Learner Policy & Procedures

Published Date: August 23, 2016
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Learner Eligibility

Exceptions to Eligibility Criteria

AUTHORITY

Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 1(1)(b)
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 1(2)(b)
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 41(2)
Income Support, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Section 7(2)
MO 311/2016 Exemption of Canada Child Benefit
MO 2016-13 Exemption of Canada Child Benefit

INTENT

Government of Alberta training programs are intended and designed for adults returning to school. Adults are defined as those who are 18 years of age and older who have been out of the regular Kindergarten-Grade 12 (K-12) school system for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.

The 12 consecutive months “out of school criterion” is intended to ensure youth aged 16-19 years old do not drop out of the regular K-12 school system; as government training programs are not a usual source of funding for youth in the regular school system.

The age and out of school criteria may be waived for youth age 16-19 attending the regular K-12 school system in extenuating circumstances. This allows for individual circumstances to be taken into account.

POLICY

  1. Learners Attending an Educational Program Under the School Act (K-12)

     

    1. Waiving the Age and Out of School requirement for 16 and 17 year olds

      There are four situations in which 16 and 17 year old youths, attending a full-time education program defined under the School Act, may be eligible for Income Support as a Learner:

       

      1. The youth cannot reside with his or her parent(s) and requires “special consideration”. This refers to a situation in which Child and Family Services (CFS) has assessed the family situation, has deemed that the youth is not “in need of intervention”, but due to an irreconcilable family breakdown, needs to live independently. CFS assesses the student as having sufficient ability to live independently and continue to attend school if provided with Income Support as a Learner. In this situation, the youth is assessed as a learner on their own application. In the case of a couple requesting supports, both require special consideration to be taken into account under this exception.

         

      2. The youth is the co-habiting partner of an adult. This refers to a situation in which a 16 or 17 year old is living with a spouse/partner who is 18 years of age or older. The household unit is assessed for eligibility for Income Support.

         

      3. The youth is the cohabiting partner of another 16 or 17 year old, have children and are residing with one of their parent(s). In the case of both youth attending schooling, the two attending policy applies. The household unit is assessed for eligibility for Income Support.
      4. The youth is a single parent and resides with his or her parent(s). A 16 or 17 year old single parent (with their child/ren) is encouraged to reside within the family unit in order to continue to receive emotional and social support. The youth must be the legal guardian of their child(ren).

        There is no income/asset assessment done on the family unit unless the family is in receipt of Income Support as an Expected to Work (ETW)/Barriers to Full Employment (BFE) or Learner. If the 16 or 17 year old single parent is a member of a household in receipt of Income Support as an ETW/BFE or as a Learner, they as well as the child(ren) of the youth will be considered as dependants of the household unit and the household unit will receive a Supplementary Benefit called the “High School Incentive”.

       

    2. Waiving the Out of School requirement for 18 and 19 year olds

      There are three situations in which 18 and 19 year old youth, attending a full-time education program defined under the School Act, may be eligible for Income Support as a Learner:

       

      1. The youth cannot reside with his or her parent(s), and therefore requires “special consideration”. The youth must be living independently and will be assessed as a Learner on their own application. In a situation of a couple, only the individual applying for Learner benefits requires “Special Consideration”.

         

      2. Single parents. The youth is a parent and resides with his or her child(ren) but does not reside with that child’s other parent.

        If the 18 and 19 year old single parent is a member of a household in receipt of Income Support as an ETW/BFE or as a learner, the youth, as well as the child(ren) of the youth may be considered as dependants of the household unit. The household unit may receive a Supplementary Benefit called the “High School Incentive” benefit. Alternatively, the learner may choose to establish a file as an independent.

         

      3. Youth funded previously as a 17 year old and turns 18. A youth continuing in an education program on a full-time basis in the regular K-12 school system may be eligible for Income Support as a Learner.

    Under this policy, youth may be supported until they reach the age of 20, or obtain their Grade 12 diploma, whichever comes first. If a 19 year old turns 20 years of age during the academic year, funding will continue until the end of the funded academic year.

    The number of funded months used to attend the regular K-12 school system counts towards the maximum allowed under the duration policy.

    Eligibility Matrix for Youth Attending an Educational Program under the School Act (K-12)

    The charts provide an outline of the various youth situations and the impact on eligibility.

    16/17 year olds attending K-12
    Living with Parent(s) Parent(s) on Income Support Youth is single Youth included as dependent on household file
    Youth is single parent Youth and child(ren) included as dependent on household file. Family eligible for High School Incentive
    Parent(s) not on Income Support Youth is single Not eligible for Income Support
    Youth is single parent 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Couple, no dependent(s) Not eligible for Income Support
    Couple with dependent(s) 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Not Living with
    Parent(s)
    Approved for special consideration Youth is single 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Youth is single parent 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Couple, no dependent(s) 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Couple with dependent(s) 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Not approved for special consideration Youth is single Not eligible for Income Support
    Youth is single parent Not eligible for Income Support
    Couple, no dependent(s) Not eligible for Income Support
    Couple with dependent(s) Not eligible for Income Support
    Youth who is 16 or 17 years old living with a spouse/partner who is 18 years old or older is not required to meet the 1 year out of school criteria to attend K-12.

     

    18/19 year olds attending K-12
    Living with Parent(s) Parent(s) on Income Support Youth is single Youth included as dependant on household file and Child Supplement Allowance (NCBS Replacement) of $164 per month is issued.
    Youth is single parent Youth and Child(ren) either included as dependants on household file and eligible for High School Incentive or youth and child on independent Learner file
    Parent(s) not on Income Support Youth is single 1 year criterion applies. If not met, not Eligible for Income Support
    Youth is single parent 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Couple, no dependent(s) 1 year criterion applies. If not met, not Eligible for Income Support
    Couple with dependent(s) 1 year criterion applies. If not met, not Eligible for Income Support
    Not Living with
    Parent(s)
    Approved for special consideration Youth is single 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Youth is single parent 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Couple, no dependent(s) 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Couple with dependent(s) 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Not approved for special consideration Youth is single

    1 year criterion applies. If not met, not Eligible for Income Support

    Youth is single parent 1 year out of school criterion is waived
    Couple, no dependent(s)

    1 year criterion applies. If not met, not Eligible for Income Support

    Couple with dependent(s)

    1 year criterion applies. If not met, not Eligible for Income Support

    The 1 year out of school criterion is waived for youth previously funded as a 17 year olds who turn 18 and continue to attend K-12

     

  2. Learners Attending Educational Programs Not Under the School Act

     

    1. Waiving the Out of School Requirements for 18 year olds with extenuating circumstances

      The five circumstances are as follows:

       

      1. People with a developmental delay disability who are attending a Transitional Vocational Program (TVP), or
         
      2. Individuals in the Expected to Work (ETW) / Barriers To Full Employment (BFE) category, or
         
      3. Learners previously funded by the Government of Alberta while attending the regular (K-12) school system and who are starting a Training for Work program at the next start date, or
         
      4. Single parents who lack parental support and are starting a Training for Work program at the next start date, or
         
      5. Persons with a documented permanent disability (which restricts their ability to perform the daily activities necessary to participate in the labour force) who are starting a Training for Work program at the next start date.

       

    2. The Regional Learner Benefits Specialist may determine other extenuating circumstances under which the out of school requirement is waived.

      PROCEDURE

      Documentation of Special Consideration

      “Special consideration” will be given to youth who are no longer able to live with their parent(s) due to an irreconcilable family breakdown. For those youth requiring “special consideration”, documentation to substantiate their situation is required as indicated below.

      For 16 and 17 year olds requiring “special consideration”, the youth’s situation must be assessed by Child Intervention staff who will provide Alberta Works with a letter outlining the assessment that was provided to indicate that staff intervention is not required and the youth may meet the criteria for Alberta Works funding.

      For 18 and 19 year olds requiring “special consideration”, the following letters outlining their situation and providing rationale substantiating their need to live independently of their parents are required:

      • the youth, and
      • from a professional (social worker, medical doctor, nurse practitioner, psychologist), and
      • from a parent or a school guidance counsellor.

      The family breakdown must be beyond normal disagreement between parent(s) and children.

      Care must be taken to avoid facilitating family break-up. Family practices based on culture and/or religion usually are not sufficient reasons to assess a youth as requiring special consideration.

      Documentation for Extenuating Circumstances

      Those attending a Transitional Vocational Program require an acceptance letter by the school.

      Those with a permanent disability require documentation to determine the nature (i.e. permanency and restrictions) of the disability. This documentation includes, but is not limited to:

      • A doctor’s letter,
      • A letter from a nurse practitioner
      • A psychological assessment,
      • A functional assessment (Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist or Vocational Rehabilitation consultant),
      • Audiologist’s report,
      • Ophthalmologist’s report, or 
      • CNIB card.

      Requests to consider other extenuating circumstances should be directed to the Regional Learner Specialist who will review the rationale to waive the out of school requirement. The Learner Specialist decision must be documented in Mobius Notes.