Severely limited employment prospects in areas of persistent unemployment is one of the barriers to employment included in the most-in-need measure. It is also one of the waiver factors that determines whether a participant may qualify for an extension of the 48-month individual durational limit. This barrier has two separate requirements: severely limited employment prospects plus residence in an area of persistent unemployment. Both must be met for a “yes” answer.

SCSEP regulations define persistent unemployment as an annual average unemployment rate for the county or city of residence that is more than 20 percent higher than the national average for two out of the last three years. The table for the prior three years is produced each year in the spring and is retroactive to January 1. Links to the last three years’ tables are in the Related Content section to the left. Details on using the tables are provided in Element 54 of the Participant Form Guide of the Data Collection Handbook. Here is a summary of how you use the new and old tables:

  • For any participant newly enrolled on or after January 1, 2019, you must use the new table (2016-2018) to receive credit in the most-in-need measure on the PY18 QPR.
  • For any existing participant who was enrolled prior to January 1, 2019, you will receive credit on the most-in-need measure on the PY18 QPR if either the new table (2016-2018) or the old table (2015-2017) supports the factor.
  • The table for 2014-2016 can only be used by data validators. Validators should refer to the Data Validation Handbook for details.

The tables can also be accessed in SPARQ from the “Participant Search” screen under “Systems Tools,” and from the WDCS enrollment record. For your convenience a copy of the report can be downloaded on the left.