The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) informs counties of changes in sanctions, exemptions, good cause, and counting of Paid Family Leave.
For CalWORKs, the first $225, and then one-half of remaining disability-based income is disregarded. Effective October 1, 2024 or when automation is completed, whichever is later, disability-based income will include Paid Family Leave benefits. Note that the $225 initial disregard amount will also increase when the addition of Paid Family Leave benefits as disability-based income occurs.
In addition, effective October 1, 2024 or when automation is completed, whichever is later any month in which a CalWORKs recipient receives Paid Family Leave benefits will not count towards the CalWORKs 60-month time on aid clock. This exemption only applies to the CalWORKs time on aid clock and does not apply to the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families time on aid clock.
16 and 17 year olds who are required to attend school, and qualifying custodial parents under age 20 are exempt from Welfare-to-Work participation as long as they are attending school. Previously, individuals lost this exemption if they stopped attending school. Effective January 1, 2023, these individual can regain their exemption if they return to school.
Effective January 1, 2023, there are several new reasons for good cause for not meeting Welfare-to-Work requirements. A CalWORKs recipient should be granted good cause for nonparticipation in Welfare-to-Work if anticipated hours of employment are unpredictable, the recipient has one of list of labor or employment law violations, the recipients states they have experienced sexual harassment or other abusive conduct at work, or the recipient states that their rights under and federal, state or local labor or employment law were violated. A recipient is not required to verify their statement, and is not required to reference any specific law. These good cause reasons may not last longer than three months.
These good cause reasons also apply to CalFresh work requirements. (ACL 23-30, March 22, 2023.)