Transitional CalFresh guidance

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding Transitional CalFresh.  Counties must automatically provide Transitional CalFresh to CalWORKs households who leave CalWORKs “in good standing.”  CalWORKs household that are eligible for Transitional CalFresh include CalWORKs households that are discontinued because the household exceeded income or resource limits, asked to close their case, a parent timed out or a child aged out, or disqualified because of a CalWORKs rule change.

Individual members if CalWORKs households are not eligible for Transitional CalFresh if they are approved for benefits in another state, sanctioned, disqualified for an Intentional Program Violation, ineligible for CalWORKs because of immigration status, discontinued for not providing necessary information or completing a periodic report, disqualified for knowing transfer to resources to maintain CalFresh eligibility, disqualified for duplicate CalFresh participation, disqualified from CalFresh for being a fleeing felon, or being in violation of conditions of probation or parole, or disqualified for not complying with Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents requirements.  Other members of the household are eligible for Transitional CalFresh.

If an entire CalWORKs household is denied Transitional CalFresh, the county must assess whether the entire household or individual members are eligible for regular CalFresh.

The maximum Transitional CalFresh benefits period is 5 months. The Transitional CalFresh allotment is based on the CalFresh allotment prior to the CalFresh discontinuance adjusted for the loss of CalWORKs income.  Additional income is not considered.  The benefit amount is based on information already available to the county.  The county cannot contact the household to establish Transitional CalFresh eligibility or amount.

During the Transitional CalFresh period, the benefit allotment is frozen.  Households do not need to report changes, and counties do not need to act on third party information.

At any time during the Transitional CalFresh period, the household may reapply for regular CalFresh by completing the CalFresh recertification process. The county must evaluate the application and inform the household if the regular CalFresh allotment would be lower and give the household the chance to withdraw their application.

Households restoring CalWORKs and CalFresh benefits within 30 days of the CalWORKs discontinuance do not need to submit a new CalFresh application.  In cases where a CalWORKs discontinuance is rescinded, there cannot be a CalFresh overissuance because the Transitional CalFresh benefit is determined based on information available at the time.

Any Transitional CalFresh household member who returns to CalWORKs during the Transitional CalFresh period must be recertified before receiving regular CalFresh.

(ACL 20-129, January 6, 2021.)