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Welfare-to-Work Handbook 42-7.2:.
Exemptions and Good Cause / Deferral Reasons in the Welfare-to-Work Program

Effective Date: December 14, 2010

Published Date: December 14, 2010

Revised Date:  September 10, 2013

Published By: E109

 

Summary:

This handbook is being revised to inform Employment staff that as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 1041 effective January 1, 2013 the following changes have been made to Welfare-to-Work (WTW) exemptions and good cause/deferral status:

  • New WTW 24-Month Time Clock. Refer to Section I, II, and III.
  • New one-time young child exemption for the primary caregiver to a child between the ages of zero (0) to 23 months. Refer to Section II, B.
  • Termination and removal of reference to AB X4 4 short term WTW and Time on Aid (TOA) exemption for a primary caregiver to a child between the ages of 12 to 23 months; or, two (2) or more children under the age of six (6) years. Refer to Section II, B.

The changes have been highlighted in blue throughout this handbook.

I. General:

The goal of the WTW program is to provide opportunity, choice and support to CalWORKs recipients in their effort to obtain permanent and unsubsidized employment. CalWORKs recipients who are not exempt are required to be registered for WTW. However, there may be some circumstances or conditions that temporarily prevent, or significantly impair, the individual’s ability to regularly participate in WTW activities.

Participants, who are unable to participate in mandatory WTW activities, may request a postponement from WTW participation requirements in two different ways:

  1. An individual may qualify for an exemption; or,
  2. An individual may qualify for a temporary good cause/deferral status, in situations where his/her time limited barriers do not rise to the level of an exemption.

Employment Counselors (ECs) may make determinations of both the exemption and the good cause/deferral as circumstances are identified. In both cases, participants are required to provide all information available to support the consideration of WTW exemption or good cause/deferral status. Good cause/deferral status should not be used excessively, or be used for participants that continually fail to meet requirements.

Individuals who have been granted a WTW exemption still have the option to volunteer in the WTW program.


Once a WTW exemption or good cause/deferral status has expired and no other WTW exemptions apply, the individual will become a WTW “mandatory” participant and be registered to the WTW program.


Effective January 1, 2013 there is a new WTW 24-Month Time Clock for WTW participants. No months will count towards this time clock while an individual is receiving a WTW exemption or good cause/deferral status.


The WTW 24-Month Time Clock will begin ticking on the 1st of the following month from the date a new or amended WTW 2 Plan has been signed; and, necessary supportive services have been offered and provided to these WTW participants.

II. Exemptions in Welfare-to-Work Program:

Individuals may request an exemption verbally or in writing via the CW 2186A (12/12), CalWORKs Time Limit and Welfare-to-Work Participation Exemption Request Form. Some exemptions are applied automatically (i.e. age). For exemptions that require proof or documentation, the County is required to approve or deny the request for an exemption within 15 days of the request using the CW 2186B (12/12) CalWORKs WTW Time Limit Exemption Determination Form.  Refer to How To # 294, Request and Complete Manual NOA CW 2186B).

An individual who is exempt from WTW participation is not subject to the WTW 24-Month Time Clock and depending on the type of exemption may or may not be subject to the CalWORKs 48-month time limit. Refer to CalWORKs Handbook 42-3.4—Time On Aid (TOA).


Once the exemption expires, the participant will be routed back to the unit who referred the case to the Exemption Bank, an EC in that unit will review and route the case to the next appropriate activity.

A. CalWIN Generated WTW Exemptions


The exemption reasons below are auto-generated or produced in CalWIN when appropriate Data Collection windows are updated by the Eligibility Technician (ET) staff. ET staff must run EDBC and save ES Exemption results in order for exemption reason to be properly generated on the case Refer to CalWORKs Handbook 42-6.1:.Welfare-to-Work Exemptions.


The EC may make a request to exempt an individual from participation requirements by sending a 42-6 ET/EC Communication form and documentation (if applicable) to ET.

The following are CalWIN generated exemption reasons:

  • Age of less than 16 or age 60 or older.
  • Subject to Cal-Learn Program.
  • Child age 16, 17 or 18 and full-time student.
  • Long term disability -- disabled/unable to work.  Refer to Employment Newsletter 10-02; Completing the CW 61.
  • Caregiver of an ill or incapacitated household member.
  • Aided non-parent caregiver of a dependent or ward of the court, or child at risk for foster care.
  • Pregnancy impairs ability to be regularly employed (medical verification required).
  • Primary caregiver of a child six (6) months of age or younger.
    • Note: This is a one-time exemption and it can be manually extended up to 12 months on a case-by-case basis.  In a two-parent case only one parent can be granted this exemption at a time.
  • Primary caregiver of a child three (3) months or younger – for 2nd or subsequent child.
    • Note: This exemption for 2nd or subsequent child can be manually extended up to six (6) months on a case-by-case basis.  In a two-parent case only one parent can be granted this exemption at a time.

B. Manually Entered WTW Exemptions


Manual exemptions are determined by the EC and entered in the Employment Services Subsystem in CalWIN. After applying the manual exemption, EC must send 42-6 ET/EC Communication form to ET requesting “Run of EDBC” and to “Evaluate Discrepancies” for the period/month in which the exemption is effective.

The following are manual exemption reasons:

  • Domestic Abuse – Extender/CalWORKs 48 month time limit waiver (must refer to Social Worker).  Refer to CalWORKs Handbook 42-7.7 CalWORKs Domestic Violence/Abuse Policies and Procedures for Waivers and Exemptions.
  • Indian Country or Alaskan Native Village where unemployment is 50% or above.
  • Full time VISTA volunteer.
  • Unable to maintain employment or participate in WTW activities (must be approved by the EC Supervisor or Program Manager).
  • Second parent when first parent is participating.
  • Primary caregiver of a child six (6) to 12 months of age – This one-time extension reason should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    • Note:  In a two-parent case only one parent can be granted this exemption at a time.
  • Primary caregiver of a child three (3) to six (6) months of age – 2nd or subsequent child. This exemption reason should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
    • Note:  In a two-parent case only one parent can be granted this exemption at a time.
  • Once in a lifetime primary caregiver of a child between the ages of zero (0) to 23 months.
    • Note: This is a once in a lifetime exemption and should be at the request of the participant and not automatically applied. In a two-parent case only one parent can be granted this exemption at a time.

     Important note: Do not use “Lack of Supportive Services” as a manual exemption reason.

C. Exempt Volunteers

Exempt individuals may participate in WTW activities as exempt volunteers.  Refer to Welfare to Work Handbook 42-7.32 Exempt Volunteers in the Welfare-to-Work Program.

Alameda County is committed to meeting the Federal Work Participation Rate (WPR) and assisting CalWORKs recipients in becoming self-sufficient. In order to aid in these efforts, ECs should make every effort to encourage exempt participants to volunteer and take advantage of the many services that WTW program offers.

III. Good Cause/Deferral Status in WTW Program:

A. Good Cause Status

An EC can grant temporary “good cause” status to defer or excuse an individual from participation in the WTW program, if he/she determines that there is a condition or other circumstances temporarily preventing, or impairing, participant’s ability to participate in WTW activities or maintain regular employment. Participant requesting a deferral or good cause is required to provide information, including written documentation, as required, in order for the EC to determine/establish the good cause/deferral status.

An individual who is excused/deferred from WTW participation for good cause is not subject to the WTW 24-Month Time Clock, but is subject to the 48-month time limit and his/her CalWORKs and TANF Time-on-Aid clocks continue to tick. Refer to CalWORKs Handbook 42-3.4—Time On Aid (TOA).

 

B. Examples of Good Cause Reasons

The following temporary barriers, or conditions, may be considered good cause for not participating in WTW activities, but not limited to:

  • Lack of necessary supportive services.
  • Domestic Violence, must refer to Social Worker.  Refer to CalWORKs Handbook 42-7.7 CalWORKs Domestic Violence/Abuse Policies and Procedures for Waivers and Exemptions).
  • Legal difficulties, such as court-mandated appearances, which preclude participation.
  • Temporary incarceration.
  • Severe family crisis (illness/ death in the family).
  • A person who is temporarily laid off from a job with a definite call-back date.
  • Verified temporary illness less than 30 days (review for exemption if more than 30 days).
  • Licensed or license-exempt child care is not reasonably available during the individual's hours of training or employment, including commuting time, or arrangements have broken down or have been interrupted.
  • Homelessness or living in unstable, temporary housing.
  • Problems involving participant’s child(ren).

 

C. Review of Good Cause/Deferral Status


An EC must review the continuing validity of good cause/deferral status based on the projected length of the condition, but at least every three (3) months.

When good cause reason ends, the participant is required to enter or re-enter the activity component he/she would have been assigned to attend before good cause was granted.


IV. CalWIN Correspondence Used in Good Cause/Deferral Process:

Form Number
Name
Description
CalWIN Access
42-124 Deferral Review Appointment Letter Notification to the WTW participant that he/she is scheduled to attend the deferral review appointment. Print a Form/Other Correspondence Manually; (Correspondence Type: FORMS; Correspondence #: 42-124). Manual Variables that users complete are:
Office Location
Room #
Day, Date and Time of Appointment
WTW NOA 001 WTW Deferral Approval Notification to the WTW participant that he/she is temporarily deferred from the WTW participation requirements. Print a NOA Manually; (Action: Approval; Program: WTW; NOA/Form#: 001; Manual variables: Man_Begin Date, Man_End Date and Man_Reason why
WTW NOA 002 WTW Deferral Denial
Failure to Provide
(Reason Code: NM0424)
Notification to the WTW participant that his/her WTW deferral request is denied due to failure to provide required verification. Print a NOA Manually; (Action: Denial; Program: WTW; NOA/Form#: 002; Reason Code: NM0424)
WTW Deferral Denial
Did Not Meet a Deferral Reason
(Reason Code: NM0425)

Notification to the WTW participant that his/her WTW deferral request is denied due to not meeting WTW deferral criteria. Print a NOA Manually; (Action: Denial; Program: WTW; NOA/Form#: 002; Reason Code: NM0425)

V. Process for Exemptions:

A. Employment Counselor:

The following steps are used by the EC when the participant is exempt from the WTW program participation:

  1. Determine the participant is WTW exempt and receive appropriate verification;
  2. Enter Case Comments in CalWIN, indicating the exemption type and end date;
  3. Approve or Deny the request for WTW exemption within 15 days of request using the CW 2186B (12/12) CalWORKs WTW Time Limit Exemption Determination Form. Refer to How To # 294, Request and Complete Manual NOA CW 2186B;
  4. Give or send the CW 2186B (12/12) to the participant;
  5. Enter Case Comments in CalWIN;
  6. Complete the 42-6 ET/EC Communication Form for approvals and attach documentation verifying the exemption status to notify the ET to process the exemption;
    • EC will indicate the following information on 42-6:
      • Exemption reason;
      • Exemption begin and end dates in Section I of the 42-6, and;
      • Request the ET to enter the information in data collection to trigger the exemption and run ES exemption results.
  7. Follow up to ensure exemption is recorded in Data Collection windows by the ET;
  8. Maintain or transfer the exempted case to the Exemption Bank.
    • If exemption is more than 30 days, the case should be routed to the Exemption Bank via form 50-20e.
    • If exemption is 30 days or less, EC will maintain the case in his/her caseload.
     

    Note: Process on transferring exempt cases out of Exemption Banks is outlined in Welfare to Work Handbook:. 42-7.32 Exempt Volunteers in the Welfare-to-Work Program.

VI. Process for Approving Good Cause Deferral:

A. Employment Counselor:

When determining good cause/deferral, EC will take the following steps:

  1. Interview the participant to determine temporary barriers to participation;
  2. Request documentation if participant meets criteria for good cause;
    • If a participant fails to submit documentation, send WTW Deferral Denial letter (WTW NOA 002, Reason Code: NM0424), and schedule the participant for the next activity.
    • If a participant provides documentation to support the claim of temporary good cause/deferral, EC updates the CalWIN registration status.  Refer to How To# 304: Enter Good Cause/ Deferral Status.
  3. Send WTW Deferral Notification (approval WTW NOA 001);
  4. Enter Case Comments in CalWIN;
  5. Place verification of good cause/deferral in the designated in-box for WebFiles imaging;
  6. Route the case to appropriate location.
    • If good cause/deferral is more than 30 days, the case should be routed to the Deferral Bank via form 50-20e.
      • North Oakland NDEF
      • Eastmont        VDEF
      • Hayward         PDEF
    • If good cause/deferral is 30 days or less, EC will maintain the case in his/her caseload.

VII. Good Cause/Deferral Review Process:

If the WTW participation status was deferred and case assigned to deferral bank:

A. Clerk II will:

  1. Monitor cases in good cause/deferral bank, track the length of the deferral and determine when participation is to be resumed;
  2. Complete 50-20e form to route the case back to the previous worker/ unit from the last assigned activity 30 days before the expiration of good cause/ deferral status;
  3. Enter Case Comments in CalWIN.

B. Employment Counselor will:

  1. Receive a case from Clerk II via form 50-20e;
  2. Generate a deferral review appointment notice (form 42-124) in CalWIN and mail it out to participant no later than 15 days prior to deferral expiration;
  3. Review the case prior to the scheduled appointment and make a courtesy phone call to remind participant of an upcoming good cause /deferral review;
  4. Arrange supportive services for the activity as appropriate; and,
    • Authorize child care (one day – 4 to 5 hours per child) – complete and forward Child Care Request Form (CCRF), form #42-10 to the appropriate Stage One provider.
    • Issue $10 flat rate for transportation.
  5. Meet with the participant and determine if good cause/deferral status still applies or not.
    • If not, (when no other exemptions or deferral reasons apply), EC will register the individual as mandatory participant and refer and schedule the next appropriate WTW activity.
    • If yes, (participant discloses and provides verification that good cause/deferral status should be extended), EC will extend participant’s good cause/deferral status and route the case to appropriate location.

IMPORTANT: It may also be appropriate to refer the participant to a WTW Evaluation for help with barriers.  Refer to WTW Handbook 42-7.36:.Onsite WTW Evaluations.

 

VIII.  Preventing Sanctions:

When participants are resistant, uncommunicative or do not attend their assigned WTW activities, the EC is to explore the reasons for the behavior and evaluate them for possible exemption or temporary good cause deferral criteria. It is beneficial to both the participant and to the County that the possibility of an exemption or a good cause status is evaluated before any cause/conciliation process is initiated.

The good cause determination provides an opportunity for the participant to present information relevant to the issue of nonparticipation and can often lead to resumed participation and the avoidance of a sanction.

IMPORTANT: If a participant is repeatedly experiencing barriers to participation, he/she should be referred for a WTW Evaluation. The evaluation process may determine if a referral to mental health, substance abuse, domestic abuse, or learning disability services is necessary to help address the barrier. The Behavioral Health Clinician II or Rehabilitation Counselor II will recommend strategies and resources to address and overcome these barriers.  Refer to Welfare-to-Work Handbook 42-7.36:.Onsite WTW Evaluations.

 

References:

MPP Section 42-713
Welfare to Work Handbook :. 42-7.0 (Welfare to Work Overview)

CalWORKs Handbook 42-3.4:. Time On Aid (TOA)
CalWORKs Handbook 42-7.7 CalWORKs Domestic Violence/Abuse Policies and Protocols
CalWORKs Handbook 42-6.1:.Welfare-to-Work Exemptions
WTW Handbook 42-7.36:.Onsite WTW Evaluations
CalWORKs and Employment Programs Newsletter 09-04 New Temporary CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work and Time on Aid Exemptions
Welfare to Work Handbook:. 42-7.32 Exempt Volunteers in the Welfare-to-Work Program
Employment Newsletter 10-02 (Completing the CW61)
How To # 304: Enter Good Cause/Deferral Status
CW 2186 A (12/12) CalWORKs Time Limit and Welfare-to-Work Participation Exemption Request Form
CW 2186B (12/12) CalWORKs WTW Time Limit Exemption Determination Form

 

 

Lori A. Cox, Director
Social Services Agency




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