FIP and WORK FIRST PROGRAM RULES YOU SHOULD KNOW IF YOU RECEIVE CASH ASSISTANCE FROM FIA AND ARE ENROLLED IN -- OR CONSIDERING -- COLLEGE

Important Information for Family Independence Program (FIP) Recipients Who Want to Get a College Education

Contents:

  1. FIP recipients who work at a paying job may attend college

  2. FIP recipients who are in an approved, full-time internship or clinical program needed for graduation, licensing, or certification do not have to work in order to keep FIP.

  3. Work Study employment counts toward your Work First requirement.

  4. If you are working at least 10 hours a week, you may be able to use your college classes and study time to meet the remainder of your ""work requirement"".

  5. You can reduce your current work hours in order to participate in ""approved"" education or training.

  6. You can get Child Day Care payments from FIA for the time you spend in classes and internships, if your education program is approved.


 

1.  FIP recipients who work at a paying job may attend college

If you are working your required number of hours, you may go to college. In some cases, you can count class and study time toward your work requirement (see #4 below). You cannot reduce or quit work to attend college unless your program is approved as PET and you work the necessary 10 hours.

Required Hours Per Week of Employment-Related Activity

Parent of a Child Under Age 3 Months

0 Hours*

One Parent Household** with Child Under 6 Years

20 Hours

One Parent Household* with All Children Age 6 or Older

30 Hours

Two Parent Household NOT Receiving Child Day Care Assistance from Family Independence Agency

35 Hours

Two Parent Household Receiving Child Day Care Assistance from Family Independence Agency

55 Hours

* A parent may be deferred from work/Work First until child is 3 months old.

** One Parent Households include some households with two parents in which one parent is ""deferred"" from Work First.

2.  FIP recipients who are in an approved, full time internship or clinical program needed for graduation, licensing, or certification do not have to work in order to keep FIP

Be prepared to show that your college program will educate and train you for a specific occupation. Make sure any approved internship or clinical is noted in your Individual Service Strategy (ISS) that the Work First agency prepares for you.

3. Work Study employment counts toward your Work First requirement

A Work-Study job may allow you to work hours at the college or at a convenient location. Talk to your college Financial Aid office about arranging a financial aid package that includes enough work hours to meet your Work First requirement. This may also mean you will have less debt when you graduate!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Work Study counts as work, but the money you earn at federal Work Study should not reduce your monthly cash assistance and Food Stamps1.

THE INFORMATION ON THIS SHEET APPLIES ONLY TO FAMILIES WHO RECEIVE FIP CASH ASSISTANCE. DIFFERENT RULES APPLY TO FAMILIES WHO RECEIVE FOOD STAMPS, CHILD DAY CARE ASSISTANCE, OR MEDICAID, WITHOUT FIP CASH ASSISTANCE.

4. If you are working at least 10 hours a week, you may be able to use your college classes and study time to meet the remainder of your ""work requirement"".

Ask your Work First case manager if your college courses can be ""approved"" as Post-Employment Training (PET). Only education programs that are 12 months or less, or the final year of a two or four year degree can be approved as PET. Be prepared to show that your program will educate and train you for a specific occupation. Make sure any approved course or program is noted in your Individual Service Strategy (ISS) that the Work First agency prepares for you.

Once your education program is approved, you can count up to 10 hours per week of class time towards your ""work requirement"". For every hour of class time, you can also count one hour of study time. For example, a parent with a 30 hour ""work requirement"" could work 10 hours, spend 10 hours a week in class, and count study 10 hours of study time – to total 30 hours. Work First will pay for up to 12 months of training or education, including all books and other education expenses. See the information sheet on ""Protecting and Enforcing Your Rights"" for information on how to file a grievance if you believe Work First has wrongfully refused to count your education hours toward your work requirement.

5. You can reduce your current work hours in order to participate in ""approved"" education or training.

You can reduce your work hours in order to participate in an approved education program. If you lose your job after reducing your hours to participate in approved education, that is ""good cause"" and your benefits cannot be sanctioned. You must always work at least 10 hours a week if you are in PET. See the separate information sheet on ""Protecting and Enforcing Your Rights"" for information on getting your education program approved.

6. You can get Child Day Care payments from FIA for the time you spend in classes and internships, if your education program is approved

FIA Child Day Care funds are available to pay for child care while you are in class (not for study time) as long as your education plan has been approved. You must apply and you and your provider will have to do some paperwork. Your provider will have to be approved by FIA. The process for being approved depends on the type of child care provided. (FIA also pays for Child Day Care for the hours you work and your child is not in school.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: This information is based on policies in effect and information available in December 1999. Work and Work First policies and laws change frequently. The information in this pamphlet is not a substitute for individual legal advice. Contact your local legal services of legal aid program if you believe your rights have been violated or you need advice or representation. To find your local legal services/legal aid office, look under ""Attorneys"" in the Yellow Pages or call the State Bar of Michigan lawyer referral number: (800) 968-0738 or visit the Michigan LawHelp web site at http://www.mi.lawhelp.org

Additional information is available from: the Coalition for Independence Through Education (CFITE), c/o CEW 330 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

1Michigan has a state-funded Work Study program that does count when budgeting your assistance.  Your financial aid officer should be able to assist you in finding the Work Study job that is right for you