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Chapter 4 - Age/School Attendance

Introduction 4.1

Age and school attendance are eligibility factors for some programs. In some cases, age may not be an eligibility factor, but it may impact what disregards and deductions the individual receives. For some programs, school attendance can make an individual ineligible while for others, school attendance is required in order for an individual to be eligible.

Legal Authority 4.2

TANF: 45 CFR 260.30

FS: 7 USC 2012 (f); 2014 (c); 2014 (e); 2014 (g); 7 CFR 273.8(b); 273.9(a); 273.9(d)

AREA/TOPIC DISTRICT FEDERAL
Age

TANF: DC Code 4-205.15

GC: See TANF and
DC Code 4-205.5a.

MA: 42 USC 1396a(a)(10); 42 USC 1396a(l); 42 USC 1396d(a); 42 USC 1396u-1; 42 USC 1396a(m); 42 CFR 435.4, 435.520
School Attendance and Student Status

TANF: DC Code
4-205.15, 4-205.65-.66

GC: DC Code 4-205.5a;
34205.15

TANF: 42 USC 608 (a)(4);
45 CFR 261.33

FS: 7 USC 2015 (e); 7 CFR 273.5(b)

Age 4.3

MA

Age is an eligibility factor for certain MA categories. A person remains eligible with respect to age for the entire month in which s/he reaches the maximum age even if the birthday is the first of the month.

AR: A child in an AR unit must be under the age of 21. Children ages 19 and 20 are eligible for Medicaid if they have incomes under 200% of the FPL.

AX: A child in an AX unit must be under the age of 19.

SR: An individual must be age 65 or older to meet SR eligibility on the basis of age. There is no age requirement for an individual who is statutorily blind or permanently and totally disabled. However, if the disabled person is under age 21 or the individual is a parent or caretaker relative, his/her Medicaid eligibility should be evaluated under the AR and AX program types first. If the individual is eligible based on the AR or AX program types, the individual’s Medicaid application should be approved. The individual should be strongly encouraged to complete the medical evaluation form because if the MRT determines the individual disabled and the case is converted to an SR case, the individual will not be placed in the same managed care system that serves non-disabled Medicaid participants. This system may not be appropriate for individuals with disabilities. (If the individual's income - after the appropriate deductions - exceeds the SR standard for a household of one, the individual does not need to complete a medical evaluation form.)

QM: Age does not need to be verified, though eligibility for Medicare, an age-related benefit itself, must be verified.

 

TANF

Age is an eligibility factor for the child(ren) in the group. However, there is no age requirement for the parent/caretaker relative.

In general, a child must be under age 18. in certain circumstances, an 18 year-old child may be included in the group if the 18 year old child:

Is enrolled as a full-time student in a secondary school or in the equivalent level of vocational or technical training program before s/he reaches 19 years of age. See Section 4.4: School Enrollment and Student Status in this Chapter.

The inclusion of the 18 year old child into the group, who is enrolled as a full-time student in a secondary school or in the equivalent level of vocational or technical training program before s/he reaches 19 years of age, as described above, is optional.

 

GC

See TANF

FS

Age is not an eligibility factor for FS but must be considered in certain situations. FS groups that include a person who is 60 or older are:

  • not required to meet the gross income test (see Section 8.4: Determining Income-Eligibility in Part VI);
  • entitled, under some circumstances, to a higher shelter deduction (see Section 6.3: Income Disregards and Deductions in Part VI);
  • subject to a higher resource limit (see Exhibit VI-2); and
  • entitled to an Excess Medical Deduction if the elderly individual's medical expenses exceed $35 per month (see Section 6.3: Income Disregards and Deductions in Part VI).

School Attendance and Student Status 4.4

MA

N/A

TANF

Dependent 16- and 17-year-old children who do not have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate must be enrolled in an elementary or secondary school, vocational, or technical training program in order to be eligible for TANF.

A child is a full-time student if s/he is enrolled in:

  • a public school or a licensed private school and the program calls for at least twenty (20) hours of classroom or vocational training a week;
  • a junior college, college, or university and is carrying at least eight (8) semester or quarter hours; or
  • a training program which:
    • Is designed to prepare the student for gainful employment,
    • Issues a certificate or diploma upon successful completion of the program, and
    • Calls for attendance of at least 20 hours per week.

The Job Corps is a program that qualifies as a training program.

The child must be enrolled in school full-time unless one (1) of the following exemptions apply:

  • Only part-time attendance is necessary to receive a diploma,
  • The remaining portion of the day is spent in a work study or similar program, or
  • The child completed secondary school or received a GED certificate.

If a dependent 16 or 17 year-old fails to comply with this requirement, his/her needs will be removed from the grant.

A child is a part-time student if s/he is enrolled in:

  • a public school or a licensed private school and the program calls for at least six (6) but less than twenty (20) hours of classroom instruction or vocational/technical training per week;
  • a junior college, college, or university and is carrying at least four (4) but less than eight (8) semester or quarter hours; or
  • a training program which:
    • is designed to prepare the student for gainful employment,
    • issues a certificate or diploma upon successful completion of the program, and
    • requires for attendance of at least six (6) but less than twenty 20 hours per week.
    • If the child already has a high school diploma or a GED certificate, s/he is eligible for TANF as long as s/he is under age 18.

'Enrolled in' means that the particular school or training program considers the child to be a current student. The enrollment status continues:

  • During the summer months (through September) if the child was enrolled when school was dismissed for the summer break, and
  • Until the ESA worker verifies or receives notification that a child is no longer enrolled.
Example
A school drops a child from its enrollment list in November due to non-attendance. The ESA Social Service Representative (SSR) is notified in January that the child is no longer enrolled. The ESA Worker should consider the child to be a student through January because it was in January when ESA received notification that the child was no longer enrolled. No overpayment is charged against the TANF grant.

Dependent 18 year-old children

Dependent 18-year-olds included in the TANF group must be enrolled in secondary school or an equivalent training program. An 18-year-old who has already graduated from high school is ineligible for TANF assistance as a dependent child. The 18-year-old must be enrolled full-time unless at least one (1) of the exemptions apply:

  • only part-time attendance is necessary to receive a diploma, or
  • the remaining portion of the day is spent in a work study or similar program.

Full-time enrollment is defined in the same manner as for Dependent 16 and 17-year-olds above.

The 18-year-old student becomes ineligible for TANF assistance as a dependent child if s/he is no longer physically attending unless s/he is not attending but:

  • has definite plans to resume his/her attendance within 30 days , or
  • is not currently attending due to:
    • illness of limited duration,
    • family emergency of limited duration,
    • school suspension, or
    • house arrest.
GC

See TANF

FS

Attending 'institutions of higher education' (see definition below) may affect a person's eligibility. Students who are enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher education must meet at least one of the following criteria to be eligible:

  • receiving TANF benefits;
  • under age 18 or over age 49;
  • physically or mentally unable to work;
  • employed and paid for at least 20 hours per week or self-employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week and paid the equivalent of working at least 20 hours per week at the federal minimum hourly wage (this includes on-the-job training, internships, and apprenticeships);
  • participating in a state or federally-financed work study program (the exemption begins the date the person is approved for work study or the beginning of the school year, whichever is later, and continues over the period the work study is intended to cover, unless the student rejects or refuses a work study assignment);
  • responsible for the physical care of a dependent household member under age six;
  • responsible for the physical care of a dependent household member ages six through 11 when adequate child care is not available;
  • a single parent attending an institution of higher education full-time with responsibility for a child under 12; or
  • assigned to an institution of higher education through a program under the JTPA, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), Trade Readjustment Assistance (TRA), or FSET.

If a person is enrolled in a post-secondary program which contains both a classroom and a training component, the person is not considered a student when participating in the training component. When the person is attending classes, however, s/he is considered a student and is ineligible for the program unless one of the exemption criteria is met.

All other students are ineligible for FS unless they receive TANF and/or SSI. TANF and SSI recipients may attend post-secondary institutions even if they are part of a Food Stamp unit that includes individuals who do not receive TANF or SSI.

'Institution of higher education' means any institution which normally requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate for enrollment, including but not limited to colleges, universities, and vocational or technical schools at the post-high school level.

The enrollment status of a student will begin on the first day of the school term of the institution of higher education. Such enrollment will be deemed to continue through normal periods of class attendance, vacation, and recess unless the student graduates, is suspended or expelled, drops out, or does not intend to register for the next normal school term (excluding summer school).

Residents of institutions are not eligible for program participation. Dormitories are considered institutions if they provide students the majority of their meals and the dormitory is not authorized to accept EBT cards.

If a student can demonstrate that the dormitory does not provide him/her a majority of his/her meals, the student may participate if otherwise eligible; if the dormitory has separate room/board contracts and the student only enters into a 'room' contract, the student would not be considered a resident of an institution.

School Attendance and Student Status 4.4

Teen Parent School Attendance Requirement 4.4.1

MA

N/A

TANF

To receive TANF benefits as a pregnant teen or parenting teen (male or female) who is younger than 20 years of age, he/she must attend high school or an equivalent educational, training, or other similar program approved by the Department. This requirement does not apply if:

  • The teen parent is married, whether or not the teen parent is residing with his/her spouse;
  • The teen parent has already obtained a high school diploma or a GED certificate; or
  • The teen parent is a dependent child living with a parent or caretaker relative who is applying for or receiving TANF for the teen parent.

The teen parent cannot be required to attend school or an equivalent training/educational program if her/his child is less than 12 weeks of age (this differs from the standard TANF work exemption which exempts parents of children under age one from work requirements). The teen parent also cannot be required to attend school or a training/educational program if the reason for the lack of attendance is that appropriate child care within a reasonable distance from school is unavailable, unaffordable, or unsuitable and the child for whom care is sought is less than six years of age. A teen parent who fails without good cause to comply with the school attendance requirement is ineligible for assistance (the children remain eligible).

Good cause reasons for not complying with school attendance requirements shall include circumstances beyond the individual's control such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • illness of the individual,
  • illness of another household member requiring the presence of the individual,
  • a household emergency (including domestic violence),
  • unavailability of transportation,
  • lack of adequate or affordable child care for children who are six and under, and
  • discrimination by a school in violation of District or federal law
GC

N/A

FS

N/A

Verification 4.5

Age 4.5.1

MA

AR: No verification of age is required.

AX: See AR.

SR: If age is an eligibility factor (that is, the applicant is applying based on age not disability), age should be verified if questionable. Sources of verification include:

  • physician's statement,
  • insurance policy,
  • court documents,
  • Census records,
  • social service agency records,
  • birth certificate,
  • adoption papers,
  • hospital or birth records,
  • baptismal records,
  • church birth records,
  • U.S. passport,
  • family bible,
  • Indian Census records,
  • INS records,
  • military records, and
  • SSA records or documents.

QM: N/A

TANF

The age of children should be verified if questionable (even if the child is excluded from the unit, but is the basis of a parent/caretaker relative’s eligibility). See SR for sources of verification.

Two of the following may be substituted if the sources listed in SR are not available:

  • school records,
  • court support order,
  • juvenile court records,
  • child welfare records,
  • insurance policy, and
  • affidavit from an individual other than the caretaker relative who has knowledge of the birth.
GC

See TANF

FS

If age is questionable and needed to determine eligibility or benefit levels (that is, if a person claims to be entitled to a medical deduction based on his/her being at least 60 years of age, but the SSR finds the declared age questionable), the SSR must obtain verification (see SR for sources of verification).

School Attendance 4.5.2

MA

N/A

TANF

School enrollment must be verified for each dependent child age 16 and older. School enrollment as well as attendance must be verified for teen parents.

A Verification of School Attendance Form is used to verify enrollment. The form is completed by a school official and a school stamp must be affixed to the form.  Other verification sources for school enrollment and student status include school records such as:

  • most recent issued report card for current school year,
  • correspondence from school authorities,
  • correspondence from scholarship boards or other similar organizations, or
  • information from school records obtained through data sharing agreements and exchanges with schools.

Teen parents required to attend school are referred to the New Heights program operated by the D.C. Public Schools. This program monitors expectant and teen parent enrollment and attendance in school.

 

GC

See TANF

 

FS

The SSR should verify school enrollment and school attendance only if questionable.