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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 33 : Human Services

Chapter 011 : REACH UP

Subchapter 002 : REACH UP PROGRAM FAMILY DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND WORK REQUIREMENTS

(Cite as: 33 V.S.A. § 1113)
  • § 1113. Work requirements

    (a) Each participating adult in a family receiving a financial assistance grant shall fulfill a work requirement in accordance with this section. Subject to the provisions of this chapter, and provided that all services required by this chapter are offered when appropriate and are available when needed to support fulfillment of the work requirement, an adult having a work requirement shall obtain employment or participate in one or more work activities, and shall work in accordance with the requirements of this section, in order to maintain continued eligibility for financial assistance and to avoid fiscal sanctions.

    (b)(1) The work requirement shall become effective as soon as the participating adult is work-ready, or upon the family's receipt of 12 cumulative months of financial assistance, whichever is sooner, unless at the end of the 12-cumulative-month period the participant's case manager concludes that the participant is unable to meet the hours of the applicable unmodified work requirement, as established in subsection (c) of this section. In such cases, the case manager shall prepare a written request on behalf of the participant for an extension of up to six months. The request shall identify the particular reasons why the participant is unable to meet the work requirement and the remedial actions and services to be provided to the recipient to enable fulfillment of the requirement. The request shall be submitted to the Commissioner or the Commissioner's designee for approval. The request shall be approved unless the participant is able to meet the work requirement or a modified work requirement established in accordance with section 1114 of this title.

    (2) A participant may meet the work requirement through a combination of work activities until the participant has received 24 months of financial assistance. After that time, the participant shall meet the work requirement through employment.

    (c) A participating family shall be deemed to meet the work requirement if:

    (1) In two-parent families in which neither parent receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a combined total of at least 35 hours a week of employment or work activities or the number of hours the parents have been determined able-to-work by the Department is completed. One or both parents may contribute to the completion of the employment or work activities required by this subdivision.

    (2) In a two-parent family in which one parent receives SSI:

    (A) If the family includes a child six years of age or older, the work-eligible parent shall participate in one or more work activities for at least 30 hours per week or the number of hours the parent has been determined able-to-work by the Department.

    (B) If the family includes a child under six years of age, the work-eligible parent shall participate in one or more work activities for at least 20 hours per week or the number of hours the parent has been determined able-to-work by the Department.

    (C) As used in this subdivision (c)(2), "work-eligible parent" means a parent who is not receiving SSI.

    (3) In a single-parent family:

    (A) If the family's youngest child is six years of age or older, the participant shall participate in one or more work activities for at least 30 hours per week or the number of hours the parent has been determined able-to-work by the Department.

    (B) If the family's youngest child is under six years of age, the participant shall participate in one or more work activities for at least 20 hours per week or the number of hours the parent has been determined able-to-work by the Department.

    (4) A pregnant individual who is employed shall continue such employment unless there has been a medical determination that the individual is unable-to-work, or the individual is exempt from the work requirement based on other criteria established by the Commissioner by rule. A pregnant individual shall not be required to begin new employment.

    (d)(1) A participant required to fulfill a work requirement shall accept any unsubsidized job he or she is capable of performing, even if it pays wages that are less than the financial assistance grant. In cases in which monthly wages are less than the financial assistance grant and the family is otherwise eligible, the wages shall be supplemented with a partial financial assistance grant. The Commissioner shall establish by rule criteria for jobs that must be accepted if offered, including the criterion that each job must pay at least minimum wage.

    (2) A participating adult who had wages in the three months prior to his or her application for financial assistance that, when annualized, equal or exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the participating adult's family shall not be required to accept employment with annualized earnings of less than 150 percent of the federal poverty level applicable to the participating adult's family for the three-month period after being deemed eligible for financial assistance, provided that the participant:

    (A) has not been disqualified within the prior six months from receiving unemployment compensation benefits for failing, without good cause, either to apply for available, suitable work when so directed by the employment office or the Commissioner of Labor, or to accept suitable work when offered;

    (B) is not sanctioned within the three-month period immediately following being deemed eligible for financial assistance;

    (C) does not leave an unsubsidized job without good cause within the three-month period immediately following being deemed eligible for financial assistance;

    (D) follows through in a satisfactory manner on all referrals to employment opportunities;

    (E) is engaged in acceptable work activities in accordance with this section; and

    (F) agrees to accept any unsubsidized job if still unemployed after completion of the three-month period immediately following the determination of eligibility to receive financial assistance.

    (3) A postsecondary education program participant who has received a degree and any Reach Up participant who has recently completed specialized vocational training shall not be required to accept an unsubsidized job that is unrelated to his or her training or degree for the three-month period immediately following completion of such education or training, provided that the participant:

    (A) is not sanctioned within that three-month period;

    (B) does not leave an unsubsidized job related to his or her training or degree without good cause within that three-month period;

    (C) follows through in a satisfactory manner on all referrals to employment opportunities related to his or her training or degree;

    (D) is engaged in acceptable work activities in accordance with this section; and

    (E) agrees to accept any unsubsidized job if still unemployed after such three-month period.

    (e) The Commissioner may require a participant to participate in a job search, coordinated by the Commissioner, for the number of hours per week that corresponds to the participant's work requirement hours under subsection (c) of this section, or a lesser amount that in combination with the participant's unsubsidized employment equals the participant's work requirement hours under subsection (c) of this section.

    (f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a participant's hours of unpaid work activities that are not primarily education, job search, job readiness, or training activities shall not exceed the levels established by the Fair Labor Standards Act. Adjustments required to conform with the Fair Labor Standards Act shall be made pursuant to calculation standards established by the Commissioner by rule. (Added 1999, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. July 1, 2001; amended 2007, No. 30, § 10, eff. May 17, 2007; 2013, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. May 20, 2014; 2017, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)