The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided questions and answers regarding CalWORKs Zero Basic Grants (ZBG) caused by changes in the Income Reporting Threshold. Effective June 1, 2020, assistance units must report income over their IRT, but remain eligible for CalWORKs until their income is over the Tier 2 IRT, which is now 130 percent of the federal poverty level. This change will allow families with net non-exempt income greater than the maximum aid payment but under 130% of the federal poverty level to remain eligible for CalWORKs but with a zero grant. In addition, assistance units with a penalty that reduces the grant to zero, assistance units with a grant amount under $10, families with a grant reduced to zero by overpayment adjustment and families with grant based On-the Job training that is diverted to the employer to offset wages have a ZBG.
Assistance Units with ZBG are eligible for homeless assistance, Welfare-to-Work supportive services, Stage 1 child care, pregnancy and other recurring and nonrecurring special needs, and home visiting program services.
Assistance Units with ZBG must make all mandatory reports. ZBG recipients are required to participate in Welfare-to-Work unless they are exempt. The 48-month time clock will not tick because of income exceeding the maximum aid payment but under 130% of the federal poverty level. However, the clock will tick for ZBG cases where the grant is under $10 because of overpayment recoupment and for months when the assistance unit receives homeless assistance or another non-recurring special need. (ACIN I-53-20, June 30, 2020.)