Human Services

CHAPTER 40-5.2
The Rhode Island Works Program

SECTION 40-5.2-8

§ 40-5.2-8. Definitions.

(a) As used in this chapter, the following terms having the meanings set forth herein, unless the context in which such terms are used clearly indicates to the contrary:

(1) "Applicant" means a person who has filed a written application for assistance for herself/himself and her/his dependent child(ren). An applicant may be a parent or non parent caretaker relative.

(2) "Assistance" means cash and any other benefits provided pursuant to this chapter.

(3) "Assistance unit" means the assistance filing unit consisting of the group of persons, including the dependent child(ren), living together in a single household who must be included in the application for assistance and in the assistance payment if eligibility is established. An assistance unit may be the same as a family.

(4) "Benefits" shall mean assistance received pursuant to this chapter.

(5) "Community service programs" means structured programs and activities in which cash assistance recipients perform work for the direct benefit of the community under the auspices of public or nonprofit organizations. Community service programs are designed to improve the employability of recipients not otherwise able to obtain paid employment.

(6) "Department" means the department of human services.

(7) "Dependent child" means an individual, other than an individual with respect to whom foster care maintenance payments are made, who is: (A) under the age of eighteen (18); or (B) under the age of nineteen (19) and a full-time student in a secondary school (or in the equivalent level of vocational or educational training), if before he or she attains age nineteen (19), he or she may reasonably be expected to complete the program of such secondary school (or such training).

(8) "Director" means the director of the department of human services.

(9) "Earned income" means income in cash or the equivalent received by a person through the receipt of wages, salary, commissions, or profit from activities in which the person is self-employed or as an employee and before any deductions for taxes.

(10) "Earned income tax credit" means the credit against federal personal income tax liability under § 32 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. § 32, or any successor section, the advanced payment of the earned income tax credit to an employee under § 3507 of the code, 26 U.S.C. § 3507, or any successor section and any refund received as a result of the earned income tax credit, as well as any refundable state earned income tax credit.

(11) "Education directly related to employment" means education, in the case of a participant who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency, related to a specific occupation, job, or job offer.

(12) "Family" means: (A) a pregnant woman from and including the seventh month of her pregnancy; or (B) a child and the following eligible persons living in the same household as the child: (C) each biological, adoptive or stepparent of the child, or in the absence of a parent, any adult relative who is responsible, in fact, for the care of such child; and (D) the child's minor siblings (whether of the whole or half blood); provided, however, that the term "family" shall not include any person receiving benefits under title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq. A family may be the same as the assistance unit.

(13) "Gross earnings" means earnings from employment and self-employment further described in the department of human services rules and regulations.

(14) "Individual employment plan" means a written, individualized plan for employment developed jointly by the applicant and the department of human services that specifies the steps the participant shall take toward long-term economic independence developed in accordance with subsection 40-5.2-10(e). A participant must comply with the terms of the individual employment plan as a condition of eligibility in accordance with subsection 40-5.2-10(e) of this chapter.

(15) "Job search and job readiness" means the mandatory act of seeking or obtaining employment by the participant, or the preparation to seek or obtain employment.

In accord with federal requirements, job search activities must be supervised by the department of labor and training and must be reported to the department of human services in accordance with TANF work verification requirements.

Except in the context of rehabilitation employment plans, and special services provided by the department of children, youth and families, job search and job readiness activities are limited to four (4) consecutive weeks, or for a total of six (6) weeks in a twelve (12) month period, with limited exceptions as defined by the department. The department of human services in consultation with the department of labor and training shall extend job search, and job readiness assistance for up to twelve (12) weeks in a fiscal year if a state has an unemployment rate at least fifty percent (50%) greater than the United States unemployment rate if the state meets the definition of a "needy state" under the contingency fund provisions of federal law.

Preparation to seek employment, or job readiness, may include, but may not be limited to, the participant obtaining life skills training, homelessness services, domestic violence services, special services for families provided by the department of children youth and families, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, or rehabilitation activities as appropriate for those who are otherwise employable. Such services, treatment or therapy must be determined to be necessary and certified by a qualified medical or mental health professional. Intensive work readiness services may include work-based literacy, numeracy, hands-on training, work experience and case management services. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to mean that the department of labor and training shall be the sole provider of job readiness activities described herein.

(16) "Job skills training directly related to employment" means training or education for job skills required by an employer to provide an individual with the ability to obtain employment or to advance or adapt to the changing demands of the workplace. Job skills training directly related to employment must be supervised on an ongoing basis.

(17) "Net income" means the total gross income of the assistance unit less allowable disregards and deductions as described in subsection 40-5.2-10(g).

(18) "Minor parent" means a parent under the age of eighteen (18). A minor parent may be an applicant or recipient with his or her dependent child(ren) in his/her own case or a member of an assistance unit with his or her dependent child(ren) in a case established by the minor parent's parent.

(19) "On-the-job-training" means training in the public or private sector that is given to a paid employee while he or she is engaged in productive work and that provides knowledge and skills essential to the full and adequate performance of the job. On-the-job training must be supervised by an employer, work site sponsor, or other designee of the department of human services on an ongoing basis.

(20) "Participant" means a person who has been found eligible for assistance in accordance with this chapter and who must comply with all requirements of this chapter, and has entered into an individual employment plan. A participant may be a parent or non-parent caretaker relative included in the cash assistance payment.

(21) "Recipient" means a person who has been found eligible and receives cash assistance in accordance with this chapter.

(22) "Relative" means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, great grandparent, great-great grandparent, aunt, great aunt, great-great aunt, uncle, great-uncle, great-great uncle, sister, brother, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, first cousin, first cousin once removed, niece, great niece, great-great niece, nephew, great nephew, or great-great nephew.

(23) "Resident" means a person who maintains residence by his or her continuous physical presence in the state.

(24) "Self-employment income" means the total profit from a business enterprise, farming, etc., resulting from a comparison of the gross receipts with the business expenses, i.e., expenses directly related to producing the goods or services and without which the goods or services could not be produced. However, items such as depreciation, personal business and entertainment expenses, and personal transportation are not considered business expenses for the purposes of determining eligibility for cash assistance in accordance with this chapter.

(25) "State" means the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

(26) "Subsidized employment" means employment in the private or public sectors for which the employer receives a subsidy from TANF or other public funds to offset some or all of the wages and costs of employing a recipient. It includes work in which all or a portion of the wages paid to the recipient are provided to the employer either as a reimbursement for the extra costs of training or as an incentive to hire the recipient, including, but not limited to, grant diversion.

(27) "Subsidized housing" means housing for a family whose rent is restricted to a percentage of its income.

(28) "Unsubsidized employment" means full or part-time employment in the public or private sector that is not subsidized by TANF or any other public program.

(29) "Vocational educational training" means organized educational programs, not to exceed twelve (12) months with respect to any participant, that are directly related to the preparation of participants for employment in current or emerging occupations. Vocational educational training must be supervised.

(30) "Work experience" means a work activity that provides a participant with an opportunity to acquire the general skills, training, knowledge, and work habits necessary to obtain employment. The purpose of work experience is to improve the employability of those who cannot find unsubsidized employment. An employer, work site sponsor, and/or other appropriate designee of the department must supervise this activity.

(31) "Work supplementation" also known as "grant diversion" means the use of all or a portion of a participant's cash assistance grant and food stamp grant as a wage supplement to an employer. Such a supplement shall be limited to a maximum period of twelve (12) months. An employer must agree to continue the employment of the participant as part of the regular work force, beyond the supplement period, if the participant demonstrates satisfactory performance.

(32) "Work activities" mean the specific work requirements which must be defined in the individual employment plan and must be complied with by the participant as a condition of eligibility for the receipt of cash assistance for single and two (2) family households outlined in § 40-5.2-12 of this chapter.

History of Section.
(P.L. 2008, ch. 100, art. 16, § 1.)