10-020.A Welfare-to-Work (WTW) Exemptions

 

Table of Contents

Section

Topic

10-020.A.1

Exemptions

10-020.A.2

Exemption Criteria

10-020.A.3

Care of a Child Exemption

10-020.A.4

New Young Child Exemption

10-020.A.5

Two-Parent Households

10-020.A.6

Medical Verification (CW 61)

10-020.A.7

Establishing Begin Date

10-020.A.8

Establishing End Date

10-020.A.9

Referral to Social Security Administration (SSA)

10-020.A.10

Verification Requirement for Exempt Volunteers

10-020.A.11

WTW Participation for Exempt Volunteers

10-020.A.12

Exemption Reviews

10-020.A.13

Impacts to Individual Time Clocks

  

 

10-020.A.1 Exemptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Upon the approval of CalWORKs (CW) benefits, all aided adults are required to be referred and registered to participate in Welfare-to-Work (WTW) activities, per CPG 10-005.B, unless the Human Services Specialist (HSS) determines that an individual meets exemption criteria.

An individual may request an exemption from participation in Welfare-to-Work (WTW) activities by submitting a CalWORKs Exemption Request Form (CW 2186A), as provided by the HSS or Employment Case Manager (ECM).

The ECM may also make a recommendation to exempt an individual from WTW participation when:

·         A participant is unable to continue participation; or

·         A Good Cause excuse per CPG 10-020.B extends beyond 30 days.

Under these circumstances, the ECM will provide all available information to the HSS to support their recommendation to exempt the individual from WTW participation.

It is the HSS’ responsibility to:

·         Consider input received from the ECM, if applicable;

·         Make the final determination to approve or deny the exemption, following processing timeframes outlined in CPG 10-005.J;

·         Notify the individual of the final decision via the CalWORKs Exemption Determination (CW 2186B);

·         Enter and/or remove the individual’s exempt or nonexempt registration status in CalWIN per How To #237; and

·         Communicate with the ECM and Child Care worker, if applicable, when a change is made to an individual’s registration status.

 

10-020.A.2 Exemption Criteria

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An individual may qualify for an exemption from WTW participation under the following criteria:

Exemption Category

Description

Age

A child under age 16; or

An individual age 60 or over.

School Attendance

An individual age 18 or under, who is attending high school or a vocational or technical program on a full-time basis, as defined by the school.

Pregnant Teen Head of Household

A 16 or 17-year old pregnant teen head-of-household with no other eligible child, who has a high school diploma or equivalent, and is attending school.

Disability

An individual who has a medically verified disability, per CPG 10-020.A.6, that is expected to last at least 30 days and that significantly impairs his/her ability to be regularly employed or to participate in WTW activities.

NOTE:  This includes a medically verified incapacity due to pregnancy that is expected to last at least 30 days.

Nonparent Caretaking Responsibilities

A nonparent caretaker relative who has primary responsibility for providing care for a child who is either:

·   A dependent or ward of the court;

·   At risk of Foster Care placement; or

·   Receiving Kin-GAP benefits.

NOTE:  The caretaking responsibilities must extend beyond those considered normal day-to-day parenting and impair the caretaker relative’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in WTW activities.

Care of an Ill or Incapacitated Member of the Household

An individual whose presence in the home is required because of the illness or incapacity of another (aided or unaided) member of the household, as verified per CPG 10-020.A.6.

NOTE:  The caretaking responsibilities must impair the individual’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in WTW activities.

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Participants

An individual who is a full-time volunteer in the VISTA Program as verified by either a:

·   Copy of a Domestic Volunteer Earnings Statement; or

·   Written verification from the VISTA sponsor or the Federal Region IX ACTION/VISTA Office.

Cal-Learn Participants

(See CPG 15-000.B)

An individual who is required to participate in, is participating in, or is exempt from the Cal-Learn Program.

NOTE:  Current Cal-Learn participants who reach their 19th birthday but have not yet earned a high school diploma (or equivalent) may opt to continue participating in the Cal-Learn Program, rather than be referred to WTW.  In these instances, the individual is still considered to be a Cal-Learn participant and is exempt from WTW requirements.

Pregnancy – Temporary Incapacity (less than 30 days)

A pregnant woman who has medically verified that the pregnancy impairs her ability to be regularly employed or to participate in WTW activities, but does not meet the criteria for a Disability exemption per CPG 10-020.A.6.

NOTE:  This WTW exemption does not stop the CalWORKs or TANF time clocks.

Care of a Child

A parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for providing care to a child 12 weeks of age or under.

The timeframe for allowing this exemption depends on whether it is being evaluated for the first time or for subsequent children.  See CPG 10-020.A.3 for more information.

See CPG 10-020.A.5 below for two-parent households.

Temporary WTW Exemptions (AB X4 4)

(See CPG 10-020.C.)

Valid August 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012

A parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for providing care for either:

·   One child age 12-23 months; or

·   Two children under age 6.

See CPG 10-020.A.4 when transitioning to the new young child exemption.

NOTE:  Effective January 1, 2013, AB X4 4 temporary exemptions can no longer be transferred between parents in a two-parent household.

New Young Child Exemption

Effective January 1, 2013

A parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for providing care to a child from birth through age 23 months.  See CPG 10-020.A.4 for more information.

This exemption is limited to once-in-a-lifetime and will ONLY be applied at the discretion of the individual, as documented per their CalWORKs Exemption Request Form (CW 2186A).

See CPG 10-020.A.5 below for two-parent households.

Domestic Violence Waiver

See CPG 40-100.O and 10-020.B. for information regarding Domestic Violence and Good Cause determinations.

 

 

10-020.A.3
Care of a Child Exemption

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The care of a child exemption may be given when a parent or other relative has primary responsibility for providing care to a child 12 weeks of age or under.

Age of Child

First Time Used

(once in a lifetime use)

Subsequent Use

0 – 12 weeks

Individuals will be exempt for 12 weeks for the first time use of this exemption.

Exemptions following subsequent births will be approved for 12 weeks.

4 – 6 months

On case by case basis the exemption may be allowed for up to 6 months as needed.  The HSS/ECM will document the reason of the extension.

On a case-by-case basis, the exemption may be approved up to 6 months depending upon the availability of child care.

 

NOTE:  Before extending the exemption beyond 12 weeks, the individual may need to be referred and registered for WTW in order for the individual to obtain child care services and participate in WTW activities.

7 – 12 months

If child care is unavailable, the exemption may be extended on a case-by-case basis up to 12 months.

 

NOTE:  Before extending the exemption beyond 6 months, the individual may need to be referred and registered for WTW in order for the individual to obtain child care services and participate in WTW activities.

N/A

 

 

10-020.A.4
New Young Child Exemption

 

 

 

 

 

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The new young child exemption is a once-in-a-lifetime exemption that may be given when an individual is a primary caretaker for a child age 23 months or younger.  This exemption will only be given at the individual’s request, as documented per their completed CalWORKs Exemption Request Form (CW 2186A).

The HSS and ECM will discuss the availability of the new young child exemption with any individual who meets the criterion for this exemption, including how his/her decision to use the exemption now or in the future will affect his/her eligibility to benefits and services.

The occurrence and outcome of each new young child discussion will be documented in CalWIN case comments, and may occur during, but are not limited to, the following circumstances:

·         Initial CalWORKs intake interview;

·         WTW orientation/appraisal appointment,

·         Annual CalWORKs redetermination, and/or

·         Subsequent contacts with the individual that involve reviewing WTW registration status.

Once an individual receives this exemption and it is ended for any reason, it may not be given again even if the child has not yet reached 24 months.  The exemption is considered to have ended when the case closes for any reason.

NOTE:  When CalWORKs eligibility is restored per CPG 40-125.B or a previous discontinuance is rescinded, the new young child exemption may continue to be given unless exemption criteria are no longer met.

When documenting the outcome in CalWIN case comments, the HSS/ECM will select the appropriate record from the drop-down menu from the type field:

NEW YOUNG CHILD CASE COMMENT TYPE

Case Comment Type

To Be Used When…

Child 0-23 Exemption/ Accepted

The client has elected to be exempted at this time.

Child 0-23 Exemption/ Declined

The client has elected not to be exempted at this time.

Child 0-23 Exemption/ Pending

The HSS/ECM is waiting for the client to make a decision; this includes when they are unable to reach the client by phone or the client has not responded to letters/notices mailed.

 

TRANSITIONING FROM A AB X4 4 TEMPORARY EXEMPTION

An individual who is exempt under the AB X4 4 temporary young child exemption as of December 31, 2012 should not be offered the new young child exemption until he/she is in the reengagement process, are described in CPG 10-001 I. and CPG 10-001 J..

Example

Scenario

Mom is exempt due to AB X4 4 on December 31, 2012.

In mid-2013, Mom is contacted to begin the reengagement process.  The ECM informs Mom of the availability of the new young child exemption.

Her youngest child is still under 2 years old, and Mom can choose to take the exemption now or save it for future use.

Outcome A

If Mom chooses to take the once-in-a-lifetime exemption at this time, then:

·   She can volunteer to participate in WTW.

·   Her CalWORKs 48-Month Time on Aid (TOA) and WTW 24-Month Clocks will not tick.

·   She will no longer have this exemption available to her.

Outcome B

If Mom chooses to save the exemption for future use, then:

·   She will be required to participate in WTW, unless other exemption criteria are met.

·   Her CalWORKs 48-Month TOA and WTW 24-Month Clocks will tick once reengaged in WTW.

·   She will still be able to use this exemption in the future.

·   She will be subject to sanction for any noncompliance with WTW requirements without Good Cause.

NOTE:  Before a sanction is imposed, Mom must be given the opportunity to use the new young child exemption.

  

Refer to CPG 11-001.E for New Young Child Exemption Questions and Answers.

 

10-020.A.5
Two-Parent Households
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For two-parent households, only one parent (the primary caretaker) at a time may qualify for an exemption based on providing care for a young child.  The other parent will be required to participate in WTW unless he/she meets other exemption criteria.

When the primary responsibility for providing care for a child changes, only the parent who has primary caretaking responsibility will qualify for the exemption if eligible to either of the following:

·         Care of a child exemption (per CPG 10-020.A.3); or

·         New young child exemption (per CPG 10-020.A.4).

NOTE:  Effective January 1, 2013, AB X4 4 temporary exemptions can no longer be transferred between parents in a two-parent household.

SWAPPING THE NEW YOUNG CHILD EXEMPTION

Parents in the same household may swap the new young child exemption only once.  After a parent has used this exemption, he/she will not qualify for it again, regardless of the number of months for which the exemption was received.

If a parent has used the new young child exemption, and later moves to a new Assistance Unit (AU), he/she will not qualify to use the exemption again.

Example

Scenario

Two-parent household with a 4-month old child.

Mom chooses to receive the new young child exemption for 12 months; Dad is required to participate in WTW.

Dad gets laid off and Mom becomes employed. She is no longer the primary caretaker for the child and Dad chooses to receive the new young child exemption for the remaining time.

Outcome

When the child reaches 24 months, the exemption ends and neither parent will be eligible to receive it again, regardless of the number of months for which the exemption was received.

EXEMPTIONS AND AID CODES

In a two-parent household, if both parents are considered employable, the Assistance Unit (AU) receives CalWORKs under the aid code 35.

If one parent becomes exempt, both parents are no longer considered employable and the aid code changes to 30.

When the exemption ends, the CalWORKs aid code changes to 35 effective the first of the month following the end date of the exemption.

Please refer to CPG 10-001.D for WTW participation requirements.

 

10-020.A.6
Medical Verification (CW 61)
 
 
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Medical documentation is required to be provided before the HSS can make a final determination to approve a WTW exemption based on any of the following:

·         Disability;

·         Caring for an ill or incapacitated household member; and

·         Pregnancy - Temporary Incapacity.

Note:  A household member who is receiving SSI/SSP does not automatically exempt a recipient from participating in WTW.

In order for the documentation to be considered “acceptable,” certain conditions must be met.  The medical documentation must:

·         Verify that an individual’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in WTW activities is impaired by either his/her own medical condition or that of a household member.

·         Be signed by a licensed doctor.  As defined by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) a “licensed doctor” means a health care professional who is licensed by a State to diagnose and treat physical and mental impairments that can affect an individual’s ability to work or participate in WTW activities, which includes, but is not limited to, doctors of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, and licensed/certified psychologists.

NOTE:  Medical verification may be provided by a doctor practicing/licensed outside of California.  In these instances, staff will need to clarify that the doctor maintains a valid license issued by a U.S. state.

·         Contain the expected duration and extent to which the disability impairs employment and indicate that the individual is actively seeking appropriate treatment for the disability, as verified by a doctor.

MEDICAL VERIFICATION FORMS

When an exemption based on a medical condition is requested, the HSS or ECM will provide the individual with the Authorization to Release Medical Information (CW 61 Coversheet and CW 61).

If the CW 61 does not contain sufficient information regarding the medical condition, the HSS or ECM will provide the following supplemental medical verification forms:

1.    Physical Capacities (CW 61A); and/or

2.    Mental Capacities (CW 61B).

The CW 61A and/or CW 61B may be used by the HSS and/or ECM to:

·         Obtain additional medical information needed to establish if a basis for exemption exists; or

·         Determine if there are any limitations that may affect the individual’s participation in certain types of WTW activities.

The ECM may provide the doctor with a description of the individual’s assigned or planned WTW activities and/or participation hours in the top portion of the CW 61A and CW 61B.

NOTE:  Since the CW 61A and CW 61B are supplemental forms, they do not contain any section to allow authorization to release medical information.  Therefore a CW 61 Coversheet and CW 61 must always be included with the CW 61A and CW 61B.

See CPG 10-020.A.7 and 10-020.A.8 for establishing exemption begin and end dates.

NOTE:  Costs associated with obtaining a necessary medical verification may be covered as a third party payment per CPG 40-100.J or as a WTW supportive service ancillary expense per CPG 10-011.C.

 

10-020.A.7 Establishing Begin Date

 

 

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An individual will be exempt from WTW effective the date the individual meets exemption criteria, including the receipt of all required verifications.  If the individual is sanctioned for noncompliance with WTW requirements, the sanction will be temporarily suspended while the exemption is in place.  Once the exemption ends, the sanction will resume.

NOTE:  The AB X4 4 temporary exemption will automatically cure a sanction for noncompliance with WTW requirements.

EXEMPTIONS BASED ON A MEDICAL CONDITION

An individual must disclose if he/she has an existing medical condition that may limit or exempt him/her from WTW participation.

When an individual who has had the opportunity to disclose an existing medical condition, but fails to do so in a timely manner, the exemption will be given effective upon the receipt date of the CW 61 or other approved medical verification, regardless of the onset date of the medical condition as indicated on the verification.

Example 1:  Medical Condition Disclosed at Initial Application

Scenario

At the time of the initial CalWORKs application, an individual discloses a medical condition that completely impairs his/her ability to participate in WTW activities.

The individual will be given the opportunity to provide verification of the medical condition.

Outcome

If the verification supports an exemption from WTW participation, the beginning date of the exemption will be the date the provider identifies that the condition began.

 

Example 2:  Existing Medical Condition Reevaluated at RRR

Scenario

An individual disclosed and provided a CW 61 at the time of initial application.

The existing medical condition is being reevaluated at the annual redetermination and a new CW 61 is requested.

Outcome

If it is determined that the medical condition still exists and continues to completely impair the individual’s ability to participate in WTW activities, the exemption would continue from the original beginning date.

 

Example 3:  Existing Medical Condition not Disclosed

Scenario

An individual fails to disclose at initial application that he/she has an existing medical condition.

The individual is referred and registered to participate in WTW.

The individual later provides a CW 61 indicating that he/she is unable to work or participate in WTW activities.  The CW 61 verifies an effective onset date going back several years.

Outcome

The effective beginning date of the exemption will be the date the CW 61 is received by the Agency as the individual failed to disclose a known medical condition.

See CPG 10-020.A.8 and 10-020.A.12 for additional information regarding exemption end dates and exemption reviews.

 

10-020.A.8 Establishing End Date

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An exemption from WTW participation will end effective the last day that an individual meets exemption criteria.  The individual will be referred and registered to WTW effective the following day, unless other exemption criteria are met.

When an individual is no longer eligible to an exemption, the HSS will:

·         Update the exemption status in CalWIN per How To #237; and

·         Refer and register the individual to WTW per How To #248.

Example

Scenario

An individual is currently exempt from WTW due to a temporary incapacity due to pregnancy.

The medical verification indicates that the incapacity will end effective July 17th.

The individual does not meet any other exemption criteria.

Outcome

The HSS will end the exemption effective July 17th and will register the individual for WTW effective July 18th.

If the individual had been sanctioned prior to her temporary exemption, the sanction will be reinstated as of July 18th.  Benefits will be decreased due to the sanction effective August 1st with timely and adequate notice.

See CPG 10-020.A.12 for information regarding reviewing exemptions based on a medical condition.

 

10-020.A.9 Referral to Social Security Administration (SSA)

CalWORKs applicants and recipients are required to apply for any unconditionally available income as outlined in CPG 44-100.C.

The HSS must refer the individual to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if the following is identified:

·         A physical, mental or emotional disorder that exempts the recipient from WTW and is expected to last 12 months or more; or

·         Medical documentation of a disorder that has lasted or is expected to last over 12 months and exempts the recipient from WTW activities.

 

10-020.A.10 Verification Requirement for Exempt Volunteers

 

 

 

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Effective August 1, 2003, an exempt CalWORKs recipient whose exemption status is based on a medical condition, either his/her own medical condition or that of a household member, will no longer be allowed to voluntarily participate in WTW unless he/she provides verification releasing him/her to return to work or participate in WTW activities.

Before being allowed to voluntarily participate in WTW, an exempt individual must provide medical verification that:

·         Meets criteria outlined in CPG 10-020.A.6;

·         Indicates that he/she is able to work or participate in WTW activities; and

·         Indicates the number of hours that he/she is able to participate.

Under certain circumstances, the individual may provide documentation to verify that he/she is no longer:

·         Required to provide care for a child who is a dependent/ward of the court; or

·         Caring for an ill or incapacitated household member or that another person has taken over that responsibility.

An exempt individual will be allowed to volunteer for any number of hours as permitted by their medical verification.

NOTE:  If new medical verification indicates that the exempt individual is able to meet the WTW participation hours required per CPG 10-001.D, even with limited physical or mental capacity, then the individual’s exemption status will end.  The individual will be required to participate in WTW and the ECM must work with the individual to modify their WTW plan as appropriate.

 

10-020.A.11 WTW Participation for Exempt Volunteers
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The ECM will determine the number of hours that an exempt individual may participate in WTW activities, based on the medical verification provided.  Exempt volunteers may be assigned to appropriate WTW activities as per CPG 10-005.H; however, weekly participation hour requirements (CPG 10-001.D) do not apply.

If an exempt volunteer fails to participate in a scheduled WTW activity, the ECM and HSS will take action in accordance with CPG 10-025.H.

SELF-INITIATED PROGRAMS (SIPs)

The sequence of WTW activities defined in CPG 10-005 also applies to exempt volunteers and includes making Self-Initiated Program (SIP) determinations.  In order to qualify for a SIP, the individual must be enrolled in a qualifying program prior to the initial appraisal, regardless of the individual’s exemption status, per CPG 10-015.A.

If the individual was ...

Then ...

Not appraised prior to becoming exempt

He/She will be evaluated for a SIP if he/she chooses to volunteer or the exemption ends.

Appraised prior to becoming exempt and he/she was not enrolled in a qualifying program prior to becoming exempt

He/She will not be eligible for a SIP.

ENDING VOLUNTARY WTW PARTICIPATION

If an exempt volunteer is no longer able to participate in WTW, the ECM will:

·         Discontinue the individual from the activity and the Supportive Services with timely notification;

·         Alert the HSS to update the individual’s WTW registration status in CalWIN per How To #237; and

·         Send the Child Care Communication Form (27-128) to the appropriate Child Care staff to notify them of the individual’s change in WTW registration status.

 

10-020.A.12 Exemption Reviews

 

 

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WTW exemptions are required to be periodically reviewed to determine if:

·         The medical condition or other basis for the exemption has changed;

·         The individual continues to seek medical treatment; per CPG 10-020.A.6, and

·         Resources are available to help the recipient overcome any barriers which impair his/her participation in WTW.

Exemption reviews will be performed by the HSS at least annually during the CalWORKs redetermination; however, the HSS and/or ECM may review an individual’s exemption status more frequently, as needed. 

REVIEWING EXEMPTIONS BASED ON A MEDICAL CONDITION

An individual may request an exemption based on a medical condition at any time and will be given the opportunity to provide verification as outlined in CPG 10-020.A.6.  The exemption will be reviewed as follows:

If the medical condition is...

Then...

Chronic

(Permanent; Expected to last one year of more)

The individual must provide a current medical verification each year to determine if the basis for the WTW exemption continues to exist.

The medical verification will be reviewed by the HSS at the annual CalWORKs redetermination or at least once every 12 months.

NOTE:  If the exemption is established in the middle of the certification period, the end date and/or review date of the exemption will fall outside of the annual redetermination.

Acute

(Temporary; Expected to last less than one year)

A new medical verification must be provided and reviewed by the HSS at the time the condition is expected to end.

NOTE:  The HSS or ECM may request medical verification at any time if there is reason to believe that there has been a change in the individual’s condition that may affect his/her exemption status.

See CPG 10-020.A.8 for establishing exemption end dates.

 

10-020.A.13 Impacts to Individual Time Clocks
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The following table shows how each exemption category, as described in CPG 10-020.A.2, affects the TANF 60-Month, CalWORKs 48-Month Time on Aid (TOA), and WTW 24-Month Clocks:

Exemption Category

TANF 60-Month Clock Stops?

CW 48-Month Clock Stops?

WTW 24-Month Clock Stops?

Age – Under age 16

Y

Y

Y

Age – Age 60 or over

N

Y

Y

School Attendance

Y

Y

Y

Pregnant Teen Head of Household

N

N/A

Y

Disability

Including incapacity due to pregnancy if expected to last at least 30 days.

N

Y

Y

Nonparent Caretaking Responsibilities

N

Y

Y

Care of an Ill or Incapacitated Household Member

N

Y

Y

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Participants

N

N

Y

Cal-Learn Participants

N

Y

Y

Pregnancy – Temporary Incapacity

(less than 30 days)

N

N

Y

Care of a Child

N

N

Y

AB X4 4 Temporary Young Child

N

Y

CPG 10-020.C

Y

if not reengaged in WTW

New Young Child

N

Y

Y

See CPG 15-100.A for additional information regarding the TANF 60-Month and CalWORKs 48-Month Clocks.