BenefitsCal Release of Information

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has announced the release of the integrated release of information form for BenefitsCal.

Currently, people can request access to their county welfare department file using the ABCDM 228 form, or an alternative document that identifies the participant releasing the information and the agency institution or provider to whom information is released.

People can grant access to the county welfare department case file information in BenefitsCal using the ABCDM 229 form, which will be integrated into the BenefitsCal portal.  The ABCDM 229 form is the only way for a community based organization (CBO) to access client information on BenefitsCal.  Either the benefits applicant or the CBO can submit ABCDM 229 form by document upload to BenefitsCal.  The ABCDM 229 can also be submitted to the county in a paper format.

With a ABCDM 229 release of information, CBOs can access notice of action, verification requests, benefit award, program status, termination reasons, and upcoming SAR 7 and renewal dates.  CBOs will be able to access information in BenefitsCal for up to 1 year.  However, benefits award, program status, termination reasons and upcoming SAR 7 and renewal due dates will be limited to 60 days of case history.

To have access to BenefitsCal, a CBO must have a formal written agreement with the state or with any county, and have been approved by a county for a CBO account.  After the ABCD 229 is submitted, the county will determine whether the person who signed the form is the primary applicant in the household and whether the data elements in the system align with the information in the form.  If not, the county may contact the applicant to resolve any discrepancies.  If the county cannot resolve the issues, the form will remain pending for up to 365 days.  The county should fix data mismatches can be easily resolved (such as using the name Jim instead of James) without contacting the applicant.

Applicants can revoke a release of information at any time.  CBOs cannot revoke a release of information.

A separate ABCDM 229 is required for each county that a client has a case in (for example if a client moves) and for each CBO that the client authorizes.  (ACL 23-37, May 1, 2023.)