment(s) are used to help define career options and opportunities with local employers.  Staff should encourage participants to use one or more of the assessment tools  listed in the ESD WorkFirst –Work Skill Assessment Tool Matrix.

      • When the   Employment Skills Assessment and the SKIES registration are completed, Career Scope coaches will complete the “Employment Skills Assessment Summary” in the ESD Section of the CE in eJAS, which includes documenting the results of the Employment Skills Assessment (Work Skills Assessment and factors that may need to be monitored to ensure success in work search. The completion date of the Assessment and Assets as recorded on the Asset Inventory Screen will populate onto the ESD Section of the CE when checked as completed.   The ESD section of the CE will be updated as necessary to provide a current understanding of the participant’s progress while in job search. Anytime the Asset Inventory in CATS is updated the Employment Plan Summary is eJAS is automatically updated as well. 

      4.2.5 What is Labor Market Research?

      Participants will be provided instruction and access to local labor market information during the completion of their Employment Skills Assessment. This information will aid in completing or updating their Short and Long Term Employment Goals, assists in job matching to make appropriate job referrals and/or referring to other services. Local labor market information can help coaches and participants:

      • Find the best possible job match
      • Make informed decisions about career choices (demand occupations)

      4.2.6 What is  a Plan of Activities?

      The  Plan of Activities is a tool that lists the participant’s required daily activities and their agreed to activities based on the career services determination results and their IRP requirements.   Career Scope coaches prepare a Plan of Activities along with participants, as appropriate, and then give a copy to participants.

      Career Scope coaches will use the  Plan of Activities to document each participant's required and agreed to daily activities and a progress report of completed activities or recommendations for other activities if work search is no longer considered appropriate in eJAS notes. During a one-on-one meeting with participants, Career Scope coaches will:

      • Ensure the activities assigned and agreed to reflect full or part-time participation as required on the Individual Responsibility Plan.
      • Complete all Plan of Activities with the participant.
      • Assign participants to workshops, job clubs, short-term job skills training, and other activities as required.
      • Help participants build their own list of activities that support meeting their goals.
      • Inform participants of their daily participation expectations, requirements and how to record completed activities listed on their Plan of Activities.
      • Provide participants a copy of their Plan of Activities.
      • Develop with participants the number and type of employer contacts they are expected to make for the period of the Plan of Activities at such time they are determined ready to begin employer contacts.
      • Evaluate participants’ participation for the assigned activities for the previous week(s) and/or days.
      •   Document in eJAS notes the areas on which to focus and areas requiring attention such as unexcused absences, not providing verification of temporary employment or not completing assigned tasks. Indicate in eJAS notes the actions that must be taken to improve participation.  Recommend other activities if work search is no longer considered appropriate. eJAS notes enable DSHS case managers to follow participant progress and/or identify future activities that may be appropriate.
      • Record on the Actual Hours screen in CATS the hours of participation, holiday hours, temporary employment hours, and excused and unexcused hours for each day.

      4.2.7 What is Life Skills Training as part of Career Scope Services?

      Life skills training as part of Career Scope prepares participants to meet the demands of everyday life and employment. Programs are locally designed and operated to maximize available resources to best serve participants within their community.

      Life skills training is:

      • Documented on the participant's Plan of Activities.
      • Not intended to completely address and resolve a family's issues. It may be an up-front introduction to help prepare participants for effective participation in activities.
      • Provided by Employment Security Department, local community colleges, or other contractors, including Community Jobs contractors. Ideally, life skills training is available for one week, or 30 hours, and participants enter training near the beginning of job preparation activities as part of employment services.
      • Not a duplicative service already being provided by the program, such as resume writing or basic skills education. Life Skills focuses on those areas that can affect a participant's ability to make good choices about participating, and ultimately, keep a job.
         

      Life Skills topics include, but aren't limited to:

      • Self-awareness
      • Attitude
      • Balancing work and personal life
      • Money management
      • Stress and anger management
      • Time management
      • Communication skills
      • Appropriate standards for dress and participation

      For independent Life Skills training, please refer to section 7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?

      For Life Skills training as part of other Job Preparation activities, please refer to section 7.3.7.

      4.2.8 What are Employment Assets?

      Activities to assist participants in achieving the employment competencies include any or all of the services available in the WorkSource Center that address the participant's specific needs and for which he or she is eligible. Career Scope coaches should:

      • Not require a participant to make employer contacts until all Employment Assets are completed. Those assets are:
      • Meet as needed with participants in one-on-one coaching sessions to assess and document in eJAS notes their progress  towards completion of the Employment Assets.
      • Document completion of Assets in SKIES by recording the appropriate service provided. Document Asset completion in CATS.
      • Determine if participants meet the checklist criteria for each competency each time they re-enter employment services by using the competency checklist as a guide.

      4.2.9 What are Career Scope Employment Pathways (Work Search)?

      Career Scope has three employment pathways to allow for a more individualized approach to work search. Engagement with participants during the Orientation and Assessment and the Asset Development phases provides coaches the information needed to determine the appropriate employment pathway (Track A, B, or C).

      Entrance into the Employment Pathway Track C  begins immediately upon acceptance into Job Search. Participants may remain in Track C or be place in a different track after completion of the Asset Development Phase. Career Scope coaches will enter participants into the appropriate employment pathway (track) based on the following guidelines:

      Employment Pathway Track A

      Participants:

      • Demonstrate excellent attendance and follow-through with assigned tasks
      • Take initiative in developing their work search skills and/or volunteer assistance in peer to peer interactions.
      • Do not rely on staff assisted services
      • Use WorkSource services on their own
      • Continue to gain employment assets

      Coaches:

      • Meet with participants for one-on-one coaching at least every 28 calendar days
      • Use techniques from engaging customers and motivational interviewing.

      Employment Pathway Track B

      Participants:

      • Demonstrate good attendance and follow-through
      • Participate effectively in individual and group activities
      • Show they can look for work independently
      • Need moderate supervision or coaching
      • Continue to gain employment assets.

      Coaches:

      • Meet with participants for one-on-one coaching at least every 14 days
      • Use techniques from engaging customers and motivational interviewing.

      Employment Pathway Track C

      Participants:

      • Demonstrate difficulties with meeting program expectations
      • Lack demonstrated motivation, confidence, or work orientation to successfully find a job
      • Need wrap around support and supervision
      • Need intensive coaching on work search activities

      Coaches:

      • Meet with participants for one-on-one coaching at least every 7 days
      • Use methods from engaging customers and motivational interviewing approaches

      Career Scope services activities, including Job Preparation, can last up to 12 weeks. Career Scope coaches will be available to provide daily supervision for all participants while in Career Scope based on their career scope services and employment pathway determination. In addition to daily supervision, Career Scope coaches will:

      • Set up a schedule to meet one-on-one as appropriate depending on the assigned employment pathway, instructing participants regarding completion of workshops, contacting employers and conducting effective work search.
      • Review the previous week's Plan of Activities to ensure participation requirements were completed. If not, document  in the participant’s eJAS notes why and what steps are being taken to meet participation requirements
      • Develop with participants  a Plan of Activities for the next week(s) and/or day(s) activities listing all required activities. Provide participants a copy of their  Plan of Activities for the appropriate time period.
      • Schedule participants to attend a job club at least once every week when the Employment Assets are completed.  
      • Provide at least one job matching referral and record job referrals in SKIES when placed in an Employment Track (Phase III).
      • Review completed Plan of Activities, provide guidance, randomly verify completed Plan of Activities and issue new Plan of Activities.  
      • Coordinate with WorkSource and other agencies to connect participants with employers through hiring events, job development and other activities.
      • Record all services provided in SKIES, and
      • Evaluate participants’ progress to determine if Career Scope is the best pathway or if other activities (such as WEX, OJT, CJ or WC) may be more appropriate

      Career Scope Participant Evaluations 

      Participants will receive an evaluation from Career Scope coaches to assess their progress and determine what subsequent activities would best help them achieve self sufficiency. These evaluations will be recorded  in eJAS notes  and take place no less than:

      • 7 calendar days during Phase I and Phase II of Career Scope.
      • 7 calendar days in Employment Pathway (Track) C
      • 14 calendar days in Employment Pathway (Track ) B
      • 28 calendar days in Employment Pathway (Track) A

      At the beginning of each participant's tenth week in Career Scope the following will take place:

      • Participants and Career Scope coaches will meet and discuss progress to date and determine subsequent activities needed to help participants become employed.
      • Career Scope coaches will document the meeting in eJAS notes to include the participant's progress to date and recommended future activities using the Decision Making Criteria.

      During the tenth week (10th week) of Career Scope services, the ESD coach, the WFPS, and the participant (when possible) as part of the continuous activity planning process, conduct an evaluation to determine the next steps. If the joint evaluation indicates additional work search is the next step, Career Scope coaches document the recommendation in eJAS on the participant notes.   , and close the JS at 12 weeks. The WFPS opens a new RI component code to refer the participant back to Career Scope services (work search). If services other than JS are recommend then the JS will be closed, an RB opened for 4 days, the appropriate reason for the RB selected, and a continuous activity note indicating the recommended next activity in accordance with the "Decision making Criteria".  

      Career Scope coaches who deem participants appropriate for OJT or WEX will, once the contract is signed, close the Job Search component and enter the appropriate component code (OT or WE). The JS component will not be closed and the WEX will not begin until stacked activities are in place to have participants maintain full-time participation. Career Scope coaches will contact their WFPS as part of the continuous activity planning process to ensure full-time participation is maintained and that the IRP is updated. For detailed information, see the OJT or WEX section of this chapter.

      4.2.10 What are the requirements for full or part time Work Search?

      Participants referred for Career Scope services need to have:

      • Child care plan in place with a back-up plan.
      • Reliable transportation plan or ability to get to reliable transportation including back-up transportation plan.
      • A current Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) in eJAS per the WorkFirst Handbook.
      • Picture ID and Social Security information or be able to obtain within the first 4 weeks of entering Career Scope.

      Participants being referred to Career Scope need to be –

      • Willing, able, and available to accept employment if offered – FT employment being the goal in helping move families toward self-sufficiency.
      • Able to -
        • participate in Career Scope FT (33 - 38 hours per week)or
        • 20 hours per week for single parents with a school aged child under the age of 6 or
        • participate in Career Scope PT (a minimum of 10 hours per week) while completing the last 4 weeks of another work readiness activity (Commerce Programs, training and/or education) or 
        • participate in Career Scope PT (no less than 10 hours per week) while participating in barrier removal activities as outlined in their Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).

      Preferred, but not required – Have a high school diploma or GED or be enrolled in a GED program and making satisfactory progress. 

      • Exception: For participants who have exited TANF and want assistance finding a better job, they are appropriate for work search as long as they can come into the office at least once a week to receive assistance. Otherwise, they can be referred to WorkSource Centers as self-directed job seekers.

      For information on when it is appropriate to refer Community Jobs participants to work search, please refer to section 8.3.12 - Stacking CJ with part time Job Search (JS)?

      4.2.11 What is the process for early referral back from Career Scope Services?

      Participants will be referred back at any time it is determined that Career Scope services are not the appropriate activity.

      Refer Back (RB) from the initial referral:

      If participants report for Career Scope services and it is determined they do not meet the Work Ready Criteria, they will be referred back (RB) from the RI component. Two attempts to contact the case manager will be made, if possible, to alert them of the RB. The RI will be closed, an RB entered, and a CAP note entered as part of the RB process: Staff will select the appropriate reason code for the RB when referring participants back: The RB reason codes are:

      • Participant Refuses to Participate (Participant states they are not going to participate)
      • Participant Unable to Participate (i.e. medical/legal)
      • Participant Has No Child Care
      • Participant Has No Transportation
      • Other CAP Outcomes

      Refer Back from Career Scope Services, Work Experience or On-the Job Training:

      Career Scope coaches will contact the participant’s WFPS to conduct a joint evaluation and  include the participant (when possible) to determine next steps. Career Scope coaches will close the JS, WE or OT; enter an "RB" in eJAS with an end date of no more than 4 days from the date entered: select the appropriate reason code for the RB, and document in eJAS CAP notes why the participant is being referred back. Career Scope coaches will enter in eJAS Notes a recommendation, as part of the "Continuous Activity Planning", for the next activity or activities, ensuring they meet the requirements of the "Decision Making Criteria". Reasons Career Scope services may not be an appropriate activity could include:

      • Participant Refuses to Participate (Participant states they are not going to participate)
      • Participant Unable to Participate (i.e. medical/legal)
      • Loss of Contact (Participant is a no call/no show and cannot be contacted)
      • Participant Has No Child Care
      • Participant Has No Transportation
      • Noncompliance/participation (Participant is not complying or participating as required)
      • Completed 12 weeks of JS
      • Other CAP outcomes

      Refer to Chapter 4.1 section 4.1.5 - What are participation requirements? - regarding referring participants back for excused or unexcused absences.

      4.2.12 How are actual hours of participation figured?

      Actual hours of participation are based on when participants start and end their Career Scope activities each day. Starting and ending Career Scope activities each day is defined as:

      Career Scope starts each day when participants begin their first work search activity, for example:

      • When participants complete an internet work search, work on their resume, an employment application, thank you letter, etc. at home or
      • When participants arrive at their WorkFirst/WorkSource Office or
      • When participants stop in route to the WorkFirst/WorkSource office, at an employer's business or an activity associated with work search.

      Career Scope ends each day when the participant ends their last work search activity, for example:

      • When participants leave their WorkFirst /WorkSource Office or
      • When participants stop at an employer's business or an activity associated with work search in route to their home as their last activity or  
      • After participants arrive at home, and complete an internet work search, work on their resumes, employment applications, thank you letters, etc.

      4.2.13 What is Temporary Employment and how is it reported?

      Temporary Employment is a paid, unsubsidized job lasting 30 days or less. Examples include temporary employment agencies (such as Manpower, Labor Ready, etc.) and casual labor (such as odd jobs for landlord, friends, and relatives) or other employers offering temporary employment.

      Temporary Employment can be part-time employment (31 hours per week or less), or full-time employment (32 hours per week or more). In either case, there is an estimated employment end date of 30 days or less and employers do not consider participants permanent full-time or part-time employees.

      Coordinate with WFPS in cases where the temporary employment lasts more than 4 consecutive days or is reoccurring each week to decide whether participants are in the appropriate component.

      Temporary employment hours for federal participation are computed from the verified employment hours entered into the ACES system.

      Verification of Temporary Employment Hours:

      Career Scope coaches will:

      NOTE: Participant self attestation about employment does not constitute verified employment.

      1. Brief participants upon entering work search on what constitutes Temporary Employment, therefore being excused from assigned work search tasks. Advise participants that if temporary employment cannot be verified within 3 business days of ending the Temporary Employment, the day(s) will be considered a "no show" and they may not be excused for temporary employment in the future.
      2. Ask participants for employer information when they call to be excused for temporary employment. Participants can bring in a Temporary Employment Verification Form, a paystub or staff can call the employer to verify employment. Information required for employment verification must include:
        • Employer's Name
        • Contact's Name
        • Contact Phone number
        • Date of the contact
        • Number of hours worked
        • Dates worked
      3. Excuse participants in CATS for Temporary Employment as "Temporary Employment Unverified" when they call to be excused for this purpose. Participants not able to provide enough detail about the employment must be reminded to provide the employment information during their next scheduled day of work search.
      4. After verifying employment, with paystubs, Temporary Employment Verification Form or by calling the employer and completing the Temporary Employment Verification Form, change the "Temporary Employment Unverified" in CATS to "Excused - Temporary Employment Verified." "Hours for Verified Employment" are not entered in CATS in Actual Hours as excused or participating hours. The hours can be entered in CATS for internal use only. DSHS will enter the employment hours into their ACES system using the historical entry of employment hour process. These hours will later be included in the participation hours reported for federal participation for the participant.
      5. If unable to verify employment, and participant does not call in to report the absence timely, leave the "Temporary Employment Unverified" as recorded and treat this time as a "no show". Enter a note in eJAS indicating what actions were taken to verify employment and that the participant was advised they were considered a "no show" on that day. Ensure participants know that if Temporary Employment cannot be verified they will be considered a "no show" and they may not be excused for temporary employment in the future.

      When recording and reporting Temporary Employment hours for federal participation, Career Scope coaches will:

      1. Use and maintain the Temporary Employment Tracking Log for participants engaged in temporary employment during a calendar month. Information recorded on theTemporary Employment Tracking Log includes:
        • Participant's Name
        • eJAS ID and Client ID
        • Temporary employment date(s)
        • Employment Date
        • Employer's Name
        • Contact's Name and phone number
        • Date of the verified and date entered in eJAS
        • Number of hours worked
        • How verified - Temporary Employment Verification Form, Phone Call, or Pay Stubs
        • Signature of verifying ESD worker

      NOTE: Do not enter the Temporary Employment information on the Temporary Employment Tracking Log until the employment hours information has been verified.

      Please make sure that the number of hours listed in the "Total Number of Hours Worked" column matches the "Employment Date(s)" column. EXAMPLE: ESD verified that the participant worked from 5/10-5/14 for 5 hours per day. The "Employment Date(s)" box for this job is marked as 5/10-5/14. Therefore the "Total Number of Hours Worked" for that row should be recorded as 25 hours (5 hours/day x 5 days worked).

      1. Ensure that the original Temporary Employment Tracking Logs are sent to the regional DSHS Hub Imaging Unit (HIU) by the 10th of the month following the employment month being recorded. DSHS will image the documents into the DMS system and record the employment hours in ACES using the historical entry of employment hours process.

      Temporary Employment Hours Verification form and logs will be retained as follows:

      Each participant's Temporary Employment Verification Form(s) will be attached to a copy of their Temporary Employment Tracking Log. These documents will be retained locally for three (3) months past the month in which the Temporary Employment occurred and then archived by sending them to the records retention center for 6 years.

      Coordinate with the WFPS in cases where the temporary employment lasts more than 4 consecutive days or is reoccurring each week to decide whether the participant is in the appropriate component.

      4.2.14 What is required to supervise (monitor), document, verify and report work search participation?

      Supervising work search participation requires:

      • Providing daily access to Career Scope coaches or other employment services workers for participants to report on progress or seek additional guidance as needed before the next regularly scheduled in-person meeting.
      • In-person contact between participants and coaches must occur as recorded on the Plan of Activity and agreed to by Career Scope coaches and participants. The next meeting date should be included in the eJAS note documenting progress.

      Required documentation of a participant's Career Scope activities consists of at a minimum:

      • Participants must sign or be signed into CATS as required so a record of attendance is maintained
      • Participants must be excused by a Career Scope coach using the CATS automated system so a record of excused absence is maintained or in eJAS notes if the date to be excused is a day the participant is not required to come in.  Documentation must be done to support any hours recorded as excused hours when reporting actual hours.
      • In situations where a participant needs to be excused and the CATS system does not provide a function to do so (i.e. participant is logged in as participating, but then becomes ill) record the excused absence in eJAS notes. Indicate the day, number of hours and why in the eJAS notes.
      • Participants are provided  a Plan of Activities outlining specific required activities for each week(s) and/or day(s) of participation in Career Scope.
      • The results of each week's Career Scope activities is recorded in the participant's  eJAS notes.
      • Participants are provided a  Plan of Activities to record activities completed during each day of participation.
      • A record of attendance at required workshops will be maintained. SKIES services screen can be used to record attendance or workshop sign in sheets.

      Required verification of participation:

      • Each office will establish a process to issue and collect  participants’ Plan of Activities at least weekly. Each submitted  Plan of Activities must be reviewed for completeness prior to being accepted.
      • Career Scope coaches will review the   Plan of Activities no less than weekly to determine activities completed in comparison to activities assigned for the week(s) and/or days on the  Plan of Activities. If assigned activities were not completed, record  in the participant's eJAS notes why not and list ways to improve participation.
      • Each office will establish a process to randomly verify activities/participation reported as completed on a participant's  Plan of Activities. Each office must randomly verify 1% of the total number of JS for the month and be able to readily identify those participants whose participation was verified.

      Recording actual hours:

      • Career Scope coaches will review the Plan of Activities no less than weekly and determine the actual hours of participation (including excused and unexcused absences and holidays) and record actual hours of participation in CATS.
      • Actual hours should be recorded in CATS at least weekly, but must be recorded no later than the 10th of the month following the month in which they occurred.

      Record Keeping:

      • Plan of Activities and other documentation used for verification of participation will be retained locally for each program quarter. Files will be retained on site for one quarter past the quarter in which they end. Files will then be sent to archives for at least a total of 6 years to meet federal retention requirements.
      • Maintain, by program quarter, a record of  Plan of Activities for which participation was randomly verified. Records will be retained on site for one quarter past the quarter in which they end. Records will then be sent to archives for at least a total of 6 years to meet federal retention requirements.

      4.2.15 How are participants in a Family Violence situation assisted?

      If participants disclose that they are working on resolving or coping with family violence and also participating in Career Scope activities, Career Scope coaches will:

      • Support participants in meeting participation requirements while considering the safety of those participants and their families.
      • Assist in developing Career Scope activities for participants that do not put them at further risk of family violence.
      • Consider and discuss with participants what other employees need to know and provide briefings accordingly. Consider what steps need to be taken to provide for the safety of the office employees and other participants.
      • Review whether or not all options for addressing the participant's specific barriers to participation in getting and keeping a job have been exhausted.
      • Outline the requirements of the program. Let participants know that there are people who can help them work through whatever emerges as they work through the program.
      • Excuse in CATS any absence that occurred because a family violence situation arose or worsened.
      • Refer participants back to the WorkFirst Program Specialist with recommendations if they  do not or cannot follow through with work search requirements and you have done all you can to assist.
      • Never record participants’ actual street address(es) in WorkFirst records if they participate in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). ESD staff must use the ACP mailing address and participant code as shown on the card in place of actual street addresses for mailing purposes and in place of an employer's name and address on employment screens. Hourly wage and other non-disclosing information may be entered and updated.
      • When participants disclose family violence, let them know you would like to record notes in the system so the case manager has access to them. Document notes under the Family Violence note type. Reassure participants that the information is viewable only by DSHS workers. If participants indicate that they do not want the information recorded, do not record it. If participants agree, assist them in making contact with the WorkFirst Program Specialist to connect with workers who may assist them in coping with or resolving family violence issues

      4.2.16 What are post Career Scope services?

      What are post Career Scope services offered by Employment Security Department?

      For participants who are employed and still in WorkFirst, Career Scope coaches will provide services to help them find full-time employment or a better job. DSHS staff should refer participants that would benefit from Career Scope services to ESD using the RI referral code. ESD staff will review the work skills assessment, complete the Evaluation section of the Comprehensive Evaluation, review the Individual Responsibility Plan and determine the level of services needed within the WorkSource Center. Participants should be able to come into the office at least once a week in order to meet with Career Scope coaches.

      Who is eligible for Post TANF Career Scope services and what are they eligible for?

      Post-TANF WorkFirst recipients are eligible to voluntarily continue working with Career Scope coaches through the Workers and Careers Program.  The Workers and Careers Program is designed to help participants keep a job or get a better job.    The program offers: 

      • On-going Career Scope coaching and support
      • Access to job skills, online learning and workshops through WorkSource
      • Referrals to training opportunities
      • Connections to community resources like food banks and utility assistance
      • Job referrals
      • Tips on making more money and moving up the career ladder
      •  Help with developing an income and resource plan.

      Participants also have the chance to mentor and help other Career Scope participants in activities like Work Connections (job club).

      4.2.17 eJAS Codes

      DSHS

      When adding ESD Career Scope activities to participants’ IRP, use the RI referral code with the number of hours they will participate in Work Search. The end date is the either the day of the appointment with ESD or the last day of the contact period (no more than 7 days). Example: The WFPS gives the participant an appointment with ESD on Monday November 9th. The end date is the 9th. The WFPS gives the client 7 days to contact ESD on November 2nd. The end date would be the 8th. These dates are automatically entered into the IRP.

      ESD

      Refer back code:

      RB (referred back early, referred back for other services, no show, completed job search without obtaining employment, non-participation)

      Job Search code:

      JS (Career Scope services which include Job Preparation, Job Search)

      Career Scope Services - On-the-Job training code:

      OT (subsidized employment in which the employer provides training to the participant that leads to fulltime employment)

      Career Scope Services - ESD Work Experience code:

      WE (placement into an unpaid activity to obtain work skills in a workplace setting). ESD does not have a contractor code.

      Career Scope Services - Skills Enhancement Training:

      JT (Training or education for job skills required by an employer to provide an individual with the ability to obtain employment or to advance or adapt to the changing demands of the workplace. This can be customized training for a specific employer or general training to prepare for employment)

      4.2.18 Career Scope Services - Step-by-step guide

      1. The DSHS worker:
        1. Opens RI (Prepare for job preparation/job search) component for 33 hours for full-time participation or 38 hour full-time job search when one parent is doing all the participation for both parents in a two-parent family and for no less than 10 hours for part-time participation. The end date on the component is either the day of the appointment or the end of the timeframe for participants to contact ESD. This date will pre-fill onto the IRP template. When participants sign or are signed into CATS, the hours on the RI component will automatically convert to the hours they are required to participate in Career Scope services (JS) each week.
        2. Develops an IRP with the participant based on the recommendations from the comprehensive evaluation that includes up to full-time participation (35 hours) in Career Scope activities.
        3. Adds Career Scope services to the IRP, and the participant's requirement to have in place childcare or transportation, if these are necessary.
        4. Case manages the RI activities to ensure that participants childcare and transportation plans in place prior to reporting for Career Scope activities.

      Exceptions:

      For Limited English Proficient (LEP) refer to Chapter 5.2 LEP Pathway or for Tribal participants, the worker enters the JS code with the contractor code, if the tribe has one, and also uses the RT indicator. Do not delete the RT delete the RT when the participant starts Work Search)

      1. Career Scope coaches:
        1. Assess participants reporting to Career Scope to ensure they meet the Work Ready Criteria. For participants who do not meet the Work Ready Criteria, attempt to contact the case manager. If attempts to contact the DSHS case manager over two days is not successful, RB the participant using the RB from the RI component selecting the appropriate reason code, and making the appropriate notes regarding the reason for refer back.
        2. Complete and/or update the Employment Skills Assessment and the registration in SKIES for all participants determined work ready within  5 business days of starting work search. Record an assessment service in SKIES.
        3. Use the Work Skills Assessment and SKIES registration information and any other factors that may need to be monitored during work search enter the results in  the Employment Skills Assessment Summary as part of the CE in eJAS. The completion date of the Assessment and Assets as recorded on the Asset Inventory Screen will populate onto the ESD Section of the CE when checked as completed.  The ESD section of the CE will be updated as necessary to provide a current understanding of the participant’s progress while in job search. Anytime the Asset Inventory in CATS is updated the Employment Plan Summary is eJAS is automatically updated as well. 
        4. Orient participants to services and participation requirements and ensure the Employment Assets are completed within 21 calendar days.
        5. Complete a Plan of Activities   with enrolled participants and assign them activities to complete during the upcoming week(s) and/or day(s) in either Job Preparation or Job Search.   Provide participants a copy of their  Plan of Activities. Document progress or areas of participation needing improvement in the  participants’ eJAS notes during the assigned one-on-one coaching appointment. In participants’  tenth week, make a recommendation for continued Career Scope services or another appropriate activity if not Career Scope. 
        6. As appropriate, instruct participants on how to record completion of their assigned activities and hours of participation on their Plan of Activities.
        7. Provide participants a Plan of Activities and require them to document activities/work search efforts on their  Plan as appropriate.
        8. Schedule participants to attend a job club at least once every week (if offered) when completed with their Employment Assets.  
        9. Conduct random verification of employment related activities and job contacts.
        10. Monitor and document participants’ participation for each week during their required one-on-one evaluation. Results are documented in  participants’ eJAS notes.
        11. Contact participant after each unexcused absence and record comments or attempts to contact in eJAS notes.
        12. Speak to participants after each excused absence to find out if a pattern of behavior is emerging or if additional services are needed so they can fully participate. After the 2nd excused absence, complete an interview with participants and use the Unexcused/Excused list in CATS to enter a note in eJAS regarding their excused absences.
        13. Notify the case manager after the 2nd excused or unexcused absence in a calendar month.
        14. Contact the case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process the day following the 2nd excused or unexcused absence in a calendar month, or anytime participants are not participating as required. If after the CAP, it is determined that Career Scope is not the appropriate activity, refer participants back to DSHS by closing the JS component and entering an RB component for up to 4 business days. Enter a CAP note.
        15. If contact with the case manager cannot be made by the second day following the second unexcused absence, and the participant continues to not show to work search, enter a CAP note detailing why the participant is being referred back, a recommendation for future activities if appropriate and the attempts to contact the case manager or a DSHS supervisor. Close the activity code and enter an RB component for no more than 4 days business days.
        16. Reviews each participant's completed  Plan of Activities and record actual hours of participation no less then weekly in CATS. Document progress or areas of participation needing improvement in the  eJAS notes.
        17. Brief participants on how to claim Temporary Employment as part of their participation requirements and:
          1. Provide participants Temporary Employment Hour Verification Forms.
          2. Excuse attendance in CATS as Temporary Employment Unverified.
          3. Coordinate with the DSHS WFPS in cases where the temporary employment lasts more than 4 consecutive days or is reoccurring each week to decide whether the participant is in the appropriate component.
          4. Verify Temporary Employment within 3 business days of the ending of the Temporary Employment. This time can be extended on a case by case basis. If not verified, the excused absence should be considered the same as a no-show and the case manager should be notified as appropriate.
          5. Upon verification, change attendance in CATS to Temporary Employment Verified.
          6. Leave the Attendance as Temporary Employment Unverified when temporary employment cannot be verified and document the situation in eJAS notes.
          7. Do not record excused hours or participation hours for temporary employment. DSHS records temporary employment hours in ACES.
          8. Complete the Temporary Employment Tracking Log for each participant at the end of each calendar month based on their Employment Hours Verification form and forward to the DSHS imaging hub for the participant's CSO no later than the 10th of the following month.
          9. Archive the original of theTemporary Employment Hours Verification Form and copy of the Temporary Employment Hours Tracking log for each participant as outline in section 4.2.14 above.
        18. Documents services in SKIES, and documents relevant participation information in eJAS and CATS.
        19. Conduct evaluations to determine the next step for participants. Document evaluations in the participant’s eJAS notes. If it is determined that services other than Career Scope would be more appropriate then as part of the "Continuous Activity Planning" process, the Career Scope coach will coordinate with the WFPS and the participant (when possible), making a recommendation for future services in the participant's eJAS notes and RB the participant back to DSHS. Select the appropriate reason code for the RB and complete the CAP note.
        20. If at any time during Career Scope it is determined that participants would benefit from being enrolled in an On-The-Job training opportunity or an ESD Work Experience position, Career Scope coaches will:
          1. OJT: close the JS and enter theOT component only after all contracts are signed and in place.
          2. WEX: close the JS and enter theWE only after all stacked activities are in place. The Career Scope coach will monitor the participant's participation in employment related activities. Appropriate partners will monitor stacked activities, if not an ESD monitored activity, to ensure fulltime participation requirements are met.
        21. Complete the Employment and Component screens in eJAS as appropriate when it is learned that participants entered employment.
        22. Remind participants about the benefits and services of the voluntary Workers and Careers Program
        23. Sign participant into CATS when referred for Post-Employment Services if they are still on TANF. Complete an employment services determination to determine the level or type of services to provide to best meet the needs of participants.
        24. Maintain the participant’s Plan of Activities and record  actual hours of participation, including verification, as required.

      4.2.19  Strategies for Success Step-by-Step Guide: Participants enrolled in job search

      1. Partners will:
        1. Ask the WFPS/WFSSS to enter the indicator code of SW with 0 hours and an end date that reflects the last date of the scheduled workshop.
        2. Sign the participant up through the ESD Trumba calendar (See SFS Trumba Desk Aid) or ask the WFPS/WFSSS to sign them up for the appropriate workshops.
      2. WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Create the SW indicator code per partner request.
          1. Start date is the date the partner requests the component
          2. Code 0 hours
          3. End date: last date of the participant’s scheduled workshop/s
        2. Confirm with partners that the enrollment on the ESD Trumba calendar is complete.
        3. Document the case actions in eJAS notes, ie, scheduled workshops.
      Note: The contracted JS provider will track and monitor these Strategies for Success participants through their existing Job Search component.
      1. The Strategies for Success instructor will provide:
        1. Supervision: Required daily supervision.
        2. Documentation:
          1. Document attendance records every week and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
          2. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
        3. Reporting:
          1. Include Strategies for Success on the participant’s Plan of Activities through their current job search reporting.
          2. Use eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS on a weekly basis.
          3. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, or fails to participate as required (See section 3.9.2.8 Monitoring Participation for monitoring and reporting).
        4. Verification:
          1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.
       

       


       

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

      Other Resources

      4.3 On the Job Training (OJT)

      (Fully countable core)

      Legal References:

      The On-the-Job Training section includes:

      • 4.3.1 What is Career Scope On The Job training?
      • 4.3.2 What are Career Scope services-OJT standards?
      • 4.3.3 How is employer participation and reimbursement determined?
      • 4.3.4 How is monitoring progress conducted?
      • 4.3.5 What are wage progression Career Scope services OJT Standards?
      • 4.3.6 What are Career Scope services OJT Limitations?
      • 4.3.7 What is release time training?
      • 4.3.8 How are records maintained?
      • 4.3.9 eJAS Codes
      • 4.3.10 Career Scope services OJT - Step-by-Step Guide

      4.3.1 What is Career Scope Services - OJT?

      On-the-Job Training (OJT) offers the opportunity for full-time subsidized employment for participant receiving cash assistance. OJTs provide skills training on site with an employer. OJTs may also be combined with formal classroom or skills training. The goal of an OJT is prepare a participant for full-time employment and transition off cash assistance.

      Full-time is defined as 32 - 40 hours a week. The WorkFirst program authorizes the creation of two types of full-time OJTs:

      1. The first allows a participant to learn new skills in a new job.
      2. The second offers wage progression by increasing skills to move a participant into a new job with the participant's existing employer or with a new employer.

      See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible. When a parent has 20 hours of unsubsidized employment (or 30 hours for a two-parent family) this will meet the core activity requirement.   For two-parent families or single parents with no children under six in this situation, consider adding non-core activities to meet the strengthened participation requirements.

      Employers eligible to participate in OJTs are:

      • Private companies or corporations
      • Non-profit companies or corporations
      • Public agencies (only if a participant cannot access their own records)

      4.3.2 What are Career Scope Services - OJT Standards?

      • WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions , and the On-The-Job Training Contract outline the requirements and limitations of the On-The-Job Training. The WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement, and the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions are agreements between a local office and a specific employer to conduct training.
      • Write the OJT contract for occupations with a high potential for sustained demand or growth.
      • Contract for wages at $12.00 an hour or more. (Offices may establish higher wage standards for their local area). There is an Exception to the Rule (ETR) process to request approval for wage starting less than $12 per hour.  An Exception to the Rule must be submitted using the ESD Rule Exception Request Form to the ESD WorkFirst Administration Unit and approved prior to starting the OJT. The exceptions to the rule are as follow:

        There are four (4) options to request an OJT ETR to approve less than $12 per hour wage. Note: Should the employer offer one or any combination of the following, the $12 per hour wage may be waived.  Those options include:

        • Employer provides medical coverage
        • Employer provides dental coverage
        • Employer provides retirement benefits 
        • Employer offers a defined career pathway with set wage increase milestones (to be included in the OJT ETR request).
      • Write all OTJ contracts for full time work. Full time work is defined as 32-40 hours a week.
      • Write OJTs for up to twelve weeks depending on time needed to learn skills
      • Reimburse an employer for up to and including 50% of the total gross wages.
      • Reimburse for regular work hours only, no holiday or vacation hours.
      • Reimburse pre-approved release hours for classroom or skills training at 50% of the initial starting wage.
      • Build all wage increases into the original OJT contract.
      • List specific occupational skills the employer will teach.
      • Meet wage progression standards (listed below- 4.3.5) for a wage progression OJT.
      • Do not write OJT contracts for occupations with other available funding sources, such as certified Nurse Aides.
      • Apprenticeship positions are not appropriate for OJTs because the apprenticeship is already a training position.
      • Meet all the standards, limitations and general conditions as outlined in the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions .
      • Obtain an approved Exception to the Rule for any exception to WorkFirst policy.
      • Start training only after the Employment Security Department (ESD) Career Scope supervisor, Career Scope coach and the employer sign the On-The-Job Training contract, the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement, and the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions,

      The Career Scope supervisor reviews the OJT contract to ensure it:

      The ESD Career Scope supervisor documents the review and justification for the contract in eJAS employment type notes.

      After the ESD Career Scope supervisor reviews and approves the contract and documents the review in eJAS employment notes, they sign the On-The-Job Training contract, the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement , and the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions. Then the Career Scope coach and employer sign each document.

      Within three business days of obtaining all signatures, send a copy of the OJT contract package to the ESD WorkFirst Administration Unit. The package contains the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master AgreementWorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions, and the OJT contract.

      When participants report their OJT earnings and hours to DSHS, their WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) records the participant's actual hours of participation by updating the ACES EARN screen.

      4.3.3 How is Employer Participation and Reimbursement Determined?

      • Determine if WorkFirst may enter into a contract with an employer.
      • Have the employer read and sign the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement , and the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions. The WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement , and the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions are agreements between a local office and a specific employer to conduct training.
      • Involve the employer in the OJT development by explaining the purpose of the OJT and the employer's training responsibilities.
      • Ensure the employer will provide sufficient supervision for the participant to learn the contracted skills.
      • Inquire about the number of subsidized workers and unsubsidized workers the employer currently employs. An employer may not receive subsidies for more than 25% or 1 in 4 of the employer's workforce. (In figuring consider all programs that may subsidize workers, such as WIA, Veteran programs or Commerce's Community Jobs program.) To contract with a company above the 25% level requires an approved Exception to the Rule (ETR).
      • Involve employers in the OJT development so they understand the purpose of the OJT and their training responsibilities.
      • Consult with both the employer and participant about progress (listed in 4.3.4.below).
      • Support all employer reimbursements with copies of time and payroll records.
      • Obtain copies of the timesheets signed by both the employer and the participant.
      • Attach copies of the time sheets and payroll records to the voucher for employer reimbursement.
      • If the OJT employer fails to pay the employee wages or the employee's paycheck fails to clear the bank due to insufficient funds, WorkFirst funds must not be used to compensate for the loss of pay. Wage issues should be taken to the Labor and Industries Wage Board.

      4.3.4 How is monitoring progress conducted?

      A Career Scope coach monitors the employee's progress regularly. A Career Scope coach visits the worksite to ensure all OJT training objectives are met and all parties remain satisfied with progress.

      • A Career Scope Coach makes on-site visits at the worksite during the 1 st , 3 rd , 7 th and 11 th week (according to the length of the OJT.)
      • Visits may be more often if the employer and the ESD Career Scope coach agree.
      • Within three working days after each visit, record an "Employment" type note in eJAS documenting at a minimum the following items:
        • Progress towards meeting the OJT goals as stated by both the employer and the participant
        • Any concerns along with solutions raised by the employer or employee
        • Reason for ending an OJT early

      4.3.5 What are wage progression Career Scope Services OJT Standards?

      Use a wage progression Career Scope services OJT when a participant has the opportunity to increase his or her earning potential. When the contract is created, the participant must still receive WorkFirst cash assistance.

      A wage progression Career Scope services OJT must meet the following conditions:

      • Allows an employed participant to exit WorkFirst cash assistance with a better job.
      • Successfully places a participant in a full-time job with increased wages and benefits
      • Places the participant with a different employer or in a new job with their current employer.
      • Provides training to obtain key job skills essential to attaining the wage progression.

      4.3.6 What are Career Scope Services OJT Limitations?

      Refer to WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Contract Terms and Conditions for a complete list of employer expectations and limitations.

      4.3.7 What is release time training?

      Release time training is classroom or skills training provided by someone other than the employer. A community college or professional organization may provide this training. Employers receive 50% reimbursement for wages during the hours a participant is in this release time training. No more than 25% of the total contracted hours may be for release time training. Support service funds may cover the cost of the release time training and for any books or related supplies needed.

      4.3.8 How are records maintained?

      Maintain the signed original WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement , WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions and On-The- Job Training Contract in the local office until one quarter after the program year ends. Then the office may archive the OJT documents for six years.

      4.3.9 eJAS Codes

      • OT (On-the-Job Training)

      4.3.10 Career Scope Services OJT - Step-by-step guide

      1. The Career Scope coach:
        1. Interviews an eligible participant who may benefit from OJT.
        2. Discusses possibility of an OJT for an eligible participant with an employer.
        3. Talks with the employer approving authority about work site standards, limitations and general conditions. Have the employer sign the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreements and WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions.
        4. Figures percentage of subsidized employees for the employer. (Listed above in 4.3.3.)
        5. Obtains an approved Exception to the Rule from ESD WorkFirst Administration Unit for any exception to WorkFirst policy.
        6. Negotiates expectations, length, content and employer reimbursement regarding the proposed OJT with the employer and employee.
        7. Determines justification for training. Document the justification in eJAS employment notes.
        8. Determines whether the prospective OJT employer is an established vendor in the automated system, and, if not completes a Statewide Payee and W-9 IRS Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form (accessible online through the Inside ESD Website eforms).
        9. Determines whether a Master Agreement Number exists and is current in JAS. If no Master Agreement Number exists, follow this procedure:
          1. Make sure you have the signed a WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreements and WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions from the employer. (See step 3 above.)
          2. Creates the Master Agreement Number in JAS. (Consult ESD WF Internal Controls chapter on On-The-Job Contracts found in CATS for the procedure).
        10. Closes the JS component.
        11. Enters the OT component code and employment information in eJAS. The OT component may be entered for a future date. The OT component dates automatically fill as the start and end date on the OJT Training contract in JAS.
        12. Creates the contract in JAS. (Consult the ESD WF Internal Controls chapter regarding On-The-Job Contracts.)
        13. Prints 4 copies of the OJT contract.
        14. Prints all vouchers for the contract period.
        15. Prints all WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Evaluation Forms for the contract period.
        16. The Career Scope supervisor reviews and then documents the review and justification for the contract in eJAS employment type notes.
        17. After the Career Scope supervisor reviews and approves the contract and also documents the review, they sign the WF On-The-Job Training contract, the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement, and the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions. Then the Career Scope coach and employer sign each document.
        18. Delivers copies of vouchers and evaluation forms to the employer along with the individual's contract.
        19. Records the service in SKIES as well as the employment information.
        20. Notifies the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) that an OJT has been created.
        21. Informs the participant to report earnings to their WFPS.
        22. Monitors the individual's performance. (see 4.3.4 above)
        23. Provides support services when necessary.
        24. For details on creating and modifying OJT contracts and creating and modifying OJT vouchers, refer to the ESD WF Internal Controls Manual.
        25. Within three business days of obtaining all signatures, sends copies of the On-The-Job Training Contract, the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master Agreement , and the WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions to ECDD, attn: WorkFirst OJT, PO Box 9046, Olympia, WA 98507-9046.
        26. Maintains the signed original WorkFirst On-The-Job Training Master AgreementWorkFirst On-The-Job Training Terms and Conditions and On-The- Job Training Contract in the local office until one quarter after the program year ends. Then the office may archive the OJT documents for six years.
      2. The WorkFirst Program Specialist:
        1. Enters the earnings in ACES.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      4.4 Work Experience (WEX)

      (Fully countable core)

      Legal References:

      The Career Scope Work Experience section includes:

      • 4.4.1 What is a Career Scope Work Experience?
      • 4.4.2 Who would benefit from a Career Scope WEX?
      • 4.4.3 What are Career Scope WEX timeframes?
      • 4.4.4 What are Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements?
      • 4.4.5 What are Career Scope WEX Work Site Standards?
      • 4.4.6 Who develops the Career Scope work site development/training agreement?
      • 4.4.7 What is the process for reviewing the Career Scope WEX assignment?
      • 4.4.8 What is required to supervise (monitor), document, verify and report WEX actual hours of participation?
      • 4.4.9 Industrial Insurance coverage
      • 4.4.10 Career Scope services WEX - Step-by-Step

      4.4.1 What is an Career Scope Work Experience?

      A Career Scope WEX is an unpaid part-time training assignment linked with job search activities. WEX offers an opportunity for participants to practice or expand their work skills in a supportive and flexible work environment. The Career Scope WEX opportunities are typically short-term activities (up to 6 weeks). The WEX assignment provides minimal supervision and should compliment the participant's career goals.

      4.4.2 Who would benefit from a Career Scope WEX?

      Participants with no significant barriers to employment and are otherwise appropriate for Career Scope activities may benefit from a short-term WEX. These participants have:

      • Arrangements for child care and transportation, and
      • Been unsuccessful in job search due to:
        • Insufficient current work history,
        • Lack of one or two job skills in a new career field,
        • Insufficient current job references or,
        • Been away from the labor market for an extended period.

      Note: Participants need only be deficient in one area above to be considered appropriate for a short term WEX.

      4.4.3 What are Career Scope WEX Timeframes?

      A Career Scope WEX assignment may be approved for up to six (6) weeks. The Career Scope coach must review the WEX assignment prior to the end of the 5th week. The review will determine how much more time is needed (up to an additional 6 weeks) for the participant to practice or expand his/her work skills to be competitive in the local labor market.

      4.4.4 What are Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements?

      According to state and federal law, participants cannot be required to engage in unpaid work for more hours than their monthly grant amount plus their monthly food stamp amount divided by the federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever is higher. Career Scope coaches will coordinate with the WFPS or as shown on the WorkFirst Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator hours block found in the WorkFirst Handbook to ensure that the number of hours a participant is scheduled to participate in the WEX meets FLSA requirements. For a detail summary on FLSA see Chapter 3.3.2.5 How To Deem

      For nonexempt two- parent families, the maximum number of work experience hours can be split between the two parents. During the development of the WEX the Career Scope coach must determine if the participant is a member of a two- parent family to ensure the WEX hours do not exceed FLSA requirements.

      4.4.5 What are Career Scope WEX Work Site Standards?

      The Career Scope coach, in coordination with the WorkSource business team (if available), will develop Career Scope Career Scope WEX placement sites.

      • Career Scope WEX sites may only be developed within an ESD state agency site:
      • During the development process, coordination efforts with other service providers such as CJ, WIA, etc., needs to occur in order to effectively utilize local community resources and employers.
      • The Career Scope WEX job site must meet the following standards, limitations and general conditions as outlined in the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms and Conditions.
        • Must provide supervision and skills training for the participant.
        • Must submit to the Career Scope coach a WorkFirst Monthly Time Report and Progress Review signed by the work experience provider and the participant at the time of the site visit conducted every two weeks.
        • Must not give the participant security or other access to WorkFirst participant information, such as in ACES, eJAS, CATS, JFS or SKIES.

      4.4.6 Who develops the Career Scope WEX Work Site Development/Training Agreement?

      The Career Scope coach will develop the Career Scope WEX training site and complete all required documentation.

      Prior to the creation of the WEX contract the Career Scope coach will use the Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator, to calculate the maximum hours a household may participate in Work Experience or unpaid Community Service.

      The Career Scope coach obtains signatures on the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement, and the WorkFirst Work Experience Training Contract Terms and Conditions, and the ESD Voluntary Enrollment Form. Then the Career Scope coach creates the JOBS Work Experience Contract in JAS/JFS. For instructions see the Internal Controls manual in CATS

      There is no expectation of transition to unsubsidized employment with the work site after completion of the work experience training agreement.

      4.4.7 What is the process for reviewing the Career Scope WEX Assignment?

      The work site supervisor must review the participant's progress at least every two weeks and complete the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form. The reviews address:

      • Actual hours in attendance or absent
      • Attitude
      • Communication skills
      • Grooming/Dress
      • Interpersonal relationships
      • Job skills progress
      • Motivation
      • Production, and
      • Punctuality

      The Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form will be obtained from the employer during the Career Scope coach's visits. Visits will be conducted every two weeks.

      4.4.8 What is required to supervise (monitor), document, verify and report Work Experience actual hours of participation?

      • Supervising WEX participation is conducted by the WEX site supervisor.
      • WorkFirst required documentation of a participant's WEX participation is a completed Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form submitted by the Work Experience site supervisor and given to the Career Scope coach every two weeks.
      • ESD required documentation of a participant’s volunteer WEX participation is a completed ESD Volunteer Enrollment form and ESD Volunteer Timesheet submitted by the Work Experience site supervisor and given to the Career Scope coach no later than the end of each month of the WEX contract.
      • Verification of participation will be accomplished by:
        • Career Scope coach will receive the Work Experience Time Report and Progress Review ensuring this form is completed and signed by the site supervisor and the participant when conducting on site visits every two weeks.
        • Career Scope coach will discuss any questions of participation with the site supervisor and the participant.
      • Recording actual hours:
        • Career Scope coach will review the Work Experience Time Report and Progress Review form, and record actual hours of participation in CATS (including excused and unexcused absences).
        • Actual hours will be record twice monthly, but no later than the 10th of the month following the month in which they occurred.
      • Record Keeping:
        • Records ( the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement , the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms & Conditions,  the JOBS Work Experience Contract, the Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator (Fair Labor Standards Act),  the ESD Voluntary Enrollment Form, and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet.
        • Local WorkFirst offices make all copies of the WEX contracts and forms stated above and keep copies in their local office for (1) full quarter past the end of the current program year then archive for 6 years.
        • Local WorkFirst offices will submit the original WEX contracts and forms stated above to the ECDD WorkFirst Administrative Unit with in 5 business days of creating the WEX contracts .The WF Administrative Unit will  keep the original WEX Contracts and forms for (1) full quarter past the end of the current program year then archive for 6 years.

      4.4.9 Who pays for Industrial Insurance Coverage? RCW 51.12.035

      State and federal law also requires a participant in work experience be covered by state industrial insurance for medical aid benefits. This coverage is sometimes referred to as L&I.

      1. Career Scope WEX sites may only be developed within an ESD state agency site only.
      2. The ECDD WorkFirst Administrative Unit will forward the ESD Volunteer Enrollment form and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet to the ESD Payroll Services-WEX Unit for Industrial Insurance processing.

      4.4.10 Career Scope WEX - Step-by-step guide

      1. The Career Scope coach will establish an ESD WEX by:
        1. Interviewing an eligible participant who would benefit from WEX.
        2. Discussing with an eligible participant the appropriate work site opportunities.
        3. Determining and coordinating the stacked activities with other service providers, i.e. college, to ensure the participant remains in full time participation prior to commencing the WEX.
        4. Determining with the WFPS or as shown on the WorkFirst Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator, monthly/weekly hours block, the number of hours the participant may participate in a WEX.
        5. Developing WEX work sites and coordinating with Community Jobs and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) providers to avoid duplication of effort.
        6. Creating a WEX Agreement to:
          1. Discuss work site standards, limitations, and general conditions with the approving authority for the work site.
          2. Negotiate an agreement with the work site provider and sign the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement , the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms & Conditions and the ESD Voluntary Enrollment Form.  
          3. State the specific job duties to reflect the skills to be learned or enhanced.
          4. Justify the Work Experience. The Career Scope supervisor must document the justification for the WEX in eJAS notes prior to signing Work Experience documents.
          5. Prior to the participant starting the Work Experience Contract all signatures must be obtained from the Career Services Coach,   the WEX participant, the Career Scope supervisor and the WEX work site supervisor. The participant may sign to acknowledge the contract.
          6. ESD is responsible to pay the L&I premium .for all Career Scope Work Experience performed for any department within the ESD agency. Arrange and submit the ESD Volunteer form and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet to the ECDD WorkFirst Admin Unit for processing.
          7. Advise the work site provider of the requirement to complete and turn in  the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet to the ESD Career Coach at each WorkFirst visit.
          8. The Career Scope coach must mail the ESD Volunteer Enrollment form  at the beginning of each WEX contract, the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review every two weeks, and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet monthly to the: Employment Security Department, ECDD WorkFirst Admin Unit., WEX Coordinator, P.O. Box 9046 , Olympia , WA 98507-9046
        7. Documenting on the eJAS Notes Screen:
          1. Work site name, location, supervisor, and supervisor's phone number.
          2. Start and end dates of WEX agreement.
          3. Days and hours of participation.
          4. Skill sets to be practiced or expanded.
          5. List all stacked activities that will ensure participant remains in full time participation.
          6. Documentation of progress and on-site visits every 2 weeks.
        8. Entering *WE on Component Screen in eJAS.
        9. Register the General Agreement in eJAS.
        10. Create the JOBS Work Experience Contract in JAS/JFS (for instructions see the Internal Control manual in CATS).
        11. Coordinating with the WFPS to update the IRP to include stacked activities with the Work Experience.
      2. The Career Scope coach will also:
        1. Accompany the eligible participant to the Work Experience training site for initial introductions.
        2. Provide employer with the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review form . This form will be returned to the Career Scope career coach during the on sites visits every two weeks.
        3. Document the participant's progress in eJAS Notes for attendance, attitude, communication skills, grooming/dress, interpersonal relationships, job skills progress, motivation, production, and punctuality after each 2 week visit.
        4. Record actual hours of participation, excused absences and other information concerning participation in CATS.
        5. Forward the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Master Agreement, the WorkFirst Work Experience (WEX) Training Contract Terms & Conditions, the JOBS Work Experience Contract, the Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator (Fair Labor Standards Act) and the ESD Voluntary Enrollment form to the ECDD WorkFirst Administrative Unit , WEX Coordinator PO BOX 9046, Olympia WA 98507-9046. within 5 business days of the WEX Contract start date. .
        6. Also forward the Work Experience Monthly Time Report and Progress Review every two weeks and the ESD Volunteer Timesheet monthly to the: Employment Security Department, ECDD WorkFirst Admin Unit., WEX Coordinator, P.O. Box 9046 , Olympia , WA 98507-9046
        7. Authorize Support Services when needed.
        8. Meet with the participant at the end of the 5th week to review the participant's overall progress, determine next steps and document as part of Continuous Activity Planner :
          1. If the participant is ready to resume job search or
          2. If other activities would be more appropriate.
        9. Modify the WEX Agreement as needed to include:
          1. Extending the period of time in the agreement
          2. Extending the WE on the Component Screen
          3. Coordination with the WFPS to continue stacked activities for fulltime participation.
      3. The WorkFirst Program Specialist will:
        1. Update the IRP to include the stacked activities.
        2. Enter new component codes for stacked activities
      4. The ECDD WorkFirst Unit will:
        1. Date stamp the WEX contract forms and documentation when received.
        2. Verify all documents for the correct information including the WorkFirst Work Experience/Community Service FLSA Calculator for the correct hours per the Fair Labor Standards Act.
        3. Make copies of the ESD Volunteer Enrollment forms and the ESD Volunteer Time Report to include in the WEX file and document the date when forwarding the originals to the ESD Payroll Services-WEX Unit for the Industrial Insurance processing.
        4. Monitor WEX contract to ensure timelines are kept.

      *(Note: The WE component is also used for internships and practicum. For more on internships and practicum see Section 7.5).

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      Chapter 5: Pathways to Employment

      5.1 Pregnancy to Employment

      Revised October 19, 2017

      (Infant Exemption)

      Legal References:

      The Pregnancy to Employment section includes:

      • 5.1.1 What is Pregnancy to Employment?
      • 5.1.2 Who must participate in Pregnancy to Employment?
      • 5.1.3 What is a Pregnancy to Employment full comprehensive assessment?
      • 5.1.4 What is a partial Pregnancy to Employment assessment?
      • 5.1.5 When to conduct a full vs. a partial Pregnancy to Employment assessment?
      • 5.1.6 What additional assessments are required?
      • 5.1.7 How is the participant identified in eJAS once they enter Pregnancy to Employment?
      • 5.1.8 What are the participation requirements during the first and second trimester?
      • 5.1.9 What are the participation requirements during the third trimester?
      • 5.1.10 What are the participation requirements after the child is born?
      • 5.1.11 What is the "infant exemption" and "infant exemption extension"?
      • 5.1.12 How is the participant identified in eJAS once they choose to claim the infant exemption or infant exemption extension?
      • 5.1.13 What is the "12-week postpartum exemption period"?
      • 5.1.14 How is the participant identified in eJAS once s/he chooses to claim the "12-week postpartum exemption period"?
      • 5.1.15 What are the Pregnancy to Employment participation options and requirements?
      • 5.1.16 What is WorkFirst Family Literacy?
      • 5.1.17 What is First Steps?
      • 5.1.18 Can a participant in Pregnancy to Employment be sanctioned?
      • 5.1.19 eJAS Codes
      • 5.1.20 Pregnancy to Employment - Step-by-step guide

      5.1.1 What is Pregnancy to Employment?

      Pregnancy to Employment (P to E) provides a way for participants to:

      • Build a healthy family relationship,
      • Prepare them for engagement in WorkFirst activities while assuring the family's medical and other needs are addressed, and
      • Become self-sufficient.

      The goal of P to E is to provide services that allow participants to learn how to work, look for work or prepare for work while still meeting the family's needs. Each participant in P to E must participate in an assessment with the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) to decide which activities best meet the participant's needs. The activities required will depend on:

      • The results of the assessment,
      • Where the participant is in her pregnancy or the age of the child, and
      • Services available in the community.

      5.1.2 Who must participate in Pregnancy to Employment?

      Every pregnant woman or parent(s) receiving TANF/SFA with a child under the age of two years is a mandatory participant in P to E. In a two-parent household, both parents are participants and must receive an assessment by a WFSSS.

      Note:  Schedule an assessment using an ACES General Appointment Letter (50-05), the eJAS appointment letter, or in the IRP.

      5.1.3 What is a Pregnancy to Employment full comprehensive assessment?

      The full comprehensive assessment helps to identify family needs and determine which WorkFirst services are appropriate, as available within the community. In order to complete a full comprehensive assessment, the WFSSS must discuss and document all issue areas in the eJAS assessment tool.

      Based on the results of the full assessment and any other available information (i.e. Children's Administration, Equal Access, medical reports, etc.) the WFSSS or WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) works with the participant to develop an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) to participate in activities that:

      • Offer a combination of services that help to resolve the issues and at the same time prepares the participant for work, and
      • Provide a base from which the participant can start building and adding on activities that will help lead to self-sufficiency.

      NOTE: Use the DSHS 14-012 Consent to Exchange Information for Services Coordination when exchanging highly protected (special records) information with another service provider.

      5.1.4 What is a partial P to E assessment?

      A partial assessment includes a minimum requirement to identify if the family's circumstances have changed and the family's needs require the department to address any potential issues such as mental health, chemical dependency, etc.

      To fulfill partial assessment minimum requirements, the WFSSS must cover the following:

      • Who is in the household besides the mother and child under two?
      • What type of family support is available?
      • Assess for all of the following:
        • Family Violence.
        • Family Planning.
        • First Steps.
        • Chemical Dependency.
        • Mental Health.
        • Child and adult health needs.
        • Documentation of involvement with WIC, prenatal care provider or pediatrician.
        • Activities the parent can engage in.

      5.1.5 When to conduct a full vs. partial P to E assessment?

      WorkFirst staff must schedule all P to E assessments within 30 days of the referral.

      A participant must complete a full comprehensive assessment when the department first becomes aware they are:

      • Pregnant or
      • Parenting a child under the age of two.

      NOTE: Don't require the other parent in a 2-parent household to complete a full assessment or any assessment before the baby is born.

      A partial P to E assessment requirement applies to:

      • Both parents when they report the birth of the child, or
      • The parent choosing the infant exemption, infant exemption extension, or 12-week postpartum exemption that doesn't have a full nor partial completed assessment since the birth of the child, or
      • The other parent if added to the grant after the birth of the child.

      NOTE: The WFSSS may require a partial assessment at any time if information received indicates there are mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.

      5.1.6 What additional assessments are required?

      If mental health or chemical dependency is identified in the P to E assessment, the WFSSS/WFPS will refer the parent to a professional for an in-depth assessment to support the initial identification.

      • Persons with an identified need for mental health will be referred to a professional for medical corroboratory evidence to determine whether the parent needs mental health services.
      • Persons with an identified need for chemical dependency will be referred to a Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) for a chemical dependency assessment to determine whether the parent needs chemical dependency treatment.

      Persons with an identified need for mental health and chemical dependency will be referred to the appropriate professional for more in-depth evaluations.

      5.1.7 How is the participant identified in eJAS once they enter Pregnancy to Employment?

      PI (Pregnancy/Child under two) is the indicator component code used to identify P to E participants on the Component Screen in eJAS.

      The PI indicator code allows staff to track and monitor all of their P to E participants. The PI component is NOT an activity; it is an identifier. Another component, such as GE or XP, should always go with the PI component, unless the parent/caregiver is is not required to participate, or is choosing not to participate, because they are:

      • In their third trimester of pregnancy,
      • Choosing the Infant Exemption or Infant Exemption Extension, or,
      • The non-participating parent in a two-parent household.

      WF Staff should enter the PI component with zero hours for a maximum of 21 months. You may want to use the length of the component as a tickler for the pathway milestones.  Note: Staff will need to create a new PI component to capture months more than 21.

      For example, a participant reports a pregnancy with an estimated due date. The WFSSS or WFPS may then set the end date of the PI code to coincide with the date the participant will enter the third trimester, the date the baby is due or every three months until the date the baby reaches two years of age.

      If there is a future estimated due date on the eJAS Client Demographic screen and no active PI component on the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen, the WFPS or WFSSS will receive a pop-up message notifying a PI component is needed.

      5.1.8 What are the participation requirements during the first and second trimester?

      In the first and second trimester of pregnancy, participation is based upon the results of the comprehensive assessment and may include work, looking for work or a combination of pregnancy to employment services. A pregnant woman is required to participate full-time during the first two trimesters of pregnancy unless they have a good reason to participate fewer hours.

      5.1.9 What are the participation requirements during the third trimester?

      The third trimester of pregnancy starts 90 days before the estimated due date.  For example, if the estimated due date is 7/14, the third trimester starts on 4/15.  Please use the Defining 3rd Trimester Tip Sheet to determine the start date of the third trimester.

      In the third trimester of pregnancy, participation for the pregnant woman is based upon the results of the full comprehensive assessment and the parent may:

      • Be required to participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or an assessment indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment (unless medical evidence indicates that parent is not able to participate in any activity), or
      • In Parental Education Project pilot sites only, be required to participate up to 20 hours per week in parental education if the comprehensive evaluation or specialized pilot site assessment indicates a need for parental education or parent skills training, or
      • Participate in the WorkFirst program on a voluntary basis if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues, or
      • Choose to not participate in WorkFirst activities until delivery date if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.

      If a mental health or chemical dependency professional indicates that a parent should do more than 20 hours per week of treatment, we should encourage the parent to participate in the number of hours recommended; however, we can only require 20 hours per week of participation. If she refuses to participate in required available treatment, follow the good cause process.  Indicate the appropriate participation status on the "Component/IRP Information Screen" by selecting if the parent is:

      • Required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment;
      • Required to participate in parental education or parent skills training in Parental Education Project pilot sites only;
      • Volunteering to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or
      • Exempt from participating.

      Note:  See section 3.6.2.4 before lifting a sanction in the third trimester.

      5.1.10 What are the participation requirements after the child is born?

      After the child is born, the participant(s) receiving TANF cash assistance:

      • Must, at minimum, complete a partial assessment with a WFSSS to assess the participant(s) needs for continued services when the child is born or prior to choosing the infant exemption, infant exemption extension, or postpartum exemption if no assessment has been completed since the child was born.
      • May choose to take the infant exemption or postpartum exemption and not participate in WorkFirst activities until the child reaches the age of two years (only one parent living in the household can claim this exemption at any given time).
      • May volunteer to fully participate in WorkFirst activities (see WAC 388-310-0300).
      • May choose to take the 12-week postpartum exemption period if the participant used all of their 24-month lifetime infant exemption and infant exemption extension and chooses not to participate in WorkFirst activities until the child reaches 12 weeks of age.
      • Must participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment (unless medical evidence indicates that participant isn't able to participate in any activity).
      • Must participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for parental education or parent skills training in Parental Education Project pilot sites only.

      If a participant qualifies for the infant exemption, infant exemption extension, or postpartum exemption, has no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues per the comprehensive evaluation or P to E assessment(s) and chooses to participate in WorkFirst activities the department won't pursue sanction if we learn they are no longer participating as required in their IRP.

      Take the following steps when the participant stops participating:

      • Send the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter giving the parent 10-day notice that we plan to put them into Infant Exemption or Infant Exemption Extension status.
      • If the participant contacts their worker within the 10 days and wants to continue participating, update the IRP as needed and don't enter the IE or TE component.
      • If the participant doesn't contact you:
        • Close the activity(ies) at the end of the 10-day period, and
        • Enter the infant exemption (IE) for families with a child 0-12 months old, until (whichever comes first):
          • The child's first birthday,
          • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
          • 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
        • Enter the infant exemption extension (TE) for families with a child 13-24 months old, until (whichever comes first):
          • The child's second birthday,
          • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
          • 730 days if the total number of days in the IE or TE has exceeded 365.

      Staff must also document in eJAS "Pregnancy/Parenting" notes the period of time the participant is taking the infant exemption or infant exemption extension and that they provided the letter.

      Note:

      If the participant stops participating in required mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment, start the good cause process whether or not the participant is using the IE or TE.  If the participant chose to use their IE or TE and enters sanction, they continue using their exemption. 

      If a mental health or chemical dependency professional indicates that a participant should do more than 20 hours per week of treatment, encourage the participant to participate in the number of hours recommended; however, we can only REQUIRE 20 hours per week of participation.

      5.1.11 What is the "infant exemption" and "infant exemption extension"?

      Participants can choose to be excused from participating in WorkFirst activities during months that they are needed in the home to personally provide care for their child(ren) under two years of age. Participants have a personal responsibility to decide whether to choose the infant exemption or infant exemption extension. The exemption isn’t automatic; participants must choose to claim the exemption.

      The infant exemption and infant exemption extension options serve as a safety net to allow parents to be in the home with their child for the early stages of development while still having WorkFirst opportunities available. Encouraging voluntary WorkFirst participation is important since the exemption doesn’t stop the 60-month TANF time limit clock.

      When offering either exemption, staff must remind the participant of the benefits of participating in WorkFirst activities, such as:

      • Employment and training opportunities,
      • Enhancement of skills,
      • Support services and childcare.

      All rules of the Infant Exemption (IE) apply to the Infant Exemption Extension with the exception of age requirements and the lifetime limit.

      • The Infant Exemption – Exemption from WorkFirst activities for participants with a child under the age of one (0-12 months old).
      • The Infant Exemption Extension – Exemption from WorkFirst activities for participants with a child between the age of one and two (13-24 months old). 
      • Use of the Infant Exemption and/or Infant Exemption Extension can’t exceed 24-months (730 days) in a participant’s lifetime on TANF.
      • The extension of the infant exemption to children under the age of two changes the way we code them in eJAS:
        • IE - Infant Exemption for a child 0-12 months
        • TE - Infant Exemption for a child 13-24 months  
      • Any combination of the IE and TE can be used for up to 24 months (or 730 days), but only one exemption can be used at any given time. If a household has multiple children under the age of two, use the infant exemption or infant exemption extension for the youngest child.

      Only the custodial parent(s) can claim the infant exemption or infant exemption extension; needy relatives/caregivers aren’t eligible for this exemption unless they have legally been given parental rights.

      Unmarried Parenting minors can choose to take the IE for up to 12 weeks after the birth of the child.  After the 12 weeks, they are subject to the school attendance requirement for unmarried parenting minors. 

      Only one participant living in the household with a child under two years old (even if there are two infants/toddlers in the household) can claim the exemption at any given time, for a maximum of 24 months in a lifetime, not to exceed 730 days. (Note:  Participants can use this exemption for one or more children.) Participants choosing to use the infant exemption or infant exemption extension may:

      • Be required to participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment, or
      • Be required to participate up to 20 hours per week if the comprehensive evaluation or assessment indicates a need for parental education or parent skills training in Parental Education Project pilot sites only, or
      • Participate in the WorkFirst program on a voluntary basis if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.
      • Choose not to participate in WorkFirst activities for a set period of time or until the child turns two years of age if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues.

      Remind the participant that they can only claim the infant exemption/exemption extension for 24 months (730 days) in a lifetime.  Then tell the participant what their required participation will be if they DO claim the infant exemption, and if they do NOT claim the exemption.  This will give the participant the information they need to decide whether or not to claim the exemption.  

      Upon 365 days in either exemption (or combination of the two), WorkFirst staff must schedule an Annual Comprehensive Evaluation update appointment for the participant to review their situation and determine if they need any additional services.  WorkFirst staff may require a new Pregnancy to Employment Assessment at this time if deemed necessary. 

      Example One: The assessment indicates a need for three hours a week of chemical dependency treatment.  You explain that the treatment is required and if she doesn’t want to claim the exemption she will be required to do an additional 17 hours of another approved activity.  She decides to use the infant exemption.  Code the required treatment hours and infant exemption, and track her treatment participation.  
      Example Two: The assessment indicates a need for two hours a week of mental health treatment. Based on her medical evidence, CE and assessment, she is unable to do anything but the mental health treatment for at least the next six months.  You explain that her participation requirement will be the same, whether or not she uses her infant exemption.  She decides she doesn’t want to use her infant exemption.  You code the treatment and track her participation, but don’t code an IE.   
      Example Three: Based on the CE and assessment, there are no mental health,  chemical dependency  or other barriers and the parent is working five hours per week. You explain that if she doesn’t use her infant exemption, she will be required to participate in other activities to bring her up to 20 hours per week.  She decides to use her infant exemption and will voluntarily keep working.  You code her infant exemption and her work hours. We can provide support services and child care because her employment increases her self-sufficiency.
      Example Four: This is a two-parent household.  Based on the CE, assessment and medical evidence, the father is exempt due to a disability and the mother has no barriers.  You explain that only one parent can claim the exemption, the father won’t be required to participate (whether or not he claims an infant exemption) and the mother will need to participate at least 35 hours per week if she doesn’t claim the infant exemption.  The mother decides to use her infant exemption so she can care for her husband and newborn.  You code the father with an XB and the mother with an IE.
      Example Five: Sarah applies in September.  She opts for the infant exemption extension as she has a child age 13 months (TE) and only uses three months of the exemption. She reapplies in June and now has a newborn child.  Sarah wants to opt for the infant exemption for her newborn (IE) even though there are two qualifying children in the home. Once the newborn turns 9 months old, Sarah exhausts 365 days between the Infant Exemption and Infant Exemption Extension.  Her WFPS mails an engagement appointment. Sarah has no mandatory requirements and wants to continue providing care for her infant.  Sarah continues taking the Infant Exemption for her newborn (IE) through his first birthday.  Once he turns one, close the IE component and open the TE component.

       

      It is essential to document in the eJAS “Pregnancy/Parenting” note type whether a participant chooses either exemption. If the participant chooses the infant exemption or infant exemption extension, document the period of time the participant is choosing to take it.

      The department will contact a participant choosing either exemption who isn’t engaged in any other WorkFirst activities once every three months to:

      • Offer available services and/or referrals.
      • Remind them that they can choose to end the exemption and engage in WorkFirst activities at any time.

      The three-month contact may be either by a letter or telephone. (WorkFirst staff must document the contact in eJAS and update the IRP, if necessary.)

      5.1.12 How is the participant identified in eJAS once they choose to claim the infant exemption or infant exemption extension?

      Component code IE will identify participants who are choosing the infant exemption for a child age 0-12 months and the TE to identify participants who are choosing the infant exemption for a child age 13-24 months. The component codes are:

      • For DSHS staff use only
      • Not able to generate support services
      • ONLY for parents who choose to use their exemption
      • Time limited (not to exceed 24 months)

      Don't use this code for any other reason. Using this code for any other reason will make a participant's exemption count inaccurate.

      eJAS will track and display the total number of days a participant uses their infant exemption in the "Number of days in IE" field on the Component/Contractor/IRP Update screen.

      When opening the IE or TE component, the WFPS or WFSSS will be required to indicate the appropriate participation status for participant's choosing to take the exemption on the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field by indicating if the participant is:

      • Required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment;
      • Volunteering to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or
      • Exempt from participating (choosing not to participate in any activities).

      Staff will:

      • Use the eJAS component IE to identify the infant exemption period for a child age 0-12 months.
      • Use the eJAS component TE to identify the infant exemption period for a child age 13-24 months.
      • After entering the IE or TE code, select the participation status.
      • Document the period of time a participant wants to take the infant exemption in eJAS notes under the "Pregnancy to Employment" note type.
      • Enter the IE or TE start date as the date the participant notifies the department that s/he wants to claim either infant exemption.
      • Enter the infant exemption (IE) end date for families with a child 0-12 months old, until (whichever comes first):
        • The child’s first birthday,
        • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
        • 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
      • Enter the infant exemption extension (TE) end date for families with a child 13-24 months old, until (whichever comes first):
        • The child’s second birthday,
        • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
        • 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
      • Use the Caseload Management Report (CLMR) and/or ad hoc report to monitor these cases.
      • Encourage participation in WorkFirst activities during this time-limited opportunity.

      Note:

      WorkFirst participants may choose to use their infant exemption or infant exemption extension when needed in the home to personally provide care for their child under two years of age whether they are receiving TANF for that child or not.

      If the child under two years old isn't on the TANF assistance unit, add the child as a non-member.  ACES will then let eJAS know that the participant has a child under two years old in the home, and eJAS will allow you to code the IE or TE.

      5.1.13 What is the 12-week postpartum exemption period?

      Participants who have already claimed the infant exemption or infant exemption extension (or a combination of the two) for a maximum of 730 days can request an additional 12-week postpartum exemption period (84 days) if they have another child. This period allows participants to spend time with the newborn before they must participate in WorkFirst activities.

      A participant can participate in the WorkFirst program on a voluntary basis during this period if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues. If a participant qualifies for a postpartum exemption period, has no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues per the P to E assessment(s) and chooses to participate in WorkFirst activities the department will not pursue sanction if we learn that a participant is no longer participating as required in the IRP.

      Take the following steps when the participant stops participating:

      • Send the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter giving the parent 10-day notice that we plan to put them into the 12-week postpartum exemption period status.
      • If the participant contacts their worker within the 10 days and wants continue participating, update the IRP as needed and don't enter the IE or TE.
      • If the participant doesn't contact you:
        • Close the activity(ies) at the end of the 10-day period, and
        • Enter the postpartum exemption period (PD) until the child turns 12 weeks of age (not to exceed 84 days).

      Staff must also document in eJAS "Pregnancy/Parenting" notes the period of time the participant is taking the PD and that the letter was provided.

      If the comprehensive evaluation or other assessment(s) indicates a need for mental health and/or alcohol or drug treatment the participant must participate up to 20 hours per week.

      A participant may choose to not participate in WorkFirst activities for a set period of time or until the child turns 12-weeks of age if there are no identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues. Only one parent living in the household can claim this 12-week postpartum exemption, not to exceed 84 days, at any given time.

      5.1.14 How is the participant identified in eJAS once s/he chooses to claim the 12-week postpartum exemption period?

      Component code PD will be used to identify participants who choose to take the 12-week postpartum exemption period. This indicator component code is:

      • For DSHS staff use only.
      • Not able to generate support services.
      • ONLY to be used for participants who have exhausted their infant exemption and infant exemption extension and choose to use their 12-week postpartum exemption period.
      • Time limited (not to exceed 84 days).

      When opening the PD component, the WFPS or WFSSS will be required to indicate the appropriate participation status for participant's choosing to take the PD on the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field by indicating if the participant is:

      • Required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment;
      • Volunteering to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or
      • Exempt from participating (choosing not to participate in any activities).

      Staff will:

      • Use the eJAS component PD to identify the 12-week postpartum exemption period.
      • After entering the PD indicator code, select the participant's participation status.
      • Document the period of time a participant wants to take the 12-week postpartum exemption period in eJAS notes under the "Pregnancy to Employment" note type.
      • Enter the PD start date as the date the participant notifies the department that they wants to claim the 12-week postpartum exemption period and an end date of the elected 12-week postpartum exemption period, not to exceed 84 days.
      • Use the Caseload Management Report (CLMR) and/or ad hoc report to monitor these cases.

      Encourage WorkFirst activities as the 12-week postpartum exemption period is limited to 84 days for each child after they have exhausted their infant exemption and infant exemption extension.

      5.1.15 What are the Pregnancy to Employment participation options and requirements?

      A parent's IRP and activities should reflect a steady progression towards work, looking for work, or preparing for work, as well as having a healthy and thriving child. P to E activities may include linking parents to:

      • Parenting education or parenting skills training
      • Safe and appropriate child care,
      • How to obtain good health care,
      • Life Skills classes with parenting components,
      • Mental health treatment,
      • Chemical dependency treatment,
      • Family violence services,
      • Education and training, or
      • Employment services.

      Staff must continue to engage parents in WorkFirst activities that will move them most effectively toward self-sufficiency.

      The Pregnancy to Employment Participation and Coding Quick Guide, also located in the Forms & Other Resources section, details participation requirements while the woman is pregnant and after the child is born.

      5.1.16 What is WorkFirst Family Literacy?

      Known in some locations as Families That Work, WorkFirst Literacy Skills Center, etc. (check your local college or CBO WorkFirst Delivery Agreement (WFDA) for Education and Training). Parents will receive instruction in the basic skills they need to join the workforce, improve their child raising skills, and break family cycles of illiteracy. Parents served by WorkFirst Family Literacy are current WorkFirst recipients.

      The goal for WorkFirst Family Literacy parents is an economically stable and literate family, with outcomes that include:

      • Basic literacy and job preparation skills;
      • Work activity for some parents or paid employment for others;
      • Wage and skill progression for working parents;
      • Family management and parenting skills; and
      • Learning success for all children in the family.

      Parents participating in WorkFirst Family Literacy programs follow the same model for quantifying participation, as do our participants in other training programs. To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the parent is in the education and training activities, to include classes, labs, and supervised study halls/tutoring sessions. The college or community based organization will notify the WorkFirst case manager of the appropriate eJAS component code to use.

      NOTE: Life Skills training is a countable activity for participation and Parent Education is not, though it may be an appropriate activity for the parent depending on his/her situation.

      Parents in the WorkFirst Family Literacy program will be doing a combination of the following types of allowable activities:

      • ABE/ESL taught in the context of work skills that will lead to a job;
      • Family management/parenting skills (time management, fiscal management, communication among family members, the impact of work on family life/child behavior);
      • Age appropriate education for children while the parent is involved in work and education; and,
      • Parent and child activities that help children gain the literacy skills they need to succeed in school.
      • Involvement of the parent in their child's education.

      Parents are involved in work activities at the level appropriate to their skills and their IRPs. These can include volunteer experiences, WorkFirst Work-Study, Community Jobs, etc.

      • In addition to Family Literacy funded by WorkFirst, the State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) through the Adult Basic Education Office funds Family Literacy at community colleges in 3 locations across the state. Each provider works with community partners like DSHS WFPS's and WFSSS's, Head Start and ECEAP directors, WorkSource Center staff, and First Steps case managers.

      5.1.17 What is First Steps?

      The First Steps Program is designed to provide additional health care, enhanced services and case management to Washington Apple Health eligible women and infants. This program seeks to reduce maternal and infant illness and death, as well as increase access to maternity and infant care for low-income families.

      First Steps services include, but are not limited to:

      • Prenatal Health Care
      • WIC
      • Pediatric Care
      • Family Planning
      • Childbirth Education
      • Lactation Consultation
      • WithinReach website (formally Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies)
      • Local community resources specific to individual needs, e.g. Domestic Violence hotline, educational resources, Crisis Clinic, mental health resources, car seats, food bank, CPR training resources, childcare, transportation, interpreter services, disability services, and the Tobacco quit line
      • Referral for Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA) services

      The WFSSS should provide all pregnant women with information regarding the services available through the First Steps program as follows:

      • If a pregnant woman reports she is not active on Washington Apple Health (WAH) Medicaid, refer to www.wahealthplanfinder.org to apply for pregnancy medical. The Health Care Authority (HCA) will generate a monthly list for Fist Steps providers capturing all newly identified pregnant women on Medicaid.
      • If a woman already has health insurance and reports she is pregnant, let her know she can access First Steps by contacting the Within Reach Family Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

      For additional information about the First Steps program visit the Social Services Manual by clicking here.

      5.1.18 Can a participant in Pregnancy to Employment be sanctioned?

      Participants in P to E may enter sanction for:

      • Refusing to participate in an assessment with the WFSSS to identify family needs and determine what WorkFirst services are appropriate, or
      • Not participating in other WorkFirst activities. (See 3.6.1 Sanction)

      When a parent enters sanction for refusing to complete an assessment and they didn't choose the infant exemption or infant exemption extension, do not code the IE or TE with the sanction. 

      When a participant enters sanction for refusing to complete an assessment, and then completes an assessment:

      • Lift the sanction the first of the following month, if not required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment, and if choosing the infant exemption or infant exemption extension;
      • Leave the participant in sanction until they participate for 4 consecutive weeks, if the assessment requires participation in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment; or
      • Continue the sanction until they participate for 4 consecutive weeks, if not choosing either exemption.

      Note:  When the parent is at the end of their exemption period and you schedule a next steps appointment, you can't sanction the parent for not attending the appointment during the parent’s exemption period. 

      5.1.19 eJAS codes

      The following eJAS codes are commonly used for WorkFirst individuals engaged in P to E:

      • RO is used to refer cases to the WFSSS and to require mental health assessments
      • PI (pregnancy/child under two) is an indicator for all participating in P to E
      • PD (postpartum exemption period) is an indicator to identify participants using the 12-week postpartum exemption period
      • IE (infant exemption) is an indicator to identify participants using their infant exemption for a child under the age of one
      • TE (toddler exemption) is an indicator to identify participants using their infant exemption extension for a child between one and two years old
      • XP is used for actual hours each week spent learning parenting skills, taking nutrition classes, choosing child care
      • XC is used for actual hours each week that no appropriate child care is available – or no appropriate care for an incapacitated adult

      In addition to the PI identifier code, indicate the WorkFirst participation by using the appropriate eJAS codes on the component code screen as needed, to the actual hours of time spent in activities (such as XF for family violence resolution or JS for job search). It is important for tracking program progress to show the different components the participant is in.

      5.1.20 Pregnancy to Employment - Step-by-step guide

      1. The WFPS:
        1. Completes the Comprehensive Evaluation and chooses the appropriate pathway(s):
          • Issue Resolution pathway if a P to E assessment is required,
          • 3rd trimester of pregnancy Deferral pathway if she is in her 3rd trimester,
          • Infant Exemption pathway if the participant has a child  under the age of one (0-12 months old), or
          • Infant Exemption Extension if the parent has a child between one and two years old (13-24 months).

      Note: The Infant Exemption and Infant Exemption Extension (or a combination of the two) can't be used for more than 730 days in a participant's lifetime on TANF.

      1. Refers all pregnant women and parents of children age two and younger to a WFSSS for an assessment using the appropriate eJAS codes:
        1. RO for a P to E assessment when:
          1. The department becomes aware a woman is pregnant or parenting a child under the age of two.
          2. The participant chooses the Infant Exemption or Infant Exemption Extension and hasn't completed an assessment since the child's birth.
        2. PI indicator to identify the participant in P to E. (Enter eJAS notes in the Pregnancy/Parenting category prior to entering the PI code indicating the parent is a Pregnancy to Employment participant).

      NOTE: On the Customer Accountability Report (CAR), participants in stand-alone PI will display in Participation Not Required (State Only) section. However, participants coded PI with other components will display in the section of the report determined appropriate based on their level of participation. For example, a participant is coded PI and 20 hours per week in PT. The participant will show in section 6 - Participation Below Full Time at WorkFirst Standard.

      1. The WFSSS:
        1. Completes a full or partial assessment, using the eJAS assessment or the DSHS 14-433(X), Intensive Services Assessment. WFSSSs may also draw upon assessments from other agencies. However, if the eJAS assessment is not used and the DSHS 14-433(X), or another assessment form is used, all the same eJAS assessment topics should be covered and documented in eJAS. The WFSSS should assess all areas relevant to the participant and review any other available information.
        2. Uses the assessment to identify the participant's strengths, barriers, issues and needs. Also the assessment needs to identify what activities a participant is able to do and the maximum number of participation hours including stacking activities so they participate to the fullest of their abilities. The WFSSS makes decisions about which cases have barriers or issues that could benefit from continuing case management by the WFSSS until those issues are resolved. Other cases may be referred back to the WFPS for case management.
        3. Makes appropriate referrals, based on the assessment and the completed CE.
        4. Works with the WFPS, participant and other service providers (as appropriate) to build an IRP as required that addresses the participant's and child's needs as identified in the full or partial assessment or comprehensive evaluation.
        5. Enters (if not already entered) the PI code on the eJAS Component Screen with the accompanying component when required.
      2. Either the WFSSS or WFPS - whomever is case managing the case:
        1. Updates the IRP if participating in WorkFirst activities,
        2. Monitors/reviews on a monthly basis for attendance and progress if participating in WorkFirst activities,
        3. Doesn't pursue sanction if the participant is no longer participating as required in the IRP if they qualify for an IE, TE or PD, don't have identified mental health and/or chemical dependency issues per the P to E assessment(s) and chooses to participate in WorkFirst activities. The following steps will be taken when the participant stops participating:
          • Send the Pregnancy to Employment Infant Exemption letter giving the participant 10-day notice that we plan to put them into Infant Exemption status.
          • Update the IRP as needed and don't enter the IE or TE if the participant contacts their worker within the 10 days and wants to continue participating.
          • Close the activity(ies) at the end of the 10-day period, and enter the infant exemption (IE for a child 0-12 months or TE for a child 13-24 months) if the parent doesn't contact you, until:
            • The child's first or second birthday,
            • 365 days (including a combination of IE and TE), or
            • 730 days if the total number of days in IE or TE has exceeded 365.
        4. After entering the IE or TE code, enter the appropriate participation status in the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status" field.
        5. If taking either exemption and not required to participate in mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment, makes follow-up contact (via office interview, phone, letter or home visit) with the participant at least every three months to re-evaluate the participant's/child's needs to ensure that they are receiving the services they need.
        6. At each 3-month contact, the assigned worker will offer services, resources, and remind the participant that s/he can choose to end the exemption and fully participate in the WorkFirst program.
          • If the participant chooses to end their exemption, update the IRP to reflect any changes in their activity ensuring the IRP and activity reflect a steady progression towards work, looking for work, or preparing for work.
        7. If taking the postpartum exemption period, enter the PD code for the time the participant is choosing to claim this exemption up to 12 weeks.
        8. After entering the PD code, enter the appropriate participation status in the "Pregnancy to Employment Participation Status Required" field.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      5.2 Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway

      Created on: 
      Mar 01 2017

      Revised on: March 1, 2017

      Legal References:

      The Limited English Proficiency Pathway section includes:

      • 5.2.1 What is the LEP Pathway?
      • 5.2.2 Who needs LEP Pathway services?
      • 5.2.3 Who are RCA recipients and what are their participation requirements?
      • 5.2.4 Who are PRUCOL and what are their participation requirements?
      • 5.2.5 What is the Comprehensive Evaluation process for LEP parents?
      • 5.2.6 What are LEP Pathway participation activities?
      • 5.2.7 Can LEP parents/caregivers participate in non-LEP Pathway activities?
      • 5.2.8 When should LEP parents/caregivers be placed into a Community Service or Work Experience?
      • 5.2.9 What Job Skills Training and Customized Job Skills Training are provided through the LEP Pathway?
      • 5.2.10 When is it appropriate to code ESL as "JT" in eJAS?
      • 5.2.11 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL?
      • 5.2.12 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL when a parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO?
      • 5.2.13 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
      • 5.2.14 Who provides LEP Pathway services?
      • 5.2.15 LEP Pathway Step-by-Step Guide

      5.2.1 What is the LEP Pathway?

      The Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway provides specialized culturally appropriate services to refugees and other WorkFirst parents with limited English proficiency. The goal of the LEP Pathway is to increase parents' employability and self-sufficiency.

      Key features of the Pathway are:

      • Use of bilingual and culturally appropriate services.
      • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction
      • Specialized employment services such as job readiness training, skills training and job placement assistance, work experience and community service.

      All LEP parents must be screened for Equal Access (EA) services and family violence.

      5.2.2 Who needs LEP Pathway services?

      Anyone who is receiving cash assistance and has difficulty understanding or communicating in English should be referred to the LEP Pathway. This includes:

      • An LEP parent with ESL Level 1 through 6 who is identified by college staff or an employment contractor as needing specialized assistance to participate.
      • Individuals receiving Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) or Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA).

      5.2.3 Who are RCA recipients and what are their participation requirements?

      RCA recipients are single individuals or childless couples who meet program income and resource requirements, and whose immigration status allows them to access cash assistance. RCA recipients are required to meet work and training requirements and can be served through the LEP Pathway to meet this requirement. See WAC 388-400-0030 , 388-466-0120 388-466-0005 , 388-466-0150.

      Individuals receiving RCA can receive cash and medical benefits for ONLY 8 months and need immediate intensive job search and job placement assistance. RCA individuals:

      • Are referred to LEP Pathway contractor as soon as possible,
      • Are not required to have an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP),
      • Must have an Employability Plan (EP) developed for them,
      • Must participate in job search activities.

      Work participation components for RCA recipients cannot currently be entered in eJAS. LEP Pathway contractors track their participation and progress monthly by documenting in the individual case files.

      5.2.4 Who are PRUCOL and what are their participation requirements?

      The acronym PRUCOL means Permanently Residing Under Color of Law. PRUCOL is not an alien status; it is a term used to define the eligibility of certain aliens for public benefits. PRUCOL includes any alien without official United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) status who is residing and intends to reside in the U.S. indefinitely and the USCIS knows they are residing in the U.S. but does not take steps to enforce their departure. Examples of PRUCOL may include:

      • Applicants for asylum.
      • Suspension of deportation granted.
      • Voluntary departure granted.

      For additional information see WAC 388-424-0001 and Eligibility A-Z Manual, Citizenship and Alien Status.

      Some parents in PRUCOL status do not have work authorization and should not be referred to an employment provider. They are:

      • Excluded from work participation requirements.
      • Exempt from CE after completion of foundation section.
      • Referred to LEP Pathway for ESL instruction only if their English skills are limited.
      • May be referred to legal services for assistance to adjust their immigration status.
      • May be referred for participation in appropriate activities that do not require them to have Social Security Number (SSN) or work authorization (e.g. basic education and high school equivalency completion) to prepare for job search and employment later when they receive their work authorization.

      To identify PRUCOL cases in eJAS add a PU component code to the eJAS component screen and refer to additional services as needed.

      5.2.5 What is the CE process for LEP parents?

      WorkFirst parents who are identified as LEP are required to complete the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) and are referred to the LEP employment pathway for bilingual and culturally appropriate services.

      5.2.6 What are LEP Pathway participation activities?

      The LEP Pathway offers several participation options for parents to enhance their skills and employability. Core activities are countable toward the federal TANF participation rate; however, some core activities are time-limited. Non-core activities can only be countable toward the federal TANF participation rate if they are stacked with a 20 hour per week countable core activity. See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible.

      • FT participation can be met with standalone Pathway activities, Job Search (JS), Customized Job Skills Training (PE) or up to the monthly FLSA maximum Work Experience (WE), or Community Service (XS) within 30 days of their referral to the LEP Pathway employment contract.
      • Or by ESL instruction (JT) and Job Skills Training (JT) stacked with other WorkFirst core activities.

      The LEP Pathway program includes:

      • “Core” activities:
        • Unsubsidized employment (FT, PT)
        • Job Search (JS) (time limited to 12 weeks)
        • Customized Job Skills Training (PE) (time limited to 12 months)
        • Community Service (XS)
        • Work Experience (WE)
      • “Non-core: Activities:
        • Job Skills Training (JT) is countable if stacked with 20 hrs of core activities.
        • ESL (JT) is countable if stacked with 20 hrs of core activities. See 5.2.10 for detailed explanation.
        • ESL (ES) is not countable towards participation.

      Parents participating in the LEP pathway should:

      • Start their pathway participation activities within 30 days after approval for TANF/RCA assistance, if able.
      • Have full-time (35-40 hours a week) participation in Job Search (JS), Customized Job Skills Training (PE) or up to the monthly FLSA maximum Work Experience (WE) or Community Service (XS) within 30 days of their referral to the LEP Pathway employment contractor.
      • ESL instruction (JT) and Job Skills Training (JT) may be stacked with other WorkFirst core activities.
      • If at any time during participation, a job becomes available and has been offered to the parent, it is his/her responsibility to accept it, unless there is a good reason to refuse the job. For definitions of "good reason" see WAC 388-310-1600.
      • When a person is able, but refuses without good cause to accept a job, a sanction penalty is imposed following the Good Cause process.
      • Regular case staffing(s) are encouraged to review participation and progress.
      • Anyone with an EA plan may need more time in the component activity and fewer participation hours to accommodate their additional needs.
      • Parents who meet participation requirements are eligible for WorkFirst support services. For more information, see WAC 388-310-0800 .

      Those who are working full time and are still eligible for TANF cash assistance should be encouraged, but not required, to enroll in educational activities along with their employment.

      5.2.7 Can LEP parents participate/caregivers in non-LEP Pathway activities?

      WorkFirst LEP parents/caregivers can participate in activities outside the LEP pathway. The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or Refugee Social Service Specialist (RSW) must follow the referral process as outlined in the appropriate WorkFirst chapter in those cases.

      The following core activities are examples:

      • Community Jobs - CJ (Note: Some Commerce providers offer LEP CJ)
      • On-the-job Training - OT
      • Vocational Education - VE
      • High Wage High Demand Training - HW
      • High School completion or High School equivalency (age 19 or younger) - HS

      Non-core activities used to stack with core activities, are also great opportunities when a participant doesn't need ESL. These activities can include:

      • High School completion (age 20 or older) - BE
      • High School equivalency (age 20 or older) - GE

      The non-LEP pathway contractor or agency must report these activities, and the WFPS/RSW must review them.

      5.2.8 When should LEP parents be placed into a Community Service or Work Experience?

      Community Service is a structured unpaid work activity in which LEP TANF parents work for the direct benefit of the community under the support of a public or non-profit organization. It is a core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as XS on the eJAS component code screen.

      Parents may be determined to be best suited for Community Service if they:

      • Have little or no work experience in the U.S. and placement in this activity will provide the skills needed to be successful in the workplace.
      • Need to participate in a core work activity so their participation in a non-core work activity will count towards the WorkFirst participation rate.
      • Need additional core countable hours to meet minimum WorkFirst participation requirements;
      • Need to participate in a work activity pending start up of another activity (e.g. waiting for classes to begin, breaks between classes, etc.).

      Work Experience (WEX) is a structured unpaid work activity, which offers an opportunity for parents to practice or expand their work skills in a supportive and flexible work environment in a public or non-profit organization. It is a core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as WE on the eJAS component code screen.

      Parents may be determined to be best suited for a WEX if they:

      • Need time to acquire job skills needed for work and need minimal case management to be successful on the worksite.
      • Have work experience, but need additional experience to become competitive in the labor market.
      • Need to participate in a core work activity so their participation in a non-core work activity will count towards the WorkFirst participation rate; and/or
      • Need additional core countable hours to meet minimum WorkFirst participation requirements.

      A Bilingual Site Supervisor can be assigned at the Community Service or WEX worksite to provide supervision and bilingual support to the parent, assisting in developing the skills, insights and attitudes that enhance the parent’s ability to advance toward eventual employment.

      5.2.9 What Job Skills Training and Customized Job Skills Training are provided through the LEP Pathway?

      Job skills training is a short term training that lasts up to seven weeks and enhances participant’s employability by providing instructions and teaching specific skills that are marketable to employers. This service is a non-core activity that must be stacked with a 20 hrs core activity to meet federal participation rate. It is coded as JT on the eJAS component code screen.

      Customized Job Skills Training (CJST), formerly known as pre-employment training, is a 8-22 week training program that is customized for specific employers or tied to a specific industry. CJSTs must include industry-specific training and be tied to jobs with good labor market demand. It is a time-limited core activity that counts towards the federal participation rate and is coded as PE on the eJAS component code screen.

      5.2.10 When it is appropriate to code “JT” in eJAS?

      ESL service is provided for parents with ESL levels 1-6 to assist them to gain language skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment. CASAS and ORIA approved assessment tools are used to determine a parent’s ESL level and language skill gains, as defined by the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

      • Use the JT eJAS component code for ESL that is stacked with core activities and indicate in the parent's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) that ESL is a skill needed for employment.
      • ESL instruction may also be provided as a stand-alone activity until the parent's English proficiency is sufficient to participate in core activities. Use the ES eJAS component code for ESL that is not stacked with a core activity.

      5.2.11 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL?

      Only classes with an expectation of homework equal to or greater than the scheduled class hours may be eligible for claiming unsupervised homework hours. We can claim up to one hour of unsupervised homework time for each hour of actual class time attended. If there is no homework expectation, we cannot claim homework hours.

      Community or technical college contractors will use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to determine and document the total number of hours per week the parent will be participating, including: scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours. A copy of the completed WorkFirst Calculator Tool will be kept in the parent's file. Community or technical college contractors will combine the parent's actual attended hours with the allowable homework hours from the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to report via eJAS by the 10th of each month for the previous month as total participation hours.

      Community Based Organization (CBO) contractors will use the Educational and Homework Requirements Worksheet (EHRW) to document scheduled class hours and the homework expectation for the class. Contractors must keep a copy of the EHRW form in the parent's case file. To claim homework hours, CBO contractors will double the parent's actual attendance hours to report via eJAS by the 10th of each month for the previous month.

      5.2.12 How do we claim unsupervised homework hours for ESL when the parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO?

      In the event that the parent drops out or is referred back to the CSO before completing his/her ESL class, one hour of homework time can be claimed for each actual class time hour attended by the parent if the homework expectation hours are equal to or greater than the scheduled class hours. This applies to community or technical college and CBO contractors.

      For example, if a parent is scheduled to go to class for 12 hours a week for three months and he/she drops out or is referred back to the CSO after only two weeks of ESL class, with 18 hours of total class time attendance, then 36 total participation hours may be claimed for the parent (18 attendance hours plus 18 unsupervised homework hours).

      5.2.13 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?

      After two excused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/contractor will:

      • Send an immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW,
      • Keep the activity open, and
      • Contact the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

      Unexcused Absences

      After two unexcused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/contractor will:

      • Send an immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW to initiate the good cause/sanction process,
      • Keep the activity open, and
      • Contact the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.

      For more on how to treat excused and unexcused absences, please refer to section 3.9.1.5.

      5.2.14 Who provides LEP Pathway services?

      LEP Pathway contractors are contracted through the DSHS Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (ORIA) to provide ESL instruction and employment services to refugees and TANF parents. They:

      • Conduct/arrange CASAS test and ORIA approved assessment tools to determine a parent’s ESL proficiency level (LEP Pathway ESL Competency Levels).
      • Document the ESL Level and the date of the test in eJAS Demographics Screen.
      • Determine employability and develop an Employment Plan (EP) with full-time (35-40 hours a week) participation.
      • Consult with the DSHS WFPS/RSW to change/finalize the parent's IRP.
      • Provide/arrange necessary and culturally appropriate WorkFirst employment services. Provide/arrange ESL instruction, if needed.
      • Communicate the parent's employment status to the Community Services Office (CSO), document scheduled attendance, actual participating hours and any other changes on a monthly basis in the eJAS.

      For a complete list of contracted LEP Pathway contractors by region, and their current eJAS contractor codes please see the LEP Pathway Contractors list.

      5.2.15 LEP Pathway - Step-by-step guide

      1. After eligibility is established and public assistance is approved, the WFPS/RSW:
        1. Completes the eJAS Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) (See section 3.2- Comprehensive Evaluation for more information on the CE).
        2. Provides family planning and family violence information in the parent's primary language and makes necessary referrals.
        3. Refers the parent to RSW/Social Service Specialist (SW) for intensive services if there are barriers to participation or an emergent issue(s). The RSW/SW will determine whether the parent needs EA/NSA services and appropriate activities.
        4. After completing the CE chooses the LEP Pathway and refers the parent to the LEP Pathway contractor, if there are no barriers, for ESL level testing and creation of an Employment Plan:
          1. Enters LP and ES components with 0 participation hours for 10 business days. ES component is used to indicate a referral to the employment contractor for ESL testing and creation of the employment plan.
          2. Enters the LEP Pathway contractor code to both the LP and ES components by clicking on the "Add a Contractor" link above the components. (For help with Contractor code click the question mark "?" or use the LEP Pathway Contractors List.) The ES contractor code is opened to allow the contractor electronic access to the case in eJAS. The LP contractor code is opened to allow the WFPS/RSW to create the initial IRP.
          3. Creates an IRP from the LP component for ESL testing and completion of EP with chosen contractor.
          4. Creates/completes a referral to the contractor with
            • Contractor's agency name and code
            • Contact person name and phone number
            • Referral type - Participation
            • Parent's primary language
            • Description of expected specific activities (ESL testing, recommendations for EP) in Comments section
            • Signed Authorization for Release of Information on file
          5. EMessages the referral to the contractor,
          6. Prints the referral for the parent and explains that it is parent's responsibility to contact the contractor.
        5. If the LEP parent is a returner, asks if he/she is already working with a contractor. If yes, generates a referral to this contractor and continues working with the case as usual. When referring the participating parent to a different contractor, notifies the previous contractor immediately.
      2. The LEP Pathway contractor:
        1. Accepts the ES component by entering the date when the referral is accepted.
        2. Makes all efforts to contact the parent as soon as possible to make an appointment.
        3. Reviews the results of the CE and meets with the parent for a face-to-face interview.
        4. Conducts/arranges for the CASAS language testing.
        5. Enters the ESL level and CASAS test date on the Client Demographic Screen and in the Client Notes.
        6. If the ESL level is 1 through 6:
          1. Reviews together with the parent his/her previous education, training, work history, skills and occupational goals to determine appropriate activities.
          2. Discusses WorkFirst participation requirements with the parent and develops a written Employment Plan.
          3. Completes the eJAS Client Notes and eMessages to WFPS/RSW information about the first meeting, recommends employment activities, and explains why they may be beneficial. Indicates if any of the following activities are recommended:
            • ESL instructions only
            • ESL instructions when combined with other activities as a skill needed for employment
            • Skills Enhancement training when meeting the 20 hour core participation
            • Customized Job Skills Training
            • Community Service
            • Work Experience
            • Job Search
            • Other non-LEP Pathway employment services deemed necessary (i.e. Vocational Education, Community Jobs, etc.)
        7. Rejects the ES component by referring back the parent to the CSO within ten business days if no contact was made (face-to-face meeting with the parent) by the tenth business day.
      3. The WFPS/RSW:
        1. Discusses the proposed participation activities with LEP Pathway contractor to reach an agreement;
        2. Extends the LP indicator code on the Active Component Screen for the duration of the LEP Pathway services in addition to opened participation components;
        3. Finalizes the IRP and enters the activity components with the scheduled hours of participation and the contractor's 3 digit code;
        4. Uses the following eJAS component codes for ESL instructions:
          • JT if the ESL is stacked with a core activity
          • ES if the ESL is recommended as a stand-alone activity
      4. The LEP Pathway contractor:
        1. Works with WFPS/RSW to discuss and finalize the suggested activities. Makes sure that the parent is a part of the decision making process.
        2. Modifies the Employment Plan as needed and schedules the parent for full-time (35 to 40 hours a week) WorkFirst activities using the stacking activities as needed.
        3. Enters the date the parent began participating in WorkFirst activities in Actual Start Date column of Contractor Caseload Screen.
        4. Documents parent's actual participating hours by keeping daily attendance/timesheets. Documents excused absences in eJAS and states the reason for absence in eJAS Notes. (Although not specifically stated in WAC, cultural holidays may be considered an excused absence.)
        5. Reports actual participation hours monthly on the eJAS Contractor Caseload and Multiple Clients Monthly Participation screens by the 10th of the following month for the previous month's activities.
        6. Reports in eJAS any issues identified. Attempts to resolve the issue with the parent and involves the WFPS/RSW immediately when unable to resolve or if the issues are affecting the parent's ability to participate.
        7. Sends immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW within 1 business day after a parent has 2 excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month by using the "Immediate Notify" column in the Contractor Caseload screen, and keeps the activity open. (Refer to section 5.2.13- What steps do you take when a parent is absent?)
        8. Contacts the parent and WFPS/RSW to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the client back to DSHS.
        9. Sends immediate notification to the WFPS/RSW when a parent is unable to participate for the scheduled number of hours. Initiates conversation with WFPS/RSW and parent about whether the activity is appropriate.
        10. Updates LEP Update Section in the Comprehensive Evaluation.
        11. Monitors employed parents for a minimum of 90 days following job placement.
      5. The WFPS/RSW:
        1. Continues to monitor the LEP Pathway case.
        2. Addresses any rejected referrals.
        3. Refer parents with ESL level 5 and 6 to ESD, Commerce or Education and Training activities for employment services.
        4. Updates the IRP and eJAS with any activity changes as follows:
          1. Updates activity components and enter contractor's 3 digit code (LEP Pathway Contractors List) in eJAS Active Components screen to give the contractor access to the case record.
          2. Updates or creates a new IRP, if necessary, and has the parent sign it.
          3. Documents scheduled WorkFirst activities in eJAS LEP notes.
        5. Notifies the contractor of changes in the parents' participation requirements so that EP can be updated.
        6. Reviews the Contractors Caseload and Monthly Participation screens for monthly reporting. If the contractor is not reporting as required, contacts the Supervisor. If unable to resolve the issue locally, the regional WorkFirst Coordinator would contact ORIA who will work with the contractor on any issues.
        7. Reviews the case every 90 days for participation and progress. The participating parent may be reassigned to a new contractor if the WFPS/RSW believes progress will not be made with the current contractor. Notifies the current contractor immediately about the change in contractor and indicates the reason for it.
        8. Notifies the LEP contractor if the parent moves to different address outside of the CSO area or has been referred to a different contractor and indicates why.
        9. Updates the eJAS Employment screen as soon as possible with employment information received from contractor.
        10. Ensures the ACES ERN screen is updated.

      Note: "PT" and "FT" components for LEP Pathway parents always need a 3 digit contractor code to allow the contractor an eJAS access to the case for additional monitoring and reporting. When closing WorkFirst case, remember to leave the eJAS case open for another 4 months from the date of TANF closure.

      For a summary of the LEP Pathway process, please see the TANF/WorkFirst Application and LEP Pathway Program flow chart.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms & Other Resources

      5.3 Food Stamp E&T (EAZ Manual)

      Chapter 6: Resolving Issues

      6.1 Overview

      Created on: 
      Feb 16 2017

      The Resolving Issues Overview section includes:

      • 6.1.1 What is resolving issues?
      • 6.1.2 When do we resolve issues?
      • 6.1.3 What are the principles for resolving issues?
      • 6.1.4 What is the role of the WorkFirst Program Specialist?
      • 6.1.5 What is the role of the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist?

      6.1.1 What is resolving issues?

      Resolving issues begins with identifying issues that can interfere with a person's ability to look for work or work or participate in other WorkFirst activities. When issues are identified, we can provide necessary supports to help the parent engage in activities that will lead to employment.

      Many WorkFirst individuals will need to resolve some issues to succeed in WorkFirst. People come to us without basic supports or perhaps, not much experience in being a working parent. And, although we may not even think of authorizing child care or making a family planning referral as "resolving issues" -- it is.

      Many individuals come to us with more serious concerns that will take longer to resolve, like disabilities or family violence. It is important to start working through these problems as quickly as possible - and add other activities as soon as individuals are able - so they can start building on their strengths while eliminating some negatives.

      Last, some individuals face issues so severe, that it is unlikely they will be able to enter the job market. WorkFirst Social Service Specialists (WFSSSs) may need to work intensively with these individuals, perhaps helping them apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

      6.1.2 When do we resolve issues?

      We look for issues that may need to be resolved at:

      • Application.
      • Comprehensive evaluation.
      • Eligibility reviews.
      • Assessment.
      • Anytime upon the parent's request.

      If issues are identified when a parent starts working or participating in WorkFirst activities, you should work with the individual to resolve these issues.

      As shown in the chart below, the level of intervention required to work with issues varies, depending on the type of problem the person faces.

      Issue Likely intervention
      Lacks basic supports

      Likely a shorter-term intervention by the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) to:

      • Refer for medical/dental care.
      • Provide child care (WFSSS may help find suitable child care).
      • Provide AREN to find or keep housing or refer for emergency housing.
      • Explore transportation options and provide support services to pay for it.
      Lacks expert advice Likely a shorter-term intervention by the WFSSS (that can be combined with looking for work or work) to provide:
      • Prenatal care.
      • Family planning.
      • Parenting classes.
      • Child health/nutrition advice.
      • Legal advice.
      Family & health concerns Likely requires a longer-term WFSSS intervention. These situations may need to be stabilized before adding other activities.
      • Caring for a child (or adult) with special needs.
      • Family violence.
      • Substantial physical/mental/learning disabilities.
      • Substance abuse/chemical dependency.

      6.1.3 What are the principles for resolving issues?

      There are some common themes you will see whenever we talk about resolving issues.

      Overall principles for resolving issues

      Identify and begin to resolve issues as soon as possible to give the parent any additional supports they need to succeed.

      The purpose of issue resolution is to help the parent find ways to participate in WorkFirst activities while also assuring the family's medical and other needs are addressed. Employment remains a major focus with self-sufficiency as the ultimate goal.

      Temporary deferments may be necessary and appropriate in some situations. Most parents, however, want to work and may see work as very therapeutic in helping them cope with other concerns.

      Finding creative ways for the parent to participate without a temporary deferment is usually the best option. It is often possible to accommodate a family's special needs while at the same time supporting the parent's employment efforts.

      Resolving issues, while encouraging employment, can help us increase WorkFirst cash assistance exits, reduce WorkFirst returns, and keep caseloads down.

      6.1.4 What is the role of the WorkFirst Program Specialist?

      The WFPS is a central player in identifying issues. He or she collaborates with the WFSSS and other service providers to:

      • Determine needs.
      • Obtain resources.
      • Complete the foundation section of the comprehensive evaluation,
      • Develop the IRP with the parent's input, using recommendations from Employment Security's employment plan, and consideration of other relevant information.
      • Ensure the person has adequate child care and transportation and coordinates other services as necessary.

      6.1.5 What is the role of the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist?

      The WFSSS plays a key role in providing screening, assessment, referral services, and has valuable expertise in intensive case management. The WFSSS coordinates services with WorkFirst partners and other service providers as needed. WFSSSs assist in helping participants (such as parenting minors, teen head of households, pregnant, hard to engage, sanctioned, and disabled/incapacitated individuals) resolve issues, including:

      • Mental, physical, and learning disabilities
      • Caring for a child with special needs
      • Alcohol or substance abuse/chemical dependency
      • Family violence
      • Homelessness
      • Family planning.
      • Parental Education or support
      • Pregnancy to Employment
      • Child Protective Services

      Upon referral the WFSSS will:

      • Complete assessment
      • Provide intervention and support to help the participant address issues that may interfere with their ability to complete the comprehensive evaluation or impede movement toward economic self-sufficiency
      • Develop a plan for issues identified and make appropriate referrals to specialized services to help resolve these issues
      • Help the participant resolve issues identified by WorkFirst partners and other service providers
      • Stack services, if appropriate, to help participants engage in activities that will lead to employment
      • Attend case staffings
      • Provide specific, intensive, and time-limited services to participants at risk of losing benefits or services
      • Provide follow-up services, as needed, to keep the person engage

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Other Resources

      6.2 Assessment

      Legal References:

      The Assessment section includes:

      • 6.2.1 What are assessments?
      • 6.2.2 Who needs it?
      • 6.2.3 Are there issues to be resolved?
      • 6.2.4 Are there any other considerations?
      • 6.2.5 eJAS Codes
      • 6.2.6 Assessment - Step-by-Step

      6.2.1 What are assessments?

      An assessment is a comprehensive tool used by a WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) to gather detailed information about a participant's life and issues that may impact her or his ability to support their family. Obtaining information from a participant during an assessment can be difficult. Use Helpful WFSSS Assessment Questions to assist in getting the information needed to establish supportive WorkFirst activities. Results of assessments are used to establish WorkFirst activities for intensive services to participants. The tool allows a full assessment or a partial assessment to be completed.

      Assessment includes:

      • Basic participant information, such as name, address, assistance unit, education/employment, family planning and other agency involvement.
      • Issues of the Pregnancy to Employment population such as pregnancy, child health and child care. (Only completed as needed.)
      • Other concerns, such as health issues or family violence. (Only completed as needed.)
      • A plan to help resolve the issue or issues.

      6.2.2 Who needs it?

      An assessment reveals a participant's issues and strengths, so we can connect the participant to appropriate resources, services, and activities to foster self-sufficiency.

      Request an assessment:

      • For participants who are pregnant or have a child less than twelve months old,
      • For pregnant or parenting minors who require a determination of the appropriateness of her or his living arrangements,
      • When a participant has an issue that you can not easily resolve, such as mental health or substance abuse,
      • When a participant is engaged in WorkFirst activities, but may also need to spend some time working on issues that interfere with employment,
      • When an eJAS comprehensive evaluation or the eJAS note type indicates further assessment is needed to determine next steps, and
      • During the application process, if the participant has an immediate or urgent need.

      6.2.3 Issues to be resolved

      As shown in the chart below, there are many issues that may interfere with a participant's ability to become self-sufficient. Any indication of the issues listed below may require a WFSSS assessment so they can be addressed.

      Key Issues to resolve
      Education & employment Problems in school or on the job may indicate hidden learning disabilities, critical skills gaps, or other factors that require further evaluation.
      General health Lack of dental care or physical disabilities may require a referral to a dentist, doctor, SSI or DVR.
      Pregnancy or parent of child less than 12 months old Help is available to provide prenatal care, child support, parent education, and to create a better support system for the mother.
      Family planning Family planning services are available to avoid unintended pregnancies that can make it harder to achieve independence.
      Child health & nutrition Help obtaining immunizations, regular well-child check-ups and health or nutrition advice.
      Parent/child development Parenting classes are available to deal with the issues faced by working parents.
      Mental health Help is available to deal with depression, anxiety, anger, grief or the aftermath of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
      Domestic violence Social workers can connect participants with domestic violence agencies for expert advice and assistance.
      Substance abuse/Chemical dependency Social workers can refer participants for substance abuse/chemical dependency assessment and treatment.
      Housing Help in finding stable and adequate housing.
      Child care Help in finding safe, affordable, and reliable child care.
      Transportation Help in developing a reliable transportation plan (looking at mass transit, insurance, driver's license issues).
      Legal Issues Help in dealing with various legal issues that can interfere with employment (like evictions, bankruptcy, or criminal history).
      Other agencies/Tribal Connect the participant to other resources (like Head Start or tribal services) or coordinate with other agencies (like CPS).

      6.2.4 Are there other considerations?

      A participant may need additional assessments based on the results of the WFSSS assessment. For example, it may indicate a need for a DASA referral, so the participant can be assessed further for drug and alcohol treatment.

      6.2.5 eJAS codes

      When referring a participant to the WFSSS for an assessment, use the eJAS referral codes, such as:

      • RO (Other), or
      • SR (referred for drug/alcohol assessment)

      6.2.6 Assessment - Step-by-step guide

      1. After the eJAS comprehensive evaluation or the eJAS note type, the WFPS refers a participant to a WFSSS for an assessment when:
        1. The participant is pregnant or parenting a child under 12 months;
        2. An eJAS comprehensive evaluation or the eJAS note type indicates further assessment is needed to determine next (or additional) steps; or
        3. There is a need for an assessment.
      2. The WFSSS, based on the findings of the assessment, provides services, refers and connects the participant to the appropriate resources, activities and services.
      3. The WFSSS and WFPS:
        1. Decide whether the participant should be deferred from all other activities or combine issue resolution with WorkFirst participation.
        2. Build an IRP with the participant that reflects issue resolution services and activities.
        3. Document any new components in eJAS.
        4. Monitor the participant's progress closely and authorize support services when necessary.
        5. Connect the participants with Career Scope services as soon as possible, once issues are sufficiently resolved.
        6. Have the participant complete the comprehensive evaluation at the same time as resolving the issue or as soon as possible. If the comprehensive evaluation process is interrupted by an immediate crisis, determine if the participant is able to continue with the comprehensive evaluation process.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Other Resources

      6.3 Participation While Resolving Issues

      Created on: 
      Mar 01 2017

      Revised On: March 1, 2017

      Legal References:

      The Participation While Resolving Issues section includes:

      • 6.3.1 What is supporting participation?
      • 6.3.2 Stacking activities and issue resolution
      • 6.3.3 How do we code participation?
      • 6.3.4 What are the types of participation while resolving issues?
      • 6.3.5 How do we treat parents with medical issues who do not have Washington Apple Health?
      • 6.3.6 Parents with medical issues who do not have Washington Apple Health - Step-by-step Guide
      • 6.3.7 What kinds of documentation/evidence should I request?
      • 6.3.8 Supporting participation - Step-by-Step Guide

      6.3.1 What is supporting participation?

      The purpose of WorkFirst is to help WorkFirst families become self-sufficient through employment as quickly as possible. Many families need support to participate in WorkFirst activities. Supporting a parent/caregiver's participation in job search or employment is fundamental to his/her success.

      The main purposes of the comprehensive evaluation, stacking activities and the Social Service Specialist assessment are:

      • Identifying how best to support the participant's self-sufficiency through employment.
      • Providing needed supports that meet the participant's identified needs.
      • Creating a long-term plan for participants who are exempt and unable to participate.
      • Helping participants who cannot participate to stabilize their situation as soon as possible when people cannot participate in countable activities so they can progress.
      • Addressing issues, increasing participation and transitioning to work or work-like activities as soon as possible when the participant is resolving issues like mental health, chemical dependency, family violence, learning disabilities or working with DVR.

      Participants are usually able to participate in other activities while also addressing issues that interfere with full-time employment. See the Stacking Activities Chart for a list of core and non-core activities that can be added to a participant's IRP and help them progress while meeting WorkFirst participation requirements. Consider adding the following core activities:

      • Independent life skills training (code these hours under the LS eJAS component code). For more information on independent Life Skills training, please refer to section 7.3.6 - What is Independent Life Skills Training?
      • Community Work, Work Experience or Community Jobs.

      Consideration for a full deferment from Career Scope activities should only occur when it isn’t possible for the participant to accept employment or participate in at least 20 hours of Career Scope activities. In these cases, the participant may need to participate in issue resolution activities prior to participating in Career Scope.

      For example, a participant may need Residential (In-Patient) treatment for alcohol or substance abuse/chemical dependency.

      It is necessary to defer job search or other activities while the participant is in residential treatment for a short time (usually 28 days but may require up to 90 days). Depending upon the individual circumstances and treatment plan, the participant can resume participating in job search or other activities while also completing the Outpatient Treatment Plan. Determine if other activities are available if the participant is waiting to enter treatment.

      See section 6.6, Disabilities if the participant claims to have a disability or medical issue that limits their ability to work, look for work or prepare for work.

      For other deferrals, allow 30 days to gather documentation. Beyond 30 days, the participant must provide ‘good cause’.  For example, the participant must show that the information has been requested but not received within the 30-day time period. Send an appointment letter to determine if "good-cause" exists if the participant hasn’t provided the needed documentation within the 30-day time period.

      6.3.2 Stacking and Issue Resolution Activities

      Parents who are resolving countable "X" code issues, such as mental health (XG) or Family Violence (XF), can stack other activities to increase their hours of participation. Stacking activities is combining other needed WorkFirst activities, such as job search, life skills, unpaid work, parenting, and seeking stable housing with the countable "X" code,. See section 3.3.2section 6.6, Disabilities, and the Stacking Activities Chart for more information

      Continued communication and monitoring between the WFPS or WFSSS and others who are working with the person are necessary to ensure:

      • Multiple services/referrals are kept reasonable for the person;
      • Appropriate information is shared;
      • The IRP is amended as appropriate;
      • Participation requirements are enforced; and
      • The person receives appropriate support services and child care.

      The WorkFirst partner agencies and most contractors normally can tell how many hours a parent will be expected to participate in their program activities. The WFPS or WFSSS develop IRPs accordingly. See section 3.3.2.3 and 3.3.2.4 for more information about how to meet program/participation goals and build an IRP.

      There may be rare occasions when the service provider has not established a standard amount of hours each parent will be required to participate. When this occurs, the WFPS or WFSSS will have to estimate the expected hours of participation on the IRP.

      Use the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) to clearly state the required participation and the supports we will provide.

      Deferrals ("X" codes) taking longer than 90 days require verification and approval by:

      • A multi-disciplinary case-staffing;
      • Supervisor or higher level authority approval; or
      • Documentation provided by a health-care or other professional.

      Develop an IRP that specifies the activities the person is to be taking to resolve the issues and the expected time to resolve the issue. For example, "Follow recommended treatment plan," or "attend all physical therapy sessions as prescribed by physician."

      Review the case every 30 days to ensure the individual is making satisfactory progress in resolving the issue unless the person is not engaged in activities each month. For example, a person may be consigned to 90 days bed rest by his or her physician. In these cases, review periods can exceed 30 days but require approval by:

      • A multi-disciplinary case-staffing;
      • Supervisor or higher level authority approval; or
      • Documentation provided by a health-care or other professional.

      For information on how to treat excused and unexcused absences, please refer to section 3.9.1.5 - How do we treat excused and unexcused absences?

      6.3.3 How do we code participation?

      Use the appropriate "X" or referral codes in eJAS to identify the person's issues, authorize support services, and/or make referrals to other resources.

      Example: Following 90 days of Intensive In-Patient treatment, the person must attend 2 AA meetings and 1 group therapy session per week. Transportation to and from meetings or appointments do not count as actual hours of participation.

      • The AA meetings last 2 hours each (4 hours total).
      • The group therapy session is hours (2 hours total).

      The actual number of hours spent in treatment-related activities is 6 hours.

      Hours spent in independent life skills activities are coded in eJAS under the component code "LS". The scheduled hours of participation should be as close to 32 to 40 hours per week as possible.

      The WFPS/WFSSS develops an IRP that brings the person up to full-time participation in countable activities as soon as the person is able. We also want to make stabilization and issue resolution activities short-term if we can, so the parent can transition into work-focused activities that lead to employment and self-sufficiency.

      6.3.4 What are the types of participation while resolving issues?

      Described below are various types of stabilization and issue resolution and specific eJAS codes used. More information can be found on each type in other sections of the WorkFirst Handbook.

      Types of activities to resolve issues

      XB

      Pursuing SSI/L&I/VA or other benefits (not countable)

      See 6.8 Exemptions section

      XC

      No child care available or caring for a disabled adult who is in school full time (not countable)

      See 6.6 Disabilities section or WCCC manual

      XD

      In a DVR plan (a countable core activity)

      XE

      Alcohol/substance abuse/chemical dependency Treatment (a countable core activity)

      See 6.7 Alcohol/substance abuse/Chemical Dependency Section

      XF

      Family Violence Resolution (a countable core activity)

      See 2.2 Support Services and 6.5 Family Violence Sections

      XG

      Mental health treatment or Counseling (a countable core activity)

      See 6.6 Disabilities Section

      XH

      Resolution of Homelessness (not countable)

      XJ

      Learning Disabilities Services (a countable core activity)

      See 6.6 Learning Disabilities

      XM

      Temporary incapacity undergoing medical treatment (not countable)

      XN

      Caring for a child with special needs who is in school full time (not countable)

      See 6.4 Child with Special Needs

      XP

      Parenting skills, nutrition classes, choosing child care and family planning (normally used if pregnant or have child under 12 months of age, but also used for other parents in need of these services)

      See 5.1 Pregnancy to Employment Pathway

      6.3.5 How do we treat parents with medical issues who do not have Washington Apple Health?

      Parents who do not have  Washington Apple Health due to citizenship verification requirements and who have an activity requirement that is dependent on  Washington Apple coverage are not required to participate in these activities until  Washington Apple Health eligibility is established. Until  Washington Apple Health coverage is established, these parents will be coded with the component code 'CV'. This is an indicator code only and has no IRP or monitoring requirements.

      However, parents will be required to participate in other WorkFirst activities identified as appropriate through the Comprehensive Evaluation and other assessments that are not dependent on  Washington Apple Health coverage.

      Once citizenship verification requirements are met and  Washington Apple Health is approved, the component code 'CV' will be removed and participation requirements will be changed to include appropriate health care services.

      For parents with chemical dependency issues, please refer to section 6.7.4- Who is financially eligible for substance abuse treatment?

      6.3.6 Parents with medical issues who do not have Medicaid - Step-by-Step

      Parents who are unable to participate in any other activities due to a medical issue

      If a parent has a severe enough medical issue to prevent participation in any other activities:

      1. Document in the appropriate eJAS note section the reason the parent is unable to participate
      2. Update the eJAS component screen with the indicator component code 'CV'

      Parents who are able to participate in other stacked activities

      If a parent has a medical issue, but is also able to participate in other activities:

      1. Update the eJAS component screen with the indicator 'CV' (in lieu of using component code 'XM' or 'XG' if the parent had Washington Apple Health coverage and was able to seek treatment services)
      2. Update the eJAS component screen with the appropriate stackable activities in which the parent is able to participate
      3. Develop the IRP for the required activities
      4. Document in the appropriate eJAS notes the number of hours per week the parent would normally be expected to participate in medical issue resolution if he/she had Washington Apple Health coverage
      5. Document the parent's other required activities in the appropriate eJAS notes

      6.3.7 What kinds of documentation/evidence should I request?

      See section 6.6, Disabilities , for documentation required for parents with an emotional, mental or physical disorder.

      Documentation for a parent caring for a child with special needs (see 6.4 Children: Special Needs) may include health-care professionals as described above in WACs 388-449-0010 or 388-447-0005 or other documentation provided by:

      • Public Health Nurse (PHN)
      • The child's school district
      • Division of Developmental Disabilities Case Manager
      • Licensed Child Care provider
      • Certified Mental Health Professional (CMHP)
      • Certified Mental Retardation Professional (CMRP)

      6.3.8 Supporting Participation - Step-by-step guide

      1. The WFPS follows the instructions in Section 6.6, Disabilities, for emotional, mental or physical disorders
      2. For all other deferrals, the WFPS consults with the individual and the following persons, as appropriate, to determine the need for issue resolution participation.
        1. The WFSSS;
        2. SSI facilitator;
        3. Treatment provider; and/or
        4. Community service provider
      3. The WFPS then:
        1. Enters the appropriate code in eJAS.
        2. Enters the specific activities, scheduled hours and the expected end date for the activities on the IRP, describing in detail the activities and/or treatment the person is required to complete, with the exception of drug related issues or other protected information .
        3. Stacks activities to increase hours of participation to the extent the person is able, and adds the information to the IRP.
        4. Authorizes support services needed to complete her or his IRP requirements.
        5. Documents the actions in eJAS.
        6. Monitors participation monthly following the procedures in Section 3.9.2, Documenting and Reporting Participation.
        7. Gets supervisor or higher approval for issue resolution IRPs that will take longer than 90 days.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

      6.4 Children: Special Needs

      Legal References:

      The Children with Special Needs section includes:

      • 6.4.1 Who are children with special needs?
      • 6.4.2 Who needs help with this issue?
      • 6.4.3 What are appropriate Individual Responsibility Plan activities?
      • 6.4.4 What do I document?
      • 6.4.5 eJAS Codes
      • 6.4.6 Children with special needs - Steps-by-Step Guide

      6.4.1 Who are children with special needs?

      A child with special needs has medical, developmental, or behavioral needs that require individualized care, treatment, or intervention. Families that include a child with special needs will have their special needs accommodated in the development of their Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). Make every effort to meet the child's needs while allowing the parent to progress in employment.

      Accommodations may include:

      • A referral to the local Public Health Department for an initial evaluation, advice and services. Follow up evaluations can only be done with supervisory approval.
      • Assistance in finding safe, affordable, and reliable child care.
      • Referrals to other community resources to prepare the parent for future work, while meeting her or his child's special needs.
      • Temporary deferral from job search so a parent can assist school personnel to care for her or his child with special needs or to care for the child before and after school. However, parents should engage in work activities while the child with special needs is attending school.
      • Exemption from job search so a parent can provide care for her or his child with special needs.

      6.4.2 Who needs help with this issue?

      Whenever a parent indicates the inability to participate in WorkFirst activities because of a child with special needs or the need for special child care arrangements, the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) should accept the statement and make referrals to get more information and assistance.

      The Public Health Department may initially evaluate the child's needs and document the impact on the parent's ability to participate in WorkFirst activities. Or, a DSHS social service specialist may be able to assess the situation based on existing information.

      At the end of any deferral or exemption period, use other forms of documentation to determine whether the parent qualifies for continued deferral or exemption. If no other documentation is available, you may request a follow up evaluation from a public health nurse with supervisory approval.

      Parents who care for a child with special needs may also qualify for an exemption if the parent is only able to participate for 0 to 10 hours per week. We code these cases with a ZC eJAS component code. For more information see section 6.8 Exemptions section.

      6.4.3 What are appropriate Individual Responsibility Plan activities?

      Use creativity in developing the IRP for a parent who is parenting a child with special needs. Work with the parent(s) to develop activities that keep her and/or him engaged, support work, job search activities, or prepare him and/or her for future work. The following activities are examples of appropriate WorkFirst activities.

      • Attend day care with the child to train a provider or to give the provider time to become comfortable with caring for the child.
      • Gain work experience through volunteer work at her or his child's school.
      • Participate in the child's therapeutic activities.

      NOTE: An IRP is not required for an exemption, unless volunteering to participate.

      6.4.4 What do I document?

      Documentation for a parent caring for a child with special needs may include health-care professionals as described in WAC 388-449-0010 or WAC 388-447-0005 or other types of documentation provided by:

      • Public Health Nurse
      • The child's school district
      • Division of Developmental Disabilities Case Manager
      • Licensed Child Care provider
      • Certified Mental Health Professional (CMHP)
      • Certified Mental Retardation Professional (CMRP)

      6.4.5 eJAS codes

      When a parent has a child with special needs, use the following eJAS codes:

      • RO (referral to a social service specialist or the Public Health Department), or
      • XN Needed in the home to care for a child with special needs deferral
      • ZC Caring for a child with special needs when the child's condition is so severe that the parent must care for the child on a full-time basis.

      6.4.6 Children: Special Needs - Step-by-step guide

      When a parent indicates the inability to participate in WorkFirst activities because of a child with special needs, the WFPS or WFSSS:

      Requests documentation of the child's special needs and the impact the child's special needs has on the parent's ability to participate in WorkFirst. If needed, the WFPS or WFSSS refers the family to the local Public Health Department, using an electronic referral* to the Public Health Nurse (PHN) in eJAS [or manually uses DSHS form 10-256], following the Step-by-Step Guide below:

      * Please note that not all eJAS users have access to the PHN Referral. It will be available to the following eJAS security models:

      • Admin
      • Casemgr
      • Casemgr2
      • Regcoord
      • Socwkr
      • Supervsr
      • Suprvsr1
      • Suprvsr2
      • Wfdmgr
      • Csocoor
      • Csocoor2
      • Finwkr

      PHN eJAS Referral Step-by-Step guide

      1. From the client's main menu, select the 'Referrals' link.
      2. Select the 'Public Health Nurse Referral' link.
      3. The user will be taken to the 'Public Health Nurse (PHN) Referral'.
      4. The system auto-fills certain client level and worker level information based upon eJAS client demographic information and the user taking the action. The auto-filled information may be edited with the exception of the JAS id and the system posting date.
      5. The user will complete the remaining fields and sections of the form with the necessary information.
      6. The user will either select the 'Print this Referral' or 'e-Msg this Referral' button.
      7. Once the user selects either of these buttons the information is stored and cannot be modified. It is part of the case record.
      8. If the user selects 'print this Referral' the form will locally print. The system will post a "Children w/Special Needs Referral to Public Health Nurse" note type with a link titled "Click here to view the PHN Referral". The user may select the link within the client note to view the referral.
      9. If the user selects 'e-Msg this Referral', the user will finalize sending the e-Msg to the nurse's user id or contracting agency code. When the nurse receives the e-Msg, the subject line text will read 'Public Health Nurse Referral'. By selecting this link, the nurse will be able to view the referral form. In addition, the system will post a "Children w/Special Needs Referral to Public Health Nurse" note type with a link titled "Click here to view the PHN Referral". The user may select the link within the client note to view the referral.

      Searching Client Notes - Step-by-step guide

      1. From the client's main menu, select 'Client Notes'.
      2. In the Search Options, Select 'Type' and review the drop down menu.
      3. The new note type 'Referral to Public Health Nurse' has been added as an option and will display below the previously existing 'Referral' note type. 
        • The 'Referral to Public Health Nurse' note type is specific to referrals generated in the How to Make a Referral step-by-step guide.
        • The existing Referral will search client notes for all generic referrals including generic referrals created for Children with Special Needs.

      Using Ad-hoc Reports - Step-by-step guide

      1. From the client's main menu, select 'Ad-hoc Reporting'.
      2. In the section labeled 'View Notes' review the drop down menu containing default text 'Any Type'.
      3. The new note type 'Referral to Public Health Nurse' has been added as an option and will display below the previously existing 'Referral' note type.
        • The 'Referral to Public Health Nurse' note type is specific to referrals generated in the How to Make a Referral step-by-step guide.
        • The existing Referral will search client notes for all generic referrals including generic referrals created for Children with Special Needs.

      Step-by-step guide

      1. After completing the PHN referral, the WFPS or WFSSS documents permission for a public health nurse's home visit on the IRP.
      2. Obtains permission to exchange highly protected (special record) information using the DSHS 14-012(X), Authorization to Obtain/Release Information form.
      3. Places the parent in the deferral code XN or exempt code ZC, if appropriate.
      4. Refers the public health nurse to the local contracted vendor if interpreter services are required. (The nurse will return the Interpreter Services verification voucher to the CSO for payment.)
      5. Faxes the DSHS 10-256(X) (If the PHN does not have/or use eJAS access), PHN Referral form and a copy of the release of information form to the local public health nurse.
      6. The public health nurse:
        1. Initiates the home visit within five working days of receipt of the referral form.
        2. Sends the DSHS 10-255, Special Needs Evaluation and Engagement Recommendations, to the case manager or social service specialist within ten days of the home visit.
      7. The WFSSS and/or WFPS then reviews the information gathered by the Public Health Nurse evaluation and determines whether the parent qualifies for deferral or exemption.
      8. If the parent is able to participate full-time (more than 30 hours per week), the WFSSS or WFPS:
        1. Meets with the parent to develop an IRP, taking into consideration information gathered during the Public Health Nurse's evaluation process.
        2. Completes the component/IRP screen in eJAS.
        3. Develop IRP based upon existing information, or public health nurse evaluation (using the DSHS 10-255, Special Needs Evaluation and Engagement Recommendations).
      9. If the parent is not able to participate full-time, the WFSSS or WFPS:
          1. Meets with the parent to develop an IRP, and discusses the case with the Public Health Nurse (if possible) and other relevant professionals as needed.
          2. Approves the deferral or exemption based upon the information gathered. If the documentation shows the parent can participate:
            1. 11 to 30 hours per week, approves a deferral.
            2. 0 to 10 hours per week, approves an exemption. (See WFHB 6.8, Exemptions, for more information.)
          3. Explains to the parent what the deferral or exemption means, how long the deferral or exemption will be approved for and how the review process works.
          4. Completes the component/IRP screen in eJAS, with a deferral length no longer than 6 months or an exemption length no longer than 12 months.
      10. At the end of the initial deferral or exemption, obtains documentation to determine whether the parent qualifies for another exemption or deferral. Only use a follow up evaluation from a public health nurse if there is no other documentation available and with supervisory approval.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Forms

      6.5 Family Violence

      (time-limited core)

      Legal References:

      The Family Violence section of the WorkFirst handbook includes:

      • 6.5.1 What is Family Violence?
      • 6.5.2 Why would individuals need help with family violence?
      • 6.5.3 What does family violence option (FVO) amendment mean for WorkFirst Cash Assistance parents?
      • 6.5.4 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?
      • 6.5.5 Is screening for family violence required?
      • 6.5.6 Why it is important to separate couples when screening?
      • 6.5.7 What information should DSHS staff provide?
      • 6.5.8 What is the Family Violence Screening/Evaluation?
      • 6.5.9 How the family violence question read?
      • 6.5.10 What happens when an individual discloses family violence to a WorkFirst partner?
      • 6.5.11 What is "Good Cause" for not cooperating with the Division of Child Support?
      • 6.5.12 What is the Address Confidentiality Program?
      • 6.5.13 Individual Responsibilities Plans
      • 6.5.14 How do we code family violence parents in eJAS?
      • 6.5.15 What family violence services are federally countable?
      • 6.5.16 How are family violence services verified and reported?
      • 6.5.17 Family Violence - Step-by-step Guide
      • 6.5.18 Family violence and sanctions
      • 6.5.19 Family Violence and sanctions - Step-by-step

      6.5.1 What is family violence?

      Family violence is a general phrase that refers to a variety of abusive behaviors that can occur within a family structure.

      Family violence includes any or all of the following;

      • Domestic violence
      • Sexual assault,
      • Child abuse and neglect,
      • Elder abuse and neglect.

      The focus of this section is on what is traditionally known as domestic violence. Domestic violence is physical, sexual, psychological, and/or emotional abuse of an intimate partner in which one partner uses a variety of tactics to gain and maintain power and control over the other partner.

      Family violence includes both current experience of these abusive behaviors and the continuing effects of abuse that happened in the past.  Some of the common ways abusers control the person:

      • Psychological intimidation
      • Interception of mail and phone calls
      • Controlling access to transportation or financial means
      • Direct physical threats
      • Assault

      6.5.2 Why would individuals need help with family violence?

      Family violence victims may need help because family violence may prevent a person from gaining or maintaining employment and becoming self-sufficient. In family violence situations, some factors affecting participation in activities are:

      1. The physical and emotional effects of past or current abuse may hinder job performance or work search.
      2. The abuser may try to sabotage the victim's education, training and employment to keep her/him dependent upon the abuser.
      3. The abuser may threaten the safety of the victim, the victim's children or family members.
      4. The demands of court intervention, criminal prosecution, safety planning, physical and mental recovery, or counseling may interfere with work, education or training.
      5. The individual may need to move or disrupt work to escape an unsafe living arrangement.

      One of the missions of DSHS is to help individuals to live in a safe environment. Individuals subjected to, or at risk of, family violence need help to achieve a healthy and safe environment.

      In order for individuals to achieve self-sufficiency, it is essential for the individual to have a safe environment for themselves and their children, and to be free from physical or emotional harm or stalking.

      6.5.3 What does the Family Violence Option amendment mean for WorkFirst cash assistance recipients?

      The Family Violence Option (FVO) recognizes the importance of not just screening individuals, but also actually doing something when a person indicates that she/he is a victim of domestic violence. This gives the state the flexibility to help these individuals safely participate in activities leading to employment and self-sufficiency.

      Washington State law maintains that DSHS must:

      • Screen and identify adults, minor teen parents or emancipated teens receiving WorkFirst cash assistance/SFA for a history of family violence;
      • Notify adults, minor teen parents or emancipated teens receiving WorkFirst cash assistance/SFA about the FVO Amendment both verbally and in writing;
      • Maintain confidentiality;
      • Refer individuals to social services, counseling, and supportive services;
      • Waive WorkFirst requirements in cases where the requirements would make it more difficult to escape family violence, unfairly penalize victims of family violence or place victims at further risk of family violence. Requirements to be waived may include:
      1. Time limits for WorkFirst recipients, for as long as necessary (after sixty months of receiving TANF/SFA and participating as required in their family violence plan);
      2. See section 3.7.1, Time Limit Extension Decisions, for more information about how family violence affects WorkFirst time limit extensions.
      3. Cooperation with the Division of Child Support (DCS).
        • Develop specialized activities (services) for those individuals where participation in regular work or work-related activities would place them at further risk of family violence.

      6.5.4 What are the responsibilities of DSHS staff?

      DSHS staff must give all victims of family violence an ongoing opportunity to disclose circumstances of family violence and to engage in activities that give them more control over their circumstances. If it appears that the person may have a cognitive disability or is unable to read and/or understand what is being asked, determine if Equal Access (EA) plan is needed and/or has been provided.

      DSHS staff must actively take steps to refer and/or place individuals into activities to help resolve or cope with the issues and to create a safe environment for the family. Every reasonable attempt to help the individual feel comfortable in talking about the situation must be made.

      Referrals or activities for family violence may include:

      • WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS)
      • On-site family/domestic violence advocate
      • Local family/domestic violence agency (for resources, to discuss safety issues and create a safety plan)
      • Counseling and support groups
      • Shelters for battered individuals
      • Medical services
      • Sexual assault and domestic violence hot-lines
      • Legal assistance and advocacy
      • Mental health services
      • Other available services

      6.5.5 Is screening for family violence required?

      If it is safe for the individual, screening for family violence is required:

      • At the Comprehensive Evaluation,
      • Once per year following the initial screening,
      • Before a case can be placed into sanction (during good cause determination),
      • During the Time Limit Extension Analysis in eJAS, and
      • At any point of contact with the individual if the worker thinks that family violence is an issue.

      Document all family violence screenings in eJAS under the Family Violence Note. If appropriate, offer to refer the individual for additional services described above.

      6.5.6 Why is it important to separate couples when screening?

      When screening for family violence, safety is of paramount importance.

      Never ask the individual about family violence when the other partner is present as this may endanger the individual. Some successful methods for separating couples to safely complete the screening include having an office protocol that recommends completion of all IRPs separately, or the scheduling of an appointment with a family planning worker to separate the couple during their visit to the office.

      Review your policy regarding collaboration with local resources and partners. Local resources may be able to offer training or guidance, to refine protocols for screening couples.

      6.5.7 What information should DSHS staff provide?

      Every adult, minor teen parent or emancipated teen must be given general information both verbally and in writing about:

      • The Family Violence Option,
      • Collocated or community family violence services, and
      • Support services available.

      Written information must include at a minimum the "Open the Door" brochure DSHS 22-265(x) available in English and Spanish. The WFPS/WFSSS must document in eJAS when this brochure has been given or mailed to the client.

      Remind the individual that he/she has an opportunity to disclose issues at any point in time.

      Distributing information about family violence
      Safety Plan Pocket Guide (DSHS 22-276) Place these guides in areas where individuals can help themselves to the information (like restrooms, front counters or on your desk)
      TANF Family Violence Information brochure "Open the Door" (DSHS 22-265(X)) Ask each individual to read this brochure at the initial eligibility interview and at least yearly thereafter. Then, provide a verbal summary of the information in the flyer.
      Family Violence Technical Assistance for all staff working with WorkFirst individuals 360-586-1022 Ext 102 or 104 Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm

      6.5.8 What is the Family Violence Screening/Evaluation?

      The following is the opening statement and the screening/evaluation questions in eJAS for family violence. Screening is only required for adults and emancipated minors.

      If you suspect a minor is abused or neglected, you are required to report the circumstances to Child Protective Services (CPS).

      eJAS has family violence advisory script found in the screening/evaluation AND the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) Foundation that reads as follows:

      "This is a series of questions we ask everyone about family violence. We know that violence in the home can be difficult to talk about.

      • If this is an issue, we want you to be safe and to know there are services available to you.
      • You may answer these questions today, or if not today, at any time in the future when you are ready. You do not need to give any details.
      • Any information you give us about family violence will be kept confidential. If you tell us that any children are being hurt, we are required by law to report the information to Children's Protective Services (CPS) or a law enforcement agency.

      Do you understand and agree to proceed with this screening?

      Click cancel if this is not a good time to talk about this issue."

      If the worker clicks "Cancel", a Family Violence Screening note type will be generated and the text will read: "Not safe to screen for family violence at this time".

      The screening/evaluation for family violence contains the above information in a pop-up screen. This pop-up is not available in the CE. The questions were incorporated as an opening in the Family Violence foundation screening section.

      6.5.9 How does the Family Violence Screening Questions Screen read in eJAS?

      If no to the above, skip to #4.

      If yes to either of the above,

      Currently or in the past:

      1. Does your current partner have angry outbursts or tantrums that frighten you?
      2. Does your current partner threaten you or are you fearful of a current or past partner for any other reason?
      3. Do you need immediate help to deal with someone who is hurting you or your children or with someone who is stalking you?
      4. Has a partner ever stopped you from going places like school or work, or seeing people, or stalked you when you have been out?
      5. Has a partner, or family or household member harmed or threatened to harm you, your relatives, your pets, or property?
      6. Has your partner ever threatened or harmed your child(ren)?
      7. Are you currently enrolled in the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)?
      8. About protection or restraining orders, have you ever thought about, tried to get, or actually gotten a protection order?
      9. If you do not currently live with the father(s) of your child(ren), does or will collecting child support put you or your child in danger?"

      If yes to any questions above, let the person know that there are specialists on staff who can help with safety issues as well as tailoring plans within WorkFirst to help avoid danger and promote success in the program.

      If the individual answers "no" to all questions, document that the individual reports no issues at this time. When "No, not an issue" is checked and no comments are entered, a note type will be generated and the text will read, " Client screened for family violence. Client has indicated no issues at this time ".

      If the individual answers "yes" to any of the questions, DSHS staff checks "Yes, is an issue" and selects any of these boxes, a pop up window will appear that reads: "Family Violence is an issue. Please explain to the client that services are available to address Family violence. Offer a referral to a Social Service Specialist, Family Violence Advocate or to local Family Violence resources." This pop up window is a reminder to refer the individual to a WFSSS or a family violence advocate/counselor who can help with safety issues or can provide more information or services.

      6.5.10 What happens when an individual discloses family violence to a WorkFirst partner?

      When WorkFirst partners at Employment Security, Community Trade and Economic Development, or the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges are informed by the individual that family violence is an issue, the worker involved must immediately:

      • Determine if the family violence prevents the individual from participating in the current activity and if so, refer the individual back to the WFPS/WFSSS.
      • If the person states that the family violence issues will not prevent the individual from participating, it will be helpful to:
        • Explain the advantages of sharing information with her/his WFPS or WFSSS.
        • Collaborate with the individual and the family violence advocate to develop necessary action steps that address the individual's immediate safety needs.
        • Not refer back the individual or prevent the person from participating when she/he is willing and able to participate in work-related activities.
      • Ask the individual if it is permissible to share the information with the individual's WFPS/WFSSS and then obtain a signed Consent form (DSHS 14-012), and
      • Encourage the individual to contact the WFPS/WFSSS or family violence worker, and
      • Explain that job search or other deferrals due to family violence require approval by the WFPS/WFSSS.

      6.5.11 What is "Good Cause" for not cooperating with the Division of Child Support?

      Good Cause allows an individual to be excused from cooperating with Division of Child Support (DCS). The individual must claim to have good cause for not cooperating with DCS. An individual may have good cause when she/he verifies that cooperating with DCS would result in serious physical or emotional harm to herself/himself or the child in her/his care. This stops DCS from taking any action to establish an order or to collect child support, which may jeopardize the individuals' or family's safety.

      The individual must claim and the department must approve or deny the good cause.

      If an individual indicates that Family Violence is an issue, consider whether or not Good Cause for non-cooperation with DCS should be established.

      1. DSHS staff will explain that individuals have the right to claim good cause for not cooperating with DCS.
      2. An individual applying or receiving benefits will complete DSHS 18-334 form “Your Options for Child Support Collection” to claim good cause.
      3. DSHS staff will complete the steps needed to make a good cause determination.
      4. The individual must be notified of the good cause determination.

      For more information, refer to the Good Cause chapter in the Social Service Handbook  and the Child Support chapter in the E-Z Manual.

      6.5.12 What is the Address Confidentiality Program?

      The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) helps individuals attempting to escape from actual or threatened domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, or stalking, to interact with state and local government agencies without disclosing their address or to establish new addresses in order to prevent their assailant or probable assailants from finding them. The Office of the Secretary of State governs this program. The program allows individuals to use an address designated by the secretary of state as a substitute mailing address.

      A trained advocate must screen individuals before they can be accepted into the ACP. The advocate will determine if the ACP is right for the individual's circumstances and will enroll the individual in the program. For a current list of advocates trained in your community to sign people up for the ACP, go to https://www.sos.wa.gov/acp/Default.aspx and click on the map for your location.

      The ACP assists crime victims (specifically victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and stalking) who have relocated to avoid further abuse. ACP helps families keep their home, work and/or school addresses secret by providing a substitute mailing address. DSHS staff must accept this substitute address and enter it into all records; never record the actual street address for work or home of an ACP participant in any automated system. If someone is participating in the ACP, don't require them to disclose their actual work or home address.  For ACP participants, ACES letters don’t include the CSO address on them to protect their geographical location.  When scheduling WF appointments for these participants, all ACES letters instruct the participant to call 1-877-501-2233 or visit www.washingtonconnection.org to find out the location of their appointment.  Don’t add the CSO’s address or appointment locations, including Non-Compliance Sanction (NCS) and sanction home visit/alternative meeting locations in ACES letters. 

      By itself, the ACP won't keep a person safe. To be really valuable, using the ACP substitute address must be part of a more complete and long-term safety plan.

      If the individual doesn't have their authorization card, government agencies may call the ACP office (360-753-2972) to verify that the individual is an active ACP participant.

      6.5.13 Individual Responsibility Plans

      IRPs are tailored to each individual. DSHS staff has the ability to create IRPs with activities designed to help a victim deal with the issues that result from family violence.

      6.5.14 How do we code family violence parents in eJAS?

      In any situation where the individual is participating in any family violence activities, it is necessary to reflect the information in the IRP. Correct coding of family violence is necessary because of federal reporting requirements regarding all individuals on TANF especially for those receiving benefits for more than 60 months.

      The following are common examples of family violence situations and the correct way to code and document in eJAS:

      • The family is in a shelter because the family fled an abuser. The parent decides to continue working part time while she/he is finding permanent housing. In this situation, code the family PT for the part time employment using the actual number of hours and XF for finding permanent housing using actual number of hours. Document each issue in the proper eJAS notes type making sure that references to family violence are only documented under the family violence category.
      • The individual is in court ordered perpetrator treatment for abuse related to family violence. The perpetrator is attending perpetrator treatment while simultaneously attending job search. This case would be coded JS and XG to reflect perpetrator treatment. Do not use XF in these cases. Documentation regarding the court order is posted under legal issues in these circumstances.

      When an individual is experiencing family violence, use the following eJAS codes:

      • RO making a referral to the WFSSS, or family violence advocate, or
      • XF used only for victims of family violence currently engaged in activities to help resolve or cope with family violence issues, and to create a safe environment for the family.
      • XF is not a referral or indicator code and is not to be used for the perpetrator. Use XF if an individual is in counseling due to family violence, resolving homelessness due to family violence, etc.
      • Other codes (activities) may be added in addition to XF if appropriate.

      NOTE: The open component code in eJAS must reflect the actual number of hours per week the individual is participating in a specific activity.

      Special circumstance: XF as stand-alone activity. When an individual is resolving an immediate situation to escape from an abuser or she/he is unable to participate in any other WorkFirst activity(ies) besides XF, the WFPS/WFSSS in collaboration with the domestic violence advocate should determine the actual amount of hours per week that the person will be participating and code those hours in eJAS. The individual does not have to add any other activities, as the XF will be considered the only activity that the individual is able to do. In this case, the amount of hours does not have to reflect 32-40 hours per week. The case needs to reflect the actual amount of hours that the individual is participating.

      6.5.15 What family violence services are federally countable?

      As part of the Deficit Reduction Act, the XF countable core activities include:

      • Assessments,
      • Creating safety plans,
      • Participation in support groups, and
      • Obtaining required medical care or mental health services or counseling.

      Housing and legal issue resolution are not included as federally countable core activities within family violence services. Therefore, the hours for these activities must be reported separately from those mentioned above in order to report the correct federally countable participation. The WorkFirst Participation Verification form must indicate the hours spent working with a parent in family violence countable core activities, listing housing and/or legal services separately.

      Since our State cannot report housing and legal issue resolution hours as part of XF countable core activities, the State is not going to get credit for those hours in a federal audit. Even though these activities are not federally countable, housing and legal issue resolution services are still state approved XF activities.

      Example:

      A parent's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) and component screens shows that the parent is scheduled for 30 hours of XF activities. When the WFPS or WFSSS receives the WorkFirst Participation Verification form, it indicates 5 hours of counseling, 10 hours of legal services, and 15 hours for securing stable housing. The only hours that can be entered and reported in eJAS actual hours are the 5 hours of counseling.

      6.5.16 How are family violence services verified and reported?

      In collaboration with family violence advocacy providers, DSHS will gather documentation that supports parent's individual needs for WorkFirst family violence services. Even when the collocated advocates are contracted services, DSHS will treat these providers as non-contracted providers.

      Staff will send providers the WorkFirst Participation Verification form for each WorkFirst participant noted in eJAS as receiving family violence services. The family violence provider will complete, sign and return these forms to the referring WFPS/WFSSS by the fifth day of each month. The WFPS/WFSSS will enter the countable hours indicated on the form in eJAS actual hours by the 15th day of each month for the previous month's activity.

      6.5.17 Family Violence - Step-by-step guide

      When an individual answers "yes" to any of the family violence screening questions in the screening/evaluation:

      The WFPS/WFSSS must:

      Good documentation is extremely important in these situations. It is important to document family violence information in the family violence note type in eJAS to protect the safety of individuals.

      1. Offer to refer the individual to appropriate family violence services, following CSO guidelines.
      2. Defer job search or other work activities when participation would:
        1. Make it more difficult for the individual to escape family violence; or,
        2. Penalize a person who has been or is at risk of becoming a victim of family violence, or who is at further risk of abuse. Use XF code on the component code screen in eJAS.
      3. Develop an IRP to meet the individual's family violence issues by addressing whether she/he:
        1. Does not want or need any special program deferrals,
        2. Needs supportive services, but no deferrals from work requirements;
        3. Needs referrals to local resources and/or deferrals to gain stability before actively seeking employment; or,
        4. Include specialized activities and/or work related activities as agreed.
      4. If an individual is enrolled in the ACP, use the ACP address: PO Box 257, Olympia, WA 98507 for work and home addresses in the eJAS screens. Do not use the actual business or employer name in non-special record screening notes e.g., employment
      5. Provide support services, as necessary.
      6. Review local CSO policies and/or refer to the Good Cause chapter in the Social Services Handbook if Good Cause for non-cooperation with DCS is necessary.
      7. Give the parent or send the provider a copy of the eJAS WorkFirst Participation Verification form as family violence providers are treated as non-contracted service providers. This form will be used by the provider to verify and report the parent's actual hours of participation in domestic violence services.
        • The family violence provider will complete, sign and return these forms to the referring WFPS/WFSSS by the fifth day of each month, and
        • The WFPS/WFSSS will enter the countable core hours indicated on the form in eJAS actual hours by the 15th day of each month for the previous month's activity.

      6.5.18 Family Violence and Sanctions

      Victims of Family Violence may not be able to participate in job search or work activities. As a result, it is necessary to make every effort to avoid unfairly penalizing individuals by imposing sanctions. If family violence is a significant part of the reason an individual has been unable to follow through with the activities in their IRP, do not impose a sanction; rather renegotiate and modify the IRP to address the barrier so that it aligns with any current family violence service plan that moves the individual forward safely. Documentation in eJAS to support your decision is critical.

      Note:  Family violence may be a significant part of the reason an individual is unable to follow through with WorkFirst activities whether the family violence is current or occurred in the past. 

      A victim of family violence may be sanctioned.  As described in WFHB 3.6.2.4, if a sanctioned person’s circumstances change, his or her grant, IRP and/or cure requirements may also change.  Waive a family violence victim’s four-week cure requirement if their family violence situation is directly or significantly contributing to their inability to participate – see examples of family violence situations below.  

      Examples: A parent is sanctioned for refusing to do job search and discloses the month following sanction that he/she is dealing with family violence issues.  Follow section 6.5.19 Family Violence and Sanctions - Step-by-Step, and use the Sanction Re-engagement CE interview,  to discover if family violence  is directly or significantly contributing to his/her not participating. Below are five different situations with the appropriate response for each.

      #1: Good cause found – Current Family violence is preventing participation – Reverse sanction decision

      This woman reports that her abuser is intercepting her mail and phone calls and will not allow her to use their shared vehicle and that this has been happening since before her good cause appointment.  Because the family violence is (and was) preventing her participation in  WorkFirst activities, we would reverse the good cause decision, lift the sanction, and remove the sanction penalty back to the date of sanction.   Refer the parent to a worker or advocate trained in family violence to create a family violence service plan.   Use this family violence service plan as a guide for developing a new IRP and explain that she must participate in the activities agreed upon in her revised IRP to avoid future sanction and retain her TANF grant. For example, the only activity she may be able to safely do is to contact her WFSSS or family violence advocate on a regular basis by phone.  However, she may want to integrate other activities into her IRP as well, and this may be indicated on the family violence service plan. See WFHB 6.5.17.

      #2: Good cause found – Past Family violence is preventing participation – Reverse sanction decision

      This woman reports that she has been away from the abuser for two years, but when she tries to leave her home, she fears he may find out how to locate her.  She wanted to participate in job search, but could not manage the courage to leave her home.  She also reported that she was ashamed to call her case manager because it happened so long ago.  Because the family violence is (and was) preventing her participation in WorkFirst activities, we would reverse the good cause decision, lift the sanction, and remove the sanction penalty back to the date of sanction.   Refer the parent to a worker or advocate trained in family violence to create a family violence service plan.   Use this family violence service plan as a guide for developing a new IRP and explain that she must participate in the activities agreed upon in her revised IRP to avoid future sanction and retain her TANF grant. For example, the only activity she may be able to safely do is to contact her WFSSS or family violence advocate on a regular basis by phone.  However, she may want to integrate other activities into her IRP as well, and this may be indicated on the family violence service plan. See WFHB 6.5.17

      #3: No good cause found – Past Family Violence isn’t preventing participation – Four-week sanction cure requirement

      This woman comes in to develop a new IRP to cure sanction.  Previous family violence had been disclosed, and she reports that she continued attending weekly family violence support group meetings but stopped attending job search because she thought she found employment and the job fell through.  Past family violence did not contribute to her non-participation.  She will be required to complete a four-week cure to lift sanction.  We would encourage her to stay connected with a local advocate or family violence program to assist her in staying safe.  See WFHB 6.5.17

      #4: No good cause found – Current Family violence is preventing participation – Waive sanction cure

      This man reports that he wants to cure his sanction, but his abuser returned last week and made physical threats.  This is new and significant family violence that will keep him from meeting participation requirements but didn’t exist when he entered sanction.  Regardless of the reason for the original sanction, after the Sanction Re-engagement CE is completed, we waive his four-week cure requirement and remove the sanction penalty the first of the following month.  We should explain that he must participate in the activities agreed upon in his revised IRP to avoid future sanction and retain his TANF grant.   Refer him to a worker or advocate trained in family violence to create a family violence service plan and use that plan as a guide for developing a new IRP. For example, the only activity he may be able to safely do is to contact his WFSSS or family violence advocate on a regular basis by phone.  See WFHB 6.5.17.

      #5: No good cause found – Past Family Violence isn’t preventing participation – Four-week sanction cure requirement

      This woman reports that she has been away from the abuser for two years, and thinks that she may need some help resolving issues that are a result of living with the abuser but acknowledges that she doesn’t fear that he will find her at this time.  She had answered that she had been in a family violence situation during her Comprehensive Evaluation, but reported that she didn’t need help at that time.  She also reported that she did not attend job search because she lost the paperwork and didn’t know where to go or who to call.  Because family violence was not the reason she was not participating in her IRP, there is no good cause.  Refer the parent to a worker or advocate trained in family violence to create a family violence service plan.   Use this family violence service plan as a guide for developing a new IRP.  Her family violence service plan indicates that with a family violence activity she should be able to participate full-time in another activity.  This woman’s past family violence experience was affecting her current behavior but was not significantly related to her inability to participate.    You discuss the Community Jobs program with her, and she agrees that would be a better fit than returning to job search.  Because she is able to participate in activities other than those related to family violence, she will be required to complete a four-week cure to lift sanction.   See WFHB 6.5.17

       

      Note:  If a situation occurs where WF staff make an initial determination on the parent’s family violence service plan because an advocate is not available and later the advocate comes to a different conclusion about what the client can safely do, the worker should discuss the family violence service plan with the advocate. 

      6.5.19 Family Violence and Sanctions - Step-by-Step

      Before you sanction an individual:

      1. Screen or re-screen the individual for family violence issues during the good cause appointment.
      2. If no family violence is identified, proceed with sanction process.
      3. If family violence is identified, consult with a WFSSS or family violence advocate (Case Staffing) to determine if the violence is preventing the individual from participating in job search or work activities.
        1. If family violence is not currently impacting the individuals ability to do job search or work activities, clearly document this in the family violence notes and continue the sanction process.
        2. If family violence is preventing the individual from job search or work activities,
          1. Enter proper eJAS coding:
            1. RO to refer to the WFSSS, or family violence advocate
            2. XF in eJAS if the individual is already engage with family violence advocate
          2. Do not proceed with the sanction process.
          3. Update the 'special record' IRP in eJAS with appropriate activities that will move the individual forward safely.
            1. If the individual has disclosed family violence, but it is determined that whatever abuse is currently taking place, or historically occurred, is not the reason the individual is not following through with their IRP, clearly document in the notes what has lead you to this conclusion. Documentation of the family violence issues must be indicated in the Family Violence category in eJAS.
      4. If an individual is already in Sanction or CSNP when family violence is disclosed or when family violence begins, review the circumstances and follow steps as described in c) i - iii above to determine whether or not to remove the sanction or CSNP.

      Good documentation is extremely important in these situations. It is important to document family violence information in the family violence note type in eJAS to protect the safety of individuals.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

      Forms

      Other Resources

      6.6 Disabilities (physical, mental & learning disabilities)

      Revised August 31, 2016

      (some time-limited core)

      Legal References:

      The Disabilities section includes:

      • 6.6.1 What are medical conditions?
      • 6.6.2 Guiding principles
      • 6.6.3 Basic Process
      • 6.6.4 How do I get medical evidence?
      • 6.6.5 How do I complete the medical evidence IRP?
      • 6.6.6 How do I pay for medical evidence?
      • 6.6.7 How do I evaluate evidence and establish participation requirements?
      • 6.6.8 eJAS Codes
      • 6.6.9 Medical Conditions - Step-by-Step Guide

      6.6.1 What are medical conditions?

      This section includes information about medical conditions (physical, mental, emotional disorders or learning disabilities) that can interfere with a participant's ability to work, prepare for work or look for work. Substance abuse/chemical dependency, which can also interfere with participation, is covered in the following section of the handbook, Substance Abuse 6.7.

      • A physical disorder (XM) often affects a participant's ability to perform physical tasks in a normal day-to-day setting. For example, a participant might not be able to see, hear, move freely or lift weight. The impact of a physical disorder can often be mitigated by use of adaptive accommodation such as a ramp for a participant who uses a wheelchair.
      • Mental and emotional disorders (XG) can affect a participant's ability to think clearly or respond appropriately in a work setting. For example, the participant may seem mentally preoccupied, have trouble following directions or have difficulty in getting along with others in the workplace.
      • A learning disability (XJ) is a neurological condition that impedes a participant's ability to receive, store, process or express information. It can affect one's ability to read, write, communicate, or compute math.

      6.6.2 Guiding Principles

      We cannot approve deferrals or exemptions without medical evidence that documents what the participant can and cannot do.

      Our goal is to promote consistent decisions, increased participation and better outcomes for WorkFirst participants with physical, mental or emotional conditions. Use these guiding principles when you learn a participant has a medical condition:

      • Make decisions based on the medical information provided by the participant.
      • WorkFirst helps participants define and manage limitations and build on strengths.
      • Disability and WorkFirst staff work together to get the best participant outcomes.
      • Mitigate limitations and make participation as full-time as possible, as soon as possible.
      • Encourage and help participants with chronic and severe disabilities make long-term plans (such as accessing SSI, Social Security Disability or DVR).

      6.6.3 Basic Process

      As shown in the Medical Evidence Evaluation Basic Flow Chart, WorkFirst will use a consistent process to respond when we become aware that a participant may have a physical disorder (XM), a mental or emotional disorder (XG) or a learning disability (XJ). Throughout the process, we accommodate limitations and require the participant to participate as full-time as possible.

      Start by obtaining medical evidence so we know what the participant can and cannot do. Get the medical evidence even if you know the participant has applied for SSI on his or her own. We need the evidence to determine whether the participant qualifies for a WorkFirst deferral or exemption, and whether we will facilitate the participant's SSI application.

      Once the evidence is in, triage the case with a social service specialist as needed, and assign the case as follows:

      • The WFPS handles the case when a physical, mental or emotional condition (XM or XG) is expected to last 3 months or less.
      • As conditions get longer-term or more complex, social service specialists may handle the case to make decisions and establish IRP requirements.
      • participants with severe and chronic medical conditions will be assessed for SSI and, if they want to work, we may refer to DVR for services.
      • The SSI Facilitator helps viable candidates apply for SSI and monitors their progress.

      6.6.4 How do I get medical evidence?

      When the participant reports, or appears to have, a medical, mental or emotional condition that interferes with their ability to participate, obtain medical evidence to determine what the participant can and cannot do.  Types of providers you may use are found in WAC 388-310-0350.

      Obtain the following information from the participant up front, so we can follow up as needed:

      • A signed consent form, DSHS 14-012, so we can share information, including any accommodations the participant needs to participate.
      • For conditions reported to last less than 3 months, a 10-353 form or alternative type of medical information documenting what the participant can and cannot do.
      • For conditions expected to last 3 months or longer, a DSHS 10-353 form (when needed) and chart notes to determine what the participant can and cannot do with their impairments. However, we must accept an alternative type of evidence, as described in the IRP, if that is what the participant turns in.
      • When the participant reports and verifies a disability that appears to be severe and chronic, gather objective medical evidence, as needed, which is described in WAC 388-449-0015.
      • An IRP requiring the participant to obtain medical evidence.

      Note:  If staff don’t have access to Barcode, they may use a hard copy of the DSHS 14-050, Statement of Health, Education and Employment form, in case the medical evidence shows the participant may be a viable SSI candidate.

      We may augment this medical evidence later if it appears the participant may qualify for SSI.

      6.6.5 How do I complete the medical evidence IRP?

      Complete the IRP using the OR eJAS component code requiring the participant to obtain medical evidence within 30 days. Offer to help the participant obtain the evidence as needed. Get supervisory approval before you give the participant more than 30 days to obtain medical evidence.

      If needed, you can extend the time in 30-day increments with supervisory approval, if you also do the following:

      • Document why more time is needed in eJAS notes
      • See if you can help the participant get evidence sooner
      • Consider referring the participant to a social service specialist for help in obtaining evidence.

      The OR IRP template requires the participant to provide the DSHS 10-353 form or alternative medical evidence that provides the:

      • Diagnosis,
      • How long their medical condition is expected to last,
      • Specific limitations stemming from their medical condition,
      • Treatment plans, and
      • The number of hours per week the participant can work, look for work or prepare for work.

      The OR IRP template also requires chart notes for the current medical condition unless the condition is expected to last for 3 months or less.

      6.6.6 How do I pay for medical evidence?

      We may use WorkFirst support services to pay for medical evidence when existing medical evidence is insufficient and the participant would incur a cost to obtain the necessary examinations or testing.

      We may purchase exams or testing to:

      • Determine if a participant’s impairments are appropriate for an SSI referral; or

      • Support a SSI application when:

        • Recommended by the contracted doctor, or

        • Following an SSI denial if it was overlooked and appears necessary to establish SSI eligibility.

      Note:  If the participant has worked with a psychologist or psychiatrist, we may be able to get sufficient information for an SSI referral from existing chart notes.

      Do not use WorkFirst support services to purchase medical evidence when:

      • Exams or testing can be paid by Washington Apple Health or are available from free clinics.
      • DDS or DVR is expected to purchase the exams or testing as part of their eligibility determination process.

      Washington Apple Health should normally cover the cost of the medical exam and form completion. However, the medical professional may charge for copies of the participant's chart notes. It may be appropriate to pay for missed doctor appointments when we set up the appointment for the participant and the participant was not able to give the doctor a 24-hour cancellation notice.

      See categories 34 (testing/diagnostic) and 37 (medical exams/services) in the WorkFirst Support Services Directory for the types of medical exams and services we can purchase using support services.

      6.6.7 How do I evaluate evidence and establish participation requirements?

      Review the DSHS 10-353, WorkFirst Documentation Request for Medical/Disability Condition and any chart notes. If the participant provides alternative medical evidence, contact the doctor as needed to obtain the key information below.

      1. Determine if there are any conditions listed that limit the participant's ability to work, prepare for work or look for work. If not, do a full-time IRP as described on the medical participation requirements chart.
      2. Complete or update the participant's EA screening as needed and determine if there are countable activities where we can avoid or accommodate the limitations. If so, document the condition, provide needed accommodations and do a full-time IRP with appropriate activities.
      3. Refer complex and longer-term cases to a social service specialist, using the RR eJAS referral code until the participant has a deferral or exemption.
      4. Determine the participant's hourly participation capacity based on the medical evidence and set participation requirements as shown on the medical participation requirements chart.
      5. See WorkFirst Handbook 6.8, Exemptions, if the medical evidence shows the participant's medical condition is chronic (will last 12 months or more) and severe (they can participate 10 hours or less per week). We will need to decide whether to refer the participant to SSI and the participant may qualify for a WorkFirst exemption or long-term deferral.
         
      6. If the participant has filed an SSI application on their own, but does NOT have a chronic and severe condition, let the SSIF know so they can track the SSI application. However, we will not get additional medical evidence or provide formal SSI facilitation.
      7. Some participant's may have a DVR Plan. If so, coordinate their IRP with their DVR Plan. (See Social Services Manual and Reporting DVR Plan Hours.)
      8. Share information about any accommodations the participant needs to participate with the WorkFirst partner or contractor when you refer the participant to them for activities. This is allowable with the signed DSHS 14-012 Consent form.
      9. Establish the deferral or exemption end date based on the participant's medical evidence, not to exceed 12 months.
      10. Review the case when the deferral or exemption expires to determine whether the participant may require another deferral or exemption. If so, obtain new medical evidence following the process above and update the EA Plan as needed.

      6.6.8 eJAS codes

      Depending upon the participant's situation, use these eJAS codes:

      • OR (obtaining medical evidence) - used on the IRP to require medical evidence.
      • RR (review medical evidence) - used when a participant is referred to a social service specialist for IRP and SSI decisions. The code is kept in place until the exemption or IRP is done.
      • XM (temporary physical incapacity, medical treatment)
      • XJ (learning disability services)
      • XG (mental health services or treatment)

      6.6.9 Disabilities - Step-by-step guide

      1. The WFPS or WFSSS uses an IRP with the OR eJAS component code to request medical evidence (the DSHS 10-353 and chart notes or an alternative type of evidence listing diagnosis, duration, specific limitations, treatment plans and the number of hours per week the participant can work, look for work or prepare for work). Also obtain a signed DSHS 14-012 and the DSHS 14-050 .
      2. Complete an EA screening or plan update to determine accommodations the participant needs to access services and/or participate.
      3. The WFPS/WFSSS, based on the medical evidence and EA screening, determines:
        1. Whether we can mitigate or accommodate limitations and the participant can participate full-time.
        2. Whether to refer to a social service specialist with the RR eJAS component code for case management or a possible SSI referral.
        3. Participation requirements. (See the medical participation requirements chart for more details.)
        4. Opens the appropriate X eJAS component codes based on the duration of the disability, but not to exceed 12 months, and eJAS codes for other required activities.
        5. Updates the IRP and provides needed support services.
      4. If the participant is suspected of having a LD, the participant is referred to the WFSSS who uses the eJAS learning needs screen:
        1. Uses all available information, participant observation, and Learning Needs note type in eJAS to determine if a LD may be the primary barrier to employment; and,
        2. If so, contacts the local Learning Disabilities Association of Washington, local community college or other LD provider to determine if it would be appropriate to refer the participant for further evaluation and additional services. Enter RO when making a referral for LD services. Enter XJ if the participant is participating in LD treatment.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

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      6.7 Substance Abuse

      (time-limited core)

      Legal References:

      The Substance Abuse section includes:

      • 6.7.1 What is substance abuse?
      • 6.7.2 What is Chemical Dependency?
      • 6.7.3 Who does the substance abuse assessment?
      • 6.7.4 Who is financially eligible?
      • 6.7.5 Who are Priority Populations?
      • 6.7.6 What are the requirements for Modality of Care?
      • 6.7.7 What are the different Treatment Modalities?
      • 6.7.8 What are there specialized programs and services administered by the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse
      • 6.7.9 Confidentiality
      • 6.7.10 eJAS Codes
      • 6.7.11 Substance Abuse - Step-by-Step.

      6.7.1 What is substance abuse?

      Substance abuse is the misuse or overuse of a legal or illegal chemical or substance, including alcohol, in a way that is different from the way it is generally used medically or socially.

      Abuse either creates disruption or problems for the user or complicates an existing problem in the individual's life. It does not matter whether the person is abusing the substance by choice, or abusing as part of an addictive pattern. Eventually, substance abuse will impact the person physically, behaviorally, socially, occupationally, or in other ways and often leads to chemical dependency.

      6.7.2 What is Chemical Dependency?

      Chemical dependency occurs when the person's abuse of alcohol, chemicals, or other substances progresses to physical and/or psychological dependence. Chemical dependency means the person is addicted to the substance. Addiction is the loss of control and compulsive use of a mood or mind altering chemical along with the inability to stop the use in spite of the fact that such use is causing problems in their life.

      6.7.3 Who does the substance abuse assessment?

      Substance Abuse Assessments must be completed by a Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) to determine:

      • Substance abuse
      • Chemical addiction
      • Level of treatment (if any) that is required to address the individual's needs.

      6.7.4 Who is financially eligible for substance abuse treatment?

      Persons who are eligible for WorkFirst and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) likely qualify for Washington Apple Health

      WorkFirst clients do not need to be referred by an ADATSA assessment agency to receive treatment. They can receive assessment and treatment services from any DASA treatment agency contracted to provide services to WorkFirst clients.

      WorkFirst parents without Washington Apple Health due to citizenship verification requirements who need chemical dependency treatment may be able to access ADATSA (W02) services. Please refer to section 6.3.5 How do we treat parents with medial issues who do not have Washington Apple Health?

      Require persons to apply for Washington Apple Health in his or her IRP if they don’t currently have coverage or have let their coverage lapse so they can access any needed chemical dependency assessment or treatment.  Failure to apply for Washington Apple Health without good cause will result in sanction (See WAH Application IRP for suggested IRP language).

      Note:

      • Persons who do not meet the above criteria and whose income is below a specified means test are also eligible to receive outpatient treatment services under a sliding fee schedule for payment.
      • Children who do not meet the above criteria and whose family income is below a specified means test may also be eligible to receive residential treatment.

      6.7.5 Who are priority populations?

      Priority populations are pregnant women, injecting drug users, WorkFirst families (parents with dependent children), and youth.

      Consider a referral for a substance abuse assessment when there is.
      Some conditions are so severe that a person should be concentrating solely on getting medical treatment.
      A history of unfinished substance abuse treatment.
      Behavior consistent with being under the influence of excessive drug/alcohol use, such as:
      • Slurred speech,
      • An odor of alcohol,
      • Balance problems, or
      • Skin lesions indicative of drug use.
      Individuals self-reporting that drug or alcohol use caused:
      • Job loss or a refusal of employment
      • Legal problems (possession, theft, assault, domestic violence, resisting arrest, or child abuse or neglect).
      • Arrest for driving under the influence (DUI)
      • Fights or arguments
      • Emergency room visits or hospitalizations
      • Needing help, seeking help in the past or getting help in the past
      • Being told by friends or family members that she or he drinks alcohol or uses drugs too much
      • Blackouts (not remembering things that one has said or done while drinking or using other drugs).

      6.7.6 What are the requirements for Modality of Care?

      Admission to modality of care is determined based on the American Society for Addiction Medicine patient placement criteria.

      6.7.7 What are the different Treatment Modalities?

      1. Detoxification Services

      • Assists individuals in withdrawing from alcohol and other chemicals
      • Acute detoxification provides medical care and physician supervision
      • Sub-acute detoxification provides non-medical detoxification or patient self-administration of withdrawal medications ordered by a physician and provided in a home like environment.

      2. Intensive Inpatient/Residential Treatment

      Provides up to 30 days of a concentrated short-term program of:

      • Individual and group counseling by a CDP
      • Education
      • Activities for detoxified alcoholics/addicts and their families

      3. Recovery House/Residential Treatment

      Provides up to 60 days of care and treatment with social, vocational, and recreational activities to aid in patient adjustment to abstinence and to aid in job training, employment, or other types of community activities. Treatment includes individual and group counseling by a CDP.

      4. Long-term Inpatient/Residential Treatment

      Provides up to 180 days of care and treatment to chronically impaired alcoholics/addicts who have personal-care capabilities. Treatment includes:

      • Education
      • Individual and group counseling by a CDP
      • Development of social and coping skills
      • Assistance with re-entry living skills.

      5. Outpatient Treatment

      Programs of care include individual and group treatment services of varying duration and intensity according to a prescribe Treatment Plan and education directed at relapse prevention, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B & C, and sexually transmitted diseases.

      6.7.8 Are there other specialized programs and services administered by the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse?

      The Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA) also administer Pregnant and Parenting Women's (PPW) programs, such as Safe Babies Safe Moms (SBSM) and Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP), and treatment for Opiate dependence.

      PPW programs address specialized needs associated with substance abuse/chemical dependency for pregnant and parenting women, including:

      • Therapeutic child care for women in residential treatment
      • Counseling to address other issues including:
        • Sexual Assault
        • Incest
        • Eating Disorders
        • Family Planning
        • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
        • Domestic Violence
        • Mental Health Issues
        • Life Skills training
        • Vocational/Employment Services
        • Transitional Housing

      Safe Babies/Safe Moms Program:

      • Professional Model available only in Whatcom, Snohomish, Benton, and Franklin Counties.
      • Targeted Intensive Case Management for up to 3 years.
      • Specialized counseling or referral to address issues as described under the Pregnant and parenting Women's Programs

      Parent Child Assistance Program:

      • Paraprofessional model of case management and up to the target child's third birthday.
      • Available only in King, Pierce, Yakima , Spokane , Grant, Cowlitz, and Skagit counties
      • Specialized counseling or referral to address issues as described under the Pregnant and Parenting Women's Programs.

      Opiate Dependency

      • Opiate substitution treatment (Methadone)
      • Outpatient treatment including individual and group counseling

      6.7.9 Confidentiality

      Federal law prohibits the disclosure of personal information relating to alcohol and/or drug use, with criminal and civil penalties applied for unauthorized disclosure. This means:

      • Treatment agencies cannot give you any information without a signed copy of the DSHS 17-063 Authorization to Release Information.
      • You cannot share any substance abuse information with other agencies without getting this same form signed by the individual (releasing information from you to the other agency).

      Be particularly thorough in the completion of the form if you are requesting an exchange of information regarding a client either:

      • With an assessment/treatment agency, or
      • To share information with another program/agency

      The form must be very specific as to the purpose of the release and to whom the information is to be shared. If the forms are not completed thoroughly and correctly, the treatment agency cannot give any information and you may not share information.

      Information stored in eJAS Special Records Chemical Dependency notes is highly restricted and protected. Enter all substance abuse assessment and treatment information on the Chemical Dependency Special Records screen in eJAS notes. Do not document information about substance abuse assessment or treatment in less protected areas of eJAS.

      When adding the requirement to follow through with a substance abuse assessment and any treatment requirements on the individual's IRP, the WFPS or WFSSS needs to add the requirements to the Special Records IRP available in eJAS.

      6.7.10 eJAS Codes

      For tracking purposes, it is very important to always enter the following appropriate eJAS code when an individual is referred for a substance abuse assessment and when an individual enters treatment.

      Use the following appropriate eJAS code when an individual is referred for a substance abuse assessment or when an individual enters treatment: SR - Referred for substance abuse ASSESSMENT

      • SR - Referred for substance abuse ASSESSMENT
      • XE - Enters substance abuse TREATMENT

      6.7.11 Substance Abuse - Step-by-step guide

      1. The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) suspects there is a substance abuse problem and:
        • Refers the individual to a -Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR)contracted treatment agency using the DSHS 14-299, DASA Adult Assessment Referral Form (flag the referral as a WorkFirst/TANF referral).
        • Uses local procedures to schedule the appointment.
        • Enters SR (substance abuse referral code) in eJAS.
        • Documents in eJAS Chemical Dependency note type and creates an IRP using the Special Records IRP available in eJAS.
        • Gives the parent or sends the provider a copy of the eJAS WorkFirst Participation Verification form
      2. If an Employment Security Department (ESD) counselor or community college employee observes signs and/or symptoms that indicate substance abuse may be impairing an individual's ability to look for work, the JSS will refer the individual to the WFPS or WFSSS and document in eJAS.
      3. The treatment agency completes the assessment, and
      4. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment providers will use the the DSHS 04-432, Treatment Plan and Change Report form for treatment plan purposes only. The eJAS WorkFirst Participation Verification form (see 3.9.2), which will either sent to the provider, will be used to verify the individual's actual hours of participation in treatment activities including AA meetings etc.
        • Providers will use the DSHS 04-432, Treatment Plan and Change Report form for reporting:
          • The treatment plan established for the individual.
          • Failure to participate.
          • Referral to another provider.
          • Changes in the treatment provided.
          • Discharge from treatment.
          • Child care needs (when in-house child care is not provided by the facility)
      5. Both Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP) and Safe Babies Safe  Moms (SBSM) providers will also use the eJAS WorkFirst Participation Verification form to report and verify the individual's actual hours of participation in PCAP and SBSM activities.
      6. The WFPS or WFSSS:
        • Opens XE in eJAS once the individual enters treatment. Enter substance abuse information in the Special Records under the category Chemical Dependency in eJAS notes.
        • Maintain the case record in the originating CSO when placement is made outside of the catchment area if the participant plans on returning to that area.
        • Provide support services, as needed.
        • Add other activities to the IRP when the individual is ready, in consultation with the treatment provider.
      7. If the WFPS or WFSSS finds out that a individual is already in treatment, she or he:
        • Does nothing, if treatment does not interfere with other required WorkFirst activities.
        • Sends a DSHS 17-063 Authorization to Release Information form, a letter of referral and a copy of the individual's IRP to the treatment provider to coordinate treatment with WorkFirst requirements.
      8. Establish communication with treatment staff to discuss the individual's full course of treatment. Convene a case staffing to discuss an individual's situation. Treatment plans established by CDPs may include ancillary activities outside of the treatment agency (i.e. AA meetings, anger management counseling, etc.)

      Relapse During Recovery:

      It is not uncommon for individuals to relapse during treatment, especially during the early stages of recovery. Relapses, within themselves, should not be considered as non-compliance. Therefore, individuals should not be sanctioned or have treatment services denied just because there was a relapse.

      Non-compliance:

      Without good cause, failure to have a substance abuse assessment or attend treatment when the need has been identified may be considered non-compliance. Work closely with the CDP to ensure the treatment plan is being following. Case staffings involving the individual and the CDP are strongly recommended. Individuals are much more likely to be successful in their recovery if they have support of others including the WFPS and WFSSS.

      Resources

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      6.8 Exemptions

      Revised October 19, 2017

      Legal References:

      The Exemptions section includes:

      • 6.8.1 What are exemptions?
      • 6.8.2 Infant exemptions and infant exemption extensions
      • 6.8.3 Older needy caretaker relative exemptions
      • 6.8.4 Caring for a child with special needs
      • 6.8.5 Caring for an adult relative with disabilities
      • 6.8.6 Adults with chronic and severe disabilities
      • 6.8.7 SSI Referrals
      • 6.8.8 DVR Referrals
      • 6.8.9 Can exempt parents have mandatory participation requirements?
      • 6.8.10 Can exempt parents voluntarily participate?
      • 6.8.11 eJAS codes
      • 6.8.12 Exemptions - Step-by-Step Guide

      6.8.1 What are exemptions?

      Exemptions waive requirements for participants who aren't able to actively participate in working, looking for work or preparing for work. We may lift participation requirements and approve exemptions for parents of children under two and older needy caretaker relatives. Grant participants an exemption if they:

      1. Are the parent or legal guardian of a child under two 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. Must be in the home to care for a child with special needs, or
      5. Must be in the home to care for an adult relative with a severe and chronic medical condition.

      Defer participants who have health or family issues that temporarily interfere with their ability to work (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 participant's situation. Medical documentation must be adequate to identify the severity and duration of the disability. Exemptions can't be approved without the appropriate documentation.

      6.8.2 Infant exemptions and infant exemption extensions

      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 twenty-four months in a lifetime if caring for a child less than two years 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:

      • Require the individual to provide documentation within 30 days, or up to 90 days if needed, which supports the need for the exemption including medical documentation.
      • Complete a social service specialist assessment as needed
      • Review the documentation and determine exemption approval or denial. If the documentation shows the parent can participate 10 hours or less per week, approve the 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:

      • Follow the process described in WFHB 6.6, Disabilities to obtain medical evidence to document the need for an exemption/deferral.
      • Complete a social service specialist assessment.
      • Complete any needed Equal Access screening or update of the individual's Accommodation Plan.
      • Use the medical evidence to determine if the condition is chronic and severe.
        • Chronic means the condition is expected to last 12 months or more.
        • Severe means the person is able to participate 10 hours or less per week.

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

      • Approve XB and make an SSI referral, following the process in 6.8.7 below. If the person refuses to cooperate with the SSI referral process, determine good cause for refusal to participate.
      • Also approve a 12-month XG or XM deferral if the medical condition is responsive to treatment and treatment is available. You can require the client to apply for medical coverage, as needed, to access treatment. (See WAH Application IRP for suggested IRP language).
      • If the medical condition is not expected to respond to treatment:
        • Do not add the XG or XM to monitor participation in treatment, and
        • If the parent is unlikely to qualify for SSI, approve an exemption (ZD)
          • Examples:
            • The parent does not meet the citizenship requirements for SSU.
            • The parent is denied at the SSI final level (post-appeal) and medical evidence still verifies that they have a chronic and severe disability.

      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 ABD process) as follows:

      • The social service specialist (Disability Specialist or WorkFirst Social Service Specialist, as decided locally):
        • Uses information on the DSHS 14-050 and any medical evidence to determine when a person potentially meets SSA disability criteria. See Helpful Social Services Manual Links for more information.
        • Determines if additional medical evidence may be needed, including:
          • Chart notes back to the original diagnosis by a physician and copies of diagnostic reports (such as X-rays, blood work and MRI's).
          • Psychological exam, which may include psychological testing to establish or rule out conditions such as cognitive impairments. You can expect to purchase an evaluation if the person has never accessed the services of a psychologist or psychiatrist under Washington Apple Health.
        • Helps the parent obtain the evidence, as needed, and ensure they understand they do not need to pay the costs, if any.
        • If the person has already applied for SSI on his or her own, notifies the SSI Facilitator so they can track the application,
        • If SSI appears unlikely:
          • Removes the XB code
          • Approves a ZD exemption or maintains the long-term XG or XM deferral
          • Considers a DVR referral, and
          • Refers the case back to WorkFirst staff.
        • If SSI appears likely, refers directly to the SSI Facilitator with the DSHS 14-050 and all relevant medical records.
        • If it is unclear whether SSI appears likely, creates the contracted physician disability packet, including:
          • DSHS 14-050 , Statement of Health, Education and Employment
          • Recent medical records and all relevant medical records that help to establish duration of impairment or show treatment history.
          • Completes the DSHS 14-507, Disability Assessment: TANF Referral in the barcode TANF Disability Assessment subsystem.
          • Refers the case to the contracted physician using the barcode TANF Disability Assessment subsystem. See TANF Contracted Physician Referral Desk Aid for instructions.
      • Regardless of who is handling the contracted physician referral and/or SSI facilitation, the WorkFirst Social Service Specialist will:
        • Issue needed support services
        • Maintain eJAS component codes,
        • Maintain the person's IRP, and
        • Provide any desired DVR referrals.
      • The contracted physician will:
        • Certify when a person appears to meet SSI Disability criteria
        • Authorize purchase of additional medical evidence and/or describe additional steps to take when evidence is inadequate
        • Provide a DSHS 14-507, Disability Assessment: TANF Decision form with their disability determination and reasons for approval or denial.
      • The social service specialist assigned to the case will:
        • Refer denials back to WorkFirst as exempt or in long-term deferral. The only activity we require for these cases is treatment if it is available and helpful. The social service specialist also considers a DVR referral if the parent wants to work.
      • The SSIF will:
        • Facilitate and track the person's SSI claim.
        • Review SSI denials to decide whether to pursue reconsideration.
        • Authorize additional testing with an approved ETR if needed for the reconsideration.
        • Refer cases that are not appropriate for SSI reconsideration back to the WorkFirst Program Specialist or Social Service Specialist for exemption or continued long-term deferral and possible DVR referral.
        • The SSIF also tracks SSI applications that parents have filed on their own, but found unlikely to be approved.

      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:

      • Services to eliminate, circumvent, or mitigate an impediment(s) to employment;
      • Support services, like transportation, adaptive devices, child care, and services to family members; and
      • Assessment, diagnostic and evaluation services to develop employability plans.
      • See Reporting DVR Plan Hours for coding and reporting hours.

      6.8.9 Can exempt parents have mandatory participation requirements?

      Exempt parents may have mandatory participation requirements when they have a severe and chronic disability.  WorkFirst will provide services or refer these parents to service providers that will help them:

      • Pursue SSI or another type of federal disability benefit, which may include gathering objective medical evidence as described in WAC 388-449-0015 in preparation of the SSI application process; and/or
      • Participate in available treatment that is recommended by the parent's medical or mental health provider or chemical dependency professional.

      6.8.10 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.

      6.8.11 eJAS codes

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

      • ZA (approved exemption for an older caretaker relative)
      • ZB (approved exemption for an individual needed in the home to care for a disabled adult relative)
      • ZC (approved exemption for an individual needed in the home to care for a child with special needs)
      • ZD (adult with severe and chronic disabilities that are not amenable to treatment)
      • XB (pursuing SSI/L&I/VA or other benefits) Used to indicate cases being assessed for a facilitated SSI application or accepted for SSI Facilitation.
      • XD (indicates the parent has DVR-required rehabilitation activities and/or time spent with the DVR counselor)
      • XG (mental health condition and required to access available, helpful treatment)
      • XM(physical condition and required to access available, helpful treatment)

      6.8.12 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.)
          • Requires the parent to pursue SSI or another type of federal disability benefit in their IRP which may include gathering objective medical evidence as described in WAC 388-449-0015 in preparation of the SSI application process and
          • Requires treatment in their IRP, if recommended by their treating medical or mental health provider or by a chemical dependency professional.
        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.

      Resources

       

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      Chapter 7: Education & Training

      7.1 Overview

      Created on: 
      Mar 01 2017

      Revised On: March 1, 2017

      The Education & Training Overview section includes:

      • 7.1.1 What are the WorkFirst Training Options?
      • 7.1.2 When can you add it to an IRP?
      • 7.1.3 How to calculate the education and training class and homework hours
      • 7.1.4 How DSHS calculates non-contracted/non-partner homework hours
      • 7.1.5 Step-by-step guide - Non-contracted/non-partner homework hours (DSHS Only)
      • 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a participant is absent?

      7.1.1 What are the WorkFirst Training Options?

      A participant's employment plan may include education and training based on the results of the comprehensive evaluation , the strategy for stacking activities or the continuous activity planning (CAP) meeting.

      The WorkFirst program offers several training options for participants and young adults to enhance their skills and employability. There are different rules and procedures to follow for the various options.

      Education and training includes:

      • "Core" educational activities:
        • Vocational education:
          • Vocational Education ( VE )
          • Customized Job Skills Training ( PE )
          • Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training - I-BEST ( VE )
          • High-Wage, High-Demand Training ( HW )
          • Degree Completion (DC)
        • Life Skills Training (LS)
        • High School completion or High School equivalency age 19 or younger (HS)
        • Internships and Practicums (WE)
        • Work Study (PT)
      • "Non-core" educational activities:
        • Skills Enhancement  (called Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment in the federal rules) ( JT)
        • English as a Second Language (ESL) when stacked with core activities ( JT )
        • High School Completion age 20 or older (BE)
        • High School Equivalency age 20 or older (GE)
      • Other education:
        • Vocational Education Unapproved ( VU )
        • English as a Second Language (ESL) when stand-alone activity (ES)

      7.1.2 When can you add it to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

      Education and training can be added to a participant's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) while on WorkFirst.

      Under the new federal definitions, both basic education and ESL fall under the federal category of job skills training directly related to employment (and coded JT ) when a participant is participating in core activities. The participant's employment plan or education and training plan should document that the basic education or ESL is giving the participant skills needed for employment. Stand-alone ESL is coded ES and does not count towards participation.

      DSHS staff can decide whether to code ESL as ES or JT based on whether the participant is participating in a core activity. Community and technical colleges will decide which eJAS code to use for all other WorkFirst education and training activities and add that information to the participant's education and training plan.

      For more information about Life Skills training, please refer to section 7.3.6 - What is Independent Life Skills Training?

      The following chapter sections give information about the approval process, monitoring and policy for each training option.

      7.1.3 How to calculate the education and training class and homework hours

      To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant is in the education and training activities, to include classes, labs, and supervised study halls/tutoring sessions, and up to one hour of unsupervised study time for every scheduled hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation cannot exceed the hours required or advised by a particular educational program.

      Only classes with an expectation of homework may be eligible for unsupervised homework hours. If there is no homework expectation, we cannot claim homework hours.

      Normally, we can claim one hour of homework time for each hour of scheduled class time. So, if a participant is scheduled to go to class for 5 hours a week, we can claim 5 hours of homework time a week, even if the participant misses some classes during the month. 

      However, if the participant drops out and is referred back to the CSO, we need to do things differently.

      If a participant is referred back to the CSO, we can only claim one hour of homework time for each hour they actually attended class for that month.  So, if a participant is scheduled to go to class for 5 hours a week beginning 5/1, attends class for 10 hours between 5/1 and 5/15 then drops out and is referred back to the CSO, we could only claim 10 hours of homework time for the month of May. 

      Every WorkFirst partner captures homework hours differently. For example:

      • College staff will use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool to determine the total number of weekly educational hours, including study time. The WorkFirst Calculator Tool is a spreadsheet used by college staff to determine the total number of allowable homework time, and the maximum number of homework hours allowed for the participant. College staff will keep a hard copy of the completed calculator tool in the participant's file.
      • LEP Pathway contractors will use the Educational & Homework Requirements Worksheet (EHRW) to document the scheduled class time and expected homework hours for the ESL class and determine the total number of allowable homework hours. Contractors will keep a copy of the EHRW in the participant's file. (See section 5.2.11 and 5.2.12)
      • Commerce contractors will use the Education & Training Homework Requirements Worksheet to determine the total amount of allowable homework time, and will keep a copy of the sheet in the participant's file.
      • DSHS uses non-contracted provider educational worksheets (see section 7.1.4 below).

      For more information and links on how different partners capture and process homework hours, please see the Capturing Homework Hours chart.

      Note:  Homework cannot be counted as WorkFirst participation hours for Life Skills training. 

      7.1.4 How DSHS calculates non-contracted/non-partner homework hours

      DSHS staff will use a shortcut method to pick up most, but not all, countable homework hours from non-contracted, non-partner educational providers. They will:

      • Use the Non-contracted Education and Training IRP Worksheet to:
        • Verify the participant's weekly homework expectation.
        • Determine how many hours to add to the participant's IRP. We will always add scheduled classroom hours to the IRP and other language on the IRP will hold the participant accountable to complete assigned tasks, including homework.
        • Determine each month if the participant's homework expectation is equal to or greater than her or his scheduled class hours. If so, they can double the participant's actual hours of class participation on the eJAS actual hours screen. (See "Examples of Entering Countable hours of Educational Participation (used by DSHS staff)" in the resource section below for more information about how this works).

      7.1.5 Step-by-step guide - Non-contracted/non-partner homework hours (DSHS Only)

      1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Obtains the Non-contracted Education & Training IRP Requirements Worksheet from the educational provider.
        2. Enters the weekly scheduled class hours on the participant's IRP.
        3. Images the form in the DMS system to document the participant's weekly homework expectation.
      2. The non-contracted/non-partner educational provider sends in the WorkFirst Participation Verification form each month to document how many hours the participant attended class.
      3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Reviews the Non-contracted Education & Training IRP Requirements Worksheet to determine whether the participant's weekly homework expectation meets or exceeds the participants scheduled classroom hours.
        2. Documents the results on the Counting Hours of Educational Participation Worksheet.
          1. If the homework expectation is less than the scheduled classroom hours, enter the actual hours from the WorkFirst Participation form onto the eJAS Actual Hours Screen.
          2. If the homework expectation meets or exceeds the scheduled classroom hours, double the actual hours and enter that amount onto the eJAS Actual Hours Screen.
        3. Images the Counting Hours of Educational Participation Worksheet form in the DMS system to document why you did or did not double the actual hours for that month.

      7.1.6 What steps do you take when a participant is absent?

      Excused Absences

      After two excused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/provider will:

      • Send an immediate notification to the case manager,
      • Keep the activity open, and
      • Contact the participant and case manager to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the participant back to DSHS.

      Unexcused Absences

      After two unexcused absences in a calendar month, the WorkFirst partner/provider will:

      • Send an immediate notification to the case manager,
      • Keep the activity open, and
      • Contact the participant and case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the participant back to DSHS.

      ESD will:

      • Keep the activity open, and
      • Contact the participant and case manager as part of the Continuous Activity Planning (CAP) process to discuss next steps, including if it is appropriate to refer the participant back to DSHS.

      This allows the participant to remain in the activity while the service provider, case manager and participant have an opportunity to discuss whether participation in this activity is appropriate.

      If it is decided that the activity is not appropriate for the participant, the WorkFirst partner/provider will refer the participant back to DSHS.

      For more on how to treat excused and unexcused absences, please refer to section 3.9.1.5.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Other Resources

      7.2 Vocational Education

      Created on: 
      Jul 24 2017

      Revised: July 24, 2017

      (Time-limited core)

      Legal References:

      The Vocational Education section includes:

      • 7.2.1 What is Vocational Education (VE)?
      • 7.2.2 What is Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) - (PE)?
      • 7.2.3 What is Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training - I-BEST - (VE)?
      • 7.2.4 When you can add Vocational Education (VE), Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE), to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?
      • 7.2.5 Vocational Education (VE), Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE), - Step-by-Step Guide
      • 7.2.6 What participation is required for summer school breaks?
      • 7.2.7 Summer school breaks - Step-by-Step Guide
      • 7.2.8 What is High-Wage, High-Demand (HW) a and Degree Completion (DC) training?
      • 7.2.9 What is the High Wage/High Demand criteria?
      • 7.2.10 Who can provide High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?
      • 7.2.11 What are the participation requirements for High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?
      • 7.2.12 When can you add High Wage/High Demand (HW) or Degree Completion (DC) training to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?
      • 7.2.13 High Wage/High Demand (HW) training - Step-by-Step Guide
      • 7.2.14 Degree Completion (DC) - Step-by-Step Guide
      • 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

      The following sections give information about the requirements and approval process for each of these educational options.

      There may be instances when basic skills education has been embedded by the college within a vocational educational training activity. Such basic skills education may count as vocational educational training as long as it is short-term and is a necessary or regular part of the vocational educational training.

      Whenever possible, recommend the participant pursue these vocational education activities on a full-time basis, as there is a lifetime 12-month limit on vocational education with respect to counting toward federal participation. See WFHB 1.2.3 for information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) to the participant’s IRP when possible. In most cases, vocational education meets the strengthened participation requirements, but add an additional three hours core or non-core when feasible.

      A participant who previously participated in a vocational educational activity may benefit from additional vocational education as long as they don’t exceed the lifetime 12-month limit* on vocational education.

      *Note: The department increased the 12-month vocational education limit to 24 months due to funding appropriated specifically for that purpose.  The department has funding for this extension through SFY 2019.  See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

      Education and Training Hours

      To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant is in the education and training activities, to include classes, labs, and supervised study halls/tutoring sessions and up to one hour of unsupervised study time for every scheduled hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation can’t exceed the hours required or advised by a particular educational program.

      For more information on how to calculate education and training hours, please refer to section 7.1.3.

      7.2.1 What is Vocational Education (VE)?

      Vocational education includes training that leads to a certificate or degree in a specific occupation. Vocational education programs are organized educational programs that directly relate to the preparation of individuals for employment in current or emerging occupations that require training other than a baccalaureate or advanced degree. To count as approvable vocational education for WorkFirst, the training must be provided by a:

      • Public/private technical college or school,
      • Community college,
      • Tribal college, or
      • Community Based Organizations for Customized Job Skills Training (CJST).

      Authorize vocational education as a Core Activity if the parent/caregiver participates in this activity for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Vocational education may be stacked with work or work-like activities if participants need additional activities to meet their participation requirements.

      7.2.2 What is Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) - (PE)?

      CJST (coded as PE), formerly known as Pre-employment training, is an 8-22 week training program customized for specific employers or tied to a specific industry. CJSTs must include industry-specific technical training, correlate to jobs with good labor market demand, and target fields with better than average entry-level wages for the local area.

      CJST is a Core Activity as long as the parent/caregiver participates in this activity for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Participants meeting the Criteria for Decision Making requirements for CJST must be able to begin the CJST within 30 days. During the 30-day or less waiting period, the WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS)/WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFSSS) should review other available work activities such as Community Service opportunities stacked with non-core activities to meet participation requirements.

      CJSTs are reported as vocational education for federal participation requirements.

      7.2.3 What is Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) - (VE)?

      I-BEST combines vocational skill training with basic skills/English as a Second Language (ESL). It is considered full-time training and must meet full-time standards. Basic Education for Adults (BEdA)/ ESL instructors and professional-technical instructors work together in the classroom to provide participants with literacy education and workforce skills.

      A participant who qualifies for BEdA/ESL according to the CASAS appraisal and who wants to learn language or basic skills in the context of a particular vocational skill area would benefit from I-BEST. Approve I-BEST for up to 12 months* when:

      • It is in the participant's comprehensive evaluation or Continuous Activity Planning (CAP), and
      • It is needed to become employed or get a better job.

      I-BEST is a vocational education (VE) program and, as such, is a Core Activity if the parent/caregiver participates in this activity for a minimum of 20 hours per week. I-BEST may be stacked with work or work-like activities if additional activities are needed to meet their participation requirements.

      I-BEST programs are reported as vocational education (VE) for federal participation requirements.

      *Note: The department increased the 12-month vocational education limit to 24 months due to funding appropriated specifically for that purpose.  The department has funding for this extension through SFY 2019.  See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

      7.2.4 When can you add Vocational Education (VE), or Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE) to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

      Participants in approved education and training qualify for child care assistance and support services once it is added to their IRP. The WFPS/WFSSS may add VE or PE to the IRP when it is indicated as an appropriate activity in the comprehensive evaluation results or the CAP . Each educational program option has its own criteria. Please see "Criteria for Decision Making" .

      7.2.5 Vocational Education (VE) or Customized Job Skills Training (CJST) – (PE) - Step-by-Step Guide

      If the appropriate Employment Pathway is education and training then:

      1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
      2. After completing the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Determine if the training request appears to be appropriate*
        2. Choose the Education and Training employment pathway and refer to the college using the RA code
        3. Update the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)
        4. Explain participation requirements until the college approves referral
      3. College staff will:
        1. Within the first seven days of referral:
          1. Attempt contact with the customer
          2. Accept or reject the referral
          3. Determine whether to approve VE or PE (if accepted)
          4. Document reason for accept/reject and referral to appropriate program
        2. Create a training plan.
        3. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
        4. Update the Education & Training Worksheet to include the:
          1. Totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet,
          2. Participant's approval status,
          3. Appropriate component,
          4. Anticipated start and end date of the activity, and
          5. Participant’s total number of participation hours per week.
      4. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Receives notice that the individual is approved for VE or PE education program from the College staff.
        2. Enters eJAS component code ( PE or VE ) with the three digit contractor code,
        3. Updates participant's IRP, and
        4. Documents action taken in eJAS.
      5. College staff will work with all participants in approved training as follows:
        1. Supervision: Daily supervision is required and may be provided by faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and supervisors of work-based learning activities. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
        2. Documentation:
          1. Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
          2. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
          3. Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
        3. Reporting:
          1. Use eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS on a monthly basis,
          2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
        4. Verification: Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.
        5. Assist the participant with employment.
      6. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if not employed upon completion of the training.

      * If the employment plan recommendation or continuous activity planning isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2 Comprehensive Evaluation. 

      7.2.6 What Participation is Required During Summer School Breaks?

      Participants are required to engage in approved WorkFirst activities during summer school break. This may include other education and training, job preparation, or paid or unpaid work activities. Colleges will provide many of these additional activities.

      7.2.7 Summer School Breaks - Step-by-Step Guide

      For participants who will enroll in job preparation activities by the college during the summer break (i.e. Life Skills training):

      College staff will:

      1. Update the Education and Training Worksheet in eJAS with the following information:
        1. What activity the participant will be engaged in during the summer break
        2. The dates of the activities
        3. The component code to be used for the participant's activity

      The WFPS/WFSSS will:

      1. Review the Education and Training Worksheet
      2. Update the component code per college staff recommendation
      3. Adjust the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) dates without changing the IRP template, as needed
      4. Set an alert/reminder to update the component for fall quarter, as needed.

      If participants are:

      • Doing activities on their own during the summer,
      • Unable to be placed in activities for the summer by the college, or
      • Working with a different contractor during the summer break;
      1. College staff will:
        1. Refer the participant back to DSHS
        2. Update eJAS notes with why the participant is being referred back and whether the participant is enrolled in school for fall quarter
      2. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Make contact with the participant and discuss the appropriate activity for the participant during the summer break
        2. Update the component and IRP for the appropriate activity
        3. Set an alert/reminder to refer the participant back to the college in the fall

      Participants continuing to participate in vocational education activities during the summer break can remain in a VE component with no change to the IRP.

      For participants who start employment during the summer break or increase their work hours, the WFPS/WFSSS reviews the participant's employment and updates the component and IRP as appropriate.

      7.2.8 What is High-Wage, High-Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?

      High-Wage, High-Demand training – (eJAS components HW and DC) refers to vocational training programs that meet both a minimum wage and a labor market demand threshold as outlined in the High Wage, High Demand Criteria, results in a vocational certificate or degree, and can be completed within a total of 12 months*.

      The rules for both types of training (High-Wage/High-Demand and Degree Completion) are basically the same and described in WAC 388-310-1000(4), but the approval processes differ. Both are full-time training options for TANF recipients:

      1. High-wage, High-demand (HW) training (called Information Technology, Healthcare or Other Professional-Technical Programs in WAC): Allows participants  to start and finish a one-year or shorter state community or technical college training program in the information technology, health care fields or other professional-technical programs that meet High Wage/ High Demand criteria. It may include training from other educational institutions approved on a case-by-case basis by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

      2. Certificate/Degree Completion (DC): Allows individuals to finish the last year of any certificate or degree program, not to exceed a baccalaureate degree, in a high-wage/high-demand field on an exception basis. The high-wage/high-demand criteria is based on median income and high-demand occupations within the local labor market as determined by Employment Security Department. It can include training from state community and technical colleges, or other educational institutions, approved on a case-by-case basis by SBCTC.
      *Note: The department increased the 12-month vocational education limit to 24 months due to funding appropriated specifically for that purpose.  The department has funding for this extension through SFY 2019.  See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

      7.2.9 What is the High Wage/High Demand Criteria?

      For both High-Wage, High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC), the program must be in a High Wage, High Demand field as defined below.

      1. High-Wage: The field of study must lead to an occupation that offers a wage equal to or greater than the local labor market’s hourly median wage as determined by the Employment Security Department. Use Workforce Explorer to determine the hourly median wage for each local area in Washington.
      2. High-Demand: The job must be listed as ‘Demand’ on the demand list for the county the participant resides according to Workforce Explorer. State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) must approve High Wage/High Demand programs. When programs haven’t been through the SBCTC approval process, follow the steps in 7.2.13.

      If the above information isn’t available for the program but local staff believe the program meets the high wage and high demand criteria, staff should compile demand and wage information for which access is available.

      7.2.10 Who can provide High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?

      Institutions authorized to provide HW and DC training may include:

      • Community and technical colleges,
      • Tribal colleges,
      • For DC only, public colleges or universities with degree-granting authority, and
      • Private, for-profit or non-profit, nonsectarian educational institutions offering programs beyond the secondary level and registered with the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board , or meet the legal requirements for exemption.

      7.2.11 What are the participation requirements for High Wage/High Demand (HW) and Degree Completion (DC) training?

      For federal participation reporting purposes, HW and DC training is reported as a core activity and counts toward the 12-month lifetime limit* for Vocational Education. It should be as full-time as possible and can include both supervised and unsupervised homework time.

      If a participant is participating in HW or DC less than full time, the WFPS/WFSSS must stack appropriate activities to bring the participant to full time participation.

      To be approved, HW and DC training must start by the beginning of the next school quarter. During the waiting period, the WFPS/WFSSS should review other available work activities, such as Work Experience opportunities, stacked with non-core activities to meet participation requirements.

      If a participant needs to wait longer for the classes to begin, s/he must go directly to, or remain in, another activity according to their comprehensive evaluation or continuous activity planning (CAP).

      *Note: The department increased the 12-month vocational education limit to 24 months due to funding appropriated specifically for that purpose.  The department has funding for this extension through SFY 2019.  See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

      7.2.12 When can you add High Wage/High Demand (HW) or Degree Completion (DC) training to an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

      The WFPS/WFSSS may add HW or DC training when it is indicated as an appropriate activity in the comprehensive evaluation results or the CAP. Each educational program option has its own criteria. Please see "Criteria for Decision Making". Each specific vocational certificate and degree program must also be approved. Please see the approval processes below for HW and DC.

      HW and DC can be approved one-time only, barring an approved exception to policy. There is no work requirement during the training period. Participants must also:

      • Be able to start by the beginning of the next school quarter;
      • Meet all of the pre-requisites for the program or be able to complete the pre-requisites and all course work within the allotted time period;
      • Obtain the certificate or degree within 12 calendar months;
      • Participate as full-time as possible in the training program and make satisfactory progress;
      • Work with ESD staff as needed during the last quarter of training for job placement; and
      • Return to Career Scope (job search) upon completion of the educational program if still unemployed.

      Participants in approved education and training qualify for childcare assistance and support services once it is added to their IRP.

      7.2.13 High Wage/High Demand (HW) training - Step-by-Step guide

      HW Community and Technical Colleges Step-by-Step

      1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
      2. After completing the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Determine if the High Wage/High Demand training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
        2. Refer appropriate requests to the college using the RA code, and creates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
      3. The College staff:
        1. Attempts contact with the referred customer, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven days.
        2. Verifies that the certificate or degree program is registered with the SBCTC as High Wage/High Demand Training. Sends an email request to SBCTC providing median wage and demand information demonstrating the program meets the High Wage/High Demand criteria noted in 7.2.9 when the training program isn’t listed. Send the email to jdellinger@sbctc.edu (use secure email if sending participant information). If the program is not considered High Wage/High Demand, refer to section 7.2.4 to determine if it meets the Vocational Education criteria.
        3. Develops the Education and Training Worksheet.
        4. Uses the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
        5. Updates the Education & Training Worksheet to include the:
        6. Sends notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
      4. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Receives notice that the participant is approved from the college staff.
        2. Closes the RA component code in eJAS.
        3. Enters the HW component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
        4. Updates the participant's IRP.
        5. Reviews and monitors progress entered by the college staff quarterly into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
      5. The College staff will work with all participants in approved HW Training as follows:
        1. Supervision: Daily supervision is required and may be provided by faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and supervisors of work-based learning activities. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
        2. Documentation:
          • Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
          • Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
          • Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
        3. Reporting:
        • Use eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS monthly,
        • Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
        1. Verification: Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts. 
          1. Assist the participants with employment.
        2. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if they aren’t employed upon completion of the training.

      * If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2-Comprehensive Evaluation.

      HW Other Institutions - Step-by-Step

      1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
      2. After completing the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Determine if the HW training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
        2. Screen the training program for your local labor market to determine if the degree is likely to lead directly to a high wage, high demand job, using the High Wage/High Demand Training Criteria.
        3. Complete the WorkFirst HW/DC Request form and sends viable requests to the SBCTC following the submission process identified on the form.
      3. The SBCTC makes a decision and notifies the WFPS/WFSSS.
      4. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Receives SBCTC approval for the participant.
        2. Enters the HW component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
        3. Reviews training program to ensure the participant's required participation can be met through training activity.
        4. Works with participant to identify other work or work-like activities to meet participation requirements, if needed.
        5. Updates the participant's IRP.
        6. Reports monthly participation in eJAS using the WorkFirst participation verification form completed by instructor.
        7. Closes the HW code and creates an updated IRP if the participant isn’t making satisfactory progress.
      5. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if they aren’t employed upon completion of the training.

      * If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2-Comprehensive Evaluation.

      7.2.14 Degree Completion (DC) - Step-by-Step guide

      DC Community and Technical Colleges Step-by-Step

       
      1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Determines if the DC training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
        2. Refers appropriate requests to the college using the RA code, and creates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
        3. Informs the parent to bring her/his college transcript and a completed WorkFirst Degree Completion Request Form to the meeting with the College staff.
      2. The College staff:
        1. Attempts contact with the referred customer, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven days.
        2. Screens the training program for your local labor market to determine if the degree is likely to lead directly to a high wage, high demand job, using the High Wage/High Demand Training Criteria.
        3. Completes the WorkFirst Degree Completion Request Form following the submission process identified on the form. SBCTC makes a decision within two business days and notifies the college staff.
        4. If approved by SBCTC, develops the Education and Training Worksheet.
        5. Uses the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, any scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
        6. Updates the Education & Training Worksheet to include the:
        7.  Sends notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
      3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Receives notice that the participant is approved from the College staff.
        2. Closes the RA component codes in eJAS.
        3. Enters the DC training component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
        4. Updates the participant's IRP.
        5. Reviews and monitors progress entered by the College staff quarterly into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
      4. The College staff will work with all participants in approved DC as follows:
        1. Supervision: Daily supervision is required and may be provided by faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and supervisors of work-based learning activities. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
        2. Documentation:
          • Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
          • Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
          • Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
        3. Reporting:
          • Use eJAS to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS monthly,
          • Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
        4. Verification: Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.
        5. Assist the participants with employment.
      5. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to employment services activities if they aren’t employed upon completion of the training.

      * If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2 - Comprehensive Evaluation.

      DC Other Institutions - Step-by-Step

      1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Determines if the DC training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation or CAP recommendations.
        2. Screens the training program for your local labor market to determine if the degree is likely to lead directly to a high wage, high demand job, using the High Wage/High Demand Training Criteria.
        3. Completes the WorkFirst HW/DC Request form and sends viable requests to the SBCTC following the submission process identified on the form.
      2. The SBCTC makes a decision within two business days and notifies the WFPS/WFSSS.
      3. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Receives SBCTC approval for the participant.
        2. Enters the DC component code into eJAS with the three-digit contractor code.
        3. Reviews training program to ensure the participant's required participation can be met through training activity.
        4. Works with participant to identify other work or work-like activities to meet participation requirement.
        5. Updates the participant's IRP.
        6. Reports monthly participation in eJAS using the WorkFirst Participation Verification form completed by instructor.
        7. Closes the DC code and creates an updated IRP if the participant isn’t making satisfactory progress.
        8. Upon completion of the DC program, refers the participant to employment services activities if not employed.

      * If the employment plan recommendation or CAP isn’t appropriate, refer to Chapter 3, section 3.2 - Comprehensive Evaluation.

      7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

      Effective July 23, 2017, the 12-month lifetime limit of full-time vocational education and high-wage/high-demand activities may extend up to 24 months. This change is subject to appropriations created specifically for this purpose.  The department funded the extension through SFY 2019. 

      Although participation beyond 12-months will not count toward the federal work participation rate, this opportunity allows additional support to families through their education pathway. WFPS should continue referrals to work or work-like activities in addition to education as appropriate if it helps participants expand their work skills while obtaining a certificate. 

      College staff will review referrals for vocational education beyond 12-months to ensure the participant meets the extension criteria outlined in SBCTC WorkFirst Delivery Agreement,  Vocational Education Extension Policy.  To qualify for the vocational education extension the participant must be one of the following:

      • Currently enrolled and continuing a single vocational program (not transferring to a new program of study)
      • Returning after a gap in education and continuing toward an uncompleted degree or certificate (not transferring to a new program of study)

      Once college staff determine a participant’s eligibility for the extension, they will include the following information in the Education and Training Worksheet and Client Notes in eJAS:

       

      • A statement of the extension,
      • Vocational program of study,
      • Expected quarter of completion.   

      WFPS/WFSSS will determine if extension criteria is met when the participant is enrolled in an education program at an institution other than a Washington State community or technical college. 

      To qualify for the vocational education extension, the participant must be able to complete their program of study within 24 months and meet one of the following:

      • Currently enrolled and continuing a single vocational program (not transferring to a new program of study); or
      • Returning after a gap in education and continuing toward an uncompleted degree or certificate (not transferring to a new program of study).

      The WFPS/WFSSS will document in eJAS under Literacy/Learning note type:

      • The participant's eligibility
      • Vocational program of study
      • Expected quarter of completion

       


       

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Other Resources

      7.3 Basic Education, Skills Enhancement, High School Completion & High School Equivalency

      Revised June 30, 2017

      Legal References:

      The Basic Education, Skills Enhancement, High School Completion & High School Equivalency section includes:

      • 7.3.1 What is High School Completion and High School Equivalency?
      • 7.3.2 High School Completion and High School Equivalency - Step-by-Step Guide
      • 7.3.3 What is Basic Education and Skills Enhancement Training?
      • 7.3.4 Basic Education and Skills Enhancement Training - Step-by-Step Guide
      • 7.3.5 What is Life Skills Training?
      • 7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?
      • 7.3.7 What is Life Skills Training as part of other Job Preparation activities?
      • 7.3.8 What is Seasonal Worker Training?
      • 7.3.9 When can you add seasonal worker training to the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?
      • 7.3.10 Full-time training for seasonal workers - Step-by-Step Guide
      • 7.3.11 English as a Second Language (ESL)

      The WorkFirst program offers education and training opportunities in addition to vocational education to prepare participants for employment. See the Stacking Activities section for more information about stacking education and skill-building activities with core activities to help participants gain necessary proficiencies and meet their participation requirements.

      Education and Training Hours

      To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant is in education and training activities, including classes, labs, supervised study halls/tutoring sessions, and up to one hour of unsupervised study time for every scheduled hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation can’t exceed the hours required or advised by an educational program.

      For more information on how to calculate education and training hours, please refer to section 7.1.3.

      7.3.1 What is High School Completion and High School Equivalency?

      These activities and codes include:

      • High School Equivalency classes - Classes that help participants earn a high school equivalency certificate by passing a series of proficiency tests.

        • (HS) : High School Equivalency classes for participants 19 years of age or younger
        • (GE): High School Equivalency classes for participants 20 years of age or older
      • High School Completion - Educational course work preparing a participant to earn a high school diploma.

        • (HS) : High School Completion for participants 19 years of age or younger
        • (BE) : High School Completion, including High School 21, for participants 20 years of age or older

      7.3.2 High School Completion and High School Equivalency - Step-by-Step Guide

      Community and Technical Colleges - Step-by-Step

      1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
      2. Based on the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) and other meetings such as Continuous Activity Planning (CAP), the WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Determine if education and training options are likely appropriate using the Stacking Activity Chart.
        2. Create the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
        3. Use the RA code if education activity is through a contracted College partner.
      3. The College staff will:
        1. Attempt contact with the referred participant, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven calendar days.
        2. Develop the Education and Training Worksheet, and include how the activity increases the participant’s skills needed for employment.
        3. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
        4. Update the Education & Training Worksheet including the:
        • Totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet,
        • Participant's approval status,
        • Appropriate component,
        • Anticipated start and end date of the activity, and
        • Participant’s total number of participation hours per week. Send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
        1. Send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
      4. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Receive notice of the participant’s approval for High School Equivalency or High School Completion from the college WorkFirst staff.
        2. Enter the BEGE, or HS eJAS component code with the three digit contractor code.
        3. Stack BE or GE components with a core activity for participants 20 years of age or older.
        4. Update participant’s IRP.
        5. On a quarterly basis, review and monitor progress entered by the college staff into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
      Note: Participants 19 years of age or younger: HS (High School Completion or Equivalency) meets their core activity.**
      1. The College staff will work with all participants in approved training as follows:

        1. Supervision:
          1. Faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and work-based learning supervisors may provide required daily supervision. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
        2. Documentation:
          1. Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
          2. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
          3. Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
        3. Reporting:
          1. Use eJAS to report participation monthly to the WFPS/WFSSS,
          2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
        4. Verification:
          1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

      Other High School Completion or Equivalency Providers – Step-by-Step

      1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.

      2. Based on the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE) and other meetings such as Continuous Activity Planning (CAP), the WFPS/WFSSS will:

        1. Determine if education and training options are likely appropriate using the Stacking Activity Chart.

        2. Create the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).

        3. Use the HS, BE, or GE code and assign to the appropriate contractor code. If the activity is through a non-contracted provider, assign the component to yourself or the contractor that requested the activity for the participant.

      Note: If the component is coded to the WFPS/WFSSS, follow reporting requirements outlined in 3.9.2.6 What are Non-contracted service requirements.
      Note: If the component is coded to a non-SBCTC provider, follow reporting requirements outlined in 3.9.2.5 What are Contracted service requirements?

      7.3.3 What is Basic Education & Skills Enhancement training?

      Basic Education increases a participant's basic skills competencies and ability to find work, to include English as a Second Language (ESL). Basic Education gives participants skills needed for employment, such as the ability to understand English, read, write and do basic math. To count Basic Education towards participation, WorkFirst partners must:

      • Document the participant is obtaining skills needed for employment in their education and training plan or LEP Pathway employment plan.
      • Stack the basic education or ESL with a core activity.
      • Code the hours of instruction under the JT eJAS component code so they fall under the correct category in the WorkFirst federal reports.
      Note: Basic Education isn’t an approved full-time activity. However, ESL may be an approved full-time activity until the participant’s English proficiency is sufficient to participate in core activities. Use the ES eJAS component code for ESL not stacked with a core activity.

      See Section 5.2, Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Pathway for additional information about requirements and coding for ESL instruction.

      Skills Enhancement training (called job skills training in WAC 388-310-1050) is training that enhances a participant’s employability by providing specific skills that are marketable to employers. It can include:

      • Training to enhance job skills classes, such as computer/keyboarding, to learn software applications, CPR/basic first aid training, or flagger training.
      • Literacy or language instruction when it explicitly focuses on skills needed for employment or combined with job training.
      • Developmental education or prerequisites required for a vocational certificate.
      • Any education and training required by an employer to provide a participant with the ability to obtain employment, or to advance or adapt to the changing demands of the workplace including part-time vocational education classes.

      The following may provide Skills Enhancement training:

      • Public/private community and technical colleges,
      • WorkFirst partners,
      • Tribal governments,
      • Community based organizations, or
      • Businesses.

      You can add Skills Enhancement training to a participant's IRP when they:

      • Qualify as a seasonal worker;
      • Meet the WorkFirst work requirements;
      • Are fully participating in job preparation or other employment services (short-term only) and the training enhances their employability.
      • Need non-core activities to meet participation requirements.

      Training institutions measure Skills Enhancement training by credits or credit hours. Some courses last less than one day while others take several weeks. The WorkFirst Program Specialist/WorkFirst Social Service Specialist (WFPS/WFSSS) will estimate the scheduled hours of participation based on the instructor's feedback or education plan and enter the amount in the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP). When the participant is attending a community or technical college, up to one hour of unsupervised study time may count for every scheduled hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation can’t exceed the hours required or advised by an educational program.

      Use the following eJAS codes for participants in basic education or skills enhancement training:

      • JT - Skills Enhancement Training
      • RA -

        Referral to Community/Technical college

      7.3.4 Basic Education & Skills Enhancement Training - Step-by-Step Guide

      1. The participant meets with the WFPS/WFSSS.
      2. Based on the Comprehensive Evaluation (CE), the WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Determine if an education and training request appears to be appropriate* according to the participant’s comprehensive evaluation, Continuous Activity Planning recommendations, or the stacking activity chart.
        2. When combining Basic Education or Skills Enhancement training with Career Scope activities:
          1. Chooses the Job Search and Education and Training employment pathways after completing the CE and refers the participant to ESD and the training institution or service provider, using the RI and RA referral codes,
          2. Monitors the IRP and activities, and
          3. Once approved, updates the IRP and eJAS component codes to reflect Career Scope services and skills enhancement training.
        3. When combining Basic Education or Skills Enhancement training with other core activities:
          1. Chooses the Education and Training and core activity pathways after completing the CE and refers the participant to the service provider using the RA referral code;
          2. Updates the IRP to include skills enhancement training;
          3. Opens the JT and core activity components; and
          4. Monitors the IRP and activity.
      3. The College staff will:
        1. Attempt contact with the referred participant, accept or reject training referral, and document the decision within seven calendar days.
        2. Develop the Education and Training Worksheet, and includes how the activity increases the participant’s skills needed for employment.
        3. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
        4. Update the Education & Training Worksheet including the:
        5. Send notification via an eJAS e-message to the WFPS/WFSSS.
      4. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Receive notice of the participant’s approval for Basic Education or Skills Enhancement Training from the college WorkFirst personnel.
        2. Enter the JT eJAS component code with the three-digit contractor code.
        3. Update the participant’s IRP; review and monitor progress entered by the college staff quarterly into the Education and Training Worksheet under Progress Notes.
      5. The College staff will work with all participants in approved training as follows:
        1. Supervision:
          1. Faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and work-based learning supervisors may provide required daily supervision. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
        2. Documentation:
          1. Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the participant’s file.
          2. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
          3. Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
        3. Reporting:
          1. Use eJAS, to report participation monthly to the WFPS/WFSSS.
          2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
        4. Verification:
          1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

      7.3.5 What is Life Skills Training?

      Life skills training prepares participants to meet the demands of everyday life and employment. Programs are locally designed and operated to maximize available resources to best serve the participants within the community.

      Life skills training can:

      • Be independent from Job Search
      • Stack with other Job Preparation/Job Search activities

      Life skills training may include topics such as:

      • Self-awareness
      • Attitude
      • Balancing work and personal life
      • Money management
      • Stress and anger management
      • Time management
      • Communication skills
      • Appropriate standards for dress and participation

      7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?

      Life Skills/Soft Skills training prepares participants to meet the demands of everyday life and employment. It may be employment related and an up-front introduction that helps prepare them to participate in activities effectively. It doesn’t completely address and resolve family issues.

      For federal reporting, Life Skills is a time-limited core activity in the same category as job search/job preparation. This activity can be used by itself or stacked with other activities in order to reach full time participation.

      Note:  Homework can’t count as WorkFirst participation hours for Life Skills training. 

      Code Independent Life Skills training as "LS" on the eJAS component screen.

      • For participants in Job Search activities through ESD, Commerce, or ORIA, incorporate Life Skills training as part of their JS component. Don’t code the LS trainings separately from the JS component for these cases. 

      Refer to section 4.2.7- What is Life Skills Training as Part of Job Search? for more on Life Skills training as it pertains to job search and refer to section 7.3.7 for Life Skills training as part of other job preparation activities.

      Strategy for Success: An independent life skills offered by Employment Security Department (ESD) – Step-by-Step Guide
      1. The WFPS/WFSSS:
        1. Meets with the participant:
          1. Reviews the Strategies for Success curriculum and determines which workshops the participant would benefit from.
        2. Signs up the participant through their local ESD Trumba calendar (See ESD Trumba Registration Desk Aid).
        3. Adds the LS component (see 7.3.6 What is Independent Life Skills Training?)
          1. Start date is the date you meet with the participant
          2. Code 20 hours
          3. End date: last date of the participant’s scheduled workshop/s
          4. Adds the SFS contractor code and populates the IRP
        4. Adds the SW component
          1. Start date is the date you meet with the participant
          2. Code 0 hours
          3. End date: last date of the participant’s scheduled workshop/s
            Note: Please see Referrals for LS Desk Aid
      2. The Strategies for Success instructor provides:
        1. Supervision: Required daily supervision
        2. Documentation:
          1. Document attendance records every week and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
          2. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
        3. Reporting:
          1. Use eJAS, to report participation to the WFPS/WFSSS on a weekly basis.
          2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, or fails to participate as required (See section 3.9.2.8 Monitoring Participation for monitoring and reporting).
        4. Verification:
          1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

      7.3.7 What is Life Skills Training as Part of Other Job Preparation Activities?

      Don’t separately code life skills/soft skills training embedded in other Job Preparation activities. It is coded and federally reported as part of these activities:

      • Family Violence
      • Mental Health
      • Chemical Dependency Treatment

      7.3.8 What is Seasonal Worker Training?

      WorkFirst allows seasonally employed workers the opportunity to meet their WorkFirst requirements by working during the peak season and pursuing full time training in the off season. Other training or education, including basic education such as Adult Basic Education (ABE), GED, or English as a Second Language (ESL), may be appropriate in combination with vocational training, depending on the needs of the participant.

      Seasonal employment reflects a consistent pattern of employment and unemployment, characterized by regular, periodic (seasonal) layoffs. Employment Security Department (ESD) staff will determine the seasonal worker status based on the participant’s normal pattern of employment.

      The seasonal worker training is for individuals who:

      • Work full-time, as defined by industry standards, during the peak season;
      • Need additional job skills to find more stable employment; and
      • Establish a recurring cycle of seasonal employment/unemployment as their normal way of life.

      7.3.9 When can you add seasonal worker training to the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP)?

      Include seasonal worker training in the participant’s IRP when Employment Security Department determines the participant is a seasonal worker and the community and technical colleges approve the training.

      WFPS/WFSSSs and employment counselors develop IRPs and Success Plans that maximize opportunities for wage progression once they determine approval of training. Community and Technical Colleges design individualized training plans and WorkFirst Financial Aid to pay for the training.

      Community and Technical College staff monitor the seasonal worker training according to the type of training added to the IRP. For example, if the training is vocational education, then the WFPS and college staff track participation and monitor progress according to the policy around vocational education. This also applies to determining the actual hours of time for the activity.

      eJAS codes

      • RA (Referral to non-CJST or HWHD training)
      • VE (Vocational Training)
      • PE (Customized Job Skills Training)
      • ES (English as a Second Language)
      • HS ( High school completion or High school equivalency for participants 19 years of age or younger)
      • BE ( High school completion, including High School 21, for participants 20 years of age or older)
      • GE (High school equivalency training for participants 20 years of age or older)

      7.3.10 Full-time training for seasonal workers - Step-by-Step Guide

      1. The WFPS/WFSSS refers the participant to job search.
      2. The Employment Coach will:
        1. Determine seasonal worker status and informs the participant of seasonal worker training options if they meet season work status;
        2. Develop the success plan to include seasonal worker training; and
        3. Refer seasonal workers who request training to the WFPS/WFSSS.
        4. Close the JS code.
      3. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Receive notice recommending the participant for seasonal worker training.
        2. Determine if an education and training request appears to be appropriate according to the participant's comprehensive evaluation, Continuous Activity Planning recommendations or the stacking activity chart.
        3. Refer appropriate requests to the college using the RA code and create the participant's Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
      4. College staff will:
        1. Complete the following within the first seven calendar days of referral:
          1. Attempt contact with the participant;
          2. Accept or reject the referral;
          3. Determine whether to approve VE or PE (if accepted); and
          4. Document reason for accept/reject and referral to appropriate program.
        2. Create a training plan.
        3. Use the WorkFirst Calculator Tool, or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, to determine the participant’s total number of participation hours per week (including scheduled class time, unsupervised homework time, scheduled supervised homework time, and the maximum number of allowable education hours).
        4. Update the Education & Training Worksheet including the:
          1. Totals identified by the WorkFirst Calculator Tool or the approved Weekly Attendance Sheet,
          2. Participant's approval status,
          3. Appropriate component,
          4. Anticipated start and end date of the activity, and
          5. Participant’s total number of participation hours per week.
      5. The WFPS/WFSSS will:
        1. Receive notice of approval for full-time education as a seasonal worker for the participant.
          1. Enter appropriate eJAS component code (VE , PE , HWDCJTGE, BE or HS ) with the three-digit contractor code,
          2. Update the IRP, and
          3. Document action taken in eJAS.
        2. Refer the participant back to job search using the JS code if denied from seasonal worker training.
      6. The College staff works with all participants in approved training as follows:
        1. Supervision: Faculty, instructors, instructional aides, lab supervisors, study hall supervisors, and work-based learning supervisors may provide required daily supervision of work-based learning activities. College program designees also provide additional monthly supervision to ensure the participant is making progress towards meeting educational and employment goals.
        2. Documentation:
          1. Document attendance records every two weeks and maintain them in the provider's participant files.
          2. Keep a copy of the WorkFirst Calculator sheet, or approved Weekly Attendance Sheet, listing the maximum number of weekly participation hours in the participant's file.
          3. Provide this information in a State-approved format, such as individual timesheets signed by the participant and faculty member, supervisor, or other appropriate individual or document in electronic tracking systems, as appropriate.
        3. Reporting:
          1. Use eJAS, to report participation monthly to the WFPS/WFSSS,
          2. Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the participant isn’t maintaining satisfactory progress, fails to participate as required, or has two excused or unexcused absences in a calendar month. Please refer to section 7.1.6 What steps do you take when a parent is absent?
        4. Verification:
          1. Provide information, documentation, and records as requested to support State Work Verification efforts.

      7.3.11 English as a Second Language (ESL)

      The LEP Pathway section describes when to approve ESL and other training for limited-English proficient participants.  Refer to the LEP Pathway section when the participant can’t participate in core activities until their English proficiency improves. 

      Basic education, skills enhancement training (JT), or high school completion/high school equivalency (HS/GE/BE) may include ESL training as part of their activities.  

       

      * If the employment plan recommendation or CAP is not appropriate, refer to Chapter 3.2.

      ** For Dependent Teens/Teen Parents, and Pregnant and Parenting Minors, refer to Chapter 1.2.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

      Other Resources

      7.4 Other Education

      Legal References:

      The Other Education & Degree completion section includes:

      • 7.4.1 What is Vocational Education Unapproved?
      • 7.4.2 Vocational Education Unapproved- Step-by-Step Guide

      There are other education and training activities available to WorkFirst parents. Each parent is unique and has strengths and abilities. As we work with parents to develop a plan to reach sustainable self-sufficiency, it is important that we match the best education activity with that individual parent's needs. The education and training activities in this section, however, may not count toward our federal participation rate.

      7.4.1 What is Vocational Education Unapproved (VU)?

      Parents may pursue educational activities on their own, such as academic transfer programs, and still meet the Washington State WorkFirst program participation requirements as long as they combine it with employment of a minimum of 20 hours per week, 16-19 hours per week work study, or an approved internship/practicum (see Internship/Practicum for details).

      When parents let you know that they have signed themselves up for educational or training classes on their own:

      • Determine if they are meeting the work requirement; and,
      • Consult with the college WorkFirst Coordinator or educational institution to find out whether the educational courses can be counted towards participation.

      The college's WorkFirst Coordinator can help determine which eJAS component code to enter into eJAS. If the education is countable, the parent will qualify for child care assistance and support services. If the education isn't countable, you will be instructed to use the VU code. If the parent refuses to provide the information you need to determine whether the education is countable, code the education or training as VU.

      The VU code in eJAS will let you know that the education portion of the parent's IRP doesn't count toward federal participation and doesn't qualify for  support services.

      7.4.2 Vocational Education Unapproved- Step-by-step guide

      The WFPS/WFSSS:

      1. Determines if the parent is meeting the minimum work requirement of 20 hours per week employment, 16-19 hours per week work study or is in an approved internship/practicum.
      2. Consults with the college WorkFirst Coordinator or Director or the educational institution to determine whether the educational activity is countable (and, if so, under which eJAS component code).
      3. Updates the parent's IRP to reflect the appropriate eJAS component code
      4. Documents the action in eJAS.
      5. Monitors the parent's progress closely
      6. Updates the IRP as required

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      7.5 Internships and Practicums

      (fully countable core)

      Legal References:

      The Internships and Practicums section includes:

      • 7.5.1 What are internships and practicums?
      • 7.5.2 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements
      • 7.5.3 Industrial Insurance Coverage
      • 7.5.4 When can you add it to an IRP?
      • 7.5.5 eJAS Codes
      • 7.5.6 Internships and Practicums - Step-by-step guide

      7.5.1 What are internships and practicums?

      Internships and practicums are supervised practical training at a workplace that is required to complete an educational program. Internships and practicums are unpaid work experiences.

      An example of in internship is the student teaching requirement that a student must conduct in order to obtain a teaching certificate. Another example is the practical work experience a nursing student obtains as part of the requirement to complete the course of training. WorkFirst categorizes unpaid internships and practicums as work experience (WEX).

      There are some types of internships and practicums that can be used to meet an individual's work requirement for up to 12 months. To qualify, the internship or practicum must be required to complete a course of vocational training that will result in a license or certificate in a high-demand field or determined to enhance the parent's training and future employability.

      7.5.2 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Requirements

      According to state and federal law, parents cannot be required to engage in unpaid work for more hours than their monthly grant amount plus their monthly food stamp amount divided by the federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever is higher. College WorkFirst personnel will coordinate with the WFPS/WFSSS to ensure that the number of hours a parent is scheduled to participate in the WEX meets FLSA requirements.  For a detail summary on FLSA, see Chapter 3.3.2.5 How to Deem. 

      For nonexempt two-parent families, the maximum number of work experience hours can be split between the two parents.

      7.5.3 Industrial Insurance Coverage

      Internships and practicums are unpaid work experiences. State and federal law require a parent in work experience be covered by state industrial insurance or a comparable industrial insurance. This coverage is sometimes referred to as workman's compensation or L& I.

      The colleges will pay L& I coverage for unpaid work experiences, such as Internships and Practicums, which are part of the parent's education and training plan.

      7.5.4 When can you add it to the IRP?

      The WorkFirst Program Specialist (WFPS) adds an unpaid internship or practicum to the person's IRP as work experience if it is required to complete a training program that will result in a license or certificate or determined to enhance the parent's training and future employability.

      Other Core and Non-core Activities, such as Vocational Education or Skills Enhancement Training, may be stacked with Internships/practicums as needed to reach full-time participation, generally 32-40 hours per week. See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible.  Don’t exceed the FLSA maximum hours for work experience.  You can substitute non-core hours for core hours as needed to stay within the FLSA maximum. 

      Depending on the design of the training program, an unpaid internship or practicum may be attached to either the end of the training period or utilized at strategic points during the training.

      7.5.5 eJAS codes

      • WE (Work Experience, to track the unpaid internship or practicum)

      7.5.6 Internships and Practicums - Step-by-step guide

      When parents need an unpaid internship/practicum to complete or enhance their training:

      1. The WorkFirst college coordinator:
        • Works with the parent to create a training plan.
        • Notifies the WFPS/WFSSS of the unpaid internship/practicum by e-message.
      2. The WFPS/WFSSS updates the Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP).
      3. The Internship/Practicum worksite supervisor:
        • Provides daily supervision,
        • Documents participation every two weeks, and
        • Provides this information to the college WorkFirst Coordinator.
      4. The college WorkFirst Coordinator:
        • Reports participation monthly using eJAS, and
        • Immediately notify the WFPS/WFSSS if the parent fails to participate as required.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Other Resources

      7.6 What do I do when a participant is already in school when he or she comes to WorkFirst?

      Created on: 
      Jul 24 2017

      Revised On: July 24, 2017

      Legal References:

      This section includes:

      • 7.6.1 Information needed
      • 7.6.2 Type of training and institution

      This section of the handbook contains guidelines for a WFPS/WFSSS to ensure participants enrolled in, or attending, education and training at the time of their WorkFirst application meet their participation requirements. Participants enrolled in school might be receiving financial aid or loans.  

      7.6.1 Information Needed

      WorkFirst participation consists of numerous types of countable training options.

      When participants already engaged in education and training apply for cash assistance and come to WorkFirst, the WFPS/WFSSS must determine:

      • The type of training and training institution the participant attends;
      • If the training is full-time or part-time;
      • Weekly hours of education and training they attend; and
      • If the participants are working (part-time job, work-study, internship).

      To calculate participation hours, use the actual hours the participant is in the education and training activities, including classes, labs, supervised study halls/tutoring sessions, and up to one hour of unsupervised study time for every hour of class time. Total homework time counted for participation can’t exceed the hours required or advised by their educational program.

      Full-time participation is generally 32-40 hours per week (See WFHB 1.2.2 Required Participation).  Participants may need to combine work or a work-like activity with their educational program to meet their participation requirement if they aren’t already working. See WFHB 1.2.2 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the participant’s Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) when possible. In most cases, vocational education will meet the strengthened participation requirements, but add an additional three hours core or non-core when necessary.

      The WFPS/WFSSS may refer the participant to the following to assist them in obtaining work:

      • Job search,
      • Subsidized employment,
      • Unpaid work experience, or
      • College(s) to see if there are work-study positions available.

      The participant must find a part-time job within 30 days in order to continue in their education and training when the education and training program doesn’t meet WorkFirst participation requirements.

      For information regarding work-like activities, see chapters 4.47.58.3, 8.4 and 8.5.

      7.6.2 Type of training and institution

      Participants enrolled in vocational education may qualify under numerous activities. Participants attending a Washington State community or technical college may qualify for Vocational Education, Customized Jobs Skills Training, I-BEST, or High Wage, High Demand Training. Participants enrolled in an education program at an institution other than a Washington State community or technical college, may meet the Vocational Education or High Wage, High Demand Training requirements. Refer to Section 7.2 Vocational Education to determine the appropriate activity.

      Other Education

      • Countable Non-core Activities: Participants enrolled in basic education or Skills Enhancement (JT), GED preparation (HS, GE), or High School completion (HS, BE), may also count these educational activities toward non-core participation. However, consider High School Completion or Equivalency for participants 19 years of age or younger (HS) as core activities. The WFPS/WFSSS must attempt to engage the participant in core activities to meet the participation requirement.
        For dependent teens/teen parents/unmarried parenting minors, please refer to Chapters 1.2 and 5.1 for participation requirements and 7.2 for education and training activities. For all others, please refer to 7.3 to determine the participant's participation requirements.
      • Degree Completion: If a participant is within 12 months of completing a degree, up to a baccalaureate degree, Degree Completion may be an option -See Chapter 7.2.
      • Vocational Education Unapproved: If a participant is more than 12 months* away from finishing an educational program, Vocational Education Unapproved programs may be an option - See Chapter 7.4. For this program, there is a requirement that a participant meet their work or work-like activity requirement. The WFPS/WFSSS needs to discuss work requirements and reduction of support services, including childcare, with this activity.
      • English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL): If the participant engages in language instruction such as ESL, refer to the LEP section of the handbook.

          WorkFirst will make every effort to assist participants in meeting the requirements of participation so they may remain in school. If not already participating on a full-time basis, generally 32-40 hours per week, the WFPS/WFSSS must take action to engage the participants in full-time WorkFirst activities.  See WFHB 1.2.2 for information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the participant’s Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) when possible. If the participants don’t comply, they may face sanction for non-participation.

      *Note: The department may increase the 12-month education limit to 24 months subject to funding appropriated specifically for this purpose.  The department has funding for this extension through SFY 2019.  See section 7.2.15 What is the Vocational Education Extension?

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

      Other Resources

      Chapter 8: Paid & Unpaid Employment

      8.1 Overview

      Legal References:

      The Paid & Unpaid Employment - Overview section includes:

      • 8.1.1 What is employment?
      • 8.1.2 Where do hours of employment come from?
      • 8.1.3 Why are employment services important?
      • 8.1.4 How do I verify employment for job starts?
      • 8.1.5 What is acceptable verification of employment hours?
      • 8.1.6 How do we record hours for temporary employment?
      • 8.1.7 When must a participant take a job?
      • 8.1.8 What are employment principles?
      • 8.1.9 Will any job do?
      • 8.1.10 How do work-study hours count?
      • 8.1.11 What is AmeriCorps/VISTA employment?
      • 8.1.12 What is WIA paid work experience?
      • 8.1.13 Verifying job starts - Step-by-step guide

      8.1.1 What is employment?

      Employment, or work, means to engage in any legal, income generating activity which is taxable under the United States Tax Code or which would be taxable with or without a treaty between an Indian Nation and the United States. Work provides the best opportunity for families to raise their income and leave poverty.

      Helping participants find permanent, unsubsidized employment-- with a good package of benefits and high enough wages to allow them to support their families - is the ultimate goal of the WorkFirst program.

      8.1.2 Where do hours of employment come from?

      Employment can be part-time (31 hours per week or less) or full-time (32 hours per week or more). It comes in a variety of forms, including:

      • A paid, unsubsidized job,
      • Subsidized employment (Community Jobs),
      • On-the-job training (that combines training with the job)
      • Self-employment,
      • College work study, and
      • Paid work experience, practicums or internships.

      See WFHB 1.2.3 for additional information about adding an additional three hours (preferably core activity hours) in the parent’s IRP when possible. When a parent has 20 hours of unsubsidized employment (or 30 hours for a two-parent family) this will meet the core activity requirement.   For two-parent families or single parents with no children under six in this situation, consider adding non-core activities to meet the strengthened participation requirements.

      Unlike every other type of countable WorkFirst activity, employment hours are counted and verified using the TANF prospective budgeting rules. This means we do not need to record actual hours of employment each month. We do, however, need to make sure we follow financial eligibility rules to:

      • Estimate the number of hours. For example, if a parent gets paid a twice a month and works 40 hrs per week at $8.55 per hr, the calculation would be = $342 per week x 52 weeks per year = $17784 ÷ 24 pay periods = $741 ÷ $8.55 = 86.66 hrs per pay period, rounded up to 87 hours. Financial eligibility staff would enter 87 hours per pay period into ACES.
      • Verify employment when required. (See the Employment Hours Action Chart for additional details.) Employment hours must be verified:
        • At application.
        • When hours decrease causing an increase in benefits.
        • At the parent's TANF 6-month report.
        • When a parent gets a job. (Note: we do not need to verify other changes in an existing job during the certification period and outside of the MCR.)

      DSHS financial eligibility staff will request wage and hour verification during their normal course of business on all of these occasions, except for some job starts. See section 8.1.4 for the procedures we will use to verify employment hours when a parent starts a job. Rules for financial eligibility budgeting can be found in the EAZ Manual at WAC 388-450-0050.

      WorkFirst must notify financial eligibility staff of employment changes so the employment information can be correctly entered onto the ACES EARN Screen. Once employment hour data for the ongoing month is entered into ACES:

      • The average weekly hours of employment will be calculated in ACES and displayed in eJAS so every WorkFirst partner knows how many employment hours we are reporting to the federal government.
      • The ACES data will be used to report the parent's employment participation to the federal government.

      8.1.3 Why are employment services important?

      We use Career Scope services activities to introduce participants to the labor market and test their employability. We need to find a job for every participant as soon as possible. The initial job, however, may be entry-level, temporary or part-time. This means it is just as important to work with Employment Security and college staff to connect participants with Post-Employment Services options (reserved for those working 20 hours per week or more) to find or train for better jobs.

      8.1.4 How do I verify employment for job starts?

      There is one circumstance when we will not be using TANF prospective budgeting rules. We need to verify employment hours for job starts before we can count them towards participation. Since TANF prospective budgeting rules do not require verification when a parent gets a job, WorkFirst staff will be responsible to verify employment hours for job starts.

      Once a parent starts a new job, financial staff will enter wage and hour information, often based on the parent's statement, into ACES as they normally do if the parent remains eligible for cash assistance. WorkFirst staff will learn about changes in employment hours, including the start of a new job, via their Caseload Management Report and contact the parent to update her or his IRP.

      As you change the IRP:

      • Determine if the parent has started a new job.
      • If so, check to see if the verification valid value on the ACES EARN screen is CS or CE (which means financial eligibility staff used a client statement); If yes:
        • Obtain proof of the parent's employment hours.
        • Start the sanction process if the parent refuses to bring in proof of employment hours.

      Once we have verified the employment hours, the hours need to be entered into ACES by someone who is authorized to do financial eligibility. The person entering the employment hours into ACES will adjust wages and hours, as needed, and update the verification valid value on the ACES EARN Screen to affect the ongoing benefit month.

      Once the verification valid value is changed, ACES is programmed to start sending the employment hours to the federal government.

      To capture the historical employment hours, after employment is verified and the ongoing month is updated, the worker will go back into a minimum of 2 historical months (unless the employment start date was less than 2 months ago). The worker will update the historical ACES EARN screens using:

      • The same budgeting method as the ongoing month
      • The same number of hours entered in the ongoing month
      • Income of $0.01 - Do not enter actual income for the historical months - it is critical that you must enter $0.01 to minimize overpayments. Ignore (IG) any BEGs created by entering historical information.
      • Appropriate valid value (ES, WS, CC or OT)

      It is important to remember that historical hours can only be entered once verification of employment hours is received.

      This process will allow the employment hours to count for WorkFirst participation in the historical months.

      8.1.5 What is acceptable verification of employment hours?

      Any source, including verbal, written, and email statements, can be used to verify employment hours as long as it meets the rules for evaluating verification in WAC 388-490-0005, which requires verification to:

      • Clearly relate to what the parent is trying to prove.
      • Be from a reliable source.
      • Be accurate, complete and consistent.

      The Acceptable Forms of Verification Chart in the EAZ Manual has a suggested list of reliable sources of verification for income. We normally use a wage stub to verify employment. You can also use a written or verbal employer statement.

      When you use a verbal employer statement, you must document in eJAS the parent's employment hour information, as well as the contact's name, title, phone number and the date of contact.

      8.1.6 How do we record hours for temporary employment?

      Temporary employment is a paid, unsubsidized job lasting 30 days or less. Examples include temporary employment agencies (such as Manpower, Labor Ready, etc) and casual labor (such as odd jobs for landlord, friends and relatives) or other employers offering temporary employment.

      Temporary employment can be part-time (31 hours or less per week) or full-time (32 hours per week or more). In either case, there is an estimated employment end date of 30 days or less and the employer does not consider the parent a permanent full-time or part-time employee.

      ESD releases parents from job search to engage in temporary employment. In the past these have been counted as excused absences. However, as long as we verify and document the temporary employment hours, we can count them as employment and use them to help the parent meet the work participation rate. Temporary employment hours for federal participation are recorded from the verified employment hours entered onto the ACES EARN screen.

      At the beginning of each month, the Employment Security Department (ESD) will send to DMS Temporary Employment Tracking Logs listing the verified temporary employment hours for each parent who reported temporary employment for the previous month.

      DSHS staff will enter these verified temporary employment hours on the ACES EARN screen for the historical month in which the employment occurred using the historical entry of hours method. Only enter income of $0.01 when entering historical employment hours and ignore any BEGs created by entering historical information.

      For more information on the historical entry of employment hours, please refer to section 8.1.4.

      For more information on ESD's temporary employment process, please refer to section 4.2.14.

      8.1.7 When must a participant take a job?

      As shown in the chart below, these are some of the legal conditions under which a job is not appropriate, depending on whether the job is paid, unpaid, and/or subsidized.

      A participant cannot be required to accept a job which ...
      Is paid or unpaid and
      • Does not meet federal, state or tribal health and safety standards.
      • Is available because of a labor dispute.
      • Does not provide industrial insurance coverage (unless working for tribal government/ for-profit business).
      • Working hours/conditions interfere with religious beliefs/practices (and no reasonable accommodation made).
      • Unreasonable work demands or conditions (like not paid on schedule).
      • Displaces currently employed workers (results in another employee's job loss, reduced wages, reduced hours of employment or overtime or lost employment benefits).
      Is paid and

      Same as above, plus:

      • Pays less than the federal, state, local, or tribe minimum wage, whichever is higher.
      • Requires them to resign or refrain from joining a legitimate labor organization.
      • Does not provide unemployment compensation, unless they are:
        • Working for a tribal government or tribal for-profit business; or,
        • Treaty fishing rights related workers exempt under section 7873 of the Internal Revenue code.
      • Does not provide benefits equal to those provided to other workers employed in similar jobs.
      Is On the Job Training (OJT) or subsidized and
      • The employer becomes involved in a strike, lockout or bona fide labor dispute.
      • The participant is used to displace another employee (and we stop paying the subsidy).

      8.1.8 What are employment principles?

      Whenever we think about WorkFirst, we need to keep the importance of work in mind.

      Overall Employment Principles

      Work is better than welfare.

      Work provides the best opportunity for families to raise their income and leave poverty.

      Those who work always have more income than if they receive only welfare.

      Parents have the primary responsibility for supporting their children. Parent and the state share responsibility for helping families leave welfare. Parents are responsible for moving quickly into jobs. The state is responsible for helping parents find and keep a job, and for collecting child support.

      Support is available to help parents become and stay employed, for example health care insurance and child care that parents can access and afford.

      Help is available to low-income working families to lift them out of poverty and reduce their chances of going back on welfare. The state will offer education, job training and job-match services as routes to advance to better jobs.

      The four state agencies that share responsibility for WorkFirst will work with employers and other local partners to move families into self-supporting work.

      Washington State welfare reform is based on a "work first" model, and on the conviction that everyone who can work should work, by immediately participating in Career Scope activities or employment.

      In WorkFirst, all roads lead to employment. Not everyone will find a job, or a better job - but we can never be completely satisfied with less.

      8.1.9 Will any job do?

      Many participants will start with low-wage, temporary or part-time jobs and may continue to qualify for WorkFirst cash assistance. Others are in college work-study or in subsidized employment - jobs we know won't last. Any job is a start that can give parents the work history and references they need to obtain better employment. Still, there are things to keep in mind for participants who are employed, but in jobs that won't last long enough or pay well enough for a successful WorkFirst exit.

      There are two basics to review with these participants while building their IRPs:

      • They can be required to participate for up to 40 hours per week, and
      • They have a choice of activities, but only working part-time is not an option.

      Individual circumstances will vary and affect what additional activities we require. A person in subsidized employment may be focusing on resolving issues as his or her additional activity, and moving to Career Scope activities as the situation improves. A person in college work study or who is limited-English proficient may be concentrating on his or her studies.The remainder (in low-wage, part-time or temporary jobs) count as participation, and will likely be most helpful.

      The main message for these participants bears repeating -they will have a choice of WorkFirst activities to add to their employment - but doing nothing is not an option.

      8.1.10 How do work study hours count?

      Paid college work study is considered employment. The number of hours a parent is working in a federal or state work study count toward meeting the core activity requirement. Work study less than 19 hours per week must be stacked with other core activities (see stacking activities section).

      The colleges are able to approve between 1 and 19 hours per week of work study. This will assist parents in meeting their core activity requirements. For example, a parent may be participating in a vocational education training that is 26 hours per week. The college can add 6 or more hours of work study to help the parent meet the goal of 32 - 40 hours per week of participation. The strengthened participation requirements in WFHB 1.2.3 don’t apply to work study students as long as they meet these requirements.

      8.1.11 What is AmeriCorps/VISTA employment?

      AmeriCorps national service programs, such as VISTA or AmeriCorps, provide a stipend living allowance to program participants (more commonly referred to as members). For the purposes of WorkFirst, the stipend is treated as salaried employment (not self-employment) and you code it as PT or FT depending on the number of hours the person works each week.

      AmeriCorps/VISTA employment typically lasts for nine to 12 months, is normally full-time and result in educational award for teens or parents who successfully complete the program. Members will obtain marketable soft skills, job skills, a good source of income, and work experience. AmeriCorps and Vista programs can be an effective way for parents and teens to achieve self-sufficiency. See EAZ 388-450-0045 for information about how to budget AmeriCorps/VISTA earnings.

      8.1.12 What is WIA paid work experience?

      The Employment Security Department is authorizing paid work experience for parents in many areas of the state, funded by Title 1 of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Parents' WIA experience payments will affect both financial eligibility and WorkFirst participation.

      WIA paid work experience is considered WIA on-the-job training for Basic Food purposes. It is coded on the ACES EARN screen with employment code 'WJ'. For more information on budgeting WIA, please refer to the EAZ Manual under Income - Special Types, WAC 388-450-0045(1)(i) and (ii).

      WIA paid work experience is considered employment for the purposes of the WorkFirst program. WorkFirst staff will code WIA paid work experience participation under the PT or FT eJAS component code. As employment, there is no FLSA maximum hours for WIA paid work experience and staff will not need to enter actual hours of participation each month.

      8.1.13 Verifying Job Starts - Step-by-step guide

      1. The WFPS or WFSSS learns about changes in employment hours from the Caseload Management Report. When you learn of a change in employment hours:
        1. Require the parent to complete an IRP review and update.
        2. Determine whether the parent has started a new job. If not, the parent does not need to provide proof of employment hours.
        3. If the parent has started a new job, determine whether a CS or CE verification valid value was entered on the parent's ACES EARN Screen. If not, the parent does not need to provide proof of employment hours.
        4. If the parent has started a new job and the CS or CE code was used, require the parent to provide proof of employment hours within 10 business days. Add to the parent's IRP "I agree to provide proof of the number of hours I work by [date]. "
        5. Start the sanction process if a parent refuses to provide proof of employment hours as required.
      2. If the WFPS or WFSSS uses a verbal employer statement as proof of employment hours, they must document in eJAS:
        1. The employment hour information.
        2. The name, title and phone number of the contact person.
        3. The date of the contact.
      3. The WFPS or financial eligibility staff updates the ACES EARN Screen for the ongoing month and at least two historical months (unless the employment start date was less than 2 months ago) only once we have proof of employment hours, including:
        1. Adjusting wage information, as needed.
        2. Adjusting employment hours, as needed.
        3. Updating the verification valid value to document the type of proof that was obtained.

      Resources

      Related WorkFirst Handbook Sections

      Other Resources

      8.2 Self-employment

      Created on: 
      Jul 29 2016

      (fully countable core)

      Legal References:

      The Self-employment section includes:

      • 8.2.1 How do I determine WorkFirst participation requirements for self-employed participants?
      • 8.2.2 What are self-employment plans?
      • 8.2.3 How many self-employment hours count towards federal participation?
      • 8.2.4 eJAS Codes
      • 8.2.5 Self-employment - Step-by-Step Guide

      8.2.1 How do I determine WorkFirst participation requirements for self-employed participants?

      Self-employment occurs when a participant is working as a business owner or independent contractor. Participants working at least 32 hours or more per week at minimum wage, with an approved self-employment plan, may use self-employment as their primary path to independence.

      Deferral from employment services activities can occur if self-employed participants meet all of the following conditions:

      Participants:

      Single participants with a child under six:

      Working at least 32 hours per week at their business

      Working at least 20 hours per week at their business