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8.6 Supportive Services


8.6.1 Overview

Effective date: October 10, 2018

Supportive services are one of the three types of services that the Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs offer. They provide participants with the resources they need to overcome barriers to successful participation in the other two service types – career and training services.1 Supportive services are an essential part of the individual's employment plan.2

Each local WDB decides which supportive services its Title I-B Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs service providers will offer and how they will deliver the services.3

8.6.2 Categories

Effective date: April 12, 2019

DWD-DET categorizes supportive services as either:

  1. information and referral to a supportive service (these are considered no-cost services)
  2. program-funded (e.g., payments to another entity for goods or services and reimbursements to participants).

Note: Costs for program-funded supportive services must be reasonable.

Note: In ASSET, information and referral supportive services are entered as a Referral service under "Basic Career – Self/Informational."

Supportive services may include, but are not limited to, the following:1

  • Referrals to community programs/services
  • Referrals to state and federal public assistance programs
  • Transportation assistance
  • Child care and dependent care assistance2
  • Housing assistance
  • Needs-related payments
  • Assistance with educational testing
  • Reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities
  • Services provided by legal aid organizations
  • Uniforms, work attire, and work-related equipment/tools
  • Books, fees, and school supplies
  • Payments/fees for employment and training-related applications, tests, certifications and licenses

See the Supportive Services - Examples and Resource Guide for more information.

  • 1 20 CFR § 680.900(a)-(l)
  • 2 Although the term "dependent child" is defined elsewhere in this manual, this definition does not apply to supportive services. Local WDBs may determine when assistance with dependent care is appropriate, based on each participant's circumstances.

8.6.3 Providing Supportive Services

Effective date: January 6, 2022

Identifying Supportive Service Needs

As part of the initial assessment, career planners must work with individuals to identify their supportive service needs.1 The career planner

  1. gathers information from the individual to help the individual recognize barriers that could hinder his/her successful participation in career services or training activities
  2. helps the individual connect with available resources to address the barriers.

Career planners are expected to check in with participants about supportive service needs throughout their program participation. This will help ensure that all barriers to successful participation are identified and appropriately addressed, and that services are discontinued when they are no longer needed.

When to Provide

Local WDBs may provide information and referral supportive services at any time.

Local WDBs may provide program-funded supportive services through the Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs when:

  • participants are or will be engaged in career or training services;2
  • they need the supportive services to participate in career or training services;3
  • it can be demonstrated that they cannot access the supportive services, within the time frame needed, through other WIOA titles, federal or state public assistance programs, or job center partners in the local WDA.4
    Example: A participant needs help with transportation to a class starting next week. A community organization provides funding for transportation but will not have funds available for this purpose until next semester. Since the service is not available by next week, which is the time frame needed, WIOA can fund supportive services for transportation for this participant.

Note: Adult and Dislocated Worker program participants in follow-up may not receive any program-funded supportive services.5

Career planners may provide a program-funded supportive service only if the service is connected to the individual's participation in a career or training service. The program-funded supportive service must end when the career or training service ends. For example, a participant receives financial assistance for child care while attending training. The participant cannot continue to receive the child care assistance after the training ends, unless the participant needs child care to participate in another career or training service identified in his/her employment plan. Supportive services alone cannot extend an individual's program participation.6

Career planners can provide a program-funded supportive service for a career or training service that has not yet started, if the participant needs the supportive service in order to start the career or training service. For example, a participant plans to start an OJT and will need a pair of steel toe boots for the training. The boots are an allowable supportive service.

Supportive Services for Co-enrolled Participants

An Adult or Dislocated Worker program participant may receive supportive services when engaged in career or training services funded by WIOA one-stop partners, or other funding sources, if the services are included in the participant's WIOA-approved employment plan.7 This access to supportive services gives a participant the resources needed to participate in career and training services that are not directly funded by the Adult program or Dislocated Worker program, but that the participant and career planner deem necessary and appropriate for the participant to achieve the employment and training goals identified on their IEP.8 Access is permitted if:

  1. the individual has been determined eligible for the Adult and/or Dislocated Worker program;
  2. the individual has received, or is receiving, at least one participation-causing service provided by the Adult and/or Dislocated Worker program (NOTE: this requirement is minimally satisfied by the development of an employment plan);
  3. the supportive service provided is an allowable supportive service;
  4. the need for support is included in the participant's employment plan; and
  5. both the supportive service and the service being supported are added to the ASSET Manage Services screen.
    NOTE: Services being supported that are not funded by the Adult or Dislocated Worker program should be entered in ASSET with an "Other" fund source. However, for services provided by a program that also uses ASSET as its management information system (MIS), entry of the service by the partner program is sufficient. It is not necessary to duplicate service entries when a participant is co-enrolled in multiple programs that record their data in ASSET.

EXAMPLES: A participant co-enrolled in the Dislocated Worker program and TAA may receive transportation assistance funded by the Dislocated Worker program to attend a training program funded by TAA, including training programs that are not included on the Eligible Training Program List. Similarly, an Adult program participant with an active IEP that identifies a training need, but whose tuition is being fully funded with a PELL grant, may receive childcare assistance to support their participation in the training program.

8.6.4 Documentation Requirements

Effective date: September 1, 2020

For each participant receiving supportive services, the career planner must:

  1. document all supportive service needs (information/referral and program-funded) in the participant's employment plan and indicate how the needs will be addressed.
  2. document all supportive services that the participant receives, as outlined in 12.3.6 Supportive Services File Documentation Requirements for Adult Program participants, or 12.3.6 Supportive Services File Documentation Requirements for Dislocated Worker Program participants.
  3. document in an ASSET case note if the career planner offers a supportive service, but the participant declines it.

For information/referral supportive services, the career planner must enter information/referral supportive services that are both planned and provided into ASSET using the appropriate ASSET referral service under "Basic Career – Self/Informational."

Note: Information/referral supportive services are entered into ASSET under Basic Career services because career planners are likely to think of them as referrals and look for them with the other referral services. Information/referral supportive services entered this way are still reported in the PIRL as supportive services.1

For program-funded supportive services, the career planner must:

  1. enter program-funded supportive services that are both planned and provided into ASSET using the appropriate ASSET Supportive Service under "Support Services."
  2. document in the ASSET service screen' comments field:
    • the specific career or training service supported by the supportive service;
    • that the service is not available through other WIOA titles, federal or state public assistance programs, or job center partners in the local WDA.2
    • Note: "Not available" means not offered or not offered within the time frame the participant needs.
  3. save any documentation of payment and expenses (estimates, vouchers, receipts, milage logs, etc.) in the case file.

8.6.5 Needs-Related Payments

Effective date: January 10, 2020

Needs-related payments can be made to participants to help them cover non-training expenses while participating in a training program.1 Without the help of needs-related payments, participants may be unable to successfully participate in training.2

The local WDBs may elect to provide needs-related payments. The state WDB may elect to provide needs-related payments as part of allowable statewide employment and training activities.3 Needs-related payments are not taxable.4 Participants should not report them as income, and IRS Form 1099 does not apply.5

Eligibility Criteria

To receive needs-related payments, participants must, at minimum, be:

  • unemployed;
  • not receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefits or trade readjustment allowances (TRA) because the individual does not qualify or is an exhaustee;
  • enrolled in a training program that has already begun or will begin within 30 calendar days.6

Dislocated Worker Program participants must meet the criteria above and must also be enrolled in a training program by the later of:

  • the end of the 13th week after the most recent layoff that qualified them as a dislocated worker
  • the end of the 8th week after they were informed by their employer that a short-term layoff would last longer than 6 months.7
  • Examples: Participant A was permanently laid off on January 3, 2018. Thirteen weeks from this date is April 4, 2018 and the end of that week is April 7, 2018. Therefore, Participant A must be enrolled in training by April 7, 2018.
  • Participant B was put on temporary layoff on January 3, 2018. Participant B was notified on March 15, 2018 that the layoff would be permanent. May 10, 2018 is 8 weeks from the day Participant B was notified that the layoff would be permanent and the end of that week is May 12, 2018. Therefore, Participant B must be enrolled in training by May 12, 2018.
  • Tip: Use a free online date calculator to help calculate dates.

Note: The state and local WDBs may add additional eligibility criteria (e.g., household or family income) to help identify those participants who are most in need of additional support during training.

Payment Levels

The local WDBs have the discretion to determine payment levels for Adult and Dislocated Worker Program participants. However, payment levels for Dislocated Worker Program participants cannot exceed the greater of:

  • the weekly UI benefit rate resulting from the qualifying dislocation
  • the federal poverty level at the time of the qualifying dislocation.8

The state WDB has the discretion to determine payment levels if needs-related payments are used as part of allowable statewide employment and training activities.9

8.6.6 Local WDB Policy Requirements

Effective date: October 10, 2018

The local WDB, in consultation with job center partners and other community service providers, must develop a policy on supportive services that ensures resource and service coordination in the local area.1

The local WDB's supportive services policy and procedures must address the following:

  • the process for ensuring that participants are accurately informed about the availability of supportive services and are connected to appropriate supportive services;2
  • the process for ensuring that career planners offer and provide supportive services in an equitable and consistent fashion to similarly situated participants;
  • the types of program-funded supportive services routinely offered through the Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs3 and, if desired by the local WDB, procedures to allow additional program-funded supportive services on a case-by-case basis;
  • the maximum amount and/or duration for each type of program-funded supportive service, if the local WDB chooses to adopt limits and, if applicable, the process to request and grant exceptions to the limits;4
  • methods for calculating program-funded supportive services, when appropriate (e.g., mileage or child care reimbursements);
  • any local eligibility and/or documentation requirements for program-funded supportive services (e.g., completion of a needs assessment form, income thresholds that must be satisfied, submission of a reimbursement request form);
  • the procedure career planners must use to assess and demonstrate a participant's need for a program-funded supportive service; and
  • a prohibition on reimbursing participants for expenses incurred without prior approval.5

Note: The local WDB is responsible for developing one Adult and Dislocated Worker supportive services policy for the entire local workforce area.6

Employment Plan

Effective date: October 10, 2018

An employment plan identifies a participant's employment goals, appropriate achievement objectives (i.e., action steps) and combination of services that will help the individual achieve his/her employment goals. (WIOA sec. 134(c)(2)(A)(xii)(II); 20 CFR § 680.170)

Public Assistance

Effective date: August 20, 2018

Revised date: September 1, 2020

"Public Assistance" means federal, state, or local government cash payments where eligibility is determined by a needs or income test.

WIOA Sec. 3(50)

As WIOA does not define "cash payments," DWD-DET used definitions provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to define "cash payments" as cash or a cash equivalent, such as a debit card or check, that can be spent however the recipient choses, and is not restricted to a specific purpose like groceries or childcare.

U.S. Census Bureau (; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (

Reasonable Cost

Effective date: October 10, 2018

Costs are considered reasonable if they are of a nature and amount that would be incurred by a prudent person under the circumstances prevailing at the time the decision was made to incur the costs. The question of reasonableness is particularly important when the non-federal entity is predominantly federally-funded. In determining reasonableness of a given cost, consideration must be given to:

  1. Whether the cost is of a type generally recognized as ordinary and necessary for the operation of the non-federal entity or the proper and efficient performance of the federal award.
  2. The restraints or requirements imposed by such factors as: sound business practices; arm's-length bargaining; federal, state, local, tribal, and other laws and regulations; and terms and conditions of the federal award.
  3. Market prices for comparable goods or services for the geographic area.
  4. Whether the individuals concerned acted with prudence in the circumstances considering their responsibilities to the non-federal entity, its employees, where applicable its students or membership, the public at large, and the federal government.
  5. Whether the non-federal entity significantly deviates from its established practices and policies regarding the incurrence of costs, which may unjustifiably increase the federal award's cost. (2 CFR § 200.404)

Trade Readjustment Allowances

Effective date: October 10, 2018

Income support payments for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program participants who have exhausted unemployment insurance benefits.


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