EES POLICY NO. 12-11-03

RE: Termination of the Social Security Application (SSA) Component:  Phase 1


Contact Person:

Ruth Arensdorf or Jaryl Perkins

FROM:   Ruth  Arensdorf Assistant Program Manager

KEESM Reference:

3330.6,3330.10, 3330.12, 3130, 3130.2 and others

DATE:    November 06, 2012


Primary DCF Areas Affected: Work Programs, Benefits and FPL

Where Posted on Web:

Federal guidelines encourage states to explore TANF participants’ capabilities rather than focusing on their limitations and to provide self-sufficiency opportunities for people with disabilities by engaging them in appropriate work activities. State agencies must offer people with disabilities an equal right to participate in programs rather than automatically exempting them from participation requirements.   In our efforts to improve TANF clients with disabilities quality of living through gainful employment at a competitive wage, we are implementing several changes in our work program philosophy, components and protocol. This policy memo addresses the first phase of these changes which will go into effect November 1, 2012.

  1. The Social Security Application (SSA) Component is being removed- On October 31, 2012 the SSA component code will be removed from the KSCARES system and all open SSA components will be end-dated.  Central office will review SSA cases and sometime prior to rollover will cancel all transportation allowance payments (TRPA) attached to the SSA components. The workers will be notified when the TRPA is canceled.  This memo is accompanied by a report which lists all TANF participants currently assigned to SSA, DES, PHC, MHC, or has these open components in conjunction with other activities on SESP. Workers will have to determine which participants are actually in the process of applying for Social Security benefits and contact those clients to come in for a work program meeting.

  2. DCF will no longer pay for SSA representation- All providers who are being paid to provide Social Security (SS) benefit application representation must be notified and local agreements must be terminated as per the agreement termination policy.  Starting immediately, EES workers will no longer refer TANF clients to the providers KLS or Mentoring Works for advocacy or representation.  These agreements have been terminated by the Deputy Secretary. TANF clients may continue to work with advocates and/or representatives at their own expense.   TANF clients may apply for SS benefits at any time, however this will not be recognized as a work program component and will not excuse the TANF client from participating in employment focused training or activity. EES workers may provide information about community resources to TANF clients who wish to apply for SS benefits.

  3. Declaring Hardship- TANF applicants who declare disability must provide documentation to be excused from the Applicant Job Search requirement. They must still complete the Work Readiness Screen.  Clients declaring a disability at application may be referred to Rehabilitation Services prior to TANF Approval. Upon TANF approval these clients must still complete the Self-Assessment, and SASSI if appropriate. Once TANF is approved the EES worker will use the guidelines in KEESM 3330.4 and appendix form E-12 to determine if the client is a good referral for Rehabilitation Services.

    Clients with on-going cases may declare a disability at any time, but they will be responsible to provide documentation of their disability immediately. All documentation will be subject to a second opinion. Upon receiving documentation, the EES worker may assign the client to further assessments to determine their capabilities and assign them to additional activities if appropriate. The SESP codes PHC and MHC should be used for this purpose in conjunction with other activity codes. If it is determined the client cannot work, the EES worker will code them PHC or MHC and note on the COUP screen description line that the person is incapable of working.  This person may then be coded IN/MD on JOPR. If the client meets the criteria for a referral to Rehabilitation Services (RS), they will be placed into MHC or PHC on SESP with a note on the COUP description line that the client has been referred to RS.  If RS services are approved, the EES worker will place the client into the DES component on SESP with a note on the COUP description line giving the RS workers name and contact information.  They will be coded NA/MD on JOPR as they will be engaged in employment focused activities through RS.
    To determine if a declared disability is a hardship, all supporting documentation must be provided. All documentation will be subject to a second opinion. The request and supporting documentation must be reviewed by the PA to determine if the condition should be reviewed by the central office panel for hardship extension.

    A client who has been in PHC or MHC prior to their 40th month may request a hardship extension to 60 months, but will be required to provide new or current documentation showing their case has not improved or has worsened. Any condition approved for a hardship extension must be reviewed at 6 months and current documentation must be provided.

  4. Workers will have 6 months to reassign clients to activities- EES workers will have 6 months to review their WP cases, meet with and reassign or assess their clients who are in SSA, DES, MHC or PHC and are in the process of SS benefit application. To clarify, the only appropriate use of the DES component is for clients who have been accepted into and are working with the Rehabilitation Services program. It may be appropriate to reassign a client to PHC or MHC if it is determined they absolutely cannot work or be retrained for gainful employment. Any one being assigned to PHC or MHC for disability reasons will have their case reviewed every 6 months, at which time new medical or vocational documentation may be requested. The EES worker is to carefully explain options so the client can make informed decisions.

  5. Moving forward- In the coming months, central office will be working with Rehabilitation Services and the Presumptive Medical Disability Team (PMDT) for options.  Local offices are encouraged to reach out to community partners for suggestions and assistance in providing gainful opportunities to our disabled population.   KEESM sections 2243, 3330.6, 3330.10, 3330.12, 3130 and 3130.2 will be revised in the November KEESM revision.  New developments will be sent to the PAs as they occur. Look for new forms and guidelines in the coming weeks.
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