Earnfare gives adult customers who receive SNAP benefits and who volunteer or are court ordered to participate, the opportunity to earn cash assistance and gain work experience. Earnfare participants may be assigned up to a maximum of 80 hours per month and earn up to a maximum of $294 per month after working off the value of their SNAP benefit divided by the state minimum wage.
Receipt of SNAP benefits is not an eligibility requirement for a noncustodial parent of a TANF child(ren) who is ordered by a court to participate in Earnfare. Customers are not entitled to be placed in an Earnfare slot. Earnfare slots are made available as resources permit.
Earnfare participants are volunteers and may not be sanctioned. Earnfare participants earn cash if they work hours beyond their SNAP workoff. A person who fails to cooperate with Earnfare is reassigned to another activity and may be sanctioned if they do not comply with the newly assigned activity.
(1) Administration and Contracts
Earnfare is administered by the Department and regular Earnfare providers.
- enters into contracts with other public/private agencies or groups to help develop job slots, and
- provides Workers' Compensation coverage for each customer assigned to Earnfare.
Earnfare assignments must not displace persons who:
- are employed as full-time or part-time employees of the employer, regardless of whether the person is currently working or on a leave of absence;
- are, or have been, involved in a labor dispute between a labor organization and the employer; or
- have been temporarily laid off by the employer.
(2) Eligibility and Benefit Amount
Participation is limited to 6 months out of 12 months in a row. A month is any month the customer receives an Earnfare payment of any amount. This includes $1.00 earned over the SNAP work-off hours. The 12 months is a fixed period that begins in July and ends in June of the following year.
NOTE: The court may order a noncustodial parent to take part in Earnfare for less than 6 months out of any 12 months in a row.
Individuals who are receiving TANF, or who would be eligible for TANF if they applied, are not eligible to participate in Earnfare.
A noncustodial parent who is in Earnfare by order of the court earns the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher, for each hour they take part in Earnfare. The first $50 earned is paid to a custodial parent as child support.
A person participating in Earnfare can earn a maximum of $294 a month. See WAG 21-06-07-f to calculate the "Earnfare hours of work obligation".
The hours of work obligation change each time the SNAP customer's monthly SNAP benefit changes by at least $20. This is effective the same month as the change in the SNAP benefit. Notify the employer of the number of hours of employment to be performed by an Earnfare customer.
Customers must be credited with hours of work that the employer certifies, according to the employer contract with the Department.
Regular Earnfare wages are paid by the provider. A customer referred to a regular Earnfare employer by the Department will receive wages directly from that employer.
SNAP customers are paid only for the hours worked in excess of the monthly SNAP benefit. Earnfare wages are budgeted as unearned income for SNAP benefits.
SNAP E & T must try to resolve any disputes between the employer and the customer when they disagree over the number of hours worked. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the customer may appeal (see PM 01-07-00).
(3) Notification and Referrals
SNAP E & T maintains up-to-date public listings of Earnfare employers and openings. This information is available to the public in writing or by phone during regular business hours.
All customers must be given a written notice when they leave Earnfare, specifying when they may requalify.
Refer any person to Earnfare who requests a referral.
Within 30 days after a request for an Earnfare referral:
- persons not qualifying for Earnfare must be given or sent a notice stating they do not qualify and will not receive a referral;
- persons requesting a referral and qualifying for Earnfare must be provided with a written notice that acknowledges the request and informs them they are eligible.
When possible, within 30 days of the written notice, customers must be assessed and referred to a suitable Earnfare slot.
Within 30 days after any additional Earnfare slots become available, customers must be called in for an assessment and referral.
When an appropriate slot is available, assign the customer to an Earnfare activity. Assess the customer based on their age, literacy, education, educational achievement, job training, work experience, and any recent mental or physical hospitalization.
Consider these factors when they are known to the Department or its contractors and relate to the customer's success in carrying out the assigned activities and in obtaining employment.
Inform the customer about the Earnfare program. Assign the customer to an SNAP E & T activity and/or refer the customer to an employer. Determine the customer's need for supportive services. If available, refer the customer to an Earnfare provider in the area.
(4) Activity Requirements
- Customers may volunteer to take part in Earnfare or they may be ordered by a court to participate. Participation is limited to 6 months out of 12 in a row. The 12 months is a fixed period which begins in July and ends in June of the following year. Earnfare participants may be assigned up to a maximum of 80 hours per month.
- A noncustodial parent participates for 6 months unless the court orders participation of less than 6 months out of the 12-month period.
- When notified, customers must report to their Earnfare assignment on time. When they cannot report to the assignment, or if they will be late, they must immediately notify the employer.
- During the assignment, customers must accept bona fide offers of suitable employment.
- During the assignment, customers must apply for suitable jobs for which the Earnfare administering agency or employer makes a referral.
Reassess the customer when they show an inability to perform assigned work. If appropriate, refer the customer to apply for federal SSI benefits.
A noncustodial parent ordered by the court to take part in Earnfare but who is unable to perform the assigned work is referred back to DCSE.
A customer may be dismissed by the Earnfare employer before the assignment ends:
- upon the customer's failure to live up to the requirements of the assignment; or
- upon the customer's commission of any gross misconduct on the job.
Determine if good cause exists (see PM 21-06-10-d). If good cause exists, the customer is returned to the assignment. If the customer did not have good cause, they will be assigned to another activity.
As resources permit, Earnfare customers may volunteer for a job search activity for 2 months in a 12 consecutive month period. Customers are expected to make at least 20 employer contacts each month while in the job search activity. Customers in unsubsidized (by the Department) jobs while in Earnfare may be eligible for job retention supports.
(5) Supportive Services
Earnfare customers receive an allowance of up to $100 in a 12-month period for clothing.
Either DHS or the contractor provides advance payment to customers who need transportation to and from assignments.
Transportation must be at the most reasonable cost. Customers not in the job search activity may also receive help with transportation for specific job interviews arranged by the employer.
If the customer's own vehicle is the least costly means of transportation, the rate of 15¢ per mile may be approved.
Customers in the job search activity may receive up to $20 every 30 days for employer contact-related expenses (i.e., transportation).