participating camps. To obtain assistance parents should see the Job Center Camp Liaisons available in each center or, for assistance in locating camps parents can also call the NYC Youthline at (800) 246-4646 from March through August.
As of March 15, 2006, the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance has oversight of the Welfare-to-Work regulations.
The federal government mandates that families receiving TANF funds participate in work-related activities. Federal law sets forth the percentage of recipients that must participate, the type of work activity and the minimum number of hours that must be worked in order to count toward federal participation rates. If a state does not meet these federally mandated participation rates, financial penalties are imposed. NYS also mandates participation rates for adults without children, not covered under federal law.
Allowable and Countable Work Activities
To count for federal and state mandated participation rates, PA recipients must engage in work activities for the prescribed number of hours. Following is the list of allowable activities. To determine how these activities are counted toward participation rates, see below, Limitations.
1. Unsubsidized employment, 2. Subsidized private employment,
3. Subsidized public sector employment, 4. Work experience program (WEP, workfare), 5. On-the-job training (which includes internships), 6. Up to six weeks of job search and job readiness, 7. Community service programs, 8. Vocational educational training (for no more than 12 months), 9. Job skills training directly related to employment, 10. Education directly related to employment for a recipient lacking a high school diploma or equivalent, 11. Satisfactory attendance in high school or a GED program for recipients who lack a diploma or equivalent, 12. Provision of child care for the children of adults who are doing community service, 13. Job search and job readiness beyond six weeks, 14. Educational activities (vocational educational training, high school or equivalent, basic and remedial education, education in English proficiency, up to 2 years of postsecondary education, if necessary to attain the goals set forth in the recipient’s employability plan), and 15. Additional activities that HRA may authorize
In order to count towards meeting the participation rates the following households must engage in activities as follows:
16. Adults in households with dependent children: at least 30 hours of activities per week, of which at least 20 hours must come from activities a. through h. or l. 17. Adults in households without dependent children: at least 35 hours of activities per week, of which at least 20 hours must come from activities a. through h. or l. 18. Two-parent families with dependent children: at least 35 hours of activities per week, of which at least 30 hours must come from a. through h. or l. 19. Two-parent households with dependent children where the family is receiving federally funded child care: at least 55 hours of activity per week, of which at least 50 hours must come from activities a. through h. or l. 20. Two-parent families with dependent children who have timed out of Family Assistance and now receive SNA, even if the family is receiving federally funded child care: at least 30 hours per week must come from a. through h. or l.
Once a person is meeting this initial requirement any additional hours of work can come from the remaining list of countable activities.
The Davila Settlement
As a result of the Davila v. Eggleston class action lawsuit, single parents have the right to an “assessment” interview before being assigned to WEP or any other work activity. During the “assessment” interview the caseworker must ask about the parent’s background, child care needs, work activities, and preferences, including the preference to attend school. If a parent has a preference for going to school, (whether an individual is enrolled in a educational program or would like to be) the case worker should honor it, as long as school is consistent with the assessment. Single parents can attend HRA approved vocational education and training programs, and can count up to 15 hours a week toward their weekly work requirement for as many months as they need. Find a listing of the HRA Master List of Approved Training Programs at https://a069webapps1.nyc.gov/atp/search.cfm. If the recipient is currently enrolled in a program that is not on the list, HRA will evaluate the program to determine if it can be approved. If a parent’s class schedule requires her/him to be in school more than 15 hours a week, s/he can count all of the school hours for up to a life-time limit of 12 months. After the 12 months, under special circumstances, a parent can count up to 20 hours of school per week for one additional year. For example, if the parent has a housing crisis, illness, domestic violence or other emergency during the 12 month life time limit. A single parent can also count 15 hours of class time spent in adult basic education toward his/her work activities. If in a language immersion program, all hours beyond the 15 hours can be counted for up to 90 days. After 90 days, the case worker will make an evaluation to determine if the individual can continue in the immersion program full-time beyond the 90 days. After the assessment interview, the case worker should complete an “Employability Plan”, which lists the work assignment. If the preference for school was not honored, the individual can appeal it through a fair hearing. For more information on the Davila lawsuit contact the Urban Justice Center – Access to Education Program, at (646) 602-5640.
Rights of Households without Children
In January 2005, after a change in state law, HRA implemented a new policy directive (PD #05-01-EMP) that provides many of the same protections for households without children that households with children have under the Davila Settlement, see above. These rights include: an assessment interview; if the individual is in school or wishes to attend school there must be a referral to the Training Assessment Group to determine
whether education or training are appropriate activities; if appropriate the individual will be approved for up to a lifetime total of 12 months in education or training as a primary activity (education and training programs must be on HRA’s Master List); and once a person has used up the 12 month limit, he/she will have to engage in one of the other a. through h. or l. activities (see above Allowable and Countable Work Activities) as his/her primary 20 hours a week activity and education activity can take up the remaining 15 hours per week. For more information on these rights, contact the National Law and Economic Justice at (212) 633-6967 or the Urban Justice Center at (646) 602-5647.
Work-study programs and certain internships and externships are a valid work activity and must be counted towards the work participation rates for PA purposes. This is true for households with dependent children and households without dependent children, whether or not the recipient has used up their 12 months of school permitted under the work rules. Work-study, internships and externships can be done in addition to school. In most cases, if applicants or recipients are participating in school, work study, or internships, but are still required to do additional hours of work, the City can only assign additional WEP hours, if the work site is on or near the school and the City makes reasonable effort to ensure the WEP assignment does not conflict with the applicant/recipient’s school work, work study or internship hours. Internships may be served concurrently or subsequently to training. The duty to accommodate school hours and school location holds true for 4-year college students as well.
Teen parents under 18 who have a child at least 12 weeks old, and who lack a high school diploma, must participate in educational activities toward a diploma or approved employment-related education, as a condition of receiving a grant. Teens under 18 without a child are required to engage in high school or its equivalent; teens 18 or 19 must engage in education unless an alternative activity is more appropriate. Teens already attending vocational, technical, high school or an equivalent must be permitted to continue. Teens 18 or 19 attending high school or its equivalent full-time, are not required to participate in any other work activity.
Exemptions from Work Requirements
The following are exempt from work requirements. Documentation must be provided.
A child who is under age 16 (or up through age 19 and is attending secondary, vocational or technical school on a full-time basis) or 60 years of age or older, and A parent of a child under the age of one for a three-month period which can be extended up to a maximum period of 12 months (however, a parent can receive a total of no more than 12 months of exemption, regardless of the number of children), and *A person needed in the home full-time to care for another household member who has a verified mental or physical impairment and a determination was made that no other member of the household is appropriate to provide such care, and A pregnant woman beginning 30 days prior to the medically verified date of delivery, and A person who is ill, injured or incapacitated to the extent that they are unable to engage in work activities as verified by WeCARE, see below. Individuals who are required to apply for SSI or to appeal a denial as a condition of eligibility for PA; the exemption from participation in work requirements for selfapplicants for SSI will only apply if the district would have required the individual to pursue SSI as a condition of PA eligibility; once the district has determined the individual is no longer required to apply for SSI, the individual is no longer exempt
1. 2. 3.
*Note: HRA is closely examining these households specifically those who claim they are needed at home to care for a disabled child six years of age or older and in school. These participants will be called in to the Job Center and evaluated for assignments on a parttime basis. To be deemed exempt school personnel must provide documentation to indicate that “the parent or guardian is required to be immediately available and regularly needed to address the needs of the child.” The participant can also claim other barriers to employment.
Disability: WeCARE – Wellness, Comprehensive Assessment, Rehabilitation & Employment
At application, recertification or other appropriate times, the Job Center (JC) must inquire whether an individual has a medical condition, either physical or mental, that would limit his/her ability to participate in work activities. If an applicant/recipient (A/R) claims to
be unable to participate in work activities due to medical and/or mental health reasons, the JC worker must complete a task list in which the A/R will indicate his/her ability to perform the listed tasks. If the individual indicates he/she is unable to perform any of the tasks, the worker will schedule a medical appointment, and a return appointment to the JC. (HRA’s procedures suggest that the referral is made only when the individual indicates that s/he cannot perform any of the tasks, but workers will sometimes exercise discretion in making the referrals even when the person has not made that blanket statement). An appointment will be scheduled with the WeCARE Program, which offers comprehensive medical and rehabilitation services. HRA has contracted with FEGS in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island and with Arbor Education and Training in Queens and Brooklyn to provide WeCARE services. Each contractor, in turn, contracts with a various providers to offer a range of services that includes, but is not limited to performing a comprehensive biopsychosocial (BPS) assessment to identify potential medical and mental health conditions and social circumstances that affect an individual’s health and employability, such as domestic violence, housing, legal issues, child-related issues, literacy and/or work history. A functional capacity (FC) outcome, based on the BPS assessment, will be developed for each individual and a comprehensive service plan (CSP) will be designed. The chart below indicates possible outcomes.
Functional Capacity Fully Employable Unemployable Due to Unstable Medical or Mental Health Condition
Comprehensive Service Plan Referral back to JC for a work assignment according to Employability Plan Creation of a Wellness/Rehabilitation Plan for A/R’s with medical and/or psychiatric conditions that are untreated or unstable. The plan requires that the individual attend treatment and follow his/her doctor’s recommendations. The time frame determined by the A/R’s condition. The plan can be extended if additional time is needed to improve the medical condition. Referral for a Diagnostic Vocational Evaluation (DVE) that may require vocational rehab services. The vendors will develop an Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) based on the results of the DVE. The IPE specifies the individual’s employment goal, the services and supports that will be provided and specific time frames to achieve the plan. Referral to the Social Security Administration for application to SSI or SSDI. Individuals will receive assistance with the application process. If denied benefits, the Customized Assistance Services (CAS) Disability Appeals Unit (DAU) will assist with the appeals process.
Medical limitations to employment that require minimal accommodations or medical limitations that require vocational rehab or specialized supports Fully unemployable substantial functional limitations to employment due to medical conditions that will last for 12 months
Work Assignment Process
Back to Work Initiative
Beginning in 2006, skills assessment and job placement services began to be provided under a new employment contract and initiative, the Back to Work (BTW) program. Under this initiative each Job Center will be assigned one employment vendor that will exclusively handle all job search and employment activities for both applicants and recipients assigned to that particular Job Center.
At application individuals will be assigned a vendor for job search activities and will keep this same vendor when the case is accepted. Under the new employment process, individuals with no employment barriers will be required to attend a same or next day BTW orientation. On the next business day following the orientation, the applicants/participants will be required to report to their assigned BTW site by 9 AM. The new employment process is outlined in HRA’s new Employment Process Manual. Go to http://onlineresources.wnylc.net/nychra/default.asp click on HRA Documents, then click on HRA Employment Process Manual.
Assessments and Employability Plans
All Family Assistance (FA) or Safety Net Assistance (SNA) applicants or recipients, regardless of whether they are exempt from the work rules or not, must cooperate in completing an employability assessment and employment plan. Employment planners at Job Centers and BTW vendors will be involved in the development of this plan at various stages of intake.
The assessment examines an A/R’s education, literacy, basic skills, work experience, preferences, and support service needs. The plan then sets forth the services the JC will provide, as well as the activities in which the A/R must take part. Employment plans may be periodically reviewed and re-evaluated to assign recipients to other work activities as appropriate, or as needed to comply with federal law. Plans may also be amended at a recipient’s request, if his/her goals change. A/R’s may be assigned to work activities prior to completing this assessment. However, it is HRA’s practice to conduct an assessment before assigning an individual to a work activity. Those currently pursuing educational activities that are allowable under the law cannot be assigned to any other activity prior to conducting an assessment and employability plan. Applicants who fail to cooperate with these assessments will be ineligible for PA, recipients will be subject to sanctions.
Job Centers should assign the recipient to an education program where the assessment indicates the applicant has not obtained a basic literacy level (this definition is left to local discretion).
Households with Dependent Children
All recipients age 18 or over in a household with dependent children (and 16 & 17 year olds who are not attending school), must be assessed within 90 days of the finding of eligibility for PA. Employment plans must reflect "to the extent possible" the preferences of the recipient, but will take into account the need of the district to meet participation rates. Also, if a FA recipient is assigned to an activity that does not reflect the individual’s stated preference, the reason must be set forth in the plan.
Households without Dependent Children
Recipients in households without children must be assessed within one year of the filing of an application. Such individuals can be assigned to a work activity even before they are assessed. Unlike households with dependent children, the agency has no obligation to try to accommodate the recipient’s preferences.
Workfare (Work Experience Program - WEP)
Most applicants will be assigned to WEP as a substantial component of their work activity. If an applicant is assigned to WEP, the hours assigned are calculated by dividing the amount of the cash assistance plus the food stamps by the minimum wage. No assignment can be more than 40 hours per week. HRA generally requires PA recipients to engage in a 35-hour per week, what they call a “simulated workweek.” If a recipient’s maximum allowable WEP hours do not equal 35 hours, they will be required to participate in other work activities, including education, training, job search or job readiness. A student at CUNY/SUNY, or other approved educational, training or vocational rehab programs, must be assigned to a work site on campus or within reasonable proximity of the campus.
The NYS regulations guarantee child care for families with children up to age 13 in receipt of public assistance when such services are needed in order to participate in work related activities, including approved education and training activities, as required by the district. A parent/guardian is responsible for making reasonable efforts to find appropriate childcare.
If child care is not in place at the time of the initial interview, the JC will inform the parent/ guardian that the names of regulated providers, including ACS Day Care Centers, are available. If the parent/guardian requests the names, the case worker will either refer them to the Child Care Specialist in the Job Center, provide the name of the Child Care Resource and Referral at one of the following locations, Child Care, Inc. (212) 929-7604, Day Care Council at (212) 206-7818, Committee for Hispanic Children and Families at (2112) 206-1090, Child Development Support Corporation at (718) 398-6738 or ChineseAmerican Planning Council at (212) 941-0030, or obtain the names from the Automated Child Care Information System (ACCIS).
The JC worker will schedule a return appointment for the parent/guardian within 5 to 7 calendar days from this initial appointment. At this second appointment, if the parent/guardian has child care in place, he/she must provide the required information on the provider to process payment. If the parent/guardian is unsuccessful in finding suitable childcare, the worker must evaluate whether the reasons are “legitimate” and provide referrals to at least two child care providers that have verified vacancies. A second return appointment is scheduled within 5 to 7 calendar days of the first return appointment. At the second appointment, if the parent/guardian failed to secure childcare without “good cause” the JC worker will assign the individual to a work activity. “Good cause” applies when the childcare referrals are either “inappropriate,” “inaccessible,” “unsuitable,” “unaffordable” or not within a “reasonable distance” from the individual’s home or work site. The definitions are as follows:
4. “Appropriate” care means that the provider is open for the hours and days the parent would need child care and the provider is able and willing to provide child care services, including any special needs of the child(ren). 5. “Accessible” means the parent is able to get to the provider by driving his or her own car or by public transportation. 6. “Suitable” care means the physical condition of the home in which care is provided, or the physical or mental condition of the informal provider, would not be detrimental to the health, welfare and/or safety of the child(ren).
7. “Affordable” means there is sufficient income to pay the family’s share for the child care services, if required to do so. 8. The definition of “reasonable distance” is left to the county. NYC has defined “reasonable distance” as no more than one hour and 30 minutes travel time (by car or public transportation) for a one-way trip between an applicant/participant’s home and the work activity site, this includes time to stop at the childcare provider/facility.
If the parent/guardian is able to document his/her claim for one of the above “good cause” reasons then he/she should be exempt from work requirements and excused from a work activity until child care is secured. The parent/guardian is responsible to continue to look for childcare during this time and is expected to return to the Job Center at regularly scheduled appointment dates to report on their search. Parents should be encouraged to keep a record of all childcare services contacted and place the child on waiting lists to prove that the parent is actively seeking appropriate childcare. If the parent/guardian fails to keep either of the return appointments, the JC worker will sanction the case, if a current participant, and deny the case, if an applicant. Parents cannot be required to leave their children in a day care setting that is in violation of Family Day Care regulations, especially health and safety standards. Parents should document when childcare services violate these regulations, and if unsuccessful in obtaining an exemption at the Job Center, appeal it through a fair hearing. To assist in the search for childcare, recipients contact childcare resource agencies listed in Vol. I – Publicly Funded Child Care, Section B 3, Resources and Information.
Child Care Reimbursement
The Automated Child Care Information System (ACCIS) processes all childcare payments for individuals participating in PA work-related activities. This includes attending approved education and training activities, workfare, BEGIN, etc. as well as for those who are receiving Transitional Child Care, that is, child care when a PA recipient’s case is closed because of earnings, see Transitional Benefits below for more information. Child care payments are generated each month, based on receipt of child attendance documents. Payments are issued directly to the provider.
Child Care in Lieu of Public Assistance (CILOPA)
Applicants/recipients deemed eligible for or in receipt of public assistance may choose to receive child care assistance instead of PA. If eligible, child care payments are
guaranteed for as long as the household’s income continues to be within the PA guidelines. Households in receipt of CILOPA are required to pay only $1 per week as their family share/fee, regardless of the number of children requiring care. If the caretaker charges more than the HRA market rate, the parent will need to either find a different provider or pay the difference between the HRA market rate and the rate charged by the provider. Child only cases are not eligible for CILOPA.
To be eligible the household must be:
9. In receipt of PA or deemed eligible for PA 10. Be employed at least 20 hours per week if a single parent with a child under 6; 30 hours per week if a single parent whose children are all over the age of 6; or a combined 55 hours per week for 2-parent households with at least one parent working 30 hours or more a week 11. Be in need of child care for a child(ren) under the age of 13 12. Use an eligible child care provider 13. Be in receipt of or pursuing court-ordered child support or have good cause not to do so
Workers must discuss the option of CILOPA with all qualifying applicants/participants. When an individual reports that s/he is employed and in need of child care, it is the worker’s responsibility to inform the individual of CILOPA. CILOPA does not count toward the 60-month TANF time limit, see above Time Limits. Individuals choosing CILOPA are not subject to the substance abuse or domestic violence screening requirements. However, they must still comply with all other eligibility requirements including, but not limited to, Bureau of Eligibility Verification, the Office of Child Support Enforcement, and finger imaging.
The Transitional Child Care unit will conduct annual recertifications to determine ongoing eligibility. If the household is no longer deemed eligible, the household’s eligibility is evaluated for 12 months of transitional child care.
PA recipients have the right to necessary carfare to get a child to the childcare services and to travel to the place of HRA approved work, education or training. HRA must make a diligent effort to assist individuals with transportation and, if there is a transportation difficulty, make a reasonable effort to assign the individual to an appropriate work activity at a site as close as possible to the individual's residence.
Training Related Expenses (TRE's)
TRE's may be provided for a one-time clothing allowance or uniform allowance, tools and equipment, and other expenses determined on a case-by-case basis.
PA recipients who refuse to comply with work requirements, where good cause or an exemption is not established, are sanctioned (suffer a loss of benefits). For parents and caretakers, the sanction is a pro-rata reduction equal to the person’s portion of the household grant for a set period of time and until they demonstrate their willingness to comply with the work rules. Single individuals unwilling to comply are ineligible for the entire PA grant until the duration of the sanction period has expired and they have shown their willingness to comply. Single individuals who have completed the durational sanction and who are willing to comply must reapply for PA. Head of households and individuals who are sanctioned for non-compliance with work rules may be required to demonstrate compliance with PA employment rules by first completing five consecutive business days in a work activity before the PA sanction can be lifted. Once the PA sanction period has expired and the sanctioned person agrees to comply and subsequently completes the 5-day work requirement, the PA grant must be retroactive to the date the person agreed to comply with the work rules. Households under durational sanctions may reapply for benefits at any time during the sanction. It is advisable to apply as many days before the end of the sanction as it will take HRA to process the applications. Thus, households with children should apply within 30 days before the end of their sanction period; singles should apply within 45 days before the end of their sanction period.
Parents & Caretakers
14. 1st instance - until the person demonstrates willingness to comply
15. 2nd instance - 3 months & until the person demonstrates willingness to comply 16. 3rd instance and all others - 6 months & until the person demonstrates willingness to comply
Recipients Without Dependent Children
2. 1st instance - longer of 90 days and until there’s a demonstrated willingness to comply 3. 2nd instance - longer of 150 days and until there’s a demonstrated willingness to comply 4. 3rd instance and all others - longer of 180 days and until there’s a demonstrated willingness to comply
Note: When a household moves from SNA to FA, the SNA sanctions do not count towards the household’s total sanction sum. That is, if an SNA recipient has been sanctioned, transfers to FA, and is sanctioned again, it will be as if it is his/her first sanction. This, however, does not hold for those moving from FA to SNA, all sanctions under FA will count when the household moves to SNA. A recipient should not lose Medicaid for non-compliance with PA work rules, but there will be a reduction in the amount of food stamps.
HRA will send a conciliation notice to those who fail to comply with work requirements. Conciliation is in informal process at which the recipient can present his/her case as to why a sanction should not be imposed. Conciliation can also be used if a recipient disagrees with some aspect of a work assignment. FA recipients must request conciliation within 10 days of the notice and complete the process within 30 days of the notice. SNA recipients, including those households with children who have transferred from FA to SNA, must request conciliation within 7 days of the notice and complete the process within 14 days of the request for conciliation. If an individual does not respond or if the problem cannot be resolved, a second notice (Notice of Intent - NOI) will be sent informing him/her that he/she is in non-compliance and sanctions will be imposed. Depending on the circumstances, a person may be required to continue to participate in work activities during the conciliation and NOI process and would then have a continuing right to child care and carfare. Participants have a right to a fair hearing, if the conciliation is not successful. The key questions at the fair hearing will usually be
whether the individual failed to comply, and, if so, whether s/he had good cause, a valid reason for non-compliance.
Refusal of a Job Offer
A PA applicant/recipient who is the case head or legally responsible relative who refuses a job offer without demonstrating good cause during application, recertification or at any eligibility call-in will have the entire household case denied or closed. If the individual is a non-legally responsible household member, that person will be removed from the PA case. A separate determination for Food Stamps and Medicaid will be made, and if subject to FS work rules, only the non-complying member will be sanctioned. A PA recipient who refuses a job offer while participating in employment activities, (that is, not during an eligibility interview), will be sanctioned, but other household members, if any, will continue to receive a pro-rated grant.
Available Transitional Benefits
PA households with dependent children who find employment may continue to receive PA, if earnings, after income deductions, is less than the standard of need. See above, Public Assistance Budgeting. Households with dependent children, whose PA case is closed because of earnings, may be eligible for certain benefits to assist in the transition to work. To receive these benefits recipients must report their employment to the Job Center. Once the PA case is closed and the family is no longer eligible for a cash grant, the case is transferred to the Office of Employment Services (OES) for administration of transitional Child Care and transitional Medicaid. Contact: Work Related Benefits Unit/ HRA Office of Employment Services 109 East 16 Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003 (212) 835-7681