FAQ

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Audience

Subjects

Application and Assessments

  1. Are the application and assessments in other languages (which one's if so) including accessible for those with disabilities?

    ​The application and baseline assessments will be available in Spanish and we can consider other languages based on demand.  ​

  2. How do you enroll?

    ​You will have to go to your local Department of Human Services (DHS) case manager and indicate that you are interested in the EPIC Pilot Project. They will refer you to an orientation that will explain the Project and what is required to participate.​

  3. How does the enrollment application work for EPIC Pilot Employment? How does it coordinate with the public workforce system?

    ​The EPIC Pilot Employment and Training Program will be available to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. The enrollment process will begin with the local IDHS offices in the targeted areas. The enrollment application process will include completing some activities to ensure the participants understand what will be required to successfully complete the program, and that they are ready and willing to participate with the pilot. Once SNAP participants are identified, they will be selected using a lottery, a type of random assignment method. The program will use the successful Job Training and Economic Development (JTED) Program model. The Community-Based Organizations (CBO) that will work with enrolled SNAP participants will be identified based on their qualifications and abilities to ensure successful outcomes for the program participants using the SNAP Program model. It is anticipated that the CBOs will be selected that are already established and are active participants with the workforce system. CBO’s will be required to coordinate services with the workforce system including partnerships across Local Workforce Innovation Opportunity Areas (LWIOA) that includes a range of organizations such as: Illinois workNet Centers, CBOs, community colleges, other training entities, Community Action Agencies, and other organizations who coordinate services and training for individuals and employers in their communities to help them achieve career, training and employment goals.

Eligibility

  1. As a senior citizen, am I eligible?

    ​To be eligible for services under the EPIC Pilot Project, participants must be SNAP recipients.  Able Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) are the primary target, but the project will also serve other SNAP work registrants with barriers to employment.​

  2. I am currently a SNAP recipient, how can I participate in this program?

    You will need to contact your DHS case manager and indicate your interest in the EPIC Pilot Program.  This program will provide employment and training opportunities to SNAP recipients in selected areas of Illinois and offer opportunities in many career fields.  You have to attend an orientation and schedule a follow-up meeting to be randomly assigned.  This is a pilot project and there is no guarantee of placement in the EPIC program. ​

Enrollment

  1. How do you enroll?

    ​You will have to go to your local Department of Human Services (DHS) case manager and indicate that you are interested in the EPIC Pilot Project. They will refer you to an orientation that will explain the Project and what is required to participate.​

General

  1. The announcement says the program is targeting certain counties - will these be the only counties this grant will serve?

    ​The EPIC Pilot Project is part of a larger national study to develop and test methods for employment & training programs and services that will increase the number of SNAP work registrants who obtain unsubsidized employment, increase the earned income of work registrants, and reduce the reliance of work registrants on public assistance.  There is a robust evaluation process associated with the pilot projects to test a range of innovative and promising approaches and strategies that can be implemented into the existing SNAP E&T program.  The Illinois EPIC pilot will be conducted in seven Local Workforce Innovation Areas (LWIAs).  LWIAs represent the geographic areas used to deliver Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) services in cooperation with adult education, job training, and human services in Illinois. These seven LWIAs provide a representative cross-section of areas needed for a robust evaluation of the EPIC program. They have different mixtures of targeted sectors and economic growth, urban and rural mix, and availability of services needed for serving the targeted SNAP populations.  The counties included in this study are:  Adams, Boone, Brown, Clinton, Cook, DeWitt, Hancock, Henderson, Knox, Macon, Marshall, McDonough, Monroe, Peoria, Pike, Randolph, Schuyler, St. Clair, Stark, Stephenson, Warren, Washington, Winnebago, Woodford, Perry, Jackson, Jefferson, Franklin, Williamson.

Intake/Eligibility

  1. What are the reasons that an EPIC participant might be sanctioned or lose their SNAP benefits?

    Sanctions result from one instance of any of the following (except as noted):
    • refusal or failure to respond to job referral of suitable employment without good cause;
    • refusal or failure to accept a bona fide offer of suitable employment without good cause;
    • discontinuing suitable employment, including quitting a job after placement and before cancellation without good cause;
    • reducing hours of employment without good cause;
    • use of a supportive service payment for something other than the need for which it was provided;
    • failure to appear for an assessment interview or to comply with the assessment process without good cause;
    • refusal or failure to respond to a written notice for an appointment. The client is considered present if they arrive within 30 minutes after the start of the scheduled meeting. If the client arrives more than 30 minutes late for a meeting and has good cause, excuse the absence and start the meeting immediately, or reschedule it if necessary;
    • refusal to accept transportation, counseling, prevention services, testing, or other services, without good cause, thereby preventing or interrupting participation or progress in the Employability Plan (EP);
    • failure to comply in Job Search. This includes failure to attend a job search session or failure to make the required 20 acceptable employer contacts in a 30-day period without good cause. Each missed session is considered an instance of failing to comply;
    • for a client in Work Experience, failure to report to the work assignment on days scheduled or to make 8 acceptable employer contacts in a 30-day period. Each failure to attend one day of work assignment without good cause (or to initially report) is considered one instance of failing to comply;
    • for a client in a training or educational activity, failure to maintain a satisfactory level of attendance as established by the educational facility. However, failure to attend training or education classes 3 times in a 30-day period without good cause will result in a sanction; or
    • failure to attend a Job Readiness skill training session or failure to make 8 acceptable employer contacts in a 30 day period, if required. Each missed session is considered one instance of failing to comply.

      Do not sanction clients who fail to make the required number of acceptable employer contacts in any activity if they can show a good faith effort was made.

      A sanction is not imposed until:
    • the client is sent a written notice scheduling a conciliation meeting; and
    • the client has not shown good cause for the failure to comply; and
    • the client either fails to attend the meeting without good cause or fails to complete the conciliation process.

      A written notice is sent to the client that explains the purpose of the conciliation meeting and the consequences for failure to attend or to show good cause. Failure to appear for the conciliation meeting is not an additional instance of failing to comply.

       If the client fails to comply, impose the sanction. The Family Community Resource Center sends a Notice of Change, which must include:
    • a description of the acts of noncompliance including dates, where applicable;
    • a statement that the acts were without good cause and that the person failed to successfully complete the conciliation process. If the person provided a good cause reason, the notice must state why it was rejected.

      The client may request a reassessment. If it is determined that the EP should be revised, good cause exists for previous failure to comply.

       

  2. What is the process for re-instating those benefits?

    A person can file a written appeal by facsimile (fax), mail, or in person. A fax of the client's request for an appeal is the same as an original written request. A written appeal must be signed by the client or a person approved by the client. Advise clients to send a written appeal to either the Family Community Resource Center serving that client or the DHS Bureau of Assistance Hearings (BAH). Child care appeals may also be filed with the CCR&R or the Bureau of Child Care and Development.

    Appeals received by a Family Community Resource Center other Department offices, or a CCR&R should be date-stamped and emailed or faxed to BAH within 48 hours. Attach the postmarked envelope if the request was mailed to the office or the transmittal sheet if it was faxed. For appeals signed by a representative, attach a copy of their authorization. File copies of all documents in the case record.

    A person may file an appeal by phone by calling the Bureau of Assistance Hearings' toll-free number (1-800-435-0774). For SNAP appeals only, a person may also file an appeal by telling DHS staff, by phone or in person, that they want to appeal.

    During the sanction period, the person is ineligible for SNAP. The sanction period may end early if the person becomes exempt. The SNAP sanction does not end early if the person complies with program requirements.

    A person who violates any of the SNAP work provisions without good cause, is sanctioned from receiving SNAP benefits for:

    1st violation: 3 fiscal months
    2nd violation: 3 fiscal months
    3rd or more violations: 6 fiscal months

    The first month of the sanction period is the first fiscal month following the end of the 10-day timely notice period. If the person appeals, stop the action pending the appeal decision.

    After the end of the sanction period, the person may qualify for SNAP benefits if:

    * the person was sanctioned for the full length of the sanction period; and
    * an application is filed if the case was canceled or denied as a result of the sanction, or a request is made to add the person to an active case if the case remained eligible when the person was sanctioned; and
    * all other eligibility factors are met.

Orientation

  1. Where can we see the career videos? How many are there?

    These videos are avilable for each industry on the Training Programs page in Illinois workNet. The number of videos will vary for each industry.

    Step 3 - Training Programs

​Funding for research provided by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA is an equal opportunity employer and provider.​​​