Reinstatement of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for IHSS providers

The California Department of Social Services has issued instructions reinstating supplemental paid sick leave for In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers.  IHSS providers who are impacted by COVID-19 now have up to 40 hours of supplemental sick leave for circumstances related to COVID-19.  This includes two hours of leave per dose of vaccine, and caring for a child whose school or child care is closed because of COVID-19.  IHSS providers can get an additional 40 hours of sick leave if the provider or a family member for whom they are providing care has a positive COVID-19 test.

COVID-19 sick leave will not impact the 16 hours of sick leave IHSS providers currently receive.

If the provider works full time, they will get 40 hours of sick leave.  If the provider works less than full time, the provider will get the total number of hours per week that they are scheduled to work as sick leave.

The COVID-19 supplemental sick leave is available retroactive to January 1, 2022 until September 30, 2022.  (ACL 22-18, March 9, 2022.)

AFDC-Foster Care eligibility and redeterminations

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a reminder and updated policy regarding Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) eligibility and redeterminations.

AFDC-FC eligibility is established upon legal entry to re-entry into foster care, which is at the time a child is removed from the home or when a volunatary placement agreement is entered.  Annual deprivation redeterminations are not required.  Income and resources are not to be evaluated after the initial determination for the same foster care episode to determine continuing eligibility for AFDC-FC.

An eligibility redetermination is not required when a minor child or nonminor dependent in foster care receives income or property after the initial linkage determination is completed.  Counties must continue to assess for factors that impact AFDC-FC eligibility such as eligible placement, continued court jurisdiction, and, for nonminor dependents, participation in an employment or education activity.

Income and resources cannot be considered at any point in the foster care episode to determine eligibility a non-federal or federal AFDC-FC payment.  This is because a child in an eligible placement who is determined ineligible for a federal AFDC-FC payment is eligible to receive AFDC-FC without federal participation.

No redetermination can be conducted only because a youth turns age 18 while under an order for foster care placement.  Nonminor dependents who were eligible for AFDC-FC remain eligible until the youth exits foster care by court order.  A new AFDC deprivation determination is required only upon re-entry into foster care following a break in dependency.  That new determination is based only on the nonminor dependent’s income and resources, without regard for other family income and resources.

Beginning in 2022, there can be a new determination of AFDC-FC eligible for non-federally eligible youth who turn age 18 in order to access federal funds.

The Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) program provides payments for relative placements that are not eligible for AFDC-FC.  Income or benefits on behalf of the child are not offset against the rate for ARC because the child’s income or benefits do not count in determining AFDC-FC benefits.  ARC benefits may only be reduced based on a partial month of placement.  Prior contrary guidance is superceeded.  (ACL 22-16, February 15, 2022.)

Bringing Families Home rules changes and funding

Bringing Families Home (BFH) supports to families receiving child welfare services who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, which increases family reunification and prevents foster care placement.   The child welfare services that BFH eligible families may be receiving include but are not limited to Family Reunification, Family Maintenance, Emergency Response services, or families in receipt of voluntary supervision to prevent the need for the child’s or children’s removal.

BFH eligibility now includes families who are homeless, at-risk of homelessness, families where the living situation cannot accommodate the child or multiple children in the home, and families who have not yet received an eviction notice.

In general, homeless for purposes of BFH means either 1) an individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, 2) an individual or family who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence, 3) living in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living arrangements, 4) living in a place not designed for human habitation or for regular sleeping quarters, 5) Fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other dangerous or life-threatening conditions that relate to violence against the individual or a family member, and the family has no other housing and lacks resources to obtain other housing, or 6) unaccompanied youth and homeless families with children and youth defined as homeless under any other federal statute who: (A) have experienced a long-term period without living independently in permanent housing, (B) have had frequent moves over a long-term period, and (C) can be expected to continue in that status for an extended period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical health or mental health conditions, substance addiction, histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the presence of a child or youth with a disability, or multiple barriers to employment.

For the purposes of BFH, a person is defined as at-risk of homelessness when they are experiencing housing instability, including recipients who have not yet received an eviction notice; have no subsequent permanent residence secured; and lack resources to secure subsequent permanent housing.  Families must be allowed to self-attest that they are at-risk of homelessness.

For purposes of BFH, a living situation cannot accommodate a child or multiple children if it meets all three of the following requirements: A) the parent or guardian’s nighttime residence would not be an adequate or appropriate long term housing placement for children, or situations where a living arrangement, or tenancy would be terminated for the family if children were to live in the home; B) the family has no subsequent permanent residence secured, and; C) the family lacks resources or support networks needed to stabilize their unique housing situation and secure subsequent permanent housing.

Families and individuals must be allowed to self-attest that they meet the definition of “at risk of homelessness”, including that the living situation cannot accommodate a child or children. No additional verification or documentation demonstrating that a family meets the definition of “at risk of homelessness” is needed. BFH programs cannot require further evidence for the purposes of BFH enrollment.

BFH provides rapid rehousing service, which includes housing identification, rent and move-in assistance, and case management.  BFH can also provide supportive housing.  BFH can also provide homelessness prevention assistance, which includes payment rent or utility arrears, late fee payments, first month rent and/or security deposit, landlord mediation, repairs, habitability/accessibility improvements, and housing navigation.

BFH also provides housing related case management, housing navigation, housing related direct financial assistance, and housing stabilization.

BFH must operate in accordance with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing First principles.  This means that individuals should be connected to housing or housing support without preconditions, services must be voluntary, client choice must be respected, and client cannot be rejected on the basis of income, past evictions, substance abuse, or any other behavior that might indicate a lack of housing readiness.

Counties and tribes are exempt from the dollar-for-dollar match requirements for BFH between July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2024. (ACWDL, February 11, 2022.)

COVID-19 CalFresh emergency allotment for April, 2022

California has been approved to issue an emergency allotment of CalFresh for March, 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 May 15, 2022 for CalSAWS counties and May 22, 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, April 7, 2022.)

IHSS Electronic Services Portal Text Messages

Beginning March 28th, 2022, new enhancements were made to the Electronic Services Portal (ESP) for recipients and providers in In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Wavier Personal Care services (WPCS) to allow recipients and providers to choose text messages as a notification preference. This allows users to get messages by text message, email or both.  If there is no preference, the recipient/provider will continue to receive notifications by email.

These notifications will come from the same IHSS program that receives payroll processing messages via email from a secure IHSS text message portal.

Text messages notifications will be sent in the recipient and provider’s preferred written languages about the following information:

Providers will get text message notifications about:

  •     Time Sheet Approval
  •     Timesheet Rejection
  •     Payment
  •     No Recipient Action on Submitted Timesheet
  •     No Payment for Travel Claim
  •     Preference Change of Notification Delivery Methods

 Recipients will get text message notifications about:

  •     Timesheet for review
  •     Preference Change of Notification Delivery Methods

Recipients and providers can go to the ESP website at and log into the Provider Home screen to sign up for this service. Once there, locate your name on the drop-down menu and select Account Information. From Account Information, select ‘My Preferences’ link. Under My Preferences, select the option under Notification Preference. This allows users to choose how they want their notifications to be delivered. If no preferences are selected, notifications will continue to be sent via email. Under Notification Preference, listed under ‘Text Messages.’ If the phone number is not on file, users must add or edit their information and click Verify before they start receiving text messages. A 6-digit code will be sent to that cell phone number, and a pop-up box will ask the reliever to enter the verification code. (ACIN I-17-22, March 7, 2022.)

Increase in CalWORKs Earned Income Disregards

For the CalWORKs program, certain earned income and disability-based income is disregarded in determining eligibility.  This is called the Earned Income Disregard.  Starting July 1, 2022, the Earned Income Disregard for applicants will increase from the first $90 per month of earned income for each employed person to the first $450 of earned income.

Starting June 1, 2022, the Earned Income Disregard for recipients will increase from $550 per month to $600.   This increase in the recipient Earned Income Disregard applies to the state KinGAP program, but not to the federal KinGAP program.

(ACL 21-130, November 29, 2021 and ACL 21-130E, March 22, 2022.)