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Eligibility, Application and Selection

Eligibility, Application and Selection

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Eligibility, Application and Selection

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  1. Eligibility, Application and Selection Accuracy: Right from the Start

  2. Head Start Eligibility Head Start/Early Head Start eligibility is based on : Age of child: Head Start: child must be 3 by September 30th Early Head Start: child birth to 3 years Residence of child: child must live in the grantee service area (Hillsborough and Rockingham counties) Early Head Start: child must live in Manchester or Nashua Eligibility: Family must be categorically eligible or income eligible to receive Head Start/EHS services

  3. Age Verification The following are accepted verifications of child age: Birth certificate/Hospital card Immunization record Green card/Passport Insurance Card Copy of date of birth verification must be kept and submitted with the application.

  4. Residence of Child No verification of residence is needed to complete an application. Applicants are asked for their address and it is recorded on the application Children living outside of the county may be serviced with permission from the Head Start program in the child’s county of residence. Permission obtained by the Family Service Specialist.

  5. Categorical Eligibility 1. Children in Foster Care: “24 hour substitute care for children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the state has placement and care responsibility”

  6. Foster Care Verification Must have court order or other legal or government-issued documentation of DCYF custody or written statement from DCYF personnel stating child is in foster care. Application must be signed by biological parent unless rights have been terminated. Contact DCYF worker for clarification & support in setting up application appointment with appropriate parent/guardian to complete application.

  7. Categorical Eligibility 2. Children of families experiencing homelessness according to the McKinney-Vento Act definition: “ A family who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence”

  8. Homeless Definition Includes (a) children who are sharing the housing of other persons due to a loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason; Are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals or are awaiting foster care placement;

  9. Homeless Definition (cont’d) (b) Children who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings (c) Children who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings and (d) Migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described in a-c above

  10. Homelessness VerificationMcKinney-Vento Act-2001 Written statement from homeless services provider (shelter or transitional housing program etc.) Receipt or letter from hotel/motel Letter from person(s) family is living with explaining circumstances of how previous housing was lost Self declaration by family of their current living situation. Third party verification completed with family consent as needed.

  11. Income Eligibility • 1. Member of “Family” receives public assistance: • TANF/FAP benefits • SSI benefits • 2. Total of all “Family” gross income for relevant period is below federal poverty guidelines

  12. Determining Family Size1305.2 “Family, for a child, means all persons living in the same household who are (1) Supported by the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) income; and (2) Related to the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) by blood , marriage or adoption” OR The child’s authorized caregiver or legally responsible party”

  13. Family Size Notes Determine if adult family members in the home have their own income source. If so, not counted in family. Adult children can be counted if they do not have any sources of income of their own, earned or unearned. Make notes on application to clarify who is included in the family Foster child is a family size of 1

  14. Verification of TANF/FAP and SSIPublic Assistance TANF/FAP: copy of award letter from DHHS dated within a year showing amount of benefits received or Electronic Verification form if family provides staff access to amount of benefit via NH-EASY website. SSI: copy of award letter from Social Security dated within a year showing amount of Supplemental Security Income received monthly (not SS or SSDI) or bank statement showing direct deposit. No Income Worksheet needed

  15. Income Eligibility(Non-Public Assistance) • To verify eligibility based on income, program staff must use tax forms, pay stubs, or other proof of income to determine the family income for the “relevant time period”. • Relevant time period means: • The 12 months preceding the month of application OR • During the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the application is submitted, whichever more accurately reflects the needs of the family at the time of application.

  16. Exception to Relevant Period1302.12(i)1(iii) “If the family can demonstrate a significant change in income for the relevant time period, program staff may consider current income circumstances” Ex. Unemployment, reduction in hours/income

  17. Definition of Income1305.2 HS StandardsBureau of Census P-60-185 Income means “gross cash income and includesearned income, military income (including pay and allowances, except those described in Section 645(a)(3)(B) of the HS Act), veteran’s benefits, Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation and public assistance benefits.” Additional examples of gross cash income are listed in the definition of “income” which appears in U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-6—185; child support, alimony, dividends, income from estates or trusts, net rental income, pensions, annuities, and gambling winnings.

  18. Income Exceptions Income does not include “money received from the sale of property such as stocks, bonds, a house or car; withdrawals of bank deposits, money borrowed, tax refunds, gifts, and lump sum inheritances, or insurance payments.” Also excluded are non-cash benefits, food or housing received in lieu of wages; the value of food produced on farms; the imputed value of rent from owner-occupied non-farm or farm housing and such Federal non-cash benefit programs as Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches and housing assistance and certain disability payments made to disabled children of Vietnam veterans as prescribed by Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

  19. Income Notes Income of children in the “family” is not counted for family income eligibility (ex. SS disability or survivors benefits). It can be used to make a child eligible if any child in the “family” receives TANF/FAP or SSI benefits. All child support is counted. All families with an absent parent should specifically be asked about child support.

  20. Earned Income Verification All family earned income must be verified. Verification must include: Individual Income Tax Form 1040 or W-2 forms or Employer Verification Form

  21. If you are using current income due to significant change in income for the relevant time period. Then you may accept the following as verification. • * Pay stubs or pay envelopes or: • Weekly Pay: 4 recent, consecutive weeks • Bi-Weekly Pay: 2 recent, consecutive weeks • On page 2 of the application it must be clear why current income is being used.

  22. Income Reminders Gross income is always used Tips are counted in income totals Over time is counted in income totals

  23. Unearned Income Verification Unemployment/Veteran’s Benefits: copy of benefit determination letter with weekly/monthly amount, check stub or direct deposit on bank statement Child Support: Court order , direct deposit on bank statement, verification from person paying support, or written statement from parent receiving support

  24. Income Worksheet All earned and unearned income is listed on the Income Worksheet and calculations are completed to determine yearly income total. Choose last 12 month, last year or current income calculation section of the worksheet. If total yearly income is under poverty guidelines for family size, child is income eligible for services.

  25. Calculating Income Unearned Income: If received weekly, multiply by 4.33 to get monthly amount *Income Worksheets: Insert all income into appropriate sections, calculate and total *Divide total by poverty guidelines to find percentage of poverty (100% or less= income eligible)

  26. Calculating Income Dual Custody Families with dual custody: Take both parents yearly income, add them together, and then divide by two Parent 1 and Parent 2 have dual custody of their only child Jane. Parent 1’s monthly income $860 Parent 2’s monthly income $2,200 860 (parent 1) + 2,200 (parent 2) = 3,060 3,060 / 2 = 1,530 (total monthly income) 1,530 x 12 = 18,360 (total yearly income) 18.360/21,330(poverty guidelines for a family of 3) = .860 The family is at 86% of poverty, income eligible

  27. Calculating Income • When calculating income, round up or down to hundredths at each step as needed. Ex: $225.379= $225.38 $300.723=$300.72 • If the total yearly income is over the Poverty Guideline for the family size, the family is over income even if the percentage is still 100% when rounded. Ex: Income=$24,020.00 Poverty Guideline=$23850.00

  28. No Income No Income: Statement of No Income form with all questions completed AND Verification of job termination Verification of how person is living. Ex. Food Stamps benefits, rental assistance, statement from person supporting the family. Bank statements showing steady decline of totals if living off savings etc.

  29. Application Review Complete how they heard of the program, be specific Determine what option/center is best fit for family needs. Are they interested in EHS for younger children? Fill out each space on the application completely Get alternate contact numbers/text/e-mail Have discussion around transportation resources

  30. Application Review Get all possible information on absent parents. Ask about child support, both formal and informal, on all applications with absent parents Determine dual custody, only 50/50 custody qualifies Identify all people in household, income sources and relationships (Not working doesn’t mean no income) Treat every family with dignity and respect. We are dealing with possible issues of domestic violence, stigma, and privacy.

  31. Race/Ethnicity Data • REaL Data: • Ethnicity asked before Race • Ask the questions in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner • Allow all families to self-identify, do not identify for them • “Other” is when they choose something not on list • “Unspecified” is when they refuse to answer or state nothing applies to them

  32. Application Statement Read and review the accuracy statement on the second page of the application with every family. Explain that with inaccurate information may affect the family’s participation with the program Understand and read the statement that you are signing: “I certify that the above information is an accurate depiction of the information given to me by the above signed parent/guardian. No information has been altered or omitted. I understand that actions may be taken which may affect my employment at SNHS Head Start/Early Head Start for knowingly submitting false information.”

  33. Common Errors No explanation on page 2 of family’s income history Incomplete demographic info on both caregivers Family size does not match persons listed in household * Not all people living in house are listed Marking the family received SSI when they are receiving SS or SSDI Incorrect income calculations Marking both IEP/IFSP and child has a suspected disability on selection criteria worksheet

  34. Application Packet Application packet consists of: 1. Completed Application signed by staff and parent 2. Completed Selection Criteria Worksheet 3. Eligibility Verification Form signed by staff 4. Income Worksheet as needed 5. Documentation verifying categorical or income eligibility 6. Documentation verifying age (If using immunizations, please attach 2 copies) 7. Needs Survey 8. Contact log

  35. Needs Survey1302.52(b) Needs survey completed at application to help identify any immediate needs to be addressed Explain it is to connect them with other services they may need within the agency or in the community We want to supply resources whether or not they become EHS/HS clients in the future Resource list provided if response of “Yes” to any question

  36. Complete Applications Families should be told that they will be notified from the central office about the status of their application. DO NOT tell them they are eligible and will have a spot. Letters are sent notifying families if they are accepted or placed on the wait lists. Accepted students receive information about the summer health screenings and start of the school year.

  37. Incomplete Applications If families do not supply the needed documentation to determine eligibility: *Make at least 2 phone calls to family reminding them what we need to complete the application *Send a letter stating what we are waiting for with a date it is needed by. Keep copy with app. *Document all of above on Contact Log *If not received by deadline given, send closed app with contact log and letter copy to ERSEA Coordinator

  38. Eligibility vs. Selection Eligibility is the process of determining if a child and family meet the eligibility requirements to participate in the Head Start program according to Head Start Performance Standards. Selection is the process by which a program considers all eligible applicants and selects children and families into the program

  39. Selection Criteria1302.14(a)(1) All Head Start programs must establish selection criteria as part of the process of selecting children and families from all eligible applicants. Developed from community assessment information, program data, self-assessment, PIR etc. Updated as needed annually and approved by Policy Council

  40. Selection Criteria Data

  41. Wait List Rankings1302.14(c) Each application given a criteria point total Applications accepted based on highest criteria total Actual waiting list may not match COPA list No priority for past families No priority for siblings

  42. Over Income Placements1302.12(c)(2) • “If the family does not meet eligibility under 1302.12(c), a program may enroll a child who would benefit from services, provided that these participants only make up to 10% of a program’s enrollment. • Used for: • Children with suspected or identified disabilities • Other high need risk factors in the family or home

  43. Income Between 100-130%1302.12 (d)(1) Up to 35% of funded enrollment can be families with income level between 100-130% of Poverty Guidelines. Accepted after all income eligible applicants have been accepted in a community. Helps maintain full enrollment, meet family needs.

  44. Over Income Placements Over income placements without a documented disability will be considered on a case by case basis looking at: *Family circumstances *Waiting lists for the community *Age of child (usually 1 year children only) *Current over income number for program

  45. Review/Questions Distribute: Application Packets New Selection Criteria Last Years Wait List