U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 23, 2024

§ 641.500 - Who is eligible to participate in the SCSEP?

Anyone who is at least 55 years old, unemployed (as defined in § 641.140), and who is a member of a family with an income that is not more than 125 percent of the family income levels prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services and approved by OMB (Federal poverty guidelines) is eligible to participate in the SCSEP. (OAA sec. 518(a)(3), (9).) A person with a disability may be treated as a “family of one” for income eligibility determination purposes at the option of the applicant.

[82 FR 56883, Dec. 17, 2017]

§ 641.505 - When is eligibility determined?

Initial eligibility is determined at the time individuals apply to participate in the SCSEP. Once individuals become SCSEP participants, the grantee or sub-recipient is responsible for verifying their continued eligibility at least once every 12 months. Grantees and sub-recipients may also verify an individual's eligibility as circumstances require, including instances when enrollment is delayed.

§ 641.507 - How is applicant income computed?

An applicant's income is computed by calculating the includable income received by the applicant during the 12-month period ending on the date an individual submits an application to participate in the SCSEP, or the annualized income for the 6-month period ending on the application date. The Department requires grantees to use whichever method is more favorable to the individual. (OAA § 518(a)(4)).

§ 641.510 - What types of income are included and excluded for participant eligibility determinations?

(a) With certain exceptions, the Department will use the definition of income from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) as the standard for determining SCSEP applicant income eligibility.

(b) Any income that is unemployment compensation, a benefit received under title XVI of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.), a payment made to or on behalf of veterans or former members of the Armed Forces under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or 25 percent of a benefit received under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et seq.), must be excluded from SCSEP income eligibility determinations. (OAA § 518(a)(3)(A)).

(c) The Department has issued administrative guidance on income inclusions and exclusions and procedures for determining SCSEP income eligibility. This guidance may be updated periodically.

§ 641.512 - May grantees and sub-recipients enroll otherwise eligible job ready individuals and place them directly into unsubsidized employment?

No, grantees and sub-recipients may not enroll as SCSEP participants job-ready individuals who can be directly placed into unsubsidized employment. Such individuals should be referred to an employment provider, such as the One-Stop Center for job placement assistance under WIOA or another employment program.

[82 FR 56883, Dec. 1, 2017]

§ 641.515 - How must grantees and sub-recipients recruit and select eligible individuals for participation in the SCSEP?

(a) Grantees and sub-recipients must develop methods of recruitment and selection that assure that the maximum number of eligible individuals have an opportunity to participate in the program. To the extent feasible, grantees and sub-recipients should seek to enroll minority and Indian eligible individuals, eligible individuals with limited English proficiency, and eligible individuals with greatest economic need, at least in proportion to their numbers in the area, taking into consideration their rates of poverty and unemployment. (OAA § 502(b)(1)(M)).

(b) Grantees and sub-recipients must use the One-Stop delivery system as one method in the recruitment and selection of eligible individuals to ensure that the maximum number of eligible individuals have an opportunity to participate in the project. (OAA § 502(b)(1)(H)).

(c) States may enter into agreements among themselves to permit cross-border enrollment of eligible participants. Such agreements should cover both State and national grantee positions and must be submitted to the Department for approval in the grant application or a modification of the grant.

§ 641.520 - Are there any priorities that grantees and sub-recipients must use in selecting eligible individuals for participation in the Senior Community Service Employment Program?

(a) Yes, in selecting eligible individuals for participation in the SCSEP, priority must be given to individuals who have one or more of the following characteristics:

(1) Are 65 years of age or older;

(2) Have a disability;

(3) Have limited English proficiency or low literacy skills;

(4) Reside in a rural area;

(5) Are veterans (or, in some cases, spouses of veterans) for purposes of § 2(a) of the Jobs for Veterans Act, 38 U.S.C. 4215(a) as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section;

(6) Have low employment prospects;

(7) Have failed to find employment after using services provided through the one-stop delivery system;

(8) Are homeless or are at risk for homelessness; or

(9) Are formerly incarcerated individuals as defined in § 641.140. (OAA sec. 518(b).)

(b) Section 2(a) of the Jobs for Veterans Act creates a priority for service for veterans (and, in some cases, spouses of veterans) who otherwise meet the program eligibility criteria for the SCSEP. 38 U.S.C. 4215(a). Priority is extended to veterans. Priority is also extended to the spouse of a veteran who died of a service-connected disability; the spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has been listed for a total of more than 90 days as missing in action, captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or forcibly detained by a foreign government or power; the spouse of any veteran who has a total disability resulting from a service-connected disability; and the spouse of any veteran who died while a disability so evaluated was in existence.

(c) Grantees and sub-recipients must apply these priorities in the following order:

(1) Persons who qualify as a veteran or qualified spouse under § 2(a) of the Jobs for Veterans Act, 38 U.S.C. 4215(a), and who possess at least one of the other priority characteristics;

(2) Persons who qualify as a veteran or qualified spouse under § 2(a) of the Jobs for Veterans Act, 38 U.S.C. 4215(a), who do not possess any other of the priority characteristics;

(3) Persons who do not qualify as a veteran or qualified spouse under § 2(a) of the Jobs for Veterans Act (non-veterans), and who possess at least one of the other priority characteristics.

[75 FR 53812, Sept. 1, 2010, as amended at 87 FR 8190, Feb. 14, 2022]

§ 641.535 - What services must grantees and sub-recipients provide to participants?

(a) When individuals are selected for participation in the SCSEP, the grantee or sub-recipient is responsible for:

(1) Providing orientation to the SCSEP, including information on project goals and objectives, community service assignments, training opportunities, available supportive services, the availability of a free physical examination, participant rights and responsibilities, and permitted and prohibited political activities;

(2)(i) Assessing participants' work history, skills and interests, talents, physical capabilities, aptitudes, needs for supportive services, occupational preferences, training needs, potential for performing community service assignments, and potential for transition to unsubsidized employment;

(ii) Performing an initial assessment upon program entry, unless an assessment has already been performed under title I of WIOA as provided in § 641.230. Subsequent assessments may be made as necessary, but must be made no less frequently than two times during a 12-month period (including the initial assessment);

(3)(i) Using the information gathered during the initial assessment to develop an IEP that includes an appropriate employment goal for each participant, except that if an assessment has already been performed and an IEP developed under title I of WIOA, the WIOA assessment and IEP will satisfy the requirement for a SCSEP assessment and IEP as provided in § 641.230;

(ii) Updating the IEP as necessary to reflect information gathered during the subsequent participant assessments (OAA § 502(b)(1)(N));

(iii) The initial IEP should include an appropriate employment goal for each participant. Thereafter, if the grantee determines that the participant is not likely to obtain unsubsidized employment, the IEP must reflect other approaches to help the participant achieve self-sufficiency, including the transition to other services or programs.

(4) Placing participants in appropriate community service assignments in the community in which they reside, or in a nearby community (OAA § 502(b)(1)(B));

(5) Providing or arranging for training identified in participants' IEPs and consistent with the SCSEP's goal of unsubsidized employment (OAA § 502(a)(1), 502(b)(1)(B), 502(b)(1)(I), 502(b)(1)(N)(ii));

(6) Assisting participants in obtaining needed supportive services identified in their IEPs (OAA § 502(b)(1)(N));

(7) Providing appropriate services for participants, or referring participants to appropriate services, through the One-Stop delivery system established under WIOA (OAA sec. 502(b)(1)(O));

(8) Providing counseling on participants' progress in meeting the goals and objectives identified in their IEPs, and in meeting their supportive service needs (OAA § 502(b)(1)(N)(iii));

(9) Providing participants with wages and benefits for time spent in the community service assignment, orientation, and training (OAA § 502(b)(1)(I), 502(b)(1)(J), 502(c)(6)(A)(i)) (see also §§ 641.565 and 641.540(f), addressing wages and benefits);

(10) Ensuring that participants have safe and healthy working conditions at their community service employment worksites (OAA § 502(b)(1)(J));

(11) Assisting participants in obtaining unsubsidized employment, including providing or arranging for employment counseling in support of their IEPs;

(b) The Department may issue administrative guidance that clarifies the requirements of paragraph (a).

(c) Grantees may not use SCSEP funds for job ready individuals who only need job search assistance or job referral services. Grantees may provide job search assistance and job club activities to participants who are enrolled in the SCSEP and are assigned to community service assignments. (See also § 641.512).

[75 FR 53812, Sept. 1, 2010, as amended at 82 FR 56883, Dec. 1, 2017]

§ 641.540 - What types of training may grantees and sub-recipients provide to SCSEP participants in addition to the training received at a community service assignment?

(a) In addition to the training provided in a community service assignment, grantees and sub-recipients may arrange skill training provided that it:

(1) Is realistic and consistent with the participants' IEP;

(2) Makes the most effective use of the participant's skills and talents; and

(3) Prepares the participant for unsubsidized employment.

(b) Training may be provided before or during a community service assignment.

(c) Training may be in the form of lectures, seminars, classroom instruction, individual instruction, online instruction, and on-the-job experiences. Training may be provided by the grantee or through other arrangements, including but not limited to, arrangements with other workforce development programs such as WIOA. (OAA sec. 502(c)(6)(A)(ii).)

(d) Grantees and sub-recipients are encouraged to obtain training through locally available resources, including host agencies, at no cost or reduced cost to the SCSEP.

(e) Grantees and sub-recipients may pay for participant training, including the payment of reasonable costs of instructors, classroom rental, training supplies, materials, equipment, and tuition. (OAA § 502(c)(6)(A)(ii)).

(f) Participants must be paid wages while in training, as described in § 641.565(a). (OAA § 502(b)(1)(I)).

(g) As provided in § 641.545, grantees and sub-recipients may pay for costs associated with supportive services, such as transportation, necessary to participate in training. (OAA § 502(b)(1)(L)).

(h) Nothing in this section prevents or limits participants from engaging in self-development training available through other sources, at their own expense, during hours when not performing their community service assignments.

[75 FR 53812, Sept. 1, 2010, as amended at 82 FR 56883, Dec. 1, 2017]

§ 641.545 - What supportive services may grantees and sub-recipients provide to participants?

(a) Grantees and sub-recipients are required to assess all participants' need for supportive services and to make every effort to assist participants in obtaining needed supportive services. Grantees and sub-recipients may provide directly or arrange for supportive services that are necessary to enable an individual to successfully participate in a SCSEP project, including but not limited to payment of reasonable costs of transportation; health and medical services; special job-related or personal counseling; incidentals such as work shoes, badges, uniforms, eyeglasses, and tools; dependent care; housing, including temporary shelter; needs-related payments; and follow-up services. (OAA secs. 502(c)(6)(A)(iv), 518(a)(8).)

(b) To the extent practicable, the grantee or sub-recipient should arrange for the payment of these expenses from other resources.

(c) Grantees and sub-recipients are encouraged to contact placed participants throughout the first 12 months following placement to determine if they have the necessary supportive services to remain in the job and to provide or arrange to provide such services if feasible.

[75 FR 53812, Sept. 1, 2010, as amended at 82 FR 56883, Dec. 1, 2017]

§ 641.550 - What responsibility do grantees and sub-recipients have to place participants in unsubsidized employment?

For those participants whose IEPs include a goal of unsubsidized employment, grantees and sub-recipients are responsible for working with participants to ensure that the participants are receiving services and taking actions designed to help them achieve this goal. Grantees and sub-recipients must contact private and public employers directly or through the One-Stop delivery system to develop or identify suitable unsubsidized employment opportunities. They must also encourage host agencies to assist participants in their transition to unsubsidized employment, including unsubsidized employment with the host agency.

§ 641.565 - What policies govern the provision of wages and benefits to participants?

(a) Wages. (1)(i) Grantees and sub-recipients must pay participants the highest applicable required wage for time spent in orientation, training, and community service assignments.

(ii) SCSEP participants may be paid the highest applicable required wage while receiving WIOA career services.

(2) The highest applicable required wage is either the minimum wage applicable under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; the State or local minimum wage for the most nearly comparable covered employment; or the prevailing rate of pay for persons employed in similar public occupations by the same employer.

(3) Grantees and sub-recipients must make any adjustments to minimum wage rates payable to participants as may be required by Federal, State, or local statute during the grant term.

(b) Benefits—(1) Required benefits. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, grantees and sub-recipients must ensure that participants receive such benefits as are required by law.

(i) Grantees and sub-recipients must provide benefits uniformly to all participants within a project or subproject, unless the Department agrees to waive this provision due to a determination that such a waiver is in the best interests of applicants, participants, and project administration.

(ii) Grantees and sub-recipients must offer participants the opportunity to receive physical examinations annually.

(A) Physical examinations are a benefit, and not an eligibility criterion. The examining physician must provide, to the participant only, a written report of the results of the examination.

(B) Participants may choose not to accept the physical examination. In that case, the grantee or sub-recipient must document this refusal, through a signed statement, within 60 workdays after commencement of the community service assignment. Each year thereafter, grantees and sub-recipients must offer the physical examination and document the offer and any participant's refusal.

(C) Grantees and sub-recipients may use SCSEP funds to pay the costs of physical examinations.

(iii) When participants are not covered by the State workers' compensation law, the grantee or sub-recipient must provide participants with workers' compensation benefits equal to those provided by law for covered employment. OAA § 504(b).

(iv) If required by State law, grantees/sub-recipients must provide unemployment compensation coverage for participants.

(v) Grantees and sub-recipients must provide compensation for scheduled work hours during which a host agency's business is closed for a Federal holiday, which may be paid or in the form of rescheduled work time.

(vi) Grantees and sub-recipients must provide necessary sick leave that is not part of an accumulated sick leave program, which may be paid or in the form of rescheduled work time.

(2) Prohibited wage and benefits costs. (i) Participants may not carry over allowable benefits from one Program Year to the next;

(ii) Grantees and sub-recipients may not provide payment or otherwise compensate participants for unused benefits such as sick leave or holidays;

(iii) Grantees and sub-recipients may not use SCSEP funds to cover costs associated with the following participant benefits:

(A) Retirement. Grantees and sub-recipients may not use SCSEP funds to provide contributions into a retirement system or plan, or to pay the cost of pension benefits for program participants.

(B) Annual leave.

(C) Accumulated sick leave.

(D) Bonuses. (OAA § 502(c)(6)(A)(i)).

[75 FR 53812, Sept. 1, 2010, as amended at 82 FR 56883, Dec. 1, 2017]

§ 641.570 - Is there a time limit for participation in the program?

(a) Individual time limit. (1) Eligible individuals may participate in the program for a maximum duration of 48 months in the aggregate (whether or not consecutive), from the later of July 1, 2007, or the date of the individual's enrollment in the program.

(2) At the time of enrollment, the grantee or sub-recipient must inform the participant of this time limit and the possible extension available under paragraph (b) of this section, and the grantee or sub-recipient must provide for a system to transition participants to unsubsidized employment or other assistance before the maximum enrollment duration has expired. Provisions for transition must be reflected in the participant's IEP.

(3) If requested by a grantee or sub-recipient, the Department will authorize an extension for individuals who meet the criteria in paragraph (b) of this section. Notwithstanding any individual extensions granted, grantees and sub-recipients must ensure that projects do not exceed the overall average participation cap for all participants, as described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Increased periods of individual participation. If requested by a grantee, the Department will authorize increased periods of participation for individuals who:

(1) Have a severe disability;

(2) Are frail or are age 75 or older;

(3) Meet the eligibility requirements related to age for, but do not receive, benefits under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et seq.);

(4) Live in an area with persistent unemployment and are individuals with severely limited employment prospects;

(5) Have limited English proficiency or low literacy skills; or

(6) Are formerly incarcerated individuals as defined in § 641.140.

(c) Average grantee participation cap. (1) Notwithstanding any individual extension authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, each grantee must manage its SCSEP project in such a way that the grantee does not exceed an average participation cap for all participants of 27 months (in the aggregate).

(2) A grantee may request, and the Department may authorize, an extended average participation period of up to 36 months (in the aggregate) for a particular project area in a given Program Year if the Department determines that extenuating circumstances exist to justify an extension, due to one more of the following factors:

(i) High rates of unemployment or of poverty or of participation in the program of block grants to States for temporary assistance for needy families established under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act, in the areas served by a grantee, relative to other areas of the State involved or the Nation;

(ii) Significant downturns in the economy of an area served by the grantee or in the national economy;

(iii) Significant numbers or proportions of participants with one or more barriers to employment, including “most-in-need” individuals described in § 641.710(a)(6), served by a grantee relative to such numbers or proportions for grantees serving other areas of the State or Nation;

(iv) Changes in Federal, State, or local minimum wage requirements; or

(v) Limited economies of scale for the provision of community service employment and other authorized activities in the areas served by the grantee.

(3) For purposes of the average participation cap, each grantee will be considered to be one project.

(d) Authorized break in participation. On occasion a participant takes an authorized break in participation from the program, such as a formal leave of absence necessitated by personal circumstances or a break caused because a suitable community service assignment is not available. Such an authorized break, if taken under a formal grantee policy allowing such breaks and formally entered into the SCSEP Performance and Results Quarterly Performance Reporting (SPARQ) system, will not count toward the individual time limit described in paragraph (a) or the average participation cap described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(e) Administrative guidance. The Department will issue administrative guidance detailing the process by which a grantee may request increased periods of individual participation, and the process by which a grantee may request an extension of the average participation cap. The process will require that the determination of individual participant extension requests is made in a fair and equitable manner.

(f) Grantee authority. Grantees may limit the time of participation for individuals to less than the 48 months described in paragraph (a) of this section, if the grantee uniformly applies the lower participation limit, and if the grantee submits a description of the lower participation limit policy in its grant application or modification of the grant and the Department approves the policy. (OAA §§ 502(b)(1)(C), 518(a)(3)(B)).

[75 FR 53812, Sept. 1, 2010, as amended at 87 FR 8190, Feb. 14, 2022]

§ 641.575 - May a grantee or sub-recipient establish a limit on the amount of time its participants may spend at a host agency?

Yes, grantees and sub-recipients may establish limits on the amount of time that participants spend at a particular host agency, and are encouraged to rotate participants among different host agencies, or to different assignments within the same host agency, as such rotations may increase participants' skills development and employment opportunities. Such limits must be established in the grant agreement or modification of the grant, and approved by the Department. The Department will not approve any limit that does not require an individualized determination that rotation is in the best interest of the participant and will further the acquisition of skills listed in the IEP. Host agency rotations have no effect on either the individual participation limit or the average participation cap.

§ 641.577 - Is there a limit on community service assignment hours?

While there is no specific limit on the number of hours that may be worked in a community service assignment, a community service assignment must be a part-time position. However, the Department strongly encourages grantees to use 1,300 hours as a benchmark and good practice for monitoring community service hours.

§ 641.580 - Under what circumstances may a grantee or sub-recipient terminate a participant?

(a) If, at any time, a grantee or sub-recipient determines that a participant was incorrectly declared eligible as a result of false information knowingly given by that individual, the grantee or sub-recipient must give the participant immediate written notice explaining the reason(s) for termination and may terminate the participant 30 days after it has provided the participant with written notice.

(b) If, during eligibility verification under § 641.505, a grantee or sub-recipient finds a participant to be no longer eligible for enrollment, the grantee or sub-recipient must give the participant written notice explaining the reason(s) for termination and may terminate the participant 30 days after it has provided the participant with written notice.

(c) If, at any time, the grantee or sub-recipient determines that it incorrectly determined a participant to be eligible for the program through no fault of the participant, the grantee or sub-recipient must give the participant immediate written notice explaining the reason(s) for termination and may terminate the participant 30 days after it has provided the participant with written notice.

(d) A grantee or sub-recipient may terminate a participant for cause. Grantees must include their policies concerning for-cause terminations in the grant application and obtain the Department's approval. The grantee or sub-recipient must give the participant written notice explaining the reason(s) for termination and may terminate the participant 30 days after it has provided the participant with written notice.

(e) A grantee or sub-recipient may terminate a participant if the participant refuses to accept a reasonable number of job offers or referrals to unsubsidized employment consistent with the IEP and there are no extenuating circumstances that would hinder the participant from moving to unsubsidized employment. The grantee or sub-recipient must give the participant written notice explaining the reason(s) for termination and may terminate the participant 30 days after it has provided the participant with written notice.

(f) When a grantee or sub-recipient makes an unfavorable determination of enrollment eligibility under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, it should refer the individual to other potential sources of assistance, such as the One-Stop delivery system. When a grantee or sub-recipient terminates a participant under paragraph (d) or (e) of this section, it may refer the individual to other potential sources of assistance, such as the One-Stop delivery system.

(g) Grantees and sub-recipients must provide each participant at the time of enrollment with a written copy of its policies for terminating a participant for cause or otherwise, and must verbally review those policies with each participant.

(h) Any termination, as described in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section, must be consistent with administrative guidelines issued by the Department and the termination notice must inform the participant of the grantee's grievance procedure, and the termination must be subject to the applicable grievance procedures described in § 641.910.

(i) Participants may not be terminated from the program solely on the basis of their age. Grantees and sub-recipients may not impose an upper age limit for participation in the SCSEP.

§ 641.585 - What is the employment status of SCSEP participants?

(a) Participants are not considered Federal employees solely as a result of their participation in the SCSEP. (OAA § 504(a)).

(b) Grantees must determine whether or not a participant qualifies as an employee of the grantee, sub-recipient, local project, or host agency, under applicable law. Responsibility for this determination rests with the grantee even when a Federal agency is a grantee or host agency.