44-300.C. Maximum Family Grant

 

Table of Contents

The Maximum Family Grant section includes the following information:

 

Topic

MFG Rules

Definitions

Requirement

Exemptions to the MFG Requirement

MFG Child Eligibility

Exempt MFG Income

Child Support

Application of the MFG Rule Examples

Maximum Family Grant Questions and Answers

When Do MFG Rules Apply

Nickols Issues

Suspense and ZBG Issues

Break-in-aid

Exemptions

Other Rules

 

 

 

MFG Rules

The Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rules stipulate that the maximum aid payment (MAP) will not be increased for any child born into a family, after September 1, 1997, that has received CalWORKs continuously for the ten months prior to the birth of a child.

 

Definitions

Term

Definition

Law Enforcement Agency

Includes all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Mental Health

Professional

A person licensed by the State of California to provide counseling services.

MFG Child(ren)

The child(ren) that is/are not included in the assistance unit (AU) size for the purpose of determining MAP

Received Aid

Applies to a parent who receives aid for themselves or on behalf of their eligible children.  This includes the following:

·         A sanctioned parent who has a protective payee;

·         A minor that receives aid as a child and who subsequently becomes a minor parent; and

·         A parent that does not receive a payment due to a Payment Suspense month, or the grant is less than $10.

NICKOLS V. SAENZ

MFG policies, revised in November 2000, to comply with the NICKOLS V. SAENZ lawsuit settlement.   The lawsuit relates to how CalWORKs applicants and recipients are informed about the MFG rule.

                       

 

Requirement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Effective November 2002, apply the MFG rules when:

 

·   The AU has received written notice (CW 2102 - MFG Rule for Recipients of Cash Aid, which contains a written acknowledgement of receipt of the information notice) at least ten months prior to the birth of the child; and

 

·   The AU has not had a break in aid of at least two consecutive months during the ten months immediately prior to the birth of the child; and

 

·   The AU is not exempted as noted in the Exemptions to the MFG Requirement section below.

 

Note:  The CW2102 must always be provided to the AU at each application, reapplication, and re-determination.  A copy of the form is to be provided to the applicant/recipient and the original must be maintained in the case file.

 

This form must be signed and dated (or documentation of a refusal to sign) by the applicant/recipient each time it is provided.

 

If there is no signed CW 2102 (or record as described above) that the applicant/recipient was notified of the MFG requirement at application or the most recent re-determination at least 10 months before the child’s birth, whichever is later, the MFG rule does not apply to the AU.

 

Once a child has been determined to be a MFG child, the MFG rules continue to apply until the AU has not received aid for at least 24 consecutive months.

 

Exemptions to the MFG Requirement

 

 

 

 

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The following exemptions apply:

 

·         When a minor parent who has applied in a CalWORKs case, establishes his/her own AU, the MFG rule no longer is applied to the minor parent’s child.

 

·             MFG rules do not apply to children conceived while either parent was unaided non-parent caretaker relative, children who do not live with either parent, or children conceived under the following circumstances:

 

If child conceived due to…

Then it must be…

An act of rape, or an incestuous relationship

· Reported to a law enforcement agency, medical or mental health professional or a social services agency that provides counseling to victims of rape or incest.

 

· Reported prior to, or within three months after the birth of the child.

 

Note:  Written verification from the above agencies is required.

A failure of a contraceptive device.

The failure of an intrauterine device, a Norplant, Depo-Provera, or the sterilization of either parent (to qualify for exemption.)

 

Note:  Written medical verification is required.

 

MFG Child Eligibility

 

 

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MFG children are considered eligible for and a recipient of aid including all CalWORKs related benefits even though the child is not included in the MAP calculation.  CalWORKs related benefits including Public Assistance CalFresh, cash-based Medi-Cal, and special needs such as temporary shelter payments and special diet.  Benefits derived from MAP such as permanent shelter payments for homeless assistance, do not include MFG children.

 

Exempt MFG Income

 

 

 

 

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Any new or pending application with an effective date of April 1, 2001 or later shall exclude as income in the CalWORKs budget any of the following types of income received for an MFG child from an absent parent:

 

·       Child Support;

·       Social Security;

·       Other government disability benefits; or

·       Retirement benefits.

 

Child Support

 

 

 

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All child support payments received by the Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) for MFG children, must be sent to the family.  Child Support payments for MFG children are exempt from consideration as income.  In addition, a child support referral is required on all MFG children. 

 

HSS/LCSA/Recipient responsibilities include:

 

HSS Responsibility

LCSA Responsibility

Recipient Responsibility

Notify LCSA when:

·         referral done for a child to whom MFG applies; or

·         MFG is temporarily suspended; or

·         MFG has been terminated (AU has been off aid for 24 consecutive months or more, and reapplies

LCSA will notify HSS of the date and amount of child support money sent to the AU.

The AU is responsible for reporting the receipt of child support money on the QR 7.

 

Application of the MFG Rule Examples 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Example 1

A child born on November 5, 2006, into a CalWORKs AU that has been on aid since December 2002.  The family’s most recent re-determination was December 2005.  For the MFG rule to apply, the family’s CalWORKs case file must contain a signed acknowledgement of receipt of the CW 2102 from the re-determination in December 2005.

 

Example 2

A CalWORKs AU has been on aid since August 2004 and their new child was born on October 2, 2006.  The family was re-determined and signed the CW 2102 in July 2005.  The family’s July 2006 re-determination was completed but the CW 2102 is missing from the case file.  The MFG rule applies to the new child because the CalWORKs case file contains a signed CW 2102 from the most recent re-determination (July 2005) that is at least ten months before the child’s birth.  Although there was a more recent re-determination in July 2006, it did not occur at least 10 months prior to the birth of the child, so the CW 2012 signed July 2005 would be the applicable CW 2102 in this case situation. 

 

Example 3

A CalWORKs AU signed the CW 2102 and has been on aid since July 2005; they go off aid March 1, 2006 and are reinstated on April 10, 2006.  They are re-determined and their CW 2102 is signed July 2006.  A new child is born August 3, 2006, and the MFG rule applies to their new child because the family had a break-in-aid of less than two consecutive months during the ten months before the birth of the child and there is an applicable CW 2102 in the case that was signed in July 2005.

 

Maximum Family Grant Questions and Answers

 

When Do MFG Rules Apply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When determining if the MFG rule applies after the birth of a child, the Human Services Specialist (HSS) must do all of the following:

·       Confirm that the Assistance Unit (AU) was notified of the MFG rule in writing using the appropriate notice at least ten months before the birth of the child,

Note: See Nickols informing requirements below.

·       Determine if the AU had a break-in-aid for two consecutive months during the ten months before the birth of the child, and

·       Determine if the AU meets any exception to the MFG rule.

 

Nichols v Saenz

 

Informing Requirements

The Nickols v. Saenz Settlement Order establishes new informing requirements and two new MFG notices:

·       CW 2102A (7/00) and

·       CW 2102 (8/00), which contains a written acknowledgement of receipt of the informing notice. It must be:

1.    Signed by the applicant/recipient.

2.    Maintained (the original) in the case file and a copy given to the applicant or recipient.

 

Implementation Dates mandated by the Nickols:

·       On or after July 1, 2001, the MFG rule can only be applied to the child of a minor parent, who is a dependent in his/her senior parent’s case, if the AU was provided a copy of the CW 2102 or CW 2102A at least ten months before the birth of the child and at the latest redetermination ten months before the child’s birth.

·       On or after November 1, 2001, the MFG rule only applies to AUs that are provided the CW 2102 or CW 2102A at least ten months prior to the child’s birth and at the most recent redetermination.

·       On or after November 1, 2002, the MFG rule only applies to AUs whose case file contains a signed copy (or documentation of a refusal to sign) of the CW 2102 that was provided to the AU at application or most recent redetermination that was at least ten months before the child’s birth. 

 

 

Nickols Issues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Question 1: All County Letter (ACL) 00-78 that implemented the Nickols settlement indicated that relief of the MFG rule is provided to “nested teens”.  What do you mean when you say, “nested teens”?

Answer 1: In the context of the Nickols Court settlement, a “nested teen” is a minor parent aided as a dependent child, rather than as a parent.  This minor parent typically would have a child’s person number, in those counties that make a numerical designation of the dependent child’s payment status.   Informing notices and notices of action (NOA) are typically addressed to their adult payee, not to the minor parent.  “Nested teens” are:

·   Minor parents who are dependents (eligible children) in their senior parent’s case; or

·   Minor parents who reside with an appropriate caretaker relative as required by the Minor Parent requirements, whether or not the caretaker relative is needy.

 

Question 2: After 9/1/00, do we continue to apply the MFG rule to the child of a minor parent when the minor parent establishes his/her own AU (after he/she turns 18 or meets an exemption to the Minor Parent live-in rule)?

Answer 2: No, because the Nickols settlement provides for new exemptions to the MFG rule.  When a former minor parent who was aided in a CalWORKs case establishes his/her own AU, the MFG rule is no longer applied to any existing MFG child of this former minor parent.  The MFG rule cannot be applied to any new child born to this former minor parent during the first ten months after establishing his/her own AU.  In addition, the MFG rule cannot be applied unless the former minor parent received a copy of the CW 2102 or CW 2102A when he/she applied for aid in his/her own case.

 

Question 3: Does the Nickols settlement apply to former minor parents who established their own AU between 9/1/97 (first implementation date for application of the MFG rule) and 9/1/00 (effective date for the Nickols settlement)?

Answer 3: The Nickols settlement provides that the MFG rule does not apply to any child that was born to a minor parent between 9/1/97 and 9/1/00.

 

Question 4: If the county removed the MFG grant reduction in 11/00 because of Nickols, how do we handle child support that was received by the AU for the MFG child in September?  Is this child support, which was considered exempt income before 9/1/00, now counted as nonexempt income to the family?

Answer 4: Yes, if the MFG rule is no longer applied, effective 9/1/00, any child support received would now be considered nonexempt income to the family.

 

Question 5: Do any of the changes required by Nickols apply to all MFG cases, not just those involving a minor parent?

Answer 5: Yes, although the Nickols lawsuit primarily involved issues related to minor parents, ACL 00-78 specifies that in addition to changes to the MFG rule for minor parents, the following requirements now apply to all cases:

·   Applicants and recipients must receive the CW 2102 or CW 2102A at application and redetermination.

·   A month in suspense and/or the month(s) in which aid is not paid because of a Zero Basic Grant (ZBG) counts as a break-in-aid for MFG purposes.

·   When a child is added to the case and the MFG rule is applied, NOA messages must contain the date the recipient/applicant was informed in writing of the MFG rule. 

 

Question 6: If a client was not provided a copy of the CW 2102/CW 2102A informing notice during the statewide mass mailing in 8/00 or at intake in 11/00, can the county read the informing notice over the phone in lieu of mailing it?

Answer 6: No, because the MFG rule can only be applied if the AU receives written notice of the rule at least ten months before the birth of the child.

 

Suspense and ZBG Issues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Question 7: Do we start considering suspense or ZBG months beginning in 9/00 or do we count months prior to 9/1/00?

Answer 7: Only start counting suspense/ZBG months as a break-in-aid beginning with 9/00.

 

Question 8: What if a child is born 9/1/00 and the AU had a suspense month in 4/00 and a ZBG month in 5/00?  Do these months count as a break-in-aid?

Answer 8: No, as these months occurred prior to 9/1/00.

 

Question 9: If the grant is reduced to zero because of a penalty or an overpayment adjustment, is that month counted as a break-in-aid for MFG purposes?

Answer 9: Yes, since they are listed as one of the months of ZBG, each should be counted as a break-in-aid for MFG purposes.

 

Question 10: Are the following months counted as a break-in-aid for MFG purposes:  A month in which the AU only receives any special needs payment, Reduced Income Supplement Payment (RISP), or homeless assistance?

Answer 10: No, since the AU actually receives a cash aid payment, these months do not count as a break-in-aid for MFG purposes

 

Break-in-aid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Question 11: How is the two-month break-in-aid determined when there is movement in the family, that is one or more family members leave the home for a time?

Answer 11: The MFG rule applies when the AU has not had a break-in-aid for at least two consecutive months during the ten consecutive months immediately prior to the month of the birth of the child.  The MFG rule will generally apply as long as one or more members of the family remain on aid.  The MFG rule does not apply if all members of the AU are off aid for the same two consecutive month period.  

 

The following questions/answers will illustrate if a break-in-aid has occurred.  In each example, the county has confirmed that the AU was notified in writing of the MFG rule at least ten consecutive months before the birth of the child.    

 

Question 12: Mom was on aid with child #1 until 10/99, when the case was discontinued.  From 6/00-10/00, child #1 received aid with a non-needy aunt.  Mom reapplied for aid in 11/00 for self and child #1.  Mom had child #2 in 3/01.  Does the MFG rule apply to child #2?

Answer 12: No, the second AU with mom and child #1 did not exist ten months prior to the birth of child #2.  That AU (mom and child #1) did not become effective until 11/00, four months before the birth of child #2 in 3/01.  Therefore, child #2 was not born into an AU that received aid for at least ten consecutive months prior to the birth of the child.  The MFG rule does not apply to child #2.

 

The fact that child #1 was on aid with an aunt from 6/00-10/00 does not change this case.  That AU (child #1 and the aunt) is not relevant, as it began after mom and child #1 established a two-month break-in-aid.    

 

Question 13: Mom and dad are on aid with two children.  Mom becomes pregnant in 1/00.  In 3/00, the two aided children moved out of the home and into Foster Care.  The AU was discontinued at the end of the month.  Neither parent was aided for 4/00 or 5/00.  The children were returned to the home on 6/1/00; cash aid was resumed, effective 6/1/00.  The mom had twins in 10/00.  Is the MFG rule applied to the twins?

Answer 13: No, the MFG rule does not apply to the twins because there was a two-month break-in-aid, 4/00-5/00.   The AU had a break-in-aid for two consecutive months in the ten months prior to the birth of the twins.  Foster Care payments are not considered “cash aid” for purposes of determining MFG application.

 

Question 14: A mom is on aid with two aided children.  She was inappropriately discontinued on 3/31/00, although she should have received aid for April and May.  Mom and the kids went back on aid in June.  The baby was born in 10/00.  Does the MFG rule apply to this child?              

Answer 14: No, in this case, the recipient had a two-month break-in-aid (4/00-5/00).  The MFG cannot be applied to the parent and her child for this county-caused error, even if the county restores aid for those two months. A Two-Consecutive Month Break-in-aid Is Not Established

 

Question 15: Mom and two children were on aid in county #1 in 5/00.  The AU has been continuously on aid since 5/99.  Dad took custody of the children on 6/1/00 and applied for aid in county #2 based upon absent mom.  Aid was approved for dad and the two children, effective 6/1/00.  Mom and dad are unmarried.  In 11/00, mom joined the AU in county #2, with her eligibility effective 11/14/00.  When she joined the AU, she was pregnant.  Deprivation for the three children was changed to the unemployment of the father.  Mom’s baby was born on 3/15/01.  Does the MFG rule apply?

Answer 15: Yes, the AU has not demonstrated that there is a break-in-aid of two consecutive months.  The children were never off aid.  Mom rejoined the AU in 11/00 and was included in the AU, per mandatory inclusion for a parent of recipient children.  The baby was born into an AU that received aid continuously for the ten months prior to the birth (5/00).

 

Question 16: A pregnant woman has received aid for herself and two children for two years.  The two children are removed from her home.  Because she was in her third trimester, the woman continued to receive aid for herself (a MAP of 1) and pregnancy special needs.  Does the MFG rule apply when the baby is born?

Answer 16: Yes, the MFG applies to child #3.  Mom continued to receive a MAP of 1 and special needs after the children were removed up to the time of the birth of her child.  Mom has not demonstrated that she had a two continuous month break-in-aid in the ten consecutive months before the birth of the child.

 

 

Exemptions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Question 17: If a pregnancy occurs due to the failure of Depo-Provera, does this method of sterilization meet the MFG exemption for Contraceptive Failure?

Answer 17: Yes, Depo-Provera can be considered equivalent to Norplant for MFG purposes.  This is a sterilization method by injection that is administered by a physician to prevent pregnancy.  Therefore, the MFG rule will not apply when the county receives medical verification that the pregnancy occurred as the result of failure of this sterilization method.

 

Question 18: A woman on aid was sterilized.  She subsequently had a child and was given an MFG exemption for a failed contraceptive.  She is currently pregnant and again claiming an exemption for this second child because of the failure of the same prior sterilization.  Is this second child also exempt from MFG consideration?          

Answer 18: The woman must provide medical verification of her sterilization status after the birth of the first child.  The MFG rule would apply if her physician informed the woman that the first sterilization had failed and she would need other birth control methods to prevent pregnancy in the future.  However, the MFG rule would not apply if her physician indicated that a second sterilization or other birth control methods were not necessary to prevent further pregnancies.

 

Other Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Question 19: A mom went on aid with two children in 1997.  The children’s father was not in the home at the time of application.  In 5/99, the father became the caretaker relative for the children when mom left the home.  The county did not provide the father with a copy of the MFG informing notice when he became caretaker of the children in 5/99.  In 2/00, mom resumed her duties as caretaker relative and the father left the home.  When mom left the home again in 6/00, the father applied to be caretaker for the children, with aid effective, 6/1/00.  He was provided a copy of the MFG informing notice in 6/00.  In 9/00, the father’s girlfriend who was pregnant moved into the home.  The father and the girlfriend’s child was born on 10/28/00.  Is the MFG rule applied to this child?

Answer 19: No, the MFG rule would not be applied to the child of the father and the girlfriend.  Neither the father nor the girlfriend had been on aid for ten months before the birth of their child.  Additionally, the father had not received a copy of the informing notice at least ten months before the birth of the child.

 

Question 20: Mom was on aid with child #1; the MFG rule was applied to child #2.  Mom went to jail and the non-needy grandmother received custody of the children and the MFG rule was removed from child #2.  When mom was released from jail, mom did not regain custody of her children, but the court gave her permission to live in the home.  Since mom is not the caretaker relative of her children, is the MFG rule reapplied now that mom has returned home?

Answer 20: Yes, the MFG rule is applied when mom rejoins the AU as the child is living with a parent.  The MFG exemption only applies if the child is “not living with either parent”.  Application of the MFG rule is not dependent upon mom being the caretaker relative for her children.

 

Question 21: What documentation is required to establish that the AU was properly notified of the MFG requirements when the AU was informed in a different county?

Answer 21: If the case file includes a CW 2102 with a signed acknowledgement or the annotation of refusal to sign, county #1 shall send a copy of the form to the receiving county.  If informing was done using CW 2102A or Temp 2102, which do not contain a signed acknowledgement, county #1 shall provide county #2 with the date the AU was notified and the specific informing document that was provided to the AU, i.e. the TEMP 2102 or CW 2012A.  These procedures should be followed for all Inter-County Transfer cases as well as cases in which the children move from one parent to another when the parents live in different counties.

 

Question 22: A child was born into an existing AU in county #1 where mom was on aid for more that ten months prior to the birth of the child.  The MFG rule was applied to the child.  The child now lives with her father in county #2.  Does the MFG rule still apply?  Also, what if the father was not previously on aid and had not been notified of the MFG rule?

Answer 22: Yes, the MFG rule would be applied if county #2 can document that the AU (mom) was appropriately notified of the MFG rule based on the information from county #1, even if the other parent (father) was not an AU member when the written notice was sent to the AU.  The MFG rule applies because the child was born into an AU that had been receiving aid for ten months prior to the birth of the child.  When the child went to live with the father, the MFG rule continues to apply.

 

Question 23: Can the MFG rule be applied to the child born to an excluded parent, i.e. an undocumented non-citizen or a State Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient?

Answer 23: Yes, the MFG rule is applied to parents who received aid on behalf of his/her children, even if they do not receive aid for themselves.  Therefore, the MFG rule applies to the child of a parent receiving SSI or an undocumented parent if the child is a citizen.

 

Question 24: Does the MFG rule apply to the child of an unaided minor parent who receives SSI or who is undocumented?  The senior parents have received cash aid for themselves and two other eligible children in the home.

Answer 24: No, the MFG rule does not apply to the child of a minor parent who was unaided, even if his/her senior parents and/or siblings have been on aid at least ten months before the baby was born.  The MFG rule would apply if the minor parent received aid for another child.

 

Question 25: A family received aid in another state from 10/99 to 6/00.  They moved to California and went on cash aid effective 8/1/00.  The mother was pregnant when she moved to California.  A child was born in 2/01.  Does the MFG rule apply?

Answer 25: No, because a month on aid in another state is never considered when counting the ten consecutive months on aid.

           

Question 26: An applicant mom became pregnant in the month of application (2/00), the month in which she was provided the informing notice.  Due date was 11/28/00.  The baby was born prematurely on 10/20/00.  Do we apply the MFG rule by the letter of the law (10 months after receipt of written notification of the MFG rule) or the intent of the law (not to increase the MAP while a recipient is getting cash aid)?

Answer 26: The MFG rule is applied by the letter of the law.  Both statue and regulations specify that the client must have received written notice of the MFG rule at least ten months before the birth of the child.  In this case, the child was born prematurely in the eight month.  The MFG rule cannot be applied to this child.

 

Question 27: How is “the ten consecutive months prior to birth” determined for the MFG rule?

Answer 27: To apply MFG, count backward ten months starting with the month before the child’s birth.  For example, if the child was born 01/01, begin counting backwards from 12/00, the month before the child’s birth date.  The 10th month would be 3/00.

 

Question 28: Is the month of application counted as a month in which aid was received?

Answer 28: Yes, a partial month (month of application) does count as a month in which aid was received.

 

Question 29: Is the MFG child considered a recipient of CalWORKs?

Answer 29: An MFG child is considered eligible for, and a recipient, of CalWORKs.  However, the family’s MAP is not increased.  The child is included in the Maximum Basic Standard of Care (MBSAC) for determining applicant financial eligibility.  The MFG child is also considered eligible for special needs, including temporary shelter payments for homeless assistance.  In addition, the MFG child is considered eligible for Public Assistance CalFresh, childcare and cash based Medi-Cal.  However, benefits that are derived from the MAP, such as Reduced Income Special Payment and permanent shelter payments for homeless assistance will not include the MFG child.