A. 24-Month Time Limit.
(1) An adult parent receiving assistance shall engage in work, when appropriate child care is available, as defined by the local department of social services, at the earlier of when the:
(a) Local department determines that the parent is ready to engage in work in accordance with UE requirements in Regulation .07-1 of this chapter; or
(b) Parent has received assistance for 24 cumulative months under TCA funded wholly or in part by federal funds.
(2) The only exception to the 24-month work requirement is a single parent caring for a child younger than 6 years old who is unable to obtain child care for one or more of the following reasons:
(a) Unavailability of appropriate child care within a reasonable distance from the parent's home or work site;
(b) Unavailability or unsuitability of informal child care by a relative or others; or
(c) Unavailability or unsuitability of appropriate and affordable formal child care arrangements.
B. 60-Month Time Limit.
(1) Unless exempt because of hardship, TCA may not be paid for an adult parent who has received a total of 60 cumulative months of TCA funded wholly or in part by federal funds in Maryland and all other states.
(2) In determining the number of months for which assistance has been paid to an adult parent, those months do not count in which the individual was:
(a) A minor child and not the head of household or married to the head of household;
(b) Determined to be a victim of domestic or family violence and receiving counseling;
(c) Disabled for 12 or more months, applied for Supplemental Security Income, and repaid the State when SSI benefits were paid;
(d) A needy TCA recipient who was not a parent but was included in the TCA grant; or
(e) Working and eligible because of the TCA earned income disregard as provided in Regulation .13E(3)(b) of this chapter.
(3) The local department shall determine an adult parent exempt because of hardship if:
(a) There is a current signed family independence plan that states the:
(i) Requirements and other actions the parent shall meet; and
(ii) Support services the local department shall provide;
(b) There is an initial and updated assessment; and
(c) There is documentation to support the local department's determination that the adult parent has:
(i) Been offered or provided the support services in accordance with a family independence plan;
(ii) Demonstrated a good faith effort to satisfy work activities specified in the family independence plan; and
(iii) Encountered significant barriers beyond the parent's control that prevented finding and keeping a job.
(4) The local department shall determine an adult parent exempt because of hardship if there is documentation that the local department did not offer or provide the support services to the family as specified in the family independence plan.
(5) The local department shall use the following procedures to determine if an adult parent is exempt because of hardship:
(a) The case manager shall document in the case record the:
(i) Initial and updated assessments;
(ii) Local department's maintenance of a family independence plan that is currently in effect;
(iii) Family's good-faith efforts to meet the terms and conditions of the family independence plan; and
(iv) Local department's efforts to ensure that the terms and conditions of the family independence plan have been fulfilled.
(b) The case manager shall make a recommendation based on the family's record as to:
(i) Whether a hardship exemption should be granted to the family; and
(ii) The reasons why the exemption should or should not be granted;
(c) The recommendation shall include a determination as to whether the local department was able to make the support services available to the family as specified in the plan;
(d) If the local department determines that an adult parent is exempt because of hardship:
(i) The family shall be granted a hardship exemption;
(ii) A new assessment shall be completed within 45 days after the hardship exemption is granted; and
(iii) A new family independence plan shall be established between the local department and the family within 60 days after the hardship exemption is granted to ensure independence as quickly as possible.
(6) If required by the provision of §B(5)(d) of this regulation, the case manager and the adult parent shall develop, sign, and date a new mutually agreed-upon family independence plan that states what must be done, when, and by whom to:
(a) Overcome the family's barriers to employment;
(b) Assist the family in preparing for the transition to work; and
(c) Ensure that the family becomes independent.
(7) If required by the provision of §B(5)(d) of this regulation, the new family independence plan shall include, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) A statement of the goals and intent of the plan;
(b) A statement or list of the problems or barriers that shall be overcome to achieve the goals of the plan;
(c) A list of the services and supports that the case manager and the local department shall provide to assist the family, as appropriate to the plan, as well as the time frames in which these services will be provided; and
(d) A list of the responsibilities and activities that the family shall undertake and accomplish, as appropriate to the plan, and the time frames in which each task shall be completed.
(8) The case manager's recommendation and any new plan, if required, shall be reviewed and approved by the following:
(a) A FIP supervisor; and
(b) The director of the local department or designee.
(9) In accordance with Regulation .22A of this chapter, the Department shall review a sample of TCA cases closed pursuant to this section.
(10) Adult parents exempt because of hardship, who exceed the numerical limits of federal law, shall be paid TCA entirely from State general funds that may be counted toward any federal maintenance of effort requirement.
(11) Adult parents paid under §B(10) of this regulation are subject to all FIP requirements in this chapter.