3.6.1 Time Limit Extensions

Created on: 
Jul 11 2023

 Revised on: June 21, 2023

The Ineligible Parent Hardship Time Limit Extension (TLE) begins July 1, 2023.

  • After the Ineligible Parent has reached 60 months of TANF, and meets all other financial eligibility, they should be extended through the Ineligible Parent Hardship TLE. 
    • WorkFirst staff must follow these steps in eJAS for applicants, recipients, or those reinstating:
    • Question 4: select "Caring for a disabled adult"
      • Length of extension: 12 months.
    • Reason for extension: Copy and paste the following note:
      • "Applicant meets the Ineligible Parent hardship criteria, coding "Caring for a disabled adult" to extend the TLE hardship".

Legal References:

TANF time limit policy has two separate sub-sections:

Section 3.6.1 Time Limit Extensions describes how to make TANF/SFA time limit extension decisions. This section includes:

  • 3.6.1.1 What is the time limit for TANF and SFA?
  • 3.6.1.2 What is the difference between the adult recipient and ineligible parent?
  • 3.6.1.3 What happens when an adult recipient reaches 56 months on TANF/SFA?
  • 3.6.1.4 What happens when an adult recipient reaches 58 months on TANF/SFA?
  • 3.6.1.5 What are the time limit extension categories?
  • 3.6.1.6 How do I determine whether an adult recipient qualifies for a disability time limit extension?
  • 3.6.1.7 Who qualifies for the family violence time limit extension?
  • 3.6.1.8 How do I know if an adult recipient parent qualifies for a child in dependency time limit extension?
  • 3.6.1.9 What is the time limit hardship extension process?
  • 3.6.1.10 What happens when an adult recipient doesn't qualify for any time limit extensions?
  • 3.6.1.11 How do I send time limit decision notices to parents?
  • 3.6.1.12 Can a parent who was denied a time limit extension request an Administrative Hearing and receive continued benefits?
  • 3.6.1.13 What happens when an adult recipient offers more time limit extension evidence before we close their case?
  • 3.6.1.14 What if an adult recipient reapplies before their case closes?
  • 3.6.1.15 What happens when an adult recipient states they qualify for a time limit extension after we close their case?
  • 3.6.1.16 Time Limit Decisions - Step-by-step guide

Section 3.6.2 – Time Limit Extension Reviews describes how to maintain an approved TANF time limit extension case.

3.6.1.1 What is the time limit for TANF and SFA?

Adults in the assistance unit can receive 60 months of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or State Family Assistance (SFA) in their lifetime. For adults who qualify for a TANF/SFA time limit hardship extension, cash assistance may extend past 60 months. 

As of July 1, 2023, the 60-month time limit no longer applies to ineligible parents (SSI, disqualified or undocumented parent) during months they receive TANF/SFA for their children.  

See EA-Z manual, TANF/SFA Time Limits and Indian Country Disregard for more details about:

  • When months count towards time limits;
  • How to add an adult recipient; 
  • Determining who qualifies for the Indian Country disregard;
  • ACES adjustments for repaid months of total ineligibility and L&I reimbursements.

ACES will send the Re-Certification letter (027-01) to an adult participant or an adult recipient when they reach 48 months of cash assistance. The letter includes information on the 60-month time limit and lists all months of TANF/SFA assistance received for each adult in the household, including Tribal TANF months received. Staff determines whether the adult recipient qualifies for a time limit hardship extension before they reach 60 months of TANF/SFA.

3.6.1.2 What is the difference between the adult recipient and ineligible parent?

ACES uses the following definitions to track each adult’s months on TANF/SFA, list each countable month as an  adult recipient month and indicate whether the case is closed or extended under the adult recipient:

  • An adult recipient is an adult who is receiving benefits in a TANF/SFA assistance unit. The adult recipient may be the parent or relative caregiver.

  • An ineligible parent is a non-recipient parent who is receiving a TANF/SFA grant only for their child(ren) due to citizenship or legal status, or receiving SSI income. Ineligible parents are not subject to the TANF time limit and are to be automatically approved for a TANF time limit extension by staff.

Note: Adults who qualify for state-funded cash assistance as Survivors of Certain Crimes are considered recipients, though may be undocumented. They receive cash assistance in a solely state-funded, SFA assistance unit. This population increments ineligible parent months in ACES. For more information on this population, see EA-Z Manual: Citizenship and Immigration Status Requirements Specific to Program – Benefits for Survivors of Certain Crimes.

The TANF/SFA assistance unit (AU) closes once an adult recipient in the AU has 60 countable TANF/SFA months unless the adult qualifies for a time limit extension, or as the examples below provide, they meet the ineligible parent approval.

Examples of Ineligible Parent households:

  • Ineligible due to legal status-
    • Jane received 60 months for herself and her son between 2005 and 2010. Jane’s portion of the TANF grant was terminated due to a fraud conviction, but her son continued receiving TANF. Jane qualifies for a time limit extension. As an ineligible parent, we approve the case using the "Caring for a disabled adult" category even though Jane is an ineligible parent in the assistance unit. 

 

  • Ineligible due to citizenship status
    • Matthew, an undocumented father who is caring for his 12 year old daughter. Matthew is eligible for a TLE as an ineligible parent. We approve the TLE using the "Caring for a disabled adult" category. 

 

  • Ineligible due to receiving SSI income-
    • Leah, a mother on SSI, receives TANF for her daughter for 58 months. Because Leah is an ineligible parent (SSI recipient), the family continues to be eligible for assistance beyond 60 months. Staff automatically approve the case for a TLE using the "Caring for a disabled adult" category to keep the TANF grant open. 

3.6.1.3 What happens when an adult recipient reaches 56 months on TANF/SFA?

An indicator appears in the eJAS demographic screen and the Time Limit Extension tool becomes available when an adult in the AU  reaches 56 months of cash assistance.

3.6.1.4 What happens when an adult recipient reaches 58 months on TANF/SFA?

An adult recipient appears on the CLMR in eJAS when they reach 58 months of TANF/SFA notifying the WFPS/WFSSS they are nearing the 60-month time limit. Each parent in a two-parent household appears separately on the CLMR when they reach 58 months.

The WFPS/WFSSS schedules an appointment with the adult recipient using the ACES Online General Appointment Letter (50-05) or eJAS appointment letter, to complete the time limit hardship extension review between month 58 and 60. Include in the letter:

"Our records show you've used [number] months of TANF/SFA. To receive more than 60 months of TANF/SFA, you must qualify for a time limit hardship extension.  I need to meet with you on [date /time] to determine if you will qualify for a time limit  extension and/or review your plans for supporting your family if your case closes. You may bring a person of your choosing to the appointment."

At this appointment, we'll discuss if you have changes or updates to the following:

  • Employment
  • Family violence issues
  • Participation with the Department of Children, Youth and Families, or concerns with your child's welfare
  • Health issues for you or a family member
  • Homelessness or caring for a homeless child(ren)

We must have verification that you qualify for a time limit extension. Please bring any new verification with you. We can also help you get information that might allow us to approve an extension."

Give the adult recipient 10 calendar days of adequate notice for the scheduled appointment.

To complete the time limit extension appointment, parent may contact the WFPS/WFSSS:

  • In writing
  • By phone
  • By attending the scheduled appointment on their letter.

Note: An adult recipient can ask for a different appointment time if needed.

  • An adult recipient parent may waive the 10 calendar day's notice and complete the time limit extension appointment if they are in the office or contact WFPS/WFSSS prior to their scheduled appointment.  
  • WFPS/WFSSS documents when an adult recipient waives the 10-day notice.

Document when an adult recipient waives the 10-day notice and provide an eJAS appointment letter reflecting when the time limit extension hardship appointment occurred.

3.6.1.5 What are the time limit extension categories?

The entire assistance unit is ineligible for TANF/SFA when an adult recipient in the assistance unit receives 60 months of TANF/SFA, unless the adult recipient qualifies for a time limit hardship extension.

The entire assistance unit remains eligible for TANF/SFA if at least one parent has 60 months or more and qualifies for an extension.

Examples:
#1 Jasmine is on SSI and has received 45 months on TANF for her two children.  She marries Albert and he is added to the TANF grant.  Jasmine reaches 60 months on TANF, she is no longer subject to TANF time limits as an Ineligible Parent.  Approving the TLE is a workaround until IT is updated.  When Albert reaches 60 months, staff must complete a TLE review with Albert to see if he meets any of the TLE criteria. If Albert doesn't qualify for a TLE at that time, the three person TANF grant will close. 
#2 Tommy has been on receiving TANF for himself and his son for 55 months.  He married Tina who is on SSI and has a daughter who has been on TANF for 30 months.  Tommy doesn’t qualify for a TLE and the two person TANF grant will close when Tommy’s 60 months on TANF unless he qualifies for an extension.

A caregiver relative who doesn't live with the child’s parent and has 60 months or more of TANF/SFA may choose to receive a child-only grant as allowed under WAC 388-408-0025(2)(c).  There are no time limits for child-only TANF cases.

An adult recipient may qualify for a time limit extension (See the Time Limit Hardship Extension chart) when the adult recipient:

  1. Qualifies for an exemption under WAC 388-310-0350; because they are:
    • A needy caretaker relative age 55 or older (#4); or
    • Applying for SSI as required in their IRP (#8); or
    • An adult with mental, physical, emotional or cognitive condition, based on medical evidence, that prevents them from working more than 10 hours per week and is expected to last 12 months or longer (#5) or,
    • Receiving SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance (#5) or,
    • Caring for a child or adult with a disability (#6 or #7).
    • Homeless, living outside; in a building or other location not meant for human habitation, in a building or other location which they have no legal right to occupy, in an emergency shelter, in a temporary housing program, which may include a transitional housing program with a limited duration of stay (#14); or
    • Caring for a homeless child per McKinney-Vento criteria; focuses on the unhoused youth in the household. A youth who doesn't have a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. Local school districts use the McKinney-Vento definition to determine how many households are lacking a nighttime residence and provides access to resources such as free lunch, transportation, and educational supports. 
  2. Participates satisfactorily in specialized family violence activities according to a service plan developed by a person trained in family violence (#9);
  3. Has an open child welfare case with a state or tribal government and this is the first time the adult recipient has had any child in dependency (#10);
  4. Works 32 hours or more per week in an unsubsidized job (#11). Use the ACES calculated number of hours for self-employment unless the person chooses to provide alternative proof from a credible, knowledgeable, reliable source to confirm self-employment hours (see WAC 388-490-0005). Please note this alternative proof doesn't affect how we determine actual hours of participation or whether we allow the adult recipient to engage in full-time employment as described in the WorkFirst Handbook 8.2, Self-employment;
  5. Is 65 years old, or older, blind as defined by the Social Security Administration or likely disabled as defined under chapter 388-449 WAC (#5).
  6. Was on TANF assistance during specific months of High Unemployment. The applicant or participant may qualify for this reason if they don't qualify for any other time limit extension criteria and received TANF during a month on or after March 1, 2020, when the Washington State unemployment rate (provided by ESD) was at 7% or above. The extension is equal to the number of months they received TANF on or after March 1, 2020, when the Washington state employment security department's unemployment rate (provided by ESD) was at 7% or above (#16.) 

Base the determinations for time limit extensions on whether the adult recipient meets the criteria for an extension. See the Time Limit Hardship Extensions Chart for more details about the extension categories, criteria, required documentation, participation requirements and review cycle.

Note: The homeless TLE extension category is open for 6 months in duration. The TLE must not be updated before the 6 month duration expires, unless the recipient stops participating as required to obtain stable housing. 

Homeless TLE examples:

1. Rita was approved for a 6-month TLE due to experiencing homelessness. She participated with her local coordinated entry provider and obtained housing three months into her TLE. Rita reported to her WFPS she established housing at the third month. Her WFPS let her know she had three months remaining left in her extension, and at month 6, unless she meets another hardship TLE category, her grant will close.

2. Steven was approved for a TLE due to experiencing homelessness. At month 6, Steven was still unable to find housing. He met with his WFPS and completed a new TLE review, where it was determined he had engaged in activities to work towards locating stable housing. Due to meeting the homeless TLE requirements, he now qualifies for an additional 6 months. A new IRP was developed  with his WFPS, which requires Steven to continue to participate in activities to secure stable housing.

Note: An adult recipient parent may qualify for more than one time limit extension at a time. WFPS/WFSSS reviews the case and marks all extensions that apply to the adult recipient parent in the eJAS time limit tool and eJAS will use the extension with the longest duration to extend TANF/SFA.
eJAS uses any other approved extension if an adult recipient parent no longer qualifies for the longest duration time limit extension.

Homeless TLE examples for households who are homeless or caring for a homeless child as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act: 

  • Children and youth sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason
  • Children and youth living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative accommodations
  • Children and youth living in emergency or transition shelters
  • Children and youth whose nighttime residences such as but not limited to; 
    • cars
    • parks
    • public spaces
    • abandoned buildings
    • substandard housing 

Examples: 

  1. Maria is homeless, staying in a storage shed at night with her two children on a friend's property. Maria is applying for TANF/SFA TLE as a homeless household. She declares she doesn't have a permanent nightly residence, her school district verifies her daughter meets McKinney-Vento criteria. She is approved for a homeless TLE hardship for 6 months. She develops an IRP with her case manager for housing related activities to establish safe and stable housing. 
  2. Jada and her two children, Cory and Mikal are living in a shelter, they meet McKinney-Vento criteria due to an unstable nightly residence. She applies for TANF/SFA, is already over 60 months of assistance, and so is approved for a homeless TLE hardship. She develops an IRP with her case manager for housing related activities to establish safe and stable housing. 
  3. Fatima lost her job and had to move in with her parents. Her son, Muhamad meets McKinney-Vento criteria by sharing housing with Fatima's parents, due to an economic hardship. She applies for TANF/SFA, is already over 60 months of assistance, and so is approved for a homeless child TLE. She develops an IRP with her case manager for activities to establish safe and stable housing and any stackable activity to obtain employment or employment related activities. 
  4. Jose is an undocumented father of two children and one niece. He has exhausted 60 months of TANF and is only applying for his niece, Blanca, due to her moving in with him. Blanca's family is seeking housing but can't have her living in their current unstable location. Jose may be approved for a TLE due to his niece, Blanca meeting the McKinney-Vento criteria. A TLE tool needs to be completed, using the caring for a homeless child TLE hardship extension category. Jose isn't required to have an IRP due to being a non-needy caretaker relative. 

High Unemployment Rate TLE Approval Examples: 

  1. Rita is reapplying for TANF but has exhausted her 60 months of cash assistance and does not qualify for any other TLE category, but still needs assistance to support her family. Rita received TANF during high unemployment months of April, May, and June of 2020. The case manager verifies in ACES and approves the High Unemployment TLE recording the 3 TANF months of  of April, May, and June 2020 in the eJAS tool. This approves Rita and her family for 3 additional months of TANF cash assistance. 
  2. Micha is at 60 months of cash assistance and doesn't meet any TLE hardship categories, but received TANF during high unemployment months of May, July, August, and September of 2020. The case manager verifies the month and approves a 4 month TLE, recording the 4 TANF months Micha received of May, July, August, and September 2020 in the eJAS tool.

High Unemployment Rate TLE Denial Example: 

  1. Rayla is applying for TANF and she has exhausted her 60 months of cash assistance. She has met with a family violence advocate and has been approved for 6 additional months to work on family violence activities. Rayla is not eligible at this time for the High Unemployment Rate TLE even though she has 4 months of pandemic related high unemployment months available, because she qualifies for the Family Violence TLE hardship extension first. The High Unemployment rate TLE hardship can only be utilized if the applicant/participant doesn’t meet any other TLE hardship category, and the High Unemployment TLE category can’t be approved alongside an additional TLE hardship category in the system.
  2. Nevaeh applies for TANF cash assistance and she has exhausted her 60 months. She didn't receive TANF during the pandemic high unemployment months and she doesn't meet any other extension category. Nevaeh is not eligible for TANF cash assistance and isn't approved for additional months. The case manager explores al other programs and resources with Nevaeh to determine if there is any assistance to provide. The case manager gives her the following flyer, Transitioning off TANF resource. 
Note: The  High Unemployment Rate TLE category can't be selected in combination with any other existing TLE category.  The High Unemployment Rate TLE category is a last resort category.

TANF/SFA ends when an adult recipient no longer meets TANF/SFA eligibility criteria including TLE requirements, during their extension time period.

3.6.1.6 How do I determine whether an adult recipient qualifies for a disability time limit extension?

The adult recipient may be able to access free clinics, or, if the parent is already seeing a doctor, the WFPS/WFSSS can purchase a report or a full medical exam.

Give the adult recipient the Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter requesting medical evidence using the same timeframes used for all other time limit cases with the following text:

“You must provide documentation of your [or your child or adult relative’s] mental, physical, emotional or cognitive impairment and your ability to engage in work from a source such as one of the primary medical professionals or supplemental medical evidence described in WAC 388-447-0005.

Medical documentation must include:

  • Your [or your child’s or adult relative’s] diagnosis,
  • How long your [or your child’s or adult relative’s] impairment is expected to last; and
  • Whether you are able to engage in work or work-like activities for 10 hours or less per week or 11 hours or more per week.”

 The system uses the same medical evidence fee schedule as Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD) program. See the Social Services Manual – Medical Evidence Requirements and Fee Schedule section  for more information on how to process these payments.

3.6.1.7 Who qualifies for the family violence time limit extension?

When an adult recipient with 60 months of TANF/SFA declares family violence issues, the WFPS/WFSSS:

  1. Documents the family violence in eJAS,
  2. Obtains a family violence service plan created by someone trained in family violence services, and
  3. Monitors the case to ensure the adult recipient is following their family violence service plan.

Use the same verification requirements as the Division of Child Support (DCS) Good Cause process to document the family violence. Verification may include one of the following:

  • Completed 18-334(X) or other signed statement from the victim, outlining fears and/or concerns,
  • Civil/criminal court orders (e.g. domestic violence protection order, restraining orders, no-contact orders),
  • Medical, police, or court reports, or
  • Written statement from clergy, friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers.

Document family violence information in the eJAS family violence note type (but not on any eJAS or ACES letters). Offer a referral to the on-site or community based family violence advocate.

The adult recipient may pursue the time limit extension without filing a DCS Good Cause claim.  Encourage the adult recipient to request DCS Good Cause if establishing and/or collecting cash and/or medical support may result in serious physical or emotional harm to the child or adult recipient.  

An adult recipient must follow a family violence service plan developed by a person trained in family violence services to be eligible for the family violence time limit extension. An on-site advocate or a trained WFPS/WFSSS can create a family violence plan.

Note: A family may qualify for the family violence TLE with past or current family violence. A parent doesn't have to be in immediate danger to qualify for a family violence TLE.

An adult recipient living with an abuser may be approved for a family violence time limit extension. Develop a family violence service plan the adult recipient can follow safely if living with the abuser.  Connect the adult recipient to an on-site or local family violence advocate where appropriate for the family’s safety.

Family violence can also occur in a two-parent assistance unit. Use office protocol to interview parents separately (see WFHB 6.5.6). WFPS/WFSSS should omit any direct references to family or domestic violence in eJAS notes or the IRP for confidentiality.

An adult recipient can complete a family violence service plan with a family violence advocate whenever possible. They can also complete a temporary service plan requiring a service plan within 30 days of creating a temporary plan (up to 90 days with a supervisor approval).  A WFPS/WFSSS trained in family violence can complete the plan if the adult recipient parent does not want to complete a plan with a family violence advocate. The family violence service plan must be listed in the IRP as a condition of remaining eligible for a family violence time limit extension.

Create a reasonable and safe plan for adult recipients, drawing on locally available resources. Document the adult recipient's family violence plan in eJAS family violence case notes.

See the Social Services manual, Good Cause chapter, and the WorkFirst Handbook, Section 6.5, Family Violence, for more information about DCS Good Cause verification requirements and family violence.

3.6.1.8 How do I know if an adult recipient parent qualifies for a child in dependency time limit extension?

Contact the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to determine if the family has an open child welfare case and work collaboratively with them to address the family needs from both the child welfare system and the WorkFirst program. For a family who may have an open tribal child welfare case, send the adult recipient parent’s name and eJAS ID to WorkFirst program managers Sarah Mintzer with a cc to Sarah Garcia to determine eligibility for a TLE.

Approve an adult recipient parent for a child in dependency TLE if:

  • It is the first-time any of the adult recipient’s children are in court ordered dependency, and
  • There is an anticipated DCYF case closure of six months or less.
Note: This time period can cover any concurrent benefit period and six-month follow up while DCYF continues to work with the family.
Note: Voluntary placements or shelter care status doesn't qualify for the extension.

Document in eJAS any DCYF/tribal child welfare court ordered dependency considerations or actions and the actions taken on case including forwarding tribal child welfare cases to WorkFirst Program Managers noted above.

DCYF or tribal child welfare involved families may be required to do counseling or treatment activities to help keep their families together. Add these activities as WorkFirst participation requirements appropriately.

Involve DCYF or tribal child welfare in case staffings, assessments, and any intensive work with the family during a child dependency TLE to create joint plans that will meet the family’s needs.

3.6.1.9 What is the time limit hardship extension process?

The WFPS/WFSSS determines if the adult recipient qualifies for a time limit hardship extension. The WFPS/WFSSS are approved to authorize WorkFirst support services per WAC 388-310-0800(1)(a).

Prior to the TLE appointment, review the case for evidence of potential eligibility for an extension and identify:

  • Medical evidence received in the past 12 months for the adult recipient, their child or adult relative who is living in the home
  • SSI applications, even if it’s an application filed by the adult on their own
  • Receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance Payments
  • A history of family violence
  • A history of child welfare involvement
  • Current employment
  • Housing status- Is the recipient experiencing homelessness?
  • After reviewing all TLE categories, determine if the applicant/participant was on TANF during high unemployment rate months (March 2020 and onwards)

Determine TLE eligibility during the  appointment by:

  • Reviewing adult recipient's current information in case record
  • Completing the eJAS time limit tool with the adult recipient (if present)
  • Discussing the TANF time clock with the adult recipient to confirm accurate TANF months
  • Discussing the adult recipient’s plan for supporting their family if TANF/SFA terminates at 60 months
  • Explaining additional support to the family such as:
    • Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) if applicant is pregnant
    • Transitional Food Assistance (TFA)
    • On-going medical
    • WCCC
    • Child support
    • Community resources
    • CEAP benefits that are available once family exhausts TANF/SFA time limit 
Note: If necessary, explain the process for obtaining additional medical or other needed evidence.
Note: If the adult recipient is age 65 years or older or blind, approve the time limit hardship extension.

When reviewing the adult recipient's medical evidence, if it doesn't meet the WorkFirst severity and duration requirements, refer adult recipient parent to the TLE disability evaluation process using the Disability Determination section of the Social Services Manual.  See the Using the Sequential Evaluation Process (SEP) for TANF TLE Desk Aid for WorkFirst (for staff use only) for detailed steps.

For each adult recipient, the eJAS time limit extension tool must be completed. Please see 3.6.1.16 Time Limit Extension Decisions- Step-by-step guide for complete process. 

When an adult recipient doesn't meet the criteria for an extension, generate a TLE denial letter after completing the eJAS tool. Add the appropriate text to the time limit denial letter using the eJAS template text or as shown on the Time Limit Hardship Extensions Chart describing the evidence the WFPS/WFSSS took into consideration when making the TLE decision. Notify the adult recipient parent if they only meet some of the criteria needed to qualify. Save the eJAS denial letter or print for translation, if needed. Don’t mail the letter until the adult recipient reaches 60 months of TANF/SFA assistance to ensure the worker mails the eJAS and ACES letters are mailed at the same time. 

Note:  Don't document an adult recipient's history of family violence in the eJAS letter to maintain their confidentiality and safety.

When an adult recipient qualifies for an extension, eJAS automatically enters the TLE code(s) 4-11 in the TLE tool. When an adult recipient qualifies for more than one time limit extension, ACES automatically allows the longest extension. When both parents in a two-parent TANF/SFA assistance unit have 60 months or more and one is approved for an extension while the other is denied, approval overrides the denial in ACES and TANF/SFA remains open for the entire AU. The ACES notice reflects the information for the approved TLE.

Enter the TLE decision into eJAS before the end of an adult recipient’s 60 months, whenever possible, to avoid overpayments. ACES generates a 10-day notice letter in month 60 to close or extend TANF/SFA assistance based on the time limit extension decision. See 3.6.1.11, How do I send the time limit decision notices to the adult recipient, for additional processing instructions.

3.6.1.10 What happens when an adult recipient doesn't qualify for any time limit extensions?

When an adult recipient doesn't qualify for a TLE, provide the following information regarding additional support to the family:

  • Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) if applicant is pregnant
  • Transitional Food Assistance (TFA)
  • Basic Food Employment and Training (BFET),
  • On-going medical,
  • WCCC,
  • Child support,
  • Community resources, 
  • CEAP benefits that are available once family exhausts TANF/SFA time limit 
  • Provide the Flyer, Transitioning off TANF resource. 

If necessary, explain the process for obtaining additional medical or other needed evidence.

Add explanatory text to the eJAS TLE decision letter when there isn't enough evidence to qualify for a time limit extension. View the Time Limit Hardship Extensions Chart.

If the adult recipient doesn't qualify for an extension, eJAS passes information to ACES on a real-time basis and enters the extension reason 13 in ACES. Cases close once reason 13 in eJAS is populated in ACES and the parent has reached 60-months.

ACES generates a 10-day notice to close the case by the end of the 60th month and an extension denial is entered into the eJAS TLE tool. See 3.6.1.11, How do I send the time limit decision notices to the adult recipient, for additional processing instructions.

3.6.1.11 How do I send the time limit decision notices to an adult recipient?

Process and send out English ACES and eJAS denial notices in one envelope. Approved time limit extension require no action. ACES generates and, as needed, translates the approval notices.

Translated TLE denial letters require the following action:

  • WFPS/WFSSS prints, translates and holds the eJAS denial notice after TLE appointment without sending the translation to Barcode for imaging.
  • WFPS receives a tickle in Barcode when an ACES Termination Letter (006-02 Termination of TANF/SFA) generates and requires action.
  • If the ACES letter is in a supported language, staff:
    • Sends a copy of the translated eJAS time limit denial letter to Barcode for imaging.
    • Locally prints the ACES letter and mails it to the adult recipient with the original translated eJAS denial letter in one envelope.
    • Documents in eJAS time limit note type, English and translated letters manually mailed out together from local office.
    • Clears the tickle in Barcode.
Note: When the ACES letter is in a non-supported language, the ACES letter requires translation- staff are to follow the translation process.

3.6.1.12 Can an adult recipient who was denied a time limit extension request an Administrative Hearing and receive continued benefits?

An adult recipient may request an administrative hearing if they receive 60 months of TANF/SFA and their case terminates, or they don’t agree with the months used towards their 60-month lifetime limit.

When an adult recipient is eligible for continued benefits per the EAZ manual, Fair Hearing- Pending Continued Benefits, the Administrative Hearing Coordinator notifies the WFPS/WFSSS to approve an administrative hearing (#12) TLE in the eJAS TLE tool. Use the first month the case will remain open pending an administrative hearing decision as the start date in the eJAS tool, approve the extension in three-month increments and reinstate the case. ACES keeps the case open and sends a notice.

The Administrative Hearing Coordinator conducts the hearing and finalizes the decision, processing the case per the EAZ Manual, Fair Hearing-The Decision.

  • If the DSHS’s decision isn't upheld at the administrative hearing, WorkFirst staff:
    • Modifies the TANF/SFA months on the 3G Time Clock page when the ALJ modifies the month count, or
    • Enters the ALJ-approved TLE as of the first of the month of the ALJ decision date in the eJAS TLE tool.
    • Approves the extension for the maximum allowed review period. For example, if the ALJ approves a family violence TLE on June 10, staff will approve the extension for six months (June 1 through December 31).
  • If the adult recipient receives continued benefits and the department decision is upheld at the administrative hearing, WFPS creates a new eJAS TLE tool with the TLE code 13. The Administrative Hearing Coordinator recalculates eligibility and adds the following language to the ACES termination letter in the free form text box:

"You requested an administrative hearing on [date] to contest [your TANF months/TANF time limit extension denial]. We continued TANF benefits on your case pending an administrative hearing decision. The Department's action was upheld on [date] and you no longer qualify for TANF continued benefits. WAC 388-418-0020 and 388-458-0040."

3.6.1.13 What happens when an adult recipient offers more time limit extension evidence before we close their case?

An adult recipient's circumstances may change or the adult recipient may be able to provide more evidence of time limit extension eligibility. Examples could include the following; a medical condition may worsen, they may disclose family violence, they may become homeless, or they may increase their hours at work.

When an adult recipient doesn't qualify for a TLE and offers more or new evidence before we close their case:

  1. Document the contact and type of new circumstances or evidence offered in eJAS time limit note type.
  2. Create an IRP to request additional information within 10 days or by no later than the last day of the adult recipient’s 60th month on TANF/SFA. Use a Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter.
  3. Offer to schedule an appointment with the adult recipient if they want to meet to discuss the situation.

Once the new evidence is received, re-determine eligibility for a TLE. If the parent fails to provide the requested information by the date on the IRP or a Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter, review the case and determine eligibility based on the information in the adult recipient’s case record.

Use the eJAS TLE tool to document the decision. Translate the eJAS TLE decision letter as needed, adding any needed details per the eJAS time limit denial letter template or the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart, if the adult recipient remains ineligible.

3.6.1.14 What if an adult recipient reapplies before their case closes?

An adult recipient may choose to reapply for benefits before their TANF case closes due to time limits. WorkFirst staff obtains necessary information for TANF or Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) eligibility immediately.

Further steps are taken by the WFPS/WFSSS below:

  • Ensures adult recipient provides proof of pregnancy and the estimated due date if adult recipient is pregnant.
  • Must complete a TANF Time Limit Extension with the PWA eligible applicant to screen for any further TLE hardship criteria.
    • If no hardship criteria is met, the TLE Supervisory Review Process must be followed. See WFHB section 3.6.1.16 Time Limit Extension Decisions - Step-by-step guide for steps for the TLE Supervisory Review Process.  
    • If the PWA applicant does not meet a TLE hardship category after the case was sent for a TLE Supervisory Review, then the applicant will be approved for PWA.
  • If the PWA applicant meets a TLE hardship category, approve TANF cash benefits.

See WFHB section 6.2.7 Assessment Step-by-step for next steps for the WFPS to assess the PWA applicant if approved for PWA cash assistance.

Note see the Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA) process flow chart in resources for visual support of the PWA process.    

3.6.1.15 What happens when an adult recipient parent states they qualify for a time limit extension after we close their case?

An adult recipient parent may reapply for cash assistance after termination of benefits due to time limits, including when they have new evidence or a change of circumstance (e.g., a new, serious medical condition) that may qualify them for a time limit extension.

The WFPS/WFSSS completes the following steps:

  1. Treats the application in the same manner as any other TANF application.
  2. Completes a family violence screening along with the time limit review during the intake interview.
  3. Discusses the living situation to determine if there are housing barriers for the adult recipient.
  4. If the parent doesn't qualify for a TLE, denies the extension in the eJAS TLE tool. 
    1. If the adult recipient's case terminated for another reason and the adult recipient was eligible for an extension, reviews to ensure they still meet the extension criteria.  Another eJAS time limit tool is  not needed.
    2. Determines eligibility for the Pregnant Women’s Assistance (PWA) if the adult recipient is pregnant.
  5. Gives the parent a pending letter for any information needed to determine financial, disability and time limit extension eligibility. Completes the comprehensive evaluation, using the Pathway Development Tool (PDT) if the adult recipient is likely to qualify for TANF, including those the WFPS/WFSSS expects to meet the time limit extension criteria.
  6. Uses the WorkFirst support services, categories 34 (testing/diagnostic) and/or 37 (medical exams/services) or Washington Apple Health (if services are available in the area) to pay for necessary medical evidence for adult recipients as described in WFHB 6.6, Disabilities, How do I pay for medical evidence. 
    1. If adult recipients claiming mental or physical health issues don’t qualify for a time limit extension with current medical evidence, refers the  adult recipient parent to a disability specialist for the Sequential Evaluation Process (SEP) for TANF TLE.
  7. The disability specialist communicates to WF staff  the TLE determination after receiving medical evidence for the SEP process.
  8. Denies the extension in the eJAS time limit tool (please see 3.6.1.16 Time Limit Extensions- Step-by-step guide) and the application remains in pending status if their TANF time limit extension eligibility can't be determined without further information from the disability specialist.
  9. Once the time limit decision is received from the disability specialist, and a determination is made through the SEP process, uses the eJAS time limit tool to document the TLE decision.
  10. If the adult recipient doesn't qualify for an extension, adds appropriate free form text from the eJAS denial letter template, or the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart, to the ACES denial letter explaining why the adult recipient doesn't qualify for an extension (No separate eJAS time limit denial letter is required).
  11. Sends a separate ACES approval letter when the adult recipient qualifies for PWA due to pregnancy, (with cut and paste language, HEN Referral for PWA Participants,) found in Barcode, or HEN due to incapacity.

If approved for PWA cash assistance the WFPS:

  1. Approves PWA cash assistance.
  2. Adds canned text "HEN Referral for PWA Participants" to ACES approval letter.
  3. Advises the recipient that they will be referred to a WFSSS for a First Steps Assessment.
  4. Refers the recipient to @SSQ for the PWA recipient to be seen by a WFSSS.
  5. Completes the 14-084 referral form in Barcode adding that PWA application is finalized to be seen by a WFSSS.

The WFSSS:

  1. Creates a Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) referral letter, (PWA Housing and Essential Needs Referral, 10-651,) in Barcode.
  2. Gives the referral letter to the PWA recipient.
  3. Completes a First Steps assessment with the PWA recipient per WFHB Chapter, 6.2 Assessment.

3.6.1.16 Time Limit Decision- Step-by-step guide

Prior to TLE interview/appointment:

  1. The adult recipient receives a prominently displayed notice of the months of TANF receipt on the recertification notice as they approach 48 months on TANF/SFA.
  2. Once the adult recipient reaches 56 months on TANF, the eJAS demographic screen updates and the WFPS/WFSSS has access to the eJAS TLE tool to process a decision.
  3. Once the adult recipient reaches 58 months on TANF/SFA, the adult recipient’s case appears on the CLMR indicating a required TLE decision by the end of month 58 (when possible) and no later than the end of month 60.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS sends an ACES Online 50-05, General Appointment Letter or the eJAS appointment letter and:
    1. Notifies the adult recipient when they will reach 60 months and the need for a TLE review appointment, and
    2. An adult recipient may waive the 10 calendar day's notice and complete the time limit extension appointment if they are in the office or contact the WFPS/WFSSS prior to their scheduled appointment.  
    3. In the letter canned text, needs to be added, the adult recipient/ineligible parent "has the ability to bring a person of their choosing to the appointment."
    4. Documents when an adult recipient waives the 10-day notice and provides an eJAS appointment letter reflecting when the time limit extension hardship appointment occurred.
  5. WFPS/WFSSS adds AP component with end date to match scheduled TLE appointment. 

At the TLE appointment with the adult recipient, the WF Staff:

  1. Explains the TANF/SFA time limit policy.
  2. Reviews the adult recipient's TANF/SFA months for accuracy, including the adult recipient's out of state or tribal TANF months.
  3. Discusses the available supports, such as transitional food or medical, for those who don’t qualify for a time limit extension and provides the adult recipient/ineligible parent a list of community resources.
  4. Uses the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart to determine whether the adult recipient qualifies for one or more extensions.
  5. Makes the TLE decision based on the evidence available, and requests any additional necessary evidence for a TLE using an IRP.
  6. If the adult meets TLE criteria, to approve the TLE answer 'Yes' to question #5 of the eJAS TLE tool. This approves an extension for the case and completes the eJAS TLE tool. 
  7. If the adult doesn't meet TLE criteria, answer 'No' to question #5 of the eJAS TLE tool, enters the start date of extension and select save.
    1. A pop-up in eJAS displays, stating the case goes to a supervisor/designee for review/and or approval of the denial. The WFPS/WFSSS selects 'ok' on the pop-up display. 
    2. The TLER goes into pending status and the supervisor/designee sees the case on the TLE Decision Report in eJAS to make the determination. 
    3. Documents using the TLE note type, the TLE is pending for a supervisor/designee decision prior to termination/denial of benefits.  

To review and approve/deny TLE decisions, the supervisor or designee:

  1. Reviews the TLE Decision Report in eJAS to find pending cases needing a TLE hardship review.
  2. Uses the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart to review the case to determine if there are any barrier or needs that might support a TLE approval.
  3. Looks in the ECR for medical evidence, returned mail, or further correspondence from the adult recipient/ineligible parent that might determine if the participant is eligible for a TLE approval.  
  4. Reviews to ensure the applicant/participant isn't eligible for the high unemployment rate TLE category. This includes checking ACES to verify if the client received TANF during high unemployment rate months (April 2020 and onward.) You will need to record each TANF benefit month in eJAS to approve this extension. 

If the supervisor/designee agrees with the No Extension decision:

1. In the TLE Decision section, within the eJAS TLE tool, reviews and checks all of the boxes below in agreement:

  • Letters sent timely
  • Correct canned text in the letter
  • No mail was returned
  • No medical evidence in ECR within the last 12 months
  • No Family Violence issues have been determined
  • Equal Access Plan has been followed
  • CE created/updated within the last 12 months
  • Social Service Assessment has been completed
  • Participant does not meet any hardship categories 

2. Adds notes in the "comments" section at the bottom of the tool, stating the TLE has been reviewed and they agree with the no extension for termination/denial of benefits.

  1. Select the "agree" button and select "ok" on the pop-up that follows. 
  2. When 'ok' is selected the case will appear on the CLMR section #2- TLE No Extension report for the WFPS/WFSSS to complete the final actions on the case. 

If the supervisor/designee disagrees with the TLE denial and cash assistance termination decision:

  1. In the TLE Decision section in eJAS, within the TLE tool, review and check applicable boxes, including the "disagree" button.
  2. If the denial is not approved, the boxes left "unchecked" indicates the reasons the supervisor/designee disagrees with the denial.
  3. Adds a case note under the TLE case note type stating TLE denial was reviewed and that they disagree with the denial decision. 
Note: The TLER status changes from 'pending' to 'agree-print letter' in the TLE tool for the WFPS/WFSSS to complete. 

 If the supervisor/designee agrees with the termination/denial, the WF Staff:

  1. Utilize the CLMR section #2 TLE No Extension Report, Decision column for 'agree-print letter' decisions. 
  2. Select date in the Created Date column - The letter only generates when dates are added
  3. Select the 'Print Time Limit Extension letter' 
    1. Select 'Preview'
    2. Select 'Save Print'
Note: The letter must be printed from the TLER and sent to the adult recipient/ineligible parent to terminate/deny the TLE. If the WFPS/WFSSS does any of the following actions, the letter will not print and a decision will generate regardless and the TANF will be terminated/denied for No Extension without proper notice.  

If the WFPS/WFSSS hits the back button while in the Time Limit Extension Determination letter before printing the letter or,

  • Hits the back button while in the Time Limit Extension Determination letter before printing the letter
  • Goes back to home 
  • Goes to the main screen
Printing prompts the systems to close out the benefits.

If the supervisor/designee disagrees with the termination/denial, WF Staff:

  1. Utilize the CLMR section #2 TLE No Extension Report, Decision column for 'disagree' decision.
  2. Select date of the Created Date column
  3. Goes to the TLE tool for the specific case and reviews the decision made by the supervisor/designee.
  4. The WFPS/WFSSS determines next steps:
    1. Approve the TLE or,
    2. Schedules an appointment with the adult recipient to address what was missed in the TLE review process.
Note: The supervisor/designee's decision reason is indicated by the unchecked boxes in the eJAS TLE tool, stating what was missed in the TLE process. For example if the following boxes were left unchecked, they need to be followed up on by the WFPS/WFSSS:
  • Letters sent timely
  • Correct canned text in the letter
  • No mail was returned
  • No medical evidence in the ECR within the last 12 months
  • No Family Violence issues have been determined
  • Equal Access Plan has been followed
  • CE created/updated within the last 12 months
  • Social Service Assessment has been completed
  • Participant does not meet any hardship categories

After the Time Limit Extension interview/appointment, the WFPS/WFSSS: 

  1. Refers the adult recipient for a TLE disability evaluation when available medical evidence doesn't meet the severity or duration requirements for the disabled adult TANF/SFA exemption. 
    1. The disability specialist follows the Disability Determination Process to determine eligibility and communicates the determination to WF Staff.
    2. If the disability specialist determines the adult recipient’s condition doesn't meet ABD criteria, WF Staff complete the eJAS TLE tool and refers to the supervisor/designee if a denial is recommended. Please see the steps above for the denial process. 
    3. If the disability specialist determines the adult recipient’s condition does meet ABD criteria, WF Staff approves the TLE using the XB reason code.  
  2. Documents evidence used to make the decision in the free form text box of the eJAS TLE tool, using language from the eJAS time limit denial letter template or the Time Limit Hardship Extension chart if the adult recipient/ doesn't qualify for a time limit extension.
  3. Saves the letter. Or, for non-English letters, print, translate and hold (without imaging in DMS) the Time Limit Decision Letter. If the adult recipient doesn't qualify for an extension, eJAS will enter the information on the ACES TWEP Screen and ACES automatically creates the 10- calendar days’ notice to extend or close TANF/SFA when the adult recipient reaches 60 months.
    1. During month 60, ACES sends out extension approvals and English extension denial letters. When receiving a Barcode tickle for extension denial letters needing translation, the WFPS/WFSSS:
      • Sends a copy of the translated eJAS denial letter for imaging.
      • Translates the ACES termination notice if it’s in a non-supported language.
      • Locally prints and mails the translated ACES and eJAS letters to the adult recipient/ineligible parent in one envelope.
      • Documents that the letters were sent in the eJAS time limit note type.
      • Clears the Barcode tickle.
  4. Determines time limit extension eligibility decision based on available information if the adult recipient doesn't show up for the time limit extension appointment. Please see 3.6.1.16 Time Limit Extension Decisions- Step-by-step guide for the complete process. 

When the adult recipient/ineligible parent offers additional evidence before their case closes, the WF Staff:

  1. Documents the adult recipient contact and type of new evidence received in the eJAS time limit note type.
  2. Uses the IRP (or a Missing Verification for Interview (0023-01) pend letter for ineligible parents) to request additional information within 10 days, or no later than the last day of the adult recipient's 60th month.
  3. Schedules an appointment if the adult recipient wants to meet and discuss the updated information.
  4. Uses the new medical evidence to determine eligibility for a time limit hardship extension.
  5. Makes the decision based on existing information in the case if the adult recipient/ineligible parent fails to provide new evidence by the required date.
  6. Uses the eJAS time limit tool to determine eligibility for a time limit extension and document the decision. Please see 3.6.1.16 Time Limit Extension Decisions- Step-by-step guide for the complete process. 
  7. After the supervisory review, the WFPS/WFSSS completes the TLE tool and prints and translates the eJAS time limit decision letter, as needed (adding any needed details per the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart).

When a former adult recipient states they qualify for a time limit extension after their case closes, they need to reapply. WF Staff use the application process and:

  1. Completes a family violence screening along with the time limit interview and the intake interview.
  2. Discusses the living situation to determine if there are housing barriers for the adult recipient.
  3. Approves (if documentation is available and meets the TLE hardship criteria.)
  4. If the adult recipient doesn't qualify for a time limit extension, follow the WFHB section 3.6.1.16. 
  5. After the supervisor/designee reviews, and agrees with the denial, the WFPS/WFSSS denies the time limit extension tool in eJAS.
    1. If the adult recipient’s case is terminated for another reason and the recipient/ineligible parent was eligible for an extension, review to ensure they still meets the extension criteria.  Another eJAS time limit tool completion is not needed.
    2. Determines eligibility for Pregnant Woman’s Assistance (PWA) if the parent is pregnant.
  6. Gives them a pending letter for any information needed to determine financial, disability and time limit extension eligibility.
  7. Complete the CE if the adult recipient is likely to qualify for TANF, including those the WFPS/WFSSS expects to meet the time limit extension criteria.
  8. Uses WorkFirst support services, categories 34 (testing/diagnostic) and/or 37 (medical exams/services) or Washington Apple Health (if services are available in the area) to pay for necessary medical evidence for recipient/ineligible parents as described in WFHB 6.6, Disabilities, How do I pay for medical evidence.
    1. See section 3.6.1.6 for ineligible parents.
  9. If adult recipients claiming mental or physical health issues don’t qualify for a time limit extension with current medical evidence, refer adult recipient to a disability specialist for the Sequential Evaluation Process (SEP) for TANF TLE.

    1. The WFPS/WFSSS follows the TLE supervisor/designee process in 3.6.1.16 and denies the extension in the eJAS time limit tool. 
Note: The disability specialist follows the instructions in the Social Services Manual – PWA or disability determination if the adult recipient/ineligible parent is pregnant or claims a mental or physical health issue prevents them from working, to determine ABD eligibility, and communicates the determination to WF staff.
  1. If the applicant is determined to qualify for a TLE category, approve the TLE per step-by-step under TLE appointment with the adult recipient above and approve TANF/SFA case assistance.
    1. If the adult recipient’s condition meets ABD criteria, and qualifies for the related TLE category, use the XB reason code to approve the TLE.  
  2. If an applicant does not qualify for a TLE, follow WFHB section 3.6.1.16 to refer the TLE denial to a supervisor/designee for further review. 
  3. After the supervisor/designee review, if the adult recipient doesn't qualify for an extension:
    1. Adds the appropriate free form text from the eJAS denial letter template or the Time Limit Hardship Extension Chart to the ACES denial letter explaining that their case was reviewed by the case manager, a supervisor and/or a regional designee, and why the adult recipient does not qualify for an extension. No separate eJAS time limit extension denial letter required.
    2. Sends a separate ACES approval letter when the adult recipient qualifies for PWA due to pregnancy with the canned text from Barcode, titled "HEN Referral for PWA Participants" and:
      • Creates a HEN referral letter, (PWA HEN Referral, 10-651,) in Barcode.
      • Gives the referral letter to the PWA recipient.
      • Completes a First Steps assessment with the PWA recipient, per WFHB Chapter, 6.2 Assessment.  

If the adult recipient files an administrative hearing because benefits are terminated and qualifies for continued benefits:

  1. The worker processing the administrative hearing request notifies the WFPS/WFSSS.
  2. The WFSSS/WFPS enters continued benefits due to the administrative hearing into the eJAS time limit tool to continue cash aid.
  3. If the ALJ rules in favor of the adult recipient, process the ALJ approved extension into the eJAS time limit tool.
  4. If the department’s decision is upheld by the ALJ, close the administrative extension and enter specialized text into the ACES termination notice.

Resources

Related WorkFirst Handbook Chapters

Forms & Other Resources