ACL 09-05: CalWORKs Information Regarding California Registered Domestic partners (RDPs) And Same-Sex Spouses (2/27/09)

Policy direction regarding eligibility of same-sex married spouses to the CalWORKs, Food Stamp, and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) programs, and instructions regarding eligibility for Medi-Cal. (DHCS has issued ACWDL 09-03 and ACWDL 09-04 regarding this.) The California RDP is an individual who has a declaration of domestic partnership registered with the California Secretary of State. AB 205 extended these rights and responsibilities to a member of a legal union validly formed in another jurisdiction that is equivalent to a California RDP.

For CalWORKs , RDPs have the same rights and responsibilities as stepparents. Pending judicial resolution, all same-sex marriage licenses issued between June 16, 2008 (when the In re Marriage Cases finding the bar on same-sex marriages unconstitutional became final) and November 4, 2008 (Prop 8) are deemed to be valid on the basis of marriage for the purposes of CalWORKs eligibility. Massachusetts and Connecticut also permit same-sex marriages.

CalWORKs Stage One child care services does not change – RDPs and same sex spouses are treated as stepparents. The CalWORKs parent will have the option include or exclude the RDP/same-sex spouse in the AU, which could impact the availability of child care in the home. If a RDP/same-sex spouse adopts the eligible child(ren), the RDP/same-sex spouse will be considered a parent and a member of the AU, so the same eligibility requirements for two-parent families will be applied

No change to the Food Stamp Program, which never cared about this, looking only at the group that purchases/prepares food together.

RCA is the same as CalWORKs.

RDPs/same-sex spouses are not eligible for federal Medi-Cal benefits unless they are a natural or adoptive parent of a child in the AU, the name of both RDPs/same-sex spouse appear on the child’s birth certificate, or they can establish eligibility on their own behalf (e.g. by being aged, blind, disabled, pregnant, etc.) The RDP/same-sex spouse may be eligible for specific state funded Medi-Cal programs because he/she is treated as a spouse under state law. When the RDP/same-sex spouse is not the natural or adoptive parent of a child in the AU, but he/she is eligible for CalWORKs, a separate Medi-Cal determination must be made for that RDP/same-sex spouse and in some instances for the rest of the family.