42 USC 607 - Mandatory work requirements

(a) Participation rate requirements 

(1) All families 
A State to which a grant is made under section 603 of this title for a fiscal year shall achieve the minimum participation rate specified in the following table for the fiscal year with respect to all families receiving assistance under the State program funded under this part or any other State program funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title):
(2) 2-parent families 
A State to which a grant is made under section 603 of this title for a fiscal year shall achieve the minimum participation rate specified in the following table for the fiscal year with respect to 2-parent families receiving assistance under the State program funded under this part or any other State program funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title):
(b) Calculation of participation rates 


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(1) All families 

(A) Average monthly rate 
For purposes of subsection (a)(1) of this section, the participation rate for all families of a State for a fiscal year is the average of the participation rates for all families of the State for each month in the fiscal year.
(B) Monthly participation rates 
The participation rate of a State for all families of the State for a month, expressed as a percentage, is
(i) the number of families receiving assistance under the State program funded under this part or any other State program funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title) that include an adult or a minor child head of household who is engaged in work for the month; divided by
(ii) the amount by which
(I) the number of families receiving such assistance during the month that include an adult or a minor child head of household receiving such assistance; exceeds
(II) the number of families receiving such assistance that are subject in such month to a penalty described in subsection (e)(1) of this section but have not been subject to such penalty for more than 3 months within the preceding 12-month period (whether or not consecutive).
(2) 2-parent families 

(A) Average monthly rate 
For purposes of subsection (a)(2) of this section, the participation rate for 2-parent families of a State for a fiscal year is the average of the participation rates for 2-parent families of the State for each month in the fiscal year.
(B) Monthly participation rates 
The participation rate of a State for 2-parent families of the State for a month shall be calculated by use of the formula set forth in paragraph (1)(B), except that in the formula the term number of 2-parent families shall be substituted for the term number of families each place such latter term appears.

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(C) Family with a disabled parent not treated as a 2-parent family 
A family that includes a disabled parent shall not be considered a 2-parent family for purposes of subsections (a) and (b) of this section.
(3) Pro rata reduction of participation rate due to caseload reductions not required by Federal law and not resulting from changes in State eligibility criteria 

(A) In general 
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations for reducing the minimum participation rate otherwise required by this section for a fiscal year by the number of percentage points equal to the number of percentage points (if any) by which
(i) the average monthly number of families receiving assistance during the immediately preceding fiscal year under the State program funded under this part or any other State program funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title) is less than
(ii) the average monthly number of families that received assistance under any State program referred to in clause (i) during fiscal year 2005.

The minimum participation rate shall not be reduced to the extent that the Secretary determines that the reduction in the number of families receiving such assistance is required by Federal law.

(B) Eligibility changes not counted 
The regulations required by subparagraph (A) shall not take into account families that are diverted from a State program funded under this part as a result of differences in eligibility criteria under a State program funded under this part and the eligibility criteria in effect during fiscal year 2005. Such regulations shall place the burden on the Secretary to prove that such families were diverted as a direct result of differences in such eligibility criteria.
(4) State option to include individuals receiving assistance under a tribal family assistance plan or tribal work program 
For purposes of paragraphs (1)(B) and (2)(B), a State may, at its option, include families in the State that are receiving assistance under a tribal family assistance plan approved under section 612 of this title or under a tribal work program to which funds are provided under this part.
(5) State option for participation requirement exemptions 
For any fiscal year, a State may, at its option, not require an individual who is a single custodial parent caring for a child who has not attained 12 months of age to engage in work, and may disregard such an individual in determining the participation rates under subsection (a) of this section for not more than 12 months.
(c) Engaged in work 

(1) General rules 

(A) All families 
For purposes of subsection (b)(1)(B)(i) of this section, a recipient is engaged in work for a month in a fiscal year if the recipient is participating in work activities for at least the minimum average number of hours per week specified in the following table during the month, not fewer than 20 hours per week of which are attributable to an activity described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), or (12) of subsection (d) of this section, subject to this subsection: The minimum If the month is average number of in fiscal year: hours per week is: 1997 20 1998 20 1999 25 2000 or thereafter 30.
(B) 2-parent families 
For purposes of subsection (b)(2)(B) of this section, an individual is engaged in work for a month in a fiscal year if
(i) the individual and the other parent in the family are participating in work activities for a total of at least 35 hours per week during the month, not fewer than 30 hours per week of which are attributable to an activity described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), or (12) of subsection (d) of this section, subject to this subsection; and
(ii) if the family of the individual receives federally-funded child care assistance and an adult in the family is not disabled or caring for a severely disabled child, the individual and the other parent in the family are participating in work activities for a total of at least 55 hours per week during the month, not fewer than 50 hours per week of which are attributable to an activity described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), or (12) of subsection (d) of this section.
(2) Limitations and special rules 

(A) Number of weeks for which job search counts as work 

(i) Limitation Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of this subsection, an individual shall not be considered to be engaged in work by virtue of participation in an activity described in subsection (d)(6) of this section of a State program funded under this part or any other State program funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title), after the individual has participated in such an activity for 6 weeks (or, if the unemployment rate of the State is at least 50 percent greater than the unemployment rate of the United States or the State is a needy State (within the meaning of section 603 (b)(6) of this title), 12 weeks), or if the participation is for a week that immediately follows 4 consecutive weeks of such participation.
(ii) Limited authority to count less than full week of participation For purposes of clause (i) of this subparagraph, on not more than 1 occasion per individual, the State shall consider participation of the individual in an activity described in subsection (d)(6) of this section for 3 or 4 days during a week as a week of participation in the activity by the individual.
(B) Single parent or relative with child under age 6 deemed to be meeting work participation requirements if parent or relative is engaged in work for 20 hours per week 
For purposes of determining monthly participation rates under subsection (b)(1)(B)(i) of this section, a recipient who is the only parent or caretaker relative in the family of a child who has not attained 6 years of age is deemed to be engaged in work for a month if the recipient is engaged in work for an average of at least 20 hours per week during the month.
(C) Single teen head of household or married teen who maintains satisfactory school attendance deemed to be meeting work participation requirements 
For purposes of determining monthly participation rates under subsection (b)(1)(B)(i) of this section, a recipient who is married or a head of household and has not attained 20 years of age is deemed to be engaged in work for a month in a fiscal year if the recipient
(i) maintains satisfactory attendance at secondary school or the equivalent during the month; or
(ii) participates in education directly related to employment for an average of at least 20 hours per week during the month.
(D) Limitation on number of persons who may be treated as engaged in work by reason of participation in educational activities 
For purposes of determining monthly participation rates under paragraphs (1)(B)(i) and (2)(B) of subsection (b) of this section, not more than 30 percent of the number of individuals in all families and in 2-parent families, respectively, in a State who are treated as engaged in work for a month may consist of individuals who are determined to be engaged in work for the month by reason of participation in vocational educational training, or (if the month is in fiscal year 2000 or thereafter) deemed to be engaged in work for the month by reason of subparagraph (C) of this paragraph.
(d) “Work activities” defined 
As used in this section, the term work activities means
(1) unsubsidized employment;
(2) subsidized private sector employment;
(3) subsidized public sector employment;
(4) work experience (including work associated with the refurbishing of publicly assisted housing) if sufficient private sector employment is not available;
(5) on-the-job training;
(6) job search and job readiness assistance;
(7) community service programs;
(8) vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months with respect to any individual);
(9) job skills training directly related to employment;
(10) education directly related to employment, in the case of a recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a certificate of high school equivalency;
(11) satisfactory attendance at secondary school or in a course of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received such a certificate; and
(12) the provision of child care services to an individual who is participating in a community service program.
(e) Penalties against individuals 

(1) In general 
Except as provided in paragraph (2), if an individual in a family receiving assistance under the State program funded under this part or any other State program funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title) refuses to engage in work required in accordance with this section, the State shall
(A) reduce the amount of assistance otherwise payable to the family pro rata (or more, at the option of the State) with respect to any period during a month in which the individual so refuses; or
(B) terminate such assistance,

subject to such good cause and other exceptions as the State may establish.

(2) Exception 
Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a State may not reduce or terminate assistance under the State program funded under this part or any other State program funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title) based on a refusal of an individual to engage in work required in accordance with this section if the individual is a single custodial parent caring for a child who has not attained 6 years of age, and the individual proves that the individual has a demonstrated inability (as determined by the State) to obtain needed child care, for 1 or more of the following reasons:
(A) Unavailability of appropriate child care within a reasonable distance from the individuals home or work site.
(B) Unavailability or unsuitability of informal child care by a relative or under other arrangements.
(C) Unavailability of appropriate and affordable formal child care arrangements.
(f) Nondisplacement in work activities 

(1) In general 
Subject to paragraph (2), an adult in a family receiving assistance under a State program funded under this part attributable to funds provided by the Federal Government may fill a vacant employment position in order to engage in a work activity described in subsection (d) of this section.
(2) No filling of certain vacancies 
No adult in a work activity described in subsection (d) of this section which is funded, in whole or in part, by funds provided by the Federal Government shall be employed or assigned
(A) when any other individual is on layoff from the same or any substantially equivalent job; or
(B) if the employer has terminated the employment of any regular employee or otherwise caused an involuntary reduction of its workforce in order to fill the vacancy so created with an adult described in paragraph (1).
(3) Grievance procedure 
A State with a program funded under this part shall establish and maintain a grievance procedure for resolving complaints of alleged violations of paragraph (2).
(4) No preemption 
Nothing in this subsection shall preempt or supersede any provision of State or local law that provides greater protection for employees from displacement.
(g) Sense of Congress 
It is the sense of the Congress that in complying with this section, each State that operates a program funded under this part is encouraged to assign the highest priority to requiring adults in 2-parent families and adults in single-parent families that include older preschool or school-age children to be engaged in work activities.
(h) Sense of Congress that States should impose certain requirements on noncustodial, nonsupporting minor parents 
It is the sense of the Congress that the States should require noncustodial, nonsupporting parents who have not attained 18 years of age to fulfill community work obligations and attend appropriate parenting or money management classes after school.
(i) Verification of work and work-eligible individuals in order to implement reforms 

(1) Secretarial direction and oversight 

(A) Regulations for determining whether activities may be counted as “work activities”, how to count and verify reported hours of work, and determining who is a work-eligible individual 

(i) In general Not later than June 30, 2006, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations to ensure consistent measurement of work participation rates under State programs funded under this part and State programs funded with qualified State expenditures (as defined in section 609 (a)(7)(B)(i) of this title), which shall include information with respect to
(I) determining whether an activity of a recipient of assistance may be treated as a work activity under subsection (d);
(II) uniform methods for reporting hours of work by a recipient of assistance;
(III) the type of documentation needed to verify reported hours of work by a recipient of assistance; and
(IV) the circumstances under which a parent who resides with a child who is a recipient of assistance should be included in the work participation rates.
(ii) Issuance of regulations on an interim final basis The regulations referred to in clause (i) may be effective and final immediately on an interim basis as of the date of publication of the regulations. If the Secretary provides for an interim final regulation, the Secretary shall provide for a period of public comment on the regulation after the date of publication. The Secretary may change or revise the regulation after the public comment period.
(B) Oversight of State procedures 
The Secretary shall review the State procedures established in accordance with paragraph (2) to ensure that such procedures are consistent with the regulations promulgated under subparagraph (A) and are adequate to ensure an accurate measurement of work participation under the State programs funded under this part and any other State programs funded with qualified State expenditures (as so defined).
(2) Requirement for States to establish and maintain work participation verification procedures 
Not later than September 30, 2006, a State to which a grant is made under section 603 of this title shall establish procedures for determining, with respect to recipients of assistance under the State program funded under this part or under any State programs funded with qualified State expenditures (as so defined), whether activities may be counted as work activities, how to count and verify reported hours of work, and who is a work-eligible individual, in accordance with the regulations promulgated pursuant to paragraph (1)(A)(i) and shall establish internal controls to ensure compliance with the procedures.