Impact of end federal pandemic unemployment programs impact on CalWORKs and CalFresh

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding the end of the federal pandemic unemployment programs in CalWORKs and CalFresh.  The programs ending are Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)(benefits for self-employed and independent contractor workers), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)(extension benefits), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional benefits because of COVID), Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation and FED-ED.  These benefits are no longer payable after September 4, 2021, except for FED-ED which is no longer payable after September 11, 2021.

Counties should anticipate an increase in voluntary mid-period reports because of the end of these programs.  These reports may be made in writing, online, verbally, or in person. Counties can act on these reports only if they increase benefits.

For CalWORKs, an increased grant because of decrease in income is effective the first of the month in which the change occurred or is reported, whichever is later.  The recipient must provide verification of the change within 10 days of the county requesting verification.  Adequate verification can include, but is not limited to, a letter from the Employment Development Department, an Income Eligibility Verification System report, or, when other verification does not exist, a sworn statement.  The same rules apply to Refugee Cash Assistance, Entrant Cash Assistance, and Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program.

For CalFresh, when a reported change results in an increase in benefits, the change must be effective no later than the first allotment issued 10 days after the date the change is reported.  Counties cannot request verification unless the income change is over $50 the income source has changed, or the change would results in an increase in benefits.  Counties must inform the household in writing of required verification. (ACWDL, September 3, 2021.)