5101:1-2-40.2 Refugee social services program: eligibility and county agency responsibilities.

The refugee social services program (RSSP) provides employment services and employability services to refugees for the first five years from their entry date. The policies and procedures outlined in this rule apply to county agencies who receive an RSSP allocation pursuant to rule 5101:9-6-16 of the Administrative Code.

(A) Who is eligible for RSSP?

(1) Refugees for whom less than five years have passed since their entry date and who reside in counties receiving an allocation of RSSP funds. If the county agency uses RSSP funds to offer citizenship and naturalization preparation services, there is no time limit for the receipt of those services.

(a) Refugees do not have to apply for or receive cash assistance to be eligible for RSSP services.

(b) Resources and income of the refugee are not considered when determining eligibility for RSSP.

(c) Refugees receiving benefits under the temporary assistance to needy families, Ohio works first (OWF), program are eligible to participate in RSSP services that are not available as part of the OWF program in the county in which they reside.

(d) Refugees participating in a matching grant program through a resettlement agency are eligible to participate in RSSP services that are not included in the resettlement agency's matching grant program. Specific services that cannot be provided to matching grant participants from RSSP include employment services and employment-related case management services, as described in paragraphs (B)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a) of rule 5101:1-2-40.3 of the Administrative Code.

(2) Refugees who are sixteen years of age or older and who are not full-time students in elementary or secondary schools may receive services set forth in paragraphs (B)(1)(a) and (C)(1)(a) of rule 5101:1-2-40.3 of the Administrative Code if the services are intended to:

(a) Lead to part-time or temporary (e.g., summer) employment while the person is a student, or

(b) Lead to full-time permanent employment upon completion of schooling.

(3) A refugee child with an interim assistance letter from the department of health and human services, office of refugee resettlement (ORR) may receive services for up to ninety days after the individual's entry date.

(B) What are the county agency's responsibilities?

(1) County agencies receiving an RSSP allocation pursuant to rule 5101:9-6-16 of the Administrative Code must:

(a) Afford all refugees an opportunity to apply for RSSP. Refugees applying for or in receipt of refugee cash assistance (RCA) or refugee medical assistance do not need to complete a separate application for RSSP;

(b) Determine eligibility for RSSP within thirty days of the application date;

(c) Complete a family self-sufficiency plan for each assistance group and an individual employability plan for each RSSP participant, as described in rule 5101:1-2-40.4 of the Administrative Code, within thirty days of the application date; and

(d) Provide or arrange for employment services and employability services for refugees to ensure services are available to refugees in the following order of priority:

(i) All refugees for the first year from their entry date who apply for services.

(ii) Refugees who are receiving cash assistance under OWF or RCA.

(iii) Unemployed refugees who are not receiving OWF, supplemental security income or RCA.

(iv) Employed refugees in need of services to retain employment or to attain economic independence.

(2) RSSP case records must contain documentation of refugee status in accordance with paragraph (B)(10) of rule 5101:1-2-40 of the Administrative Code, including copies of both sides of status documentation.

(3) Use of the systematic alien verification for entitlements (SAVE) system, as described in rule 5101:1-1-50 of the Administrative Code, applies to applicants for RSSP. The SAVE system does not contain information about victims of a severe form of trafficking, nonimmigrant alien family members of victims of trafficking or refugees with interim assistance letters. Call the toll-free trafficking verification line at(866) 401-5510 to verify status and to notify the ORR of the benefits for which the individual has applied.

(4) Eligibility redeterminations must be completed at least once every twelve months, or more frequently if needed.

(a) Information regarding changes in the RSSP status may come from the refugee, the resettlement agency or the RSSP provider.

(b) If a refugee begins working and is no longer eligible for RCA, mandatory RSSP participation stops. The refugee may participate in RSSP services as a voluntary participant.

(c) If there is a question about whether or not the refugee has employment and has not reported it to the county agency, the county agency must verify eligibility.

(5) Information relating to applicants, participants and former participants of RSSP is subject to confidentiality standards set forth in section 5101.27 of the Revised Code.

(6) A refugee applying for or in receipt of RSSP has all the hearing and notice requirement rights set forth in division 5101:6 of the Administrative Code. Except when services continue as a result of a timely hearing request, services must be terminated effective the end of the last month of the time-limited eligibility period as set forth in paragraphs (A)(1) and (A)(3) of this rule.

(7) Each county agency receiving an RSSP allocation must provide a plan to ODJFS by September first each year. The plan must:

(a) Describe the goals of the refugee program in the county and how the county agency plans to accomplish these goals. Describe specific goals related to refugee employment in the county and the plans to reach and monitor achievement of these goals.

(b) Describe how the county agency coordinates cash and medical assistance with RSSP services to encourage effective refugee resettlement and to promote employment and economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.

(c) Describe how the county agency ensures that language training and employment services are made available to refugees receiving cash assistance and to other refugees, including county agency efforts to actively encourage refugee registration for employment services.

(d) Explain the ways in which RSSP allocations will be used and how services are selected and monitored.

(e) Ensure that RSSP services are provided to refugees following the priority order defined in paragraph (B)(1)(d) of this rule.

(f) Designate a county agency staff person who is responsible for the coordination of RSSP services to refugees in the county.

(g) Designate an individual who must have the responsibility to provide timely and accurate reports to the Ohio department of job and family services.

(h) Assure:

(i) The county agency will comply with all state and federal statutes and regulations in effect during the time that it is receiving grant funding.

(ii) Services and benefits designed for or used by refugees are coordinated and not duplicated within the county.

(iii) Communication and collaboration occurs among refugee resettlement agencies, social service agencies, health providers and public agencies serving refugees.

(iv) RSSP funds are used primarily for employment services and employability services designed to assist refugees in obtaining jobs within one year of becoming enrolled in services in order to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency.

(v) All refugees have access to services and are not discriminated against based upon their limited English proficiency, race, religion, nationality, gender or political opinion in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This includes providing an interpreter and translating documents into the refugee's primary language.

(C) What are the refugee's responsibilities?

(1) The refugee must provide documentation of refugee status, as described in paragraph (B)(10) of rule 5101:1-2-40 of the Administrative Code.

(2) The refugee must participate in employment services and employability services within thirty days of applying for RSSP.

(3) The refugee must comply with the provisions of the individual employability plan, as described in rule 5101:1-2-40.4 of the Administrative Code.

(a) The refugee must participate in the assigned employment services and employability services.

(b) The refugee must apply for employment opportunities as referred by the county agency, provider or resettlement agency.

(c) The refugee must go to job interviews arranged by the county agency, provider or resettlement agency.

(4) The refugee must accept at any time from any source, an offer of employment that meets the requirements of paragraph (A) of rule 5101:1-2-40.3 of the Administrative Code, regardless of whether such job would interrupt a program of services planned or in progress unless:

(a) The refugee is currently participating in on-the-job training or vocational training which meets the requirements of paragraphs (C)(1)(b) and (C)(1)(c) of rule 5101:1-2-40.3 of the Administrative Code and is included in the individual employability plan; or

(b) The refugee is enrolled full-time in a professional recertification program which meets the requirements of paragraph (C)(1)(d) of rule 5101:1-2-40.3 of the Administrative Code.

(5) Inability to communicate in English does not exempt a refugee from participation in employment services, employability services or acceptance of appropriate offers of employment.

(6) The refugee must provide documentation of good cause, as defined in paragraph (F) of rule 5101:1-3-11 of the Administrative Code, for failure to comply with RSSP requirements.

(7) The refugee has ten calendar days to report a change in employment status or any other factor that may affect RSSP eligibility to the county agency.

(D) What if the refugee fails or refuses to cooperate with the individual employability plan, voluntarily quits a job or refuses a job offer?

(1) The county agency must determine whether good cause exists as described in paragraph (F) of rule 5101:1-3-11 of the Administrative Code.

(2) If a mandatory participant fails to comply with a provision of the individual employability plan and the county agency determines that good cause does not exist, sanction or terminate the RCA in accordance with paragraph (I) of rule 5101:1-2-40.1 of the Administrative Code.

(3) When a voluntary participant fails to comply with a provision of the individual employability plan and the county agency determines that good cause does not exist, deregister the refugee from RSSP for three months for the first occurrence and six months for any subsequent failure.

Replaces: 5101:1-2- 40.2, Part of 5101:1-2- 40.3, Part of 5101:1-2- 40.4, Part of 5101:1-2- 40.5

Effective: 09/01/2010
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 07/01/2015
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 5101.49
Rule Amplifies: 5101.49
Prior Effective Dates: 4/1/1983; 9/1/1984 (Emer.), 11/17/1984, 1/15/1989 (Emer.), 4/1/1989 (Emer.), 10/1/1989 (Emer.), 11/17/1989 (Emer.), 12/16/1989, 10/1/1990 (Emer.), 7/1/2005