11-001.A. ††California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Answers to Questions Related to the WTW 24- Month Time Clock and other SB1041 WTW Program Changes (first set)

 

Table of Contents

Sections

Questions and Answers

11-001.A.1

Good Cause prior to 1/1/2013

11-001.A.2
Earning Reduction and CalFresh Impact

11-001.A.3

Participantís Failure or Refusal to Sign a plan

11-001.A.4

Assessment prior to 1/1/2013

11-001.A.5

Federal WPR and WTW Plans

11-001.A.6

Emphasis in Core Activities

11-001.A.7

WTW Clock and AU Changes

11-001.A.8

WTW Clock and Break on Aid

11-001.A.9

Plan Change and WTW Clock Stoppers

11-001.A.10

Member of the AU is now Aided and WTW Registered

11-001.A.11

Job Search and WTW Clock

11-001.A.12

Good Cause and WTW Clock

11-001.A.13

Teens Attending School and WTW Clock

11-001.A.14

Excused Parents and their WTW Clock

11-001.A.15

VTR and 30% Limit for Federal WPR

11-001.A.16

Developing a New or Amended plan

11-001.A.17

Additional Hours and Non-compliance

 

11-001.A.1

Good Cause prior to 1/1/2013

Q. What is the ECM required to do when a single parent was previously given Good Cause (GC) for participating fewer of the required 32 hours, but he/she is now fully participating based on the new weekly hour requirements?

 

A. The ECM will treat this client as a mandatory participant and will have the comprehensive discussion as described in CPG 10-001 F. as soon he/she requests to participate or during the next regularly scheduled contact.

 

If during this discussion it is determined that the participant is now able to meet the new weekly hour requirements (20/30), the ECM will:

         End Good Cause determination

         Develop with the participant a new WTW plan

         Start tracking the participantís WTW 24-Month Time Clock the month following the date the WTW plan is signed.

 

Summary:

Previous Weekly Participation

(Good Cause)

Current Weekly Participation

WTW 24-MonthClock

Less than 32 hours

20/30 hours

(no core activities)

Tick

20/30 hours

(of which 20 in core activities)

Un-tick

 

11-001.A.2 Earning Reduction and CalFresh Impact
 

Q. An employed participant reduces earnings and employment hours to meet the new weekly participation requirements. What impact does this one-time provision have on the participantsí CalFresh benefits?

 

A. CalFresh (CF) benefits may be adjusted based on changes in gross earned income.

 

Participants, who voluntarily reduce the number of employment hours under the one-time allowance to reduce participation hours to match the new weekly hourly participation requirements, may experience a change in the level of CF benefits as a result of reduced earnings.

 

CW recipients will not receive a CF sanction for a reduction of employment hours or withdrawal from employment under this one-time transition period, as long as the individual is otherwise compliant with WTW requirements. See CFPG 63-159

 

Clients who do not comply with WTW participation requirements are subject to a CalFresh sanction. See CFPG 63.158.11

 

Note: After modifying employment hours under this one-time transition period, clients will again be subject to a WTW sanction for failing to accept employment, continue employment, or continue employment at the same level of earnings, in accordance with CPG 10-001 A. unless exempt or having good cause.

 

Summary:

 

Participation status

WTW status

CF status

Earnings and weekly hours are reduced to meet new hourly participation requirements

Modified WTW plan is signed and client is in compliance

Benefits may be adjusted based on new earnings

No CF sanctions

Weekly hours are reduced again without good cause

Client is WTW sanctioned

Client will be CF sanctioned if not meeting any of the CFET exemptions

 

11-001.A.3 Participantís Failure or Refusal to Sign a Plan
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. What should the ECM do if they are unable to contact the participant for the required comprehensive discussion about the new WTW rules, or if the participant fails or refuses to sign a new plan?

 

A.If the participant has an existing plan that meets or exceeds the new participation requirements, the ECM will:

         Send the participant a new WTW plan to sign that contains the same activities and weekly participation hours as the participantís existing plan; and

         Ask the participant to sign and return the new WTW plan, or to contact the ECM within 30 days of the date on the letter if he/she wants to change the plan based on the new rules.

 

If the participant does not return the plan or contact the ECM in response to the letter, the participantís WTW 24-Month Time Clock would start the first of the month after the expiration date of the 30-day time period, unless the participantís existing plan is meeting the federal work standards.

 

Since the participant is meeting weekly participation requirements, the participant would not be sanctioned for failure to contact the ECM or return the new plan.

 

If the participant does not have an existing plan that meets the new participation requirements and does not respond to the ECM, the WTW non-compliance process will begin as per existing procedures in CPG 10-025.

 

New applicants must always a have a WTW plan. Existing participants (on aid prior to January 1, 2013) are not required to have a new plan if all participation hours are met through employment.

 

If a participant is satisfactorily meeting participation hours through employment, the ECM will not apply sanction and will obtain the WTW plan signature at the next regularly scheduled appointment.

 

Summary:

 

If the participantÖ

And he/sheÖ

WTW 24-Month Time Clock will...

Has an existing plan that meets the new weekly participation hour requirements

Does not return the new WTW2; and/or

Does not contact the ECM within the required 30-day period

 

Tick starting the first month after the 30-day period expired

No sanction applies

Has an existing plan that meets new weekly participation requirements through employment

Un-tick and

No sanction

A new signed plan will be obtained at the next appointment

Does not have an existing plan that meets new weeklyparticipation requirements

Does not contact the ECM within the required 30-day period

Tick the first of the month after the expiration date of the 30-day time period

Note: The WTW non-compliance process starts after the 30-day time period has ended.

 

11-001.A.4 Assessment prior to 1/1/2013

Q. If a participant was assigned to an approved activity based on an assessment completed prior to January 1, 2013, can this activity be part of the new plan?

 
A. Yes, as primary activity or as one of the approved activities.
 

 

11-001.A.5 Federal WPR and WTW Plans
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. How does the ECM take federal work participation (WPR) requirements in consideration when developing a new plan or modifying an existent plan based on new WTW regulations?

 

A. The ECM is required to give to all participants the option of being assigned to the full range of WTW activities based on their individualized assessment.

 

During the WTW 24-Month Time Clock non-exempt CW recipients must be allowed to participate in any activities to focus on:

         Obtaining job skills, education, training and other barrier removal services without being required to choose core activities

         Removing barriers which prevent participantísemployment and self-sufficiency

 

Note:Meeting the federal WPR may not be a reason for preventing or discouraging clients from changing activities or hours according to the new WTW participation rule.

 

11-001.A.6 Emphasis in Core Activities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. Since participants only have 24 months of WTW services before they are required to meet federal participation and core hour requirements, should the ECM encourage participants to meet these criteria as soon as possible in order to stop the 24-Month Time Clock?

A.The ECM is required to inform the participant that meeting the federal work requirements will stop the WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

This will allow participants to make informed decisions about the activities they want to participate in that are consistent with their assessment.

 

The flexibility of the WTW 24-Month Clock will allow participants to focus more or even exclusively on their studies or training, which could help some participants to:

         Improve their grades and maintain satisfactory participation

         Take more courses to transfer credits: and/or

         Complete their certificate or degree sooner

 

Other participants may want to participate in vocational education programs that exceed the federal 12-month lifetime limit.

 

This is the reason why it is important during the participantís comprehensive discussion for ECMs to strategize with each participant on the best way to use the WTW 24-Month Time Clock within the context of the amount of time left on their CalWORKs 48-month time limit.

 

 

11-001.A.7 WTW Clock and AU Changes

Q. Does the WTW 24-Month Time Clock start over if a client moves from one Assistance Unit (AU) to another?

 

A.The WTW 24-Month Time Clock applies to individuals and moves with them. Clients do not get a new WTW 24-Month Time Clock period by moving to a different AU in the same county or another county.

 

11-001.A.8 WTW Clock and Break on Aid
 
 
 
 
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Q.How do we count months toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock if a client has a break in aid and had an active WTW plan at the time he/she was removed from the Assistance Unit (AU)? Does the ECM need to complete a new appraisal or assessment for these clients?

 

A. Clients who have a break in aid longer than 30 days upon return to aid will develop a new WTW plan. The WTW 24-Month Time Clock will begin, or resume, the first of the month after the client signs a new WTW plan.

 

If a participant was not previously appraised or assessed, he/she would need to complete these activities and sign the WTW plan before his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock would start.

 

If the client was previously appraised and assessed, the ECM would evaluate whether a new assessment is needed based on individual circumstances.

 

A client with a break in aid of less than 30 days who had an active WTW plan when he/she left aid will continue in his/her plan, if appropriate.

 

In this case the WTW 24-Month Time Clock would resume or begin the first of the month following the date aid resumed, unless the client has a condition that would stop the clock. See CPG 10-001 E.

 

Summary:

 

If the participant had a plan andbreak on aid isÖ

Then the ECM willÖ

Longer than 30 days

         Develop a new WTW plan

         Evaluate if a new Assessment is needed based on participantís circumstances

         Complete Appraisal and Assessment if these activities were not previously done

 

Note: WTW Clock willstart or resume the first month after the new plan is signed

Less than 30 days (CW closing is rescinded or CW benefits are restored)

Modify the existing plan to meet the new weekly participation hour requirements or to change activities/hours

 

Note: WTW Clock willstart or resume the first month after the date CW benefits are resumed and the modified plan is signed

 

11-001.A.9 Plan Change and WTW Clock Stoppers

Q.A participant who has an existing condition that would stop the WTW 24-Month Time Clock contacts the ECM to change his or her WTW plan. The ECM cannot serve this participant right away. When would his/her 24-Month Time Clock start?

 

A. Until the ECM can serve the participant, he/she will be considered in the process of developing his/her plan. Therefore, the participantís WTW 24-Month Time Clock will not start until the first month following the date the plan is signed.

 

 

11-001.A.10 Member of the AU is now Aided and WTW Registered

Q.When does the WTW 24-Month Time Clock start for a participant who was never required to participate in WTW (PPT in senior parent AU is now the head of the household in another AU; or ineligible non-citizen is now eligible, etc.) becomes a mandatory participant?

 

A.†† As for any new mandatory participants, the 24-Month Time Clock will not start until the first month following the date the plan is signed.

 

 

11-001.A.11 Job Search and WTW Clock
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q.Per CPG 10-001 E. a month in which a participant is participating in Job Search does not count toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

Are there conditions and/or limit to this provision?

 

If the participant is only participating in Job Search for one week of the month or for a limited number of hours each week, does that month count toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock?

 

A. Participation in Job Search activities may stop the participantísWTW 24-Month Time Clock when any of the following conditions are met:

 

Condition # 1:

 

The participant is participating in Job Search activities that meet the following federal standards:

         Activity is limited to:

o   four consecutive weeks, not to exceed 6 weeks in a 12- month period; or

o   12 weeks in a 12-month period when California is considered a Needy State. See CPG 10-005 E.

Condition # 2:

 

Job Search activities are part of the development of the participantís WTW plan.

Condition # 3:

 

The client is participating in a WTW Plan where job search is at least 50 percent of the clientís participation hours in the month.

         This is allowed for two months in a 12-month period; and

         The client must first exhaust his or her federally countable job search allowance, as discussed in Condition #1 above.

Two parent-Families:

 

Months do not count toward either parentís WTW 24-Month Time Clock when one or both parents are meeting the federal work standards, based on participation in Job Search (Condition #1).

 

When time is not counted toward parent #1ís WTW 24-Month Time Clock due to participating in Job Search which meets Condition #2, months would be counted toward parent #2ís WTW 24-Month Time Clock based only on his/her status or participation.

 

When time is not counted towards parent #1ís WTW 24-Month Time Clock due to Job Search participation consistent with Condition #3, months would be counted toward parent #2ís WTW 24-Month Time clock based only on his/her status or participation.

 

An exception occurs when parent #1 is meeting the 35 weekly participation hour requirements with his/her own hours. In that case, time would not count toward excused parent #2ís WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

Summary

 

If in a two parent family...

AndÖ

Then the WTW 24-Month Time Clock willÖ

Both parents are participating in Job Search for combined 35 hours per week

Job Search meets Condition #1

Un-tick for both parents (35/30 weekly participation and core hours are met)

Parent #1 is participating in Job Search for 15 hours per week while developing WTW plan (Condition #2)

Parent #2 is participating 20 hours a week in a non-core activity

         Un-tick for parent #1 (Condition #2)

           Tick for parent #2 (core hours not met)

Parent #2 is†† participating 20 hours a week in a core activity

Un-tick for:

         parent #1 (Condition #2)

         parent #2 (35/30 weekly participation and core hours are met)

Parent #1 is participating in Job Search for 35 hours a week (Condition # 3)

Parent #2 is excused from WTWparticipation based on the first parentís participation

Will un-tick for both parents up to two months in a 12-month period as long parent #1 is meeting participation requirements through Job Search/Condition #3

 

Reminder: In a two-parent family, each parent has his own WTW 24-Month Time Clock, which tick or un-tick based on the individualís status and participation.

 

Example #1:

 

Jane is a single parent with a child under six. Jane became employed after a six-week pre-assessment job search and she is meeting her 20-hour per week participation requirement through her employment. Jane is laid off at work and asks the ECM to allow her to participate in job search so that she can find a new job.

 

The ECM and Jane immediately develop a new WTW plan that allows her to participate in job search 20 hours a week for two months. Jane begins her job search activity on July 1, 2013, finds a new job on July 19, 2013, and begins working in her new job on July 22, 2013.

Jane had already exhausted her six-week limit of federally allowable job search participation prior to being laid off, but the ECM will still not count the month of July 2013 toward her WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

This is based on the fact that:

         Jane participated in a WTW Plan where job search was her primary activity accounting for more than 50 percent of her hours that month (Condition #3 met); and

         She had yet to exhaust her two month limit for condition #3.

 

Note: Job Search beyond the federal limit is not considered a core activity.

 

Example #2:

 

Jill and Tom are a two-parent family, with an eight year old child and 35 hour per week participation requirement. Jill works 20 hours per week and Tom works 15 hours per week, thereby fulfilling their WTW participation requirement.

 

Jill is laid off at work and asks the CWD to allow her to participate in job search so that she can find a new job.

 

The ECM and Jill immediately develop a new WTW plan that allows her to participate in job search 20 hours a week for two months. Jill begins her job search activity on July 1, 2013, finds a new job on July 19, 2013, and begins working in her new job on July 22, 2013.

 

Jill had already exhausted her six-week limit of federally allowable job search participation prior to being laid off. The ECM will still not count the month of July 2013 toward her WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

This is based on the fact that:

         Jill participated in a WTW Plan where job search was her primary activity accounting for more than 50 percent of her hours that month (Condition #3 met); and

         She had yet to exhaust her two month limit for this condition.

However, Tomís WTW 24-Month Time Clock was running in the month of July because he continued to only be employed for 15 hours a week.

 

If in the month of July, Tom had changed his participation in order to allow the family to meet the 35-hour two-parent CalWORKs federal standards, then the month would not have counted toward his WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

Summary - Examples # 1 and #2

 

IfÖ.

AndÖ.

ÖThen the WTW 24-Month Time Clock willÖ

A single parent with child under 6 is assigned to additional Job Search activities

Job Search participation meets Condition # 3

Un-tick

In a two-parent family, parent #1 is assigned to 20 hours of Job Search activities which meet Condition #3 (non-core)

Parent #2 works 15 hours per week

  Un-tick during the two months of Job Search for parent #1

  Tick for Parent #2 (core hours not met)

Parent #2 works more than 30 hours per week

  Un-tick for parent #1 during the two months of Job Search (Condition #3 met)

  Un-tick for parent #2 (35/30 weekly participation and core hours are met)

 

11-001.A.12 Good Cause and WTW Clock
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q.Conditions which tick or un-tick the participantís WTW 24-Month Time clock are listed in CPG 10-001 E.

 

One of these conditions is granting Good Cause for not participating.

 

If a participant has been given good cause at any time in a month, even if only for one day of missed work due to a flat tire for example, would that month be counted toward his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock?

 

A.A month in which a client is given good cause for not participating in WTW for at least 50 percent of his or her hourly work participation requirement will not count toward the clientís WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

If a client misses work for only one day (i.e. due to a flat tire or another good reason), but continues to receive WTW services for that month, then that month would count toward his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock (if Good Cause was given for less than 50 percent of his/her required participation hours and federal WPR was not met in that month).

 

 

11-001.A.13 Teens Attending School and their WTW Clock
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. When will months not be counted toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock for teen parents who are attending school?

 

A.Months do not count toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock any time the teen parent meets one of the following conditions:

 

Condition #1

The teen parent is eligible for Cal-Learn.

Condition #2

The teen parent is not eligible for Cal-Learn, but

He/she is meeting any other condition that would allow months not to be counted toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock (exemption, developing a WTW plan, meeting federal participation and core hour requirements, etc)

Important:Single head of household teen parents or married teens under the age of 20 who are making satisfactory progress in secondary school or are participating in education directly related to employment (ERT) for an average of at least 20 hours per week are meeting federal work requirements, which causes time not to count toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

 

11-001.A.14 Excused Parents and their WTW Clock
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. If an excused second parent in a two-parent family chooses to volunteer, will time count towards this excused parentís WTW 24-Month Time Clock?

 

A.No. When one parent in a two-parent family fully meets the 35-hour participation requirement, the second parent may be excused from WTW participation.

 

In this situation, regardless of whether the excused parent volunteers to participate, time does not count towards the excused parentís WTW 24-Month Time Clock until or unless the mandatory parent fails to meet the 35-hour participation requirement.

 

In addition, if the mandatory and excused parentsí combined number of hours and activities is such that the family meets the CalWORKs federal standards, then the mandatory parentís WTW 24-Month Time Clock will also stop.

 

11-001.A.15 VTR and 30% limit for federal WPR
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. Does the federal 30 percent limit on the number of families in vocational education that a state can count toward the Federal Work Participation Rate (WPR) affect the number of participants who are allowed to participate in vocational education under the new WTW 24-Month Time Clock rules?

 

A. No, California law has adopted no limit that mirrors the federal 30 percent limitation on the number of individuals participating in vocational education and teens participating in secondary school or education directly related to employment that can count toward the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work participation rate numerator.

 

As a result, the federal 30 percent limit will have no effect on the number of participants who may engage in education before and after the expiration of their WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

WTW Plans.

 

11-001.A.16 Developing a New or Amended Plan
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. A participant who completed a WTW plan needs a new or modified plan. Does time stop counting toward his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock until the new or modified plan is signed?

 

A. Yes. When a participant completes a WTW plan and does not have a new or amended WTW plan ready to sign, he or she is considered in the process of developing a WTW plan.

 

Months in which the participant is developing a new or amended WTW plan do not count toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock until the month after the participant signs a new WTW plan.

 

An exception would be if a participantís WTW plan ends and he or she signs a new or amended WTW plan in which his or her activities do not actually start before the first of the following month after the WTW plan is signed.

 

In this case, the participant should be given good cause for not participating and time would not count toward his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock until the first month that the activities are available and account for at least 50 percent of the participantís participation hours in the month.

 

11-001.A.17 Additional Hours and Non-compliance
 
 
 
 
 
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Q. Can a participant be sanctioned for failing to participate more than 20, 30, or 35 hours per week, when the additional hours are included in the WTW plan?

 

A. Except for unapproved reductions due to the clientís failure to continue employment or continue employment at the same level of earnings without good cause, clients may not be subject to sanction for failing to participate any number of hours beyond the required 20, 30, or 35 hours per week, even though the additional hours may be written into the clientís WTW plan.

 

Note: The additional hours must be agreed upon by the client and the ECM.