End of Good Cause for TANF Work and Training Due to COVID-19 (09/29/2021)

Illinois Department of Human Services logo


Policy Memo


  • Beginning October 01, 2021 Good Cause due to COVID-19 is no longer an acceptable exemption for failure to participate in TANF Work and Training activities. 
  • Beginning October 01, 2021 TANF cases with adults that are required to participate in Work and Training activities but allowed Good Cause due to the COVID-19 health emergency should now be reassessed.
  • TANF cases requiring case management contact have been identified and distributed to the Regional Offices.
  • Beginning October 01, 2021 workers should review and complete all existing WVS tasks.
  • All TANF Work and Training Activity requirements including the Family Assessment/Responsibility and Services Plan (RSP) for new TANF applications will resume effective October 01, 2021.
  • Case management contact is required in order to reassess the TANF family's situation to update the existing RSP or create a new RSP when needed.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is issuing policy ending good cause for participation in TANF Work and Training activities due to COVID-19.

Beginning October 01, 2021 TANF customers can no longer claim good cause for refusing or failing to comply with a TANF Work and Training activity due to COVID-19.

Policy published on 03/23/2020 Good Cause Allowed for COVID-19 Crisis TANF Work & Training ends on 09/30/2021. DHS will continue to monitor the public health emergency and will provide further guidance, as necessary. 

Policy published on 04/18/2020 Changes to Application Processing for Cash assistance due to COVID-19 Pandemic has been changed: Effective October 01, 2021 all TANF applications will require an assessment, and a signed RSP.

Until the public health emergency ends:

  • Face-to-Face interviews for cash applications are still suspended. Cash application interviews are still required and may be conducted over the telephone.
  • Verbal attestation properly documented by the State can be accepted during Telephonic Interviews. After conducting a cash application interview over the telephone, have the customer verbally attest that the information taken is true and accurate and make a "Case Comment" in IES that the customer is unable to sign the application due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Unsigned applications for cash assistance received by mail can be signed by a simple verbal attestation when properly documented by the State.
  • Verifications needed can be postponed in order to approve cash assistance.

TANF Cases

  • Active TANF cases will require a reassessment and a signed Responsibility and Services Plan (RSP). TANF cases that require case management contact have been identified and distributed to the Regional Offices.

Case Management Contact/Responsibility and Services Plan (RSP)

  • A list of TANF cases requiring immediate case management contact has been distributed to the Regional Offices. 
  • New TANF applications received on or after October 01, 2021 will require a Family Assessment and RSP be completed.
  • Beginning October 01, 2021 case management contact must be made with active TANF work-eligible customers to either create or update the existing RSP. 
  • Beginning October 01, 2021 workers should review and complete all existing WVS tasks.
  • During contact with the customer workers should review TANF counters by explaining the 60-month limit for TANF, and telling the customer how many TANF months have passed and how many months are remaining. Workers are to issue form 4335 per WAG 03-06-00.
  • The RSP can be completed by phone as necessary. The RSP signature page may be mailed to the customer with a VCL instructing the customer to sign and return within 10 days.
  • Workers are to allow an additional 10 days if the signed RSP is not received before beginning the reconciliation and sanction process. Make a case comment indicating an additional 10 days is being allowed for the customer to return the RSP signature page.

Good Cause/Sanction

A TANF customer who claims good cause for a stated refusal to meet the activity requirement must provide evidence of good cause. A customer may still claim good cause for failing or refusing to meet the activity requirement. If a customer claims that their action was due to good cause, review the facts of the case and follow policy PM 03-13-04-a.

Before sanctioning the customer, workers should ensure that providers and the activity are available to the customer. Do not sanction a customer when an activity is not available or provider/provider slots are unavailable.

Workers should attempt the reconciliation process before sanctioning customers. A case comment must be made indicating all actions taken on the case. 

[signed copy on file]

Grace B. Hou

Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services

Forms Referenced