A. Unsubsidized Employment

Unsubsidized employment is full or part-time employment in the public or private sector where the employer is not subsidized by TANF or any other program. Self-employment is included as unsubsidized employment and includes farming, sales, small business, domestic work, and providing child care.

Self-Employment (Determining Number of Hours Working)

To determine the number of monthly hours worked for self-employed persons, except those self-employed as child care providers, the monthly number of hours worked is equal to the individual's gross self-employment income, less business expenses, divided by the lowest of the Federal or State minimum wage. The monthly hours worked are divided by 4.3 to determine the average weekly number of hours worked.

Self-Employment - Child Care Providers (Determining Number of Hours Working)

So as not to discourage TANF adults from being engaged as a licensed or licensed-exempt child care provider, the minimum wage formula is not used to determine the number of hours worked for this population. For self-employed child care providers, the hours worked is equal to the number or hours documented on the clients' self-employment records.


B. Subsidized Private and Public Sector Employment

Subsidized employment is paid employment in the private or public sector for which the employer receives a subsidy from public funds to offset some or all of the wages and costs of employment. The purpose of subsidized employment is to increase the employability of the client by providing needed work experience that will help transition them to unsubsidized employment.

In Illinois, Transitional Jobs, an employment model that subsidizes client wages is used on a limited basis. Through agencies contracted to provide work and training services, clients are assigned to Transitional employment in the private or public sector. Assignments to subsidized employment are generally short-term, averaging 6 to 12 months in length.


C. Work First/Work Experience

Work Experience is a work activity that is performed in return for TANF and SNAP benefits. Work Experience provides the client with an opportunity to acquire general skills and work habits necessary to obtain employment. The purpose of Work Experience is to improve the employability of a client who cannot find unsubsidized employment. This is a core activity and may be counted for 20 or more hours per week.

A client assigned to Work Experience is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). They may not be assigned more hours of Work Experience than their TANF cash grant amount plus their SNAP benefits divided by the higher of the Federal or State minimum wage.

If a client is required to complete 30 hours per week, the Provider is responsible for assuring that the client is assigned at least 20 hours in a core activity, and no more than 10 hours per week in a non-core activity.

  1. The Provider must ensure that TANF clients participating in Work Experience and Community Service are assigned to appropriate activities for the number of hours needed to earn their grant and SNAP benefits. Assigned hours and activities must also be consistent with Federal regulations.
  2. Clients will not be required to participate for more hours than the monthly TANF cash assistance amount plus the monthly SNAP benefit amount divided by the higher of the State or Federal minimum wage. Clients who participate for the maximum hours allowed under this calculation will be "deemed" to have met their required number of core hours.
  3. When a client is referred to the Provider for a Work Experience assignment, the referral packet will include information on the number of hours required for the client to achieve the Federal participation rate. If the required number of core activity hours falls below the minimum required for the customer to meet Federal requirements, the Provider must assign additional hours in non-core activities, to assure that the client is given the opportunity to achieve the required number of hours.
  4. Providers are responsible for engaging clients in the appropriate activities and for the required number of hours at the point of initial contact.
  5. Providers are required to electronically submit weekly activity reports to DHS by the close of business on Tuesday of each week. These reports are to cover the calendar week of Saturday through Friday, and are to contain verified documentation of each client's assigned hours, activity code(s) and type, actual hours completed, location of assignment, information about outreach and reconciliation activities, and signatures verifying accuracy of information.
  6. Work Experience is a core activity and may be counted for 20 or more hours per week. If the customer is required to complete 30 hours per week, subject to FLSA calculation the contractor may assign the customer to 30 hours in this activity. If these hours are available with the employer/sponsor, it is not necessary to assign additional hours in a non-core activity.


D. Community Service

Community Service is a structured program of activities in which the client performs work for the direct benefit of the community. The goal of Community Service is to improve the employability of the client. Community Service programs serve a useful community purpose in fields of health, social service, environmental protection, education, urban and rural redevelopment, welfare, recreation, public facilities, public safety and child care.

  1. Community Service may be performed at locations such as libraries, area schools, soup kitchens, food pantries, senior citizen centers, nursing homes, hospitals, social service agencies and homeless shelters.
  2. An agreement is needed which includes a description of how the service is of benefit to the community, a position description of the duties and expectations of the client, and the responsibility for supervision.
  3. Clients performing Community Service will not be required to participate for more hours than the monthly TANF cash assistance amount plus the monthly SNAP benefit amount divided by the higher of the Federal or State minimum wage.  Clients who participate in Community Service for the maximum hours allowed under this calculation will be "deemed" to have met their weekly requirement of 20 core activity hours.
  4. When a client is referred to the Provider for a Community Service assignment, the referral packet will include information on the number of core activity hours required for the client to achieve the Federal participation rate.  If the required number of core activity hours falls below the minimum required for the customer to meet Federal requirements, the Provider must assign additional hours in non-core activities, to assure that the client is given the opportunity to achieve the required number of hours.
  5. Providers must maintain verification of attendance, records of client's activities and actual hours performed on each activity, and a record of the client's progress.
  6. Providers are required to electronically submit weekly activity reports to DHS by the close of business on Tuesday of each week. These reports are to cover the calendar week of Saturday through Friday, and are to contain verified documentation of each client's assigned hours, activity code(s) and type, actual hours completed, location of assignment, information about outreach and reconciliation activities, and signatures verifying accuracy of information.
  7. Community Service is a core activity and may be counted for 20 or more hours per week.


E. Vocational Education Training

Vocational Education Training is an organized educational program that is directly related to the preparation of an individual for a specific occupation that requires training including programs that lead to a baccalaureate or advance degree including months in a baccalaureate or advanced degree. Vocational education training is not countable for more than 12 months for any individual. This is a core activity and may be counted for 20 or more hours per week.

  1. Vocational Education programs are provided by vocational-technical schools, and may also include degree or certificate programs, or at secondary and post secondary education institutions.  For a distance learning course, the client must submit initial verification of the course and credit and ongoing weekly attendance records to document actual hours of attendance.  The client must attach any information provided by the program including log-in/log-out times and proof of work submitted.
  2. Vocational Education training is a core activity and may be counted for 20 or more hours per week; however, it is only countable for 12 months in a 60-month period.  In addition to the actual attendance hours, one hour of unsupervised homework time is allowed for each hour of classroom time, plus any additional supervised study time.  Participation in distance learning can be counted to the extent that the distance learning program is directly related to a specific occupation or training and provides credit toward an educational program.
  3. Vocational education training programs are limited to activities providing knowledge and skills to perform a specific trade, occupation or other vocation.
  4. Participation in a Vocational Education program requires prior approval from the Administrator of the FCRC where the case is assigned. If the Provider's assessment shows that assignment to this activity is the best plan for the client, the FCRC is to be contacted for approval. 
    • If the FCRC Administrator agrees that participation in a Vocational Education program is the best plan for the client, written approval is required. The FCRC Administrator will forward Form 2151 to the Provider with copies of applicable pages of the RSP attached.
  5. The Provider will be responsible for monitoring and reporting the client's activities and hours. If the customer has not completed the course of study at the end of the 12-month lifetime limit, the contractor must get approval from the Administrator of the FCRC to continue servicing the customer. 
    • (If the contractor determines that it is to the client's benefit to continue in the program past the 12-month period, a "full staffing" has to be arranged with the administrator of the FCRC at least 30 days in advance of the 12-month expiration period. Approval has to be given in writing via an updated RSP and 2151A.)
  6. Satisfactory progress will be addressed by the class instructor on the weekly attendance and activity report.
  7. The class instructor is responsible for the daily supervision of the client, and for reviewing and verifying, via signature, documentation of the total hours of attendance.
  8. The Provider is responsible for assuring that the Provider's staff, the instructor, or the student submits Attendance and Activity Reports to the FCRC on a weekly basis.


F. Job Search and Job Readiness Activities

Job Search activities include seeking or obtaining employment.

Job Readiness is the preparation needed for a client to seek or obtain employment. 

Clients With No Employment Barriers

For clients determined to be job ready, Job Search and Job Readiness include preparing a resume or job application, training in interviewing skills, instruction in work place expectations, training in effective job seeking, coaching, mentoring and life skills training.

Clients With Barriers to Employment

For clients with employment barriers, Job Readiness also includes Substance Abuse treatment, Mental Health treatment, Rehabilitation activities, and Domestic Violence services.

  1. Job Search and Job Readiness are core activities and may be counted for 20 or more hours per week. (Exception: Domestic Violence is not a core activity and may not be counted for 20 or more hours.)
  2. Counting participation in Job Search and Job Readiness activities is limited to 120 hours for a single custodial parent with a child under six years of age and 180 hours for all others.  For months that we qualify as a "needy State" due to high unemployment, the limits are 240 hours for a single custodial parent with a child under six years of age and 360 for all others.  For participation purposes, counting Job Search and Job Readiness activities will be limited to 4 consecutive weeks.  After a break from counting hours during the 5th week, the 4 consecutive weeks can be repeated until the 120/180 hour limit is reached.  The limits on counting Job Search and Job Readiness activities apply to the month of determination and the preceding 11 month period.
  3. Job Search and Job Readiness activities are coded on the Attendance and Activity Report as Activity Codes 200 (Job Search/Readiness), 788 (Mental Health), 616 (Medical), 783 (Alcohol/Substance Abuse) and 784 (Domestic Violence).
  4. The time limits on counting this activity apply to Job Search, Job Readiness, and Job Readiness Barrier Reduction Services collectively, not separately.
  5. Job Search and Job Readiness activities must be supervised and documented. When a client is assigned to a contractual employment and training Provider, the Provider is responsible for supervising, documenting, and providing weekly reports of the client's activities and actual hours of participation.
  6. Job Search and Job Readiness activities will be documented on the weekly activity and attendance report. The number of actual hours will be entered for each day the activity occurs.
  7. The weekly attendance and activity report must be signed by the Provider and submitted to the FCRC caseworker on a weekly basis.
  8. Contracted Providers are required to submit weekly reports electronically.


G. Job Skills Training

Job Skills Training is training or education designed to assist the client in meeting the skill levels required by an employer to provide an individual with the ability to obtain employment, prepare for a promotion, advance, or adapt to the changing demands of the workplace.

  1. Job Skills Training is a non-core activity. No more than 10 hours per week may be counted for this activity.
  2. Job Skills Training may be customized training for a specific employer or a specific job.
  3. Job Skills Training may also include training that develops or enhances a client's skills in the area of writing, reading, mathematics, oral or written business communication, computer skills, or new industry technology.
  4. Job Skills Training may include retention services to recently employed clients such as training on job related issues, job coaching, counseling and follow up with employers to address problems on the job.
  5. Actual time spent in class as well one hour of unsupervised homework time for each hour of class time, plus any additional supervised study time will be counted as part of the activity.  For a distance learning course, the client must submit initial verification of the course and credit and ongoing weekly attendance records to document actual hours of attendance. The client must attach any information provided by the program including log-in/log-out times and proof of work submitted.
  6. The Job Skills Training provider is responsible for the supervision of the client. The Provider is responsible for obtaining documentation from the training provider and electronically submitting weekly activity and attendance reports to the FCRC caseworker.


H. Education Directly Related to Employment

Education directly related to employment, in the case of a client who has not received a  high school diploma or GED, means education related to a specific occupation, job, or job offer.  This includes Adult Basic Education (ABE), General Education Development (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED classes when required as a prerequisite for employment.

  1. Education Directly Related to Employment is a non-core activity. No more than 10 hours per week may be counted for this activity.
  2. The Provider will submit weekly attendance and activity reports to verify the client's actual hours of attendance. In addition to the actual attendance hours, one hour of unsupervised homework time is allowed for each hour of classroom time, plus any additional supervised study time.  Participation in distance learning can be counted to the extent that the distance learning program is directly related to a specific occupation or training and provides credit toward an educational program.  The client must submit initial verification of the course and credit and ongoing weekly attendance records to document actual hours of attendance. The client must attach any information provided by the program including log-in/log-out times and proof of work submitted.
  3. The class instructor will address satisfactory progress on the weekly attendance and activity report.


I. Secondary School Attendance (Teen Parent Services)

Secondary School Attendance is an education program for teen parents age 19 or younger that have not completed secondary school or received their GED.

  1. This program includes enrollment in a secondary school, a course of study leading to a GED or a basic remedial education program.  Participation in distance learning can be counted to the extent that the distance learning program is directly related to the completion of secondary school or receipt of their GED.
  2. The primary goal for teen parents is educational attainment.
  3. Attendance in secondary school or the equivalent is a core activity. The client will be counted as engaged in work and meeting the Federal participation rate if satisfactory attendance is maintained throughout the school year.
  4. Proof of satisfactory attendance will be documented on the weekly attendance and activity report.  One hour of homework time is added for each hour of classroom time.  Any hours of supervised study are also added.  For a distance learning course, the client must submit initial verification of the course and credit hours as well as ongoing weekly attendance records.  The client must attach any information provided by the program including log-in/log-out time, proof of work submitted, and progress achieved.
  5. The contracted Provider is responsible for assuring that daily activities are documented and submitted to the FCRC caseworker on the weekly attendance and activity report.
  6. Teen Parent Providers are responsible for submitting attendance and activity reports at least twice per month.
  7. Even though Providers are not required to submit reports on a weekly basis, a report is required for every week in the month.