TANF State Work Participation Rate and Policy

Illinois Department of Human Services


Policy Memorandum


  • The State TANF Work Participation Rate (WPR) is modified. 
  • To meet the State WPR, 50% of cases with Work-Eligible clients must meet the minimum Participation Target for their case.
  • Work-Eligible individuals are defined as persons of any age who receive the adult payment standard and who do not meet any criteria which would exempt them from participating in a Countable activity.
  • Countable hours completed voluntarily by persons who are not Work-Eligible due to meeting an exemption reason are counted as extra credit toward the State WPR.  
  • TANF activities are defined as Countable or Support Activities.
  • Work, Training and Education activities are Countable, and are defined as either Core, or Non-Core activities.
  • Work-Eligible individuals are required to participate in Countable activities to meet the Participation Target for their case.
  • Participation Targets are determined by the number of Work-Eligible individuals in a case, the number of persons receiving the adult payment standard, the number of teen parents working toward their high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma, and the age of the youngest child.
  • The distinction between "two-parent" and "two Work-Eligible" case is clarified.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) calculation determines the maximum number of hours to which we may assign an individual in Work Experience, Work First or Community Service.
  • Vocational Education and Associate/Bachelor Degree are post-secondary programs which may meet the minimum Core requirement under certain conditions.
  • Job Search may not be assigned as the sole activity for more than 8 consecutive weeks in any 12 month period.   
  • An Exempt individual meets a reason to be considered not Work-Eligible.  
  • Countable activities are never required for an Exempt person, but they may be included in their Responsibility and Services Plan (RSP) on a strictly voluntary basis.
  • Support Activities are those which do not count toward the State WPR, but which are nonetheless important to lead the family toward well-being and financial self-sufficiency.
  • Include Support Activities in the RSP of an Exempt person. Support Activities may be added to the RSP of a Work-Eligible person if needed.
  • There are no minimum Target hours for Support Activities. Cooperation with activities as assigned in the RSP is required.  
  • A Case Management Contact (CMC) is required monthly for a Work-Eligible person unless employment hours meet the Participation Target.
  • Case Management Contact frequency varies for Exempt individuals. 

    1. How does the State WPR and policy differ from Federal regulations and reporting?
    2. Who is considered to be Work-Eligible?
    3. Who is considered to be Exempt?
      1. A person is Exempt when they:
        1. What about a teen parent who receives as a dependent child in a case with siblings or a parent?
    4. "Two-Parent" vs. "Two Work-Eligible" Case
    5. What are Countable Activities?
      1. What's the difference between a Core and Non-Core Activity?
      2. Why do some cases meet the Core requirement even though hours assigned are less than 20 or 30?
        1. Rules for assigning hours in Work Experience, Work First and Community Service:
    6. How do we determine if a Work-Eligible case is meeting it's Participation Target?
      1. Special Participation Target considerations for two Work-Eligible cases:
      2. Participation Target Examples
    7. Post-Secondary Programs
      1. Post-Secondary Work Requirements
      2. Work requirement for Vocational Training after 12 months:
        1. Vocational Training Examples:
      3. Work requirement for Associate/Bachelor Degree Program:
        1. Associate/Bachelor Degree Program Examples:
    8. Job Search
    9. What are Support Activities?
    1. Contact Method
    2. Contact Frequency & Purpose


The State TANF Work Participation Rate (WPR) is modified. To meet the State WPR, 50% of cases with Work-Eligible clients must meet the Participation Target for their case. Countable hours completed voluntarily by Exempt clients are counted as extra credit toward the WPR.  

Work-Eligible individuals of any age who are receiving the adult payment standard are included in the WPR. This includes teen parents who have their own case, but not teen parents who receive as dependent children. In addition, credit is given for verified countable activities completed voluntarily by Exempt persons who are not included in the Work-Eligible population.

How does the State WPR and policy differ from Federal regulations and reporting?

We are placing terminology in the manual which was introduced with federal TANF Reauthorization included with the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. 

State Participation policy and WPR reporting differ from Federal Participation rules or reporting in several ways:

  • Cases with 2 Work-Eligible persons are included in the State WPR. (legacy Category 06)
  • Adult-only pregnant woman cases are included in the State WPR.
  • Refugees are counted in the State WPR after 12 months of TANF assistance.
  • There is no imposed limit to the number of weeks Job Search/Job Readiness may be counted as a Core activity, although there is a limit to the number of weeks it may be assigned as the sole activity.  
  • Hours of participation in Associate/Bachelor Degree Program may meet the minimum Core requirement for a one Work-Eligible case as long as the 2.5 GPA criteria are met. 
  • Activities to address substance abuse and mental health are non-countable Support Activities.

Federal reporting will continue to be handled by the Bureau of Performance Management. State WPR reports are being developed at state, regional and FCRC levels.

Who is considered to be Work-Eligible?

Individuals are counted in the Work-Eligible population when they:

  1. receive cash for themselves; and
  2. receive the adult payment standard; and
  3. are not exempt from engaging in countable activities.

All three conditions must be met. 

Who is considered to be Exempt?

To not be considered Work-Eligible, a person must have at least one reason to exempt them from participating in countable Work, Training and Education (WT&E) activities.

A person is Exempt when they:

  • do not receive cash; or
  • are caring for a related child under age one (only one adult per case & not applicable to teen parent who does not have diploma or GED); or
  • are age 60 or older; or
  • are a dependent child (see "What about a teen parent..." below); or
  • have one of the following types of medical barrier:
    • pending or approved by the Client Assessment Unit (CAU); or
    • woman within her last 6 weeks of pregnancy; or
    • new mother 12 weeks after delivery; or
    • receives Social Security disability benefits based on own disability; or
  • have a Family Care Barrier pending or approved by CAU; or
  • have a child in home approved for Medically Fragile Technology Dependent (MFTD) waiver (both parents); or
  • are approved for Family Violence Exclusion.

If none of the above criteria are met, a person receiving TANF as an adult is included in the Work-Eligible population.

What about a teen parent who receives as a dependent child in a case with siblings or a parent?

For reporting purposes, only a person who receives the adult payment standard is included in the Work-Eligible population. A teen parent who is included in a case as a child is not included in the Work-Eligible population. However, the teen is still required by policy to sign a RSP and to finish their high school education, so is not truly exempt from WT& E activities. The WPR is not affected negatively or positively by the status of a dependent teen's compliance, unless the entire case loses cash due to the teen parent's non-compliance.

Examples of Work-Eligible & Exempt persons:

  1. A 64 year old woman receives cash as an optional caretaker relative in a case with her granddaughter. She is over age 60, so she is Exempt. If she were under age 60, she would be Work-Eligible unless she met another exemption reason.
  2. A 22 year old woman has a level 3 sanction due to noncooperation with child support. She is dropped from the Work-Eligible population because she is not receiving cash. 
  3. A 17 year old and her 2 year old child receive cash with the 17 year old's mother. The teen parent is not included in the Work-Eligible count because she receives as a dependent child. However, this does not mean she is exempt from the activity compliance requirement. She still has an RSP, and must cooperate with completing her education.
  4. The 17 year old's 16 year old boyfriend moves in with the family and paternity is established for their 2 year old. The young couple and their child are set up in their own case with the 17 year old as head of household.  Both teen parents are now included in the Work-Eligible population because they receive the adult payment standard.
  5. A pregnant 15 year old teen lives with her parents and siblings, but has her own case because the rest of her family did not apply for TANF. She is included in the Work-Eligible population because she is head of household and receives the adult payment standard. Determine parent liability if the 15 year old's parents have income.  
  6. A woman who has lost custody of her older children applies for TANF. She verifies she is in her 3rd month of pregnancy. She doesn't meet any reasons for an exemption, so she is considered Work-Eligible up until 6 weeks before her due date.

"Two-Parent" vs. "Two Work-Eligible" Case

For state participation purposes, a two-parent case is one in which 2 caretakers are included in the TANF adult payment standard. The word "parent" is used loosely to also include related caretakers who are not the actual parents of children in the case.

When two parents or related caretakers are Work-Eligible, then it is a two Work-Eligible case.

Example: Mr. and Mrs. R receive TANF with their children. Mrs. R is has an approved medical barrier. Since both parents are included in the adult payment standard, it is a two-parent case. Mrs. R is exempt from participating in Countable activities, so it is a one Work-Eligible case.

What are Countable Activities?

Employment, work-like activities, training and education are activities which count toward the Work Participation Rate.

Countable Work, Training and Education (WT&E) activities are divided between Core and Non-Core activities. Going forward, when the term "Core" or "Non-Core" is used, it means a Countable Work, Training or Education activity. 

More detailed information about Countable, as well as Support Activities will be included in a manual release.

What's the difference between a Core and Non-Core Activity?

Core activities are primary activities which lead most quickly to making a family self-supporting. When counting hours, the minimum Core requirement for a one Work-Eligible case is 20 hours. The minimum Core requirement for a two Work-Eligible case is 30 hours.

For teen parents under age 20 who are assigned to finishing their high school/GED education, hours are not used. When teen parents are the only Work-Eligible persons in the case, the Core requirement is met with regular attendance at the school program, and satisfactory progress as determined by passing grades. 

In order for a secondary Non-Core activity to count toward the Participation Target, the minimum Core requirement must first be satisfied. Non-Core activities which enhance a person's employability can be counted after the minimum Core requirement is met.  

Assign Countable activities using the Work Verification System (WVS) or the Responsibility and Services Plan (Form 4003 series). 

Activity Description


Subsidized or

Core 802

Employment for which wages are received. 

It is subsidized if the employer receives a subsidy from DHS to offset some or all wages and costs of employment. We do not currently have subsidized employment.

Self-Employment Core 801 When self-employed as a child-care worker paid at or near the Department rate, report actual hours worked. Otherwise, divide the number of hours worked by the federal minimum wage to determine reported hours.  See PM 03-06-01-c.
Work Experience  Core 530

Placement in a supervised work assignment with a public or private organization that has an agreement with the Department.  

Unpaid practicums, clinicals or vocational internships required to complete an educational program.

Work First Core 211 A type of Work Experience which is pay-after-performance.
Community Service Core 346 A structured program of activities in which the person performs work for the direct benefit of the community. Requires a position description and a signed agreement with the agency which is responsible for supervision.
Job Search/Job Readiness
Core 200

Job search includes making contact with potential employers, whether by telephone, in person or via the Internet, for the purpose of learning about a suitable job opening, applying for a vacancy, or interviewing for a job.

Job readiness activities for a client who is job-ready include preparing a resume or job application, training in interview skills, instruction in work place expectations, and training in effective job seeking.

Vocational Training Core 350 An organized educational program that is directly related to the preparation of a client for a specific occupation. The program usually results in the receipt of a Certificate of Achievement or Completion.
Associate/Bachelor Degree Program Core 342 An Associate or Bachelor Degree program that qualifies the client for a specific job or field of work.
High School/GED Program for Teen Parents Core 355 An education program for teen parents age 19 or younger who have not completed secondary school or received their GED.
Job Skills Training Related to Employment Non-Core 222 Education or training that provides a client with the ability to obtain employment, or to advance or to adapt to the changing demands of the workplace. Job skills training can be customized training for a specific employer or it can be general training that prepares a client for an occupation or specific type of job.
Education Directly
Related to Employment  
Non-Core 356
  1. Adult basic education for clients who test below a 9th grade reading level, or who need remedial education at the high school level or below to gain and maintain employment. 
  2. GED program for adults age 20 or older who have not completed secondary school or received their GED.
  3. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for a person with limited English language skills. 

Why do some cases meet the Core requirement even though hours assigned are less than 20 or 30? 

Assigned hours may be less than the minimum Core requirement for three activities: Work Experience, Work First and Community Service.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) determines the maximum number of hours to which we may assign an individual in work-like activities. It's as if the person is working and we are paying them the minimum wage. As Work First, Work Experience and Community Service are activities which simulate employment, we cannot expect or count more hours than the total amount of cash and SNAP benefits divided by the larger of state or federal minimum wage. The state minimum wage of $8.25 is currently used.

The FLSA calculation of hours is done using Work Experience/Work First/Community Service Worksheet (Form 4044).

As long as the individual works the hours calculated by Form 4044, they meet the Core requirement. If the calculated hours fall short of the 20/30 hour Core requirement, we "deem" or consider the missing hours to have been completed for reporting purposes. If the hours calculated are greater than the Core requirement, we can use those hours toward meeting the Participation Target if additional hours are needed. If the hours calculated are greater than the Participation Target, only assign and hold the person accountable for hours up to the Target. If supplemental hours are needed to bring the case up to the Target, use any of the other Countable non-FLSA activities.

Rules for assigning hours in Work Experience, Work First and Community Service:
  1. Do not assign more hours than are calculated by Form 4044.
  2. It is acceptable to use calculated hours to supplement the Core requirement if additional hours are needed to meet the case Participation Target. If more hours are still needed, supplement with any other Countable (Core or Non-Core) activity other than Work Experience, Work First or Community Service.
  3. Do not assign hours above and beyond the Participation Target for the case. The person may volunteer to do more than their Target hours, but do not take negative action as long as the Participation Target is met.
  4. If the Core requirement and Participation Target hours are the same, the Target is met once the Core requirement is met.

How do we determine if a Work-Eligible case is meeting it's Participation Target? 

The Participation Target reflects the minimum activity compliance expectation for a case.

When using hours, a case will have a Participation Target of 20, 30 or 35 hours. 

If the case's only activity is High School/GED Program for Teen Parents, the Target is met by regularly attending the educational program, and making satisfactory progress toward completion as determined by passing grades. If a Work-Eligible person not assigned to Teen Parent HS/GED is included in a case, then hours are used as part of the Target. 

After the minimum weekly 20/30 hour Core requirement is met, we may need to add more hours to reach the weekly 20/30/35 Target. If the Participation Target is the same as the Core Requirement, no additional hours are needed.

If there are no Work-Eligible persons in a case, the case does not have a Participation Target. The individuals must still comply with Support activities included in their RSP.

Special Participation Target considerations for two Work-Eligible cases: 

When a two-parent case has two Work-Eligible adults, the Participation Target is usually at a case level, rather than at an individual level, meaning that no one person has a minimum hour requirement, but that the couple is responsible for the total between them. The exception to this is when one parent is assigned to Teen Parent HS/GED, and the other parent is assigned to a different Core activity. In this situation, the Target can only be met for the case if both parents fully comply. The teen parent must be attending regularly and making satisfactory progress as determined by passing grades, and the other parent is responsible for 30 Core and Target hours.  

Even though participation 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. For more on developing a RSP for a 2-parent household, see PM 02-09-01-a and PM 19-02-06.

To determine the Participation Target for a case, we consider:

  1. the number of persons in the adult payment standard (one or two-parent case); and
  2. the number of work-eligible individuals in the household; and
  3. whether or not there is a teen parent with school as their activity; and 
  4. whether or not there is a child under the age 6 in a one Work-Eligible case.
Total # persons
in TANF adult
Total #
persons in case
Total #
Teen Parents
in case
child under
age 6?
Participation Target  (Refer to 
1 0 0 - none none A
1 1 0 YES 20 hrs/week 20 hrs/week B
1 1 0 NO 20 hrs/week 30 hrs/week C
1 1 1 - Satisfactory
met if making satisfactory
2 0 0 - none none E
2 1 0 - 30 hrs/week 30 hrs/week F
2 1 1 Satisfactory
met if making satisfactory
2 2 0 - 30 hrs/week 35 hrs/week  H
2 2 2 - Satisfactory
met if making satisfactory
2 2 1 - 30 hrs/week 30 hrs/week and satisfactory

Participation Target Examples

Refer to chart above.

A: Single Parent case - Exempt 

Ms. B has a 6-month old infant, so is exempt from participating in Countable activities. She does not have a Participation Target. However, she would like to continue working toward her cosmetology certification, so Vocational Education is added to her RSP to enable her to receive supportive services. Her FCRC receives extra credit toward the WPR because she participates 20 hours a week in her cosmetology program.

B: Single Parent case with child under age 6 

  1. Ms. A is a single mother with a child under age 6. She agrees to go to a Work Experience site. Using her cash and SNAP benefits, Form 4044 calculates 18 hours per week. She meets her 20-hour Core requirement by completing 18 hours at the site every week. Two hours are deemed to meet her Core requirement. Since her Participation Target is also 20 hours, no additional hours are needed.
  2. Mr. K is joined in Illinois by his wife who is ineligible for TANF due to her immigration status. There are 2 parents in the home, but only one parent is included in the TANF adult standard. Since they have a child under age 6, Mr. K's Core requirement and Participation Target are both 20 hours. He does not have a High School education, so is able to meet both Core and Target by participating in GED classes 20 hours a week.

C: Single Parent case with children age 6 or over 

Ms. E is a single parent whose children are all over age 6. Due to the amount of her grant and SNAP, the Form 4044 computation yields a maximum of 36 hours. She is assigned to Community Service at a local food pantry for 30 hours a week to satisfy both her Core requirement and Participation Target. She enjoys her work, and sometimes volunteers additional time to help out, but we do not report hours over 30.

D: Single Parent case - teen parent in school

Ms. F is a 16 year old head of household with a 6 month old child. She regularly attends GED classes and satisfactorily completes her assignments. Her Core requirement and Participation Targets are met.

E: Two Parent case - both parents exempt 

Mr. and Mrs. X have a child approved for the Medically Fragile Technology Dependent (MFTD) waiver. They are both exempt from participating in Countable and Support activities. The child receives in-home nursing during the day, but the parents must care for the child at night, cover missed nursing shifts, and are responsible for attending doctor and physical therapy sessions. Mr. X is having problems coping with the child's condition, so a referral to a mental health professional is recommended, but cannot be required.  

F:  Two-Parent case with one Work-Eligible parent 

  1. Mr. and Mrs. M have a newborn. One parent is Exempt due to care of a child under one. The other parent is Work-Eligible, and is responsible for completing all hours for the case. The Core requirement and the Participation Target are both 30. All 30 hours must be in a Core activity. Since Mr. A is working toward certification as a welder, he is able to complete all 30 hours in Vocational Education.
  2. The father of Ms. A's 2 year child from Scenario A is added to the TANF case. The Core requirement changes from 20 to 30 hours because having a child under age 6 is not a factor in a two-parent case. The father is approved for a medical barrier, leaving Ms. A as the only Work-Eligible person in the case. The Core requirement and Participation Target are both 30 hours. Due to the increase in assistance, the FLSA calculation now determines 22 maximum weekly hours in Work Experience. As long as Ms. A completes 22 hours, her Core requirement is deemed met and no additional hours are needed to meet the case's Target.
  3. Ms. G is a 17 year old head of household with a 2 month old baby. She is attending high school and is expected to graduate with her class. The 21 year old father of her child is exempt due to care of a child under age one. Ms. G is the only Work-Eligible person in the case and she is able to meet the Target by her satisfactory progress toward graduation. The father is employed 30 hours per week, which stops the 60 month counter for the case, and is also counted as voluntary participation toward the WPR.  

G: Two-parent case with one Work-Eligible parent who is a teen completing HS/GED, other parent Exempt

Mr. Z and Ms. V have a newborn. Ms. V is 18 years old and is completing her senior year of high school. Mr. Z is Exempt due to care of a child under one. The Core requirement is normally 30 hours for a 2-parent case, but since Ms. V is the only Work-Eligible individual in the case, and she is a teen parent completing her education, the Core requirement is met by her regular attendance and satisfactory progress. The case Target is also met by satisfactory progress.

H: Two-parent case with two Work-Eligible parents 

  1. Mr. & Mrs. R receive $1016 in cash and SNAP benefits in a case with their 3 children. The Core requirement is 30 hours and the Participation Target is 35 hours. According to the Form 4044 calculation, the couple may be assigned up to 31 hours in Work Experience. The minimum Core requirement is met with 30 hours. The one hour over the minimum may be used toward the supplemental hours needed to achieve the 35 hour target. If it is used, then 4 more hours in a Countable (Core or Non-core) activity other than Work First, Work Experience or Community Service must be assigned.
  2. Ms. B and Ms. C have adopted a 4 year old son together. The Core requirement is 30 hours and the Participation Target is 35 hours. While developing the RSP, Ms. C agreed to complete the required hours so Ms. B can stay home with the child. Ms. C works 25 hours a week as a book keeper. It is explained to her that working at least 5 more hours a week can stop the 60 month counter for the case. She agrees to look for a job with more hours, so is assigned to Job Search for 5 hours a week, which will meet the 30 hour Core requirement. She finds an online book keeping course which will advance her skills, so the additional 5 hours needed to meet the case target are assigned in Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment.  

I: Two-parent case with two Work-Eligible parents, both teens completing HS/GED 

Ms. R and Mr. P are 16 year old parents of a newborn. Since neither has finished high school, neither is eligible for an exemption due to having a child under age 1. Both young parents are Work-Eligible. Since they are both assigned to High School/GED Program for Teen Parents, the Core requirement and Target Participation are met through passing grades in their GED programs.

J: Two-parent case with two Work-Eligible parents, one is a teen completing HS/GED and one is not 

Ms. G, age 18 and pregnant, is working on earning her GED. Her 19 year old husband has graduated from high school and is in his 5th month in a full-time vocational program to become certified as a heating and air conditioning technician.  The Core requirement is 30 hours as usual for a two Work-Eligible case. The Participation Target is usually 35 hours for a two-parent case with 2 Work-Eligible individuals, but the Target is reduced to 30 hours to give credit for the teen parent's school participation. This case meets its Core target if Mr. G completes 30 hours in his vocational certificate program.  It meets its Participation Target if Ms. G continues regularly attend and make satisfactory progress in her school program.

Post-Secondary Programs

Vocational Training and Associate/Bachelor Degree are post-secondary programs which provide knowledge and skills to perform a specific trade, occupation or other vocation. Include the program in the RSP when the Individualized Assessment shows an interest and ability, and there are jobs are available in the chosen field in the area where the person intends to work. See PM 21-03-02-a and PM 21-03-03-a for complete criteria for assigning these activities.

Vocational Training may or may not result in a certificate, but the coursework must be related to a specific trade or occupation. Do not approve degree programs under Vocational Training.

To approve college courses under Associate/Bachelor Degree Program, they must lead to a degree in a specific, marketable occupation. Otherwise, approve general study college courses which develop or enhance skills in the area of writing, speaking, reading and math as Non-Core Job skills. 

Post-Secondary Work Requirements

Criteria for a requiring additional participation in work or work activities differ between Vocational Training and Associate/Bachelor Degree programs.

For both programs, the work requirement may be met through participation in Employment, Self-Employment, Work-First, Community Service, or Job Search/Job Readiness. Paid work-study is considered Employment.

Approve unpaid activities which are required by the institution to complete the educational program as Work Experience. Examples of unpaid activities include practicums, clinicals, externships, or internships such as student teaching.

Work requirement for Vocational Training after 12 months:

Hours in Vocational Training may meet the minimum Core requirement and Participation Target for up to 12 months. After 12 months, additional hours in employment or work activities are required in order to meet the Core requirement. Do not count months in which an Exempt person volunteers for Vocational Training toward the 12 months allowed with no work requirement.

As the work requirement and minimum Core requirement are both 20 hours for a one Work-Eligible case with the youngest child older than 6, it may be advantageous to approve the education program under Non-Core Job Skills. See Example 4 below.

Type of case

Vocational Training -

Additional Core hours in work

 or work activity required after 12 months

Minimum Core




One Work-Eligible - Child under 6 10 20 20
One Work-Eligible - Youngest Child 6 or older  20 20 30
Two Work-Eligible 20 30 35
Vocational Training Examples:
  1. Ms. A has been in a Vocational Training certificate program for 6 months. She has a child under age 6. Her minimum Core requirement and Participation target of 20 hours are met with participation in her program.
  2. If Ms. A has not finished her Vocational Training program within 12 months, she may continue in it, but she must participate at least 10 hours in a work activity. She is finishing an externship which requires her to practice her skills for 2 hours a day every week. Adding the 10 hours in Work Experience to at least 10 hours in Vocational Training meets her 20 hour Core requirement, as well as her case Participation target.  
  3. Mr. B's youngest child is age 10. He is in the 11th month of a full-time Vocational Training program. By adding 12 credit hours to 12 study hours, he can be credited with 24 hours in Vocational Training. His Core requirement of 20 hours is met. He must participate 6 more hours in a Countable activity to meet the 30 hour case Participation target. He is open to a Community Service assignment. The FLSA calculation on Form 4044 allows for up to 15 hours in Community Service, so assigning the needed 6 hours in Community Service is appropriate.
  4. Mr. B has not finished his Vocational Training Program within 12 months. He is now required to participate 20 hours in an additional work activity in order for his Vocational Training to count toward his 20 hour Core requirement. He is doing well in his Community Service assignment, so agrees to the maximum assignment of 15 hours the FLSA allows. Since the remaining 5 hours of the Core requirement will be deemed met in the Community Service assignment, it is advantageous to approve the training program as 10 hours Non-Core Job Skills in order to meet the 30 hour Participation target.
  5. Ms. C and Mr. D receive TANF with their 3 year old child. Having a child under age 6 does not affect a two Work Eligible case. Ms. C agrees to pursue CNA certification. Mr. D did not finish high school and would like to earn a GED to improve his employment prospects. Their case has not had any months in Vocational Training, so Ms. C is approved for 24 hours in the CNA program. Mr. D is assigned to 6 hours Work Experience to meet the 30 hour minimum Core requirement for the case. Mr. D is also credited with 5 hours Non-Core Education Related to Employment while he is working on his GED so that the case can meet its 35 hour Participation target.
  6. Mr. and Mrs. E come in for their Intensive Case Review at 24 months. Case documentation shows that Mrs. E has previously participated in Vocational Training for 12 months, so there is now a 20 hour work requirement for the case.  Mr. E asks to enroll in a certificate program at the local community college. The case has a minimum Core requirement of 30 hours, 20 hours of which must be in employment or a work activity. Mrs. E is employed 20 hours a week, so Mr. E may be credited for up to 15 hours in Vocational Education to meet the couple's Participation target of 35 hours. The Participation target is met with these two Core activities; Employment and Vocational Training.

Work requirement for Associate/Bachelor Degree Program:

Hours in Associate/Bachelor Degree Program may meet the minimum Core requirement ONLY for a person in a one Work-Eligible case who has a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or better in a full-time program. An exemption from participating in employment or work activities while enrolled in a degree program is only available to a one Work-Eligible case with qualifying GPA.  

Otherwise, approve hours in a degree program under Non-Core Job Skills when it is:

  • A one Work-Eligible case and the cumulative GPA is below 2.5 after the first semester, or after 2 semesters ongoing; or
  • A one Work-Eligible case and college attendance is not full-time; or 
  • A two Work-Eligible case.
Associate/Bachelor Degree Program Examples:
  1. Ms. F and Mr. G are receiving TANF with their 2 children. Ms. F is approved for a Family Care barrier due to the medical condition of their newborn. It is a one Work-Eligible case. Since Mr. G has a 2.5 cumulative GPA in a full-time college degree program, he is credited with 24 hours in Associate/Bachelor Degree Program and 6 hours of paid work-study in Employment. Both the minimum Core requirement of 20 hours and the Participation target of 30 hours are met.  
  2. Mr. G's grades fall and his GPA remains at 2.0 for 2 semesters in a row. His RSP may continue to include college attendance as long as he has a 2.0 average, but he is now responsible for 20 Core hours in employment or a work activity. If he has 20 hours in paid work-study, that will suffice under Employment. Otherwise, he must participate in another work activity to meet the minimum Core requirement. He is not eligible to have college attendance approved as a Core activity under Associate/Bachelor Degree Program because he does not have the qualifying GPA. Approve college attendance as 10 hours in Non-Core Job Skills.  
  3. The medical condition of Ms. F's and Mr. G's baby improves. Ms. F is no longer Exempt, so it becomes a two Work-Eligible case. No matter what GPA Mr. G carries, the college program may only be approved as Non-Core Job Skills. The GPA exemption to allow a degree program to count as a Core activity applies only to a one Work-Eligible case.

Job Search

There is not a limit to the number of weeks Job Search may be counted as a Core Activity. However, per state law, a person may not be assigned to Job Search as their only activity for longer than 8 consecutive weeks in any rolling 12 month period.

What are Support Activities? 

Support activities are those which do not count toward the State WPR, but which are nonetheless important to lead the family toward well-being and financial self-sufficiency. These activities have previously been known as "other self-sufficiency" activities. 

Based on the assessment of the individual and the family situation, include Support activities in the RSP of an Exempt individual. Add Support activities to the RSP of a Work-Eligible person if needed. See applicable pages/screen in the Work Verification System (WVS) and Responsibility and Services Plan (Form 4003 series) for suggested tasks within each activity. 

Support Activities Legacy
Activity Description Form #
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 611 Participation in Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) activities designed to
readapt the person with skills that help them become employable.
4003 F
Medical/Family Care Services 616 Barrier to work and training activities due to the client's
own medical condition, or that of a spouse or child. Participation in activities to
address and reduce the barrier which is pending with, or approved by CAU. 
Includes pregnancy 6 weeks prior to due date. 
4003 G
Domestic/Sexual Violence Services 784 Participation in services to cope with domestic or sexual violence issues which
are a barrier to employment. There may or may not be a pending or approved
Family Violence Exclusion. 
4003 H
Mental Health Services 788 Participation in mental health/counseling services to address issues which are a
barrier to employment, but not part of a CAU medical barrier request.
4003 J
Alcohol/Substance Abuse Services 783 Participation in treatment services to address a substance problem which is a
barrier to employment.
4003 K
Child Support/Financial Resources 612 Activities which address paternity and child support, applying for and using
financial resources wisely, and investigating future employment opportunities if not presently required to work.
4003 L
Child Safety 615 Activities which address parenting skills for children who are at risk for abuse
or neglect.Includes DCFS and shelter activities. If an agency requires an activity
which meets the description of a Countable activity, include it as a Countable
activity (ex. Community Service or Job Readiness).
4003 M
Basic Needs 614 Activities which address obtaining child care, transportation, food, shelter,
and LIHEAP assistance for the family.
4003 N
Health 613 Activities which address health-related education such as women's health,
WIC, family planning and prenatal care. Includes good-parenting classes offered
by the FCRC and community. Also includes activities which address medical needs not included  in a CAU barrier request.  
4003 T

Note: Countable activities may also be included in the RSP of an Exempt individual, but only on a strictly voluntary basis. Inclusion of any Countable or Support activity on the RSP is necessary for the issuance of supportive services to which the person is entitled. If an Exempt individual changes their mind and does follow through with a Countable activity for which they volunteered, take no action other than to revise the RSP. Verified voluntary hours in a Countable activity count as extra credit toward the State WPR. Even if voluntary, do not agree to, or report more hours in an activity covered under the FLSA than allowed by the Form 4044 calculation.


A TANF case management contact (CMC) is used to monitor activity participation compliance, as well as to review ongoing appropriateness of activities assigned on the RSP. Such contacts are essential in moving the TANF client toward permanent self-sufficiency.

Both the minimum frequency and manner of case management contacts vary, depending on individual case circumstances.

Responding to a request for a case management contact is an activity compliance requirement. If the contact method/frequency is regular and predictable, it may be included on the RSP. Otherwise, mail a notice requesting contact. Any time the purpose of a TANF case management contact can be achieved, consider it to be completed and do not require a separate contact.

Contact Method

A case management contact can be either face-to-face or by phone. A face-to-face contact may be needed when:

  • it is necessary to obtain documentation of the client's hours of participation; or
  • the client is struggling to comply with the participation requirement; or
  • circumstances indicate that a review or new assessment is necessary.

When the purpose of the case management contact can be achieved with a phone call, a face-to-face visit is not required. Document the date of the case management contact, the purpose, and the outcome.

Contact Frequency & Purpose

Frequencies listed are the minimum required. More frequent contact may be requested by either the FCRC or the client. The overall purpose is to ensure that the RSP is appropriate, and to make changes if needed. Other tasks are accomplished at the CMC, depending on the person's activity and Work-Eligible status. 

Work-eligible individual - Employment meets Participation Target every 6 months
  • verify continuing hours of employment.
Work-eligible individual - Employment does NOT meet Participation Target Monthly
  • obtain necessary documentation of hours of participation in a countable activity;
  • review weekly attendance records to assess compliance with activity;
  • encourage and reinforce client participation and expectations;
  • address or discuss any potential employment barriers.
Teen parent attending high school/GED Monthly
  • review attendance records;
  • review grades to assess satisfactory progress;
  • determine if referrals to medical or social service providers are needed.
Adult caring for child under age 1

2 months before youngest child
turns age 1.

May be more frequent at FCRC
discretion when self-sufficiency
activities directly impact
the family's well being.

  • address or discuss any potential employment barriers;
  • reminder that cash assistance is temporary;
  • encourage voluntary work, training and education activities;
  • give client time to obtain child care.
Approved medical or family care barrier

2 months before CAU review date.

May be more frequent at FCRC
discretion when self-sufficiency
activities directly impact
the family's well being, or address
a plan to overcome the barrier.

  • obtain verification of ongoing treatment when required by individual plan;
  • determine if family situation has changed, or if client wishes to continue barrier;
  • request medical documentation for a CAU determination if client wishes to continue barrier;
  • determine if referrals to medical or social service providers are needed.
Receives SSA based on individual's own disability At time of TANF eligibility
redetermination. See PM 19-02-01.
  • verify continuing receipt of SSA disability;
  • determine if referrals to medical or social service providers are needed.
Refugee in first year of TANF
  • Monthly if not working with a
    Voluntary Sponsoring Agency
  • 6 weeks before end of first year
    if family is working with a VOLAG.
  • refer to ESL class;
  • determine if referrals to medical or social service providers are needed;
  • address or discuss any potential employment barriers;
  • explain and prepare for participation requirements.
Caring for child approved for Medically Fragile Technology Dependent (MFTD) waiver At time of TANF eligibility
See PM 19-02-01.
  • verify child continues to be approved for MFTD waiver;
  • determine if referrals to medical or social service providers are needed.
Adult age 60 or older At time of TANF eligibility
See PM 19-02-01.
  • determine if referrals to medical or social service providers are needed.
Approved Family Violence Exclusion

At minimum, at review of exclusion.

The multi-disciplinary staffing
(MDS) team may establish a more frequent contact schedule.

See PM 21-01-05-e.

The policy contained in the memorandum will be place in the manual in a following manual release.

 [signed copy on file]

Gregory M. Bassi

Acting Secretary, Illinois Department of Human Services