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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

256.035 Income support and transition.

Subdivision 1. Expectations. All families eligible for assistance under the family investment plan who are assigned to a test group in the evaluation as provided in section 256.031, subdivision 3, paragraph (d), are expected to be in transitional status as defined in section 256.032, subdivision 12. To be considered in transitional status, families must meet the following expectations:

(a) For a family headed by a single adult parental caregiver, the expectation is that the parental caregiver will independently pursue self-sufficiency until the family has received assistance for 24 months within the preceding 36 months. Beginning with the 25th month of assistance, the parent must be developing or complying with the terms of the family support agreement.

(b) For a family with a minor parental caregiver or a family whose parental caregiver is 18 or 19 years of age and does not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, the expectation is that, concurrent with the receipt of assistance, the parental caregiver must be developing or complying with a family support agreement. The terms of the family support agreement must include compliance with section 256.736, subdivision 3b. However, if the assistance unit does not comply with section 256.736, subdivision 3b, the sanctions in subdivision 3 apply.

(c) For a family with two adult parental caregivers, the expectation is that at least one parent will independently pursue self-sufficiency until the family has received assistance for six months within the preceding 12 months. Beginning with the seventh month of assistance, one parent must be developing or complying with the terms of the family support agreement. To the extent of available resources and provided the other caregiver is proficient in English, the commissioner may require that both caregivers in a family with two adult parental caregivers, in which the youngest child has attained the age of six and is not in kindergarten, must be developing or complying with the terms of a family support agreement by the seventh month on assistance. A caregiver shall be determined proficient in English if the county agency, or its employment and training service provider, determines that the person has sufficient English language capabilities to become suitably employed.

If, as of July 1, 1996, the other caretaker is enrolled in a post-secondary education or training program that is limited to one year and can reasonably be expected to lead to employment, that caretaker is exempt from job search and work experience for a period of one year or until the caretaker stops attending the post-secondary program, whichever is shorter.

Subd. 2. Exemptions. (a) A caregiver is exempt from the requirement of developing and complying with the terms of the family support agreement, or engaging in transitional activities, if:

(1) the caregiver is not the natural or adoptive parent of a minor child; or

(2) the caregiver is exempt under United States Code, title 7, section 2031(c)(1)(A)(B)(C)(D)(E) or (F).

(b) A parental caregiver exempt under paragraph (a), clause (2), may meet with a case manager and develop an employability plan if the parental caregiver fits one of the categories of expectations in subdivision 1, and may receive support services including child care if needed to participate in activities identified in the employability plan.

Subd. 2a. Good cause. The county agency shall not impose the sanction in subdivision 3 if it determines that the parental caregiver has good cause for not meeting the expectations of developing and complying with the terms of a family support agreement developed with the county agency. Good cause exists when:

(1) needed child care is not available;

(2) the job does not meet the definition of suitable employment in section 256.032, subdivision 11a;

(3) the parental caregiver is ill or injured;

(4) a family member is ill and needs care by the parental caregiver that prevents the parental caregiver from complying with the family support agreement;

(5) the parental caregiver is unable to secure the necessary transportation;

(6) the parental caregiver is in an emergency situation which prevents compliance with the family support agreement;

(7) the schedule of compliance with the family support agreement conflicts with judicial proceedings;

(8) the parental caregiver is already participating in acceptable activities;

(9) the family support agreement requires an educational program for a parent under age 20, but the educational program is not offered in the school district;

(10) activities identified in the family support agreement are not available;

(11) the parental caregiver is willing to accept suitable employment as defined in section 256.032, subdivision 11a, but employment is not available; or

(12) the parental caregiver documents other verifiable impediments to compliance with the family support agreement beyond the parental caregiver's control.

Subd. 3. Sanctions. A family whose parental caregiver is not exempt from the expectations in subdivision 1 and who is not complying with those expectations by developing or complying with the family support agreement must have assistance reduced by a value equal to ten percent of the transitional standard as defined in section 256.032, subdivision 13. This reduction is effective with the month following the finding of noncompliance and continues until the beginning of the month after failure to comply ceases. The county must provide written notice to the parental caregiver of its intent to implement this sanction and the opportunity to have a conciliation conference, upon request, before the sanction is implemented. Implementation of the sanction shall be postponed pending resolution of the conciliation conference under section 256.036, subdivision 5, or hearing under section 256.045.

Subd. 4. Renumbered 256.033 subd 1a

Subd. 5. Orientation. The county agency must provide orientation which supplies information to caregivers about the Minnesota family investment plan, and must encourage parental caregivers to engage in activities to stabilize the family and lead to employment and self-support.

Subd. 6. Repealed, 1991 c 292 art 5 s 82

Subd. 6a. Case management services. (a) The county agency will provide case management services to caregivers required to develop and comply with a family support agreement as provided in subdivision 1. For minor parents, the responsibility of the case manager shall be as defined in section 256.736, subdivision 3b. Sanctions for failing to develop or comply with the terms of a family support agreement shall be imposed according to subdivision 3. When a minor parent reaches age 17, or earlier if determined necessary by the social service agency, the minor parent shall be referred for case management services.

(b) Case managers shall provide the following services:

(1) the case manager shall provide or arrange for an assessment of the family and caregiver's needs, interests, and abilities according to section 256.736, subdivision 11, paragraph (a), clause (1);

(2) the case manager shall coordinate services according to section 256.736, subdivision 11, paragraph (a), clause (3);

(3) the case manager shall develop an employability plan according to subdivision 6b;

(4) the case manager shall develop a family support agreement according to subdivision 6c; and

(5) the case manager shall monitor the caregiver's compliance with the employability plan and the family support agreement as required by the commissioner.

(c) Case management counseling and personal assistance services may continue for up to six months following the caregiver's achievement of employment goals. Funds for specific employment and training services may be expended for up to 90 days after the caregiver loses eligibility for financial assistance.

Subd. 6b. Employability plan. (a) The case manager shall develop an employability plan with the caregiver according to this subdivision and section 256.736, subdivision 11, paragraph (a), clause (2), which will be based on the assessment in subdivision 6a of the caregiver's needs, interests, and abilities.

(b) An employability plan must identify the caregiver's employment goal or goals and explain what steps the family must take to pursue self-sufficiency.

(c) Activities in the employability plan may include preemployment activities such as: programs, activities, and services related to job training and job placement. These preemployment activities may include, based on availability and resources, participation in dislocated worker services, chemical dependency treatment, mental health services, self-esteem enhancement activities, peer group networks, displaced homemaker programs, education programs leading toward the employment goal, parenting education, and other programs to help the families reach their employment goals and enhance their ability to care for their children.

Subd. 6c. Family support agreement. (a) The family support agreement is the enforceable component of the employability plan as described in subdivision 6b and section 256.736, subdivision 10, paragraph (a), clause (15). A parental caregiver's failure to comply with any part of the family support agreement without good cause as provided in subdivision 2a is subject to sanction as provided in subdivision 3.

(b) A family support agreement must identify the parental caregiver's employment goal or goals and outline the steps which the parental caregiver and case manager mutually determined are necessary to achieve each goal. Activities are limited to:

(1) employment;

(2) employment and training activities; or

(3) education up to a baccalaureate degree.

(c) A family support agreement shall include only those activities described in paragraph (b). Social services or activities, such as mental health or chemical dependency services, parenting education, or budget management, can be included in the employability plan and not in the family support agreement and are not subject to a sanction under subdivision 3.

(d) For a parental caregiver whose employability plan is composed entirely of services described in paragraph (c), the family support agreement shall designate a date for reassessment of the activities needed to reach the parental caregiver's employment goal and this date shall be considered as the content of the family support agreement. The parental caregiver and case manager shall meet at least semiannually to review and revise the family support agreement.

(e) The family support agreement must identify the services that the county agency will provide to the family to enable the parental caregiver to comply with the family support agreement, including support services such as transportation and child care.

(f) The family support agreement must state the parental caregiver's obligations and the conditions under which the county agency will recommend a sanction be applied to the grant and withdraw the services.

(g) The family support agreement will specify a date for completion of activities leading to the employment goal.

(h) The family support agreement must be signed and dated by the case manager and parental caregiver. In all cases, the case manager must assist the parental caregiver in reviewing and understanding the family support agreement and must assist the caregiver in setting realistic goals in the agreement which are consistent with the ultimate goal of financial support for the caregiver's family. The case manager must inform the caregiver of the right to seek conciliation as provided in subdivision 6e.

(i) The caregiver may revise the family support agreement with the case manager when good cause indicates revision is warranted. Revisions for reasons other than good cause to employment goals or steps toward self-support may be made in the first six months after the signing of the family support agreement with the approval of the case manager. After that, the revision must be approved by the case management supervisor or other persons responsible for review of case management decisions.

Subd. 6d. Obligation to seek and obtain full-time employment. (a) When the family support agreement specifies a date when job search should begin, the parental caregiver must participate in employment search activities. If, after three months of search, the parental caregiver does not find a job that is consistent with the parental caregiver's employment goal, the parent must accept any suitable employment. The search may be extended for up to three months if the parental caregiver seeks and needs additional job search assistance.

(b) When the family support agreement specifies job search consistent with the overall employment goal, the caregiver is expected to seek and accept full-time employment. For this purpose, full-time employment means 30 or more hours a week. Caregivers who are single parents with a child under six satisfy this requirement by working 20 or more hours a week.

(c) A caregiver who voluntarily quits suitable employment without good cause or without agreement of the case manager, or who is terminated for nonperformance, must contact the case manager within ten calendar days of the date employment ended to schedule a meeting to revise the family support agreement. A caregiver who fails to contact the case manager within the required time or fails to attend a scheduled meeting to revise the family support agreement is subject to sanction. If the revised family support agreement specifies job search, the caregiver must take any suitable employment. A caregiver who fails to comply is subject to sanction. A caregiver who voluntarily quits suitable employment with good cause or who is laid off must contact the case manager within ten calendar days of the date employment ended to schedule a meeting to revise the family support agreement. A caregiver who fails to contact the case manager within the required time or fails to attend a scheduled meeting to revise the family support agreement is subject to sanction. If the family support agreement specifies job search, the search is limited to three months to find a job related to the caregiver's overall employment goal. After three months, the caregiver must take any suitable employment. A caregiver who fails to comply is subject to sanction.

Subd. 6e. Conciliation. A conciliation procedure shall be available as provided in section 256.736, subdivision 11, paragraph (c). The conciliation conference will be available to parental caregivers who cannot reach agreement with the case manager about the contents or interpretation of the family support agreement, or who have received a notice of intent to implement a sanction as required under subdivision 3. Implementation of the sanction will be postponed pending the outcome of conciliation. The conciliation conference will be facilitated by a neutral mediator, and the goal will be to achieve mutual agreement between the parental caregiver and case manager. The conciliation conference is an optional procedure preceding the hearing process under section 256.045.

Subd. 7. Repealed, 1991 c 292 art 5 s 82

Subd. 8. Child care. The commissioner shall ensure that each Minnesota family investment plan caregiver who is employed or is developing or is engaged in activities identified in an employability plan under subdivision 6b and who needs assistance with child care costs to be employed or to develop or comply with the terms of an employability plan receives a child care subsidy through child care money appropriated for the Minnesota family investment plan. The subsidy must cover all actual child care costs for eligible hours up to the maximum rate allowed under section 119B.13. A caregiver who is in the assistance unit who leaves the program as a result of increased earnings from employment and who needs child care assistance to remain employed is entitled to extended child care assistance as provided under United States Code, title 42, section 602(g)(1)(A)(ii) on a copayment basis.

Subd. 9. Health care. A family leaving the program as a result of increased earnings from employment is eligible for extended medical assistance as provided under Public Law Number 100-485, section 303, as amended and Public Law Number 101-239, section 8015(b)(7).

HIST: 1989 c 282 art 5 s 10; 1991 c 199 art 2 s 17; 1991 c 292 art 5 s 16,83; 1992 c 513 art 8 s 8; 1995 c 178 art 4 s 1; 1996 c 465 art 3 s 5,6