CalWORKs direct deposit bank account standards

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has released an update on bank account standards for direct deposit of CalWORKs benefits.

The Welfare and Institutions Code allows direct deposit by electronic fund transfers to qualifying financial institution accounts selected by CalWORKs recipients. However, some non-bank organizations charge an overdraft fee. To protect against these actions, SB 497 and this ACL set out criteria that extend protection from overdraft fees, and sets standards accounts to be considered qualifying accounts for direct deposit of government benefits.

There are two types of account that are considered qualifying accounts.  One is a demand deposit or savings account at an insured depository financial institution

County treasurer and county welfare departments are not responsible for allowing direct deposits into accounts that do not meet the necessary requirements for a “qualifying account” under SB 497.  Counties are recommended to give information about qualifying accounts when telling applicants and recipients about their option to use direct deposit accounts at application and redetermination, and additionally upon request.  The EBT 2216 form can be used to give this information.

Form EBT 2216 was created to inform clients and recipients about using EBT cards and direct deposit accounts to receive government assistance benefits. This form now includes information on overdraft fees and qualified accounts. EBT 2216 is a mandatory form and cannot be changed.  (ACL 22-82, October 20, 2022.)