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10.3 Eligibility

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10.3.1 Overview

Effective date: September 23, 2019

Anyone interested in being considered for the WIOA Title I Youth Program must be allowed to apply.1 All applicants must receive an eligibility determination.2 While WIOA is not an entitlement program,3 this only means that funding for WIOA programs is not unlimited. Local WDBs must offer services to all eligible applicants when funding is available.

The WIOA Title I-B Youth Program has two different eligibility statuses, in-school youth (ISY) and out-of-school youth (OSY). Each has its own eligibility criteria. Individuals' age and school status at the time of eligibility determination dictate whether individuals are ISY or OSY.4 Participants maintain the same ISY or OSY status until they are exited.5 Once in the program, participants may continue to receive services beyond the age of 21 if ISY and 24 if OSY.6


10.3.2 In-School Youth (ISY) Criteria1

Effective date: September 23, 2019

Individuals are in-school youth (ISY) if, at the time of eligibility determination, they:

  1. are attending secondary or post-secondary school;
  2. are not younger than age 14 or older than 21;2
  3. are low-income (homeless/runaway and foster care youth are automatically considered low-income);3
  4. are eligible to work in the United States;4
  5. are registered for Selective Service (if applicable);5
  6. Note: Though youth under age 16 must have a work permit to obtain employment in the State of Wisconsin,6 ISY ages 14 and 15 may participate in the WIOA Youth Program without a work permit as long as they meet the definition of "eligible to work in the United States." Any participants who lose their authorization to work in the United States become ineligible for the WIOA Youth Program as of the date the authorization was lost.
    Note: Almost all male U.S. citizens and immigrants are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. If an individual turns 18 while participating in the Youth Program, he must register with Selective Service no later than 30 days after his 18th birthday. If he fails to register during that period, he may not continue to participate in the Youth Program. Males between the ages of 18 and 24 who have not registered with Selective Service can become eligible for the WIOA Youth Program by registering at www.sss.gov.7
    AND
  7. satisfy the requirements for at least one of the following eight eligibility barriers:
    1. basic skills deficient
    2. English Language Learner
    3. offender or ex-offender
    4. homeless or runaway
    5. foster care
    6. pregnant or parenting
    7. has a disability
    8. requires additional assistance

States and local WDBs may not add eligibility criteria, including, but not limited to, criteria related to county or state of residence.8

Any costs associated with providing WIOA Title I services to non-eligible individuals may be disallowed.9


10.3.3 Out-of-School Youth (OSY) Criteria1

Effective date: September 23, 2019

Individuals are out-of-school youth (OSY) if, at the time of eligibility determination, they

  1. are not attending secondary or post-secondary school;
  2. are not younger than age 16 or older than 24;
  3. are eligible to work in the United States;2
  4. are registered for Selective Service (if applicable);3

    Note: Any participants who lose their authorization to work in the United States become ineligible for the WIOA Youth Program as of the date the authorization was lost.

    Note: Almost all male U.S. citizens and immigrants are required to register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. If an individual turns 18 while participating in the Youth Program, he must register with Selective Service no later than 30 days after his 18th birthday. If he fails to register during that period, he may not continue to participate in the Youth Program. Males between the ages of 18 and 24 who have not registered with Selective Service can become eligible for the WIOA Youth Program by registering at www.sss.gov.4

    AND
  5. satisfy the requirements for at least one of the following nine eligibility barriers:
    1. school dropout
    2. within the compulsory age of secondary school attendance but not attending
    3. low-income individual with a secondary school diploma or equivalent who is basic skills deficient or an English Language Learner
    4. offender or ex-offender
    5. homeless or runaway
    6. foster care
    7. pregnant or parenting
    8. has a disability
    9. low-income and requires additional assistance

States and local WDBs may not add eligibility criteria, including, but not limited to, criteria related to county or state of residence.5

Any costs associated with providing WIOA Title I-B services to non-eligible individuals may be disallowed.6


10.3.4 Definition of School

Effective date: August 2, 2018

State law for secondary and post-secondary institutions defines "school."1

Wisconsin statutes define "secondary school" as covering grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 and being:

  • a public school;
  • a private school;
  • a charter school;
  • a home-based private educational program which means that the individual's parent, guardian, or a person designated by the parent or guardian provides the instruction to the individual (an instructional program provided to more than one family unit does not count);
  • a tribal school; or
  • an alternative education program which includes an instructional program approved by the school board that replaces regularly scheduled curricular programs with alternative or adaptive school structures and teaching techniques.2

Wisconsin statutes do not define "post-secondary school." DWD-DET adopts WIOA's definition. As such, "post-secondary school" means education outside of the K-12 grades and is one of the following:

  • an institution of higher education that provides not less than a 2-year program of instruction that can be used as credit toward a bachelor's degree;
  • a tribally controlled college or university;
  • a nonprofit educational institution offering a certificate;or
  • a nonprofit educational institution offering a registered apprenticeship program.3

Schools that meet the above criteria may be virtual or brick and mortar establishments.


Under WIOA, the following programs are not considered schools:

  • Adult education programs under WIOA Title II;
  • YouthBuild programs;
  • The Job Corps program;
  • High school equivalency (HSE) programs not funded by the public K-12 school system; and
  • Dropout re-engagement programs not funded by the public K-12 school system.4

Note: YouthBuild programs with education components funded by the public K-12 school system are an exception to the above rule. Youth who attend such YouthBuild programs and are receiving GED/HSED instruction should be classified as ISY.5


10.3.5 Attending Versus Not Attending

Effective date: August 2, 2018

State law does not define "attending" versus "not attending" school. DWD-DET has established a policy for determining whether an individual is attending or not attending school.1

DWD-DET considers an individual to be "attending" school at the time of eligibility determination if s/he is:

  • reporting to school on a routine basis, either physically or virtually, when school is in session;2
  • in between school sessions and is enrolled to continue school at the start of the next session (e.g., the summer between secondary school grade levels);3
    OR
  • registered for post-secondary school but classes have not yet started.4
  • Note: Registration or attendance in post-secondary school must always involve credit-bearing classes. If the classes are non-credit-bearing, the individual is not considered to be "attending" school.5

DWD-DET considers an individual as "not attending" school at the time of eligibility determination if s/he does not meet the "attending" definition and meets one of the following:

  • has not reported to school, either physically or virtually, for at least four full weeks and is not subject to the State's compulsory school attendance law (e.g., the individual is 20 years old and has not attended post-secondary training for the last four weeks);6
  • is between school sessions and decides not to follow through with attending and is not subject to the State's compulsory school attendance law;7
  • is not currently reporting to school but is registered for post-secondary school and decides not to follow through with attending;8
  • is enrolled in non-credit-bearing post-secondary classes;9
    OR
  • is subject to the State's compulsory school attendance law but has not reported to school, either physically or virtually, for the most recently completed quarter of the school district's school year or longer.10
  • Note: Wisconsin's compulsory school attendance law requires individuals between the ages of 6 and 18 to attend school when in session, unless they have already graduated from secondary school or are excused from attending (excuses are defined by the law). Under the law, individuals who turn 18 years of age during the school year must continue to routinely report to school until the end of the term (quarter or semester) in which they turned 18.11

10.3.6 Guidance on Eligibility Barriers

Effective date: September 23, 2019

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

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.

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

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

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

Foster Care (Applies to ISY and OSY)

This eligibility barrier applies if individuals:

  • are in foster care;
  • aged out of foster care;
  • left foster care on or after turning age 16 for kinship, guardianship or adoption;
    AND/OR
  • are eligible for assistance under the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.16
  • Note: The criterion "left foster care on or after turning age 16 for kinship, guardianship or adoption" includes situations where individuals were formerly in foster care but returned to their family before turning 18.17

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.

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

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.

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

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

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:


10.3.7 Multiple Eligibility Barriers

Effective date: August 2, 2018

Career planners are to report in ASSET all eligibility barriers that can be documented. Local performance accountability measures are adjusted based on the participants' characteristics.1 Areas that serve harder to serve populations are more likely to have their performance goals reduced at the end of the year by the statistical adjustment model.




Eligible to Work in the United States

Effective date: October 1, 2017

Individuals eligible to work in the U.S. include (WIOA Sec. 188(a)(5); 20 CR §683.285(5)):

  • citizens and nationals of the United States;
  • lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, refugees and asylees (who are authorized to work in the U.S. because of their refugee or asylee status); and
  • other immigrants authorized by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Secretary's designee to work in the U.S. This includes immigrants covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) who have applied for and received work authorization (TEGL 02-14, p. 2).


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



Entitlement

Effective date: September 23, 2019

The right of a person, group of people, business, unit of government, or similar entity to receive payments from the federal government if they meet the eligibility criteria set in law. Spending levels for entitlement programs are determined by those programs' eligibility criteria and benefit or payment rules rather than through the annual appropriations process. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the federal government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled.

https://www.senate.gov/reference/glossary_term/entitlement.htm

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/glossary.pdf#page=8



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)



Dropout Re-engagement Programs

Effective date: August 2, 2018

Dropout re-engagement programs, also known as dropout recovery programs, conduct active outreach to encourage OSY to return to school and assist them in resuming their education and/or training to become career ready. Programs may provide case management and other services to support OSY in overcoming barriers that prevent them from returning to school or work.
TEGL 21-16, p. 3



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



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



High School Equivalency (HSE) Programs

Effective date: August 2, 2018

HSE programs offer preparation for and the taking of tests which lead to a high school equivalency degree.
TEGL 21-16, p. 3



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



Kinship

Effective date: August 2, 2018

"Kinship" means a relative other than a parent.

Wis. Stats. § 48.57(3m)(a)2



Eligibility Determination

Effective date: July 26, 2019

DWD-DET defines eligibility determination as applying the information collected during program registration to the eligibility criteria to see if the individual is eligible for the program.

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