Department of Human Services

Food Stamp OnlinePolicy Manual

Work Requirements




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Exempt individuals from work registration as follows:


(a)      Federal Exemptions


1.   Exempt person younger than age 16 or age 60 or older.


Note: If a child becomes age 16 within the certification period, he/she will fulfill the work registration requirements at recertification, unless the child qualifies for another exemption.


2.     Age 16 or 17


Exempt a person age 16 or 17 from work registration when the individual:


        is not the head of the household; or

        is attending school; or

        is enrolled in an employment training program on at least a half-time basis.


3.      Physically or Mentally Unfit for Employment


Exempt individuals who are either physically or mentally unfit for employment.


Verification of Unfitness


Verify the unfitness if it is not obvious or observable.


Acceptable verification includes, but is not limited to:


        receipt of temporary or permanent disability benefits issued by governmental or private sources (i.e., SSI, SSA disability payments, workmenís compensation, etc.);

        a statement from a physician or a licensed or certified psychologist which indicates the length of disability; or

        approval for vocational rehabilitation services.


4.      Families First Work Registrant


If the recipient is mandatory for Families First E&T participation and is compliant, he/she will be exempt from work registration.


5.      Caretaker


Exempt a parent or other household member who is responsible for the care of a dependent child under age 6 or for the care of an incapacitated person.


If the child becomes age 6 during the certification period, the household member must register at recertification, unless the individual qualifies for another exemption.


Note: If a parent and another household member claim to be responsible for the care of the same dependent child or incapacitated person, discuss the responsibility with the applicant to determine who is actually responsible for providing the care. Only one person may claim the caretaker exemption for a dependent. If more than one dependent person is cared for, then more than one person may be responsible.


6.      Applicants For Or Recipients Of Unemployment Compensation


Exempt a person who receives unemployment compensation. Also exempt persons who have applied for unemployment compensation if they were required to register for work with the local ES office as part of the unemployment compensation application process. Verify the exemption with the appropriate ES office, if questionable.

Verification - The individualís notice of approval for unemployment compensation benefits or the Tennessee Clearinghouse System or DEUC screen on ACCENT may be used to verify the receipt of benefits.

7.      Addicts and Alcoholics


Exempt regular participants in drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation programs either on a resident or non-resident basis.


Verification - The regular participation of an addict or alcoholic in a treatment and rehabilitation program may be verified through the organization or institution operating the program.


8.      Employed and Self-Employed


Exempt the following employed/self-employed individuals:


(i)     persons who are employed or self-employed and work a minimum of thirty (30) hours weekly;

(ii)      persons who are employed/self-employed and receiving weekly earnings at least equal to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours;


Note:The training wage shall be substituted for the minimum wage for persons receiving the training wage mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1989. (Limited to 90 day period and under age 20.)


(iii)    persons who have fluctuating work hours but work an average of thirty (30) hours per week or receive average weekly earnings at least equal to the federal minimum wage multiplied by 30 hours;


Note:The average should be based on the information used to compute the budget income.


(iv)    migrant and seasonal farm workers, if they are under contract or similar agreement with an employer or crew chief to begin employment within 30 days.


Note:There are some conditions that could prevent migrants with secured employment from starting work. Examples of these are inclement weather, delays in crops, etc. Such conditions do not affect the personís exemption from work registration.


Verification Of Employment - When the employment status is questionable, the amount of income received from employment may be used to establish the work registration exemption. The amount must be consistent with wages paid for a 30-hour workweek, based on the general conditions prevailing in the community.


Verification Of Self-Employment - When income does not conclusively reflect full-time (30 hours a week) employment, and the applicant still claims to be self-employed, establish the following:


        that the income received from the self-employment enterprise is at least sufficient to be consistent with wages for a 30-hour work week, based on the general conditions prevailing in the community; and

        that the volume of work claimed justifies a determination that the self-employment enterprise is a full-time job for the purposes of this exemption.


The household must cooperate in providing adequate documentation to substantiate the claim that someone is self-employed.


9.      Students


Eligible students enrolled at least half-time in any recognized school (including high school), training program, or institution or higher education is exempt from work registration.


These students will remain exempt during normal periods of class attendance, recesses and vacations, provided that they intend to return to school when the recess or vacation is over.


If the student graduates, is suspended, expelled, drops out, or does not intend to register for the next normal school term (excluding summer), he/she no longer qualifies for this exemption.



Glossary of Terms

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