Additional Guidance on Pre-Enrollment for AmeriCorps State and National Grantees

Additional Guidance on Pre-Enrollment for AmeriCorps State and National Grantees Friday, August 17, 2018

Improvements to Address Efficiency Processing Manual Verifications:

The Trust and the National Service Hotline have engaged additional staff to process transactions more quickly. The Hotline has changed the supervision structure to assure a closer attention to quality control.

Individual Notification eMails when Members are Not Verified Automatically:

We expect the individual notification emails for individuals not automatically verified to be restored in October. In the meantime programs will have to rely on the information in the MyAmeriCorps Portal Member Enrollment Screen.

Expediting Manual Verifications:

Requesting a Secure File Link – When requesting a Secure File Link, grantees should indicate they are a State and National program enrolling current members and need a Secure File Link to submit SSN/citizenship verification documentation. It is important that you convey to the Hotline the above information so that the Secure File Link will direct the files you transmit directly to Trust Officers. This link will bypass the regular sorting and distribution process and is reserved for members who need to be Manually Verified in order to start their program.

Handling Multiple Cases Simultaneously – If your program has multiple individual cases requiring SSN/citizenship verification at the same time, they should send these cases under a single ticket so the Trust Officer can process them at the same time. We expect this will increase the efficiency of both the Hotline and Trust staff to getting your members manually verified as quickly as possible.

Verification Status and Sequence:

Open – When a grantee invites an individual to participate in a program the first status is ‘Open’. It will remain in this status until the member takes an action to create or update and save their MyAmeriCorps Portal Profile. If a prospective member remains in an ‘Open’ status, contact the member and encourage her/him to create/update their Profile.

Pending – At the time the member saves her/his Profile the SSN and citizenship status will change to ‘Pending’. The name, SSN, and Date of Birth are sent to the Social Security Administration for verification. The individual’s status will remain in ‘Pending’ status until the Social Security Administration responds and CNCS updates the record. Programs should take no action until the status is updated from the Social Security Administration (Returned or Verified). Records are sent to Social Security in the evening of each business day. The records are returned and the MyAmeriCorps Portal is updated in most cases by early afternoon on the next business day. Usually these cases are resolved in one business day but based on the agreement with Social Security, they may take up to 72 hours to resolve.

Verified or Returned – Once the record is updated the status will change to ‘Verified’ or ‘Returned’. If a record is updated to ‘Returned’ the program will need to request a Secure File Transfer Link and provide documentation to the Hotline to have the record ‘Manually Verified’. ‘Verified’ and ‘Manual Verified’ status are final and mean the individual is eligible to serve and has a valid Social Security Number.

Interpreting I-94 Immigration Documentation:
Another issue which was discussed on the call last Tuesday, August 7th, was interpreting the Immigration Document, the I-94 Departure Record for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). The I-94 is a general purpose form issued to all noncitizens entering the United States. An I-94 is not in and of itself sufficient to determine eligibility for AmeriCorps. The most common situation is for individuals with LPR immigration status to have an I-551 (Green Card). But there is often a delay between when an individual becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident and when their I-551 is issued. In those circumstances they will need to rely on documentation on their I-94.

The I-94 form must be annotated with the statement: “Processed for I-551. Temporary evidence of Lawful Admission for Permanent Residence. Valid until ______.”   

When an immigrant presents an expired I-94 (after the Valid until date), they need to also present a copy of Form I-797. An I-797 form is a ‘USCIS Notice of Action’ that is used by USCIS for a wide variety of purposes (any potential type of action), programs must examine the form carefully. If the I-797 Form is correctly annotated, USCIS will indicate that an extension for an I-94 has been applied for or an extension to the expiration date of the I-94 has been approved. Either of these two outcomes are acceptable so long as the I-94 meets the annotation standards cited above (Temporary Evidence of Lawful Admission for Permanent Residence). You must retain copies of these documents if the I-94 is expired or expiring at the time the member is starting to serve.

If the I-94 is annotated with anything other than a statement indicating it is for Lawful Permanent Residence or if the validity of the I-94 has expired and you are not able to obtain copies of an I-797 form extending the validity, it is unlikely the individual is eligible for AmeriCorps service and a Segal Education Award. If you have questions about a document you are reviewing, you may contact your CNCS program officer.

Resolving Enrollment Issues:

In troubleshooting program challenges in enrolling members, the most common reason a program is not able to take the final enrollment action is because they have not certified that they have conducted, reviewed and adjudicated the NSOPW check and certified they have initiated the appropriate state/FBI criminal history checks.

Please remember that before a member may start serving and earning hours toward a Segal Education Award the program must complete their screening, the individual’s SSN and citizenship status must be verified and the program must certify they completed the NSOPW check and initiated the state/FBI checks. The member’s start date must be after these dates. Once these actions have been completed, the member may start. Programs have five days to take the final enroll member action in the Portal.

Status of the Backlog on Unverified Members from February 2012 to February 2018:

The volume of documents being submitted to resolve unverified members who served from February 29, 2012 until February 19, 2018 is still high. We received a substantial number of documents this week for this cohort. We will delay sending a final report to grantees until those records can be updated. At that time, your CNCS program officer will send an updated report to you with the current status of this original group.

There is no reason for programs to resend any documentation that have already been transmitted to the Hotline. You are still free to submit new material if it can support the SSN validity or the citizenship eligibility. We will provide additional guidance on this issue later this month.

If you encounter problems with any of these issues, you are encouraged to contact your CNCS program officer.

Published Date: 
August 17, 2018
Grantee Type: 
State Commission
National Direct
Tribe
Subject/Category: 
Monitoring
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