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Employment Services Division

One Stop Center - 1114 Yuba St., Marysville, CA 95901

(530)749-6311




Welfare to Work Handbook

 

 

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What Welfare to Work Is and What Welfare to Work Can Do For You

The purpose of Welfare to Work is to help you prepare for work and find a job. Finding a job will help you become self-supporting, and your family will enjoy a better way of life. After you get a job, you will have more money for your family, serve as a role model for your children, increase your self-confidence, and build a future.

Welfare to Work was designed with you in mind. It's not just another government program. It's much more than that.

  • Welfare to Work staff are with you every step of the way, providing you with such important supportive services as child care, transportation, and work or training related expenses.

  • Welfare to Work can help you get a job that you need to be self-sufficient. If needed, you'll learn skills that will help you get a job in today's work force.  If needed, you'll learn skills that will help you get a job in your local labor market.

  • Welfare to Work can help you improve your chances of getting a job with private industries, businesses, or public employers in your area.

Through Welfare to Work, everyone wins.  You gain a career and a future.  Employers gain a skilled workforce.  Imagine The Possibilities!

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Who Must Participate?

Mandatory Participants: If you are a California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) recipient, and you are not exempt, you must participate in Welfare to Work. You are called a "mandatory participant". If you are a mandatory participant, you must:

  • Keep appointments made by your Welfare to Work worker;

  • Sign a Welfare to Work Plan;

  • Meet all Welfare to Work requirements, including the requirements in your Welfare to Work Plan;

  • Not quit your job or lower your earnings; and

  • Provide proof of satisfactory progress in your assigned activity when required.

We will decide if you must participate in Welfare to Work when:

  • You apply for aid;

  • Your eligibility is re-determined; or

  • You have a change in your exemption status.

Pregnant or Parenting Teens: All pregnant and parenting teens who are under the age of 20 are required to participate in the CalWORKs Welfare to Work program.  If you do not have a high school diploma or GED, then your only Welfare to Work activity will be to attend high school to earn a diploma or GED.

Volunteers: Even if you are not required to participate in Welfare to Work, you can ask to take part. You would be called a "volunteer". Ask your worker how you can get into Welfare to Work.

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Who Doesn't Have to Participate?

Exemptions:  You are exempt and do not have to participate in Welfare to Work if you:

  • Are under 16 years old or 60 years or older (does not apply if you are a pregnant or parenting teen);

  • Are 16, 17, or 18 years old and in high school or adult school (does not apply if you are a pregnant or parenting teen);

  • Have a disability that is expected to last at least 30 days and that would keep you from working or participating in a Welfare to Work activity, and you are either getting or trying to get the medical help you need;

  • Are pregnant and a doctor states that you cannot work or participate in Welfare to Work activities;

  • Are the non-parent relative caretaker of a child who is a dependent or ward of the court, or a child at   risk of placement in foster care and we decide that taking care of the child keeps you from working or participating in a Welfare to Work activity on a regular basis;

  • Must stay at home to take care of someone in the household who is unable to care for himself or herself   if it keeps you from working or participating in a Welfare to Work activity on a regular basis (does not  apply if you are a pregnant or parenting teen);

  • Are a full time volunteer in Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Program;

  • Are the parent or other relative caretaker of a child 12 weeks of age or younger, and are personally providing care for the child (does not apply if you are a pregnant or parenting teen).

  • Are the parent or other relative caretaker who is personally providing care to one child who is from 12 to 23 months old, or two or more children who are under six years old.  This exemption will end when you no longer qualify or until June 30, 2012, whichever comes first (does not apply if you are a pregnant or parenting teen).

We may ask for proof when you claim any of the above exemptions. Your Welfare to Work worker can review your situation at any time.

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Time Limits

You and all of the adults in your assistance unit can only receive cash aid for a lifetime total of 48 months.  It is important that you participate in all of your assigned activities so that you will be prepared to support your family.  The 48-month time limit does not apply to children under 18 years old, Medi-Cal benefits, or Food Stamp benefits.

Clock Stoppers - A month on cash aid does not count toward your 48-month time limit if you are:

  • Disabled (verified by a doctor)

  • 60 years of age or older

  • A pregnant or parenting teen under the age of 20 and you are going to school to earn your high school diploma or GED

  • Caring for a sick or incapacitated person who is living in your home and it prevents you from participating

  • Caring for a dependent child of the court or a child at risk of being placed in foster care and it prevents you from working

  • A victim of domestic abuse and the county waives the 48-month time limit.

  • Living in Indian Country or an Alaskan native village in which at least 50 percent of the adults are unemployed.

More Clock Stoppers - A month of cash aid does not count if:

  • You did not receive cash aid because your grant was less than $10

  • You are sanctioned

  • A cash aid month is fully repaid by child support collection

  • An overpayment month is fully repaid by you

  • You are the parent or caretaker of one child who is between 12 and 23 months of age, or two or more children who are under six years of age.  This exemption will end when you no longer qualify or until June 30, 2012, whichever comes first.

Clock Extenders - Your time on aid may be extended past the 48th month if all adults in your home meet one of the following exceptions:

  • Caring for a sick or incapacitated person in your home and it prevents you from working

  • Caring for a dependent child of the court or a child at risk of being placed in foster care and it prevents you from working

  • The county determines that you are not able to work or participate in Welfare to Work activities and you have always cooperated with Welfare to Work rules.

  • Are 60 years of age or older

  • Excluded from the assistance unit for a reason other than reaching the 48-month time limit

  • Receiving State Disability Insurance, Workers Compensation, In-Home Supportive Services, or State Supplementary Program benefits and the disability prevents you from working or participating in Welfare to Work activities

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Welfare to Work

There are many paths open to Welfare to Work participants.  Your path may not involve every activity in Welfare to Work.  A lot depends on your education and job history.  The activities that Welfare to Work offers are described below.  Remember:  The purpose of Welfare to Work is to HELP YOU PREPARE FOR WORK AND FIND A JOB so that you can support yourself and your family.

Appraisal - When you start participating in Welfare to Work, you will go to Appraisal.  During Appraisal, your Welfare to Work worker will look over your work history and education, need for supportive services, and other information to help the county decide what your Welfare to Work activity or activities will be.

Job Search - Following Appraisal, most participants will be assigned to up to four weeks of Job Search activities.  However, the Job Search activities may be longer or shorter if the county and you agree that it would be beneficial to you.  The following participants will not be required to participate in Job Search activities after Appraisal, but may ask to do so:

  • a person who is working in an unsubsidized job or is participating in an approved Self-Initiated Program (SIP) if the job search schedule would keep him or her from working or participating in a SIP; or

  • a pregnant or parenting teen under the age of 20 who does not have a high school diploma or GED.

Assessment  - If you do not get an unsubsidized job during your time participating in Job Search, if we decide that sending you to Job Search as your first activity would not help you, or if we decide to shorten your time in Job Search because it is not likely to lead to you getting a job, you will be sent for Assessment. 

The purpose of Assessment is for you and us to put together a Welfare to Work plan to help you get a job.  To do this, the assessor will look at your abilities, interests, work history and education, need for supportive services to get the most out of job training services offered under CalWORKs, estimate your chances of getting a job given your skills and the jobs available in your area, and any physical or mental problems you may have that limit your ability to work or participate in Welfare to Work activities, and list the services it has or can get for you so that you can finish your Welfare to Work plan.

If you are in a Self-Initiated Program, your Welfare to Work plan may be set up based on your Appraisal.  However, you may be sent for an Assessment if we need to send you to another activity at the same time so that you are participating in Welfare to Work activities for the number of hours that is required of you.

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Welfare to Work Activities

Core Activities:

  • Unsubsidized Employment

  • Work Experience

  • Work Study

  • Self-employment

  • Community Service

  • Vocational Education and Training (up to a total of 12 months)

  • Job Search and Job Readiness Assistance

Non-Core Activities:

  • Adult Basic Education or GED

  • Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment

  • Education Directly Related to Employment

  • Satisfactory Progress in Secondary School

  • Mental Health Services

  • Substance Abuse Services

  • Domestic Abuse Services

  • Vocational Education and Training (beyond 12 months)

  • Other activities that are required to get a job

  • Participation required of the parent by the school to ensure child's attendance

You can only attend vocational education and training as a Core activity for a total of 12 months during your time on aid.  If you are not finished after 12 months then the hours may be counted as a Non-Core activity.

If you are in a Self-Initiated Program (SIP) then the Core and Non-Core hour rules do not apply to you.  If your classroom, lab, and internship hours do not total 32 or 35 hours we may have you participate in another activity also.

Reappraisal - If you do not have a job after finishing all of the activities included in your Welfare to Work plan, and you have had an assessment, you will go to Reappraisal.  In Reappraisal, we will decide if there were special circumstances that kept you from getting a job in your area.  If we decide that you did have special circumstances, you will be sent to another activity.  If we decide that you do not have special circumstances, you will have to participate in one of the following activities:

  • Unsubsidized Employment

  • Self-Employment

  • Work Experience

  • Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment

  • Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and/or Domestic Violence Services

Exceptions to Core and Non-Core Hours

You may be able to count your participation in certain Non-Core activities as a Core activity if:

  • You are receiving mental health, substance abuse, or domestic abuse services and the county determines that treatment is necessary for you to be able to participate in other activities, or

  • You are participating in adult basic education, job skills training directly related to employment, or education directly related to employment, or satisfactory progress in a secondary school or GED program, and:

    1. The program will lead to a job

    2. You are making satisfactory progress

    3. You do not have a college degree unless you are getting a California teaching credential

    4. The program is on an approved county list

The time you spend to study for classes may count toward your Core or Non-Core hours also.  See your worker if you have any questions regarding these requirements.

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Hours of Participation

One-Parent Families - If you are the adult in a one-parent CalWORKs case, and you are not exempt, you will have to participate in your assigned Welfare to Work activity or activities for a total of at least 32 hours a week.  Of the 32 hours a week that you have to participate, at least 20 hours must be in a Core Welfare to Work activity and the rest of the hours can be in a Core or Non-Core activity.

Two-Parent Families - If you are an adult in a two-parent CalWORKs case, and you are not exempt, you and or the other parent in your assistance unit will have to participate in your assigned Welfare to Work activity or activities for a total of at least 35 hours a week. 

Note:  Both parents may participate to meet the 35-hour requirement, but one of you must participate for at least 20 hours a week in a Core activity. 

Note:  The hours of participation requirements to not apply if you are under 20 years old and you are pregnant or a parent and you do not have a high school diploma or GED

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Participating in More Than One Activity at a Time

We may require you to participate in more than one activity at the same time if you can handle it, it is consistent with your Welfare to Work Plan, and the activities can be scheduled together.

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Satisfactory Participation

Attendance - When you sign your Welfare to Work Plan, you agree to go to your activity and complete it.

Satisfactory Progress - All Welfare to Work participants are required to make satisfactory progress toward completing their assigned activities.  You may be required to give proof of your participation hours and progress.  Each activity is designed to help you get a job and be self-supporting.  Always try to do your best and take advantage of the opportunity to get better prepared for a job.

Completion of Assignment - Your assigned activity or activities is considered complete when you have finished all areas you were required to participate in. You must continue to participate in Welfare to Work until you get a job and become self-supporting.

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Supportive Services

We understand that you may need more than just training and job counseling to take part successfully in Welfare to Work.  That is why we will help you arrange and/or pay for child care, transportation, and work or training related expenses.  If other funding sources are not available to pay for all of your supportive services expenses, we will pay for the supportive services as described below.

Advance Payments - If you qualify for Welfare to Work supportive services payments, and you need your supportive service payment before you begin your activity, we will give you an advance payment.  That way, you will not be out any money - even for a short time.

Supportive Services payments include the following:

  • Child Care Costs, if the child care is necessary for you to participate in Welfare to Work activities. You can get child care for each child in your CalWORKs assistance unit, who is 10 years old or younger.  Also, you may get child care for a child who lives with you, but is not in your CalWORKs assistance unit, if not having child care would keep you from participating or getting a job.  You can choose the kind of child care you want, like child care centers, relatives, friends, or neighbors.  We cannot pay for child care if you choose somebody in your CalWORKs assistance unit, the child's legal guardian, the parent, or somebody under 18 years old as the caregiver.  Payments can be made to licensed child care providers and, in some cases, to persons who don't need to be licensed.  If your provider is not licensed, he or she must apply for Trustline registration, unless your provider is your child's aunt, uncle, or grandparent.  The most we can pay is the rate based on what is normally charged for child care in the area where you live.

  • Transportation Costs up to a certain amount for travel to and from your Welfare to Work activity, and for you and your children to travel to and from childcare. 

  • Work or training related costs for books, tools, and special clothing you need as part of your Welfare to Work activity. 

  • Personal Counseling to help you participate in Welfare to Work.  We will refer you to those places which may be able to help you.

NOTE:  If Welfare to Work pays more child care, transportation costs, or work or training related costs than you need to participate, you will have to pay Welfare to Work back.  But you may not have to pay Welfare to Work back while you are in Welfare to Work if doing so would keep you from participating.

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Supportive Services After The 48-Month Time Limit

We will provide case management services and job leads to help you become self-sufficient once you have reached the 48-month time limit.  If you have a job, you may receive help to pay for child care for 24 months after you reach the 48-month time limit or discontinue cash aid.

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Alternative Payment Program

Children's Home Society will pay your child care giver directly.  Your child care provider does not have to change once you go to work or transition off aid.  If you still need help with your child care costs after you have been off aid for two years, you may be eligible, depending on the amount of your income, to continue to get help from Children's Home Society.

See your Welfare to Work worker for more information on having your child care paid.

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Your Welfare to Work Plan

Your Welfare to Work plan is important.  It tells you how you and we will work together so that you can compete for and find a job.  The plan will make sure that you receive the agreed-upon services and training for as long as you are taking part in Welfare to Work and receiving cash aid.  Your plan tells you what you must do, and what we must do, to make Welfare to Work work for you.

Your Welfare to Work worker will help you review each of the following parts of your Welfare to Work Plan:

1.  The Welfare to Work Plan - Rights and Responsibilities tells you about Welfare to Work, our responsibilities, and your rights and responsibilities as a participant.  This agreement applies as long as you are in Welfare to Work.

2.  This Welfare to Work Handbook.

3.  The Welfare to Work Plan - Activity Assignment tells you about the Welfare to Work activity or activities in which you are participating.

Read all of the parts of your Welfare to Work Plan, including this Welfare to Work Handbook, carefully.  If you have any questions, be sure to ask your Welfare to Work worker.  Both you and your Welfare to Work worker will sign each assignment.

You must continue to participate in Welfare to Work, moving from one activity to another, until you get a job and become self-supporting.

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Good Reasons for Not Participating

We recognize that you may have a good reason for not signing your Welfare to Work Plan, for not taking part in one of the Welfare to Work activities that you agreed to in your activity assignment, for not accepting a job offer or job referral, for quitting a job, or for reducing your earnings.  Some of these reasons are related to you personally, and some are related to the assignment.

Reasons related to you:

  • You need transportation or work or training related expenses paid to participate, and these have not been provided.

  • You are a victim of domestic violence and participating would be harmful to you or your family.

  • Licensed or exempt child care is not reasonably available during your training, employment, or travel time for:

    - a child 10 years old or younger; or

    - a child who is in foster care or is an SSI recipient, but who is not included in the assistance unit.

Reasons related to activity assignment or job:

  • Discrimination at the job or training because of age, sex (includes gender identity), race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability (includes physical, mental, HIV/AIDS status), political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, domestic partnership, or ethnic group identification.

  • Travel to work or training from your home is more than two hours round trip by car, bus or other transportation, or more than two miles round trip if you have to walk because other transportation is not available.  The limit on travel and mileage does not include transportation time or mileage to take family members to and from school or to and from other care providers.  Note:  If you do not take a job or participate in an assigned activity because of this reason, you will have to participate in Community Service.

  • The job requires more daily or weekly hours of work than is normal or customary.

  • Conditions at the job or training violate health and safety standards or could cause you serious injury or death.

  • The job or work activity does not provide Worker's Compensation Insurance.

  • Accepting a job or work activity would interrupt or interfere with an approved education or training assignment, except Work Experience or Community Service.

  • Accepting the job or work activity would cause you to violate the terms of your union membership.

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What Happens If You Do Not Participate

As you know, participation in Welfare to Work is mandatory for all able-bodied CalWORKs applicants and recipients.  Exemptions are listed in the section titled, "Who Doesn't Have to Participate".

If, for any reason, you do not do what Welfare to Work requires, the following steps will be taken:

Cause Determination - If you do not meet Welfare to Work requirements, you have the right to explain why.  The county will decide if it is a good reason.  (See the section titled, "Good Reasons For Not Participating".)

If you have a good reason for not doing what Welfare to Work requires, your Welfare to Work worker will try to help you so that you can meet Welfare to Work requirements.  If changes can't be made so that you are able to meet the Welfare to Work requirements, you will not be required to participate in Welfare to Work.

Compliance - If you do not meet Welfare to Work requirements, we will send you a notice. You will have 20 calendar days after the date of the notice to meet with or call your Welfare to Work worker to give a good reason for not doing what you are required or to agree to sign a compliance plan to do what you are required, if you do not have a good reason.  If you meet the requirements of the plan, no penalties will be applied to you.

Financial Sanctions - If you are a mandatory participant (see the section titled, "Who Must Participate") your family's cash aid will be lowered if you fail or refuse to meet Welfare to Work requirements without a good reason and do not resolve the problem by signing and completing a compliance plan.

Your family's cash aid will be lowered if anybody who must participate does not meet Welfare to Work requirements. This financial sanction will happen only if the person does not have a good reason, or they fail to sign or complete a compliance plan. The person who gets a financial sanction will not receive cash aid for a period of time.

If your family is a two-parent family getting cash aid because of unemployment, there are special rules for financial sanctions.  If a parent who must participate in Welfare to Work causes a financial sanction, both parents will lose their cash aid. But the parent who did not cause the sanction can keep his or her cash aid if he or she participates in Welfare to Work, or is exempt, or has good cause for not participating.

You can contact the county at any time and request to cure your sanction and you can get cash aid again if you complete the activity that the county asks you to do.

Pregnant or Parenting Teen - The rules are different if you are pregnant or a parent under 20 years old and you do not have a high school diploma or GED.

If you are 16, 17, 18, or 19 years old and not attending school or not making satisfactory progress, your family's

  • cash aid will be lowered by the amount of cash aid your family gets for you

  • If you are under 16 and not attending school regularly, your family's cash aid will be lowered by the amount of cash aid your family gets for your parent(s)/caretaker relative

  • If you are under 16 and are attending school but not making satisfactory progress in school, your family's cash aid will be lowered by the amount of cash aid your family gets for you.

Penalties for Volunteers - Individuals who are exempt from participation (see the section titled, "Who Doesn't Have To Participate") may choose to volunteer to participate in Welfare to Work. If you volunteer for the Welfare to Work program, but fail to meet Welfare to Work requirements without a good reason, you may not be allowed to participate in Welfare to Work for a period of time.

See your Welfare to Work worker if you have any questions regarding these requirements.

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Your Child's School Attendance

If your child(ren) must attend school and we decide that he or she does not do so regularly, your family's cash aid also will be lowered.  You must show proof that your child is attending regularly, if we ask for it.

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What You Can Do If You Do Not Agree

There are three actions you can take if you do not agree with our decision.

  1. State Hearing - If you disagree with any county decision regarding a Welfare to Work penalty (see the section titled, "Good Reasons for Not Participating"), your status (standing) in Welfare to Work, your Welfare to Work activity or your Welfare to Work supportive services, you can ask for a state hearing.  For Welfare to Work financial sanctions, you can use the same process you use when you disagree with the action we take on your cash aid.  Your Welfare to Work worker will help you file for a state hearing if you want one.  You can request a rehearing after the state hearing decision is reached.

    • If you file for a state hearing before the penalties start, penalties will not be applied while the hearing is being decided.

    • If you file for a state hearing for any other county action, different rules apply.  The Welfare to Work hearing rights form explains those rules.  You can ask for copies of the form at any time.

  2. Independent Assessment - If you do not agree with the results of your Assessment or Welfare to Work Plan, someone who is not a county representative will review your Assessment and do another one, if necessary. The results of this independent Assessment will be used to set up your Welfare to Work Plan.

    • If you have an independent Assessment done, penalties will not be applied while you await the results of the review.

  3. Formal Grievance set by the County Board of Supervisors - This is the process adopted by the Yuba County Board of Supervisors.  Your Welfare to Work worker will tell you how this grievance process works.

    • If you use the formal grievance process you must continue to meet Welfare to Work requirements.  If you do, penalties will not be applied while the grievance is being decided.

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Yuba County Employment Services Division • 1114 Yuba St., Marysville, CA 95901 • (530)749-6311 Fax (530) 749-6809

 

©2009 County of Yuba, CA