Helping Families Move from Welfare to Work
Strategies for Parents Pursuing Self-Sufficiency
The Public Benefits Project works with clients who are on TANF or who receive
only food stamps to help them set up an agreement with the welfare office that
will be a means to self-sufficiency. The agreement is the key. It is a plan that
will guide you through the system while you obtain education or training to
obtain higher-wage employment. This agreement also allows you to receive many
supportive services along the way.
Northwestern Legal Services can assist you in getting the plan you want. Whether you are receiving TANF or food stamps only, a plan can be put into place so you can go through school or training and get the job you want.
How to Get a Plan into Action
If you are on TANF, your goal and plan for reaching your goal goes on an Agreement of Mutual Responsibility (AMR). If you receive food stamps only an Employment Development Plan (EDP) is used.
The employment goal on your AMR or EDP should be your long term career goal. Set high employment and education goals. These should be your goals, not the welfare office’s goals for you. Make sure you get your educational plans on your AMR or EDP. DPW’s own manual says that a client can have more than one goal on his/her agreement.
Once you have established your goals, you need to identify the activities that are going to help you reach your goals. After your goals and activities have been established, you should request the supportive services you will need to accomplish your goals. If you already have an AMR or EDP that you don’t agree with or your goals have changed, you have the right to modify your agreement with the CAO at any time.
Remember, you have the right to appeal your AMR or EDP.
Education and Training Activities
The welfare department has policies in place that allow parents to pursue
education or training on TANF, however, a mandatory job search is required.
Working hours may also be reduced to attend school or training. If you are not already enrolled in an education or training program or if you are unsuccessful in finding employment after your job search, you may enroll in an education or training program to reduce working hours and increase learning hours. There are restrictions on how long education hours can be counted toward the work requirement. Talk to your caseworker about all your educational options.
This can be maintained until you successfully complete your educational goal. TANF may be extended in some instances if the training program is progressing well and client is almost to completion.
Supportive Services Available for Education or Training
The following supportive services may be provided for approved education or
Welfare does not reimburse these allowances, they must be verified in advance.
If you have been denied any of these supportive services
please contact Northwestern Legal Services. Free legal help is
Please contact our New Client Line to see if you qualify 452-6957 (local) or 1-800-665-6957