340:10-2-8. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Work support services
(a) Scope. The worker provides or arranges payments and services for the participant to ensure successful completion of the participant's employability plan to become self-supporting.
(1) Payments are authorized for items or services directly related to employment as an outcome.
(2) When support services are available and part of the employability plan, the participant's failure to cooperate in obtaining the support services constitutes a failure to participate in the TANF Work program.
(3) Items and services covered by the participant's medical card are not paid for by the support service fund.
(4) The only support services available to an applicant are the participant allowance and work activity payment. • 1
(5) Payments are not authorized for reimbursement of expenses already paid by client or others.
(b) Flexible funds. The intent of flexible funds is to provide a participant with the necessary support services needed to accomplish his or her employment goals. Refer to Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) Appendix H-4, Flexible Accounts, for the list of flexible fund services. • 2
(1) Flexible funds are not available to the applicant. • 3
(2) To be eligible for flexible funds, the participant must:
(A) otherwise be ready to participate in a required work activity for the minimum number of hours;
(B) have a guaranteed offer of employment; or
(C) be employed.
(3) Payments for the services through flexible funds are not an automatic entitlement to the participant.
(4) Flexible funds are not used for fines, including traffic fines or any cost related to a criminal offense, such as legal fees or court costs.
(5) Designated county staff or the career development specialist has final authority to determine authorizations. • 4
(6) One-time payments of specific services are not approved for reimbursement of expenses already paid by the participant or others. • 5
(7) Ongoing maintenance payments are not allowed.
(8) The client's relatives are not eligible for payment. Refer to Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:10-9-1 for degree of relationship.
(c) Other support services.
(1) Work activity payments. Work activity payments are issued to purchase specific items, such as a tank of gas, clothing, or personal items, when needed to participate in assigned work activities. • 6 Refer to OKDHS Appendix H-4-C, Support Service Payments, for the maximum amount that may be approved.
(2) Participant allowances. Daily cash allowances are made to participants in assigned scheduled, structured, and supervised work activities based on the number of activity hours. Refer to OKDHS Appendix H-4-C for the maximum payment amounts. • 7
(A) Lunch hours and travel time are not included as actual attendance hours.
(B) For persons in Job Search, travel time between job interviews and job applications is included as actual attendance hours.
(C) The participant makes appropriate daily entries on Form 08TW013E, Time and Progress Report, to document actual attendance hours and submits it to the worker by the time frame shown on the form. • 8
(D) TANF Work participant allowances are not paid for part-time or full-time employment or on-the-job training.
(3) Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) background checks. OSBI background checks may be requested for a participant who is placed in job skills training that requires an OSBI background check as a prerequisite for employment. The job skills training may include vocational training, hands-on work experience, or public or private sector work experience. • 9
(4) Child care. Child care arrangements are made for each child in the home younger than 13 years of age or younger than 19 years of age when the child is mentally or physically incapable of self-care or under court supervision, per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:40-7-3. The worker includes the child care plan on Form 08TW002E, TANF Work/Personal Responsibility Agreement. When the person begins active participation in TANF Work activities, the worker and client complete a child care application based on the TANF Work plan, per OAC 340:40-3-1 and 340:40-7-8. • 10
(5) Transportation contracts. Transportation contracts are initiated to provide transportation for TANF recipients who have no means of transportation to access required TANF Work training activities. • 11 To initiate a transportation contract, designated county office staff contact Adult and Family Services (AFS) TANF Unit staff.
(6) Disability Advocacy Program (DAP). DAP is available to assist a TANF Work participant or a child(ren) receiving a TANF benefit, who has an application for disability pending with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or who OKDHS determines has a potentially meritorious claim for such benefits. • 12
(A) The worker makes a referral to the OKDHS-contracted law firm to assist the recipient(s) with the: • 13
(iii) Administrative Law Judge hearing; and
(iv) review by the SSA Appeals Council.
(B) The evaluation of merit determines if the appropriate SSA test for disability would be met if evidence was available to prove all conditions claimed by the TANF recipient. When the evaluation of merit determines there is:
(i) sufficient evidence, the law firm represents the TANF recipient. • 14
(I) Statewide representation consists of assisting the recipient with the application through an unfavorable SSA Appeals Council decision.
(II) In counties in which representation by a lawyer or experienced non-lawyer advocate is not available without advance payment, the contracted law firm assists with the pending application for disability through an unfavorable decision by the SSA Appeals Council; or
(ii) insufficient evidence to prove conditions claimed by the TANF recipient, no further services are provided by DAP. Representation by the law firm ceases at any time the law firm determines there is insufficient evidence to support the TANF recipient's claim for disability benefits. • 15
(7) Achievement bonuses. TANF recipients participating in TANF Work are eligible for bonuses related to achievement of certain goals when funding is available. TANF recipients may receive one bonus payment per achievement.
(A) Achievements are completion of a:
(i) high school diploma; or
(ii) high school equivalency certificate.
(B) Refer to OKDHS Appendix H-4-C for bonus payment amounts.
1. Participant allowances and the work activity payment are appropriate for a person who agrees to comply with work activities during the 60-calendar day period following closure for non-compliance with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Work activities.
2. The flexible fund guidelines for each service are listed in (1) through (33) of this Instruction. The maximum amount authorized is $750 per object code, unless the appropriate regional director or designee approves the authorization for an amount above $750. Dental may be approved up to $2500 without regional director or designee approval. For a dental expense above $2500, the worker contacts Adult and Family Services (AFS) TANF Unit staff for approval.
(1) Eye examinations. This service is utilized when there is a need for an eye examination.
(2) Eyeglasses - single vision. This service is utilized when there is a need for eyeglasses. Payment for contact lens may be approved when it is determined to be more cost efficient or beneficial to the client.
(3) Eyeglasses - bifocal or trifocal. This service is utilized when there is a need for eyeglasses.
(4) Dental. This service is utilized when there is a need for dental services.
(5) Vaccinations. To be eligible for vaccinations, such as Hepatitis B or tetanus, the participant must be otherwise ready to participate in a work activity requiring the vaccination.
(6) Work tolerance. This service is authorized to determine the participant's ability to participate in specific work activities. Form 08TW027E, Work Tolerance Report, and Form 13HI003E, Authorization to Disclose Medical Records, is completed when this service is authorized. Copies of Form 08TW027E and Form 13HI003E are filed in the case record.
(7) Weight control programs. This service is utilized when losing weight would enhance employability for the participant.
(8) Uniforms or special clothing. This service is utilized when the training facility or employer requires a uniform specifically required for the job or protective items, such as hard hats, goggles, or gloves.
(9) Clothing or shoes. This service is utilized when there is a need for clothing or shoes.
(10) Special equipment. This service is utilized when the training facility or employer requires special equipment for the job, such as tools.
(11) Self-employment. This service is utilized when the participant has a need for items that allow for implementation or continuation of self-employment.
(12) Licensure fees, certification, or bonding. To be eligible for this service, the participant verifies that license, certification, or bonding is required for employment.
(13) Automobile repair and maintenance. To be eligible for automobile repair, the automobile must be owned or co-owned by the participant, his or her spouse, or the participant's parent when the participant is younger than 21 years of age, and the participant must possess a valid driver license.
(A) The participant must provide two cost estimates from qualified repair persons. When the participant is unable to provide two free estimates, the worker may issue flex funds for estimates using the automobile inspection fee code, per Oklahoma Human Services OKDHS Appendix H-4, Flexible Accounts.
(B) The case record must contain a statement from a qualified repair person, such as a mechanic, as to whether the vehicle is worth repairing based on the age and overall condition.
(C) When parts are purchased separately for installation by someone other than a regular vehicle repair business; the qualified repair person must provide a statement attesting the parts were installed in the correct vehicle.
(D) This service may also include tire and battery expenses, when the qualified repair person determines the vehicle is inoperable or unsafe without them.
(E) The service does not include expenses, such as body repair, painting, or sanding.
(14) Driver license. This service is utilized for a TANF Work participant who needs a private or commercial license to operate a motor vehicle. The loss of a driver license, due to a traffic offense or fine is not paid with this fund.
(15) Automobile tags, title, and tax. The automobile to be tagged must be owned or co-owned by the participant, his or her spouse, or the participant's parent when the participant is younger than 21 years of age and the participant must possess a valid driver license. This service includes excise tax and transfer of title.
(16) Automobile insurance. The automobile to be insured must be owned or co-owned by the participant, his or her spouse, or the participant's parent when the participant is younger than 21 years of age and the participant must possess a valid driver license.
(17) Relocation and moving expenses. To be eligible for relocation and moving expenses, utility or rent deposits, the participant must relocate to accept employment. The employment must be located more than the locally accepted commuting distance from the participant's home.
(18) Reserved for future use.
(19) Reserved for future use.
(20) Reserved for future use.
(21) Rent and utilities. This service is utilized for an emergency shelter need.
(22) Reserved for future use.
(23) Non-contractual transportation. This service is utilized only when a county office is in the process of obtaining a transportation contract or there is no vendor available or interested in contracting with the county office.
(24) Non-contractual training. This service is utilized when short-term training courses are not covered by existing local contracts. This includes vocational classes and job readiness training.
(25) Learning disabilities screening. This service is utilized to assess a participant for learning disabilities. Adult learning centers may provide this assessment.
(26) Child care fees. This service is utilized when the participant needs assistance paying for a child care enrollment or activity fee. These funds are not used to pay actual child care costs.
(27) Past due automobile payments. This service is utilized to prevent repossession when transportation is essential to continue a work activity and the participant is able to make future payments. When the worker determines the participant is unable to make future payment, a different transportation plan must be developed.
(28) Automobile inspection fee. This service is utilized to have an automobile professionally inspected prior to purchase.
(29) Tow charge. This service is utilized when it is necessary to tow a vehicle for repair.
(30) Household items. This service is utilized to purchase or repair essential household items to prevent work activity disruption.
(31) Personal items, such as hygiene products, necessary to attend work activity, obtain or maintain employment.
(32) Health related. This service is utilized for health-related expenses not covered by SoonerCare (Medicaid), such as non-compensable prescriptions, medical supplies, psychological evaluations, mandated drug tests, or physical examinations, not paid by an employer or training provider.
(33) Disability Advocacy Program (DAP) fees. This service is utilized when fees for special testing are not covered under the DAP contract.
3. (a) In addition to active TANF clients, clients in a Subsidized Employment Program component or in special medical or continuing medical benefit status may receive flexible funds.
(b) A client whose TANF benefits closed with a 52A or a 52B closure code may also be considered eligible as a participant when:
(1) he or she signs a new or updated Form 08TW002E, TANF Work/Personal Responsibility Agreement, Section 7;
(2) agrees to cooperate with TANF Work within 60-calendar days of the closure; and
(3) the worker opens a TANF Work authorization documenting the work activity agreed upon by the client and worker.
4. The worker must:
(1) determine on a case-by-case basis whether the service is available through any other resource, including other OKDHS programs, local churches, or civic groups;
(2) negotiate for goods and services for the participant at the least possible cost and determine if the labor cost may be reduced or donated;
(3) not include state or local taxes in the negotiated amounts;
(4) pre-determine and authorize any payment or service by signing the Authorization to Purchase form; and
(5) inform the participant to sign the Authorization to Purchase form only after the service has been rendered.
5. (a) The worker accesses the payment screen through the online Financial Services system or the Finance Applications website on the InfoNet.
(1) Data entered on the provider includes the federal employer identification number, address, and phone number.
(2) The worker enters on the same screen the:
(A) case number;
(B) cash amount of the service;
(C) the applicable object code, per OKDHS Appendix H-4; and
(D) description of the service to be provided to the participant. The description is as detailed as possible to prevent misunderstanding as to what the payment of the authorization covers.
(3) The worker enters needed information, prints the completed form, obtains the supervisor's signature on the completed form in red ink, and gives the form to the participant.
(b) The county director or designee is responsible for periodically monitoring the flexible fund account expenditures.
6. The worker authorizes the work activity payment through the ETPANEW screen. The worker:
(1) upon client request, may issue up to a maximum of $40 per month when the participant has a specific need pertaining to TANF Work only. The worker only issues the amount needed to fulfill the request, not a generic $40. For example, the client needs to renew his or her driver license in order to participate in TANF Work and the cost is $31. The worker issues a work activity payment in the amount of $31;
(2) does not routinely issue a work activity payment to supplement monthly living expenses; and
(3) documents all payment amounts and reasons for issuing payments in Family Assistance/Client Services (FACS) case notes.
7. The worker uses the TANF Work components of working full-time (WF) or working part-time WP for work study participants. Refer to Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 340:10-2-1 for the payment of participation allowances for holidays and excused absences.
8. (a) Form 08TW013E, Time and Progress Report, instructs the participant to submit pages one and two to the local county office by the 20th of the current month and pages three and four by the fifth of the next month. Timesheets may be submitted by paper form, electronically, or through a client portal, such as Tuapath.
(b) The worker enters the participation hours per day in the ETPANEW transaction using information provided by the recipient on Form 08TW013E for that month. The worker rounds down to the next whole hour any portion of an hour equal to, or less than 29 minutes, and rounds up to the next whole hour any portion of an hour equal to, or greater than 30 minutes.
9. (a) The worker only authorizes a Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) background check when one is required by the program for employment in a particular field, such as medical, child care, or that requires federal bonding. The TANF benefit must be open or in the process of curing a 52A closure.
(b) The worker accesses the OSBI background request form through a link on the InfoNet AFS Job Functions page for a TANF worker.
(1) The worker completes all applicable fields on the form and clicks the submit information button to send the request for processing.
(2) Adult and Family Services TANF staff sends the OSBI response to the requesting worker as soon as possible.
(3) The worker:
(A) documents the reason for the request in case notes;
(B) images and saves the OSBI response in a section of the case record marked confidential; and
(C) mails a copy, when required, to the requesting facility.
10. The worker images the child care application, files it in the case record, and documents the days and hours child care is approved in FACS case notes.
11. TANF clients in a SEP component or in special medical or continuing medical benefit status continue to be eligible to receive transportation services.
12. The worker refers the participant to DAP when the TANF Work recipient does not have current legal representation through a private attorney.
(1) The worker initiates the referral by use of Form 08TA010E, Referral for the Disability Advocacy Program.
(2) The TANF Work recipient completes and signs Form 08TA010E, Part I, and the reverse side, Request for Release of Disability Information. When the person referred is a minor child(ren), the parent or guardian signs for the child.
(3) The worker faxes the signed and completed Form 08TA010E to the appropriate Legal Aid office.
(4) Contracted-law firm staff completes Form 08TA010E, Part II, within 10- business days of completing the evaluation of merit.
14. Law firm staff is responsible for:
(1) interviewing the referred recipient;
(2) reviewing Social Security Administration (SSA) files;
(3) obtaining existing medical records;
(4) obtaining non-medical evidence;
(5) arranging medical examinations;
(6) obtaining evaluations of residual functional capacity;
(7) completing and submitting required SSA forms;
(8) submitting evidence to SSA; and
(9) advocating, formally or informally, on the recipient's behalf.
15. (a) By contract, law firm staff must inform the worker within 10-business days when the:
(1) referral lacks sufficient merit to proceed at any stage of the process;
(2) recipient fires the law firm;
(3 recipient fails to cooperate with the law firm; or
(4) recipient refuses to pursue any stage of administrative appeal through a decision by the SSA Appeals Council.
(b) When the referral has sufficient merit to proceed, law firm staff must provide status updates to the worker within 10-business days of the:
(1) SSA application filing;
(2) SSA initial decision;
(3) SSA reconsideration request;
(4) SSA reconsideration decision;
(5) request for an Administrative Law Judge hearing;
(6) SSA hearing decision;
(7) SSA Appeals Council decision; and
(8) current referral status, when a report was not made in the previous three months.