The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding CalFresh eligibility for residents of institutions. A resident of an institution is an individual who provided over 50 percent of three meals daily at the institution as part of the institution’s normal services. The following individuals are not considered residents of institutions: residents of federally subsidized housing for the elderly, residents of a drug and alcohol (DAA) rehabilitation center for regular participation in a drug or alcohol treatment program, residents of a group living arrangement who are disabled or blind, temporary residents of a shelter for battered persons and residents of public or private-nonprofit shelters for homeless persons.
For CalFresh purposes, a DAA treatment center must be operating under Title 19 Part B of the Public Health Services Act or be authorized by the Food and Nutrition Service as a retailer. DAA treatment centers cannot require residents to apply for CalFresh. If a resident voluntarily applies for CalFresh, they must apply through an Authorized Representative who is employed by and designated by the DAA treatment center. The DAA treatment center can require residents to use an Authorized Representative employed by the DAA treatment center for receiving and using benefits.
When a household leaves the DAA treatment center, the DAA treatment center must 1) notify the county, provide the household with a change report and advise the household to return the change report to the county within 10 days; 2) provide the household with its EBT card and 3) return household benefits. If benefits have already been spent on the household and the household leaves prior to the 16th of the month, the DAA must return at least one-half of the monthly allotment. If the household leaves after the 16th of the month, the remaining portion of the benefits must be returned to the household.
The DAA treatment center is responsible for any, overissuances, losses or misuse of benefits, misrepresentation of facts or intentional program violations. The resident is held harmless for these overissuances.
Sober living environments cannot be considered a DAA treatment center for CalFresh purposes because no state agency licenses them. Sober living environments can be authorized by the Food and Nutrition Service as a retailer.
A group living arrangement is a public or private-nonprofit residential home for disabled or blind persons that served no more than 16 residents. A group living arrangement must be certified by CDSS. Residents of group living arrangements must be blind or disabled to be eligible for CalFresh. Residents of private for-profit group living arrangements are ineligible for CalFresh.
If an employee designated by the group living arrangement is acting as an Authorized Representative for the purpose of receiving and using benefits, the group living arrangement may purchase and prepare food to be consumed by CalFresh recipients on a group basis if residents normally obtain their meals at a central location or meals are prepared at a central location for delivery to residents.
If a household leaves the group living arrangement and no benefits have been spent on the behalf of the household for that month, the group living arrangement must return the full monthly allotment. If the household leaves prior to the 16th of the month and benefits, the group living arrangement must return one-half of the benefit allotment. If only one member of the household leaves, the group living arrangement must return a pro rata share to the individual who is leaving. If the household leaves after the 16th of the month and benefits have already been spent on behalf of the household, the household does not receive any benefits for the remainder of the month.
When the group living arrangement is the authorized representative, it is responsible for any, overissuances, losses or misuse of benefits, misrepresentation of facts or intentional program violations and the resident is held harmless.
Persons who reside in shelters for battered persons that are public or private-nonprofits or are authorized by the Food and Nutrition Service, and which are residential facilities that serve meals are eligible for CalFresh. The Food and Nutrition Service can provide point of sale devices to shelters for battered persons.
A shelter for homeless persons is a public or private-nonprofit facility that temporarily houses homeless persons. Shelter for the homeless may be a homeless meal provider to accept CalFresh benefits. Homeless meal providers must be authorized by the Food and Nutrition Service and meals must include food purchased by the homeless meal provider.
Individuals must be homeless to be eligible to use CalFresh at a homeless meal provider. An employee of a homeless meal provider cannot be an authorized representative. The homeless meal provide cannot require persons to use CalFresh benefits for their food. The Food and Nutrition Service can provide point of sale devices to homeless shelters that are meal service providers. (ACL 19-51, May 23, 2019.)