Increase in CalWORKs resource limit

Effective January 1, 2024, the CalWORKs resource limit for applicants and recipients will increase to $11,634 or $17,452 for assistance units that include at least one member who is age 60 or older, or disabled. This is a 6.85% increase based on the California Necessities Index. This increase also applies to Refugee Cash Assistance, Entrant Cash Assistance, and Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program.  (ACL 23-71, September 1, 2023.)

Providing CalWORKs supportive services via contractors

WTW participants are eligible to receive supportive services, including child care, transportation, and ancillary expenses.  If supportive services are not provided, the participant has good cause not to participate.

The California Department of Social Services has informed counties that they can allow Welfare-to-Work (WTW) contractors to provide supportive services directly to participants.  These contractors include job search agencies, education agencies, and other entities that provide WTW services. Counties may enter into written agreements or memorandum of understanding to directly provide supportive services to WTW participants.

Counties should continue to process overpayments of supportive services including overpayments of supportive services issued by contractors, without change.  (ACIN I-42-23, August 8, 2023.)

Requirement to use CW 80 Self-Certification Form for Motor Vehicles

The California Department of Social Services has issued a reminder that counties must use the CW 80 Self-Certification Form for Motor Vehicles for CalWORKs applicants and recipients.  The CW 80 form must be used at application and redetermination instead of the SAWS 2 Plus Appendix E while the SAWS 2 Plus is being updated. The CW 80 must also be used for mid-period reports and at the semi-annual reporting if the recipient is reporting a vehicle.  CDSS is releasing this reminder because file reviews showed that counties were using the SAWS 2 Plus instead of the CW 80.

When the revised SAWS 2 Plus is available, the CW 80 will only be used for mid-period of a vehicle that was not previously reported. (ACIN I-42-23, August 8, 2023.)

Revised WTW 5 form to reflect changed Welfare to Work pregnancy exemption

Effective January 1, 2022, all pregnant CalWORKs recipients are exempt from Welfare to Work participation.  Pregnancy verification is no longer required prior to granting the Welfare to Work exemption. The exemption may continue for the duration of the pregnancy if medical verification of the pregnancy is provided.  Counties no longer determine whether an individual qualifies for the Welfare to Work pregnancy exemption because it is no longer tied to ability to work because of pregnancy.

The California Department of Social Services WTW 5 Welfare to Work notice has now been updated to reflect the new pregnancy exemption from Welfare to Work.  (ACL 23-61, July 18, 2023.)

End of Homeless Assistance eligibility because of COVID-19

The California Department of Social Service (CDSS) has informed counties of the end of CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA) eligibility because of COVID-19. In general, families can only receive HA once per year.  However, there is an exception to the once per year limitation because of a disaster.  Effective May 12, 2023, families can no longer receive HA under the disaster exception when homelessness is because of COVID-19.  Families may still be eligible for an HA exception for medically verified mental of physical disability because of COVID.

Going forward, HA applications do not need to be made in person or include a face-to-face interview.  Counties can complete the HA application and have the client sign it electronically.

Counties can continue to accept sworn statements or verbal attestations that HA benefits were properly spent or housing search was done.  Counties can also grant good cause for not providing paper verification.

Counties can record a verbal attestation for the homeless assistance application form when the county cannot get a written or electronic signature.  Counties that cannot record verbal attestation can enter a journal not stating the attestation.

For clients on vendor payments because of fraud or mismanagement, counties can issue HA benefits directly to the EBT card when there is no feasible way to issue a vendor payment.  (ACL 23-56, June 26, 2023.)

CalWORKs time limit exemption for indian country residents in areas with over fifty percent unemployment

The California Department of Social Service (CDSS) has informed County Welfare Departments (CWDs) of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program updates on whether the Indian Country residents who participate qualify for federal and state time limit exemptions. Individuals are exempt from both CalWORKs and federal TANF time limits when the individual is on aid and lives in Indian Country or in an Alaskan Native Village where at least fifty percent unemployment are exempt from both federal and state time limits. The letter identifies federally recognized tribes that had over fifty percent unemployment in 2022. The exemption also applies to tribal TANF programs.

Individuals who live in these areas qualify for the time limit exemption for specified months. If an individual lives in the exterior boundaries of an Indian reservation that is not listed in the letter as having over fifty percent unemployment, the county or Tribal TANF program can get written documentation from the tribe that the individual lived in an area where unemployment of adults is 50 percent or higher.

CalWORKs applicants and recipients must be informed of all program time limit requirements and of how to request an exemption. Recipients must also be provided with information about their accumulated time on aid at specific intervals. (ACL 23-38, April 27, 2023.)