Chapter 5 Member Supervision and Responsibilities
A good Member Orientation lays the foundation for providing information that will be used by the Member throughout the year. At this point and time in the Service Year, Members are trying to determine their place in the program and are developing their understanding of what this year is about. They need to clearly understand their roles and responsibilities, as well as an understanding of national service and AmeriCorps. Orientation begins this onboarding process for Members. It provides valuable information on important requirements, pieces of information they will use throughout the service year, and other useful tools knowledge, and skills they will need to conduct themselves properly and have a successful year. An organized and creative orientation program will go a long way towards setting the stage to helping all “get the job done.”
Below are the items the AmeriCorps Agency mandates to be covered in any Orientation program:
• Specific skills and knowledge needed to perform service
• Member rights and responsibilities
• Program’s Code of Conduct
• Prohibited Activities
• Drug Free Workplace
• Suspension and Termination Rules
• Grievance Procedures
• Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Non-Discrimination Activities
• Preventing Sexual Harassment Education
• Specific Safety procedures for Member safety
• Diversity Awareness
• Inclusion and Reasonable Accommodation Requests
• Member Benefits
• Background Checks
• Member Wage Garnishment
• Introduction to National Service and AmeriCorps
• My AmeriCorps Portal (Loan Forbearance, Education Award, and Interest Accrual)
• Time sheets
In order for your orientation program to be comprehensive and cover all pertinent aspects of service, the Commission strongly urges programs to include the following topics:
• National Service: The Big Picture
• History of Service in America (available in this manual)
• Roles and Responsibilities of Host Sites
• AmeriCorps Network of National and State programs, Members, and alumni
• AmeriCorps ethics and motto (Getting Things Done)
• Service in the Local Community
• Civic Reflection and Civic Responsibility (Meaning of Service)
• Understanding the objectives of the program
• Program Rules, Regulations and Benefits
• Member Handbook
• Allowed Activities (available in the manual)
• Living allowance
• Staff and Member roles
• Completing National Trust Enrollment Forms
• Eligibility of full time Members for HealthCare/Childcare
Member Service Agreement
The Member Service Agreement is a critical part of administering AmeriCorps programs. Member Service Agreement provides the legal basis or contract by which the terms, conditions and rules regarding participation are delineated. This contract between the program and Member is the legal document which would be used to resolve any issues between the program and a Member. Because of its importance, The Commission has developed a template for the programs to use. The template includes all the required provisions required by the AmeriCorps Agency. Its use by the programs is mandatory. All blanks must be completed by program before Member reviews and signs.
Programs will need to complete various parts of the Agreement to make it specific to the Member’s service. Programs will also need to attach/insert the position description to the Agreement. A signed and completed Member Service Agreement is required to be a part of every Member file.
Member Service Agreement includes:
• Purpose of Agreement
• Minimum Qualifications
• Terms of Service
• Position Description
• Benefits; including, Living Allowance, Health Care Insurance, Child Care Allowance, Education Award, Loan Forbearance, and Interest Payments.
• Reasonable Accommodations
• Rules of Conduct; including Prohibited Activities, Code of Conduct, Civil Rights Requirements, Complaint Procedures, Rights of Beneficiaries, Non-Duplication and Non- Displacement, Drug Free Workplace, Criminal Drug Convictions, Disciplinary Action, and Suspension
• Release From Terms of Service; including, Release for Cause, and Release for Compelling Personal Circumstances
• Grievance Procedures
• Unemployment Benefits
• Edits to Member Service Agreement
• Authorization Signatures
*See Attachment - Member Service Agreement (MSA)
Other Required Documents
Members must complete the Criminal History Authorization Form, Media Consent Form, Healthcare Enrollment Form (Full-time only), and Childcare Enrollment Form (Full-time only). Those waiving healthcare and childcare must still complete the form.
*See Attachments –
Member Policy and Procedure Manual
All programs must have a Member policy and Procedure manual separate from their organizational policy and procedure manual that includes all items listed on the Orientation checklist. The manual should be distributed to every Member, and it should be readily available to the Members throughout the year. The manual will be reviewed during monitoring visits for completeness and accuracy.
The process of enrolling new Members in My AmeriCorps begins with inviting a Member to join the Program in eGrants. This will begin the onboarding process and the citizenship verification.
The AmeriCorps Agency requires the program to invite the Member prior to the first day of service. This serves to notify the AmeriCorps Agency of the agreement.
All Member Enrollment Forms must be completed, signed, entered and approved in My AmeriCorps/eGrants by the Member’s first day of service. The enrollment cannot be approved unless all background checks are completed/initiated. Members must create a My AmeriCorps Portal account in order to complete their enrollment. Programs may enroll Members throughout the program year without permission from the Commission as long as they can complete their hours within twelve months.
To request approval for enrolling full-time Members after October 31, programs must submit a written request to their Program Officer stating:
• The number and type of position to be filled
• Expected start and end date of the Member
• How the Member will be trained
• How many hours per week the Member will need to serve to complete service.
Due to recent member enrollment issues, the Serve Illinois Commission would like to remind Illinois AmeriCorps Program Directors that AmeriCorps members cannot earn service hours or educational award benefits prior to confirmed enrollment in the eGrants system.
Any service hours worked (and benefits associated with those hours) prior to completion of the member enrollment process as outlined in the Member Enrollment Flow Chart and the confirmed enrollment in the eGrants system will be the responsibility of the Program Agency and not the responsibility of the National AmeriCorps or the Serve Illinois Commission.
All Member Enrollment Forms must be completed, signed, entered and approved in My AmeriCorps/eGrants by the Member’s first day of service. The National AmeriCorps website provides a detailed member enrollment flowchart at Member Enrollment Flowchart. The member enrollment process is also outlined in the Navigating the Member Enrollment Process document.
It is important to note that allowing members to work prior to completing the entire member enrollment process including the confirmed enrollment in eGrants puts the member at jeopardy of losing valuable AmeriCorps benefits and puts your Program in the position of being liable for the restitution of the member benefits including the education award and stipend for service hours completed.
All Member Exit Forms must be completed, signed, entered and approved in My AmeriCorps within 30 days of a Member exiting the program. Members must create a My AmeriCorps Portal account in order to complete their exit information and to manage their education award.
All Members must complete their term of service within one year of their start date. This completion requirement is for all Members. Members who have had their term suspended may increase their service agreement by the number of days suspended but not to exceed December 31st of the Program Year. Exiting members is a function of the program provider and not Serve Illinois staff.
Change of Status
Programs must have approval from the Commission prior to entering and approving a Change of Status Form in My AmeriCorps. Programs shall submit a written letter requesting approval.
Refer to the AmeriCorps Provisions for policy guidance.
A Member may transfer to another AmeriCorps program if both programs in question approve of the transfer and the new program has an open slot available for the Member. The Members previously served hours transfer over to the Member. This transfer is done in eGrants. Contact your Serve Illinois Program Officer for more information. A state commission or National parent organization may grant permission to transfer a member to another AmeriCorps State and National program for compelling personal circumstances. The following procedures are required:
1. Program A must first determine that compelling personal circumstances warrant a transfer.
2. Prior to initiating a transfer, Program A must provide written confirmation to Program B that valid compelling circumstances support the transfer to Program B.
3. The member must apply to and be accepted by Program B, which must have an available slot in the incoming class (this means the program is able to provide an entire term of member support costs and an education award).
4. The member must be able to finish their term of service within twelve months of their original start date.
5. Program B must approve the transfer in writing.
6. No funds can be transferred from Program A to Program B.
7. If Program A has already conducted the mid-term evaluation, they will provide it to Program B. If Program A has not yet conducted the mid-term evaluation, Program B will conduct the mid- term evaluation with consultation with Program A.
8. The transferred member cannot be counted twice for purposes of enrollment and/or retention.
9. The slot that remains with Program A will revert to new, unfilled status regardless of the length of time the member served.
Generally, members may not transfer across different streams of service. For example, a member may not transfer from an AmeriCorps State and National program to an AmeriCorps VISTA position or to AmeriCorps NCCC.
Programs with multiple sites may transfer members to other sites for program management purposes without following the procedures listed above.
Using the Illinois AmeriCorps*State Member Early Exit Form
Programs are required to complete the Illinois AmeriCorps*State Member Early Exit Form within 30 days from the date the Member took an early exit from the program. This must be done BEFORE the Member is exited from the program. The completed form including Member name, program name, reason for early exit, start date, exit date, total hours served, and any additional documentation must be submitted to the Serve Illinois Program Officer. The Program Officer will review and make a determination to either approve or disapprove. The program will be notified by the Program Officer of this decision. For those approved, this is simply done by returning the Illinois AmeriCorps*State Member Early Exit Form with approval granted by signature of the Program Officer. This function is completed by the program provider. Once completed, this form is required to be kept in the Member file.
Release for Compelling Personal Circumstance
Conditions attributable to the program or otherwise unforeseeable and beyond the participant's control, such as a natural disaster, a strike, relocation of a spouse, medical reasons or the nonrenewal or premature closing of a project or program, that make completing a term unreasonably difficult or impossible;
Those that the AmeriCorps Agency, has for public policy reasons, determined as such, including:
(A) Military service obligations;
(B) Acceptance by a participant of an opportunity to make the transition from welfare to work; or
(C) Acceptance of an employment opportunity by a participant serving in a program that includes in its approved objectives the promotion of employment among its participants.
Compelling personal circumstances do not include leaving a program:
(A) To enroll in school;
(B) To obtain employment, other than in moving from welfare to work or in leaving a program that includes in its approved objectives the promotion of employment among its participants; or
(C) Because of dissatisfaction with the program.
As an alternative to releasing a participant, an AmeriCorps*State/National program may, after determining that compelling personal circumstances exist, suspend the participant's term of service for up to two years to allow the participant to complete service with the same or similar AmeriCorps program at a later time. A suspension request form must be completed and submitted to the Serve Illinois Program Officer prior to suspending the Member.
Release for cause
(1) A release for cause encompasses any circumstances other than compelling personal circumstances that warrant an individual's release from completing a term of service.
(2) AmeriCorps programs must release for cause any participant who is convicted of a felony or the sale or distribution of a controlled substance during a term of service.
(3) A participant who is released for cause may not receive any portion of the AmeriCorps education award or any other payment from the National Service Trust.
(4) An individual who is released for cause must disclose that fact in any subsequent applications to participate in an AmeriCorps program. Failure to do so disqualifies the individual for an education award, regardless of whether the individual completes a term of service.
(5) An AmeriCorps*State/National participant released for cause may contest the program's decision by filing a grievance. Pending the resolution of a grievance procedure filed by an individual to contest a determination by a program to release the individual for cause, the individual's service is considered to be suspended. For this type of grievance, a program may not—while the grievance is pending or as part of its resolution—provide a participant with federally-funded benefits (including payments from the National Service Trust) beyond those attributable to service performed, without the program receiving written approval from the AmeriCorps Agency.
(6) An individual’s eligibility for a subsequent term of service in AmeriCorps will not be affected by release for cause from a prior term of service so long as the individual received a satisfactory end-of-27 term performance review as described in § 2522.220(c)(2) for the period served in the first term.
(7) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, a term of service from which an individual is released for cause counts as one of the terms of service described in § 2522.235 for which an individual may receive the benefits described in §§ 2522.240 through 2522.250.
(1) A program must suspend the service of an individual who faces an official charge of a violent felony (e.g., rape, homicide) or sale or distribution of a controlled substance.
(2) A program must suspend the service of an individual who is convicted of possession of a controlled substance.
(3) An individual may not receive a living allowance or other benefits, and may not accrue service hours, during a period of suspension under this provision.
(1) A program may reinstate an individual whose service was suspended under paragraph (c) (1) of this section if the individual is found not guilty or if the charge is dismissed.
(2) A program may reinstate an individual whose service was suspended under paragraph (c) (2) of this section only if the individual demonstrates the following:
(i) For an individual who has been convicted of a first offense of the possession of a controlled substance, the individual must have enrolled in a drug rehabilitation program;
(ii) For an individual who has been convicted for more than one offense of the possession of a controlled substance, the individual must have successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program.
The program must submit the original approved Suspension Form with the return section completed for approval before Member can resume service.
Release prior to serving 15 percent of a term of service
If a participant is released for reasons other than misconduct prior to completing 15 percent of a term of service, the term will not be considered one of the terms of service described in § 2522.220(b) for which an individual may receive the benefits described in § 2522.240 through § 2522.250.
Term of Service Limit
(a) General limitation. An individual may receive the benefits described in § 2522.240 through § 2522.250 for no more than four terms of service in an AmeriCorps State and National program, regardless of whether those terms were served on full-, part-, or reduced part-time basis.
(b) Early release. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, a term of service from which an individual is released for compelling personal circumstances or for cause counts as one of the terms of service for which an individual may receive the benefits described in § 2522.240 through § 2522.250.
Maximum Number of Terms:
In blending summer, part-time, and full-time terms, you can serve a maximum:
• 4 with AmeriCorps state and national
• 2 with VISTA (you can do a third term with VISTA and elect not to receive an Education Award. See our VISTA resource for more information.)
• 2 with NCCC
If you max out the number of terms you serve with one stream of service, you can start a new term with another and receive additional awards -- as long as you have not yet reached the full value of two full-time awards. You can also serve terms (and elect not to receive an award) up the limits shown above.
For more information, contact your Program Officer.
Note: If you make any changes to My AmeriCorps, you must add that same information to the Member file. The My AmeriCorps system and the Member files should include the same information.
Programs must provide Members with adequate supervision throughout their service year. The groundwork for this supervision is laid out during Orientation training and when going through and completing the Member Service Agreement. Programs are encouraged to routinely and regularly communicate with Members and sites, not just when something happens or is needed. Regular communication provides opportunity to get to know Members and sites so that relationships are developed. Communication can happen in a number of different ways. It can be at a distance through phone or webinars. It can be in person at the site or at another location. It can be in a groups or one on one. It can be a part of training or regularly scheduled meetings. Communication is critical in getting important messages out to your Members, encouraging responsibility and expanding their opportunities for growth.
No AmeriCorps Member may directly supervise another Member or interview a potential AmeriCorps candidate. AmeriCorps Members should only be supervised by program staff or designees.
In accordance with 45CFR 2540.230 all programs must establish and implement a process for filing and adjudicating grievances from Members, labor organizations and other interested parties. This grievance process may include dispute resolution such as mediation, facilitation, assisted negotiation and neutral evaluation.
To aid programs in developing and establishing their grievance policy and procedures, the Commission has implemented the use of a mandatory grievance procedure for Members. These grievance procedures are part of the mandatory Member Service Agreement to be used by all programs. By using this template and having the Member and program representative sign this agreement and then having this agreement in the Member’s file, the program will be compliance with the federal regulations.
In addition to the use of the template, the program must develop and establish a grievance procedure for the program that is inclusive of Members, labor organizations and other interested parties which will include more detailed specific to their program and its structure.
To ensure all AmeriCorps programs are in compliance with federal regulations regarding grievance procedures, Member files will be reviewed during monitoring site visits to ensure Members have signed a Member agree service agreement containing the grievance policy and procedures.
The Commission encourages programs to informally resolve disputes through the use of methods such as mediation or facilitation. These means of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) must be initiated within 45 days of the date of the alleged occurrence. At the initial session of the ADR proceedings, the party must be advised in writing of the right to file a grievance and right to arbitration. If the matter is resolved and a written agreement is reached, the party will agree to forego filing a grievance.
While going through the grievance procedure, be sure to make it very clear to all parties what stage they are in, what the timeline is, and what the next steps are (i.e. whether they are in mediation, grievance hearing or binding arbitration).
There are time limits that must strictly be adhered to during the grievance process. Except for a grievance that alleges fraud or criminal activity, a grievance must be made no later than one year after the date of the alleged occurrence. If a hearing is held on a grievance, it must be conducted no later than 30 calendar days after the filing of such grievance. A decision on any such filed grievance must be made no later than 60 days after the filing.
The grievant can request binding arbitration if the decision is adverse to the grievant or if the decision is not reached within 60 calendar days. The arbitrator must be independent and selected by mutual consent of the parties involved. If the parties cannot agree on the arbitrator, AMERICORPS NATIONAL will appoint one within 15 days of receiving the request. The arbitration hearing must be held no later than 45 days after the request for arbitration and no later than 30 days after the arbitrator’s appointment. An arbitration decision must be made within 30 days after the commencement of arbitration proceedings. The cost of arbitration must be divided evenly between the parties unless the aggrieved party prevails. In that case, the program will be responsible for paying the total cost of the proceedings including any attorney fees of the prevailing party.
In the event an aggrieved party files a grievance after participating in an informal dispute resolution process, the neutral party may not participate in the formal grievance proceeding. In addition, no communication or proceeding of the informal dispute resolution process may be referred to or introduced into evidence at a grievance or arbitration proceeding.
NOTE: Programs are required to contact the Commission if a Member starts a grievance procedure process. The written grievance should be sent to the Commission and any correspondence with the Member should also be included. All grievances that allege fraud or criminal activity will be brought to the attention of the AmeriCorps Agency.
Drug Free Workplace
In accordance with the AmeriCorps Provisions, programs are required to give notice about the Drug-Free Workplace Act to Members and to conduct a drug-free awareness program. This program is a mandatory part of the orientation for Members.
In 2019, Illinois decriminalized the use and position of certain amounts of marijuana. As this is a federal program, marijuana possession or usage while serving or wearing AmeriCorps gear is prohibited.
If a Member is arrested for or convicted of a drug offense, he or she must notify the Program Director in writing within five (5) days. Appropriate action must be taken including suspension and referral to a drug rehabilitation program, or release for cause consistent with the AmeriCorps Agency’s rule on termination and suspension of service.
The conviction must be reported to the Commission, in writing, within ten (10) days. The Commission will then notify the AmeriCorps Agency in writing.
Illinois law requires employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their AmeriCorps Members. Most employers buy commercial worker’s compensation insurance. Other employers obtain the state’s approval to self-insure. No part of the workers' compensation insurance premium or benefit can be charged to the Member.
Any type of garnishment of the federal portion of a Member’s living allowance is not permitted due to issues of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity protects the property interests of the United States from suits to which it has not consented. The federal government has a continuing property interest in AmeriCorps grant funds until they are expended in accordance with the grant’s terms. With respect to the living allowance, the AmeriCorps Agency has a property interest in the federal share of the Member’s living allowance, until the AmeriCorps Member actually receives it, and this property interest is protected by sovereign immunity. Only Congress may wave this immunity.
Whether or not the non-federal portion of the living allowance–i.e. the funds provided as match at the program level–is subject to garnishment is a state law issue. Because the AmeriCorps Agency for National and Community Service is not a party to this action, and because it involves application of state law, programs should consult their own local counsel.
The Commission will conduct random reviews of Member timesheets. If problems are found during the initial review such as inconsistent calculations, unauthorized timesheets, prohibited activities, etc., it will be considered a compliance issue and may require a complete review of all Member timesheets.
The review of timesheets will include the following:
Do all timesheets include:
• Member’s original signature and date
• Program original signature and date
• Original signature and date of person(s) providing accompaniment, if needed
• A secure connection for the Member to submit timesheets
• Guidelines for submitting timesheets noted on the sheet
• Member service activities listed in line with the approved objectives and are not prohibited activities
• Members on target to attain their intended number of service hours
• Tracking the service activities to ensure adherence to the 20% rule related to training
• Tracking the service activities to ensure adherence to the 10% rule related to fundraising?
The Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998 (GPEA) states that electronic records and related electronic signatures are not to be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability merely because they are in electronic form. (Pub. L. 105-277, Title XVII).
AMERICORPS NATIONAL policy allows AmeriCorps State and National awardees to use electronic timekeeping systems as the system of record. It also provides minimum standards that such systems must meet.
MINIMUM STANDARD FOR ELECTRONIC TIMEKEEPING SYSTEMS:
Electronic timekeeping systems are allowed as the system of record when three conditions are met:
1. A written policy is in effect establishing the use of electronic timekeeping system as your system of record; and,
2. A secure, verifiable electronic signature system (a) identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the electronic signature; and (b) indicates such person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic message.
3. Once appropriate electronic signatures have been applied, no changes may be made unless there is a clear, auditable record of the revision.
All current grant provisions including access restrictions, security, privacy, and retention of paper records, also apply to records maintained in an electronic timekeeping system. The use of regular e-mail to communicate approval is not a secure, verifiable electronic signature system.
Child Care Benefit Program
The AmeriCorps Childcare Benefit Program is available for qualified, active full-time AmeriCorps Members who need the benefit to serve. To qualify for this benefit the Member must meet the following eligibility requirements:
• Member’s household income must not exceed 75% of the state’s median income for a family of the same size. In determining household income, the Member’s living allowance is disregarded.
• Member must not currently receive a childcare subsidy from another source at the time of acceptance into the program (including a parent or guardian) which would continue to be provided while the Member serves in the program
• Member must be the parent or legal guardian of a child under the age of 13
• Child must reside with the Member
Childcare benefits are paid to qualified childcare providers for all or a part of the Member’s childcare costs during their active time of service with AmeriCorps. These payments are paid directly to childcare providers and are not paid to the Member. Childcare providers must meet eligibility requirements as regulated under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990.
GAP Solutions, Inc. (GAPSI) administers the AmeriCorps Child Care Benefits Program for the AmeriCorps Agency. Members must apply directly to GAPSI for the benefit. Interested and eligible Members should call (855) 886-0687 toll free for more information or visit their website at https://www.americorpschildcare.com/.
Health Care Coverage
Except for EAPs, Professional Corps, Partnership Challenge awards, or Members covered under a collective bargaining agreement, the recipient must provide, or make available, healthcare insurance to those Members serving a 1700-hour full-time term who are not otherwise covered by a healthcare policy at the time the Member begins his/her term of service. The recipient must also provide, or make available, healthcare insurance to Members serving a 1700-hour full-time term who lose coverage during their term of service as a result of service or through no deliberate act of their own. AMERICORPS NATIONAL will not cover healthcare costs for dependent coverage.
Less-than-full-time Members who are serving in a full-time capacity for a sustained period of time (e.g. a full-time summer project) are eligible for healthcare benefits. Programs may provide health insurance to less-than full-time Members serving in a full-time capacity, but they are not required to do so. For purposes of this provision, a Member is serving in a full-time capacity when his/her regular term of service will involve performing service on a normal full-time schedule for a period of six weeks or more. A Member may be serving in a full-time capacity without regard to whether his/her agreed term of service will result in a full-time Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.
Any of the following health insurance options will satisfy the requirement for health insurance for full-time AmeriCorps Members (or less than fulltime Members serving in a full-time capacity): staying on parents’ or spouse plan; insurance obtained through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace of at least the Bronze level plan; insurance obtained through private insurance broker; Medicaid, Medicare or military benefits. AmeriCorps programs purchasing their own health insurance for Members must ensure plans are minimum essential coverage (MEC) and meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
On Friday May 2, 2014 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Members in AmeriCorps State and National programs, who are not provided health insurance options or who are provided short-term limited duration coverage or self-funded coverage not considered MEC. Members in the AmeriCorps State and National programs and their dependents in the Federally facilitated Marketplace (FFM) are eligible to enroll in Marketplace coverage when they experience the following triggering events:
• On the date they begin their service terms; and
• On the date they lose any coverage offered through their program after their service term ends. (Source: 45 CFR § 155.420(d)(9)).
Members have 60 days from the triggering event to select a plan. Coverage effective date is prospective based on the date of plan selection.
If coverage is being provided via the Healthcare Marketplace, and thus third party payment is not an option, programs must develop a process to reimburse Members for monthly premiums. Reimbursements for health insurance premiums are considered taxable income for the Member, and programs must have a way to document such reimbursements
Loan Forbearance/ Interest Accrual
AmeriCorps Members who are earning a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award are uniquely eligible for one type of postponement of the repayment of their qualified student loan called forbearance. During the forbearance period, interest on the principle amount of the loan continues to accrue. If a Member successfully completes their term of service and earns an Education Award, the National Service Trust will pay all or a portion of the interest that has accrued on the qualified student loans during this period. This accrued interest paid by the Trust, like the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award itself, is subject to income taxes.
AmeriCorps Members enrolled in an AmeriCorps project are eligible for forbearance for most federally-backed student loans. For other types of student loans, Members must ask their loan holder if their AmeriCorps service qualifies for a deferment or forbearance.
This postponement of the student loan payment (forbearance) is not automatic. Members must request it from their loan holders by completing the National Service Forbearance Request Form. Members may complete the Forbearance Request Form online by accessing their My AmeriCorps Portal.
The National Service Trust does not grant forbearances. Loan holders do. The Trust merely verifies Membership in AmeriCorps and forwards the documents to the loan companies. The Trust is able to verify Membership only when it has proof from a project that the individual is an AmeriCorps Member.
Interest Accrual Payments
AmeriCorps Members who have earned a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award are eligible to have the Trust pay up to 100% of the interest that accrued on their qualified student loan during their service. To have the Trust pay all or a portion of the interest accrued on a qualified student loans, the Trust must receive verification from the Program indicating the Member has completed their service and are eligible for an award. A Member and their lender also must complete the Interest Accrual Form, which indicates the amount of interest accrued during your service period. The loan holder sends this completed form to the Trust for payment.
Most student loans that are in default are not eligible for forbearance. If a Member has loans that have gone into default before they begin their AmeriCorps service, they can attempt to negotiate an arrangement with the loan holder or collection agency to bring the loan out of default so forbearance can be granted and interest paid. Also, Members can use their Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to repay defaulted student loans as long as the loans meet the definition of qualified student loans.
My AmeriCorps Portal
In order to prevent a delay in the processing of interest payments, individuals must request payments electronically using our on-line system, My AmeriCorps. This is a secure, fast, and user friendly method for requesting interest payments to be remitted to your loan holders. It also provides electronic records of payments requested and paid and there are no forms to mail in. The AmeriCorps Agency for National & Community Service cannot guarantee the prompt and accurate processing of requests for interest payments using paper forms. Payments requested by paper can take up to six months or more for processing and are less secure.
It is fast and easy to access your National Service Participant account in My AmeriCorps. To register, go to http://my.americorps.gov/mp/login.do and click on “Register to create a new Member/Alum account” and follow the instructions.
Continual Training of Members
All programs are responsible for the continual training of their Members throughout their terms of service. Serve Illinois recommends that training of Members be done on both an individual and group basis. Training hours may not take up more than 20% of the Member’s time, and training may not exceed 20% of your program’s aggregate of all Member service hours.
Listed below are items that Serve Illinois recommends to be covered during a Members’ term of service:
• Civic Engagement/ Reflection/ Meaning of Service
• Disability Inclusion
End of Term Training of Members
All programs are responsible for the end of term training of their Members. Serve Illinois recommends that training of Members be done on both an individual and group basis. Training hours may not take up more than 20% of the Member’s time, and training may not exceed 20% of your program’s aggregate of all Member service hours.
Listed below are items that Serve Illinois mandates to be covered during a Members’ term of service:
- Life After AmeriCorps
- Résumé building
- Seeking Employment
- Continuing your service after AmeriCorps
Illinois Disaster Corps
All programs are required to designate one to two Members to serve in the Illinois Disaster Corps.
Disaster Corps is Serve Illinois’ approach to utilizing National Service members to respond to disasters in Illinois. With help from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), we are able to train members to respond to communities that lack the support or ability to effectively respond to disaster recovery. Serve Illinois will train the Members to help manage a Volunteer Reception Center (VRC).
As an Illinois Disaster Corps Member, they will be required to take one online course through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and attend two classes over 3 day class given by IEMA. It will also be expected of they will be willing to respond to a disaster site if called, which could include deployment for up to a week. The Members will count service hours as they would if they were at their normal host site. They must be highly motivated, responsible, and able to work with diverse populations.
Questions should be directed to Michelle Hanneken at Michelle.J.Hanneken@Illinois.gov or 217-524-2251.
The deployment of a Member or their spouse is a compelling reason to exit from service, and the Member would receive a pro-rated education award.
The Member can also be placed in suspension, if the program and the Member determine that the Member will be able to complete service after deployment. See the section of suspensions for more information.
Generally, the Reserves of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, the Army National Guard, and the Air National Guard require reservists to serve one weekend a month plus 12 to 15 days a year (hereafter referred to as the two-week active duty service). To the extent possible, the program should seek to minimize the disruption in Members’ AmeriCorps service as a result of discharging responsibilities related to their reservist duties. If Members have a choice of when to fulfill their annual two-week active duty requirement, they should do so when it will not disrupt their AmeriCorps service. In instances where the dates of active duty are inflexible and conflict with AmeriCorps service, Members should be granted a leave of absence for the two-week period of active duty service in the Reserves.
Members may not receive time-off for additional Reserves-related service beyond the two-week active duty service. No AmeriCorps service credit is earned for the once-a-month weekend service in the Reserves. The program should credit Members for AmeriCorps service hours during their two weeks of active duty service in the Reserves if it occurs during their AmeriCorps service. The Member would receive credit for the number of hours he or she would have served during that period had there been no interruption. For example, if a full-time Member is signed up to serve 30 hours of AmeriCorps service one week and 40 hours of AmeriCorps service on the following week, she or he would receive 70 hours of AmeriCorps service credit for the two weeks of active duty service regardless of the actual number of hours served in the Reserves.
Reservists in the U.S. Armed Forces receive compensation for their mandatory two weeks of active duty service. The compensation regulations governing the Army and Air National Guard may vary by state.
The program should continue to pay the living allowance and provide health care and child care coverage for the two-week period of active duty.
Member Death or Injury
The awardee must immediately report any Member deaths or serious injuries to their Serve Illinois Program Officer.
The program must conduct and keep a record of at least a midterm and an end-of-term written evaluation of each Member’s performance for Full and Half Time Members and an end-of-term written evaluation for less than Half-time Members. Evaluations should be signed by both the Member and the supervisor and placed in the Member file. The end of term evaluation should address, at a minimum, the following:
• Has Member completed the required number of hours?
• Has Member satisfactorily completed assignments?
• Has Member met other performance criteria as communicated at the beginning of the term of service?