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Agreement of Mutual Responsibility

Authored By: Northwestern Legal Services

THE AGREEMENT OF MUTUAL RESPONSIBILITY

If you apply for or get cash assistance from the County Assistance Office and are not exempt from participating in a work activity, you must sign an Agreement of Mutual Responsibility (AMR).

Please note: the law says you must complete an 8-week job search before you can start the plan in your AMR to help you become more employable.
 

MAKE YOUR AMR WORK FOR YOU

Education and training programs can be part of your AMR. Therefore, have a vocational goal and a plan to achieve your goal put in your AMR. Otherwise, your AMR will be written to require you to find a low paying, dead end job.

You have the right to have help with achieving your goal. Transportation and child care expenses are special allowances that are available to help you overcome barriers so you can succeed. Be sure to included them in your AMR.

Appeal, if your caseworker will not approve the AMR you need to become financially independent.
 

COMPLETING THE AMR

Remember that the AMR is an agreement between you and the County Assistance Office. It will list what your responsibilities are and what the County Assistance' Office's responsibilities are. You can tell the caseworker what your goals are. Push for education and training in your AMR if you think you need additional skills to get a job.

There are short term goals and long term goals.

GOALS:  Clearly explain your goals to the worker. Examples:

Long Term Goal:

  • "Go to the county vo-tech school to become an electrician.
  • "Go to community college to become a Licensed Practical Nurse."

Short Term Goal:

  • "Finish my GED and get a job as a nurses aide."
     

YOUR ACTION PLAN (Also known as Participation Activities).

List the steps you will take to achieve your goal. For example,

Goal:   "Go to the county vo-tech school to become an electrician."

Steps:

  1. File an application to enroll in electrician program
  2. Attend classes for electrician program
  3. Look for work as an electrician's apprentice upon completion of training program.

Goal: "Go to community college to become a Licensed Practical Nurse."

Steps:

  1. File an application to enroll in LPN program at community college.
  2. Attend classes for LPN program and take LPN exam upon completion.
  3. Look for job as an LPN upon graduation.

Goal: "Finish my GED and get a job as a nurse's aide."

Steps:

  1. Contact local High School for schedule of GED classes.
  2. Attend GED classes and successfully complete GED test.
  3. Apply to vo-tech school for nurse's aide program.
  4. Attend classes for nurses aide program and take nurses aide exam upon completion.
  5. Look for a job as a nurse's aide.
     

GOOD CAUSE, CHILD SUPPORT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, OTHER ACTIVITIES:

Other actions necessary to help you become self-sufficient, such as getting child support or help with a medical problem for your child, should be listed here.
 

AGENCY HELP.

Your case worker will write the specific action(s) the County Assistance Office will take to help you in completing your AMR, with the corresponding target date(s). It is very important that the caseworker includes everything you need to meet your Action Plan, including, but not limited to, items such as child care, payment of transportation expenses or uniforms required to participate in a training program.
 

WHAT IF YOUR CASEWORKER WILL NOT AGREE TO GIVE YOU THE AMR YOU NEED

You must complete and sign the AMR to receive cash assistance. If not, you will be ineligible for cash assistance until you comply. If you do not agree with the AMR, you may sign the form under protest. For example,

"I do not agree with the plan on this AMR. I am signing only because they have told me that they will deny or stop my TANF benefits unless I sign."

You should then file an appeal and request a "Fair Hearing." contact Legal Services for help after you file your appeal.
 

IMPORTANT * IMPORTANT * IMPORTANT

Remember, the AMR is YOUR Employment Development Plan. You should set your own job or career goals and schedule the activities that will lead you to a job and, ultimately, economic independence.

While the law says that education or training activities contained in an AMR can only be used to meet the cash assistance work requirements for 12 months (24 months if you are under 22 and do not have a GED or High School diploma), the policy of the welfare department is to provide supportive services, such as child care, even after you must begin another work activity. You should also note that work study programs may be used to meet your work requirements.

If you want more help with your AMR, or are having a problem getting an AMR that meets your needs, call our office at the telephone number below.
 


NORTHWESTERN LEGAL SERVICES

(Serving the Counties of Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie,
Forest, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango and Warren)

To Apply for Service: 1-800-665-6957
For Erie, PA: (814) 452-6957



We have attempted to insure the accuracy of the information in this pamphlet at the time it was created or revised. However, the law does change, sometimes quickly and unexpectedly. Therefore, you should consult an attorney before taking or refraining from any action based on the information in this pamphlet.

 

Last Review and Update: May 13, 2010