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Client Handbook

Download the SonomaWORKS Client Handbook

All SonomaWORKS clients receive this Client Handbook. It includes an overview of the program.

Client Handbook

Jump to:
SonomaWORKS and You
Working Toward a Better Future
Who Must Participate?
Who is Exempt?
What to Expect
Hours of Required Participation
SonomaWORKS Activities
Welfare to Work Plan
Supportive Services
Satisfactory Participation
Good Reasons for Not Participating
What Happens if You Do Not Participate
What You Can Do if You Do Not Agree
Post-Aid Services
Your Worker

Who is Exempt?(Does not have to participate in SonomaWORKS)

You are exempt from SonomaWORKS participation if you are:
  • Are under 16 years old and not a custodial parent.
  • Are 60 years or older.
  • Are 16, 17, or 18 years old and attend school (not college) full time, unless you are in school as one of your SonomaWORKS activities or you are a custodial parent.
  • Are disabled and the disability is expected to keep you from working or participating in a SonomaWORKS activity, as long as you are getting the medical help you need. Your disability
    must be expected to last at least 30 days.
  • Are pregnant and a doctor states that you cannot work or participate in SonomaWORKS activities.
  • Are required to stay at home to care for someone in the household who is unable to care for her/himself and it keeps you from working or participating in a SonomaWORKS activity on a regular basis.
  • Are the parent (or other caretaker relative) of a child six months of age or younger and are personally providing care for the child, with the following considerations:
    • You may be exempt for this reason only one time.
    • If you received the above exemption and give birth to or adopt another child, you may be eligible for an exemption of up to 12 weeks.
    • If you are a teen parent required to participate in the Cal-Learn program, this exemption does not apply.
  • If you are the non-parent caretaker relative of a child who is a dependent or a ward of the court, or a child at risk of placement in foster care, and the County decides that taking care of the child keeps you from working or participating in a SonomaWORKS activity on a regular
  • If you are the parent or caretaker of a child 0-23 months of age and are personally providing care for the child you may choose an once-in-a-lifetime exemption if you have not used this exemption in the past.
  • Your worker will discuss other potential exemptions as appropriate.
Your eligibility worker or specialist will ask for proof when you claim any of the above exemptions. Your eligibility worker or specialist can review your situation at any time. Even though you are exempt, the exempt time may count towards your 48-month federal participation limit.
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Who Must Participate?

Mandatory Participants: Your eligibility worker or specialist will let you know if you must participate in SonomaWORKS when you apply for TANF, when your TANF eligibility is redetermined, or when you have a change in your exemption status. If you are a TANF recipient, and you are not exempt, you must participate in SonomaWORKS activities. You are called a “mandatory” participant. As a mandatory participant, you must help you and your family achieve self sufficiency by:
  • Keeping all appointments made with anyone connected with SonomaWORKS.
  • Agreeing to and signing a Welfare to Work Plan within ninety days after being approved for TANF and meet the requirements of that Plan.
  • Keeping your current earnings and job.
  • Providing proof of satisfactory progress in your assigned activity.
Volunteers: Even if you are exempt from participation in SonomaWORKS, we encourage you to volunteer. Contact your SonomaWORKS eligibility worker or specialist. You can exit SonomaWORKS at any time without losing your TANF grant, if you are still exempt from program participation. When your exemption ends, you will become a mandatory SonomaWORKS participant.
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