Extension of CalFresh Standard Medical Expense Deduction

The California Department of Social Services has provided policy guidance regarding extension of the CalFresh Standard Medical Expense Deduction (SMD).  The SMD waiver was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2021 and has been extended to September 30, 2025.

The SMD is a standard $120 per month deduction for households with an elderly and/or disabled member with verified medical expenses of at least $35 per month.  Households with more than $155 per month in verified medical expenses can deduct all expenses from their income.

If a household voluntarily reports and verifies an increase in medical expenses mid-period, and the report of a new or changed medical expense 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 was reported.

Failure to verify medical expenses is not a basis to deny or discontinue a case.

Countable medical expenses include the cost of health insurance premiums; co-payments for appointments or prescriptions; acupuncture, chiropractic or herbal treatments; health care supplies and equipment, incontinence supplies; maintaining care attendants, home health aides, homemakers or child care services that are necessary because of age, disability or illness; over the counter drugs, ointments, or other treatments recommended by a licensed health care practitioner (excluding nutritional drinks, other dietary supplements, and medical marijuana); eyeglasses, contact lens solution, hearing aids, batteries, dental care, dentures; costs of public or private car transportation to health care appointments or pharmacies at the federal mileage reimbursement rate; and any paid or outstanding medical bills for which there is no third party reimbursement (a bill can be averaged over the remaining months in the CalFresh certification period or claims in one month, whichever is better for the household).  (ACL 21-117, September 30, 2021; ACL 21-117E, January 11, 2022.)