Disqualification consent agreements

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance to counties about Disqualification Consent Agreements (DCA) and a new form for CalWORKs DCAs.  A DCA is a voluntary agreement for someone accused of an intentional program violation to agree to the disqualification period from benefits.

Counties are required to investigate cases of alleged intentional program violation, and when necessary, initiate action through either a court or administrative disqualification hearing.  Counties may allow district attorneys the option to have accused persons sign DCAs for cases of deferred adjudication.

Counties are encouraged to use DCAs when a determination of guilt is not obtained from the court because the accused met the terms of a court order, or a case is not prosecuted because the accused individual having met the terms of an agreement with the prosecutor.

Some counties have been reluctant to use the DCA process because courts would not normally endorse or confirm agreements between and individual and a prosecutor.  This is especially true when an agreement is offered by the prosecutor in lieu of filing criminal charges.  Removes of the court endorsement from the CalWORKs regulations will provide due process and the option for accused individuals to consent to their own disqualifications.  CDSS will revise the regulations to remove the court consent requirement, and has removed the consent requirement from the DCA form.  (ACL 20-15, October 30, 2020.)