Extension of COVID-19 CalFresh waivers

California has been granted waivers of the initial application and recertification interview (if certain criteria are met); and of the recording requirement for telephonic signatures (if certain criteria are met) because of COVID-19.  These waivers have been extended until December 31, 2022.

Approval of these waivers requires California to state that a State of Emergency or disaster declaration continues at the time of the request.  The federal Food and Nutrition Service will approve additional waivers for up to three months.  If the State wants to continue using a waiver for longer than three months, the State can submit an extension request in the third month of the waiver timeframe.  No waiver may continue beyond the end of the month after the month when the federal COVID-19 public health emergency declaration is lifted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  (ACWDL, September 26, 2022.)

COVID-19 CalFresh emergency allotment for September, 2022

California has been approved to issue an emergency allotment of CalFresh for September, 2022.  All households will receive at least the maximum CalFresh allotment.  Households eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size are now eligible to receive an emergency allotment of $95 per month. Households who are not eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size, but whose emergency allotment would be less than $95 per month to receive the maximum allotment, will receive additional CalFresh benefits to raise their emergency allotment to the $95 minimum.

The emergency allotment will be issued on October 16, 2022.

Moving forward, emergency allotments may be approved by FNS on a month-to-month basis until the Secretary of Health and Human Services rescinds the public health emergency.  There will be a one-month phase out of emergency allotments after the public health emergency is rescinded.  (ACWDL, September 2, 2022.)

COVID-19 CalFresh emergency allotment for August, 2022

California has been approved to issue an emergency allotment of CalFresh for August, 2022.  All households will receive at least the maximum CalFresh allotment.  Households eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size are now eligible to receive an emergency allotment of $95 per month. Households who are not eligible to receive the maximum allowable allotment based on household size, but whose emergency allotment would be less than $95 per month to receive the maximum allotment, will receive additional CalFresh benefits to raise their emergency allotment to the $95 minimum.

The emergency allotment will be issued on September 4, 2022 for CalSAWS counties and September 10, 2022 for CalWIN counties.

Moving forward, emergency allotments may be approved by FNS on a month-to-month basis until the Secretary of Health and Human Services rescinds the public health emergency.  There will be a one-month phase out of emergency allotments after the public health emergency is rescinded.  (ACWDL, August 19, 2022.)

Expiration of COVID-19 child care flexibilities

Several child care flexibilities because of COVID-19 expired on June 30, 2022.  The requirement for providers to collect parent signatures on daily attendance records is reinstated effective July 1, 2022.

Providers can no longer bill for nonoperational days because of COVID 19 effective July 1, 2022.  Providers still can be reimbursed for 10 paid nonoperational days if the have documentation of the contractual terms that they use for non-subsidized children in their care which require payment for non-operational days.

Temporary emergency vouchers for children of essential workers, at-risk children, and children with disabilities or special healthcare needs whose individualized education plan or family service plans include early learning and care expired on June 30, 2022.  Families with emergency child care vouchers have first priority for enrollment into ongoing child care services in CAPP and CMAP.

Contractors must issue notices of action to the parent when changes are made to the service agreement.  This includes an increase or decrease in the amount of services, or termination of service.  Contractors must issue a notice of action to families transitioning from temporary emergency child care to ongoing child care to inform them of their 12-month eligibility.  Providers must also be issued a notice on the same day the notice of action is issued to the family.  (CCB 22-15, June 30, 2022.)

End of requiring CalWORKs overpayments to be classified as administrative error

All CalWORKs overpayments established on or after August 1, 2021 for the period April, 2020 to either the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency or June 30, 2022, whichever is earlier, must be classified as administrative error.  Because the COVID-19 state of emergency remained in effect, the requirement to establish all CalWORKs overpayments as administrative error ended on June 30, 2022.  (ACWDL, June 27, 2022.)

Referring CALWORKS overpayments that occurred during COVID-19 for IPV investigation

CalWORKs overpayments established on or after August 1, 2021 for the period April, 2020 to or June 30, 2022, must be classified as administrative error.  However, counties are still required to refer any overpayment for investigation when they suspect fraud.  An overpayment that is initially classified as an AE under this policy must be reclassified if the county substantiates an Intentional Program Violation (IPV). An IPV can only be substantiated through a criminal court conviction, a signed Disqualification Consent Agreement, an Administrative Disqualification Hearing (ADH), or a signed ADH waiver.

Counties should consider how restrictions of in-person appointments, employment instability, income fluctuation, and delays in processing unemployment benefits have affected the ability for recipients to timely report changes when determining whether it is appropriate to refer a case for investigation as an intentional program violation.  (ACL 21-151, January 22, 2022.)