WSR 98-23-037

PERMANENT RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES

(Economic Services Administration)

(WorkFirst Division)

[Filed November 10, 1998, 3:34 p.m.]



Date of Adoption: November 10, 1998.

Purpose: Chapter 388-310 WAC went into effect November 1, 1997. These are housekeeping changes which will further the intent of the WorkFirst program, increase the department's ability to meet federal requirements for the proportion of the WorkFirst caseload that is active in work activities; and, add definitions that are required by federal regulations.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 388-310-0400, 388-310-0500, 388-310-1000, and 388-310-1600.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050 and 74.08.090.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 98-15-139 on July 22, 1998.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 1, amended 4, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 1, amended 4, repealed 0.

Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.

November 10, 1998

Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

SHS-2462.4

AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)



WAC 388-310-0400  WorkFirst--((Participation)) What are the initial requirements((.)) of a WorkFirst participant? (1) ((Participants are required to participate in job search as the first WorkFirst activity unless temporarily deferred. The department may defer a participant from immediate job search if the participant is:

(a) Working twenty or more hours a week;

(b) Under the age of eighteen and has not completed high school or GED, or is under the age of twenty and is currently attending high school, or its equivalent full-time; or

(c) Experiencing personal or family circumstances which prevents the person's immediate participation in job search.

(2) Participants who are temporarily deferred must participate as part of their individual responsibility plan in an evaluation of their employability from the department.

(3) The department may sanction a person who is nonexempt and who refuses to participate in the employability evaluation under WAC 388-310-0600.

(4) Persons approved by the department or a tribal JOBS or tribal native employment works (NEW) program for post-secondary education or training program prior to the effective date of this chapter will be permitted to continue in the program under WorkFirst until June 30, 1998)) WorkFirst requires you to look for a job as your first activity unless you are temporarily deferred from job search. Reasons that you may be temporarily deferred from looking for a job are:

(a) You work twenty or more hours a week; "work" means to engage in any legal, income generating activity which is taxable under the United States Tax Code or which would be taxable with or without a treaty between an Indian Nation and the United States; or

(b) You are under the age of eighteen and have not completed high school or GED; or

(c) You are under the age of twenty, and are attending high school or an equivalent full-time; or

(d) Your situation prevents you from looking for a job (see WAC 388-310-1600).

(2) If and when your job search is temporarily deferred, you must take part in an evaluation of your employability as part of your individual responsibility plan (IRP).

(3) You must follow instructions from your case manager and/or job service specialist as written in your IRP.

(4) If you do not participate in job search, or in the activities listed in your IRP during your temporary deferral from job search, and you do not have a good reason, the department will impose a financial penalty, sometimes called a sanction.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 97-20-129, 388-310-0400, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)



WAC 388-310-0500  WorkFirst--What is included in WorkFirst job search((.))? (1) ((The purpose of)) Job search is ((to provide the participant with the)) an opportunity to learn and use skills ((and abilities needed)) you need to find and keep ((employment)) a job. Job search ((activities)) may include:

(a) Classroom instruction ((on job finding techniques and employer expectations)); and/or

(b) Structured((, consistent, and monitored efforts of the person to discover job openings and apply for available or potentially available employment; and

(c) Self-directed efforts of the person to find and obtain employment.

(2) A participant must meet the published standards of job search participation established in each region or community service office or tribal work program.

(3) A person's participation in job search must be of a quality and frequency that would clearly indicate that the individual is making sincere efforts to immediately obtain any employment.

(4) Participants may participate in pre-employment training as an activity equivalent to seeking employment. Pre-employment training is job skills training which has a prior commitment from an employer to hire the trainee immediately upon completion of the training, at an hourly wage greater than the local entry level wage.

(5) The department may not require a participant to participate in job search for more than twelve weeks without evaluating the person's employability under WAC 388-310-0600)) job search that helps you find job openings, complete applications, practice interviews and apply other skills and abilities with a job search specialist or a group of fellow job-seekers; and/or

(c) Pre-employment training, in which you learn skills you need for an identified entry level job that pays more than average entry level wages. Pre-employment training is an acceptable job search activity when an employer or industry commits to hiring or giving hiring preference to WorkFirst participants who successfully complete pre-employment training.

(2) WorkFirst job search is delivered by the employment security department or a contracted partner.

(3) Period of job search may last up to twelve continuous weeks. Job search specialists will monitor your progress, and by the end of the first four weeks, job search specialists will determine whether or not you should continue in job search. Job search will end when:

(a) You find a job; or

(b) You become exempt from WorkFirst requirements (see WAC 388-310-0300); or

(c) Your situation changes and you are temporarily deferred from continuing with job search (see WAC 388-310-0400); or

(d) Job search specialists have determined that you need additional skills and/or experience to find a job.

(4) At the end of the job search period, you will be referred back to your DSHS case manager for further action.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 97-20-129, 388-310-0500, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]



AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)



WAC 388-310-1000  WorkFirst--What are the requirements for vocational education((.)) in WorkFirst? (1) Vocational education is training ((in a specific occupation provided by a private college, technical school or community college licensed, authorized or certified by the state, or provided by a certified tribal college. It may not exceed twelve months in length with respect to any individual. It also includes job skills training in specific skills directly related to employment, and entrepreneurial training, offered through community-based organizations, businesses and tribal governments.

(2) The department may include vocational education in the individual responsibility plan when the person:

(a) Is employed twenty or more hours a week in subsidized or unsubsidized employment; or

(b) Lacks job skills presently in demand for entry level jobs in the local labor market and vocational education can provide such skills; and

(c) Would not be able to acquire the skills needed to obtain employment though available openings in:

(i) Work experience under WAC 388-310-1100; or

(ii) On-the-job training under WAC 388-300-1200.

(3) A nonexempt TANF/SFA recipient may participate in vocational education or other post-secondary education or training activities not included on their individual responsibility plan on their own if the person is meeting WorkFirst hourly participation requirements)) leading to a degree or certificate in a specific occupation, offered by accredited public and private technical colleges and schools, community colleges, and tribal colleges.

(2) WorkFirst may include vocational education in your IRP if:

(a) You are working twenty or more hours a week; or

(b) You lack job skills that are in demand for entry level jobs in your area; and

(c) The vocational education program can provide the job skills that you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area; and

(d) You could not learn the job skills that you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area by participating in work experience or on-the-job training that is available to you.

(3) When vocational education is included in your IRP, WorkFirst will provide assistance with your costs, if you need assistance and it is not available from other sources. Child care subsidy is available through the working connections child care program.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 97-20-129, 388-310-1000, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]



NEW SECTION



WAC 388-310-1050  WorkFirst--What are the requirements for job skills training in WorkFirst? (1) Job skills training is training in specific skills directly related to employment, offered through community-based organizations, businesses, tribal governments, public and private community and technical colleges. Job skills training programs differ as to length, content, and sponsor.

(2) WorkFirst may include job skills training in your IRP if:

(a) You are working twenty or more hours a week; or

(b) You lack job skills that are in demand for entry level jobs in your area; and

(c) The job skills training program can provide the job skills that you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area; and

(d) You could not learn the job skills that you need to qualify for entry level jobs in your area by participating in work experience or on-the-job training that is available to you.

(3) When job skills training is included in your IRP, WorkFirst will provide assistance with your costs, such as transportation and books, if you need assistance and it is not available from other sources. Child care subsidy is available through the working connections child care program.



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AMENDATORY SECTION (Amending WSR 97-20-129, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97)



WAC 388-310-1600  WorkFirst--((Determination of reasons for nonparticipation.)) What are the WorkFirst participation requirements and what happens when a person does not participate? (1) ((The following actions will be considered failure to participate in WorkFirst requirements:

(a) Refusal of a bona fide offer of employment;

(b) Failure to fulfill participation requirements of any components on the person's individual responsibility plan including not participating in:

(i) Drug and/or alcohol assessment;

(ii) Drug and/or alcohol treatment programs when assessed and determined as drug and/or alcohol dependent by a program certified and contracted through chapter 70.96A RCW;

(c) Failure to provide information requested by the department necessary for the development of the individual responsibility plan; or

(d) Not appearing for one or more appointments scheduled by the department or its agent.

(2) When a participant fails to participate in WorkFirst:

(a) The participants will have the opportunity to explain their nonparticipation; and

(b) The department will determine the adequacy of the reasons for nonparticipation. The department may make a determination based on available information if the participant does not provide information as requested.

(3) The department will determine that failure to participate is refusal, unless the participant provides evidence the nonparticipation is based on an inability to participate such as:

(a) Urgent personal or family circumstances interfering with participation which include but are not limited to:

(i) Threatened or actual family violence issues;

(ii) Eviction or immediate legal problems;

(iii) Injury or illness of the participant or of a family member which requires the presence of the participant; or

(iv) Death of a significant person in the participant's life.

(b) Breakdown in support services necessary for the person to participate and the person had no readily available alternative;

(c) The participant is unable to locate formal or informal child care for a child under the age of twelve years of whom they personally provide care and the department fails to provide such care;

(d) The participant is unable to locate other care services for an incapacitated individual living in the same home as a dependent child and the department fails to provide such care;

(e) Determination by a licensed health professional that a physical, mental, or emotional condition is interfering with the required participation; or

(f) The person did not receive a notice of appointment or program requirement)) To participate means that you give the department information requested from you, come to appointments made for you by the department and its agents, do all of the activities listed on your IRP and accept any bona fide offer of employment that you receive.

(2) If you do not participate, WorkFirst will ask you to explain why. The department will determine that:

(a) You had an adequate reason that you were not able to participate; or

(b) You did not have an adequate reason and that you refused to participate.

If the department is not able to contact you, the department will make this decision with the information already on hand.

(3) You have an adequate reason not to participate when you can show that an event outside of your control made you unable to participate. Such events include, but are not limited to:

(a) You, your child(ren), or other family member was ill;

(b) Support services (such as transportation) broke down and you could not make new arrangements right away;

(c) You could not locate care for your child(ren) under thirteen years that is affordable, appropriate, and within a reasonable distance;

"Affordable" means at or below your share of child care costs calculated by the working connections child care program.

"Appropriate" means licensed, certified or approved under state laws and regulations that apply to the type of child care you use, and that you may make your own choice among the child care options that are available in your area.

"Within a reasonable distance" means that you can reach the child care site without travel that exceeds normal expectations in your community.

(d) You could not locate other care services for an incapacitated individual living with you and your dependent child(ren);

(e) You have or had a physical, mental, or emotional condition, determined by a licensed health care professional, that interferes or interfered with your ability to participate;

(f) A significant person in your life died;

(g) You were threatened with or subjected to family violence;

(h) You had received an eviction notice or had another immediate legal problem;

(i) You did not receive notice of a request for information, an appointment or a requirement on your IRP.

(4) If you have an adequate reason that you did not participate, the department will revise your IRP to take your circumstances into account.

(5) If you do not have an adequate reason that you did not participate, the department will find that you refused to participate. The department will notify you that you will be sanctioned starting the next calendar month (see WAC 388-310-1700), unless you start to participate as required. The notice will include information on how to request a fair hearing if you disagree with the department's decision that you refused to participate.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 97-20-129, 388-310-1600, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]