IM-83 07/03/02 EVALUATION PROCESS FOR THE EXTENSION OF THE 60-MONTH LIFETIME LIMIT DUE TO A HARDSHIP
|EVALUATION PROCESS FOR THE EXTENSION OF THE 60-MONTH LIFETIME LIMIT DUE TO A HARDSHIP
|On July 1, 2002, we will see the first
families reach their 60-month lifetime limit for the receipt of Temporary
The purpose of this memorandum is to explain the evaluation process staff will follow with individuals reaching their lifetime limit. This memorandum will outline steps to take when a participant:
A flow chart is attached for staff convenience as an outline in following the evaluation process.
INFORMATIONAL/TIME LIMIT LETTERS
The Informational/Time Limit Letters are sent to the participant beginning their 24th month of receiving Temporary Assistance.
These letters are designed to inform the individual of the number of months they have received assistance, and provide resource information on:
53rd MONTH REPORT
Each family will need to have a review no later than the 54th month of cash assistance. This evaluation will include setting up a face-to-face meeting with the participant to discuss the family situation and to review the case record.
A report will be provided to SSCMs during the participant's 53rd month of receiving a cash grant. This report will also include families receiving Temporary Assistance 51 and 52 months. This will allow time to invite the participant for a face-to-face meeting in their 54th month of receipt.
LETTER OF INVITATION (IM-362)
A Letter of Invitation to the 60-Month Review (IM-362) will begin the evaluation process. This letter will explain that supporting families is important to us as an agency and DFS is dedicated to helping the family meet their goals. An appointment will be set with the participant giving them an opportunity to meet with a SSCM to discuss their family situation before reaching their lifetime limit. This meeting should be used as a time to help the participant evaluate their current situation and future plans.
If the family has an in-common case with Children's Services, a Family Support Team meeting will need to be arranged as outlined in memorandum IM-19/CS-06 dated March 6, 2002 entitled Family Support Team (FST) Meetings For Families Reaching the Temporary Assistance Lifetime Limit.
PARTICIPANT COMPLETES EVALUATION AND IS ELIGIBLE FOR AN EXTENSION
60-MONTH REVIEW CHECKLIST (IM-360)
At the face-to-face meeting complete the 60-Month Review Checklist (IM-360) that includes the following:
A. Discuss the lifetime limit of receiving the Temporary Assistance cash grant:
C. Have the participant complete the section of the IM-360 that questions:
"What do you plan to do at the end of your 60-month lifetime limit?" This will give the participant the opportunity to state their plans for their future and how case management can assist them in meeting their goals. It could also lead to further planning that may result in resource referrals.
D. Explain Extensions:
During the 60-month review all extensions for a hardship must be explained to the individual. This information will allow further discussion towards the individual's stated plan for meeting their future goals.
Extensions will be a recommendation by the team (explained in the Team Review section). If it is determined that the individual is kept from being employed by the following situations in their life they may be extended. The extension period gives the participant time to overcome/adapt to the situation at hand. The extension time will be a means to prepare for future employment.
Some of these extensions will be information staff receive through self-declaration. For this reason, verification of appropriate activities and participation may be harder to obtain. Staff will need to be creative in how and what verification will be used. Letters from sponsors or group members may be allowable if it is the only way to verify. This information will need to be allowed in the decision to extend or not. The team may request additional information if necessary.
An individual may provide documentation to verify issues of domestic violence if it is available, but their statement may be the only way to establish this claim. Using the Domestic Violence Screening (IM-2DVS) and the Domestic Violence Assessment (IM-2DVA) staff will screen individuals to establish domestic violence. If the individual fears for their safety or the safety of their children they have met the criteria for this extension even if they do not complete the screening and assessment forms.
These individuals will require intensive case management, resource referrals, and supportive services. Allow the family to overcome their immediate crisis. Once the family has established some stability, the individual may be able to participate in work activities. They may participate in shelter activities, counseling, support groups, or other activities that would lead to self-sufficiency. This individual may need encouragement and support to further their efforts in strengthening the family.
An individual's time may be extended if they have been DIAGNOSED AND IN TREATMENT with issues of substance abuse. A physician, other medical professional or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), may make the diagnosis. A diagnosis is not necessary if the individual makes a self-declaration and is willing to participate in treatment. Treatment may include, but is not limited to, short term residential, day treatment, counseling, support groups, group education, group counseling, C-STAR, Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), Narcotic Anonymous (NA), etc.
An individual's time may be extended if they have been DIAGNOSED AND IN TREATMENT with issues of mental health. A physician or licensed psychologist may make the diagnosis. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) may evaluate for mental health and if the individual is receiving VR services they will be eligible for this extension. Treatment may include, but is not limited to short term residential, counseling, support groups, mental health case management with a community support worker or targeted case manager, prescribed medication by a psychologist, or primary care physician, etc.
Some individuals will not meet the criteria for an extension as listed, but may not be able to achieve self-sufficient employment through no fault of their own i.e., multiple barriers which keep the participant unemployable. In these family situations the SSCM may recommend the team review the case for a Team Conclusion extension. This extension may be used for an individual who by agreement of the team requires continued support of their efforts in working towards self-sufficiency.
Example: The SSCM has seen the participant for several case management contacts. She has recorded on the Narrative (IM-313) the following observations exhibited by the participant:
01-02 - Kay was very withdrawn today. She would not make eye contact. Agreed to everything SSCM suggested.Team meeting was held including: Kay, Kay's neighbor who babysits for Kay, the SSCM, a Children's Services worker, a Department of Mental Health Case Manager, and Kay's housing case manager. During the meeting Kay exhibited indications of the possibility of extreme mood swings to the Mental Health worker. Kay continued to refuse going through an assessment or any kind of treatment, stating she is normal.
The team discussed all extensions. A little progress was made during the short meeting; however, there were still some who believed there might be some mental health issues. Kay continued to be very uncomfortable about being diagnosed, as she feared her children would be removed from the home. The possibility of closing the Temporary Assistance was discussed. If that happened Kay would also lose her housing assistance, as she would have no income. If this occurred the team would then be concerned about the safety of the children.
The team agreed to allow an extension (Team Conclusion) and to work intensively with Kay during the next 90 days. Kay was to continue volunteering 20 hours per week and to meet with the Mental Health case manager to discuss Kay's fear of the children being removed, along with other issues. Kay agreed to these activities and updated PACT.
Active in Children's Services and Income
Children's Services and Income Maintenance staff must support a cooperative effort in order to benefit and protect the family unit.
An extension may be approved for a family who has an active case with Children's Services in Family Centered Services or Child in Alternative Care and receives Temporary Assistance. The family must be actively working with and cooperating with the Children's Services' treatment plan and Income Maintenance's Self-Sufficiency Pact. This extension cannot be used just because there is an open case in both systems.
Families may have their lifetime limit extended if they are experiencing a crisis.
Examples of a crisis may include, but are not limited to, the following:
The case must be left open as a pending review if the evaluation process is not complete or the case record cannot support the Temporary Assistance closing. In order for the case record to support a closing the following must occur:
E. Eligibility Reviewed:
The SSCM should make referrals on the Referral and Transmittal (IM-311) to agencies that are contracted by DFS, agencies that the general population can utilize, and local organizations to assist the participant. Most of these resources serve the general population and are available, whether a family is receiving or not receiving a cash grant.
Plans on how to address particular challenges in a community should be discussed with community partners and other agencies to assist the individual in every situation. Examples of providers to assist in overcoming these challenges are:
G. Write and/or update a PACT (IM-300):
Check this box after every effort to conduct a face-to-face meeting for the evaluation was unsuccessful. Attempts to contact may be by phone, a home visit, contacts with family and friends, contact with schools and/or other agencies the family is working with to set up the face-to-face meeting. All efforts to reach the participant should be recorded on the Narrative (IM-313). (Refer to the section, Mandatory Contact with Participant is Unsuccessful, later in this memorandum).
The team(s) will be developed in each county to review all cases that have received Temporary Assistance for 54 months to ensure the objectives of case management have been met. Each county will determine how many team members are needed (minimum of three) to review cases based on the size, location, and community partners available to help with this process.
The team could consist of, but is not limited to, the:
The Team Review is about and for the participant and they should be allowed to have input into who would be at the review. The makeup of the team should be discussed at the initial evaluation. Any community partner who is also working with the family would be a valuable asset to the team. They may be able to provide resources to assist the participant after the review is completed and before the lifetime limit is reached.
The objective of the team is to review cases that will potentially lose eligibility for Temporary Assistance due to time limits, ensuring that every angle of case management has been provided to the family. The review will assure the Self-Sufficiency Pact is consistent with the family's goals at the end of their lifetime limit, and to provide the SSCM with recommendations and suggestions on other ways they might help the family. Team meetings should take place after the SSCM has met with the participant to review the case record.
If members of the team agree the participant meets an extension, the SSCM will complete an Extension or Closing Summary (IM-360A). The completed IM-360A will be attached to the IM-360, along with all other supporting documents, and submitted to the designee for a final decision.
The designee will be an Area Management staff (or Supervisor III or above in Metropolitan Offices). The designee plays a very important part in the evaluation process. They have the responsibility of the final decision, with input from the team, if a family's benefits will continue or the cash case will close at the end of 60 months.
The following should be reviewed by the designee to allow for an accurate decision on each individual:
If the designee approves the extension, the SSCM will make necessary entries in the IMU5 and JCAT system, and notify the participant of the decision.
IMU5 SYSTEM ENTRIES FOR AN EXTENSION
In the IMU5 system update the Work Requirement field (13P1) with an H for an extension. An entry of H in field 13P1 will require an entry in the Exempt Reason field (13P2) of one of the following to designate the reason for an extension:
Enter the component(s) and hours in which the individual is participating, per current policy, on the JCAT screen. The individual must participate in the weekly work requirement of 30 hours (20 hours of participation for a single parent with a child under age 6) to be counted in the participation rate. If however, the individual is not able to meet the weekly work requirement hours, s/he should be participating at the maximum number of hours agreed on by the individual, SSCM, and the team. The individual should be encouraged to participate to the best of their ability.
NOTE: If employment is obtained during an extension, 90-day supportive services may be allowed.
An individual who is not meeting the agreed upon activities of the Self-Sufficiency Pact becomes ineligible for the extension, therefore is ineligible for Temporary Assistance after reaching 60 months. Only when all efforts to overcome the participant's barriers have been exhausted should the closing process begin. The case is then sent to the designee for review and final determination.
PARTICIPANT NOTIFICATION OF EXTENSION DETERMINATION
Within ten (10) days of when the extension determination or re-evaluation has been completed a letter will be mailed notifying the participant of the extension determination outcome. Until a form letter is developed, SSCM will provide the following information in writing:
The team will re-evaluate the family's circumstances within 90 days of receiving an extension or under the following circumstances:
An extension may be received as long as the individual meets any reason for an extension outlined in this memorandum. The designee will approve all recommendations for an extension (or closing).
Staff will send written notification to the individual informing them of the re-evaluation decision within ten (10) days. (See Participant Notification of Extension Determination above.)
FAMILIES WHO ARE IN SANCTION STATUS
If a family is sanctioned for failure to participate in a work activity six (6) months prior to reaching their 60-month lifetime limit, they will be asked to participate in the same six (6) month evaluation process described above.
Complete the 60-Month Review Checklist (IM-360). If at the end of this process the family does not wish to comply, does not meet an exemption from work activities and remains in sanction status, a Team Review will not be required. Policy regarding sanction for non-compliance has not changed with this new 60-Month lifetime limit policy. (See Temporary Assistance/Case Management Manual Section 295.025.00 Sanctions).
Efforts to re-engage and offer case management will continue throughout the last six (6) months of the family's lifetime limit.
If the family is in sanction status at the end of the 59th month and the evaluation process has been attempted:
PARTICIPANT COMPLETES EVALUATION AND IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR AN EXTENSION
Following the same process as previously described in this memorandum of:
work activities during the remaining six (6) months could be:
NOTE: The participant may engage in education/training programs using DESE training dollars prior to their case being closed. The individual may continue their education after their cash grant has ended as it is already paid for.
IMU5 ENTRIES FOR CLOSING
The SSCM will be responsible to take the final action of closing the case. Complete the necessary entries in the IMU5 system as follows:
NOTE: The lifetime limit does not impact eligibility for any other programs offered through the Division of Family Services such as MC+/MAF health care coverage, food stamps, or child care.
PARTICIPANT MEETS WITH SSCM AND REFUSES TO COOPERATE WITH EVALUATION
Following the same process as previously described in this memorandum of:
Offer the participant the opportunity to list their reason(s) for not wanting to cooperate in the evaluation and/or extension on the IM-360A under the section Recommendation Summary. Request the participant sign and date the IM-360.
If every effort to engage the participant in this evaluation has failed there will be no need to involve the team. The SSCM will complete the following:
MANDATORY CONTACT WITH PARTICIPANT IS UNSUCCESSFUL
Following the same process as previously described in this memorandum of:
NOTE: This 54-month evaluation face-to-face meeting is not an eligibility factor for Temporary Assistance. The case cannot be closed before the 60th month if all eligibility factors are met.
At least two (2) written attempts should be sent to the participant to advise them of the 60-month evaluation. The IM-362 may be used as one of the two written attempts. The SSCM should use all other resources in order to contact the participant. Attempts to contact may be by phone, a home visit, contacts with family and friends, contact with schools and/or other agencies the family is working with to set up the face-to-face meeting. All efforts to reach the participant should be recorded on the Narrative (IM-313).
The return of the IM-362 does NOT constitute a Temporary Assistance case closing. Staff must check for other addresses in other assistance programs (i.e., food stamps, child care, case management records, etc.) if an IM-362 is returned. All of the attempts to contact the participant should be used to complete the 60-month evaluation.
If every effort to meet with the participant has failed, the SSCM will complete the following:
Forthcoming memorandums will include:
Attachment - Flowchart