Impact of SSA COLA on CalWORKs

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) informs counties that Social Security recipients will get a 1.3 percent cost of living increase (COLA) effective January, 2021.

For new applicants, the actual amount of Social Security benefits, including the increase, must be used for eligibility and budgeting purposes beginning January, 2021.

For CalWORKs families in the final month of their semi-annual reporting period, counties must reasonably anticipate the increase in the Social Security amount for the upcoming semi-annual reporting period.

Counties must take mid-period action to adjust benefits effective January 1, 2021, for all cases in which Social Security benefits are being used to determine CalWORKs grant amounts.  If counties cannot change CalWORKs grants as a result of the increase Social Security payment, they must take action to decrease the grant amount on the first of the month after time, adequate notice can be given.  If the calculation results in a decrease in benefits, counties must establish an overpayment.  (ACIN I-73-20, October 27, 2020 and ACIN I-73-20E, December 16, 2020.)