Duties regarding county Statement of Position to Limited English Proficient claimants

County hearings representative for both California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) programs must enclose the GEN 1365 Notice of Language Services form with the Statement of Position.  For non-county administered DHCS programs, county hearings representatives must enclose the DHCS Non-Discrimination Policy and Language Access Process document.

CDSS is working on a new version of the GEN 1365 specifically for fair hearings that will be released soon.

When the applicant or recipient indicates their preference for communication in a language other than English, counties must provide forms in that language when the translation is provided by CDSS or DHCS in that language.  Counties must provide oral interpretation services of any document on request, including non-standardized forms and individually tailored documents.  If requested, the county or agency must provide an oral interpretation of the Statement of Position, including any exhibits attached to the Statement of Position, at least two days before the hearing.

When the county is aware of the need for assistance in a language that is not listed in the GEN 1365, the county or agency should attempt to inform the claimant of how to get a free oral interpretation of the Statement of Position in the claimant’s preferred language.  (ACL 22-56, July 8, 2022.)

Approved Relative Caregiver benefits eligibility for out-of-state placements

The Adult Relative Caregiver (ARC) program provides payments on behalf of children and Non-Minor Dependants (NMDs) who are placed with approved relatives, but are not eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Care-Foster Care payments, and meet other existing eligibility requirements. 

Effective January 1, 2022, ARC payments are available on behalf of children/NMDs in out-of-state placements with relatives when the children/NMDs are not eligible for AFDC-FC.

Homes must be licensed or approved in the receiving state consistent with the requirements of the state in which the home is located. The county placing agency is responsible for contacting the receiving state to determine these requirements. 

This ARC eligibility does not change a foster child or nonminor dependent’s (NMDs) eligibility to receive CalWORKs when placed in another state. If a child is placed in a state where the
host state’s foster care rate is lower than California’s CalWORKs grant for an Assistance Unit of one, then the relative caregiver can opt to receive CalWORKs instead of ARC. Counties should
inform caregivers of the option to receive CalWORKs payments or receive ARC.  (ACL 21-141, December 3, 2021 and ACL 21-141E, February 1, 2022.)

Posted in ARC

CalWORKs, CalFresh, and other programs treatment of rebates, refunds and credits under American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 contains several tax credits and rebates, including Earned Income Tax Credit, additional child tax credits, and child and dependent tax credits.  These individual rebates are excluded from consideration as income, and as an asset for 12 months after receipt for CalWORKs, CalFresh, Refugee Cash Assistance, Entrant Cash Assistance, Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payments, Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants, programs that fund foster care payments, Approved Relative Caregiver program, and Emergency Assistance funding.  (ACL 21-37, March 26, 2021.)

Separation of SIU and eligibility determination functions

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a reminder to counties that management of eligibility determination and program integrity investigation must be separate.

County Special Investigative Unit (SIU) staff is responsible for preventing and discovering fraud by applicants and recipients.  SIU staff must investigate fraud allegations.  County eligibility workers are responsible for referring cases to the SIU.

The SIU must be a separate organization, independent of organizations performing eligibility and benefit determination functions.  Counties must ensure separate and independent operation of eligibility and investigation activities.  SIU staff cannot dictate CalWORKs or CalFresh eligibility determinations but can make recommendations.  (All County Welfare Directors Letter May 1, 2019.)

Disability and domestic violence questions computer system flags

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued directions regarding AB 2030.  AB 2030 requires CDSS to include in any amendments or revisions to standard application or semi-annual reporting forms after January 1, 2019 that allow applicants or recipients to disclose disabilities, the need for reasonable accommodations because of a disability and any experiences of domestic violence. 

CDSS states that initial application forms and semiannual report will capture the need for reasonable accommodations the next time they are revised.

The current welfare computer system vary in how they flag reasonable accommodations.  CalWIN has an icon for disability accommodations that is displayed in the upper-right side of the “Display Individual Demographics Summary” window.  CalACES North (formerly known as C-IV) can flag cases with an indicator type that county users can select (special accommodations, special circumstances etc.)  CalACES South (formerly known as LRS) allows any county user with access to falg a case to alert the first point of contact.  These flags are identified by a banner at the top of every page.  (ACL 19-13, February 21, 2019.)

Short-term interim funding for emergency caregivers

CDSS has issued instructions implementing interim funding for caregivers who have taken placement of children or non-minor dependants  on an emergency basis.  This funding is to provide benefits while a Resource Family Approval (RFA) application is pending.  The funding is needed because of a backlog in processing RFA applications.

Counties must provide payments the emergency caregiver equal to the basic level rate paid to resource families.  This funding will remain in effect until June 30, 2018.  Payments are effective the date the emergency caregiver signs the RFA application form.  There will not be payments prior to the date of application.

In the first month the child is eligible for interim funding, CalWORKs payments on behalf of the child do not count as income.  This means that receipt of CalWORKs does not impact the calculation of interim caregiver funding.

If emergency placement funding is required for a family for longer than 60 days, the county must document good cause for the RFA application not being processed , identify a prior backlog of RFA applications and submit a backlog plan.  (ACL 18-33, March 30, 2018.)