COVID-19 extension of suspension of CalWORKs time on aid and verification requirements

The California Department of Social Services has issued guidance implementing Executive Order N-69-20 which extends several COVID-19 changes to the CalWORKs program.

The CalWORKs 48-month time on aid clock will remain stopped through August, 2020.  The requirement for providing medical verification of pregnancy before approving benefits continues to be suspended until August 14, 2020.  The requirement for CalWORKs applicants to provide photo identification continues to be suspended until August 14, 2020.  The requirement for signatures on the application and rights and responsibilities forms continues to be suspended until August 14, 2020.  The requirement that CalWORKs applicants be personally interviewed before being approved for benefits continues to be suspended until August 14, 2020.  Details about the verification suspension are in All County Welfare Directors Letter May 4, 2020, summarized here.

The verification suspension also applies to Refugee Cash Assistance, Entrant Cash Assistance and Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program.  (ACWDL, June 16, 2020.)

COVID-19 resuming in-person visitation for dependent children and wards

In ACL 20-25, summarized here, the California Department of Social Services provided guidance regarding waiver of in-person monthly caseworker visits for dependent children and wards.  County child welfare agencies and juvenile probation departments are to resume requirements in-person visits for children, wards and nonminor dependents effective July 1, 2020.

Before conducting an in-person visit, county staff should screen for COVID-19.  If someone in the household has been exposed to COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms, the caseworker should obtain essential protective gear (gloves, face covering, hand soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant) before the in-person visit.

Visits may be conducted by videoconference on a case-by-case basis, if the state, county, or local public health department provides direction and/or shifts back to Stage 1, the family or caregiver refuses entry because of their COVID-19 related concerns, or the family, caregiver, child, or someone else in the household is experiencing symptoms of or has tested positive for COVID-19.  If in-person contact is not possible because of one of these exceptions, the flexibilities in ACL 20-25 may be used through August 14, 2020.  (ACL 20-70, June 17, 2020.)

COVID-19 federal stimulus belongs to recipient

The Internal Revenue Service has issued an alert that the federal stimulus payment belongs to the recipient and not to a nursing home or other care facility.  The stimulus payment is intended for the recipient even if a nursing home or other care facility receives the payment.  The stimulus payment is not a resource that must be turned over to a nursing home or other care facility.

The stimulus payment does not count as income Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  The stimulus payment does not count as a resource for 12 months for any of those programs.

Social Security representative payees are not responsible for managing the stimulus because the stimulus money belongs to the recipient.  Representative payees should talk to the recipient about the stimulus money. If the recipient wants to use the stimulus money independently, the representative payee should give the stimulus money to the recipient.  (IR 2020-21, June 16, 2020.)

COVID-19 federal stimulus portal open until October 15

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the non-filer tool for people who to not need to file a tax return to get the federal stimulus money will be available until October 15, 2020. The non-filer tool is available to people who do not need to file a tax return because their income is under $12,200 for a single person and $24,400 for married couples. (IR 2020-111, June 3, 2020.)

COVID-19 extension of CalFresh interview waivers

The federal waivers for the CalFresh program for initial application and recertification interview, conducting a face-to-face interview on request of the applicant and required recording equipment for telephonic signatures are extended until July 31.  For details about these waivers, see ACWDL April 2, 2020, summarized here, and ACWDL May 28, 2020, summarized here.  (ACWDL, June 15, 2020.)