CalFresh disaster response notices and replacement methodology

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued new disaster response notices and an overview of the replacement benefit methodology.

CDSS has issued a new CF 303 form to request replacement CalFresh benefits.  When a food loss occurs, a household can request replacement of benefits used to purchase food that was lost.  A household has 10 days from the date the food was destroyed to report the loss.  If the county does not receive the CF 303 form within 10 days of the date the food was destroyed, no replacement benefits will be issued.  It is possible that an entire county or specific zip codes codes will be approved for a timely reporting waiver which will extend to the time to report food loss for up to 30 days from the date of the disaster.

After a household contacts the county to report the loss, the county must provide the CF 303 as soon as possible.  The form can be provided in person, or by mail if an electronic version is not available to the household.  The signed form can be returned in person, by mail, by fax or through the household’s online benefits portal.

Prior to issuing replacement benefits, the county must verify the loss. This can be done by collateral contacts, documentation from a community agency or a home visit.  The county can delay or deny replacement for up to seven days if available documentation indicates the request is questionable or fraudulent.

Maximum replacement is one month of benefits.  Counties determine on a case-by-case basis whether to provide full or partial replacement.  A recommended method for determining the amount of replacement benefits is to determine the daily issuance amount and multiply that by the number of days between the issuance and the disaster.

For power outages, replacement is 70 percent of the calculated amount because the United States Department of Agriculture determined that 30 percent of food purchased is not perishable and therefore would not need to be replaced.

Individual disaster supplements are issued only during approved application periods for areas that have received a Presidential Declaration of Disaster.  The household must submit a CF 303 form during the Disaster CalFresh application period.  When counties find a household eligible for a disaster supplement, they must issue the benefit within three days, or no more than seven days of the request is deemed questionable.  The disaster supplement amount is the maximum benefit amount for the household size minus the actual monthly allotment for the household.

CDSS also revised the CF 390 form that is used to approve or deny Disaster CalFresh benefits.  (ACL 19-95, September 19, 2019.)