Release 88: Effective January 1, 2018

Temporary Assistance For Domestic Violence Survivors Program (TA-DVS) -
C.   TA-DVS Eligibility and Waiving TANF Requirements


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INTENT
  • Understand “safety” is something more than protection from assault. Being unsafe is about more than a domestic violence event that has happened. To determine risk, we need to look at what has happened in the past, what is currently going on and what potential risk may exist;

  • To keep the domestic violence survivors safe from domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence;

  • To remove domestic violence as a work barrier as early as possible;

  • To use this information when designing the Self-Sufficiency Domestic Violence Assistance Agreement (DHS 1543) to ensure the safety of the applicant/ survivor and his/her children;

  • To determine whether the survivor should be excused from certain program requirements as long as danger exists (e.g., pursuit of child support or specific JOBS activities);

  • To help persons fleeing domestic violence.

  1. Eligibility requirements
  2. To be eligible for TA-DVS, a survivor must meet TANF eligibility requirements, have a current or future risk of domestic violence, and the situation must fit into the following definition of domestic violence:

    1. Domestic violence is the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family members, intimate partners, or household members:

      1. Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury or emotional, mental or verbal abuse;

      2. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly placing another in fear of imminent serious physical injury;

      3. Committing sexual abuse in any degree as defined in Chapter 163 of the Oregon Revised Statutes;

      4. Using coercive or controlling behavior.

    Definitions:

    INTENT
    Meeting the definition of domestic violence alone does not mean TA-DVS is automatically approved.

    A single or one-time instance of verbal abuse (e.g., name calling; cursing; putting a person down) or controlling behavior (e.g., telling a person what to do or how to do something) does not necessarily constitute a risk of further or future abuse.

    CAUTION
      When there is a history of these behaviors or when the behaviors have escalated in frequency or type, or if the survivor is concerned that these behaviors will lead to physical abuse, there may be a higher risk of further or future abuse.

    Definitions for Chapter 461 Rule
    461-001-0000 — Definitions for Chapter 461

    Specific Requirements; TA-DVS Rule
    461-135-1200 — Specific Requirements; TA-DVS

  3. TANF criteria for TA-DVS eligibility
  4. To be eligible for TA-DVS applicants must still meet the eligibility determination groups, nonfinancial requirements and financial requirements.

    1. Eligibility Determination Groups

      1. Household

        People are considered in the same household when they share their dwelling. This means that they live together in the same house or share sleeping, bathroom and kitchen facilities that are not in a commercial establishment providing room and board or both for fair market value compensation.

      2. For individuals that apply and state that they share 50/50 custody with the absent parent. Keep in mind that an award by a court of joint (50/50) legal custody does not, by itself, mean a child does not meet the definition of household group member. Workers need to clarify with the survivor the exact parenting schedule.

      Example 1: Jane is applying for TA-DVS in March and she states to her worker that both she and the father share custody, 50/50. The worker asks Jane what the parenting schedule looks like, do the parents truly split the child 15.5 days each. Jane chuckles and says no. She states that depending on her ex’s work schedule and their child’s social life this would dictate on who has the child more. Jane states that she has the child majority of the time but they try to keep as close to 50/50 as possible. Jane is potentially eligible for the TA-DVS program.

      Example 2: Oscar is applying for TA-DVS and he states that he and his ex-wife have 50/50 custody of the children. The worker asks Oscar to explain the 50/50 schedule. Oscar states that he is currently house jumping due to the DV situation and his ex-wife has the child more than the 50/50 of recent. The worker asks that if Oscar was stabilized and safe in housing would the arrangements for the children still 50/50. Oscar states that if he was safe, the custody arrangement would basically six days with him and six days with his ex. The worker asked if there is an extra day in the month who has the children. Oscar states that he normally does because he is not working at this time. The worker determines that Oscar does have the children more than 50/50 and is potentially eligible for the TA‑DVS program.

      1. Filing

        The filing group is the individuals from the household group whose circumstances are considered in the eligibility determination process. The filing group consists of individuals from the household group who choose to apply for benefits and who meet nonfinancial eligibility requirements; AND people who must apply for benefits because of their relationship to those people.

      2. Financial

        The financial group is individuals from the filing group whose income and resources count in determining eligibility and benefits.

      3. Need

        The TANF need group consists of individuals from the financial group whose basic and special needs are used in determining eligibility and benefit level.

      4. Benefit

        The benefit group is the people from the need group who receive benefits.

        NOTE
         

        If the abuser is living in the household, and is required to be in the filing group – we can exclude them only from the TA-DVS case for safety reasons.

        The abuser would not be listed on the E2 case and would not have access to narratives or case records.

        Their income would not be counted because the intent is to flee the abuser.

    2. Nonfinancial Eligibility Requirements

      TANF nonfinancial eligibility requirements include age, residence, alien/citizen status and SSN.

      For TA-DVS, it is not required to:

      • Pursue assets;

      • Participate with the Division of Child Support (DCS) for paternity determination or pursue support.

  5. Which type cases do you waive TANF requirements?
  6. NOTE
      Waiver or modification of TANF requirements is not intended to be automatically granted to every identified survivor of domestic violence.

  7. How do you determine when to waive TANF requirements?
    1. Determining when to waive a TANF requirement:

      • How does the specific TANF requirement you are considering waiving put the survivor at further risk of domestic violence or prevent them from escaping domestic violence?

      • How does the TANF requirement unfairly penalize the survivor?

    2. When waiving requirements:

      • Waiver or modification of TANF requirements is not intended to be automatically granted to every identified survivor of domestic violence;

      • The worker may decide, on an individual basis, to waive or modify TANF eligibility requirements that put a survivor at risk of harm by domestic violence or which would make it more difficult for the survivor to escape domestic violence;

      • The waiver or modification of program requirements is intended to be temporary, to help survivors of domestic violence to move forward with their self-sufficiency plan and to meet program requirements when safe;

      • The decision to waive or modify eligibility requirements should be re-evaluated at least every six months. If it is determined that there is a continued safety risk, the waiver can continue for as long as a safety risk exists or if a new safety risk arises;

      • When deciding to waive a requirement or continue a waiver, the worker should talk with the survivor about potential safety risk. The risk must be associated with domestic violence.

      Example 3: A woman who has just left an abusive situation may need cash to help establish a new home before she can regain physical custody of her children from child welfare. The worker may decide to waive the requirement for a dependent child to live with her, if it is reasonable to assume that her children will move into her new home once she has secured it through a down payment or deposit. Such decisions should be based on intensive case management and be well documented in the case file.

      Example 4: A pregnant woman in her fifth month of pregnancy applies for cash assistance. She is unable to work due to complications from the pregnancy and is fleeing domestic violence. She has no resources and is likely to return to her abuser, which will put her at greater risk of domestic violence if she is unable to secure a safe place to live. Since there is risk of further domestic violence, the worker may waive the requirement for the woman to be in her last month of pregnancy and may open a TANF case. TA-DVS may also be a resource.

      Example 5: A domestic violence survivor, for whom citizenship requirements were waived, has been receiving TANF for the last six months. When the worker was reviewing the waiver, the survivor told her that the abuser had continued to try to locate her through family and friends. He was still threatening harm and to have her deported. The worker identifies that the survivor’s safety continues to be at risk. Citizenship requirements are waived for another six months.

      Example 6: Waive the TANF job separation requirement for a caretaker relative in the need group when there is current domestic violence or a risk of future domestic violence.

    Specific Requirements; TA-DVS Rule
    461-135-1200 — Specific Requirements; TA-DVS

  8. What eligibility requirements cannot be waived?
  9. The following requirements cannot be waived:

    Do not waive the requirement to be a parent, caretaker relative or dependent child, or to live with a caretaker relative, but do give the caretaker a reasonable period of time to regain physical custody of the children if they are not currently with the caretaker due to the domestic violence situation (refer to TANF section C.1).

    The child may be out of the home due to:

    Example 7: Scott is in the office applying for TA-DVS and during the intake, he states that his son was removed from the home by Child Welfare due to the domestic violence. Scott believes his son will be coming home as soon as he is able to locate safe housing. Since Scott has met all eligibility requirements, his TA-DVS is approved.

    The requirement to be an Oregon resident cannot be waived, but for TA-DVS, if the survivor does not intend to stay in Oregon and the reason for leaving is due to their current domestic violence situation, they meet residency for TA-DVS.

    Example 8: Carl recently moved to Oregon and set up a PO Box. He is in the office today requesting help with his DV situation. Carl states that his abuser located him in Oregon and he needs to flee the state. The worker determines that Carl meets all eligibilityrequirements, even though Carl plans on moving out of Oregon. The worker approves TA-DVS.

    NOTE
      If the only child is in Child Welfare custody due to domestic violence in the household and the parent does not have care, control and supervision of the child, check with the Child Welfare worker to determine when the child will likely be returned to the survivor. If Child Welfare is unable to say it is likely to be within 90 days, deny TA-DVS, but let the survivor know they can reapply when the child is returned. Refer the survivor to other appropriate resources.

    Specific Requirements; TA-DVS Rule
    461-135-1200 — Specific Requirements; TA-DVS

  10. Assessing the safety need
  11. As you are assessing the survivor’s safety needs, use the opportunity to listen to the survivor and provide validating messages such as those listed below:

    Specific Requirements; TA-DVS Rule
    461-135-1200 — Specific Requirements; TA-DVS

  12. Coding and tracking waivers
  13. Federal law requires that we track TANF requirements that are waived due to domestic violence. If you approve TA-DVS but waive a TANF requirement, we need to document this.

    On TRACS there is a DV flag that should be used whenever you waive a TANF requirement related to domestic violence. If no requirements are waived, then “no” should be entered in the Dom Viol field.

    NOTE
      Remember that this code should be removed if in the future there is no longer a safety risk and the waiver ends.

    Examples of things that can be waived and how you would track them on TRACS:

    On TRACS code the appropriate activity. If the survivor does not have a Social Security number (i.e., noncitizen cases), JAS will assign a temporary “J number” to the TRACS Plan and JAS screens. The J number will display on the TRACS plan and the JAS screens in place of the Social Security number.

  14. Name of abuser
  15. Though getting the name of an abuser is not an eligibility factor, it is important to know who the abuser is. There are benefits to the survivor in establishing the abuser’s relationship with the victim and/ or children:

    Example 10: Jona is in the office applying for TA-DVS and she is asked the name of the abuser. Jona is reluctant to tell her work his name. Jona’s worker reassures her that disclosing the abuser’s name will not harm her in any way. The abuser’s name is not given to anyone that is not directly linked to the case, but more importantly, if DHS knows his name, then we can hopefully help her in her safety. One example is if the abuser contacts Child Welfare and makes a false report, we would have in our case notes his name and the potential tactics he uses.

  16. Cooperation with child support
  17. Explore with the survivor how child support could be safely pursued. Use the Client Safety Packet on Good Cause Version A (DHS 8660) to inform the survivor of child support safety options, including good cause and nondisclosure based on claim of risk. If the client requests a good cause exemption against pursuing child support, review the situation periodically and at each eligibility redetermination to determine whether the client can now safely pursue child support.

    Client Required to Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF Rule
    461-120-0340 — Client Required to Help Department Obtain Support From Noncustodial Parent; TANF

    Clients Excused for Good Cause from Compliance with Requirements to Pursue Child Support, Heath Care Coverage, and Medical Support Rule
    461-120-0350 — Clients Excused for Good Cause from Compliance with Requirements to Pursue Child Support, Heath Care Coverage, and Medical Support

  18. Confidentiality and narration
  19. Confidentiality is crucial in domestic violence cases. In some cases, how we narrate and how we track information can impact a survivor’s safety.

    Be cautious sharing any information on DV cases, even within the branch. You may not be aware of family or community connections that the abuser has. Abusers often try to use the system to manipulate or control the victim.

    Forms, notices or other information should be sent only when we know there is a safe address.

    Narration:

    Narrate information about the domestic violence if it is safe to do so. Examples of when it might not be safe:

    When it is safe, narrate information about the client’s safety concerns, history of abuse, planned activities, waived requirements, referrals, eligibility dates for TA-DVS, TA-DVS payments, follow-up appointments, etc.

  20. Other abusive situations not meeting TA-DVS policy
  21. TA-DVS cannot meet the needs of all victims of abuse. If an applicant does not appear to meet the TA-DVS eligibility criteria, consider the following options:

  22. Elder abuse
  23. Child abuse

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