Sponsor deeming for IHSS

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding changes to sponsor deeming for In Home Supportive Services – Residual (IHSS-R) recipients.  IHSS applicants who receive state-only full scope Medi-Cal are assessed under the IHSS-R program.  People who are denied Medi-Cal for a reason other than failure to comply with Medi-Cal requirements  or failure to complete the Medi-Cal eligibility process also can be eligible for IHSS-R.  Counties must process these IHSS-R application regardless of the applicant’s immigration status.  Sponsor deeming is counting the income of a sponsor of an immigrant as the immigrant’s income.

IHSS-R applicants who receive state-only funded full scope Medi-Cal are no longer subject to sponsor deeming for purposes of IHSS-R eligibility.

IHSS-R applicants who are not eligibile for Medi-Cal are subject to sponsor deeming.  For IHSS-R applicants who are not eligibile for Medi-Cal, sponsor deeming is limited to three years after entry to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.  In addition, applicants whose blindness or disability began after they entered the United States are not subject to sponsor deeming.

All IHSS applicants must have or apply for a Social Security Number, or must have an Individual Taxpayer Identification number.  This is because the IHSS recipient is the provider’s employer for certain purposes.  When someone without a Social Security Number applies for IHSS, the county must accept their application and assist with applying for an Individual Taxpayer Identification number.   (ACL 22-44, June 1, 2022.)

EBT card CVV enablement and card replacement update

The California Department of Social Services has updated its instructions regarding activating Card Verification Value (CVV) on Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards.  Prior instructions are in ACWDL, March 17, 2022, summarized here.  The EBT CVV functionality will be enabled in June, 2022.  When the CVV functionality is enabled, any card that does not have the CVV will be deactivated.  Cards issued by the EBT vendor before June, 2018 and by counties before October, 2019 do not have the CVV and will be deactivated.

Counties should connect cardholders who have issues, including not receiving their new card or otherwise needing a replacement card, with the EBT vendor FIS.  In addition, current county cardstock can be used because the CVV coding is added by the card printer. (ACWDL, June 6, 2022.)

COVID-19 CalFresh emergency allotment for June, 2022

California has been approved to issue an emergency allotment of CalFresh for June, 2022.  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 $95 minimum.

The emergency allotment will be issued on July 17, 2022 for CalSAWS counties and July 24, 2022 for CalWIN counties.

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, June 9, 2022.)

Welfare to Work and college summer session, winter intersession and adult school

SB 1232 (2020) changed education as a welfare-to-work activity for publicly funded institutions, including establishing an advanced standard supportive services payment for necessary books and supplies, requiring counties to accept education as a welfare-to-work activity, allowing 3 hours of study time for each academic unit, and mandating that full time post-secondary school enrollment meets minimum welfare-to-work requirements.  The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided clarification regarding application of welfare to work policies to summer session, winter intersession, adult schools and adult education.

For education activities that do not have academic units such as non-credit courses and adult schools, one instructional hour will be considered one academic unit, rounded up to the nearest hour.

Students in summer sessions that last the duration of the summer term as determined by the academic institution, are eligible for a $350 supportive services payment for full-time enrollment and $175 for part-time enrollment.  For a condensed summer session, all students are entitled to a $175 supportive services payment.  Students enrolled in two condensed summer sessions are entitled to two $175 supportive services payments.  Students who are enrolled full time meet their minimum welfare-to-work requirements regardless of the duration of the session.

All students enrolled in winter intersessions are entitled to a $175 supportive services payment.  Students who are enrolled in winter intersessions meet their minimum welfare-to-work requirements.

For adult schools, students enrolled for 13 weeks or less are considered enrolled in a quarter term, and students enrolled for more than 13 weeks are considered enrolled in a semester term.  This applies to open entry enrollment.  Students who enroll midsession have their quarter/semester determination made based on the number of weeks they have enrolled.

For adult schools, enrollment for 12 or more instructional hours per week are considered full time. Enrollment for less than 12 hours is part time.  Enrollment in an academic session that is less than 8 weeks is part-time for purposes of the standard supportive services payment.  The number of hours in a self-directed course is based on the number of expected hours for the course as documented in school materials.

For adult schools, study time is calculated based on the number in instructional hours.  Students get 3 hours of study time per instructional hour.  Students can request actual study time that is more than 3 hours per hour of instruction if the school verifies the need or based on the student’s individual need (such as a learning disability that requires more study time).

For students enrolled in multiple education institutions at the same time, counties must determine the number of units or instructional hours across all institutions.  Students who are enrolled for a total of 12 units or hours, or more, are full time, and students enrolled for less than 12 units or hours are part time.  Students enrolled in quarter-based and semester-based programs at the same time receive the semester standard supportive services payment amount.

Clients must provide proof of enrollment for each term.  Counties must provide a new or revised welfare-to-work plan at least 30 days prior to the start of the term.  If the county does not provide a new plan, the prior plan remains in effect.  Counties must issue the standard supportive services payment regardless of whether a welfare-to-work plan is signed on time.  The standard supportive services payment must be issued at least 10 days prior to the start of the term.

Overpayments can occur when the client is not eligible for the payment they received, such as not being enrolled.  Overpayment do not occur if the client’s enrollment status changes or they drop out.  Counties cannot ask for receipts to show how the supportive services payment was spent.  Counties cannot seek an overpayment is the actual cost of books and supplies is less than the standard supportive services payment.

For requests for supportive payments above the standard supportive services payment amount, the student must verify the expenses that exceed the amount of the standard supportive service payment.  The county shall issue the amount that exceeds the standard supportive services amount within 20 days of the request and providing verification of expenses.  (ACL 22-31, April 27, 2022.)

Changes to Integrated Earnings Clearance/Fraud Detection match frequency change

Integrated Earnings Clearance/Fraud Detection (IFD) is quarterly match that gives various income data to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to compare CalFresh and CalWorks records submitted by the counties. These records show quarterly wage data maintained by the Employment Development Department (EDD) and Social Security Administration (SSA).

A workgroup was formed in 2016 to provide technical assistance, updates on policy changes, and calculations of best practices to ensure precise determination for benefits in the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) and CalFresh programs.

The workgroup identified some previous issues with the frequency and outdated data provided by the IFD match. Finding that data was nine months old by the time it reached the association. Income data will now come in faster and will be no more than four to six months old to prevent outdated information from showing up two quarters later. The processing timeframes for the IFD match remain unchanged. Match follow-up must be finalized within 45 days of transmission of the data to the County Welfare Departments.  (ACIN I-30-22, April 21, 2022.)

COVID-19 CalFresh emergency allotment for May, 2022

California has been approved to issue an emergency allotment of CalFresh for May, 2022.  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 $95 minimum.

The emergency allotment will be issued on June 12, 2022 for CalSAWS counties and June 19, 2022 for CalWIN counties.

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, May 3, 2022.)