PM 21-06-07-f: Earnfare

WAG 21-06-07-f

  • Earnfare gives adult customers who receive SNAP benefits or are court ordered to participate, the opportunity to earn cash assistance and gain work experience. Earnfare participants earn up to a maximum of revised manual text$420 per month after working off the value of their SNAP benefit amount divided by the State minimum wage (work obligated hours). Earnfare wages are budgeted as unearned income for SNAP benefits.
  • The 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 participate in Earnfare. Earnfare is available as resources permit.
  • Earnfare participants earn cash only if they work hours beyond their SNAP benefit amount divided by the State minimum wage. 

(1) Administration and Contracts

Earnfare is administered by the Department and contracted Earnfare providers.

The Department:

  • enters into contracts with other public/private agencies or groups.
  • provides Workers' Compensation coverage for each customer assigned to Earnfare.

Earnfare participants 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 a fixed 12 months. 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 revised manual text$420 a month. See WAG 21-06-07-f to calculate the "Earnfare hours of work obligation".
  • The hours of work obligation, before Earnfare cash can be earned, changes 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.  In the event of a change to the hours of work obligation, the employer and customer will be notified of the number of hours to be performed by an Earnfare customer.
  • For a customer to be credited with obligated  hours of work, the employer must certify, according to the employer's contract with the Department.
  • Earnfare cash wages are paid directly from the Provider or the employer, if referred by the Department.
  • SNAP Earnfare customers are paid only for the hours worked beyond the work obligated hours. 
  • SNAP E & T staff 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.
  • Persons who do not qualify for Earnfare must be provided written notice, within 30 days of the request for referral, stating they do not qualify and will not receive a referral.
  • Persons who qualify for Earnfare must be provided within 30 days of the request for referral: 
    • a written notice that acknowledges the request and informs them they are eligible, but currently there are no slots available and they will be placed on a waiting list; or
    • a written notice that acknowledges the requests and provides an appointment for the customer to be assessed and referred to a suitable Earnfare slot.
  • Within 30 days of when an Earnfare slots becomes available, customers from the waiting list must be called in for an assessment and referral.
  • When an appropriate slot is available, refer 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.
  • Determine the customer's need for supportive services. 

(4) Activity Requirements

  • SNAP customers may volunteer to take part in Earnfare or noncustodial parent(s) may be ordered by a court to participate. Participation is limited to 6 months out of a fixed 12 months which begins in July 1 and ends June 30. 
  • Customers participating in Earnfare report to their assignment on time. When they cannot report to the assignment, or if they will be late, they must immediately notify the employer.
  • If the customer the customer shows an inability to perform assigned work, a reassessment must be done. If appropriate, refer the customer to apply for federal SSI benefits or to a more suitable activity.
  • A noncustodial parent ordered by the court to take part in Earnfare but who is unable to perform the assigned work should be 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.

Customers in or who begin unsubsidized (by the Department) employment while in Earnfare are eligible for job retention supports.

For Supportive Services see WAG 21-06-11.