The California Department of Social Services has issued a clarification regarding its policy regarding referral for third party assessment when the county and the participant cannot agree on a welfare-to-work (WTW) assessment or a WTW plan.
If the participant does not agree with the results of their WTW assessment and does not reach an agreement with the county about their WTW plan, the county must refer the participant to an impartial third party for an independent assessment. The county must refer for a third party assessment if the county and the participant do not agree on WTW assessment or the unsigned plan or a signed WTW plan in limited circumstances.
Prior to the appraisal, counties must provide an orientation that informs participants of their right to a third party assessment. Participants must sign Rights and Responsibilities (WTW 1) and the Plan Activities form (WTW 2), each of which inform the participant of their right to a third party assessment.
After the plan is signed, the client has a once-in-a-lifetime 30 day grace period from the beginning of the WTW activity to request a change in the plan or reassignment to another activity. The county must grant the request if another assignment is available, is consistent with the WTW plan, and the county determines the other activity will lead to employment. The participant can request a third party assessment during the 30 day grace period.
The county must allow the participant three working days after signing the plan or amendments to the plan to request changes. During the three working days after signing the plan, the participant can request a third party assessment. If the participant expresses dissatisfaction with the plan in the first three working days, it will not trigger the use of the client’s once-in-a-lifetime 30 day grace period. If the participant expresses dissatisfaction with the plan after three working days and has not used their once-in-a-lifetime 30 day grace period, the county can apply the 30 day grace period and grant a third party assessment.
The participant must adhere to the signed WTW plan if it is after the three working day or 30 day grace periods. The county can revised a WTW plan at any time if it is in the best interest of the participant to do so.
The results of a third party assessment are binding and used by the client and the county to create an appropriate plan. The participant is not entitled to a state hearing to challenge the assessment until a third party assessment has been performed. (ACIN I-03-19, January 17, 2019.)