Withdrawing state hearing requests

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) State Hearings Division (SHD) has issued instructions regarding withdrawing of a state hearing request.  A claimant or the Authorized Representative can withdraw a hearing request any time before a decision is issued.

A withdrawal can be unconditional or conditional.  An unconditional withdrawal is a complete retraction of the hearing request without conditions.  There are three ways to unconditionally withdraw a hearing request.  A claimant can request an unconditional withdrawal in the ACMS computer system if they have an account.  A claimant can submit a request to unconditionally withdraw their hearing by mail, fax or email.  A claimant can submit a verbal request to unconditionally withdraw their hearing request using the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system or by telephone.  SHD will send a letter to the claimant confirming the unconditional withdrawal request.

The opposing party may be aware that the claimant wants to unconditionally withdraw their hearing request.  If the opposing party tells SHD that the claimant or their Authorized Representative wants to unconditionally withdraw a hearing request, SHD will contact the clamant to confirm their intent to unconditionally withdraw their hearing request. If the claimant has any questions, SHD will tell the claimant to talk to the opposing party.  If the claimant or Authorized Representative confirms that they want to unconditionally withdraw the hearing request, SHD will enter the withdrawal in ACMS and will send the claimant a letter confirming the unconditional withdrawal.

A conditional withdrawal is a retraction of the hearing request based on the opposing party’s agreement to certain actions to resolve the case.  A conditional withdrawal must be in writing signed by the claimant or their Authorized Representative.

SHD will accept any conditional withdrawal request that is submitted by mail, fax, email, text, IVR, phone, or uploaded to ACMS, that includes written terms and is signed by the opposing party and the claimant.  These methods are considered to be a valid electronic signature.

A claimant or Authorized Representative can confirm a conditional withdrawal by phone with SHD.  The opposing party must contact the claimant to confirm the agreement.  The opposing party cannot rely on a telephonic signature unless they have gotten the claimant’s consent.  If the opposing party parts gets consent, they must upload the terms to ACMS.  SHD will then contact the claimant to confirm the terms.

The claimant or Authorized Representative can use the SHD IVR to state the terms of a conditional withdrawal.  If the opposing party has their own IVR, it can upload a recording of the terms to ACMS.  The agreement must state that the parties complete all terms within 30 days.

If the case has multiple opposing parties, all parties must consent to the conditional withdrawal.

When a case is withdrawn, SHD will notify all parties that the hearing request has been dismissed.

If the claimant or Authorized Representative does not appear at the hearing and a conditional withdrawal has not been processed, SHD will dismiss the case.

A party can withdraw a rehearing request any time before SHD acts on it.  After a rehearing request has been granted, the claimant can withdraw it with the approval of the Chief Administrative Law Judge.  The parties can submit a conditional withdrawal to resolve the case after rehearing is granted.  SHD will review the terms to ensure that all issues in the rehearing are addressed, and then will forward the request to the Chief Administrative Law Judge for approval.  (ACL 23-82, September 19, 2023.)


New NA Back 9 form

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a revised version of the NA Back 9 form, which is the form on the back of every Notice of Action for a CDSS administered program about hearing rights and how to request a hearing.  The new NA Back 9 form includes the ability to request a preferred hearing modality, instructions on submitting hearing requests online or by email, and information about on-line hearings accounts.

Counties must begin using the new NA Back 9 form when automation in the CalSAWS computer system is complete.  All county generated notices must include the revised NA Back 9 after it is programmed into CalSAWS.  CDSS does not state when to expect the revised NA Back 9 to be programmed into CalSAWS or state a deadline for that programming.

Counties must include the local legal aid office(s) in the “Get Help” section of the new NA Back 9.

Agencies that use a form other than the NA Back 9 to request a hearing must have those forms reviewed and approved by the CDSS State Hearings Division.  (ACL 23-81, September 19, 2023.)

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.)