CAPI couples benefit rate calculation

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued clarification about benefit calculation rules for Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) couples when these individuals are determined eligible for CAPI in different months.

When both spouses are eligible for CAPI, the benefit payment for each spouse is one-half of the CAPI couple payment standard.

When one spouse is aged, and the other spouse is under 65 and has applied for CAPI based on disability, the aged spouse receives the CAPI individual rate until the other spouse is determined eligible.  When both spouses are found eligible, the couples payment standard is applied, and each spouse will receive one-half of the couples rate.  Retroactive payment for the newly eligible spouse will be the difference between the amount the couple would have received and what the aged member received as an individual CAPI recipient.

When one spouse is aged, and the other spouse under 65 and is presumptively disabled, the couple should be granted the CAPI couple rate.

When one spouse is aged and the other spouse is almost age 65 but not blind or disabled the spouse who is over age 65 will receive the individual CAPI rate until the other spouse becomes eligible for CAPI, at which time the couple will begin to get the couples rate.

When one spouse is aged and applying CAPI for the first time, and the other spouse is requesting reinstatement of CAPI the couple will begin receiving the benefit rate the first month that the first spouse’s application is granted and the second spouse’s benefits are reinstated.  (ACIN I-66-20, September 10, 2020.)

New revision of CAPI Indigence Exception form

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has revised the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) indigence exception form SOC 813.  These changes reflect that, as explained in ACL 20-79, summarized here, CalFresh and housing subsidies will no longer be counted as income for purposes of determining eligibility for the CAPI indigence exception to sponsor deeming.  ACIN I-34-19, summarized here, which transmitted the prior version of the SOC 813 form and included the prior policy, is superceeded.  (ACIN I-61-20, August 13, 2020.)

CAPI acceptance of expired LPR cards

Effective immediately, counties must accept expired Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) cards when determining eligibility for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).  If a claimant presents an expired LPR card, the county must verify immigration status using the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system.  The county must accept an expired LPR card and grant benefits as otherwise eligible if the LPR card can be verified through SAVE.

This policy applies to any administrative hearing or rehearing that is currently pending.  (ACL 20-88, August 5, 2020.)

Discontinuing counting housing subsidies and CalFresh as income for CAPI indigence exception

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has informed counties that, effective June 24, 2020, CalFresh and housing subsidies will not count as income for purposes of determining eligibility for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) indigence exception to sponsor deeming.  Counties must reassess and reverse any CAPI denials based solely on inclusion of housing subsidies or CalFresh in determining eligibility for the sponsor deeming indigence exception that were issued by the county on or after June 24, 2020.

The requirement not to count housing subsidies or CalFresh in determining eligibility for the indigence exception to sponsor deeming applies to any hearing or rehearing effective June 24, 2020.  (ACL 20-79, July 7, 2020.)

COVID-19 extension of CAPI emergency procedures

The California Department of Social Services is extending several emergency procedures for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) until December 31, 2020.  These extended procedures are:

1) Waiver of in-person eligibility interviews

2) Accepting CAPI applications by telephone, mail, fax and email, and

3) Waiver of written SSI denial for applicants, including accepting verbal or written attestation from the applicant that they have applied and the application is pending.

The suspension of annual redeterminations is not extended.  Counties can resume processing CAPI annual redeterminations that are due during July.  (ACL 20-77, July 3, 2020.)

COVID-19 CAPI procedures

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued clarification regarding procedures for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) program during COVID-19.  Counties are to promptly determine CAPI eligibility without waiting for signed forms for requested documentation.  However, the county must receive all requested documentation prior to issuing a notice of action or starting to pay benefits.

CAPI applications remain subject to the 30-day determination deadline except for disability determinations for applicants under age 65. Applicants must be informed of required documents before the 30 day timeframe starts.  For telephone applications, the county should follow up with a letter stating all required documentation.  The date of the telephone application is the first day of the 30-day application process.  For mailed applications, the date the application is received and date stamped by the county is the first day of the 30-day process.

Redeterminations have been suspended for 90 days.  Any CAPI case due to be redetermined in March, April, May or June is extended for 12 months and may not be redetermined until the scheduled redetermination date in 2021.  Counties must ensure that adverse actions from March, 2020 redeterminations are not taken and must rescind any that were.  Any notices that were manually sent to CAPI recipients in March to inform of adverse action must be manually rescinded.  No CAPI annual redeterminations can occur until after July 1.

CAPI recipients are still required to report changes in circumstances within 10 days.  However, only redeterminations caused by a report that will increase benefits will be processed.  No negative action may be taken against any CAPI recipient, regardless of the reason.

Redeterminations connected with inter-county transfers are temporarily waived.  A redetermination should occur after the governor’s executive order on redeterminations expires.

All current overpayment policies remain in place.  Counties must review waiver requests.

The requirement to apply for SSI as a condition of CAPI eligibility remains in place.  However, counties and CAPI consortia are directed to accept any verbal or written statement by a CAPI applicant that they applied for SSI and are waiting for a decision from the Social Security Administration.  In addition, the immigration status code N13 on the INQX screen in MEDS, when dated in the last six months, is sufficient to show the SSI application and that it was denied solely because of immigration status.

Counties may still send Interim Assistance Reimbursement forms but are not required to do so.

The federal individual stimulus payment will not count as income for CAPI.  Benefits from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are also excluded as income because they are benefits related to a major disaster.  However, these benefits are counted as income for purposes of the indigence exception to sponsor deeming.  (ACL 20-46, April 22, 2020.)