Impact of Social Security COLA on CalWORKs and CalFresh

Social Security recipients will get a 5.9 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase effective January 1, 2022.  For new CalWORKs and CalFresh applicants, the actual amount of the Social Security benefit, including the COLA, is used for eligibility beginning in January, 2022.  Applicants who apply in November or December, 2021 will have the January amount of Social Security included for January as reasonably anticipated income.

For CalWORKs and CalFresh households in the final month of their Semi-Annual Reporting (SAR) period the county will reasonably anticipate the increase in the Social Security benefit for their upcoming SAR period beginning in January, 2022.

Counties must adjust benefits effective January 1, 2022 to reflect the COLA for all CalWORKs and CalFresh cases with Social Security income as a mid-period county initiated action.

If counties cannot change the CalWORKs or CalFresh grant because of the January, 2022 Social Security COLA, they must decrease the grant amounts the first of the month after timely and adequate notice is provided, and an overpayment assessed accordingly.  (ACIN I-91-21, November 12, 2021.)