COVID-19 CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work good cause and sanction cure

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) encourages counties to reach out to sanctioned to sanctioned individuals to determine if sanctions can be cured with alternative activities or with good cause and to use flexibilities in ACWDL, March 30, 2020, summarized here, and extended in ACWDL, June 29, 2020, summarized here.  When doing this outreach, counties can ask whether an individual should be exempt from Welfare-to-Work.  Sanctioned individuals who are exempt will have aid restored without the need for a cure plan.

For sanctioned clients who now have good cause because of COVID-19, or whose cure plan contains activities that are no longer available or appropriate, counties should implement cure plans stating that the activity the client failed to perform is not available because of COVID-19.  The cure plan can specify an alternative activity.  When another activity is not practical because of COVID-19, counties may implement cure plans reflecting the lack of appropriate activities and stating the client temporary has good cause not to participate.

Until August 31, 2020, counties can implement temporary, blanket good cause to suspend Welfare-to-Work requirements.

For individuals in the noncompliance process, counties should make all attempts to avoid sanctions by offering other available and appropriate (online or alternative) activities.  Counties can grant good cause on a case-by-case basis or in accordance with a blanket good cause policy.

Until August 31, 2020, counties may use phone interviews, mail-in plans, digital signatures and all electronic means available.  If the county cannot accept telephonic or electronic signatures, individuals may verbally attest to the information the cure plan prior to providing a wet signature.

If necessary supportive services are not available, the individual has good cause for not participating in Welfare-to-Work.  Counties should consider that many schools and daycares are closed because of COVID-19 when determining good cause and curing an individual’s sanction.  (ACIN I-59-20, July 24, 2020.)