Applicant IEVS processing

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued instructions to counties regarding use of the Applicant Income and Eligibility Verification System (IEVS). Applicant IEVS is a third party verification system that is used at initial application and each subsequent redetermination.  Counties must use Applicant IEVS to assist in resolving any potential discrepancies with what was reported on the application (SAWS 2) and/or in the interview.  These discrepancies must be resolved prior to the beginning of a new certification period.  However, the eligibility determination cannot be delayed pending receipt of Applicant IEVS if other information establishes eligibility.

Counties must request Applicant IEVS information at least 15 days prior to the redetermination interview.  If a county cannot resolve a discrepancy relevant to the eligibility determination, the county must provide the client with a CW 2200 verification letter.

The Applicant IEVS process does not impact the existing Recipient IEVS process for using the IEVS system to determine whether a recipient has earned or unearned income.  Counties should ensure that the client is not asked to provide identical information based on duplicate IEVS information.  (ACL 19-78, August 5, 2019.)

No CalWORKs sanction when meeting federal work participation requirements

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued instructions implementing SB 1446 (2018).  Effective July 1, 2019, recipients meeting federal participation requirements cannot be sanctioned and are eligible for supportive services.  This applies to recipients who are in sanction status or noncooperation status.

For recipients who are in sanction status and who are meeting federal participation requirements, the sanction is deemed cured and aid is restored the first of the following month.

Recipients who are meeting federal participation requirements at any stage of the noncompliance process shall be found to be compliant with welfare-to-work and the county must stop the noncompliance process.  (ACL 19-68, August 5, 2019.)

IHSS provider general exception regulations

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued new regulations implementing the process to request a general exception or waiver of criminal background for In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers.  The regulations address the crimes for which a waiver or general exception is possible (called Tier 2 crimes) and the process to request a waiver or general exception.

The regulations include define Tier 2 crimes as serious or violent felonies, felony offenses for which a person is required to register as a sex offender and felony offense of fraud against a public social services program.  Although not mentioned in the letter, the regulations also make non-violent property crimes a Tier 2 offense.

In general, an exception can be granted if the applicant demonstrates rehabilitation.  However, for sex offenses or crimes involving physical harm or risk of physical harm to another person, the applicant must show clear and convincing evidence that the applicant no longer poses a risk to the public if less than 8 years (10 years if two offenses) have passed since the applicant’s most recent incarceration, probation or parole.  For fraud or non-violent property offenses, the applicant must show clear and convincing evidence that the applicant no longer poses a risk to the public if less than 6 years (10 years if two offenses) have passed since the applicant’s most recent incarceration, probation or parole.  For any other excludable offense, the applicant must show clear and convincing evidence that the applicant no longer poses a risk to the public if less than 4 years (10 years if two offenses) have passed since the applicant’s most recent incarceration, probation or parole.

The regulations list documents to be included with the request.  The applicant must request a general exception or waiver request to the county within 45 days of the notice denying provider status because of a criminal record.  If the county denies the request, the applicant can do a written appeal to the state.

CDSS also issued a general exception request form and a form to appeal denial of a general exception request to the state.

The regulations are located at MPP section 30-778 et. seq.  The regulations are effective July 1, 2019.  (ACL 19-64, July 3, 2019.)

CalWORKs grant increase

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued information to counties about the increase in the CalWORKs grant that will be effective on October 1, 2019.  For Region 1, the Maximum Aid Payment will increase for 1 person assistance units to $550 for nonexempt and $606 for exempt, for 2 person assistance unit to $696 for nonexempt and $778 for exempt with increases continuing for larger assistance units.  For Region 2, the Maximum Aid Payment will increase for 1 person assistance units to $520 for nonexempt and $576 for exempt, for 2 person assistance unit to $661 for nonexempt and $739 for exempt with increases continuing for larger assistance units.  CDSS issued a table showing the grant increase for all assistance unit sizes in each region.

Counties must send a mass mailing to all CalWORKs recipients informing them of the grant increase.

If the grant increase is not automated in the computer systems by the effective date, the computer consortia must issue a workaround to ensure that CalWORKs recipients receive the grant increase.  (ACL 19-73, July 17, 2019.)

Enhanced voucher minimum rent calculation for families whose income increases after a significant decrease

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued guidance regarding enhanced voucher minimum rent calculation for families whose income increases after a significant decrease.  This guidance supersedes PIH Notice 2001-41.

Tenants are eligible for enhanced vouchers when there is prepayment of a mortgage on a HUD-subsidized property, voluntary termination of an insurance contract for a HUD-subsidized property, termination of a project-based Section 8 contract or preservation of affordable housing under the Flexible Subsidy program.  Enhanced vouchers have a higher payment standard and have a minimum rent of at least the amount the family was paying at the time of the eligibility event.

If a family with an enhanced voucher has a decrease in income of at least 15% from the family income on the date of the eligibility event, the rent calculation changes to the percentage of income that the family was paying for rent at the time of the eligibility event.

If the family’s income subsequently increases to an amount where minimum rent established by a percentage of family income is more than the original rent, the family’s enhanced voucher minimum rent will revert to the original minimum rent (that is the minimum rent before the family’s income decreased).

Housing authorities must apply this change at the earlier of the families first regular reexamination following the issuance date of this notice, or an interim reexamination as a result of increase in family income.  This change to the family’s rental share is applied prospectively only.  (PIH Notice 2019-12, May 23, 2019.)

Separation of SIU and eligibility determination functions

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a reminder to counties that management of eligibility determination and program integrity investigation must be separate.

County Special Investigative Unit (SIU) staff responsible for preventing and discovering fraud by applicants and recipients.  SIU staff must investigate fraud allegations.  County eligibility workers are responsible for referring cases to the SIU.

The SIU must be a separate organization, independent of organizations performing eligibility and benefit determination functions.  Counties must ensure separate and independent operation of eligibility and investigation activities.  SIU staff cannot dictate CalWORKs or CalFresh eligibility determinations but can make recommendations.  (All County Welfare Directors Letter May 1, 2019.)