CalFresh verification of Social Security Numbers for newborns

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a clarification regarding verification of Social Security Numbers for newborns for CalFresh purposes.  CalFresh recipients may voluntarily report changes in household composition at any time during the certification period, and the change must take effect next month. When the change is reported too late in the month to increase benefits for the next month, , the County must issue supplemental benefits.

All CalFresh applicants must provide their Social Security Number (SSN) or proof of SSN application prior to certification. However, a newborn baby is exempt from this requirement for six months. If the household is unable to provide a SSN or proof of applying for a SSN for a newborn, the County must determine if there is a good cause for non-compliance and, if good cause is found, approve an additional month’s benefit. The County must review information from multiple sources, including the family member and the Social Security Administration, and must accept documentary evidence of the SSN application.

If the household cannot provide an SSN when they apply for CalFresh for the newborn, the child is eligible until the next recertification or six months after the application, whichever is later. If the recertification is earlier, the county must send the family a Request for Verification Form (CW 2200) six months after benefits are granted.  The family will have ten days to respond to the request for verification.  If the recertification is more than six months after benefits are granted, the county must request the child’s SSN during the recertification process.  If the household does not provide the child’s SSN, the child will be excluded from the CalFresh household unless there is good cause for the newborn not having a SSN.

A new baby must be added to the CalFresh program one month after verbal communication of the newborn and date of birth. Counties cannot require the household to complete an application form to add the newborn to the CalFresh household.  (ACIN I-54-22, July 22, 2022.)