Release 73: Effective April 1, 2014
I. Waiving TANF Requirements Due to TA-DVS
- To keep the domestic violence survivors safe from domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence;
- To remove domestic violence as a welfare-to-work barrier as early as possible;
- To identify client situations of potential or actual domestic violence early in the application/assessment process;
- To use this information when designing the Self-Sufficiency Domestic Violence Assistance Agreement (DHS 1543) to ensure the safety of the applicant/client and his/her children;
- To determine whether the client 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.
When do you waive TANF requirements?
- Determining when to waive a TANF requirement:
- What TANF requirement needs to be waived? Certain requirements cannot be waive (see section2);
- How does the specific TANf requirement you are considering waiving put the client at further risk of domestic violence or prevent them from escaping domestic violence? For example, the client has 50/50 custody of a child, but the child is with the client when the abuse occurs and not waiving deprivation can put the client and child at further risk; or
- How does the TANF requirement unfairly penalize the survivor? For example, an overpayment that was a result of abuser actions or actions the victim took when being coerced or intimidated by the abuser;
- How long can we waive a requirement? We can waive for as long as necessary, but we must review waivers every six months to determine whether or not there is contained risk due to domestic violence.
- When waiving requirements:
- Waiver or modification of TANF requirements is not intended to be automatically granted to every identified survivor of domestic violence. The intent of the policy is to give case managers more latitude in helping people escape domestic violence, to move toward safety and self-sufficiency;
- The case manager may decide, on an individual basis, to waive or modify TANF eligibility requirements that put a person at risk of harm by domestic violence or which would make it more difficult for the person 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 client about potential safety risk. The risk must be associated with domestic violence.
||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 case manager 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.
||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 case manager 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.
||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 client 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 client’s safety continues to be at risk. Citizenship requirements are waived for another six months.
- What eligibility requirements cannot be waived?
The following requirements cannot be waived:
- The requirement to be a dependent child, caretaker relative or parent;
- The requirement that a dependent child live with a caretaker relative;
- The requirement to be an Oregon resident;
- TANF countable income or resource limits.
- Coding and tracking waivers
Federal law requires that we track TANF requirements that are waived due to domestic violence. 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.
||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.
Use “No” under the waiver flag:
Use the Work and JOBS waiver reason code:
- When there are no TANF requirements being waived due to domestic violence;
- In cases where domestic violence is not a factor.
Use the Penalties waiver reason code:
- When required hours of participation are reduced due to domestic violence;
- When participating in specific activities would put a client at risk;
- When a job quit is due to domestic violence;
- When other JOBS or work requirements are waived due to an increased risk of domestic violence.
Use the Nonfinancial waiver reason code:
- When noncooperation with child support is due to domestic violence concerns (i.e., Good Cause given for noncooperation);
- When noncooperation with JOBS is due to domestic violence concerns (e.g., Good Cause was granted for noncooperation due to the affect of domestic violence or disqualifications removed due to domestic violence);
- When overpayments or fraud are a result of actions by the abuser or the abuser’s control over the domestic violence survivor;
- When other penalties would have been assessed as a result of domestic violence and/or if the penalty would put the client at risk of further domestic violence (i.e., pursuing an overpayment, IPV or other penalty that names both the abuser and the domestic violence survivor, and pursuit would potentially give the abuser knowledge of the survivor’s address or other information);
- When waiving penalties for failure to comply with a program requirement.
Use the Financial waiver reason code:
- When waiving the requirement for the client to be in her last month of pregnancy (once the requirement to be in the last month of pregnancy is waived, that waiver remains in place until the child is born or until the pregnancy ends);
- When waiving citizenship requirements for TANF due to domestic violence (add WDV as case descriptor on UCMS);
- When waiving the requirement or expectation that children will be in the home within 30 days;
- When waiving residency due to risk of or flight from domestic violence;
- Family caps if or when such provisions are placed in policy;
- When a client quit or lost a job without good cause, but the client is currently experiencing domestic violence or is at risk of domestic violence and not waiving the requirement would prevent the client from escaping domestic violence;
||If a client quit or lost a job due to domestic violence, it is good cause under state law and unemployment rules.
- When other nonfinancial requirements would put the client at risk of further/future domestic violence.
Use the Time-limits waiver reason code:
- When you are waiving income controlled by the abuser;
- When you are waiving income used to flee the violence;
- When you are waiving other financial requirements that pursuit of which may put the client at risk of domestic violence.
- When the federal five-year time limit puts the client at greater risk of domestic violence.
||Use the time-limit code of TLD on UCMS if the client is unable to obtain or maintain employment due to domestic violence.
On TRACS code the appropriate activity. If the client 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.
Cooperation with child support
Explore with the client how child support could be safely pursued. Use the Client Safety Packet on Good Cause Version A (DHS 8660) to inform the client 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.
Confidentiality and narration in cases where domestic violence is present
Confidentiality is crucial in domestic violence cases. In some cases, how we narrate and how we track information can impact a client’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.
||SEE GENERIC PROGRAM INFORMATION (GP-B.17).
Narrate information about the domestic violence if it is safe to do so. Examples of when it might not be safe: The abuser is in the home; the abuser or his family member works for DHS or a partner agency; the abuser or his family member works for law enforcement; the domestic violence survivor is concerned that the narration will affect their safety (i.e., the abuser is a computer hacker and the survivor is fearful that he may access our systems).
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.
||SEE GENERIC PROGRAM INFORMATION (GP-B.17) OF THE FAMILY SERVICES MANUAL FOR INFORMATION ON CONFIDENTIALITY AND NARRATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
Mandatory reporting of child abuse in domestic violence cases
“The presence of domestic violence is a risk for children. However, not all situations of domestic violence require a report to DHS or law enforcement. DHS’s authority to intervene with families is based on whether a child is being physically abused, sexually abused, neglected, suffering mental injury or is being subjected to an activity or condition likely to result in substantial harm."
A report to DHS or law enforcement is necessary when there is a reasonable cause to believe:
- There is current domestic violence or the alleged abuser has a history of domestic violence; AND
- One of the following:
- There is a reason to believe the child will or is intervening in a violent situation, placing him at risk of “substantial harm”;
- The child is likely to be “harmed” during the violence (being held during the violence, physically restrained from leaving, etc.);
- The alleged abuser is not allowing the adult care giver and child access to basic needs, impacting their health or safety;
- The alleged abuser has killed, committed “substantial harm,” or is making a believable threat to do so to anyone in the family, including extended family members and pets;
- The child’s ability to function on a daily basis is substantially impaired by being in a constant state of fear.
If you know a child is witnessing repeated or serious domestic violence and you are unsure of the impact on the child, call and consult a CPS screener.” – Excerpt from DHS 9061 – What you can do about child abuse.