Alberta.ca » Income and Employment Supports Policy Manual


Expected to Work/Barriers to Full Employment Policy & Procedures

Published Date: February 06, 2014
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02 Income Support Overview

Eligibility Impacts

Income and Employment Supports Act, Section 15(1)(a) to (j) 


INTENT

Income Support (IS) clients maintain accountability by completing actions agreed to in their Service Plans and by meeting IS eligibility requirements.

POLICY

As a condition of receiving IS benefits, both Expected to Work (ETW) and Barriers to Full Employment (BFE) clients are required to fulfill obligations agreed to in their Service Plan. A Service Plan  is a contract that is mutually developed and agreed upon by the client and the Department. Service Plans are specific to each client category and outline the client’s required course of action to advance towards greater independence, including:
  • The client’s goals,
  • Agreed-upon steps necessary to achieve these goals, and
  • Programs/services that the client has agreed to attend/utilize as part of attaining these goals.


It is within the worker’s discretion to refuse, discontinue, suspend or reduce IS eligibility in instances where clients do not complete the agreed upon actions outlined in their Service Plan.

Workers must exercise reasonable judgment and consider clients’ circumstances and history before a decision to reassess IS eligibility is made. Emphasis should be placed on working collaboratively with clients to ensure that they are realistically able to accomplish the goals set out in the Service Plan. In complex situations, the worker is advised to consider both the IS Program Principles and the Client Responsibilities policy sections when deciding to refuse, discontinue, suspend or reduce eligibility for IS benefits.

Workers may exercise their authority to refuse, discontinue, suspend or reduce IS eligibility if satisfied that a client has not made a reasonable effort to meet eligibility requirements or to fulfill the terms/conditions of receiving IS benefits. This includes situations where clients or any adult members of their household:

  • Refuse to seek or to accept reasonable employment for reasonable wages;
  • Terminate employment that they might have reasonably continued to hold;
  • Refuse to make reasonable efforts to obtain compensation or to collect income that the client or another adult member of the household unit is entitled to or eligible for;
  • Refuse to make reasonable efforts to realize an asset or other financial resource that the client or another adult member of the household unit may receive or be entitled to receive;
  • Refuse or neglect to avail themselves of advantages that they are entitled to under any other law;
  • Refuse or neglect to take advantage of appropriate training or rehabilitative measures;
  • Fail to maintain eligibility requirements for the assistance provided;
  • Fail to comply with any term or condition of the assistance provided;
  • Fail to comply with a direction under IESA Section 14(1)(a) or (c) of the Income and Employment Supports Act (IESA) and do not provide information required to determine/audit IS eligibility, including substantiation of information, if requested;
  • Fail to comply with a direction under IESA Section 14(2) and neglect to disclose a change in circumstances that would reduce the household’s eligibility for IS benefits;
  • Fail to comply with a requirement under Part 5 of IESA, and do not comply with Child Support Services’ (CSS) program requirements; or,
  • Refuse to provide complete information required to determine eligibility for assistance or provide false information.


A client must be notified when a decision is made that affects eligibility and/or the amount or value of assistance provided under Part 2 of IESA. Notification must include:

  • The details of the decision; and
  • Specific reasons for the change in eligibility, and
  • The date that benefits will cease or will be adjusted, and,
  • The client’s right to appeal this decision.


Eligibility Impacts in Two-Adult Households

When one member of a two-adult household is ineligible for IS benefits, based on non-compliance the worker determines the most appropriate course of action, which may include:

  • Allowing the non-compliant adult to remain on the IS file,
  • Changing Budget Status to 2 and Health Benefit Coverage to N, and
  • Allowing core shelter benefits to remain unchanged while reducing core essential benefits (manually) to reflect a one adult household.

Or

  • Allowing the non-compliant adult to remain on the IS file,
  • Changing Budget Status to 2 and Health Benefit Coverage to N, and
  • Reducing both core shelter and core essential benefits (manually) to reflect a one adult household.

Or

  • Discontinuing IS benefits for the entire household unit and allowing for automatic file closure by the LISA system.


When one member of a two adult household is ineligible for IS benefits because of residency, citizenship or another program is responsible, the ineligible member's income and assets are considered to belong to the eligible household member and used to determine eligibility for the household. Income and asset exemptions for a single adult are applied but the ineligible spouse is not added to the file.