Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Texas Works Handbook
Revision: 15-4
Effective: October 1, 2015

Part A — Section 1600

School Attendance

A—1610  Eligibility Requirement

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF

The following persons must attend school full time if they do not have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED):

  • An eligible dependent child age 6 to 18 living with a caretaker and/or second parent
  • A teen parent, even if disqualified, under age 19

A child who is age 6 on or before September 1 of the current school year must attend school.

Example 1: If a child turns age 6 on August 31, school attendance must be verified at the next complete review on or after September 1.

Example 2: If a child turns age 6 on September 2, verification of school attendance is not required at the next complete review on or after September 1, and no penalty should be imposed for not attending school.

If a child or teen parent who is home-schooled is attending school, the parent's statement that the child attends school at home is acceptable.

TANF

A child age 18, in school (high school, technical, or vocational) full time, and expected to graduate before or in the month of the student’s 19th birthday is eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) through the month of graduation.

A child who will not graduate until after the month of the student’s 19th birthday is not eligible after the month of the student’s 18th birthday.

Age In School? Graduation Month Eligible?
16 or 17 Yes N/A Yes
16 or 17 No N/A Yes
18 Yes Before or in the same month as 19th birthday Yes, until graduation
18 Yes After 19th birthday No, not after month of 18th birthday
18 No N/A No
Over 19 N/A N/A No

SNAP and Medical Programs except TP 08 and TA 31

School attendance requirements are not applicable for these programs. For the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if a child under age 18 works and is in school, the child's earned income may be excluded. See A-1323.1, Children's Earned Income.

TP 08 and TA 31

School attendance requirements only apply when the only dependent child(ren) of a parent or caretaker relative applying for TP 08 or TA 31 is(are) age 18 at application and redetermination.

A child(ren) age 18 meets the school attendance requirements when they:

  • attend school in any of the following educational settings:
    • high school;
    • technical school;
    • vocational school;
    • trade school; or
    • home school;
  • attend school full time; and
  • are reasonably expected to graduate before or in the month of the student’s 19th birthday.

A child who will not graduate until after the month of the student’s 19th birthday is not considered a dependent child after the month of the student’s 18th birthday.

Example 1: If there are two dependent children, one child is age 6 and the other child is age 18, and their parent is applying for TP 08, school attendance requirements do not apply to the child who is age 18 since there is another dependent child, age 6, for the TP 08 parent or caretaker relative to claim.

Example 2: If there are two dependent children both age 18 and their parent is applying for TP 08, school attendance requirements apply to both children because both children are age 18 and there are no other dependent children for the TP 08 parent or caretaker relative to claim.

A—1620  Determining Attendance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF

After the caretaker and second parent or teen parent sign Form H1073, Personal Responsibility Agreement, staff must verify whether the child or teen parent met the school attendance requirement.

School attendance must be verified:

  • at each complete review;
  • when curing a school attendance penalty; and
  • at application, if school is in session.

Notes:

  • School is considered to be in session during holiday breaks.
  • If an individual applies when school is not in session and indicates a child is not meeting school attendance requirements and will not meet the requirement when school begins, a full-family sanction is imposed. See A-2131.1, Initial Application.

At complete or incomplete review, if the child is determined to have 10 or fewer excused or unexcused absences per semester, no further action is required. If the child has more than 10 absences, Form H1086, School Attendance Verification, is used to request verification of school attendance. The school determines whether the child meets school attendance requirements, regardless of the number of absences.

At application, if verification is required, the application is pended for 10 days to allow the household time to cooperate. If the household has proof of the child's attendance or excused absences for a minimum of five consecutive school days during the 10-day pending period, the child is considered to be cooperating and no penalty is imposed.

Note: Accept verification for a different 10-day period if received prior to certification.

During the summer months, the advisor must verify whether a child or teen parent met the school attendance requirement since the last complete review. If the child or teen parent:

  • met the school attendance requirement, no further action is required. The child or teen parent meets school attendance requirements by:
    • being promoted,
    • attending summer school, or
    • graduating.
  • did not meet the school attendance requirement, a full-family sanction is imposed.

TANF, SNAP, TP 08 and TA 31

The local school system determines the criteria for half- or full-time attendance. A child meets the criteria even if he is out of school because of vacation, temporary illness, or family emergency.

Children with disabilities may attend fewer hours than other students. They may also receive instructions from a visiting teacher at home and still meet the school attendance requirements.

A child enrolled in a vocational adjustment program is in school full time.

A—1621  Exemptions from School Attendance Requirements

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF, TP 08 and TA 31

A child is exempt from the school attendance requirements if the child:

  • is eligible to participate in a school district's special education program.
  • has a physical or mental condition of a temporary and remediable nature that makes it unfeasible for the child to attend school. Obtain a statement from the child's physician specifying the:
    • child's medical condition; and
    • anticipated period of the child's absences from school.
  • is at least age 16 and attends a course to prepare for the high school equivalency exam.
  • is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science.
  • is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities.
  • is specifically exempted under another law.

A—1630  Failure to Cooperate with School Attendance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF

If a child or teen parent does not meet school attendance requirements, a school attendance penalty is imposed and a full-family sanction is applied.

If the individual does not cooperate with school attendance requirements at ... then ...
application (before certification but after signing the Personal Responsibility Agreement), refer to A-2144, Imposing a Penalty.
complete review or incomplete review, refer to A-2144.
reapplication,
  • if the individual has an open penalty, follow the procedures in A-2151, Open Penalty at Reapplication in Pay for Performance.
  • if the individual does not have an open penalty, follow the procedures in A-2131.2.1, Verifying Prior Cooperation Status at TANF Reapplication.

TP 08 and TA 31

Advisors must deny TP 08 or TA 31 if the only dependent child(ren) who makes the individual eligible for TP 08 or TA 31 is age 18 and:

  • has graduated;
  • is expected to graduate after the month of their 19 birthday;
  • is not attending high school, technical school, vocational school, home school, or trade school full time; or
  • school attendance is not verified by the due date.

Related Policy
Form TF0001 Required (Adequate Notice), A-2344.1

A—1631  Good Cause for Noncooperating with School Attendance

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF, TP 08 and TA 31

Good cause for not cooperating with the school attendance requirement must be explored at:

  • application,
  • each complete review, and
  • the individual's request.

Good cause exists if:

  • the teen parent has a child under age 12 weeks; or
  • no one in the home is willing and able to care for the child, and free child care is not available through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the school district. The local workforce board should provide free child care paid by TWC.

The individual's statement about a household member's inability to provide care is acceptable. Good cause is allowed only if TWC and the local school district provide verification that they will not provide free child care.

A—1632  Curing the School Attendance Penalty

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF

After a penalty is imposed, the child or teen parent can cure the penalty:

  • by attending school with no unexcused absences for the next 30 days;
  • by claiming good cause; or
  • during the summer months by:
    • being promoted,
    • attending summer school, or
    • graduating.

The individual is responsible for reporting when the child or teen parent has cured the penalty or has good cause.

Note: See A-2151, Open Penalty at Reapplication in Pay for Performance, when curing an open school attendance noncooperation for a reapplication under pay for performance.

A—1640  Verification Requirements

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF

School attendance must be verified:

  • at each complete review. During the summer months, the advisor must determine whether the child or teen parent met the requirement since the last complete review;
  • when curing a school attendance penalty; and
  • at application, if school is in session. Notes:
    • School is considered to be in session during holiday breaks.
    • If an individual applies when school is not in session and indicates a child is not meeting school attendance requirements and will not meet the requirement when school begins, a full-family sanction is imposed. See A-2140, Full-Family Sanction.

TP 08 and TA 31

Advisors must verify full-time school attendance when the only dependent child(ren) of an individual requesting TP 08 or TA 31 is(are) age 18 at application and redetermination. When an individual on TP 08 has dependent children younger than age 18, no verification of school attendance is required for the younger children or for the 18-year-old.

During the summer months, staff must determine whether the dependent child met the school attendance requirements at the end of the previous school year and confirm that the child intends to meet the requirements when school begins.

A—1641  Verification Sources

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF, TP 08 and TA 31

School attendance may be verified with the following sources:

  • School attendance registrar records;
  • Current report card;
  • Form H1086, School Attendance Verification; or
  • Statement from the individual indicating the child is home schooled, if not questionable. Note: If the individual's statement is questionable, have the individual provide copies of their curriculum, study materials, or other proof of coursework.

Related Policy
Questionable Information, C-920
Providing Verification, C-930

A—1650  Documentation Requirements

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

TANF, TP 08 and TA 31

The following information must be documented:

  • verification source;
  • date verified;
  • exemptions, if any; and
  • reason for good cause.

Related Policy
Documentation, C-940
The Texas Works Documentation Guide