The California Department of Social Services has issued guidance for County Welfare Departments (CWDs) clarifying the timeframes for processing CalFresh applications and the circumstances when a household is entitled to expedited service (ES).
All CalFresh applications must be screened to determine if the household meets the criteria for ES entitlement at the time the application is filed or at any time during the application process. Households found entitled to ES must have access to their CalFresh benefits by the third calendar day following the date of application. This three-day processing timeline includes screening the application, scheduling the interview, processing the application, collecting mandatory verification of the applicant’s identity, and issuing benefits onto the Electronic Benefit Transfer.
A household’s entitlement to ES is not lost due to a delay in meeting the expedited processing timeframe. If a household is entitled to ES, and the CWD cannot schedule the initial interview within the three-day expedited processing timeframe, the CWD must make every effort to meet the federal seven-day expedited processing timeframe. If the CWD cannot meet the federal seven-day expedited processing timeframe, the CWD must process the application as soon as possible.
A household may re-request expedited service at any time prior to approval. If the household is found to be entitled to ES, the three-day timeframe to issue benefts must start on the date the household is found entitled to ES.
The only way a household can lose ES entitlement is if (1) the household’s circumstances change and the household no longer meets the criteria for ES entitlement or (2) the household is scheduled for an initial interview within the three-day expedited processing timeframe and the household misses the scheduled interview. Under these circumstances the household’s application will be processed under the normal CalFresh processing timeframe. (ACIN I-11-20, February 3, 2020.)