11-001.F. California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Answers to Questions related to SB1041 WTW Program Changes (fourth set)

 

Table of Content

Sections

Questions and Answers

11-001.F.1

Two-parent Family Sharing Participation Hours

11-001.F.2

Number and Type of Courses

11-001.F.3

Study Time as Core Activity

11-001.F.4

CW 48-month Time Limit Extender and WTW Clock

11-001.F.5

Child Support Buy Back and WTW Clock

11-001.F.6

Assessment for New Participants F/T Employed

11-001.F.7

CW Time Limit and Curing Sanctions Retroactively

11-001.F.8

Partial Participation, Comprehensive Discussions and WTW Plan

 

11-001.F.1
Two-parent Family Sharing Participation Hours

Q. Please clarify the rules about how and when parents in two-parent Assistance Units (AU) can share weekly participation hours for purposes of meeting the CalWORKs federal standards, which would allow a month to not count toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock, and for participation in activities that do not meet CalWORKs federal standards, which would make a month count toward the WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

A. In two-parent AUs, for purposes of meeting the CalWORKs federal standards, parents can share the 35-hour weekly participation requirement, 30 hours of which must be in core activities.

 

Hours can be shared when the second parent is a mandatory participant or an exempt volunteer.

 

Any month in which CalWORKs federal standards for two-parent families are met will not count on either parent’s WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

During the WTW 24-Month Time Clock period, both parents can share the 35-hour weekly participation requirement without restriction on the number of hours each parent can participate, and without having to meet a 30-hour core activity requirement.

 

However, months in which parents are sharing hours and are not meeting CalWORKs federal standards will count toward each parent’s individual WTW 24-Month Time Clocks.

 

On the contrary, months in which parents are sharing hours, or one parent is doing all the hours, and the family is meeting CalWORKs federal standards will not count toward each parent’s individual WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

Example:

 

Jane and Bob are required to participate in WTW activities for a total minimum of 35 hours per week. Both Jane and Bob have not exhausted their WTW 24-Month Time Clock. Jane is working 20 hours per week in unsubsidized employment while Bob is attending 15 hours per week in adult basic education.

 

Together, Jane and Bob’s total combined hours meet the 35-hour per week participation requirement.

 

However, since the activities Jane and Bob are participating in do not meet the 30-hour core requirement for meeting CalWORKs federal standards, their months of participation in these activities will count toward each of their individual WTW 24-Month Time Clocks.

 

Conversely, if Jane is working 20 hours a week in unsubsidized employment and Bob is working 10 hours a week and attending 5 hours a week in a job skills training program directly related to employment, their combined hours are meeting the CalWORKs federal standards for a two-parent family and months are not counted toward either of their individual WTW 24-Month Time Clocks.

 

Summary:

 

Combined Weekly Participation hours

Combined Weekly Core hours

WTW Clock will

35

30

Un-tick for both parents

(meeting federal work requirements)

35

Less than 30

Tick for both parents

(not meeting federal work requirements)

 

11-001.F.2
Number and Type of Courses

Q. Considering the flexibility clients have regarding the activities they can participate in during the WTW 24-Month Time Clock period, can the ECM tell clients who are students which courses they should take so that they can finish as fast as possible?

 

A. No. While a WTW plan will include a client’s education program, the number and type of courses taken cannot be imposed on the WTW participant. For instance, if a client is participating in a degree or certificate program at a local college, the schedule of a given semester would be determined by the client based on available classes.

 

However, as always, clients still must meet hourly participation requirements and be enrolled in and making satisfactory progress in a mutually agreed upon educational program which is likely to lead toward self-supporting employment.

 

11-001.F.3
Study Time as Core Activity

Q. When the ECM is determining if a client is meeting CalWORKs federal standards based on vocational education (VTR) being the core activity, do study/homework time hours count toward the core activity?

 

A. Yes. If study time meets the definition of supervised or unsupervised homework time as defined in California’s Work Verification Plan (WVP), then it can count toward the CalWORKs federal standards core requirement.

 

As described in the WVP, hours spent in supervised homework time and up to one hour of unsupervised homework time for each hour of class time may be counted toward the CalWORKs federal standards. Total homework time counted as participation must not exceed the hours required or advised by the education program.

 

11-001.F.4
CW 48-month Time Limit Extender and WTW Clock

Q. What are the WTW participation requirements for clients who have reached their CalWORKS 48-month time limit before using all of their WTW 24-Month Time Clock months, but are then given a CalWORKs 48-month time limit extension?

 

A. If a client has reached his or her CalWORKs 48-month time limit before exhausting his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock, and the client is granted a CalWORKs 48-month time limit extension, the Human Services Specialist (HSS) must determine if the client also meets one of the WTW exemption criteria.

 

If the client is exempt from WTW, the client will not be required to participate in WTW activities and months will not count toward his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

If the client has a CalWORKs 48-month time limit extender that does not also meet a WTW exemption criterion (i.e., unable to maintain employment extender), the client must be allowed to participate in WTW activities that he or she needs, consistent with his or her assessment, for the duration of the client’s CalWORKs 48-month time limit extender.

 

11-001.F.5
Child Support Buy Back and WTW Clock

Q. What happens if a client had less than 24 months of eligibility remaining on her CalWORKs 48-month time limit as of the January 1, 2013, implementation date, and then later has time credited to his or her 48-month time limit as a result of “child support buy back?”

 

Note: Child support buy back refers to when the County has received enough child support from the absent parent to repay one or more full months of CalWORKs cash aid.

 

Example:

 

On January 1, 2013, the client had 40 months on her CalWORKs 48-month time limit.

 

Since she had less than 24 months of CalWORKs remaining on the 48-month time limit, her WTW 24-Month Time Clock would have started on January 1, 2013, giving her eight months of WTW 24-Month Time Clock services before her CalWORKs 48-month time limit expired.

 

In June 2013, after being aided for 46 months, the County receives enough child support payments to un-tick (buy back) 20 months off of her CalWORKs 48-month time limit, taking the client back to month 26 on her CalWORKs 48-month time limit.

 

How many more months of WTW 24-Month Time Clock services is the client entitled to?

 

A. The client would be entitled to any months remaining on his or her WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

In the example above, the client had used six months of her WTW 24-Month Time Clock months when the CWD received enough child support to repay (or un-tick) 20 months off of the client’s 48-month time clock.

 

The client would be entitled to all months of WTW 24-Month Time Clock services she had not already used; in this case, the client used six of those months which means she has 18 months remaining on their WTW 24-Month Time Clock.

 

11-001.F.6
Assessment for New Participants F/T employed

Q. Clients who come on aid after January 1, 2013 and who are employed full-time are now required to sign a WTW plan. Is the ECM required to do an assessment for such clients?

 

A. A client who is employed in unsubsidized employment with sufficient hours to meet the minimum hours of participation shall be referred to assessment if the client wishes to participate in additional WTW activities.

 

If the client does not wish to participate in additional WTW activities, then the client may opt out of an assessment.

 

Therefore, CWDs should offer the assessment to clients who can then choose to either participate in or opt out of the assessment.

 

In either instance, the ECM will work with the client to develop and agree on a WTW plan. The ECMs are required to provide clients with a comprehensive discussion about WTW activities in order for clients to make informed decisions about

 

11-001.F.7
CW Time Limit and Curing Sanctions Retroactively

Q. If a client’s sanction is cured retroactively and months are counted toward his or her CalWORKs 48-month time limit retroactively, how does the ECM handle situations when the client exhausts his or her CalWORKs 48-month time limit as a result of the sanction being cured retroactively?

 

Example

 

A client, who has used 46 months of his or her CalWORKs 48-month time limit prior to having his or her sanction cured retroactively, provides verification that he or she has met the new participation requirements for the past three months.

 

What date would the client be considered to have exhausted his or her CalWORKs time limit?

 

A. If a client’s sanction is cured retroactively, and a supplement is paid for the months cured, then those months shall be counted towards the CalWORKs 48-month time limit.

 

In the example above, the client is at his/her 46th month of aid and three months of sanction are cured retroactively.

 

The HSS is required to verify the number of months remaining on the client’s CalWORKs 48-month time limit, and in this case, only supplement the grant for the two months remaining on his or her CalWORKs 48-month time clock.

 

The client is considered to have exhausted his/her 48-month time clock once the supplement is provided because the client will have received 48 months of CalWORKs cash aid and no overpayments will be incurred.

 

11-001.F.8
Partial Participation, Comprehensive Discussions and WTW Plan

Q. For clients with 24 months or less of CalWORKs eligibility remaining, all months after January 1, 2013 on cash aid will be counted toward their WTW 24-Month Time Clocks, unless one of the conditions for not counting a month applies, such as a WTW exemption.

 

The ECM is required to make an additional contact with these clients who are partially participating, whether active or sanctioned, to encourage them to engage with their WTW workers if they want to take advantage of their expanded options under the new WTW rules.

 

If this additional contact is made, and the client does not respond, is the ECM required to conduct the comprehensive discussion and have the client sign a new WTW plan?

 

A. Yes. ECMs were instructed to have a comprehensive discussion with all clients on aid as of January 1, 2013 who are required to participate in WTW at their next regularly scheduled contact, or by June 30, 2013, to develop new or amended WTW plans with clients who want to have their plan reviewed or modified considering the new participation requirements.

 

This rule applies to all clients who are required to participate in WTW, regardless of the number of months of cash aid remaining or whether they are fully participating, partially participating, or not participating.

 

If unable to contact a client for the required comprehensive discussion or if the client fails or refuses to sign a new WTW plan, the ECM will follow the instructions in CPG 11-001.A.3 and all months beginning in January 2013 will count toward the client’s WTW 24-Month Time Clock, unless a different condition exists that would not count that month toward the clock (e.g., WTW exemption, etc.).

 

Summary (CPG 11-001.A.3):

 

If the participant…

And he/she…

His/her 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

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

·         Un-tick

·         No sanction

·         A new signed plan will be obtained at the next appointment

Does not have an existing plan that meets new weekly  participation 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