Refers to an individual who is physically not in the home.



Administrative (Agency) Error

An overpayment or underpayment caused by an error made by any representative of the Department of Human Services.  Examples of administrative errors include, but are not limited to, the following:

·        Failure to take timely action on a change reported by the AU or known to this Department.

·        Incorrect computation of the AU’s income or deductions, or authorization of an incorrect grant amount.

·        Incorrect application of policy.



Adoptive Parent

The mother and/or father of a child whose parental relationship to the child has been formally established in a court of competent jurisdiction.



Adult Education

Adult Education courses provided through a certified institution. May include courses designed to provide knowledge and skills for a specific occupation or work setting, adult education, or English as a Second language.  Also, attendance at a secondary school or GED course for those who do not have a high school diploma or the equivalent.  Classified as a non-core work activity.



Adverse Action Notice

A computer generated notice sent to a Families First client when a negative action is taken on a Families First case.



Alleged or Putative Father

The biological father of a child born out of wedlock for which paternity has not been established.



Approved Day Homes

Day Homes which are operated under the aegis of a licensed Day Care center.




The process of determining how prepared or ready a client is to enter the workforce and to achieve self-sufficiency based on educational levels/training and work history.




The cash benefits paid to an eligible Families First group.



Assistance Unit

A group of individuals for whom Families First is requested or authorized.  An assistance unit may be referenced as AU.








Obstacles which may interfere with the participant’s participation or success in work, education, or training activities such as drug/alcohol, mental health, domestic violence, or other serious problems or conditions.



Bona Fide Job Offer

A job, paying at least the minimum wage and for at least 30 hours per week, which is offered by a private employer, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, or other work/training programs under contract to, or in agreement, with DHS.







Capitation Rate

A monthly rate paid to a Families First work activity contractor, per Families First client, for providing employment preparation, placement, retention services, transportation, and other support services, as needed.




Refers to the provisions of protection, attention, personal services, and maintenance of a child by his/her caretaker.




A relative within a specified degree of relationship to the child who:

·        Provides a home for the child, and

·        Exercises primary responsibility for care/control, and

·        Is included in the assistance unit (AU).



Case Management

The activities associated with empowering and managing the eligibility of families through the Families First Personal Responsibility Planning and plan implementation process.



Child Care Services

Child Care Services are provided when necessary for the participant to take part in work or training activities while the family is still receiving cash assistance.



Child or Children

A person or persons under 18 years of age or a person(s) who has not reached 19 years of age and who is a full-time student in secondary school and is expected to graduate by his/her 19th birthday.



Client Representative

DHS staff person who guides the Families First client through the program and assists the client and Families First work activity contractor, as needed, with issues related to the provision of employment preparation and placement.



Community Service

Structured programs in which Families First recipients perform work for the direct benefit of the community under the auspices of public or non-profit organizations.  Classified as a Core Work Activity.




A 10-day period of time given to a Families First client to establish good cause or begin compliance with work/training activities.  This period begins following the issuance of an Adverse Action notice.



Consolidated Need Standard

The amount of income an assistance unit would need to meet subsistence living costs, according to allowances set by the state, for items including food, clothing, fuel, lights, household operations, personal incidentals and shelter.  This amount determines the income level used to determine Families First financial eligibility.



Contractor Zone

A county or counties for which one Families First work activity contractor is responsible.  The state is divided into 5 zones.



Core Work Activities

One of the following federally defined work activities that can count for all of a client’s required work hours: Unsubsidized work, Job Search and Job Readiness, Work Experience, Community Service, Vocational Education, and subsidized employment.  They must comprise at least 20 hours of a client’s work requirement hours.  Some limitations may apply to these areas.




Immediate charge and control exercised by a person (or an authority) over another.  Legal custody is granted by a court of competent jurisdiction.







Deficit Reduction Act Of 2005 (DRA)

Federal legislation signed February 8, 2006, that reauthorized the TANF Block Grant, implemented stricter definitions of work activities, and required States to provide a Work Verification Plan.



Demand Occupation

An occupation for which there are employers in the local community or area with vacant positions for this job; or employers are willing to establish positions for this occupation if trained individuals are available for work.




The Department of Human Services



Dependent Child      


A child who is deprived of parental support or care because of the unemployment of the primary wage earner (if both parents are in the home), or because one or both parents are absent from the home, deceased, or physically/mentally incapacitated; and whose legally responsible relatives are not able to provide adequate care or support of such child without temporary assistance


A child who is deprived of parental support or care and is a full-time student in a secondary school or an equivalent level of vocational or technical school and is reasonably expected to complete the course of education/training before age 19.


A child who will graduate in the month of his/her 19th birthday does not meet the definition of dependent child, unless he/she will graduate on the date he/she attains age 19 or before attaining age 19. 

Bulletin 01, FA-09-01



The art or act of identifying a disease by a qualified individual from its signs and symptoms.




A physical or mental condition that is permanent and renders the individual unable to perform work.  See the Work Requirement Chapter, Verifications Section for a complete list of disability conditions.







Earnings of Not Less Than $50 per Quarter

Wages, salaries or commissions paid to an individual or self-employment income.




The federal Earned Income Tax Credit available to low-income families, a portion of which is available as a monthly advance from the employer when the worker completes IRS Form 5.  It is also available as a lump sum at the end of the tax year.








A family is an eligible group of children and parent(s) or caretaker relatives residing in a common residence.



Family Cap

A ceiling on assistance unit grant payments for a period of eligibility that occurs when a child is born to an assistance unit 10 months or greater from the initial payment.







Grantee Relative

A person who receives Families First for children in his/her care.  This may be a relative other than a parent.  A relative other than a parent may be included/excluded from the assistance unit, depending on case circumstances.




An individual named by a court of competent jurisdiction (usually the Chancery or Probate Court) to manage the affairs of an adult who has been adjudicated mentally or physically incapacitated, or one who has  been named to manage the affairs and/or person of a minor.








Half-brothers/sisters who share one biological or adoptive parent.




A disadvantage that makes achievement unusually difficult; especially incapacity.




A home is considered to be a family setting maintained (or in the process of being established) by the relative who requests Families First for a child living with him/her.  Under this definition, the family setting may vary from a homeless shelter to another temporary arrangement.  A home exists as long as the relative exercises care and control of the child, even though either the child or the relative is temporarily absent from the customary family setting.








Individual Development Account




An unhealthy condition of the body or mind; sickness.




To make worse by diminishing in some material aspect.  Synonyms include: injury, weakening, incapacitation, deterioration, crippling, maiming.



Improper Payment Error (IPE)

Examples of improper payment errors include, but are not limited to, the following:

·        The assistance unit was overpaid because the recipient or legally responsible relative was on strike as of the last day of the month.

·        The assistance unit received sufficient income (earned and/or unearned) in the payment month to result in ineligibility.

·        The assistance unit received a lump sum payment which resulted in a period of ineligibility being established.



Inadvertent Client Error (ICE)

A misunderstanding or unintentional failure on behalf of the CLIENT to provide correct information or to report changes timely and accurately.




Is deemed to exist when one parent has a physical or mental defect, illness, or impairment.  The incapacity shall be supported by competent medical testimony and must be of such a debilitating nature as to reduce substantially, or eliminate the parent’s ability to support or care for the otherwise eligible child and be expected to last for a period of at least 30 days.  Incapacity may be a reason for deprivation or may be a reason for a temporary exemption from a work requirement.




A person living in an institution who is not free to leave on his own volition or who has been committed to the institution; especially a person who is confined (as to a prison or a hospital).



Intentional Program Violation (IPV)

A determination or adjudication by an administrative disqualification hearing or state or Federal court that an individual or group of individuals knowingly obtained benefits to which they were not entitled.







Job Search and Job Readiness

The act of seeking or obtaining employment, preparation to seek or obtain employment, including life skills training and substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment or rehabilitation services.  Considered a Core Work activity; limited to 4 consecutive weeks or 360 hours in the preceding 12-month period for “needy states.” 

Bulletin 37, FA-08-28


Job Skills Training Directly Related to Employment

Training which enables clients to obtain or perform a specific job or type of job.  May be job-specific or general training and can include literacy or language instruction.  Post-secondary education is counted as job skills training if the individual has exhausted the Vocational Education limit of 12-months.  Considered a Non-Core Work activity. 

Bulletin 37, FA-08-28


Joint Custody

Legal custody of a person held by two or more other persons.  Usually joint custody is granted to parents of children when the parents are divorced.







Labor Market Connection

Six or more quarters of work within any 13 calendar quarter period, ending within one year prior to the application month. Full-time elementary or secondary school attendance and/or training may be substituted for a maximum of four of the six quarters of work in establishing a labor market connection; or-receipt of unemployment benefits within one year prior to application; or-if the person did not receive unemployment benefits, but would have received if he/she had made application for them.



Legal Father

The biological father of a child married to the child’s mother; the mother’s husband when a child is born during the marriage; the child’s legally adoptive father; the biological father whose paternity of a child has been legally established.



Living With

Occupying a place of residence maintained by a specified relative as his/her own home and the home of the child (for whom Families First is requested).







Marriage During the Receipt of Assistance

A legal union between a caretaker and another individual during a period of eligibility.




A person under 18 years of age.  A minor is considered a Dependent Child if he/she is living with a specified relative and is otherwise eligible.  A minor parent may apply for assistance for her/himself and his/her child as an independent assistance unit if living outside of a parent’s home or if living in the parent’s home when the parent chooses not to apply for assistance or is ineligible for assistance.







Natural/Biological Parent

The birth mother; the biological father of a child born in or out of wedlock.



Non-Collegiate Institution

A post-secondary institution which does not award degrees.  State Technology Centers and private not-for profit trade schools meet this criterion.








A clear explanation of Families First, the Personal Responsibility Plan requirements, work and training opportunities, child care, supportive services, penalties, and processes.








Private Industry Council




The biological or adoptive mother and/or father of a child when relationship has been properly established.  This does not apply to alleged parents for whom relationship has not been established.




The person to whom an FF grant is payable



Post-Secondary Institution

An institution of higher education which awards degrees or certificates.  State Technological Schools, Community Colleges, Technology Centers, four year institutions all meet this definition.



Principal Wage Earner (PWE)

Whichever parent had the greater amount of earnings in the 24 month period, including the month immediately preceding the month of application.  If both parents have the same amount of income, the caseworker and the family will designate principal wage earner.




The prospect of recovery as anticipated from the usual course of disease or peculiarities of the case.



Protective Payee

The person other than the caretaker or grantee relative to whom a FF grant is payable.  A protective payee has responsibility for administering the benefits of the assistance unit grant payment for the benefit of the assistance unit.







Quarter of Work

Three consecutive calendar months ending 03/31, 06/30, 09/30 or 12/31 during which an individual:

·        Earned not less than $50; or 

·        Participated in a JOBS program; or

·        Attended an elementary or secondary school; or

·        Vocational or technical course designed to prepare the person for gain-full employment on a full-time basis.






Regulated Child Care

Child care provider in a facility which is subject to licensure by the Department of Human Services (or in some instances the Department of Education), or child care provider under the supervision of a sponsoring organization for registered homes under contract with the Department of Human Services).



Relative Within a Specified Degree Relationship

Any blood relative, i.e., father, mother, brother, sister,  uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, first cousin or first cousin once removed.  This includes relationships to previous generations as follows: grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, great uncles or aunts, and great-great-great grandparents.

·        Any of the above relatives who are of half-blood relationship.

·        Stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, and stepsister.

·        Legally adoptive parents of the child or of the child’s parents, the natural and other legally adopted children of such persons, and the blood relatives of such persons, including first cousins, first cousins once removed, nephews and nieces, and the relatives by adoption of the previous degrees of relationship.

·        Legal spouses of any of the persons named above in the above groups.  This applies even though the marriage may have been terminated by death or divorce.







Set of Children

A set of children is one child, or two or more children who are whole brothers and/or sisters, half-brothers and/or sisters, or adoptive brothers and /or sisters.



SSI Beneficiary

A person who receives Supplemental Security Income benefits through the Social Security Administration.




A person who is not the natural or adoptive parent of the child, but who is married to the child’s natural or adoptive parent.




Stepbrothers/sisters who share no natural or adoptive parent, but their respective parents are married to each other.




Any strike or other concerted stoppage of work by employees (including a stoppage by reason of expiration of a collective bargaining agreement) and any concerted slowdown or other concerted interruption of operations by employees.  The term “participating in a strike” means an actual refusal in concert with others to provide services to one’s employers



Subsidized Employment

Employment in the public or private sector for which the employer receives a subsidy from TANF or other public funds to offset some or all of the wages and costs of employing a Families First client.  The client is paid wages and receives the same benefits as a non-subsidized employee who performs similar work – considered a Core Work activity




Refers to the furnishing of a means of livelihood or sustenance.



Support Services

Transportation, optical, dental and other services which are provided by the Families First work activity contractor when necessary for participation in work or training activities.







Technically Eligible

The state of meeting all non-financial Families First eligibility requirements.



Temporary Absence

Being away from the home for a short period of time (usually not to exceed three months) with the specific intention of returning to the home on or about a specific date.




Tennessee Network for Community Economic Development



Transitional Child Care Services

Child care which begins at case closure and is available for up to 18 months for working families.  The parent or caretaker relative must help contribute to the cost of care and meet certain income guidelines.







Unemployed Parent

A principle wage earner (PWE) parent who:

·        Is employed less than 100 hours per month; or

·        Is employed 100 hours per month or more; IF the excess is of a temporary nature, the 100 hour rule was met in the two months prior to the current month, and is expected to be met the month following current month, AND

·        Is unemployed for reasons other than participation in a labor dispute.



Unemployment Benefits Compensation Insurance

Collective terms denoting payment made when one becomes unemployed through no fault of his/her own.  State administered through Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  Sometimes, UC or UIB.



Unsubsidized Work

Full- or part-time employment in the public or private sector that is not subsidized by TANF or any other public program – considered a Core Work activity.  May include self-employment.







Vocational Education Training

Organized educational programs that are directly related to the preparation of individuals for employment in current or emerging occupations.  Is limited to 12 months in a lifetime. May include bachelor’s degree or advanced degree program (as well as two-year degree programs and vocational certificate programs), if the individual has not exhausted the Vocational Educational training limit of 12-months.  Considered a Core Work activity. 

Bulletin 37, FA-08-28






Whole Siblings or Siblings

Brothers/sisters who share the same mother and father.



Work Experience

Work performed in return for welfare that provides a Families First client with an opportunity to acquire the general skills, training, knowledge, and work habits necessary to obtain employment.