The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued updates regarding the assessment and approval process of campus based Local Programs that Increase Employability (LPIE) for the CalFresh program.
In general, persons who are enrolled at least half-time in an institution of higher learning are ineligible for CalFresh. There are several exceptions to this rule which allow college students to be eligible for CalFresh. One of those exceptions is the student is participating in an employment and training program operated by a state or local government which has one or more components that are equivalent to a CalFresh Employment and Training Component. Those components include Adult Basic Education, Career & Technical Education, English Language Acquisition, Work Readiness Training, and Work Experience. CDSS determines whether a state or local program qualifies under this definition.
Campus based programs that meet these requirements must submit an application to CDSS on or before September 1, 2022. Counties will no longer participate in the process of identifying campus based LPIEs. CDSS has a list of approved programs on its website. After September 1, 2022, the list will be updated monthly to identify new programs, newly qualifying programs and previously approved programs that no longer meet the criteria.
CDSS has determined that Campus Based Employment and Research and Teaching Assistantship Program always meet the criteria for being considered LPIEs and therefore students in those programs are eligible for CalFresh benefits. Students enrolled in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will continue to eligible because those students have a different exemption from the student rule.
Programs at private institutions are no longer eligible for LPIE status because the programs must be operated by a state or local government. Previously approved programs at private institutions are removed from the approved list effective September 1, 2022. Students who are already enrolled in those programs and are receiving CalFresh on that basis must remain eligible for the length of their certification period. Student eligibility status must be reassessed at the student’s next recertification.
Most state-funded and foster youth programs previously approved as LPIEs will be removed from the approved list. These programs will need to be individually assessed and approved as meeting the criteria to be LPIEs. Programs that were previously approved that now must be individually identified and assessed as having a component equivalent to a CalFresh Education and Training component include: Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) & Student Academic Services (SAS), Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) Program, McNair Scholars Program, Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program, Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) Program, Guardian Scholars Program, Foster Youth Success Initiative (FYSI), Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support (CAFYES), Chafee Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program, and Extended Foster Care (AB 12/AB 212). Students who are already enrolled in those programs and are receiving CalFresh on that basis must remain eligible for the length of their certification period. Student eligibility status must be reassessed at the student’s next recertification.
Students who are enrolled in a LPIE should be informed by their campus that they meet an exception to the student eligibility rule. If a student states, verbally or in writing, that they are enrolled in a program that is on the list of approved LPIEs, counties should exempt the student from the student rule unless that information is questionable. If the information is questionable, acceptable verification can include, a transcript, an email from an instructor, verbal affirmation from a campus official, or targeted outreach emails from campuses to LPIE enrollees. If a program does not appear on the LPIE list, counties must explore whether the student is enrolled in another LPIE or meets another exemption from the student rule before determining that the student is ineligible for CalFresh. (ACL 22-46, June 3, 2022.)