COVID-19 fourth extension of time eligibility for RCA, ECA and TCVAP

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued instructions for the fourth  extension of time eligibility for Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), Entrant Cash Assistance (ECA) and Trafficking and Crime Victim Assistance Program (TCVAP).  Effective May 1, 2021, this extension applies to RCA, ECA and TCVAP until September 30, 2021.  This extension is limited to persons whose date of eligibility for benefits is April 1, 2019 through January 31, 2021.  Applicants who became eligible on or after February 1, 2021 are only eligible for their regular eight months of cash assistance.

Individuals who meet eligibility timeframes for RCA, ECA or TCVAP extensions but never applied for cash assistance may submit new applications for the fourth time extension.

Counties must provide uninterrupted assistance retroactive to May 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021 regardless of whether they received the prior benefits extension.  For benefits recipients who were scheduled to be terminated January 31, 2021, counties must rescind any discontinuances of benefits. Recipients who reached their time limit before August 31, 2020 may reapply for benefits.  Those persons must confirm that they were economically impacted by COVID-19.

Counties must notify RCA, ECA and TCVAP recipients receiving extended cash assistance of the time extension and continuance of aid at least 10 days prior to issuing cash payments.  For people receiving the extension for the first time or reapplying for the extension, counties must issue a notice that benefits will discontinue on September 30, 2021.

RCA, ECA and TCVAP use CalWORKs rules.  This means that Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (the extra $300 per week in addition to Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) does not county as income for both applicants and recipients, Golden State Stimulus payments are exempt from being considered income and are not considered assets for 12 months, and tax rebates and refunds, including additional tax rebates and refunds under the American Rescue Act, are exempt from being considered income and are not considered assets for 12 months.  (ACWDL, May 3, 2021.)