FAQ

Click here and submit your question +

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. Could we receive a PDF/hard copy of the online application and 21st Assessment which customers are to complete?

    ​The application questions are within the PowerPoint slideshow in www.ilepic.com (application page).  The 21st Century Assessment is a proctored test so it is not available for distribution.​

  3. How can a customer's information on the application be changed once they submit it?

    ​If the information is incorrectly entered by the customer into Illinois workNet the DHS Caseworker can edit any of the information on the application as long as it is before Eligibility is started for the customer.

    If the incorrect information was provided by the IDHS system, it will need to be updated in the IDHS system.​

  4. 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.​

  5. 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.

  6. If a participant initially declines can they reapply?

    ​As long as the random assignment has not taken place, the participant can return to complete the EPIC intake process.


  7. Is it possible to apply without completing the Notice of Intent to Apply?

    ​You can still apply for the EPIC Pilot Project even if you did not submit an Intent to Apply.​

  8. What if a participant doesn't have an email address for the EPIC application?

    ​If they are assigned to EPIC, the CBO will help them create an email address.  


Certificate of Completion

  1. What certifications can customers receive?

    ​It will depend on what the training offerings are in the region.  The EPIC website will list certifications that can be earned.​

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. Can the pilot target clients already receiving SNAP? Or must the target audience be new SNAP clients only?

    Pilot projects may target either new applicants or existing SNAP recipients. Messaging may be tailored and adjusted for new applicants versus existing SNAP recipients.  (There is a prohibition, of use of pilot funds, on promoting the SNAP benefits for enrollment of new individuals to be SNAP recipients).  Pilot participants must be new clients in terms of the E&T services provided under the pilot. The grantee and their sub‐recipients may not shift the cost of case management, training, work, and/or participant reimbursements for existing SNAP E&T clients to the pilot.  Grantees should be mindful of this restriction and create monitoring procedures to prevent supplanting of existing employment and training activities or services. Clients already receiving E&T services from service vendors must not be shifted to the pilot program.​

  3. Does income received from subsidized employment impact SNAP eligibility based on the income threshold?

    ​Yes, wages from subsidized employment may impact SNAP eligibility based on the income threshold. 7 CFR 273.9(b)(1) provides that earned income includes wages and salaries of an employee.

  4. For a non-profit agency what is the requirements and eligibility to collaborate with the EPIC Pilot Employment & Training program to apply for grant award in assisting participants to become trained for jobs?

    ​Eligible respondents are CBOs with the capacity to leverage federal and state resources to implement the EPIC program model.  CBOs must have demonstrated success in administering career training and placement programs and have the capacity to run a work experience component, including being the “Employer of Record”.  The seven regions defined by the Local Workforce Innovation Areas (LWIA) are  targeted for this opportunity and consist of the following counties:  Adams, Boone, Brown, Clinton, Cook, DeWitt, Franklin, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Macon, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McLean, Monroe, Peoria, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Schuyler, St. Clair, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Warren, Washington, Williamson, Winnebago, and Woodford.  In addition, review Section II. D. Eligible Applicants of the Request for Application (RFA).​

  5. 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. ​

  6. If a participant no longer qualifies for SNAP can they be in the EPIC Program?

    ​The participant cannot receive funding for any EPIC services unless they regain SNAP eligibility with the following exceptions.  If they no longer qualify for SNAP benefits but funds have been obligated for training services and cannot be recouped, they can complete the training that has been obligated.  Or, if they are employed they can receive retention services for up to 90 days.   ​​

  7. If an individual starts the pilot as a work registrant but then later becomes exempt, would they still count toward the 85 percent work registrant requirement for the pilot?

    ​Yes. If a work registrant is referred to a pilot project, enters a control or treatment group, and subsequently becomes exempt because they qualify for an exemption, they would still be counted toward the 85 percent threshold because they were a SNAP work registrant at the time of referral.

  8. In the EPIS survey questions, if an ABAWD lives with their sibling, but does not share food with anyone else and the sibling receives TANF for their children, how does the ABAWD answer the question on the other program receipt about TANF?

    ​“Household” in this question flowing from the rest of the survey is defined as “the SNAP household” not the dwelling. So the ABAWD is a household of 1 and would not be on the TANF case. We are asking if anyone in the person’s SNAP household is on these programs. So they should not check TANF in the question.


  9. What happens when a pilot participant becomes ineligible for SNAP? Can they complete a component they started?

    ​In general, pilot funding may not be used for individuals who become ineligible for SNAP. Pilot participants may continue to participate in the treatment in months when they are not receiving SNAP benefits; however, the grantee must not use pilot funds to pay for treatment services.

    There are two exceptions: First, if a participant begins a component and expenses are paid up front (such as a participant participating in an education activity where tuition is paid upfront), the grantee does not need to recover those funds and the individual may complete the activity. However, pilot funds may not be used to provide supportive services or participant reimbursements while the individual is ineligible for SNAP.

    The second exception is when the grantee is providing job retention services. The grantee may provide job retention services for up to 90 days for clients ineligible for SNAP because they have entered employment. Job retention services may include case management, supportive services, and participant reimbursements.

    Grantees may use separate funding streams to substitute for months in which clients are ineligible for SNAP.

  10. What impact will expiring Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) waivers have on pilot treatment and control groups?

    ​​If a State is not eligible for a statewide or partial ABAWD waiver or does not choose to implement a waiver, ABAWDs in both the treatment and control groups will be subject to the time limit and will be required to work, participate in an allowable work activity for 20 hours or more per week, or participate in workfare in order to receive benefits beyond the 3 out of 36 month limit.

    Through the pilots, qualifying work activities for ABAWDs include work, work experience and on‐the‐job training activities, education, and employment and training activities other than job search or job search training. Job search and job search training, when offered as part of other education, training, or work activities, may count toward the 20 hour requirement as long as these activities are less than half of the time spent engaged in pilot services.

  11. Which SNAP customers should be referred?

    ​Eligible Project Participants

    Individuals must be a SNAP applicant, recipient, or have entered the pilot project and engaged in services before exiting SNAP.  

    Targeted Participants
    The pilot will serve two targeted populations that are SNAP recipients: 
    • Category 1 - Individuals Already Working.  For the EPIC pilot this category will serve SNAP recipients that are currently working but need training to increase their skill base for career advancement, to earn higher wages and benefits, and/or to obtain more work hours.  Category 1 participants will be defined as: 
      • ​Individuals who are gainfully employed and working 30 hours or more per week but still eligible for SNAP benefits and requiring skill upgrades to move up a career pathway and/or achieve higher earnings. This population is considered to be exempt from the SNAP work requirements but elect to volunteer for services offered.  No more than 15% of those classified as exempt from the work requirements may be served under this grant.  
      • ​Individuals working  less than 30 hours per week but still eligible for SNAP benefits that are lacking sufficient skills to advance in a career pathway, achieve higher earning, gain more work hours, or transfer to a higher level position.  These individuals will meet the work registrant requirement at section 6(d) of the FNA.  These individuals cannot be required to engage in more than 120 hours of activities per month which includes hours worked along with other activities such as CTE and adult basic education.  
    • Category 2 – Unemployed/Underemployed Individuals with Low Skills and/or Limited Work Experience.  For the EPIC pilot, Category 2 participants will be defined as individuals with low skills (without a high school diploma or equivalent and/or lacking the basic and technical skills needed to access entry-level occupations in the targeted sectors) or  limited work experience (unemployed or underemployed individuals without continuous, full-time  work experience in the last year).  These individuals will meet the work registrant requirement at section 6(d) of the FNA and will target Able Bodied Adults without Dependents (ABAWDs) but will also serve other SNAP work registrants with barriers to employment.  
  12. Why can't I check the eligibility of the participant?

    ​Is the RIN and DHS Case ID in the profile, are the NOCTI scores present, are programs recommended.


Enrolled Customers

  1. An enrolled customer, who is a mandatory participant, will be out of town next week. How do they address that on the 2151A?

    The participant is expected to work their activities unless they have good cause not to, ie, sick, emergency family issue, etc.  If it meets one of these, nothing is needed. If not, they will need to complete a conciliation with the customer to get them back into participation.

  2. How can you reset the passwords for EPIC customers?

    ​1. Login to EPIC partner tools.

    2. Search for the customer and select the "profile" link.  You will default to their application information.

    3. Select Profile Details tab and update their password​

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.​

Fiscal, Budget

  1. The budget should reflect one year and the application should be reflective of services to clients for two years?

    ​The budget needs to reflect the cost for 2 years.  After we make the grantee selections we will negotiate a budget for the first year and based on the referral process and performance will modify grants to add additional funds as needed.​

  2. When will we get an executed contract? Our finance department requires them for audits.

    ​Contracts will be coming out this week, hopefully. If you need a letter of intent before the executed contract is finished send an email to epic@illinoisworknet.com.  ​

Funding – Allowable Costs

  1. A customer states that he needs $1000.00 to pay to child support to get his driver’s license back. Is this an allowable cost?

    ​No, this is not an allowable cost. 

  2. Can other staffing be charged to the grant other than Career Navigators such as management, program assistant, etc?

    ​You can charge staff to the grant as determined appropriate.  Below are the three line items for charging staff.  If the CBO is a direct certified training provider the cost of the staff providing training can be charged under Training;  staff associated with working directly with the client on their education and training plan, case management, and employer relations can be charged to the Career Navigators line item;  staff involved in the administration functions must be charged to Administration.

    Training:  Costs associated with providing assistance to a participant to acquire or upgrade skills to enable the participant to become employed.  These costs are associated with the three training modules and must be directly related to the training benefit received by the SNAP participant whether the grantee is a certified training providers and/or an education partner(s) is providing the training.  Cost can include but is not limited to instructor wages and benefits, physical cost of instruction, tuition, books, supplies, and fees related to the training.

    Career Navigators:  Grant funds will support appropriate staffing (salary and benefits) for the term of the grant for Career Navigators that will provide the following services:  the development of participant’s career and education training plans that provides direct linkages to academic and occupational learning;  barrier assessment and alleviation;  employer coordination and recruitment;  placement and retention;  coordination of continuing education in a career pathway and other services related to the final outcome of participant placement and retention in a career or placed in higher level education opportunities.

    Administration:  Includes, but is not limited to, accounting; budgeting; financial and cash management; procurement and purchasing; property management; payroll; and audit costs.  No more than 5% of the total funds may be budgeted and expended for project administration.
  3. For the other funds that will be distributed based on performance, how long would it take to be reimbursed?

    We will reimburse based on documented expenditures and we project that that it will take 15-20 business days for reimbursement.​

  4. What is the percentage of allowable G&A, Indirect Cost, and/or Profit.

    ​No more than 5% of the total funds may be budgeted and expended for project administration. A maximum of $500 interest earned may be retained by the grantee per calender year but must be spent according to the scope of this grant opportunity. Any interest earned over $500 per calendar year must be returned to the Department.​

  5. What is the percentage of start-up funds a CBO would receive to begin the project?

    ​The Department of Commerce will work with the CBO to determine their estimated start-up costs and estimated first months expenditures to be provided in advance to initiate the training program.  Additional funds will be provided based on documented expenditures.​

  6. What taxes are withheld for EPIC work Experience?

    ​For work experience the clients will have to complete an I9 and will have taxes withheld.  They will not have to pay FUTA or SUTA which is Federal Unemployment Tax Act or State Unemployment Tax Act.  The CBO (employer) can also charge workers compensation and their portion of FICA to the grant.​

  7. What work based training is paid using EPIC funds, and how does the earned income impact the SNAP customer’s eligibility and benefits?

    ​Work experience is the only work based training paid out of EPIC.  Clients can be co-enrolled and receive an OJT, internships, apprenticeships, etc from another funding source.  However only work experience funded through EPIC is exempt from determining their SNAP eligibility and benefit.​

General

  1. Can a State expand or enhance its core E&T program during the pilot implementation and evaluation period?

    ​USDA is committed to proactively engaging, supporting, and guiding State agencies and their partners in developing job‐driven E&T programs that put SNAP recipients on a path to self‐sufficiency. States in the E&T pilot project must consider a number of factors when exploring enhancements or expansions of current E&T programs, including the potential impact to the pilot evaluation. To minimize such an impact, States may want to consider enhancing E&T core program activities for counties or regions that are not included in geographic areas affected by the pilot. Grantees considering an expansion of their core E&T program in the pilot areas should consult with FNS and their evaluation team to understand any implications for the evaluation.

  2. Can you provide links to the larger National study that we can review the evaluation process with other 10 pilots? Links or examples showing approach and strategy would be helpful bring perspective to us.

    ​If this is available through the national evaluation team we will definitely share the links.  There is also discussion of having a peer exchange set up to have frequent meetings and correspondence with the other pilot sites.​

  3. How are the in-person training sessions scheduled? Can you request things for our regional needs?

    The DHS training sessions are fluid and can be changed to meet the needs of the local regions.  We will work with each office to accommodate whatever the needs are.  If we hope to have training start in November but that is subject to local office scheduling and the ability to begin the program.

  4. How do we request Illinois workNet EPIC accounts?

    ​Go to http://www.illinoisworknet.com and select sign-up. Then have the Director of your organization send an email with all of your CBO users and what their role should be (i.e., CBO access) to epic@illinoisworknet.com.


  5. Is is possible for the case workers to be able to go through the process an individual would go through in order to get a better understanding of the entire process from the participants perspective.

    ​For the on-site training sessions we will have activities that will have the caseworkers as the customer to understand the entire process and what it will be like for them to go through the process.​

  6. 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.

  7. We were asked to indicate our "capacity" for service or the number of participants to be served. But what if it is substantially more than the number of projected EPIC participants?

    ​Provide us with a realistic number of clients that you can serve over the course of the 2 year grant, offering employment and  training in career pathways that will lead to permanent placement is a wage sustaining job.  Keep in mind that 90 day retention is one of the measures so job placement needs to be before the last quarter of the grant end date.​

  8. What are USDA changes to SNAP E&T and how soon will we be aware of the key changes or those researchers conducting the survey's results?

    ​I will need to check with the evaluation team to see when we can expect results.  Any other SNAP E&T procedures that are being considered and/or implemented in the current program would be communicated through the IDHS office.​​

  9. What is the overall workflow for this process?

    ​The most recent process flow is posted in the partner guide.​

  10. When does all this program begin? November is best for the client enrollment to start.

    The orientations, random assignment and referral to CBO's started in March 2016.

  11. When will the partner training webinars begin? Bi-weekly conference calls?

    ​I anticipate the webinars to begin in November-December.  We will hold the region site meetings first and follow-up with webinars that can be a frequently as weekly.  We will also have weekly calls on program status with the local offices once we start the recruitment and referral process.​​

  12. Will a for profit CBO be eligible to apply for the EPIC Pilot program grant?

    ​You must be a not-for-profit to be the grantee.  For profit organizations can partner with a not-for-profit entity to administer services.​

Grant Application

  1. Are the funds awarded using performance-based benchmarks intended to cover all expenses, including operating costs?

    ​Funds will cover all allowable costs defined in the budget section of the Request for Application (RFA).  ​

  2. If our organization is not able to get a signed MOU from the Department of Human Services to submit with the application. Will this have a negative impact on our application?

    ​Your application can be submitted as prescribed in the RFA.  The delay in the MOU is a DHS delay, and the MOU is not available at this time.  It will NOT have a negative impact on your application.

  3. Is there a definition for the Module 2 and Module 3 in the grant instructions? I don't see anything for Integrated Adult Education and CTE, and Industry Recognized Credentials. We are trying to determine how long this training should be.

    Adult Education and CTE is defined in the following attachments available in the Partnering  Resource section of workNet;  
    1. Adult Education and Literacy Summary, 
    2. Career and Technical Education Summary.​
  4. The RFA states that we cannot provide services to "control group" members. Will we be made aware of who these individuals are, and can they be served if they are referred to us through another source?

    ​Individual assigned to the core group will participate in services normally offered through Department of Human Services.  If an individual assigned to the core group is referred to a CBO for services, based on IDHS’s “business as usual model”, the individual can be served as they normally would be.   They cannot however be placed in expanded services that are offered and paid for out of the pilot project.​

  5. When will the grant applications be available to community organizations who are interested in becoming a grantee.

    The Request for Application (RFA) has been released and responses to the RFA must be received by October 28, 2015.​

  6. Will a for profit CBO be eligible to apply for the EPIC Pilot program grant?

    ​Eligible applicants must be a not-for-profit organization with a local Board of Directors that directly provides job training services or has established partnerships with training providers.​

Grant Implementation

  1. For grant negotiations, how do we present training information that is still in progress (credentials, etc.)? How much detail is required for the budget narrative?

    ​You should provide information based on the intended outcome for the clients.  The budget needs to be explicit so that we can compare to your account system line items that will be charged by this grant.​

  2. How will recruitment be handled in terms of which participants will be sent to each program? If a participant does not identify a career track training program, will they be referred to a program for employment or excluded from the program?

    ​Referral to providers will be based on the career choice of the client and meetig the baseline requirements.  Baseline requirement questions are provided in the clients application.   A client will not be referred if they do not select a training program.​

  3. Is Module I (attainment of grade gains and/or GED) considered training program completion?

    ​Module 1 is bridge programs and intended to bring clients reading/math to an 8th grade level, and for ESL.  Module 2 is Adult Basic Education (ABE) and Career and Technical Education(CTE).  Training program completion depends on your program design but should result in credentials, ability to advance to higher level training and credentials, and placement with an employer in the sector of training.​

  4. It's my understanding that if someone is referred to us, but we don't accept him into our training program, because they don't meet program requirement, we still have to serve them. We can put them into our employment preparation program, which is not vo

    ​If you are referred a client that does not qualify for your training program you can 1) request to refer them to another EPIC provider, 2) place them in another training program you offer funded by another source, 3) provide job readiness and employment services.  They will be counted in only the measures they complete.  Payment will be based on performance and allowable actual costs.​

  5. On the Performance and Evaluation worksheet, I saw that in order to reach the awarded budget amount, there is no accounting for attrition. For example if we enroll 200 clients we would also have to place 200 clients. Is this the expectation?

    ​Part of the grant establishment process will be negotiating your performance measures.  There will be attrition through the progression of the performance measures. EPIC’s pay for performance is based on the average cost of service per client (total funds/enrollments).  If you meet your performance measures that are approved in the grant agreement you will have met the obligation and earned the grant funds, as long as funds were expended in accordance with the grant requirements.  The attributed cost per performance measure is applied to the shortage in service based on each measure.​

Intake/Eligibility

  1. Can a participant address and phone be changed once the eligibility process has begun?

    A participant’s phone and address can be changed until the case worker makes their trainig program recommendation.  Once there is a recommendation, it locks down the application.  ​

  2. Can we still service under EPIC program if customer cannot meet the college program requirements for testing in reading and math? Can they participate in alternate plan of work experience/OJT?

    ​You should realign the customers training service in another training program or training module if the client does not meet the program requirements that they were originally placed in.  This can include an alternate plan for work experience/OJT and also should include job readiness and job placement and retention services.​

  3. Define voluntary participant?

    ​A volunteer participant is a SNAP recipient that is considered exempt if they meet a qualifying status for exemption or if there are no SNAP E&T services offered in their county.  Below is what qualifies a person for exemption:

    A person is exempt if they are:
    • a member of an SNAP unit with children under age 18; or
    • physically or mentally unable to work, see WAG 03-15-02 for acceptable verification; or
    • pregnant; or
    • a student, enrolled at least half-time (students of higher education must meet student eligibility requirements [see PM 03-04-03]); or
    • responsible for care of an incapacitated person (the incapacitated person does not have to live in the home); or
    • participating in a drug addiction or alcoholic treatment and rehabilitation program; or
    • receiving Unemployment Insurance; or
    • residing in an area of the state where SNAP E & T contracted provider slots are not available for effective participation.

  4. How do we provide transportation to a customer who lives in the suburbs and needs to go the city for their initial intake appointment with a Community Based Organization or return to the DHS office for a follow-up?

    ​Clients served from a suburban office can be issued $15 on their Link card in order to buy a Ventra card.  The Ventra card allows them to travel from the suburbs to the city and back.  The traditional transit cards will not allow the client to travel between the city and suburbs.

  5. How does EPIC determine if you are a voluntary or mandatory participant?

    SNAP benefit recipients can choose to participate in the EPIC program the same way they would decide to participate in JPP or Earnfare for their required engagement. The EPIC program includes both Mandatory SNAP participants and exempt SNAP participants that choose to volunteer. A mandatory participant is a SNAP recipient that lives in a mandatory county and does not qualify for any exemptions. ​A volunteer participant is a SNAP recipient that is exempt because they meet a qualifying condition for exemption or there are no SNAP E&T services offered in their county. 

    Based on the State of Illinois SNAP Employment &Training Program Form 4538, if you meet any one of the following conditions, you do not have to take part in the SNAP E&T program, but we encourage you to volunteer.

    ·        you are under age 18 or are age 50 or older;

    ·        you are a student, enrolled at least half-time (students of higher education must meet student eligibility requirements [see PM 03-04-03]);

    ·        you participate in a drug addiction or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program;

    ·        you receive Unemployment Insurance;

    ·        you are responsible for the care of an incapacitated person (the incapacitated person does not have to live in the home);

    ·        you are pregnant or physically or mentally unable to work, see WAG 03-15-02 for acceptable verification;

    ·        you are residing with a (child)ren under age 18;

    ·        you are employed or self-employed, working at least 30 hours per week or receiving weekly wages of 30 times the federal minimum wage;

    ·        you live in an exempt area where SNAP E & T provider slots are not available for active participation.

  6. How will we handle customers that cannot read?

    ​Case workers can help facilitate.  If it is clear the customer's reading level is very low, the EPIC program is probably not a good fit. 

  7. If you have customers outside the EPIC Counties who wants to participate in the pilot program, what is the best response to this population of customers?

    ​EPIC customers must reside in the targeted counties.  Customers outside of the targeted counties should receive your current services. ​

  8. Since eligibility is required within a week, is there an alert process for the individuals waiting to see?

    ​Yes, Illinois workNet sends out notifications, but checking the dashboard daily or semi-daily is advised.​

  9. What about those who don't have access to a vehicle and there is no public transportation in the county?

    ​Transportation is a barrier to training and employment.  That is one of the assessments that will be considered when determining suitability and placement with a provider.  The training providers will provide resources for transportation.​

  10. 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.

       

  11. What if I can't find what I am looking for in the dashboard?

    ​Each category on the dashboard has an information button next to it. Review the definition of the category to find the field you want to review.​

  12. What is an ABAWD?

    ​An ABAWD is a person between the ages of 18 and 49 who has no dependents and is not disabled.  ABAWD stands for Able Bodied Adult Without Dependents.


  13. 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.

  14. Who is determining the model that a participant will follow?

    ​Either DHS or DCEO admin team member.​

Intake/Orientation

  1. Are computers in our local offices going to be made available for participants?

    Yes, computers have been leased for each orientation site.​  Case workers will use their desk computers for random assignment.

  2. Is the case worker is responsible for inputting all of the customers? If 500 people are scheduled for orientation, is there a simpler way to enter those customers?

    ​Case workers should only schedule those who attend or plan to attend the EPIC Orientation.  For example, in Chicago, those customer who attend the EPIC orientation can be added at that time.  The case manager would search the person (or add them) and enter the orientation date.​

  3. Is the data transfer for Intake/Orientation only?

    ​Yes

  4. The customers that are being referred or invited to EPIC are only coming from IES?

    DHS will send a eligible SNAP recipient customers to IWN using the new IES system. Customer information can be added to the system and synced with the DHS system.  The DHS information will override workNet system.​
  5. The local office is going to do outreach and the orientation for customers. Is this supposed to be a group orientation?

    ​It will be up to the local office on whether it will be a group or individual orientation.  For time management, it is best to have a group orientation but this might not always be the case.​

  6. We have probably 70,000 customer in our legacy data base for mandatory ABAWDs. How will we find the customers efficiently?

    ​You can search by name, date of birth, social security number, or recipient identification number.​

  7. What do we do if a customer already has an Illinois workNet account?

    ​Verify whether they have password or not. If participant does not remember password, you can edit it in the participant's profile in the EPIC partner tools. Once in the application, have participant review address info from Illinois workNet to make any corrections if necessary.​​


  8. What do you do if you get a red error message reading, “A Customer already exists with SSN” when trying to invite them to orientation.

    ​There are two reasons that this may have happened:

    1. They may have an existing account from working with a local workforce agency, or
    2. During the invitation process the customer may have already been added, but not invited, they can be found on the DHS Invite tab. To invite the customer go to the DHS Invite tab, type in the customer's name, then click Search. Once you find the customer select the blue invite tab to the right of their information, this will invite them to orientation.


    If that still does not allow you​​ to invite the customer there may be duplicate accounts in the system, you will need to contact epic@illinoisworknet.com 

  9. Who keeps the orientation web pages maintained?

    ​Illinois workNet staff will maintain the EPIC webpages.​

  10. Who will be administering the NOCTI assessment?

    ​The assessment is available for all Illinois workNet partner. It can be administered by the training providers.  It is recommended for customers to complete the NOCTI 21st Century Skills Assessment towards the end of their training program.  

  11. Who will be making the changes for contact information?

    ​Any changes that are needed to customer information that is provided by DHS needs to be corrected in the DHS system.   We will receive customer information once IES (DHS system) is in place.  

  12. Why didn't a participant show up on the invitation list I exported?

    ​Return to the DHS search to make sure that the invitation actually happened. Then check Intake activities on the participant's profile to see what the invitation date is.


  13. Will customers currently receiving services for SNAP not be eligible for this program? Only new customers from the date of roll out will be eligible?

    ​ABAWD's are the primary target.  The first line should be new ABAWD's.  The second line should be existing ABAWDS that are not engaged.​

  14. Will they assist visually impaired customers, and customers with accessibility issues at Orientation?

    ​The Illinois workNet system works with assistive technology.  Any special assistive technology auxiliary aids would need to be provided by the location.​

Marketing

  1. Are we supposed to have the customers sign Attachment H, regarding the ‘Release Form – Entity and Release Form – Individual’, along with our state release under WIOA?

    ​The Release Form is to be used if the client or business is going to be used for the purpose of promotion videos, publications and marketing material including Internet publications related to the EPIC Pilot Program. 

  2. What media activities are allowable?

    Grantees may use social media forums, such as websites, Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, and Twitter, to raise awareness of pilot services and to educate eligible clients about how to get more information. However, messages on social media forums must not be designed to persuade an individual to apply for SNAP benefits.


    The Food and Nutrition Act (the Act) prohibits using Federal funds authorized under the Act, including E&T Pilot funds, to pay for television, radio, or billboard advertisements. This ban includes paying staff involved in the development of these types of
    advertisements if funded under the Act. The ban does not apply to paying staff involved in the development of these types of advertisements if funded by other sources.

    FNS is available to review proposed content for informational activities.

  3. What outreach activities may grantees and pilot partners conduct in order to attract participants?

    ​Grantees and their partners may engage in informational activities to educate eligible populations about what services are available under the pilot and how to access these services.

    Informational activities that target the general public must present factual information only and must not promote enrollment in SNAP. These items may include the services available under the pilot (job training for specific careers, transportation and other participant reimbursements) and they may specify that one must be a SNAP recipient to participate. These materials may not include subjective or persuasive language.

    Informational activities that target SNAP households may present pilot services as an added benefit available to them because they are already receiving SNAP. Because these materials target potential clients already receiving SNAP, they are not subject to the same restrictions as materials that target the general public.

    Grantees should work with the evaluation team to develop informational materials that emphasize the pilot as an opportunity but are transparent in the possibility of assignment to the treatment or control group.


Operations

  1. How does a grantee submit the required quarterly reports? When is the first report due?

    ​Grantees reporting requirements and timelines will be included in the welcome package of the grant agreement.  CBO grantees will have to complete the Department Grantee Report (DGR) and include a trial balance report each quarter.  Grantees will also have to report their cost in the GRS by the 20th of each month.  Cash request will also be submitted in the GRS.  Additional reports will be required based on the evaluation team needs.​


  2. What are the minimum, maximum, or average award amounts that will be distributed?

    ​There is no established minimum or maximum amount to be distributed.  In the application we want to know what your capacity is over the course of two years to train, place and retain SNAP recipients in in-demand sector occupations with sustainable wages.​

  3. What is the state's projected timeline for reimbursing invoiced expenses? For example, if invoices are submitted by the 5th of each month for expenses incurred in the prior month, when should we expect payment?

    ​We anticipate payment to be 15-20 business days from the date documented costs are reported in GRS and cash is requested.​

Orientation

  1. Not all offices have the space nor computers, to do orientations, so will there be locations that we will send our customers to participate in the orientations. The expectations is that the, orientations will be done by DHS staff, correct? Will the orien

    ​Sites with computers will be identified for holding group orientations.  FCRC offices will provide feedback on selecting sites that will work best.  The orientations will be led by the local DHS staff.  There will be a structured orientation, PowerPoint, videos, and instructions that will be used for the orientation.​

  2. 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

  3. Who should we call during an orientation to overcome a challenge with an application?

    Questions should be directed as follows:

    Questions related to DHS policy and EPIC Intake and Random Assignment are directed to: Deidre Wesley at 773-881-2943

    Questions related to CBO placement and referral,  CBO training services, and workNet that are technical are directed to: Natasha Telger at 217-303-5866

  4. Will the caseworker print the 2151 and DHS letter and provide a copy of both to the participant?

    ​Yes the case manager will provide the 2151 and DHS letter.​

Participant Services

  1. Are we required to help participants meet the 80 hour work requirement after they finish training but before they find a job? Each person may not spend 20 hours per week in job search.

    If the SNAP recipient is a mandatory client they are required to engage in 80 hour a week of approved activities to maintain their benefits.  This could include activities other than job searching, for example community service would be another way they could reach their required 80 hours.​

  2. Currently, how will the CBO know which participants are assigned to them?

    ​The CBO will be contacted electronically (email) about who is in their service group.  Also it is the CBO’s responsibility to check the dashboard daily to review the status of referrals.  Once we have the calendar function, the case manager will schedule a time for the client to meet with the CBO.  The CBO will populate the calendar with their availability.​

  3. Given the variety of occupational categories, including entry-level positions in food service and hospitality, and the importance of the retail industry (the largest sector in the country) to the state, can we target management-track retail occupations?

    ​If this is an in-demand sector in your region you can target management-track retail occupations that lead to sustainable wages and a career pathway.​

  4. How does the CBO report back to DHS that the customer was contacted, the date the customer is to report to the CBO and whether or not the customer reported? 

    CBO’s are responsible for completing/uploading the 2151 and 2151A forms in the customers Progress page. The progress page is used to identify the primary DHS and CBO contact for the customer, document enrollment status, and store engagement documentation/case notes.  The 2151 and 2151A forms are used to populate The “Enrolled” customer dashboard to easily identigy current customer engagement.


     
  5. How many months can a pilot participant receive E&T services?

    ​Grantees have discretion in the design of pilot activities and their duration. However, grantees should operate pilot activities and services in accordance with their pilot application, which outlined the length, duration, and level of support associated with each pilot activity. One exception to this is job retention services, which, by statute, may only be provided for up to 90 days. Therefore, pilot funds may only be used for up to 90 days of job retention services.

  6. Regarding the requirement to help participants meet 80 hour/month work requirement, if we can't immediately enroll them into services: Does this begin when they are referred or after they are accepted? Not all referrals will be accepted.

    ​The 80 hour requirement is related to all approved activities including (put not limited to) education, work experience, work readiness, and community services.  For SNAP recipients that are mandatory to maintain their benefits they need to be engaged in activities for a minimum of 80 hours per month.  A SNAP recipient that has been referred to your organization is included in the expanded treatment group and must be served in some capacity either through the training program or realigned with other training services if they are determined after referral to not be a good match for the proposed training program.​

  7. What is an allowable change in pilot activities?

    DHS as the lead Grantee is allowed, in collaboration with the evaluation team and FNS, to make some adjustments to the planned activities, such as adjusting the level of intensity or increasing the number of participants receiving a certain treatment. For example, if the pilot proposed case management as part of the pilot treatment, it would be acceptable to create two levels of case management, one at a higher intensity than the other one. Such changes should be recorded and included in the quarterly progress reports, which are due within 30 days after the end of each Federal quarter.  However, grantees may not add activities or strategies to their pilot that were not included in the pilot proposal. For example, if a pilot proposed to do only job search with intensive case management, it could not add subsidized employment and/or financial incentives to the project. Additionally, grantees may not cut activities or strategies proposed in their application. Pilot grantees must implement the activities and strategies as proposed in their application except for adjustments to the planned activities as approved by FNS.​  The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity through an Intergovernmental Agreement will provide subgrants to eligible Community Based Organizations.  CBO's will negotiate their activities and may modify their activities as long as they are consistent with the pilot project objectives in DHS grant agreement with FNS.​

  8. What should the grantee do with clients who have provided informed consent but must wait for a few weeks or months for the pilot activity to begin?

    Grantees should make every effort to engage participants in pilot activities as soon as possible post‐random assignment to reduce “drop‐off” and increase the likelihood that the individual will enter and complete the activity. There should be no more than a 30‐day wait period between random assignment and engagement in a pilot activity. 

    If there is a temporary wait period, grantees should continue to engage clients and may provide services that fit with their approved project design. For example, soft skill development or pre‐education activities that prepare participants for the activities to which they are assigned would be an appropriate service during a wait period. However, grantees may not add activities or strategies to their pilot that were not included in the pilot proposal.

  9. When is the CBO required to reach out to the participant after assignment?

    ​The CBO is to schedule an appointment with the SNAP recipient that has been referred to their agency as soon as possible but preferably within a week.  Illinois workNet will have an appointment scheduling system in place so the DHS case worker can assign an appointment.  Once the client is scheduled for an appointment, the CBO must communicate to DHS the results of the appointment within 48 hours.​

  10. When do the 80 hour requirements start, and are these hours pro-rated, depending on the time of month that their first appointment is scheduled? 

    ​These hours are pro-rated for the month.


Policy

  1. Do Grantees have to complete and submit other reports on the control group?

    ​Control group members assigned to the core E&T program would be reported on the ​FNS‐583 SNAP E&T Program Activity Report. Treatment group members would not be reported on the FNS‐583. Expenditures on the core E&T program would be included on the SF‐778 Financial Status Report in FPRS.

  2. May households request fair hearings to dispute assignment to the control or treatment group?

    ​No. According to 7 CFR 273.15 (a), the State agency shall provide a fair hearing to any household aggrieved by any action of the State agency which affects the participation of the household in SNAP. Since an individual’s assignment to the control or treatment group would not affect SNAP eligibility, this would not be deemed a necessary request.

    However, a participant retains the right to request a fair hearing for any action on their SNAP case, including a disqualification for failure to comply with mandatory activities through the pilot.


Random Assignment To a Group

  1. After customers apply, they go through "Random Assignment." Does this get completed by the DHS offices?

    ​Yes.  The DHS case worker will complete the EPIS registration document on line with the customer sitting in the office.  Once the application is completed a button will be pushed and the results of the random assignment will display within a few seconds.  The client will know their status before they leave the office.​

  2. Are grantees required to exclude veterans from the random assignment process?

    ​No. The Food and Nutrition Act does not require that veterans be exempted from random assignment to services funded by the E&T pilot or by the core E&T program. However, other Federal funds may be subject to different rules governing the treatment of veterans. If grantees or sub‐recipients use other Federal funds to provide services to pilot participants, they should be aware of and comply with any rules governing the use of those funds.

  3. Define "on a regular basis" when caseworkers have to call/check-in with customers?

    ​After random assignment the case workers will continue their business as usual with the follow up activities and determining compliance.  With the EPIC Pilot Project case managers will have access to data via workNet that will give them real time information on their client’s activities.​

  4. Do the clients get their first choice of training programs? It looks like they select three areas.

    ​SNAP clients are assigned to a training program based on their interest and capacity to be accepted determined on baseline requirements. As long as the person meets the qualifications, they should be able to select their first choice.​​​


  5. How does the Illinois workNet EPIC dashboard know when random assignment occurs from the evaulation study team system (EPIS)?

    As soon as the information is entered in EPIS, when you click the assignment tab in EPIC, the EPIC system goes to the EPIS API to fetch the assignment information.
     
    It is matched on workNet ID (Other Participant ID).
    This information is located on the sidebar of each section of the Profile screens. This information has to match, or we do not set the random assignment for the customer. 

     
    NOTE: It is important to ensure that participant information is correct in EPIS before clicking submit.

     
  6. How soon will this information feed into EPIC after randomization in EPIS? 

    ​As soon as the case worker clicks the assignment tab, it gets the information from EPIS.


  7. Once a participant is randomized, does the caseworker complete the following steps:  Enter the randomized status of either EPIC Services or SNAP Services under the “Assignment tab”?

    EPIS system will feed EPIC with the status when the case worker goes into the assign tab in EPIC after randomly assigning in EPIS.


  8. What can grantees do for E&T providers to mitigate concerns about random assignment?

    ​Some providers or caseworkers may have concerns about not being able to provide treatment group services to all eligible participants. The evaluation team lead will be working with your project team to develop and disseminate talking points that providers can use to explain the random assignment process to potential participants..

    The evaluation team will also participate in trainings, as appropriate, to help providers and caseworkers understand the importance of random assignment for measuring the impact of the program on target population as a whole. E&T providers, caseworkers, and other professionals who come into contact with participants that are assigned to the control group and not the treatment group are allowed to provide information about other existing services in the community, including education, employment, or workforce development services to the extent this information is currently offered to all SNAP clients as part of the “business as usual” model, or what staff typically offer in a similar situation.


     

  9. What happens if there are no programs recommended for a participant?

    ​If there are no EPIC programs recommended for a SNAP recipient, the case worker will align them with the traditional services available through their current SNAP E&T program.


  10. Will the caseworker enter the CBO agreed upon with the participant into EPIC?

    ​Yes the caseworker will select with the participant which CBO they will be assigned too.  If there is more than one choice, the caseworker should discuss the options with the client to make the best choice.


Recruit

  1. Can a program begin a wait list for pilot participants in the study?

    ​No. Grantees should use available information to predict enrollment levels as accurately as possible. If the project cannot absorb the participants assigned to the treatment or control group, it may consider pausing random assignment after informing the evaluation team. FNS and the evaluation contractor will work with grantees on options should enrollment start to outpace service capacity.

  2. How do we handle offices not "open" but required to participate in JTED. For example, DeWitt goes to Logan to get services. Further need clarification with DHS leadership.

    How to serve SNAP recipients across DHS offices will be determined locally by the local office staff and the Regional Administrator.

  3. Two targeted counties in the region have no manager in the office. Is there any way to work the numbers for Wave 1 so that only a few offices participate in November? And then the other offices can be added in for Wave 2?

    ​We can definitely discuss the process for intake in the testing period (wave 1) and consider limiting it to specific offices or counties for the first wave. ​

  4. What if customers in JTED counties come to a different "office of choice at DHS" and need help with registration?

    How to serve SNAP recipients across DHS offices will be determined local by the locally office staff and the Regional Administrator.


  5. When are the marketing efforts going to start providing clear & direct access to customers? (Both at agency levels and media level)

    Marketing materials are available on the public website www.ilepic.com (Step 1 - EPIC Introduction).  Marketing materials are also available from the partner guide www.illinoisworknet.com/epicpartners.

     

  6. Will the marketing material need to be given out when the customers apply for and are approved for SNAP benefits? Is the expectation that they are invited to the orientation once to marketing material is given out? Or will we be informing them that they m

    ​They will be invited to the orientation if they are approved for SNAP and are recipients.  The process for determining how the invitation is extended will need to be worked out for each local office as it may work best one way in an office and another somewhere else.  Marketing materials will be available through workNet.​​​​

Service Providers

  1. Can agencies complete reverse referrals to the local office? From time to time we do internal assessments and find that we have customers who will qualify for services.

    ​CBO's can do a reverse referral as long as the person is a SNAP recipient. They have the same 50/50 chance of being assigned as anyone else does.​

  2. Do we have to use the ICAPS provider(s) or can we use our own training programs?

    ​You do not have to use ICAP providers we do however want the training program designed based on the modules identified in the Request for Application Instructions.​

  3. Do we set the appointments, or is DHS selecting an appointment time?

    ​Initially, the CBO will be setting up the appointment time.  When the appointment/progress page tool is available, you will provide appointment slots and the case workers will set the customer’s appointments based on your specified availability.


  4. If we have clients currently assigned to us in our EPIC Tool, should we be reaching out to them at this time? Also, will we get a notification via email when clients are assigned to us?

    ​If you have clients assigned, you need to reach out to them and set an appointment.  You will receive a daily summary email notice when customers are assigned to your organization.


  5. Is written documentation required when scheduling the customer for CBO appointment, or is a phone call and case note on the portal considered enough documentation?

    Written documentation is required.  Until the calendar tool is released, the process is to call the customer to make initial contact and schedule an appointment.  Make more than one attempt:
    • if you are able to reach them, set a date 7 days out and enter the date in to the Progress page.  Make a case note that includes the details for the appointment and let them know that you are going to send them the 2151 form with the appointment date.
    • if you are not able to reach them via phone, complete the 2151 form and include a date that is at least 7 days out from the time the form is put in the mail.  Enter that date into the Progress page.  Enter a case note and send as an email to let them know that you were unable to contact them by phone. Include that you have scheduled their appointment date for _____, and you are sending out a 2151 form.  Finally include meeting time and location in the case note/email.  If they are unable to meet at that time, please contact ______ to reschedule.
    Once the calendar is in place the customer will have their appointment date in hand before they leave the office.​​
  6. We are a non-profit and a vocational school certified through the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and my question is; are we allowed to offer our training programs to SNAP participants to satisfy the training requirement of SNAP registrants?

    ​A Not for Profit that is also  the educational entity is eligible to apply for the EPIC Pilot Project opportunity and can offer their training programs based on the program modules established in the RFA Instructions. This grant opportunity will serve at least 85% of the clients that are work registrants as defined by IDHS. No More than 15% of the clients served can be non-work registrants.​

  7. We received our first referral but I don't believe they're eligible for the selected training program since they do not currently have CNA, but they are qualified for another training program we offer. Can we manually change the training program they are

    If customers were assessed by the CBO and determined they were not able to serve them with a training program or employment services. Upload 2151 form in the Progress page and indicate “Referral Rejected”. Admin staff  is contact to determine next steps.
  8. What is the role of ICCB?

    ​The EPIC model incorporates the ICCB ICAPS model and the local community colleges in many cases will be the trainers.  Several colleges across the state have established ICAPS programs.  The program design includes the improvement of the integration of adult education and accelerated training and work-based learning through acceleration and integration of adult education and technical training which can incorporate the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB)-led Integrated Career and Academic Prep System (ICAPS) model.    More information on the ICAP model can be found at this site​.

  9. Who are the collaborative "Employers" by county? When can list be provided to DHS?

    ​The local CBO’s are responsible for establishment of local employer relationships.  Once CBO's are selected, we will be able to identify the employers.

  10. Will DHS reach out to all No Shows and/or will providers have responsibility to follow-up with No Shows

    ​​The CBO will need to alert DHS if there is a no show for a CBO referral. This is especially important if you are in an area where there are mandatory SNAP E&T participants.


  11. Will the Illinois workNet partner accounts be linked? For example, both can access information, and changes to the database, additions, etc. Can these changes seen by everyone from the organization who has an Illinois workNet account? Are both accounts

    Partners are given access to EPIC tools via their Illinois workNet partner account, so it is not a duplicate. Customers are given access to EPIC customer tools via their Illinois workNet individual account, so it is not a duplicate.  Their information is saved with all of their other Illinois workNet saved information.

Training

  1. Do we have a tentative date for the Chicago office to roll out.

    ​End of February for training. ​

  2. How soon will the local office receive training on this process for the caseworkers?

    ​There will be regional training where DHS staff will play the role of the client and we will go through the orientation process. The plan is to start training the end of February. ​

Use of Funds

  1. Can 50 percent reimbursement funds be used on the administration of the pilot?

    ​Yes, page 16 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Pilot Projects to Reduce Dependency and Increase Work Requirements and Work Effort Under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Request for Applications (RFA) provides that a State agency may also use State funds, or funds leveraged from other sources, and USDA will reimburse the State 50 percent of those costs, on the condition that the use of the contributions are permissible under Federal law.

  2. Can grantees use E&T pilot funds to conduct informational activities associated with the pilot?

    ​Yes, grantees may use pilot funds for these activities, to the extent that these activities meet the criteria and are included in the pilot budget. Grantees may also leverage 50 percent E&T reimbursement funds to pay for these activities. However, grantees may only operate informational activities to the extent described in the pilot proposal or as otherwise approved by FNS.  Grantees and sub‐recipients may use their own money to conduct outreach that is unrestricted by the outreach prohibition in the Act. However, no Federal funds may be used for these activities.  Grantees and sub‐recipients may not use pilot funds to provide application assistance, eligibility screening, or SNAP eligibility determination.​

  3. Can grantees use other funding sources to provide more than 90 days of job retention services?

    ​Yes. Grantees may only use pilot funds and SNAP E&T funds for up to 90 days of job retention services. Grantees may use other sources of funding to provide job retention services beyond 90 days.

  4. Can pilot funds be used to provide services for the control group?

    ​No. Pilot funds may only be used to provide services for the treatment group. Grantees must use funding under the core E&T program or other funds to provide services to the control group. However, the cost of screening and assessment activities conducted prior to random assignment to determine pilot eligibility and to collect baseline information may be charged to the pilot for all clients.

    The Food and Nutrition Act requires that a State maintain the same amount of State funding for E&T programs and services as the State expended for fiscal year (FY) 2013. The intent of this provision is to ensure that pilot funds be used for those participants in the treatment group. In addition the specification that pilot funds may not be used to supplant non‐Federal funds used for existing E&T activities or services further supports this intent.
  5. Can the customer be co-enrolled into Voc Rehab Services (DHS) funding for additional services?

    ​Yes the customer can be co-enrolled in other programs for additional services.  This is actually recommended to provide a more robust array of services to the customer to assist in eliminating barriers and promoting self-sufficiency.​

Work Experience

  1. If an individual is injured on an employer’s work site during their Work Experience hours, is the CBO responsible for workers compensation since we are the employer of record or would this be handled through DHS?

    ​The allowable cost in the participant wage line item includes workers compensation.  As employer of record you carry the workers compensation for those placed through the EPIC program.​