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 June 28, 2019

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 is the Transportation Initiative pilot (SFY19-20)?
  • 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 Instructions – Travel Advance Vouchers
  • 2.2.12 Special Instructions – Department of Licensing (DOL)
  • 2.2.13 Special Instructions – Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • 2.2.14 Special Instructions – U-Haul
  • 2.2.15 Special Instructions – Pearson VUE
  • 2.2.16 Special Instructions – Inpatient Treatment
  • 2.2.17 End of the State Fiscal Year Process

2.2.1 What are Support Services?

Support services are goods and services purchased to help parents/caregivers to participate in required WorkFirst activities, attend WorkFirst Orientation, or needs for emergency situations. We offer support services when there is no other way to meet a family's essential needs while using sound judgment to determine what is reasonable. This may require using non-traditional or alternative means to meet the family’s goals or needs. For example, a participant starting work may need alternative transportation to work if their work schedule starts before the morning bus line and a bicycle and helmet may be appropriate to approve.

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), with the main focus of employment or 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 immediate needs of the participant. The category recommendations should not be considered an entitled amount, but as 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 of support services is to subsidize participants' efforts toward finding employment, remaining employed, or advancing into better employment.

2.2.3 What are the support service limits?

There is a $3,000 yearly limit for each WorkFirst participant in the family - although some services don't count towards the yearly limit, such as childcare and accommodations. There are hard edits in eJAS for the annual limit, meaning the eJAS system won't allow payments exceeding this limit.

Activity categories include:

  • Work-related: working, looking for work, work-like activities
  • Safety-related: meeting significant or emergency family safety needs such as family violence
  • Other activities: any other activity contained in the client’s IRP

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 is the Transportation Initiative pilot (SFY19-20)?

The Transportation Initiative pilot covers 100% of the transportation needs in select CSOs across the state. The goal is to address both immediate and long-term needs to reduce or eliminate a transportation barrier to assist engaging the eligible WorkFirst participant. Please refer to the Transportation Initiative Reference Guide.

Pilot Offices:

  • Region 1: Clarkston, Colfax, Colville, Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Newport, Okanogan, Republic, Sunnyside, Toppenish. Walla Walla, and Wenatchee
  • Region 2: Alderwood, Bellingham, King Eastside, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Renton, Smokey Point
  • Region 3: Aberdeen, Chehalis, Kelso, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Shelton, Stevenson
  1. The pilot office WFPS/WFSSS:
    1. Reviews case and determines if there are needed transportation support services:
      1. Is there a required activity with an IRP?
        1. Discusses and documents the plan to remove the barrier. Please see the Transportation Initiative Flowchart.
        2. Is an ETR needed? Please follow ETR process in 2.2.9.
      2. If no, continues to review when participant contact is made, as the circumstances may change.
    2. Enters the TI indicator component code through the end of the current state fiscal year.
    3. Issues the support services following the instructions in 2.2.10 Support Services - Step-by-Step Guide.
    4. Documents all case actions in eJAS notes, including the transportation barrier, steps needed to resolve, and support services issued.

Statewide Expansion of Licensing and Fees

There is a statewide expansion to transportation-related licensing and fees support services from September 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020 for participants engaged in work or safety activities, and based on available funding. This expansion is available the Transportation Initiative Pilot sites (TI indicator component) and statewide (LF component)

This means:

  • Working with the Department of Licensing (DOL), 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:

  • Helps the participant check with the DOL, if the license is suspended:
    • What tickets are holding up the license in suspension?
      • Has the participant get a printout from DOL
    • Documents which 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:
      • Negotiates with the court for 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) approved by CSD HQ only and accompanied by proof that it is not for alcohol or drug-related fines, including DUI or DWI.
  • Submits an ETR through Barcode, follows ETR process in 2.2.9.
  • Waits for determination from CSD HQ
    • If any additional information is requested, provides information and emails CSD HQ.

Once the ETR is approved by HQ, the WFPS/WFSSS:

  • Enters the LF indicator code (only if not in a TI office listed below) in eJAS through 06/30/20,  

    • The indicator component code is TI for the following offices by region:

      • Region 1: Clarkston, Colfax, Colville, Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Newport, Okanogan, Republic, Sunnyside, Toppenish, Walla Walla, Wenatchee

      • Region 2: Alderwood, Bellingham, King Eastside, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Renton, Smokey Point

      • Region 3: Aberdeen Chehalis, Kelso, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Shelton, Stevenson 

  • 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
Post-TANF Employment Transportation Support Services (PETSS)
 
There is an expansion to transportation-related support services for the pilot offices hosting the Transportation Initiative:
 
  • Region 1: Clarkston, Colfax, Colville, Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Newport, Okanogan, Republic, Sunnyside, Toppenish, Walla Walla, Wenatchee
  • Region 2: Alderwood, Bellingham, King Eastside, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Renton, Smokey Point

  • Region 3: Aberdeen Chehalis, Kelso, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Shelton, Stevenson 

This expansion continues to June 30, 2020 for participants who are exiting TANF/SFA who have verified unsubsidized employment of 17+ hours per week, with a short-term continuation of transportation-related support services. Households that closed due to noncompliance sanction are not eligible for PETSS, The purpose is to help mitigate the cliff effect that often happens for families when they start new employment and are over income for TANF/SFA.

The pilot office WFPS/WFSSS:

  1. Reviews case and determines if there are needed transportation-related support services:
    1. Is the TANF/SFA closed?
      1. If yes, is there verified unsubsidized employment of 17+ hours per week?
      2. If yes, completed an ETR request in Barcode and submits for approval.
      3. Documents actions taken and support services needed in eJAS notes.
Note: PETSS requires an Exception to Rule (ETR) approved by CSD HQ only, PETSS support services must only be issued after ETR approval. 
  1. Once ETR is approved by CSD HQ, enters the TR indicator component code through the end of the current state fiscal year.
  2. Issues the support services following the instructions in 2.2.10 Support Services - Step-by-Step Guide.
  3. Documents actions taken and support services issued in eJAS notes.

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 Applicants

Supports that enable the participant who may be in pending status but appear to be eligible for WorkFirst to:

  • Attend WorkFirst Orientation;
  • Cure sanction;
  • Have an emergency situation;
  • Continue to look for, prepare for, or obtain work; or
  • Provide verification/documentation for Time Limit Extension
WorkFirst Recipients

Authorize support services the participant needs to  help them continue to:

  • Look for, prepare for, or obtain work; or
  • Progress toward self-sufficiency

Examples include meeting the initial costs of employment, transportation, barrier removal, or skills training

2.2.6 How do I encourage independence?

WorkFirst has a limited amount of resources to use as a supplement to the participant's own resources, and other available resources. This approach means that support services can be a teaching tool to help participants understand what they will need to transition off WorkFirst. Participants will also benefit from goal-setting using the below talking points when they receive support services:

  • 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 they can keep their job, the participant and the worker may find out from the vendor how much of the cost could be paid in installments 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 shouldn’t be 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 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. The intent of support services is to meet temporary, targeted needs and get participants started towards independence. They are also a valuable and limited resource.

As you talk to participants about support services, you need to review the case and current status in activities before approving the request including but not limited to:

  • Actual Hours
  • Notes
  • Components

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.

Remember, support services are not meant to be an ongoing supplement if the participant is able to meet the need ongoing or 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 aren't 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, and
  • Make sure the participant knows they may request an administrative hearing.

It is particularly important to document support service denials in eJAS so we will have the information needed to justify the denial if they request an administrative hearing.

2.2.9 How do I request an Exception to Rule?

When necessary, you can request an exception to rule (ETR) to exceed the support services annual limit or when a need is outside the written policy limitations. This is a formal exception request process where headquarters staff make the decision. State office may approve these exceptions when the participant's situation differs from the majority and has a significant impairment or limitation that isn’t addressed by current limits. Explain to the participant, when you submit these requests, there is no guarantee state office will approve them.

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

  • 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, ask your supervisor to request emergency supports to exceed the annual limit. This option is 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 immediate decisions.

2.2.10 Support Services - Step-by-Step Guide

For complete eJAS directions please go to the eJAS Support Service Handbook. (Note:  WF CSD staff can utilize the Determining and Authorizing Support Services Flowchart.)

  1. The WFPS/SSS or ESD employment services counselor:
    1. Determines needed support services based on the activities in the IRP, to attend WorkFirst Orientation, or for emergency situations.
    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, request 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 local office procedure, including:
      1. Creating voucher;
      2. Obtaining the appropriate approval;
      3. Giving voucher 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 in eJAS support services notes the reasons for selecting and authorizing support services and answers the following:
      1. What resources are currently available or quickly obtained?
      2. How much do they need to reserve to cover their on-going needs?
      3. What lower cost alternative are available, if any?
      4. How do they plan to take over ongoing costs in the future?
    7. Cancels pending requests if the BOA fuel card isn't picked up within 10 business days from the authorization date.
  2. To create a purchase authorization/voucher, the WFPS/SSS/contracted provider:
    1. Enters 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. Prints and signs the voucher.
    3. Obtains embossing on the voucher with the WorkFirst seal from a supervisor or authorized staff, 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

Instructions for Mental Health Assessments

In the event you cannot obtain the participant’s signature or is not required due to mental health assessment, and all efforts have been made to secure the signature, the issuing WFPS/SSS will:

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

2.2.11 Special Instructions for Travel Advance Vouchers (DSHS only)

  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.

2.2.12 Special Instructions - 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.

2.2.13 Special Instructions – Department of Transportation (DOT)

 When a participant requests DOT-Good to Go support services, the WorkFirst Program Specialists or Social Service Specialists will:

  1. Advise participant they are required to set up a Good to Go account with DOT if they don’t have an account, and when the balance of the account reaches zero, any additional usage will result in a toll bill mailed to the address on the vehicle registration.
  2. Determine the voucher amount which could include the $5.00 Good to Go pass and any subsequent tolls which may vary across the state. A minimum deposit of $30.00 is required to open a Good to Go account.

Active/Open Good to Go Account (process may take 2-5 days):

  1. Create a voucher using subcategory 43 public transportation and vendor id: SWV000801117, include the Good to Go account number in the voucher and scan to Angela Bridges at ESA HQ - Fiscal.
  2. Finance will electronically deposit the funds directly into the good to go account.

No Active/Open Good to Go Account (process may take 10-14 days):

  1. Create a voucher using category 43 public transportation and vendor id: SWV000801117 and scan to Angela Bridges at ESA HQ - Fiscal.
  2. Finance will create a warrant and mail it to the CSO.
  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 Good to Go Walk-in Customer Service Centers to open an account and pay for the service.

2.2.14 Special Instructions - 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.

2.2.15 Special Instructions - 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 the2.2.15 Special Instructions 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

 

2.2.16 Special Instructions - 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. 

2.2.17 End of the State Fiscal Year Process?

As we approach the end of the state fiscal year, follow the instruction below:

1. Before or on June 30:

Vouchers

  • Give the voucher to the participant.
  • Receive the purchase or service.

Bulk Purchases

Until further notice, bulk purchases may not be made by any office or region without approval through ETR from HQ. The only exception is transportation bulk purchases, which require approval from Regional Coordinators.

The following is the approval process for CSO transportation 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 (e.g. WorkFirst or ABD or MCS)
    • Type of the bulk purchase (e.g. bus passes or tickets)
    • Item amount of the purchase (e.g. number of passes or tickets)
  • The Regional Coordinator makes the determination and notifies the appropriate CSO of the approval or denial of the purchase.

After the CSO has received approval, the CSO will use support services log when issuing bus tickets, bus passes and other transportation negotiable to a participant. The support services 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 participant 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 participant 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 6/27/2019

    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 to apply for WCCC.

    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: Participants who are DSHS or Tribal WorkFirst participants in approved WorkFirst activities, and applicants 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 200% 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 participant 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 participant 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 participants have safe and affordable child care (for their children under 13 years old) while they participate in work or other IRP activities. If a participant 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).

    Participants 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 requirements for in-home/relative childcare provider?

    Participants 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 participant is 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 participant 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.

    Refer the participant 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 participant's case notes if they 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 participant'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 200% 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 200% FPL.

    For additional information about copayments,  refer to the Child Care Subsidy Programs Manual, under the "Income and Copayment Calculations" section.

    2.3.8 WCCC - Step-by-Step Guide to apply for WCCC.

    WFPS/WFSSS can not apply for, or approve child care, the participant must choose from the options below when applying for WCCC.

    1. Online, Washington Connections at https://www.washingtonconnection.org/home/ and complete the application online, or
    2. Apply by phone at toll free, 1 (844) 626-8687 (application hours are; Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm) or
    3. Complete the child care application form in person, at the local CSO office, or mail the application to the following address as follows:

     

    Child Care Subsidy Contact Center
    Department of Children, Youth, and Families
    PO Box 11346, Tacoma, WA 98411-9903

     

    Note: The fax number, if using a fax to send in the application is as follows: 1 (877) 309-9747.

    The applicant or participant will need to provide information when applying for WCCC as follows:

    • The activity schedule, include the anticipated days per week and scheduled times childcare will be needed. Example: Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Or, Saturday 5:30 pm to midnight.
    • If working, wage stubs or verification of gross income for the past 3 months.
    • Travel time from the chosen daycare location, to the WorkFirst activity.
    • General provider information. Child care provider information, to seek a provider, call 1-(800)-446-1114.
    • Payment start dates will depend on the type of provider chosen, (licensed or unlicensed) and the provider's eligibility, including including verification the provider passed the background check. (When using an unlicensed friend or family member provider.)
    • A licensed provider can be an option, while the background check is being processed for the unlicensed provider.

     

    The WFPS/WFSSS ensure participants are participating in an approved WorkFirst activity and refers them to a WCCC  worker for further application needs.

    Note:  There may be cases where the participant has already applied for WCCC at application.  WCCC is approved initially for the applicant 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 worker will:
      1. Help the WorkFirst participant find safe, affordable and appropriate child care, as needed.
      2. Confirm the participant 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