WSR 00-03-051

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed January 14, 2000, 1:52 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 99-14-024.

Title of Rule: WAC 388-310-0200 WorkFirst activities, 388-310-0300 WorkFirst -- Exemptions for mandatory exemptions, 388-310-0400 WorkFirst -- Entering the WorkFirst program as a mandatory participant, 388-310-0700 WorkFirst -- Employability evaluation, 388-310-1400 WorkFirst -- Community service, and 388-310-1450 WorkFirst -- Pregnancy to employment.

Purpose: To comply with legislative intent to reduce exemption for parents with infants from twelve months to three months.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.08.090, 74.04.050.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 74.08A RCW.

Summary: Reduces the exemption period of WorkFirst participants with infants from twelve months of age to three months of age. Enhances WorkFirst support services for WorkFirst participants who have infants up to twelve months of age.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Comply with legislative intent.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Debbie Miller, WorkFirst Division, P.O. Box 45480, Olympia, WA 98504-5480, (360) 413-3101, fax (360) 413-3428.

Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Reduces exemptions for WorkFirst participants with infants from twelve months to three months. Requires parents in WorkFirst to begin participation in WorkFirst activities when the participant's infant reaches the age of three months old. Enhances services to WorkFirst parents who have infants under the age of twelve months.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: See above explanation, amends WAC 388-310-0200 WorkFirst activities, 388-310-0300 WorkFirst -- Exemptions for mandatory exemptions, 388-310-0400 WorkFirst -- Entering the WorkFirst program as a mandatory participant, 388-310-0700 WorkFirst -- Employability evaluation, 388-310-1400 WorkFirst -- Community service, and 388-310-1450 WorkFirst -- Pregnancy to employment.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. These rules do not regulate small business.

RCW 34.05.328 applies to this rule adoption. These do meet the definition of significant legislative rule but the Department of Social and Health Services is exempt from preparing further analysis according to RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(vii) which applies only to client medical or financial eligibility.

Hearing Location: Lacey Government Center (behind Tokyo Bento Restaurant), 1009 College Street S.E., Room 104-B, Lacey, WA 98503, on February 22, 2000, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Paige Wall by February 11, 2000, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail wallpg@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Paige Wall, Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 664-6185, by February 22, 2000.

Date of Intended Adoption: February 23, 2000.

January 10, 2000

Marie Myerchin-Redifer, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

2621.10
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-08-051, filed 4/1/99, effective 5/2/99)

WAC 388-310-0200
WorkFirst--Activities.

(1) Who is required to participate in WorkFirst activities?

(a) You are required to participate in WorkFirst activities, and become what is called a "mandatory participant," if you:

(i) Receive TANF((, GA-S)) or SFA cash assistance; and

(ii) Are a custodial parent or age sixteen or older; and

(iii) Are not exempt. (You can only get this exemption if you are caring for ((a)) your child under ((twelve)) three months of age. See WAC 388-310-0300 for more details).

(b) Participation is voluntary for all other WorkFirst participants (those who no longer receive or have never received TANF((, GA-S)) or SFA cash assistance).

(2) What activities do I participate in when I enter the WorkFirst program?

When you enter the WorkFirst program, you will participate in one or more of the following activities (which are described in more detail in other sections of this chapter):

(a) Paid employment (see WAC 388-310-0400 (1)(a) and 388-310-1500);

(b) Self employment (see WAC 388-310-1700);

(c) Job search (see WAC 388-310-0600);

(d) Community jobs (see WAC 388-310-1300)

(e) Work experience (see WAC 388-310-1100);

(f) On-the-job training (see WAC 388-310-1200);

(g) Vocational educational training (see WAC 388-310-1000);

(h) Basic education activities (see WAC 388-310-0900);

(i) Job skills training (see WAC 388-310-1050);

(j) Community service (see WAC 388-310-1400); and/or

(k) Activities provided by tribal governments for tribal members and other American Indians (see WAC 388-310-1400(1) and 388-310-1900).

(3) If I am a mandatory participant, how much time must I spend doing WorkFirst activities?

If you are a mandatory participant, you will be required to spend up to forty hours a week working, looking for work or preparing for work. You will have an individual responsibility plan (described in WAC 388-310-0500) that includes the number of hours a week that you are required to participate.

(4) What activities do I participate in after I get a job?

You may participate in other activities, which are called "post employment services" (described in WAC 388-310-1800) once you are working twenty hours or more a week. Work can include a paid, unsubsidized job, self-employment, college work study or a subsidized job like a community jobs placement. Post employment services include:

(a) Activities that help you keep a job (called an "employment retention" service); and/or

(b) Activities that help you get a better job (called a "wage and skill progression" service).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-08-051, 388-310-0200, filed 4/1/99, effective 5/2/99; 97-20-129, 388-310-0200, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-10-027, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99)

WAC 388-310-0300
WorkFirst--Infant care exemptions for mandatory participants.

(1) If I am a mandatory participant, when can I be exempted from participating in WorkFirst activities?

You can claim an exemption from participating in WorkFirst activities during months that you are needed in the home to personally provide care for ((a)) your child under ((twelve)) three months of age((. You can only claim this exemption for up to twelve months in your lifetime)).

(2) Can I participate in WorkFirst while I am exempt?

You ((can)) may choose to participate in WorkFirst while you are exempt((, and the time you participate does not count against your twelve-month limit)). If you decide later to stop participating, and you still qualify for an exemption, you will be put back into exempt status with no financial penalty.

(3) Does an exemption from participation affect my sixty-month time limit for receiving TANF or SFA benefits?

An exemption from participation does not affect your sixty-month time limit for receiving TANF or SFA benefits (described in WAC 388-484-0005). Even if exempt from participation, ((you will use up one of your sixty months of)) each month you receive a TANF/SFA ((benefits)) grant counts toward your sixty-month limit.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-10-027, 388-310-0300, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99; 97-20-129, 388-310-0300, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-10-027, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99)

WAC 388-310-0400
WorkFirst--Entering the WorkFirst program as a mandatory participant.

(1) What happens when I enter the WorkFirst program as a mandatory participant?

If you are a mandatory participant, WorkFirst requires you to look for a job as your first activity unless you are temporarily deferred from job search. You must follow instructions as written in your individual responsibility plan (see WAC 388-310-0500) while you are in job search.

(2) ((May)) Are there any reasons why I might be temporarily deferred from looking for a job?

If you are a mandatory participant, your case manager will ask ((you)) if you ((are exempt or)) have any reasons why you cannot go to job search. You may be temporarily deferred from looking for a job for any of the following reasons:

(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 work sixteen or more hours a week in the federal or state work study program and you attend a Washington state community or technical college at least half-time; or

(c) You are under the age of eighteen, have not completed high school, GED or its equivalent and are in school full-time; or

(d) You are eighteen or nineteen years of age and are attending high school or an equivalent full-time; or

(e) You are pregnant or have a child under the age of twelve months, and are participating in other pregnancy to employment activities. See WAC 388-310-1450; or

(f) You are fifty-five years old or older and caring for a child you are related to (and you are not the child's parent), you may go into community service (described in WAC 388-310-1400 (2)(b)); or

(g) Your situation prevents you from looking for a job. (For example, you may be unable to look for a job while you have health problems, are homeless and/or dealing with family violence.)

(3) What are my requirements if I am temporarily deferred from job search?

(a) If and when your job search is temporarily deferred, you may be required to take part in an ((evaluation of your)) employability evaluation as part of your individual responsibility plan. Your individual responsibility plan will describe what you need to do to be able to enter job search and then find a job (see WAC 388-310-0500 and 0700).

(b) If you enter the pregnancy to employment pathway (described in WAC 388-310-1450(2)), you must take part in an assessment.

(4) What happens if I do not follow my WorkFirst requirements?

If you do not participate in job search, or in the activities listed in your individual responsibility plan, and you do not have a good reason, the department will impose a financial penalty (sanction, see WAC 388-310-1600).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-10-027, 388-310-0400, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99; 98-23-037, 388-310-0400, filed 11/10/98, effective 12/11/98; 97-20-129, 388-310-0400, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-10-027, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99)

WAC 388-310-0700
WorkFirst--Employability evaluation.

(1) Why do I receive an employability evaluation?

You receive an employability evaluation from your case manager to determine:

(a) Why you are unable to look for work (if you are temporarily deferred from job search) or why you have been unable to find work in your local labor market; and

(b) Which WorkFirst activities you need to become employed in the shortest time possible.

(2) What is the employability evaluation and when will it be used?

(a) The employability evaluation is a series of questions and answers used to determine your ability to find and keep a job in your local labor market.

(b) You and your case manager and/or social worker ((will)) use the information from this evaluation to create or modify your individual responsibility plan, adding activities that ((will)) help you become employable.

(c) Your case manager ((will)) evaluates your ability to find employment when you are a mandatory WorkFirst participant and have:

(i) Gone through a period of job search without finding a job;

(ii) Been referred back early from job search; or

(iii) Been temporarily deferred from job search.

(d) After your employability evaluation, you may receive more assessments to find out if you need additional services.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-10-027, 388-310-0700, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99; 97-20-129, 388-310-0700, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 99-10-027, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99)

WAC 388-310-1400
WorkFirst--Community service.

(1) What is community service?

Community service includes two types of activities for mandatory participants:

(a) Unpaid work (such as the work performed by volunteer workers) that you perform for a charitable nonprofit organization, federal, state, local or tribal government or district; or

(b) An activity approved by your case manager which benefits you, your family, your community or your tribe. These activities may include traditional activities that perpetuate tribal culture and customs.

(2) What type of community service activities benefit me, my family, my community or my tribe and might be included in my individual responsibility plan?

The following types of community service activities benefit you, your family, your community or your tribe and might be included in your individual responsibility plan:

(a) Caring for a disabled family member;

(b) Caring for a child, if you are ((over)) fifty-five years old or older and receiving TANF or SFA assistance for the child as a relative (instead of as the child's parent);

(c) Providing childcare for another WorkFirst participant who is doing community service;

(d) Actively participating in a drug or alcohol assessment or treatment program which is certified or contracted by the state under chapter 70.96A RCW; ((and/or))

(e) Participating in family violence counseling or drug or alcohol treatment that will help you become employable or keep your job (this is called "specialized services" in state law); and/or

(f) Participating in the pregnancy to employment pathway.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.08.090 and 74.04.050. 99-10-027, 388-310-1400, filed 4/28/99, effective 5/29/99; 97-20-129, 388-310-1400, filed 10/1/97, effective 11/1/97.]


NEW SECTION
WAC 388-310-1450
Pregnancy to employment

(1) How do I know if I am eligible to participate in the pregnancy to employment pathway?

If you are pregnant or have a child under the age of twelve months, you are a participant in the pregnancy to employment pathway.

(2) What am I required to do while I am in the pregnancy to employment pathway?

Based on the results of the assessment you receive as a pregnancy to employment participant you will be required to:

(1) Work; or

(2) Look for work; and/or

(3) Participate in a combination of pregnancy to employment services.

(3) What services are provided in the pregnancy to employment pathway?

This pathway provides you with services, as available within your community, to help you learn how to work while still meeting your child's needs. You may receive a variety of services, such as help finding:

(a) Parenting classes;

(b) Safe and appropriate child care;

(c) Good health care for yourself and your child; and/or

(d) Employment services.

(4) What determines which services I will receive and what my participation will be?

As a participant in the pregnancy to employment pathway you will receive:

(a) An assessment (see WAC 388-310-0700);

(b) Services (as available within your community) based on the results of the assessment;

(c) An individual responsibility plan that reflects participation and services designed to meet your needs and the needs of your child; and

(d) Follow up contact every three months to reassess your needs and the services and activities you are participating in, until your child reaches age twelve months.

(5) How much do I have to participate?

(a) During the first two trimesters of pregnancy, you will be required to participate up to forty hours per week. Your participation activity will be determined by the results of your assessment.

(b) During the third trimester of pregnancy your participation is voluntary and may include meeting your medical needs.

(c) From the birth of your child, until your child reaches three months, you are exempt from participation. You may volunteer to participate.

(d) From the third month forward, you will be required to participate part-time, twenty hours per week or more, and transition into full time participation, up to forty hours per week, in work, looking for work or preparing for work by the time your child reaches age twelve months. Your participation activity will be determined by the results of your assessment.

(6) Will I be sanctioned if I refuse to participate in pregnancy to employment pathway?

(a) If you are a pregnant woman in your third trimester of pregnancy or if you have an infant less than three months old you will not be sanctioned for not participating.

(b) If you are in the first two trimesters of your pregnancy or have a child three months of age or older, you are required to participate and are subject to the WorkFirst sanction rules (see WAC 388-310-1600).

[]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office