To be eligible for TANF, an applicant must cooperate with a Family Assessment (PM 02-03-00), and development of a Responsibility and Services Plan (RSP). Point out the consequences of noncooperation (i.e., denial of cash assistance). See PM 02-09-01.
Cooperation with review and revision of the RSP at a case management contact (PM 03-13-06) is an activity compliance requirement.
Use information gathered during the Family Assessment to help the applicant develop an RSP with specific goals that address the family's needs. The plan must contain steps that support the applicant's efforts to reach and maintain maximum independence. Stress the temporary nature of the TANF program and the applicant's personal responsibility to achieve independence.
Identify strengths and resources the applicant has, and issues that present barriers, when designing the RSP. Record the goals and steps set jointly with the applicant. Although the RSP is jointly developed, DHS has the final say in determining what goals and steps are appropriate for the applicant. Ensure that the goals and steps set are appropriate.
The activities in the plan are structured to meet the specific needs of the person and their family.
The type of activity a person is assigned to depends on whether they are Work-Eligible or Exempt.
Refer the applicant to helpful resources that address the family's needs.
Participation in an activity is not required if supportive services are needed for that activity but are not available from the Department or other reasonably accessible sources.
Provide detailed information about the activity to which the client is assigned. Activities may be combined when appropriate:
- to reach the weekly Participation Target for a Work-Eligible case;
- to complement one activity with another; or
- to agree with the client's preference.
With few exceptions, persons testing below a 9.0 grade reading level as part of the Family Assessment may be approved for Education Related to Employment as part of their Responsibility and Services Plan. See PM 21-03-02.
Two-Parent/Caretaker Relative Case
Complete one RSP which sets goals and steps for both parents or caretaker relatives. Both parents/caretaker relatives are not required to be present to complete the assessment interview or to meet to discuss or revise the RSP. Only require the 2nd parent/caretaker relative to come in for an interview if you determine that input from the 2nd adult is needed to complete the assessment or to set goals.
Even though the case Participation Target PM 03-13-01-a can be met if one person completes all the hours, it may not be the best plan for leading the family to financial independence. Develop the RSP according to the household's circumstances. If it is in the family's best interest, split hours between the parents. If the couple does not split the hours as assigned in the RSP, but the case still meets its Participation Target, it is at the FCRC's discretion whether to revise the RSP at a Case Management Contact, or to follow procedure for reconciliation and sanction.
At least one parent/caretaker relative must sign the RSP. A signature by both is not required. Base the RSP on the family information and set goals and steps that best lead that family to maximum independence.
Applicant not included in TANF request
Do not complete a RSP for an applicant who is not included in a TANF request.
The RSP is not a compliance requirement for medical assistance, SNAP benefits, or TANF Child-Only cases. Refusal to comply with the RSP requirement does not affect eligibility for SNAP or medical assistance. Approve medical assistance and SNAP benefits as soon as eligibility for those programs is established (see WAG 17-02-01-a and WAG 17-02-06).
Discuss with the applicant activities, services, programs, or resources which may be of value to them and their families. Refer the applicant to any resources in the community which may be of help to them.
Make sure the applicant is aware of other benefits (i.e., Cash/Medical/SNAP benefits) for which they may qualify, and offer them the chance to change their request. If they say they don't want benefits for which they appear to be eligible, ask them why and write their answer in the case record. This is especially important with pregnant women, who may not be aware that they qualify for additional benefits.
Inform applicants, especially pregnant women, of child support services when appropriate, particularly establishing paternity at birth as a benefit to the woman and her newborn.
NOTE: If a TANF RPY requires child care due to employment, complete a referral form. Give the RPY a copy of the referral for them to provide to the CCR&R.