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Title 20: Employees' Benefits
§641.570 Is there a time limit for participation in the program?
(a) Individual time limit. (1) Eligible individuals may participate in the program for a maximum duration of 48 months in the aggregate (whether or not consecutive), from the later of July 1, 2007, or the date of the individual's enrollment in the program.
(2) At the time of enrollment, the grantee or sub-recipient must inform the participant of this time limit and the possible extension available under paragraph (b) of this section, and the grantee or sub-recipient must provide for a system to transition participants to unsubsidized employment or other assistance before the maximum enrollment duration has expired. Provisions for transition must be reflected in the participant's IEP.
(3) If requested by a grantee or sub-recipient, the Department will authorize an extension for individuals who meet the criteria in paragraph (b) of this section. Notwithstanding any individual extensions granted, grantees and sub-recipients must ensure that projects do not exceed the overall average participation cap for all participants, as described in paragraph (c) of this section.
(b) Increased periods of individual participation. If requested by a grantee, the Department will authorize increased periods of participation for individuals who:
(1) Have a severe disability;
(2) Are frail or are age 75 or older;
(3) Meet the eligibility requirements related to age for, but do not receive, benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et seq.);
(4) Live in an area with persistent unemployment and are individuals with severely limited employment prospects; or
(5) Have limited English proficiency or low literacy skills.
(c) Average grantee participation cap. (1) Notwithstanding any individual extension authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, each grantee must manage its SCSEP project in such a way that the grantee does not exceed an average participation cap for all participants of 27 months (in the aggregate).
(2) A grantee may request, and the Department may authorize, an extended average participation period of up to 36 months (in the aggregate) for a particular project area in a given Program Year if the Department determines that extenuating circumstances exist to justify an extension, due to one more of the following factors:
(i) High rates of unemployment or of poverty or of participation in the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families established under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act, in the areas served by a grantee, relative to other areas of the State involved or the Nation;
(ii) Significant downturns in the economy of an area served by the grantee or in the national economy;
(iii) Significant numbers or proportions of participants with one or more barriers to employment, including “most-in-need” individuals described in §641.710(a)(6), served by a grantee relative to such numbers or proportions for grantees serving other areas of the State or Nation;
(iv) Changes in Federal, State, or local minimum wage requirements; or
(v) Limited economies of scale for the provision of community service employment and other authorized activities in the areas served by the grantee.
(3) For purposes of the average participation cap, each grantee will be considered to be one project.
(d) Authorized break in participation. On occasion a participant takes an authorized break in participation from the program, such as a formal leave of absence necessitated by personal circumstances or a break caused because a suitable community service assignment is not available. Such an authorized break, if taken under a formal grantee policy allowing such breaks and formally entered into the SCSEP Performance and Results Quarterly Performance Reporting (SPARQ) system, will not count toward the individual time limit described in paragraph (a) or the average participation cap described in paragraph (c) of this section.
(e) Administrative guidance. The Department will issue administrative guidance detailing the process by which a grantee may request increased periods of individual participation, and the process by which a grantee may request an extension of the average participation cap. The process will require that the determination of individual participant extension requests is made in a fair and equitable manner.
(f) Grantee authority. Grantees may limit the time of participation for individuals to less than the 48 months described in paragraph (a) of this section, if the grantee uniformly applies the lower participation limit, and if the grantee submits a description of the lower participation limit policy in its grant application or modification of the grant and the Department approves the policy. (OAA §§502(b)(1)(C), 518(a)(3)(B)).