WIOA Title I-A & I-B Policy & Procedure Manual
Ch. 10) Youth Program

10.3 Youth Program Eligibility



10.3.6 Guidance on Eligibility Barriers

Effective date: August 2, 2018

Revised date: April 12, 2019

Revised date: September 23, 2019

The status of eligibility barriers is established at the time of the eligibility determination portion of program enrollment.1

10.3.6.1 Low-Income (Applies to ISY and OSY)

See the Low-Income Guidance. Careers planners must apply the definitions and guidance identified in this section when performing a low-income assessment.

All ISY participants must be low income.2 For OSY participants, the low-income requirement only applies to two eligibility barriers (i.e., has a secondary school diploma (or equivalent) and is either basic skills deficient or an English Language Learner OR requires additional assistance).3

WIOA provides a low-income exception where each local WDB has the flexibility to serve up to 5% of youth enrolled in any given year who do not meet the low-income criteria but would ordinarily be required to.4 If a local WDB wishes to exercise this flexibility, it must have a mechanism in place to accurately track participants served under this exception. This will be reviewed by DWD-DET as part of annual monitoring. Any costs associated with serving individuals who exceed the 5 percent limitation will be disallowed. In cases where the local WDB exceeds the 5 percent limitation, participants' eligibility determination dates will be placed in chronological order and only the first 5 percent will be covered by the exception. Participants who could fall within this exception are as follows: (1) any ISY, (2) OSY who have a secondary school diploma and are either basic skills deficient or English Language Learners, and (3) OSY who require additional assistance. The career planner should only apply (2) or (3) if the individual does not meet any of the other eligibility barriers listed in section 10.3.3.

  • Example: A local program enrolls 180 youth during the program year with the following breakdown:
  • 120 are OSY who were not required to meet the low-income criteria.
  • 40 are OSY who were required to meet the low-income criteria.
  • 20 are ISY.
  • Calculation: .05 (40 OSY required to be low-income + 20 ISY) = 3 participants can be served under the exception.

Note: See the "Income Guidance" for details on what to count for income calculations.

Note: When family income is calculated for Youth Program eligibility, career planners are to use the IRS's definition for "dependent" family members.5 The IRS definition is also used for determining up to what age a Youth Program participant is considered a dependent family member for purposes of income eligibility.6

10.3.6.2 Basic Skills Deficient (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals:

  • have English reading, writing, or computing skills at or below the 8th grade level on a generally accepted standardized test;
  • OR
  • are unable to read, write or speak English or compute/solve problems at a level that is necessary to function in a job, in their family, or in society.7

If applying the second standard, the local WDB must have a policy in its local plan that outlines specific criteria that career planners are to use to determine if the applicant is basic skills deficient.8 Methods used to screen youth for the basic skills deficient eligibility barrier may be less formal than those used to conduct an objective assessment of a participant's basic skills. Examples of less formal screening tools for basic skills may include the individual's performance on DWD-DET's Basic Skills Screening Tool, a GPA at or below a certain level, or demonstration that the individual is unlikely to graduate secondary school.

WIOA Youth Program funds may be used towards costs associated with assessing an individual's basic skill level for an eligibility determination, even though the individual is not yet a program participant.9 The local WDB may also use results from a previous basic skills assessment if the assessment was performed within the past six months.10

See Chapter 10.2 for information about Basic Skills Assessments for ISY and OSY.

10.3.6.3 English Language Learner (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals:

  1. have limited ability in reading, writing, speaking or comprehending the English language because English is not their native language:
    OR
  2. live in a family or community environment where a language other than English is the dominant language.11

10.3.6.4 Offender or Ex-Offender (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals currently are or have been subject to any stage of the juvenile or adult criminal justice process.12 This includes having any record of arrest or conviction.13

10.3.6.5 Homeless or Runaway (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.14 This covers the following situations: (1) sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar; (2) living in a motel, hotel, trailer park or campground due to the lack of alternative adequate living accommodations; (3) living in an emergency or transitional shelter; (4) abandoned in a hospital; (5) awaiting foster care placement; (6) using a public or private place for nighttime residence that is not designed for or typically used by human beings for regular sleeping accommodations; (7) a child who has moved in the last 36 months either as a migratory agricultural worker or fisher or with a parent or spouse who is a migratory worker or fisher.15

10.3.6.6 Foster Care (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals:

10.3.6.7 Pregnant or Parenting (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies to both mothers and fathers,18 but fathers are not considered to be "parenting" until the child is born.19 This barrier includes non-custodial parents.20 Additionally, DWD-DET considers this barrier to apply to individuals who are adoptive or foster parents or legal guardians to minor children.

10.3.6.8 Has a Disability (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals:

  • have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of their major life activities such as caring for themselves, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working, and the operation of major bodily functions;
  • have a record of such impairment;
  • OR
  • are regarded as having such impairment (which means they can establish that they have been the subject of a discriminatory action under the American with Disabilities Act because of an actual or perceived impairment, regardless of whether the impairment actually limits a major life activity).21

10.3.6.9 Requires Additional Assistance (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals require additional assistance to:

  • complete an educational program;
  • OR
  • secure or hold employment.22

Local WDBs are not required to use this criterion as part of eligibility determinations. However, as Wisconsin's Governor's Council on Workforce Investment has declined to further define this category,23 local WDBs must include policy and procedure for applying this criterion in their local plans if they choose to use it as an eligibility criterion.24 Any policies and procedures should be reasonable, quantifiable, and based on evidence that the specific characteristic of the youth identified in the policy objectively requires additional assistance.25

Note: Even if a local area chooses to use this category as part of ISY eligibility, it is to be used sparingly. In each local workforce area, not more than 5 percent of newly enrolled ISY participants can be found eligible based on the "needs additional assistance" category in any given program year.26 There is not a similar restriction for OSY eligibility. DWD-DET holds the local WDBs responsible for tracking eligibility determinations for ISY that are based solely on this eligibility barrier and ensuring compliance with the 5 percent limitation. Any costs associated with serving participants who exceed the 5 percent limitation will be disallowed. In cases where the local WDB exceeds the 5 percent limitation, participants' eligibility determination dates will be placed in chronological order and only the first 5 percent will be covered by the limitation.

10.3.6.10 School Dropout (OSY Only)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals are no longer attending secondary school and have not received a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent.27

The career planner must verify dropout status at the time of the eligibility determination.28 An individual who either dropped out of postsecondary school or previously dropped out of secondary school and subsequently returned is not a "school dropout" for purposes of youth program eligibility.29

10.3.6.11 Within Age of Compulsory School Attendance but not Attending (OSY Only)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals:

  • are under the age of 18 or turned 18 in the middle of a school term, quarter or semester;
  • have not yet graduated secondary school;
  • AND
  • have not attended secondary school for the most recently completed school year quarter or longer.30

The school year quarter is defined by the school (or school district) in question.31 If a school (or school district) does not use quarters, the career planner must use calendar year quarters, only counting those quarters that the school is in session.32

10.3.6.12 Low-Income Individual with a Secondary School Diploma or Equivalent Who is Basic Skills Deficient or an English Language Learner (OSY Only)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals:




Family (20 CFR § 675.300)

Effective date: October 1, 2017

"Family" means two or more persons related by blood, marriage, or decree of court, who are living in a single residence, and are included in one or more of the following categories:

A "married couple" can either be a man and a woman or same-sex individuals. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct.2675 (2013); 81 FR 56088



Foster Care

Effective date: August 2, 2018

"Foster Care" means 24-hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the state or tribal agency has placement and care responsibility. This includes, but is not limited to, placements in foster family homes, foster homes of relatives, group homes, emergency shelters, residential facilities, child care institutions, and preadoptive homes. A child is in foster care in accordance with this definition regardless of whether the foster care facility is licensed and payments are made by the state, tribal or local agency for the care of the child, whether adoption subsidy payments are being made prior to the finalization of an adoption, or whether there is federal matching of any payments that are made.

45 CFR § 1355.20



Aged out of Foster Care

Effective date: August 2, 2018

A foster child has aged out of foster care when s/he:

  • has turned 18 years of age
  • OR
  • continued in foster care after turning 18 years of age in order to attend secondary school or its equivalent on a full-time basis and subsequently completed the education program or turned 19 years of age (whichever came first)
  • OR
  • continued in foster care after turning 18 years of age in order to complete an individualized education program under section 115.787 of the Wisconsin Statutes (for individuals with disabilities) and subsequently completed the education program or turned 21 years of age (whichever came first).

Wis. Stats. 48.645(1)



Kinship

Effective date: August 2, 2018

"Kinship" means a relative other than a parent.

Wis. Stats. § 48.57(3m)(a)2



Guardianship

Effective date: August 2, 2018

"Guardianship" means a person appointed by the court to have the authority to make important decisions regarding a child's life and the duty to be concerned about the child's general welfare.

Wis Stats. 48.023



John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

Effective date: August 2, 2018

The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program provides states with flexible funding for programs that identify children who are likely to remain in foster care until 18 years of age and provide services that will help them successfully transition to self-sufficiency.

42 U.S.C. 677