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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 22. Social Services
Agency 40. Department of Social Services
Chapter 35. Virginia Independence Program
9/28/2020

22VAC40-35-120. Hardship Exceptions.

A. In certain circumstances, hardship exceptions may be made to the time limitations for receipt of TANF benefits. A request for a hardship exception may be made by an individual who is either a current VIEW participant in the 60-day period prior to the closure of the TANF case due to the receipt of 24 months of TANF benefits or a former VIEW participant in the period of ineligibility following the receipt of 24 months of TANF benefits. If the participant requests a hardship exception, the local department shall make an evaluation of participation while in VIEW and, if applicable, the period of ineligibility after VIEW participation. This evaluation will determine if a hardship exception may be granted to allow the participant to continue receiving TANF and to continue to participate in VIEW after the receipt of 24 months of TANF benefits. Once a participant has exhausted the time limit extended to him under a hardship exception, he may not apply for another extension based upon the same hardship.

A participant is not eligible for a hardship exception unless he has complied with the requirements of the program, which are satisfactory participation in assigned program activities, not having been sanctioned more than once during the two-year period for failing to comply with the requirements of the program, and not leaving a job, without good cause as defined by the State Plan, at any time during the program. Former participants will not be eligible for a hardship exception unless the individual has complied with the requirements of the program while in VIEW and has not lost employment as a result of factors unrelated to his job performance since entering the period of ineligibility. Factors unrelated to job performance are defined as those situations in which the Virginia Employment Commission would determine that the individual would be eligible for unemployment compensation if the participant had worked sufficient hours to qualify.

B. If the above criteria are met, a hardship exception may be granted by the local agency for up to one year if one of the following conditions exists:

1. If the unemployment rate in the participant's locality for the two most recent quarters for which data is available from the Virginia Employment Commission prior to the individual's request for a hardship exception was 10% or greater. In order to qualify for this exception the participant must also be actively seeking employment as defined in § 60.2-612 of the Code of Virginia.

2. If extension of benefits for up to one year will enable a participant to complete employment-related education or training and the participant had been making satisfactory progress per program requirements.

Participants granted a hardship exception under this subsection shall be reevaluated at least every 90 days to determine if a basis for the hardship exception continues to exist. If a hardship exception is granted, the participant must continue to participate in the program and work activities.

C. A hardship exception shall be granted, if the local department determines that the participant meets all criteria, for up to 90 days if the following conditions exist:

1. If the participant has been actively seeking employment by engaging in job-seeking activities required pursuant to § 60.2-612 of the Code of Virginia and is unable to find employment that would, in combination with any other income sources of assistance that the individual is receiving, pay an amount equal to or exceeding the case's TANF cash benefits and standard work deduction. The local department may extend benefits for up to 90 days to allow the participant to find employment.

2. If the program participant loses his job as a result of factors unrelated to his job performance. Factors unrelated to job performance are defined as those situations in which the Virginia Employment Commission would determine that the individual would be eligible for unemployment compensation if the participant had worked sufficient hours to qualify. The local department may extend benefits for up to 90 days to allow the participant to find employment.

Extensions of hardship exceptions will be granted in this subsection in very limited circumstances and only to those persons who demonstrate an extreme hardship. The local department shall refer the case to the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services or designee. The commissioner or designee shall evaluate each request individually and grant or deny the request for an extension. The commissioner or designee will reevaluate the individual's case as it determines necessary, but at least every 90 days, in order to determine whether the conditions justifying the exception continue to exist.

Statutory Authority

§ 63.2-217 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 12, Issue 15, eff. July 1, 1996; amended, Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 19, eff. July 1, 2009.

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