Eligibility of Afghan Humanitarian Parolees for Refugee Resettlement Program, CalWORKs, CalFresh and SSI

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding eligibility of Afghan Humanitarian Parolees Afghanistan for Refugee Resettlement Program, CalWORKs and CalFresh benefits.

Humanitarian Parolees are not eligible for Refugee Cash Assistance or any other Office of Refugee Resettlement programs.

Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for CalWORKs from the day they are paroled into the United States.

Humanitarian Parolees are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.

Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for CalFresh only if they have been paroled into the United States for at least one year, and, among other factors, have lived in the United States for qualified aliens, have 40 quarters of qualifying work, or are children under age 18.

Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for the California Food Assistance Program when the have been paroled into the United States for one year or more.

Regardless of documentation provided, the county must submit these cases to the SAVE system for immigration status verification. (ACWDL, September 3, 2021 and Errata, September 17, 2021.)

Eligibility of Afghan Special Immigrant Parolees for Refugee Resettlement Program, CalWORKs, CalFresh and SSI

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding eligibility of Special Immigrant Visa holders and special immigrant parolees in the SQ/SI categories (collectively called Special Immigrant Parolees) from Afghanistan for Refugee Resettlement Program, CalWORKs and CalFresh benefits.

Special Immigrant Parolees are eligible for Refugee Cash Assistance, Refugee Medical Assistance and other Office of Refugee Resettlement programs.  A Social Security Number is not required to be eligible for these programs.

Special Immigrant Parolees and their families are eligible for CalWORKs effective on their date of entry to the United States.

Special Immigrant Parolees are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  If for some reason Special Immigrant Parolees are found to be ineligible for SSI, the can be eligible for Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.

Special Immigrant Parolees are immediately eligible for CalFresh.

Regardless of documentation provided, the county must submit these cases to the SAVE system for immigration status verification.  (ACWDL, August 30, 2021.)

Impact of end federal pandemic unemployment programs impact on CalWORKs and CalFresh

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding the end of the federal pandemic unemployment programs in CalWORKs and CalFresh.  The programs ending are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)(benefits for self-employed and independent contractor workers), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)(extension benefits), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional benefits because of COVID), Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation and FED-ED.  These benefits are no longer payable after September 4, 2021, except for FED-ED which is no longer payable after September 11, 2021.

Counties should anticipate an increase in voluntary mid-period reports because of the end of these programs.  These reports may be made in writing, online, verbally, or in person. Counties can act on these reports only if they increase benefits.

For CalWORKs, an increased grant because of decrease in income is effective the first of the month in which the change occurred or is reported, whichever is later.  The recipient must provide verification of the change within 10 days of the county requesting verification.  Adequate verification can include, but is not limited to, a letter from the Employment Development Department, an Income Eligibility Verification System report, or, when other verification does not exist, a sworn statement.  The same rules apply to Refugee Cash Assistance, Entrant Cash Assistance, and Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program.

For CalFresh, when a reported change results in an increase in benefits, the change must be effective no later than the first allotment issued 10 days after the date the change is reported.  Counties cannot request verification unless the income change is over $50 the income source has changed, or the change would results in an increase in benefits.  Counties must inform the household in writing of required verification. (ACWDL, September 3, 2021.)

COVID-19 CalFresh emergency allotment for September, 2021

California has been approved to issue an emergency allotment of CalFresh for August, 2021.  All households will receive at least the maximum CalFresh allotment.  Households eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size are now eligible to receive an emergency allotment of $95 per month. Households who are not eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size, but whose emergency allotment would be less than $95 per month to receive the maximum allotment, will receive additional CalFresh benefits to raise their emergency allotment to the new $95 minimum.

The emergency allotment will be issued on October 24, 2021.  The emergency allotment can be issued manually if a household should have received the emergency issuance through the batch process but did not.

Moving forward, emergency allotments may be approved by FNS on a month-to-month basis until the Secretary of Health and Human Services rescinds the public health emergency.  There will be a one-month phase out of emergency allotments after the public health emergency is rescinded.  (ACWDL, September 2, 2021.)

Changes to CalFresh Notice of Denial or Pending Status

The California Department of Social Services has released a new Notice of Denial or Pending Status, CF 377.1A.  Changes to the Notice include that every CF 377.1A must inform the household that they may become categorically eligible if they have applied for SSI and the application is granted.  The Notice now must state the specific items of verification that the county alleges are missing for denial of either an application or recertification.  The Notice also must state, when the application is pending because of missing verification, what specific items of verification that the county alleges are missing.

Finally, when the county receives a complete recertification and denies the household, the county must send a separate denial notice.  The Notice of Denial or Pending Status is insufficient to deny recertification when the county receives the recertification application.  (ACL 21-93, August 5, 2021.)

COVID-19 CalFresh emergency allotment for August, 2021

California has been approved to issue an emergency allotment of CalFresh for August, 2021.  All households will receive at least the maximum CalFresh allotment.  Households eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size are now eligible to receive an emergency allotment of $95 per month. Households who are not eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size, but whose emergency allotment would be less than $95 per month to receive the maximum allotment, will receive additional CalFresh benefits to raise their emergency allotment to the new $95 minimum.

The emergency allotment will be issued on September 5, 2021.  The emergency allotment can be issued manually if a household should have received the emergency issuance through the batch process but did not.

Moving forward, emergency allotments may be approved by FNS on a month-to-month basis until the Secretary of Health and Human Services rescinds the public health emergency.  There will be a one-month phase out of emergency allotments after the public health emergency is rescinded.  (ACWDL, August 11, 2021.)