Changes to CalWORKs recipient financial eligibility test

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding continuing financial eligibility for CalWORKs recipients.  When a family receiving CalWORKs has an income increase that takes over 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (the Income Reporting Threshold or IRT), they must report that to the county.  This is a report that must be made mid-period when it happens, this is between required semi-annual reports.

Counties must now determine continuing eligibility after an income report of income report determining: 1) whether the income is over the IRT; 2) if it is over the IRT, is it reasonable anticipated to continue; 3) if it is does the income reported, minus any of that income which is exempt from consideration for CalWORKs purposes, is more than the IRT.  If it is, the CalWORKs grant will be recalculated accordingly.  The critical change is subtracting any exempt income before redetermining eligibility and benefit amount.

Families must continue to report when their total gross and unearned income exceeds the IRT, but continuing financial eligibility will be determined after determining if the income is reasonably anticipated to continue, and whether it exceeds the IRT after subtracting exempt income.

This change also applies to Refugee Cash Assistance, Entrant Cash Assistance, and Trafficking and Crime Victim Assistance Program benefits.  (ACL 23-96, December 26, 2023.)