Exception policy may apply any time a person or family would be ineligible due to the 60-month limit on receipt of TANF. A client may qualify for an exception at the end of the 60 months or when reapplying for TANF at a later time. If a client requests and is approved for an exception before they have 60 countable months of TANF, the exception starts in month 61. When a client qualifies for an exception, the family receives TANF benefits as though there were no time limit. The rest of TANF policy continues to apply.
To be approved for an exception, the family must meet one or more of the following exception reasons:
- application for SSI Disability pending and determined probably eligible by CAU (if on appeal, must have representation, when available);
- medical condition that prevents full-time work;
- receiving services through a program that prevents full-time work (includes DCFS, domestic or sexual violence, homeless services, mental health, substance abuse, and vocational rehabilitation programs);
- in an approved education or training program to be completed within 6 months after time runs out;
- family care barrier;
- child approved for Home and Community-based Care waiver.
If there are 2 adults in the case, only one of them has to meet an exception reason for the entire family to receive cash assistance. If one adult's counter is over 60 and the other adult's counter is under 60, either person can qualify for the exception.
To be considered for an exception, the client must complete a written request form. If the request for an exception is made on or before the 10th workday following the date the canceled benefits would have been received, restore cash assistance without a gap when the exception is approved.
The 30-day wait policy that applies to cash applications and requests for a SWAP from medical to cash also applies to requests for an exception to the 60-month TANF time limit if the request is made after the 10th workday following the date the canceled benefits would have been received.
A central office Exception Committee makes the decision to approve or deny the client's exception request, based on information provided by the Family Community Resource Center and additional expert input, as needed. They set a review date when approving the exception. When the review is due or the Family Community Resource Center becomes aware of a significant change, the Family Community Resource Center provides information for the Exception Committee to determine if the family still qualifies for an exception.
When the family no longer qualifies for an exception, TANF is extended for 3 additional months to allow the family to become fully self-supporting. At the end of the 3-month extension, the system takes action to stop cash benefits for the ineligible person(s), as though they had just reached the end of the 60 months.