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Issue Alert - 03-01-02

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Date:

Jan 16, 2003

Issue Summary:

Department of Career Development (DCD)issues new policy allowing single parents with a child under age 6 to combine a total of 20 hours of allowable education, study time, and work to satisfy the Family Independence Program's (FIP) "40 hour work requirement," which also is used to approved Child Day Care for a parents's time in education or training.

Persons Affected:

Single parents with a child under age 6 who need FIP or Child Care assistance while attending education or training.

For More Information:

Michigan Poverty Law Program 611 Church Street, Suite 4A Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3000(734) 998-6100(734) 998-9125 Fax


Background

Family Independence Program (FIP), Child Day Care (CDC) and Work First

What's Happening?

Single parents with a child under age 6 no longer have to combine 30 hours of work and education /training to meet their work requirement. The Department of Career Development has issued a new policy that allows single parents with a child under age 6 to fulfill their FIP work requirement by combining a total of 20 hours per week of work and approved education/training (the number of hours required under federal law). For example, a parent could combine 10 hours per week of employment with 10 hours per week of adult education high school completion classes. The new policy is in DCD OWD Policy Issuance 01-38 Change 05, issued December 17, 2003. The limits on the types of education and training activities that may be approved have not been changed. The new DCD policy does not expand education and training options, except to the extent that it will be easier for single parents of pre-school children to participate in education/training because they will be able to work fewer hours. Education/training that may be approved. Under DCD policy, the following types of education or training may be approved:(1) Condensed Vocational Training programs that require at least 30 hours per week of classroom seat time and last no longer than 6 months. A parent may be approved for a second CVT program as long as the combined length of the 2 programs is less than 6 months. Because this option does not involve a combination or work and school, even single parents with a child under age 6 must fulfill the 30 hours. A parent who previously was approved for the "10/10/10" option (see below) may not later be approved for this option. (2) "10/10/10" programs (also known as Vocational Training or Post-Employment Training) that combine at least 10 hours per week of paid employment with class time and an hour of study time for each hour in class, to total the number of hours the individual would be required to work under federal law (20 hours for a single parent with a child under 6, 30 hours for a single parents with no child under 6, 40 or 55 hours for parents in a two-parent family). Education/training may be approved under this option for a maximum of 12 months and only the last year of a 2- or 4-year program may be approved under this option. In addition, a parent who has been approved for a CVT program (see above) may not later be approved for this option. (3)Secondary education (adult high school completion or GED preparation) for 10 hours of class time per week, combined with paid work hours to total the number of hours the individual would be required to work under federal law (20 hours for a single parent with a child under 6, 30 hours for a single parents with no child under 6, 40 or 55 hours for parents in a two-parent family). GED preparation may only be approved for a maximum of 6 months.(4) Basic skills or remedial education, literacy training, or English as a Second Language for 10 hours per week of class time, combined with paid work hours to total the number of hours the individual would be required to work under federal law (20 hours for a single parent with a child under 6, 30 hours for a single parents with no child under 6, 40 or 55 hours for parents in a two-parent family).

What Should Advocates Do?

Share this information with single parents of pre-school children who may be interested in pursuing education or training.

What Should Clients Do?

Talk to your Work First case manager if you are a single parent with a child under age 6 receiving FIP benefits and you were approved for education/training but were told your required hours must total more than 20 per week and you would like to reduce your work hours. Seek legal advice if you are told that you cannot reduce work hours without being sanctioned or losing assistance. Seek approval from your Michigan Works/Work First case manager if you would like to have education/traiing approved under oneof the options outlined above. Seek legal advice if approval is not grnanted and you think the decision is wrong.Seek approval from your local Michigan Works Agency/Work First agency if you need Child Day Care asistance for hours that you attend education/training classes and you think that your education/training program should be approved under the rules set out above. Seek legal advice if you are told that your education/training will not be approved.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services office handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan Legal Assistance Network website (http://www.mlan.net/locate.html) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738