D-301: About Priority of Service

By law, Boards must ensure that eligible veterans and eligible foster youth receive priority over all other equally qualified individuals in the receipt of workforce services.

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D-302: Eligible Veterans

Applicability of Priority of Service for Veterans

Boards must be aware that requirements for priority of service for veterans apply to all workforce service programs funded in whole or in part by the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration or state funds.

Specifically, priority of service for veterans applies to the following three categories of qualified job training programs:

  1. Universal access programs (such as Wagner-Peyser–funded services) that deliver services as a whole and that do not target specific groups
  2. Discretionary targeting programs (such as Workforce Investment Act–funded services) that focus on certain groups but do not specifically mandate that target groups be served before other eligible individuals
  3. Statutory targeting programs (such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)–funded services) that are mandated by federal law to provide priority or preference to certain groups, spending requirements or limitations 

Definitions

Boards must ensure that the following definitions are used when implementing priority of service for eligible veterans.

Eligible Veteran—any one of the following:

  • Federal/state qualified veteran—a person who served in the active military, naval or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable as specified at 38 USC 101(2).  Active services include full-time duty in the National Guard or a Reserve component, other than full-time for training purposes.  [Note: This definition does not apply to eligibility for services provided by Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program/Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives staff.]
  • Federal qualified spouse—the spouse of:
  1. Any veteran who died of a service-connected disability
  2. Any member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who, at the time of application for the priority, is listed in one or more of the following categories and has been so listed for a total of more than 90 days:
    1. Missing in action
    2. Captured in line of duty by a hostile force
    3. Forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power
  3. Any veteran who has a total disability resulting from a service-connected disability, as evaluated by the Department of Veterans Affairs
  4. Any veteran who died while a disability, as indicated in paragraph (3) of this section, was in existence

Boards must be aware that the spouse of a living veteran or service member (definitions 2 and 3 above) will lose his or her eligibility if the veteran or service member loses the status that is the basis for eligibility.  For example, the spouse of a veteran with a total service-connected disability will not be eligible if the veteran’s disability is revised to a lower level.  Similarly, a spouse whose eligibility is derived from a living veteran or service member will lose his or her eligibility upon divorce from the veteran or service member.

  • State qualified spouse—a spouse:
    1. Who meets the definition of federal qualified spouse
    2. Of any member of the armed forces who died while serving on active military, naval or air service

Noneligible person—an individual who does not meet the definition of eligible veteran or the definition of eligible foster youth.

Point of entry—may include reception through a Workforce Solutions office, as part of an application process for a specific program, or through any other method by which eligible veterans express an interest in receiving services, either in-person or online.

Identifying and Informing Eligible Veterans

Boards must ensure that eligible veterans are:

  • Identified at the point of entry
  • Screened in order to determine evidence of any significant barrier to employment (SBE), as defined in WD Letter 08-15PDF, issued February 25, 2015, entitled Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program: Reforms and Responsibilities of Workforce Solutions Office Staff Serving Veterans—Update
  • Informed of:

Boards must ensure that Workforce Solutions office staff screen individuals seeking services to determine if they are eligible veterans identified as having an SBE or eligible spouses.

Boards may use the Significant Barriers to Employment Triage ToolPDF (WD Letter 08-15, Attachment 1) or create a locally developed triage tool.  Documentation of responses to the triage tool is not required.

Boards must ensure that when screening individuals to determine their status, Workforce Solutions office staff:

  • Determine the purpose of the visit
  • Explain that the purpose of the triage tool is to determine which staff are best suited to assist them
  • Ensure that customers identify whether or not they are eligible veterans or eligible spouses
  • Ensure that eligible veterans and eligible spouses confirm whether any of the SBE criteria or the Secretary’s priority category apply

Boards must ensure that an eligible veteran or eligible spouse identified as having an SBE is immediately referred to Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) staff.

Boards must ensure that ES staff, WIA staff, or other Workforce Solutions office staff are available to provide services to eligible veterans and eligible spouses who have been determined either:

  • To have an SBE, but for whom no DVOP staff are available to provide services
  • Not to have an SBE

Boards must be aware that Senate Bill 431 amends the Texas Penal Code by adding §32.54, which makes it a Class C misdemeanor to falsely use or claim to hold a military record for the purpose of receiving priority of service. 

Boards must ensure that eligible veterans are informed of the penalties associated with proclaiming eligible-veteran status that is fraudulent, fictitious or has been revoked.

Priority Order

Boards must determine each individual’s eligible-veteran status and apply priority of service as follows:

  1. Eligible veterans who meet the mandatory priorities, or spending requirements or limitations, must receive the highest priority for the program or service.
  2. Noneligible individuals within the program’s mandatory priority, or spending requirement or limitation, must receive priority for the program or service over eligible veterans outside the program-specific mandatory priority, or spending requirement or limitation.
  3. Eligible veterans outside the program-specific mandatory priority, or spending requirement or limitation, must receive priority for the program or service over noneligible persons outside the program-specific mandatory priority, or spending requirement or limitation.

Boards must be aware that they do not have the authority to establish additional priorities within the priorities established by the regulations.

Boards must be aware of the following:

  • Priority of service means the right of eligible veterans to take precedence over noneligible persons in obtaining workforce services.
  • Taking precedence can mean either of the following:

Boards also must ensure that noneligible persons who are currently receiving workforce services are not displaced in order to provide priority of service to eligible veterans.  Boards must ensure that the next available workforce services are provided to eligible veterans.

Example 1:   An eligible veteran enters a Workforce Solutions office to use a resource room computer for job search.  However, all computers are being used by noneligible persons and there are several noneligible persons in line.  In this case, the eligible veteran would receive priority by being moved to the front of the line, but does not displace one of the noneligible persons already using a computer.

Example 2:   For a service such as classroom training, priority of service applies to the selection procedure, as follows:

  • First, if there is a waiting list for the formation of a training class, the eligible veteran will receive priority by being moved to the top of that list.
  • Second, priority of service applies when an individual is both:

Therefore, once a noneligible person has been both approved for funding and accepted or enrolled in a training class, an eligible veteran who is identified subsequently will not take the place of the noneligible person from that training class.

Documentation Requirements

Boards must ensure that eligible veterans receiving staff-assisted services sign a self-attestation form to certify that they meet the definition of eligible veteran.  (Self-attestation is not required if a DD-214 is on file in the Workforce Solutions office, the veteran presents a DD-214 upon arrival or the veteran indicated veteran status in WorkInTexas.com.)

Boards may create their own self-attestation form or use the TWC-developed Self-Attestation formMS Word.

Local Policies and Procedures

Boards must ensure that local procedures are implemented:

  • To identify eligible veterans at point of entry by allowing individuals to self-identify as eligible veterans (such as placing a sign-in sheet at the reception desk at Workforce Solutions offices that prompts all customers to declare their eligible veteran status prior to receiving services)
  • That do not require completion of a self-attestation form

Boards must ensure that written copies of local priority of service policies and procedures are maintained at all service delivery points and, to the extent practicable, posted in a way that makes it possible for the public to easily access them.

For information on available tools for improving the provision of services to veterans and veteran spouses, see TA Bulletin 154PDF, issued July 25, 2007, entitled Tools for Improving Services to Veterans, and subsequent updates.

 

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D-303: Eligible Foster Youth

Definitions

Boards must ensure that the following definitions contained in Chapter 801, TWC’s Local Workforce Development Boards rules, are used when implementing priority of service for eligible foster youth:

  • Current foster youth—A youth, age 14 or older, who is receiving substitute care services under the managing conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), including youth residing in private foster homes, group homes, residential treatment centers, juvenile correctional institutions and relative care
  • Former foster youth—A youth up to 23 years of age, who formerly was under the managing conservatorship of DFPS, until one of the following takes place:

Boards must ensure that written copies of local priority of service policies are maintained at all service delivery points and, to the extent practicable, posted in a way that makes it possible for the public to easily access them.

Priority Order

Boards must ensure the following:

  • Eligible foster youth receive priority over all other equally qualified individuals—except eligible veterans—in the receipt of federal- and state-funded services.
  • Workforce services are prioritized and targeted for youth transitioning out of the foster care system and for former foster youth.

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D-304: Priority of Service for Support Services

Boards must be aware of the following:

To ensure that eligible veterans and eligible foster youth receive priority over all other equally qualified individuals in the receipt of workforce services, they also must have access to needed support services (such as child care, transportation).

Implementing priority of service for the majority of support services is not difficult; however, because child care services are unique, the following additional guidance is provided.

Child Care

Boards must be aware that the priority for child care services for eligible veterans and eligible foster youth is contingent on the availability of TWC child care funds.  Boards with a waiting list for TWC-funded child care services must not discontinue care for a child currently enrolled in child care services in order to serve a child of an eligible veteran or a child of a foster youth.

Section 809.43(a)(1) of TWC’s Child Care Services rules establishes that the following populations are assured child care services and are not subject to the child care waiting list:

  1. Choices child care
  2. TANF Applicant child care
  3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training child care
  4. Transitional child care

TWC rule §809.43(a)(2) provides that Boards must ensure the following populations are served subject to the availability of funds, and include, in priority order:

  1. Children who need to receive protective services child care
  2. Children of an eligible veteran
  3. Children of an eligible foster youth
  4. Children of parents on military deployment who are unable to enroll in military-funded child care assistance programs
  5. Children of teen parents
  6. Children with disabilities

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