Table of Contents

The Learning Disability Screening/Exemptions section includes the following information:



LD Screening Tools

Designated screening staff must only use validated learning disabilities screening tools, which have been approved by Strategic Planning and Operational Support (SPOS).  The Learning Needs Screening (WTW 18), is the approved screening tool for participants whose primary language is English.


Use of the WTW 18 for a Welfare-to-Work (WTW) participant whose primary language is NOT English is only appropriate if the participant meets all of the following criteria:


·         Has indicated on the Learning Disability Communication Form   (20-46) that he/she understands English and prefers to receive all communications in English;

·         Has demonstrated to the Employment Case Manager (ECM) complete fluency in speaking and comprehending English;

·         Has performed well in past activities conducted in an English-speaking environment; and

·         Was educated in the United States school system. 


Prior to using the WTW 18 with a participant who meets all the criteria listed above, the ECM must thoroughly document in case comments that an evaluation was conducted and that it was determined that the participant meets all the criteria listed above.  The case comment must clearly itemize each criterion.


Designated LD Screening Staff

Learning Disabilities (LD) Screening must be conducted by staff that is trained in the proper administration and scoring of the WTW 18, using the training curriculum developed by HHSA Training & Development (T&D) and approved by SPOS.


Providing LD Screening

Designated screening staff must administer the WTW 18, carefully following the procedures and techniques learned during the Learning Disabilities Screening Training and outlined in the official training curriculum and on the WTW 18.  The following are the required steps for LD Screening:





Approach the participant, using the techniques learned at the Learning Disabilities Screening Training. 


Administer the Learning Needs Screening (WTW 18) carefully following all instructions. 


Give the participant the Client Copy of the Learning Needs Screening (WTW 19) to follow along.


Score the WTW 18.


Review the results of the screening with the participant, using the techniques learned at the Learning Disabilities Screening Training. 


If the participant’s score is less than 12, an LD Evaluation Referral is not required, unless it is suspected that the participant may have a learning disability.


If the screening score is 12 or more, an LD Evaluation Referral is required.  Therefore, refer the WTW participant for an LD Evaluation.


Ensure that the scored WTW 18 is maintained in the WTW case.


Document the results of the LD Screening by entering case comments in the WTW case.


Enter the appropriate, required Learning Disabilities CalWIN Coding. 


If the LD Screening reveals that the participant has possible medical and/or other conditions, which may be a barrier to employment, the ECM must refer the participant to the appropriate medical and/or other service providers.


NOTE:  If any participant declines a referral for LD Evaluation, the ECM must complete the Waiver of Learning Disabilities Screening/Evaluation (WTW 17).



LD Screening for Non-English

Currently, there are no validated (tested and approved) LD screening tools for participants whose primary language is NOT English.  Screening tools must be validated in the participant’s primary language, before they can be used.  Staff must not translate screening tools or use interpreters in the administration of learning disabilities screening tools.  As validated screening tools become available in other languages, SPOS will issue program material to allow their use.


In the meantime, Employment Sites must not offer LD Screening to participants whose primary language is NOT English. 


However, when it is suspected that these participants have learning disabilities, Employment Sites are required to refer them for LD Evaluations, as available.


Criteria for LD Referral

Participants must be referred for an LD Evaluation, if they meet one or more of the following criteria:


·         Obtain an LD screening score requiring referral to an LD Evaluation;  or

·         Obtain a negative score on their LD Screening, but are suspected of having a learning disability; or

·         Obtain a negative score on their LD Screening, but are suspected of having a learning disability; or

·         Were previously identified as having a learning disability.   (Examples:  special education classes, previously diagnosed as having a learning disability); or

·         Self-identify as having a learning disability to County or Contracted staff; or

·         Are suspected of having a learning disability.


LD Screening Scores Requiring a Referral

The following is a list of the currently available Learning Disabilities Screening tool, the primary language the tool is used for, and the score requiring a referral for a Learning Disabilities Evaluation.



Primary Language

Refer if Score is:

Learning Needs Screening (WTW 18)


12 or higher


WTW Activities Pending LD Screening

Participants may be assigned to WTW activities, as required for mandatory, non-exempt WTW participants, pending the results of an LD Evaluation.  However, the ECM must exercise caution in making cause determination, noncompliance, and sanction decisions, as the participant may have learning disabilities. 


Appropriate  WTW

Exemptions Due to LD


Generally, WTW participants with learning disabilities are able to meet    the WTW participation requirements when the learning disabilities are properly identified and necessary reasonable accommodations and/or assistive technologies are provided.  However, there are some WTW participants who have learning disabilities (alone or in conjunction with other disabilities) that are so severe that they significantly impair the individual’s ability to be regularly employed or participate in WTW activities. 


The Human Services Specialist (HSS) must exempt such individuals from participation in WTW on a case-by-case basis, if the participant or the LD Specialist provides valid, written medical verification of unemployability. 


Health Care

Professionals Qualified to

Provide Verification of


Due to LD









































The licensed health care professionals listed below are qualified to provide medical verification of an exemption due to learning disabilities, to the extent that they are licensed by the State of California to diagnose and treat learning disabilities.


Licensed Psychologists/Psychiatrists

The following licensed psychologists and psychiatrists are qualified to provide written medical verification of unemployability due to learning disabilities for both CalWORKs and Food Stamps:

o   Licensed Psychologist;

o   Licensed Educational Psychologist;

o   Licensed Clinical Psychologist; and

o   Licensed Psychiatrist.


When an HSS receives written verification of unemployability for a CalWORKs client from a psychologist or psychiatrist listed above, the HSS must exempt the individual from WTW participation with “from” and “through” dates for the exemption.  The “through” date must correspond to the expected end date of the “unemployability due to learning disabilities” or the date of the next annual renewal, whichever occurs first.


Other Licensed Professionals

The following licensed individuals are qualified to provide written medical verification of unemployability due to learning disabilities for CalWORKs only:


o   Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) specialized in diagnosing and treating learning disabilities; and

o   Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) specialized in diagnosing and treating learning disabilities.


When an HSS receives written verification of unemployability from an LCSW or an LMFT, the HSS must take all of the following actions:





Deregister the individual from WTW;


Register the individual into the Food Stamp Employment & Training (FSET) Program, following normal FSET registration procedures.


NOTE:  When CalWORKs exempts a client for LD based on medical verification provided by an FSP non-approved professional, but the client states that he/she is in fact disabled and unable to participate in the FSET Program, the HSS shall give the client the opportunity to provide verification of a medical exemption from a FSP-approved professional prior to referring to FSET.