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ISSUE DATE: 12/2014

Participants who have reached their 60-month lifetime limit as outlined in 0011.30 (60-Month Lifetime Limit) may be eligible for an extension of MFIP if they meet 1 of the following hardship extension categories:

Employed. See 0011.33.03 (MFIP Employed Extension Category).

Employed with reduced hours. See 0011.33.03.03 (Limited Work Due to Illness/Disability).

Hard to Employ. See 0011.33.06 (MFIP Hard to Employ Extension Category).

Ill or Incapacitated. See 0011.33.09 (MFIP Ill/Incapacitated Extension Category).

Participants who are extended as ill or incapacitated or are in any of the hard-to-employ categories are considered Family Stabilization Services (FSS) participants and ARE REQUIRED to develop an FSS employment plan and follow FSS service requirements.

EXCEPT for the situations below, participants must request a hardship extension and provide documentation that the criteria for the extension are met. The request may be verbal or written.

The participant does not need to request a hardship extension, orally or in writing, if the participant has already been extended and eligibility under the original extension category ends. The participant may have to provide documentation that he or she is eligible under another category.

An applicant who has already received 60 months of assistance does not need to request a hardship extension, orally or in writing, when re-applying for MFIP. As part of the application process, the applicant will be required to provide documentation that he or she is eligible for a hardship extension.

You MUST document whether the participant requests an extension or indicate that he or she was not interested in applying for an extension. To record this process, use the extension form developed by the county to document the request. The form should be completed at the face-to-face meeting, if possible. If the participant does not attend the face-to-face meeting, you must send an extension request form to the participant and tell him/her to notify the county, orally or in writing, if he/she wants to be considered for a hardship extension.

Participants may request a hardship extension in any month, but the participant, or both participants in a 2-parent household who reach the 60-month time limit at the same time, must be in compliance with ALL program requirements and NOT in sanction for any reason in the 60th month to be eligible for an extension. Eligibility may begin any time after the 60th month, depending on when the application and verification are received. NOTE: In 2-parent units, there are some instances when 1 parent may be removed from the grant and continue MFIP for the remainder of the unit. See 0011.33.02 (MFIP Hardship Extensions - Removing 1 Parent) for more information.

Work with each unit to determine if the unit is eligible for an extension. For units potentially eligible for an extension as “ill/incapacitated” or “hard to employ”, this may involve identifying potential barriers, referring for assessments, and obtaining documentation. For units potentially eligible for the “employed” extension, it may mean helping them increase work hours or making subsidized work opportunities available to them. For units who do not qualify for an extension, it means ensuring that eligible families continue to receive benefits such as food support and health care and directing them to other community resources.

In all cases, you must commit to reaching out, following through, and working with each family as intensively as needed. Families also need to follow through on appointments, provide the documentation needed, go to the assessments, and attend scheduled meetings. Be clear with families about your expectations of them.

If a participant who applies for an extension after the 60th month is able to document that a sanction was incorrectly applied or that the participant had good cause for the non-compliance, you must consider the participant compliant for the purpose of establishing eligibility for any hardship extension. Considering the participant in compliance under this provision IS an adjustment of a previous sanction period. DO NOT recalculate benefits or issue supplements.

Participants whose MFIP is extended beyond the 60-month limit may continue to receive MFIP as long as state law provides for MFIP extensions, the criteria for that extension category continue to be met, and all other MFIP requirements (including ES) continue to be met. When the criteria or requirements are no longer met, either sanction the case or close the case the 1st of the month following the month the criteria no longer exists. If a participant meets FSS eligibility, the FSS sanction provisions must be followed before the participant can be sanctioned.

To ensure that the hardship extension policy is consistently applied, DHS recommends that each county develop a written plan for determining eligibility for a hardship extension. The plan should be available to the public upon request. Counties, and Employment Services Providers under contract with the county, must follow the county’s limited English proficiency (LEP) plan to communicate information about hardship extensions to participants with limited English proficiency. County staff and Employment Services Providers should review their LEP plan to make sure they understand what language assistance resources are available to help participants with LEP understand necessary information about hardship extensions and what they need to do to request an extension.


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