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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

What Happens If You Do Not Participate

As you know, participation in SonomaWORKS is mandatory for all TANF applicants and recipients. Exemptions are listed in the section entitled, “Who is Exempt”.

If for any reason, you do not do what SonomaWORKS requires, the following steps will be taken:

Cause Determination: If you do not meet SonomaWORKS requirements, you have the right to explain why you did not. Your counselor or specialist will determine if your reason is valid. See “Good Reasons for Not Participating.” If you have a good reason for not doing what SonomaWORKS requires, your counselor will try to help you so that you can meet the requirements.

Compliance: If you do not meet SonomaWORKS requirements, your counselor or specialist will send you a notice. You will have 20 calendar days after the date of the notice to meet with or call your counselor or specialist to explain the reasons you were not able to meet the requirements or to sign a Conciliation Plan, if you do not have a reason. If you meet the Conciliation Plan’s requirements, no penalties will be applied.

Financial Sanctions: If you are a mandatory participant (see Who Must Participate), your family’s cash
aid will be lowered if you fail or refuse to meet SonomaWORKS requirements without a good reason, and do not resolve the problem by signing and completing a Conciliation Plan.

If a financial sanction is applied to your case, you will be removed from the TANF grant, but your children will still get aid. This means your grant amount will be reduced.

If your family is a two-parent family getting cash aid because of unemployment, there are special rules for financial sanctions. If the parent who must participate in SonomaWORKS causes a financial sanction, both parents will lose their cash aid. The parent who did not cause the sanction can keep his/her cash aid if he or she participates in SonomaWORKS, is exempt, or has a good cause for not participating.

If you are sanctioned, your family’s aid will be lowered until you meet the requirements of SonomaWORKS.

Non-participating Volunteers: Individuals who are exempt from participation (see “Who is Exempt”) may choose to volunteer to participate in SonomaWORKS. If you volunteer for the SonomaWORKS program, but fail to meet SonomaWORKS requirements without a good reason, you will not be able to participate.

Your Child’s School Attendance: If your child is required to attend school, you must show proof that your child is attending school regularly. If your child has unsatisfactory attendance (unless he or she is eligible to participate in the Cal-Learn Program), your family’s TANF grant will be lowered.

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What You Can Do if You Do Not Agree

There are two actions you can take if you do not agree with decision or actions related to your case.r>

State Hearing: If you disagree with any county decision regarding a SonomaWORKS penalty, your status (standing) in SonomaWORKS, your SonomaWORKS activity or your SonomaWORKS supportive services, you can ask for a state hearing. Your counselor or specialist will help you file for a state hearing if you want one. You can request a rehearing after the state hearing decision is reached if you don’t agree with the decision and want to pursue it further.

  • If you file for a state hearing before the date of the county’s proposed action, the change will not be applied pending the hearing decision.
If you file for a state hearing for any other county action, different rules apply. The hearing rights form explains those rules and is contained on the back of every notice of action. A complete explanation of your state hearing rights is contained in Publication 13, Your Rights Under California Welfare Laws.

Independent Assessment: If you do not agree with the results of your Assessment or Welfare to Work plan, someone who is not a SonomaWORKS representative will review your Assessment and do another one, if necessary. The results of this independent assessment will be used to set up your Welfare to Work plan. If you have an independent assessment done, penalties will not be applied while you await the results of the review, if applicable.

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