CalFresh Mid-Period actions

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding action on information received mid-period for CalFresh.

In general, the county must act on mid-period change that would increase benefits and must not act on mid-period information that would decrease the household’s benefits.  The county must act on the following mid-period information that decreases benefits: the household voluntarily asks that the case be closed, the county has information that is considered verified upon receipt, a household member has been identified as a fleeing felon or parole violator, there has been a change in the household’s CalWORKs, SSI or general assistance grant, and the county certifies that a member of the household has received substantial lottery or gambling winnings (defined as equal to or greater than the CalFresh resource test in a single game or bet).

There are three changes that must be reported within 10 days: gross monthly income over the income reporting threshold, reduction in work hours below average 20 hours per week for persons subject to the Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents time limit, and receipt of substantial lottery or gambling winnings.

The county must also act on certain mass changes mid-period.

The county must ensure that mid-period changes that are reported but not acted on are reported on the household’s next SAR or recertification.

When a household reports a change that results in benefits increase, the change must be effective no later than the first allotment issued 10 days after the change was reported.  There are only two situations when the county must issue a supplement to increase benefits when a change is reported too late in the month to increase the household’s next monthly benefit amount: when there is an increase in benefits because of a new household member, and when there is a decrease of more than $50 in the household’s monthly income.

In cases where the county requires verification to act on the change that would result in increased benefits, the county must inform the household in writing of the additional verification needed and that failure to provide the verification will result in no change to benefits.  If the household does not provide the verification within 10 days but provides it later, the time to take action on the change runs from the date of the verification.  The county cannot require verification of changes in income if the income source has not changed, and the change is less than $50, unless the information is incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent or older than 60 days.

Households certified with income between 131 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level do not have a mandatory mid-period income reporting requirement because they already have met their income reporting threshold reporting requirement.

Counties must act mid-period on one of 10 changes whether it increases or decreases benefits.  One of those categories is information that is verified upon receipt.  To be verified upon receipt, the information must be obtained from the primary source, complete, not questionable, and requires no further verification. There are 13 categories of information that is considered verified upon receipt.

The county must follow up on information that is unclear, which is when the county cannot readily determine the effect on the household’s eligibility or benefit amount.  The county must follow up on unclear information by sending a CW2200 request for verification form if it is less than 60 days old and was required to have been reported, or if the unclear information presents significantly conflicting information form that used by the county at initial certification or recertification.  If the unclear information is more than 60 days old, the county cannot act on it.

The county does not need to act on information reported for another program, does not result in a change for the other program, but would decrease CalFresh benefits.  (ACL 21-101, October 15, 2021.)