Choices Guide – B-400: Participation Requirements

B-401: Participation Requirements

(Revision 1/2017)

Choices participants must work or participate in Choices activities to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits. The hourly program requirement is based on each participant’s situation.

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff complies with participation hour requirements as set forth in C-104: Sample Participation Requirement Desk Aid.

B-401.a: Single-Parent Families

A single parent with no children under the age of six is required to participate a minimum weekly average of at least 30 hours.

Boards must also ensure that a single parent with children under age six spends at least 20 hours in activities per week.

B-401.b: Two-Parent Families Not Receiving TWC-Funded Child Care

Two-parent families that are not receiving TWC-funded child care are required to have one or both adults in the family participate a minimum weekly average of 35 hours.

B-401.c: Two-Parent Families Receiving TWC-Funded Child Care

Two-parent families that are receiving TWC-funded child care are required to have one or both adults in the family participate a minimum weekly average of 55 hours.

B-401.d: Exempt Choices Participants

Exempt Choices participants can volunteer to participate in Choices services. These individuals are not subject to sanction; therefore, a penalty must not be requested for exempt Choices participants who fail to meet participation requirements. However, Boards must ensure that, if support services such as transportation are provided, they are terminated unless good cause has been determined.

Participation in activities by exempt Choices participants may be under the direction of TWC's Vocational Rehabilitation Program or a similar organization that works with individuals with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities and individuals caring for a disabled family member as supported by medical documentation must have their participation requirements determined by a physician.

Boards must ensure that exempt Choices participants who volunteer to participate comply with all program requirements and comply with reduced work hour requirements when applicable.

It is recommended that Boards target exempt individuals who have not taken advantage of the opportunity to participate in the Choices program and who are within 12 months of exhausting their federal time limits and are nearing a lifetime freeze-out.

B-401.e: Sanctioned Families

Boards must ensure that upon initiation of a sanction request:

B-401.f: Conditional Applicants

Boards must ensure that conditional applicants demonstrate cooperation for four consecutive weeks. The four weeks can begin at any time and fall across two calendar months. A conditional applicant must provide a H2588 referral form from HHSC to attend a WOA and demonstrate cooperation for four consecutive weeks. The date required on the H2588 is the date of the conditional applicant’s WOA attendance.

Boards must be aware that all Choices services, including support services, are available as long as the individuals demonstrate cooperation and are meeting participation requirements.

Boards must be aware that eligibility for child care services is 12 months. If a conditional applicant fails to demonstrate cooperation and does not meet the participation requirements, he or she will be subject to the three-month continued care provision of TWC Child Care Services rule §809.51.

B-401.g: Teen Heads of Household

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff:

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff:

Boards must be aware of the following:

Boards also must be aware of the following:

Two Parent:

Inclusion in the Two-Parent Families Participation Rate numerator requires that both parents in a two-parent teen family, in which at least one parent is not coded WPS 15 or WPS 16, must have the following average weekly participation:

Example: One parent in a two-parent family is age 20 or older, and the second parent is a teen head of household attending school satisfactorily for 15 hours per week. Inclusion in the Two-Parent Families Participation Rate numerator requires that the family participate for 35 hours or 55 hours, if the family is receiving subsidized child care. The second parent needs 20 or 40 hours to meet participation.

 Two-parent households with two teen heads of household who have not attained their high school diploma or GED credential, both attending school satisfactorily, or participating in other educational activities for 20 hours per week, will be included in the Two-Parent Families Participation Rate numerator.

Example:  A two-parent household has two teen heads of household who have not attained their high school diploma or GED credential. One teen parent attends high school satisfactorily, and the other participates in vocational education for 20 hours per week. The family meets participation requirements and is included in the Two-Parent Families Participation Rate numerator.

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B-402: Choices Work Activities

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff enrolls Choices participants in a sufficient number of hours to meet participation requirements.

Boards must be aware that work activities are those directly related to work and include the following:

Boards may use any of the following Choices activities without restriction, if the activities can reasonably be expected to assist Choices participants in obtaining and retaining employment:

·         Job search and job readiness assistance

·         Work experience

·         Community service

·         Vocational educational training

·         Job skills training

All other Choices services remain available to Choices customers prior to participation in unsubsidized employment, subsidized employment or On-the-Job-Training (OJT); however, those services do not count toward a Board’s Choices performance measure(s).

Boards have until the third month after the initial date a new Choices eligible begins receiving TANF benefits in which to work with the individual before participation through unsubsidized employment, subsidized employment, OJT or educational services in the case of Choices eligibles who are teen heads of household and have not completed secondary school or received a GED credential is expected in a Board’s Choices performance measure(s).

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B-403: Participation in More Than One Activity

Certain activities are limited by Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements and do not always allow sufficient hours to meet requirements. Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff considers, when necessary, other activities that can be “stacked” to ensure full participation.

FLSA-covered activities include the following:

Boards must be aware that two FLSA-covered activities cannot be stacked.

FLSA requirements also apply to the following:

Boards must ensure that if a Choices participant’s hours of community service or work experience are not sufficient to meet the work activity requirement, the participant is enrolled in additional non-FLSA–covered activities. Court-ordered community service is subject to FLSA restrictions unless the participant is a volunteer or a trainee.

For more information on the FLSA formula, see B-604:  Special Provisions Regarding FLSA.

 

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B-404: Participation Calculation Tool

To determine the exact number of hours individual customers need to meet Choices work activity requirements, Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions Office staff calculates hours at the beginning of each month. The Participation Calculation tool assists in determining the number of hours each customer needs daily, weekly and monthly to meet participation.

Additionally, the Participation Calculation tool can be used to calculate FLSA required hours, any additional hours needed to meet participation and the beginning and ending of partial months.

The Participation Calculation tool is available on the Intranet under the Featured Links section.

The Participation Calculation tool will be updated annually to reflect any changes.

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