Section 817 - Employment and Training
Q. 1997 Employment & Training (E&T) Plans include inadequate
child care as an exemption. However, legislation (provision 815) deletes
lack of adequate child care as an explicit good cause exemption for refusal
to meet work requirements. Does provision 815 preclude States from using
inadequate child care as an E&T exemption?
A. The language of the new law (815) eliminated the previous language
concerning lack of adequate child care as a good cause for refusing an
offer of employment. However, the statute gives the Department the authority
to determine the meaning of good cause for section 6(d). Provision 817
deals specifically with E&T requirements and removes specific Federal
rules as to States' authority to exempt categories of individuals and
individuals from E&T requirements. In short, States may elect to establish
an E&T exemption for individuals for lack of adequate child care as
a part of their E&T plan.
Q. What is a Statewide workforce development system and are States
required to operate the E&T program through a Statewide workforce
A. A Statewide workforce development system is defined by the State.
Characteristics of such a system are that it usually offers employment
services which may include working with individuals to remove barriers
to employment, employment matching, vocational and technical education/training,
etc. The law requires that the E&T program be delivered through such
a system, if the system is available locally.
Q. Will the requirement that States submit E&T plans for FNS approval
A. Yes, the requirement will remain and FNS' Regional offices (ROs) will
continue to receive and have authority to approve State E&T plans.
Currently, FY97 plans are under review and ROs will direct requests to
States asking for plan updates that are reflective of the Act.
Q. Would the 50% funding permitted by the Act for self-sufficiency
related case management be budgeted and accounted separately from other
E&T related administrative costs?
A. No, such initiatives and activities should be included in the standard
reporting of administrative costs.
Q. Legislation now requires States to "promptly notify"
USDA if the allocated E&T funds will not be entirely expended. How
is "promptly notify" defined?
A.. Currently the phrase "promptly notify" is undefined. However,
it will be defined in new regulations. Until regulations are published
States should assume that they are to notify USDA as soon as they become
aware that allotted funds will not be fully expended.
Q. Will the FNS-583 still be required? If so, will it require any
modification under legislation?
A. The requirement that States collect and report E&T data remains.
This information is used for statistical purposes and to establish States'
annual grant amounts. The methodology for such collection will be specified
in regulations. If the FNS-583 is continued, revision would be necessary
to capture information not currently included (i.e., for instance, number
Q. The legislation removed the requirement that E&T placements
be restricted to employment that meets a public purpose. What does this
achieve since placements to private concerns were previously allowed?
A. Legislation is silent on the specific of public purpose. However,
the general consensus pertaining to self-sufficiency and welfare-to-work
is that all employment--private or public--services a public purpose.
Q. The provision limits the E&T funding for services to title
IV-A recipients to the amount used by the State for AFDC recipients in
fiscal year 1995. Will States be advised of the limit or will States advise
FNS of the limit?
A. This limit should be provided by the States in their revised E&T
plans. FNS Regional offices will work with States to acquire this information.
Q. Will the existing $25 per month E&T transportation reimbursement
limit be increased for Federal reimbursement purposes?
A. No. The Federal government will continue to reimburse State agencies
50 percent of their total participant transportation reimbursement costs,
up to a total amount of $25 per participant per month.
Q. PRWORA specifies that able-bodied adults without dependent children
(ABAWDs) can meet the work requirement if they participate in and comply
with the requirements of a program under section 20 of the Food Stamp
Act or a comparable program established by a State or political subdivision
of a State. Would a workfare component under E&T be considered "comparable"?
A. Yes. ABAWDs can meet the work requirement if they participate in and
comply with the requirements of a program under section 20 of the Food
Stamp Act or a comparable program established by a State or political
subdivision of a State.
Q. How does the workfare component under E&T differ from section
A. If workfare is operated as part of a States E&T program,
it is included as a component in the State agencys E&T Plan.
The administrative costs of a workfare component may be funded by the
State agencys 100% E&T grant, and component participants are
entitled to reimbursements of participant expenses and dependent care
expenses, up to the maximum levels established in regulations.
An optional workfare program (independent of the States E&T
program) may be operated by a State, as well as a local entity. The local
entity is not required to work through the State agency to operate a workfare
program. The State or local agency must submit a workfare plan to FNS
for approval. FNS will fund 50 percent of agencys administrative
costs incurred in operating an optional workfare program, including a
participant reimbursement up to $25 per month for any transportation and/or
other costs directly related to program participation.
Q. Are TANF recipients permitted to participate in workfare and can
their status be designated as mandatory?
A. TANF recipients exempt from food stamp work registration because they
are subject to the work requirements under title IV of the Social Security
Act will be subject to workfare under section 20 of the Food Stamp Act
if they are currently involved less than 20 hours a week in title IV work
activities. Those recipients involved 20 hours a week or more may be subject
to workfare at the option of the State agency or the political subdivision
operating the workfare program. A TANF recipient may be exempt from workfare
on the basis of other exemptions, such as responsibility for a child under
six years of age.
Q. Can a State with a large ABAWD population exercise its option to
exempt individuals or categories of (non-ABAWD) individuals from E&T
in order to make more slots available to the ABAWDs?
A. PRWORA removed specific Federal restrictions on States authority
to exempt categories of individuals and individuals from E&T requirements.
States are free to exempt whoever they choose from E&T. The only condition
to this liberty is that exemptions be "periodically evaluated"
Q. PRWORA mandates that USDA define the meaning of voluntary quit.
How should voluntary quit be considered and treated in the interim?
A. State agencies should continue to comply with current rules.
Q. PRWORA limits E&T funding for services to title IV-A recipients
to the amount used by the State for AFDC recipients in FY 95. When does
the funding limit become effective and what source will be used to determine
the amount used by the State for AFDC recipients in FY 95?
A. The funding limitation provision was signed into law on August 22,
1996, effective October 1, 1996. The rules and procedures for verifying
FY 95 title IV-A spending levels and for tracking current FY expenditures
will be established in the proposed rule. In the interim, guidance for
establishing base FY 95 expenditures and for on-going State data gathering
and reporting requirements was issued to FNS regional offices, for transmission
to States, on December 31, 1996.
Q. PRWORA removes the requirements for E&T performance standards
which have traditionally been tied to funding awards. How will future
funding amounts be determined?
A. The formula for allocating the annual Federal 100% E&T grant has
not yet been determined. However, the Act requires that the formula give
consideration to the ABAWD population.
Q. Will the form 583 be amended to specifically capture ABAWD participation?
A. We anticipate that there will be a need to capture ABAWD participation
data; however, the mechanism for this data collection is yet to be determined.
Q. PRWORA allows States the option to extend disqualifications for
failure to perform actions required by other means-tested programs to
the FSP. Would this allow a TANF sanction (due to non-compliance with
OJT) to be applied to food stamps, if there is no OJT component under
the FSET component?
A. The Food Stamp Act requires that a non-exempt TANF recipient who fails
to comply with a title IV work requirement be treated the same as if he
or she failed to comply with a food stamp work requirement. Thus, if an
individual is disqualified from participation in TANF for noncompliance
with OJT, that individual must be sanctioned according to food stamp disqualification
requirements, depending on the frequency of the occurrence.
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