Eligibility of Ukranian nationals for federal and state benefits

THIS LETTER HAS BEEN SUPERCEEDED FOR FEDERAL BENEFITS.  SEE ACWDL, July 6, 2022, summarized here.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding eligibility of Ukranian nationals for various public benefits programs.

Ukranian arrivals who have refugee or asylee status qualify for CalWORKs, CalFresh, SSI, and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA).

Ukranian refugees and asylees are eligible for RCA. Persons with Temporary Protected Status are not eligible for RCA.  Counties must accept a declaration under penalty of perjury of the applicant’s immigration status while documentary verification is pending.

Ukranian nationals who have Temporary Protected Status are not eligible for most federal or state public benefits.

Ukranian humanitarian parolees can be eligible for CalWORKs with state funds.  This is because humanitarian parolees have Permanent Residence Under Color of Law (PRUCOL).  This includes eligibility for Homeless Assistance and Housing Support Program, both of which can supplement federal refugee resettlement funding.

Ukranian humanitarian parolees are eligible for the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI).  They are not eligible for SSI.

Ukranian humanitarian parolees are eligible for CalFresh or California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) if they have been paroled into the United States for at least one year.  Paroled for at least one year means the duration of parole.  A humanitarian parolee is eligible for CalFresh or CFAP from the day they are paroled into the United States if their parole will last at least one year.  Ukranian humanitarian parolees for less than one year are not eligible for CalFresh or CFAP.

Public interest parolees must be admitted to the United States for at least one year and must meet two additional criteria to be eligible for CalFresh, including five years of residence, working 40 quarters, children under age 18, elderly or disabled as defined.  People who do not meet two of the additional criteria can be eligible for CFAP.

Ukranians with refugee, asylee or humanitarian parolee status are eligible for Project Roomkey, Bringing Families Home, Housing and Disability Advocacy Program, and Home Safe.

Ukranian arrivals, including humanitarian parolees, can be eligible for Medi-Cal.

Regardless of the documentation presented, counties must verify immigration status with the SAVE system.  (ACIN I-40-22, April 22, 2022, ACIN I-40-22E, May 24, 2022.)

Revision of SOC 473 CAPI form

The California Department of Social Services has issued a revised SOC 473 form for screening of Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) Household Expenses and Contributions form.

Among other things, the new SOC 473 form:

Defines key terms for the CAPI program.

Screens for the Medicaid Medical Facility payment standard.

Screens for the out of home payment standard.

Screens for separate household status of people living in the same household as a CAPI applicant.

CDSS also clarified its policy regarding when a CAPI applicant is unable to obtain third-party verification.  When the applicant or recipient is unable to obtain required documentation from a third party, the county should obtain a written statement under penalty of perjury from the claimant stating that he or she does not have the requested information, naming the third party who does have the information, and that the applicant or recipient asked the third party for the information and the third party did not provide it.  When third parties fail to provide documentation requested by the county to determine CAPI eligibility, the county must accept the claimant’s sworn statement regarding payment of rent and rental liability.  (ACL 22-12, February 16, 2022, ACL 22-12E, August 17, 2022.)

Instructions on interpreter services and confidentiality agreement

County welfare departments must offer free bilingual or interpreter services to all non-English speaking or limited English proficient persons. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a new form, the CR 6181, to inform non-English speaking or limited English proficient persons of the risks of using their own interpreter instead of using a free interpreter provided the county.  Counties must use this form when applicants or recipients choose to use their own interpreter after being offer a free interpreter by the county.  The CR 6181 form replaces any county form previously used for this purpose.

The county must ensure that the applicant or recipient and their interpreter have read and understood the CR 6181 form.  The county must provide the CR 6181 form in the applicant or recipient’s primary language (if it has been translated into that language), and provide an interpreter to help with understanding the form.   If the applicant/recipient or their interpreter refuse to sign the form, the county must use a county-provided interpreter or bilingual staff member.

The form must be completed at redetermination, if it was signed over a year previous, or if the applicant/recipient chooses a different interpreter.

For telephone or virtual communication, the county must use a county provided interpreter unless a CR 6181 is already on file.  If there is a CR 6181 on file, the applicant/recipient can use their own interpreter.  If there is not a CR 6181 on file, it was signed over a year previous, or a different interpreter was named on the form, the county must read the form to the applicant/recipient in their primary language age get verbal consent to the risks of using their own interpreter.

The CR 6181 does not replace the GEN 1365 Notice of Language Services which informs individuals of their right to free language assistance services.  Counties are reminded that they must advise clients of their right to a free interpreter, and must provide interpreter services promptly and without delay.  Although clients can use their own interpreter, a county must not compel or encourage them to do so.  A client can use a minor as an interpreter only in extenuating circumstances.  (ACL 21-128, November 12, 2021.)

Increase in CAPI payment standard

Effective January 1, 2021, CAPI recipients will receive a 5.9 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).  This increase reflects the 5.9 percent COLA for SSI benefits.  This increase will also be reflected in the presumed maximum value for in-kind support and maintenance, allowance for ineligible children in deeming situations, sponsor’s allocation in alien deeming situations and allowance for parents in parent-to-child deeming situations.  (ACIN I-92-21, November 16, 2021.)

 

Appointing Authorized Representatives (AR) in the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance for the Cash Assistance Program Immigrants (CAPI) regarding appointing authorized representatives (AR).

An AR can be appointed by the CAPI claimant (if they have the legal capacity to make decisions), a parent of a claimant under 18, or a legal guardian or a conservator.  Counties may not recognize an organization, firm, or entities as the AR.  An individual from that entity or organization must sign as the AR.  More than one person can serve as an AR.

The process for appointing an AR is:

-The claimant signs a written notice or AR form stating that they want a representative when dealing with the state or county regarding their case.

-The representative needs to agree and sign the notice (an attorney is not required to sign a notice of appointment); and

-The notice is signed and filed at their county office.

Temporary COVID procedures allow for electronic or digitized signatures on AR are acceptable but require verbal confirmation from the claimant. If the claimant is unavailable for verbal confirmation, the appointment of AR is not added to the claimant’s document.  When the COVID procedures are no longer in effect, all AR forms must have a wet signature.

The claimant may file an AR form by mail, email, fax, or in person, so long as the claimant or the AR retains the initially signed document.

An AR acts on behalf of the claimant for the duration of their appointment. An AR’s authority includes signing applications or forms on behalf of the claimant, gathering the information that would be disclosed to the claimant if they are unable to do so, submitting evidence, examining documents, requesting appeals, and being notified of any decision made on behalf of the claimant. More than one individual may serve as a claimant’s AR at any time. When there are multiple ARs, there needs to be specificity on will be a primary representative.  The county will send all written communication about the case to both the claimant and the AR unless the claimant has limited to scope of the AR’s authority.

The county may disclose information to an AR over the phone if the AR verifies who they are and discloses the claimant’s identifying information. County officials authenticate the request by verifying appointment time, information and reviewing any limitations the claimant has set in place.

The AR does not have the authority to change personal information on records, including names and mailing addresses, unless the AR is qualified. The county may disclose information by telephone to AR after verifying the claimant’s identifying information. The county must send all written communications to both the claimant and the AR unless the AR does not have clearance to receive such notices.

The claimant can revoke an AR when the claimant, responsible party, or AR notifies the county in writing.

AR forms are not required when a friend or family member can assist in applying for CAPI benefits. Providing general help or accompanying a claimant to an appointment does not require appointing an individual. An AR cannot sign a “Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment” (SSP 14) form for reimbursement to the state if SSI is granted.  (ACL 21-120, October 1, 2021.)

Eligibility of Afghan Humanitarian Parolees for Refugee Resettlement Program, CalWORKs, CalFresh and SSI

THIS POLICY IS SUPERCEEDED BY ACWDL December 2, 2021, summarized here, for federal benefits.

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding eligibility of Afghan Humanitarian Parolees Afghanistan for Refugee Resettlement Program, CalWORKs and CalFresh benefits.

Humanitarian Parolees are not eligible for Refugee Cash Assistance or any other Office of Refugee Resettlement programs.

Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for CalWORKs from the day they are paroled into the United States.

Humanitarian Parolees are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants.

Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for CalFresh only if they have been paroled into the United States for at least one year, and, among other factors, have lived in the United States for qualified aliens, have 40 quarters of qualifying work, or are children under age 18.

Humanitarian Parolees are eligible for the California Food Assistance Program when the have been paroled into the United States for one year or more.

Regardless of documentation provided, the county must submit these cases to the SAVE system for immigration status verification. (ACWDL, September 3, 2021 and Errata, September 17, 2021.)