CalFresh Elderly Simplified Application Project extension

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding extension of the Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP).  ESAP is federal waivers to allow elderly and disabled CalFresh households to waive recertification interviews, use data matching to reduce needed verifications, extend certification period for up to 36 months, and waive the requirement to contact the household every 12 months, which eliminates the need to send and collect SAR-7 reports.

These waivers apply to households where all members are either elderly (age 60 or older) or disabled with no earned income.  Households that include excluded or ineligible members who are also elderly or disabled are eligible for ESAP.

This is an extension of existing federal waivers until September 30, 2026.  The elimination of periodic reporting is new and is expected to be effective on March 1, 2022 when programming is completed.

When the waiver of periodic reporting becomes effective, ESAP households will still need to complete mandatory mid-period reporting, including gross income over the Income Reporting Threshold during the 36 month-certification period.

The interview waiver allows counties to waive recertification interviews unless the case is set to be denied.  This means there will not be a recertification interview unless requested by the household, the county is going to deny the recertification application, or information provided is questionable, incomplete or contradictory.  An ESAP case cannot be denied at recertification without an attempt to schedule an interview.  Counties must continue to conduct interviews at initial certification for ESAP household except that the initial interview may be waived for other reasons.

The verification waiver means that ESAP households are only required to submit verification of income, non-citizen eligibility, utility expenses, medical expenses, social security numbers, residency, identity, or child support payments if they are questionable.

If a household becomes ineligible for ESAP during the 36-month certification period (for example because of employment or a change in household composition) the county must convert the household to non-ESAP and the household will need to comply with all reporting requirements.  However, the household must complete their 36-month certification period.  The county cannot shorten the certification period once it is assigned.  At the end of the 36-month certification period, the county must determine continuing CalFresh eligibility and whether the household continues to be ineligible for ESAP.  The county must send a written notice to the household when it is converted from ESAP to a regular CalFresh household.  (ACL 20-145, December 29, 2020.)