CalFresh treatment of earmarked income

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding treatment of earmarked income when determining eligibility for CalFresh and benefit amount.  Earmarked income is income received by the CalFresh applicant or recipient that is designated for a particular purpose.

Unless the source of the earmarked income is otherwise excluded, recurring income that is earmarked and reasonable anticipated to continue is not excluded.  Earmarked income that is received only once, or that is so infrequent that it cannot be reasonably anticipated does not court for CalFresh purposes.

Education assistance that is not otherwise excluded from being considered income for CalFresh is excluded to the extent that it is earmarked by the lender, used for, or intended to be used for, education expenses.

Voluntary contributions from nongovernmental persons or organizations having no liability for the support of the recipient are excluded as income because they are also excluded under CalWORKs rules.

Excluded income is not subject to verification.  Counties can only request verification if the information provided by the applicant or recipient is questionable, that is,the information is inconsistent with the applicant or recipient’s prior statements or with other information the County has.  A county’s determination that information is questionable must be based on an individualized inquiry.  When verification is required, the county must use the CW 2200 form to request the verification, document in the case file why the information received was considered questionable, and state what documentation was used to resolve the questionable information. (ACIN I-01-24, January 5, 2024.)