The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding additional exceptions to the CalFresh student rule added by Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021. These additional exceptions because of COVID-19 are in effect from January 16, 2021 until 30 days after the federal public health emergency is lifted.
In general students enrolled half time who are aged 18 to 49 are are physically and mentally fit are ineligible for CalFresh. There are several exceptions to this rule. The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 expands the exception for work study to any student eligible to participate in a state or federally financed work study during the regular school year, as determined by the school. While this exception is in effect, it is no longer required that students be approved for work study and anticipate working. CDSS has temporarily changed the work study verification letter to reflect this change.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 adds an exception to the CalFresh student rule for students who have a zero dollar expected family contribution. This is determined by information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application. The California Student Aid Commission determines who has a zero dollar expected family contribution. Verification can include, but is not limited to, a letter from the California Student Aid Commission confirming a zero dollar expected family contribution, a student’s Student Aid Report or a financial aid offer letter. The California Student Aid Commission will send all students with a zero dollar expected family contribution an informing letter about this new exception to the CalFresh student rule. The California Student Aid Commission letter now includes a bolded statement instructing students to submit the letter in its entirety. However, failure to submit the California Student Aid Commission letter is not a basis for requesting further verification or denial.
Requests to add a newly eligible student or to report a previously ineligible student being newly eligible are voluntary mid-period reports of a household composition change. These reports can be made verbally or in writing and must be considered verified upon receipt. However, a student’s exception to the student eligibility rule must be verified. If verification is submitted timely, benefits are adjusted no later than the first allotment issued 10 days after the change is reported. No supplement is issued for the month of the report. If the household does not provide verification within 10 days of the report, but provides verification at a later date, the timeframe for taking action runs from the date verification is submitted.