Appointing Authorized Representatives (AR) in the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance for the Cash Assistance Program Immigrants (CAPI) regarding appointing authorized representatives (AR).

An AR can be appointed by the CAPI claimant (if they have the legal capacity to make decisions), a parent of a claimant under 18, or a legal guardian or a conservator.  Counties may not recognize an organization, firm, or entities as the AR.  An individual from that entity or organization must sign as the AR.  More than one person can serve as an AR.

The process for appointing an AR is:

-The claimant signs a written notice or AR form stating that they want a representative when dealing with the state or county regarding their case.

-The representative needs to agree and sign the notice (an attorney is not required to sign a notice of appointment); and

-The notice is signed and filed at their county office.

Temporary COVID procedures allow for electronic or digitized signatures on AR are acceptable but require verbal confirmation from the claimant. If the claimant is unavailable for verbal confirmation, the appointment of AR is not added to the claimant’s document.  When the COVID procedures are no longer in effect, all AR forms must have a wet signature.

The claimant may file an AR form by mail, email, fax, or in person, so long as the claimant or the AR retains the initially signed document.

An AR acts on behalf of the claimant for the duration of their appointment. An AR’s authority includes signing applications or forms on behalf of the claimant, gathering the information that would be disclosed to the claimant if they are unable to do so, submitting evidence, examining documents, requesting appeals, and being notified of any decision made on behalf of the claimant. More than one individual may serve as a claimant’s AR at any time. When there are multiple ARs, there needs to be specificity on will be a primary representative.  The county will send all written communication about the case to both the claimant and the AR unless the claimant has limited to scope of the AR’s authority.

The county may disclose information to an AR over the phone if the AR verifies who they are and discloses the claimant’s identifying information. County officials authenticate the request by verifying appointment time, information and reviewing any limitations the claimant has set in place.

The AR does not have the authority to change personal information on records, including names and mailing addresses, unless the AR is qualified. The county may disclose information by telephone to AR after verifying the claimant’s identifying information. The county must send all written communications to both the claimant and the AR unless the AR does not have clearance to receive such notices.

The claimant can revoke an AR when the claimant, responsible party, or AR notifies the county in writing.

AR forms are not required when a friend or family member can assist in applying for CAPI benefits. Providing general help or accompanying a claimant to an appointment does not require appointing an individual. An AR cannot sign a “Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment” (SSP 14) form for reimbursement to the state if SSI is granted.  (ACL 21-120, October 1, 2021.)