Treatment of income from Guaranteed Income Pilot Programs for various program

Payments issued under the State Funded Guaranteed Income (GI) Pilot Program are exempt from being considered income and resource for various state and local benefit and assistance programs. There are seven pilot programs to support former foster youth and or pregnant individuals. This CDSS guidance only applies to State Funded Guaranteed Income (GI) Pilot Programs.

Cal Fresh: GI payments will not count as income but may count as resources.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD denied a waiver that would exempt payments from determinations. HUD did provide a list of options that may exempt GI.

Medical and Children’s Health Insurance Program: The federal government gave approval to disregard payments from a California pilot GI project as income for 12 months for Non-Magi eligibility. Medi-Cal will no longer count resources as an eligibility determination as of January 1,2024. Former foster youth are eligible for Medi-Cal regardless of income.

Refugee Cash Assistance: GI payments will not count as income or resources.

Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: The Administration of Children and Families may approve a GI exemption for individual’s tribes through an amendment to a tribes Tribal Family Assistance Plan

Women Infants and Children (WIC): If the person is currently enrolled in Medi-Cal, CalWORKs or Cal Fresh no income assessment is needed because participants in those programs are categorically eligible for WIC. If a WIC recipient is not enrolled in one of those programs, GI income may impact eligibility.

GI payments are exempt from all state benefit or assistance programs. This includes but is not limited to Assistance Dog Special Allowance, CalWORKs, Cash Assistance Programs for Immigrants, Trafficking and Crime Assistance Programs (TCVAP), California Food Assistance Program, and Childcare and Development Programs.

GI payments received under the pilot program cannot consider income or resources for any local befit or assistance program. This includes but is not limited to. General Assistance and General Relief (GA/GR).  (ACWDL, July 21, 2023.)

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.)


Treatment of CAPP payments for various programs

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance to County Welfare Departments (CWDs) regarding treatment of California Arrearages Payment Program (CAPP) payments issued to California assistance program applicants and recipients to help pay eligible past due energy bills that increased during the COVID-19 pandemic

CAPP payments do not count as income when determining eligibility and/or grant amount for the CalWORKs program and do not count against the resource limit for the 12 months after receipt of payment. Furthermore, CAPP authorized payments are not considered in-kind income for CalWORKs recipients.

For both CalFresh and the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP), CAPP payments are considered third-party payments that are not owed to the household and therefore are not counted income. CAPP payments are not considered resources for CalFresh and CFAP.

For Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) Medi-Cal, CAPP payments are treated as a qualified disaster relief payment similar to other disaster payments that the IRS exempts from gross income. This means that CAPP payments are not counted in the MAGI Medi-Cal eligibility determination. For Non-MAGI Medi-Cal, CAPP payments are considered exempt disaster and emergency assistance and do not count as income or a resource.

CAPP payments do not count as income for the Cash Assistance Programs for Immigrants (CAPI), because they are considered to be a tax refund. CAPP payments do not count as a resource for CAPI for the 12 months after the payment is made.

RCA, ECA, and TCVAP programs do not count CAPP payments as income and do not count as a resource limit for 12 months after receipt of the payment because their programs use the same rules as CalWORKs. (ACL 22-83, October 21, 2022.)

Eligibility of Ukranian nationals for federal and state benefits


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.)

Interim housing and homeless program guidance on COVID-19

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding CDSS housing and homeless programs for COVID-19.  The guidance relates to CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA), CalWORKs Housing Support Program (HSP), Bringing Families Home (BFH), Housing and Disability Advocacy Program (HDAP) and Home Safe.

CDSS does not limit the number of days of interim shelter, including nights in a hotel or motel, for HSP, Bringing Families Home, HDAP and Home Safe.

HA applications are not required to be in person or to include a face-to-interview.  Counties can complete the CW 42 application form for the client and have then sign electronically.  Existing rules requiring issuing 3-days of benefits while homelessness is verified remain in effect.  However, counties are strongly encouraged to issue benefits without requiring clients to come to the office, including allowing sworn statements and granting good cause instead of requiring clients to come to county offices.  Although existing guidance requires counties to issue vendor payments when there has been a finding of mismanagement, if there is no feasible way to issue vendor payments because of COVID-19, counties should consider issuing benefits on the client’s EBT card.

Clients affected by COVID-19 may be eligible for an exception to the once-every 12 months rule for HA.  For example, if a parent in an assistance unit is concerned about infection and asks to isolate themselves, HA should be granted based on an exception because of illness.

HDAP funds can expand existing housing options used by HDAP clients, including shelters, recuperative care housing, hotel or motel leases, or interim housing programs.  For example, expanding a shelter program could include offering specialized quarantine options or leases with motels to provide housing for homeless persons impacted by COVID-19.  Counties can also purchase supplies for a specialized quarantine area or establish a new shelter program for HDAP clients specific to COVID-19.  In addition, HDAP funds can be spent on outreach to locate persons potentially eligible for HDAP who are residing in homeless camps who require medical care related to COVID-19.

Home Safe funds can be spent on landlord engagement, including incentives for landlords to participate in Home Safe.  Such payments can include in-kind goods to address COVID-19 impacts such as medical or sanitizing equipment and supplies.  Home Safe funds may also be used for interim housing, including motels.

HSP funds can be used for a range of financial and supportive services, including providing interim housing, helping participants navigate systems of care, providing rental assistance, incentive payments in the form of good for landlords participating in HSP, and supplies necessary to keep housing habitable.  Counties can provide landlord mediation and discussion of tenant’s rights to avoid eviction or housing displacement.

BFH for families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness with an open child welfare case can include interim housing, tenant engagement, case management, public systems assistance, and conflict mediation with landlords or neighbors.  BFH can locate and pay for motel stays for families seeking interim housing that is not a shelter.  BFH can also pay for cleaning supplies.

A three-day notice to pay rent or quit meets eligibility requirements for HA, BFH, HDAP and Home Safe.  HA can be used to pay up to two month rental arrearages to prevent eviction.  (ACWDL, March 19, 2020.)

The HA provisions of this letter are superceeded by All County Welfare Directors Letter, March 31, 2020, summarized here.

CDSS guidance regarding COVID-19

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding the impct of COVID-19 on CalWORKs, CalFresh, housing and homelessness programs, and Refugee Cash Assistance.  Counties must ensure continuity of and safe access to services during pandemic conditions or periods of social distancing.

Current CalWORKs recipients are eligible for waiver of existing rules regarding homeless assistance, including the once-every-12-months limit.

Counties are encouraged to explore Diversion eligibility.  Diversion is designed to address a specific crisis or item of need and may be appropriate for affected families.  People who receive diversion are not subject to work requirements or child support assignment.  However, Diversion payments count toward the 48-month time on aid clock.

For CalWORKs applicants, when evidence concerning eligibility does not exist, the applicant’s sworn statement under penalty of perjury is sufficient except for verification of U.S. citizenship or immigration status, and medical verification of pregnancy.  Written statement is also acceptable to establish residency for the forseeable future.  The photo identification requirement is unchanged, meaning that if the applicant cannot present photo identification within 15 days of application, aid shall continue if the applicant presents evidence of good faith efforts to obtain photo identification.  Income rules remain the same.  Some persons impacted by school or work closures will no longer have an income that is reasonably anticipated.

For CalWORKs, counties can conduct interviews telephonically or by electronic means.  Counties that want to implement electronic/telephonic interviewing now because of COVID-19 can contact CDSS for immediate approval, and must submit a plan to CDSS within one week of implementation.

Counties may provide welfare-to-work good cause or exemptions in response to COVID-19. Good cause determinations should be made on a case-by-case basis.  However, counties can implement county-wide good cause to avoid face-to-face interactions to mitigate COVID-19.

Child care providers may not be reimbursed for days on which the provider is not operating unless that provider has a paid day of non-operation and can provide documentation that contractual terms require parents to pay for days of non-operation.  Reimbursable days of non-operation are limited to 10 days per fiscal year.  Payments to alternative providers when regular providers are not operating are limited to 10 days per child per fiscal year.  Counties must pay for child care on behalf of the client when the child is ill for during excuses absences for illness or quarantine.

For CalFresh, counties should promote online, phone or mail-in applications.  Counties should conduct as many interviews as possible by phone.  Counties should fulfill EBT card replacement requests by phone or mail as often as possible.

Counties must ensure that they are granting maximum allowable CalFresh certification periods.  Counties should maximize use of existing databases for verification.  If a household cannot provide required verification because of unusual circumstances, self-certification can be used.

Counties can exempt households from certain requirements for good cause.

If county offices close during regular business hours, they must make it possible for individuals to apply for and receive CalWORKs and CalFresh, including emergency benefits, within time frames required by state and federal law.  Counties must also provide notice of hours of operation, and procedures during closure hours for applying for and receiving benefits.  These procedures must include making applications available and providing a drop-box or mail slot for filing applications.  Such applications must be deemed to have been filed on the date of the county closure.  Counties must maintain sufficient staff to accept and act upon all applications, and telephone staff to accept and act upon all applications as if they were made in person.  This includes making immediate need available no later than the third calendar day following the application date.

Refugee Cash Assistance and Refugee Support Services will use the CalWORKs guidance.  (ACWDL, March 12, 2020.)