CalFresh medical deduction for medical travel

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued policy guidance regarding verification and deduction of medical expenses, specifically transportation, for CalFresh eligibility.

Households can claim the excess medical deduction for non-reimbursed medical expenses over $35 per month incurred by an elderly and/or disabled household member.  The standard medical expense deduction is $120.  Households can request using actual medical expenses when medical expenses are over $155 per month.

Medical expenses must be verified for households to claim the medical expense deduction.  Counties cannot require a specific type of verification.  Counties must assist households in obtaining verification if needed.  If the household cannot provide verification, the county determines the CalFresh grant without the medical expense deduction.  Households can claim and verify medical expenses at any time.  Households may use the CF31 form to report medical expenses.

Counties should not re-verify medical expenses if they are unchanged or a change is $25 or less.  Households remain eligible for the standard medical expense deduction if they report their medical expenses continue to exceed $35 per month.

Allowable medical expenses include the cost of transportation to obtain treatment or services.  This includes transportation to health care appointments and pharmacies and to other locations to fill prescriptions, fittings for dentures, hearing aids or glasses.

Households must verify expenses for public transportation, taxis and ride shares.  For travel by private vehicle, the county must accept a verbal or written statement that the travel was required for medical reasons unless that statement is questionable.  County staff then calculates the mileage using a mapping application.  A copy of the map must be kept in the client’s case file.  Gas receipts are not required.  Mileage counts at the IRS rate which is currently 58 cents per mile.  (ACL 19-89, August 28, 2019.)