CalWORKs Mandatory Inclusion

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has clarification regarding mandatory inclusion rules for determining the CalWORKs Assistance Unit (AU).  Mandatory inclusion means that a parent, sibling or half-sibling be included in the filing unit, that is the group of people that must be included in the CalWORKs application.  Optional persons must also be included in the statement of facts when aid is requested for them and they are living in the home of the applicant child.

Mandatory inclusion also means that an eligible parent, sibling or half-sibling must be included in the AU with applicant or eligible child.  A CalWORKs eligible child must be both deprived and needy, meaning the child meets both linking and non-linking eligibility factors.  Linking factors are single conditions that link an applicant to eligibility.  The linking factors for CalWORKs are blindness and deprivation of parental care or support.  Non-linking eligibility factors establish whether an individual is entitled to assistance.  The non-linking factors for CalWORKs are age, property, residence, financial status and institutional status.

In practice, this means that a sibling or half-sibling of the applicant or eligible child who is not eligible for CalWORKs because of their income is not mandatory included in the CalWORKs AU.  CDSS provides several examples to illustrate this.

Circumstances may change over time and this may result in a different AU composition mid-period, at semi-annual reporting or at annual redetermination.  When the AU reports income over the Income Reporting Threshold in any month except the last month of the payment period, the county must determine if the reported income is reasonably anticipated to continue.  If it is, the CalWORKs grant is recalculated based on the AU’s new income and the grant is lowered or terminated accordingly.  If the income reported is not reasonably anticipated to continue, the report will not affect ongoing benefits for the payment period.

When income over the Income Reporting Threshold is reported in the last month of the payment period and is reasonably anticipated to continue, the county uses that information to determine eligibility and grant amount for the next payment period.  If the new income will make the AU ineligible, the county must determine if eligibility exists for any members of the current AU and if so change the AU composition accordingly.  (ACIN I-03-20, January 16, 2020.)