February 14, 2012

 

CalWORKs Program Guide Letter No. 259

 

 

Subject

CHANGES TO RESTRICTED ACCOUNTS

 

Effective Date

February 14, 2012

 

Expiration Date

None.

 

Reference

All County Information Notice (ACIN) No.I-59-11; Senate Bill (SB) 1341.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this program guide letter is to inform staff of some of the changes resulting from the passage of SB 1341 in regard to Restricted Accounts for CalWORKs and CalFresh recipients.

 

These changes establish a new allowable purpose for restricted accounts and change the spend-down rules for eligibility to CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA) payments.

 

These changes enacted by SB 1341 became effective on January 1, 2009. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is in the process of filing implementing regulations.

 

Background

Existing regulations allow applicants/recipients to retain up to $2,000 in real and personal property (this increases to $3,000 for the assistance unit which includes at least one member who is 60 or older, or disabled), including savings accounts, in order to be eligible for aid under the CalWORKs program.

 

In addition, per CPG 42-200 J. Restricted Accounts, CalWORKs recipients are allowed to maintain an unlimited amount of savings in restricted accounts for the following purposes:

·         Education/job training expenses;

·         Purchase of a new home; or

·         Starting a business.

 

CalWORKs regulations also include provisions to help families who are homeless or who are in danger of becoming homeless.  Per CPG 44-200 C. Non-Recurring Needs, special need payments in the form of HA benefits are available to help eligible CalWORKs recipients prevent eviction and/or secure permanent housing.

 

Summary of Updates

The following program updates have been made to the CPG online:

 

CPG Section

Title

Program Updates

CPG 42-200 J.

Restricted Accounts

Section updated to include provisions to help families who are homeless or who are in danger of becoming homeless.

CPG 44-200 C.

Non-recurring Special Needs

Section updated to exclude restricted accounts from consideration from the $100 limit when determining Homeless Assistance eligibility.

 

Changes to the CPG are noted with highlighted text. 

 

Securing Permanent Rental Housing to Avoid Homelessness

Effective January 1, 2009, families are also able to spend funds held in restricted accounts to help pay for costs associated with securing permanent rental housing or to pay for rent arrearages to avoid becoming homeless.

 

In addition, any savings that are held in a restricted account are now considered exempt from being counted toward the $100 limit when determining eligibility for HA.

 

Human Services Specialist Actions

Human Services Specialists (HSS) shall ensure that no CalWORKs recipients have been discontinued from January 1, 2009, forward, due to withdrawing funds to pay for costs associated with securing permanent rental housing or to pay rent arrearages to avoid becoming homeless.

 

Strategic Planning and Operational Support (SPOS) researched the county’s caseload to determine if any CalWORKs with reported restricted bank account cases have been discontinued due to excess property.  The research indicated no CalWORKs case containing restricted bank account has been discontinued due to excess property.

 

However if any CalWORKs case discontinuances containing restricted bank accounts are discovered, they should be rescinded and eligibility re-determined retroactively, as necessary.

 

ACCESS Impact

ACCESS agents shall be aware of the changes to make sure regulations are followed and appropriate information is given to customers when inquired; including sending the CW 86 (09/11) Agreement - Restricted Account coversheet and form (refer to the Automation Impact and Forms Impact sections in this letter) to clients upon request.  Appropriate case comments shall be entered.

 

CalFresh Program Impact

Since the passage of SB 1341, California has opted to implement Modified Categorical Eligibility (MCE) in the CalFresh program.  MCE allows the state to no longer take into account resources in determining eligibility for CalFresh. 

 

Forms FS 28, FS 28A, and FS 28B are no longer required for CalFresh Non-Assistance households and the forms are now obsolete.

 

Medi-Cal Program Impact

No impacts to the Medi-Cal program.

 

Child Care Program Impact

No impacts to the Child Care program.

 

 

Automation Impact

CalWIN currently generates the old version of the CW 86 (03/00) Agreement - Restricted Account coversheet and form.

 

Staff will need to issue a manual CW 86 (09/11) Agreement - Restricted Account coversheet and form outside of CalWIN.  The new version (09/11) is provided with this Program Guide Letter.  Please copy and use the updated coversheet and form until CalWIN has been updated.

 

Staff is reminded to review and delete the CalWIN generated form that is incorrect.  A case comment shall be made in CalWIN to explain why the CalWIN generated form is being deleted; and that a manual form has been used instead.

 

Forms Impact

The former version of the CW 86 (03/00) Agreement - Restricted Account coversheet and form is obsolete.  Existing supplies of the CW 86 coversheet and form shall be recycled and staff shall use the revised coversheet and form (09/11) immediately.

 

The CW 86 coversheet and form is attached to this Program Guide Letter.  The CW 86 has been uploaded in the Xerox Print Center and FRCs can request the CW 86 directly from the print center using their existing procedure.  In the meantime, staff can copy and use the attached coversheet and form.

 

Additionally, the CW 86 coversheet and form is available in the “CalWORKs Correspondence – Shelf Stock” section of the Automation Reference Guide in the CalWIN Intranet.

 

Note:  The CalWIN version of the CW 86 has not been updated therefore they shall not be utilized.

 

Imaging Impact

Due to the fact that the CW 86 form requires a client’s signature, the form shall be imaged.  The CW 86 is a known form type in DoReS hence no template is needed.

 

Operational Impact

Please refer to the Human Services Specialist Actions, Automation Impact and Forms Impact sections in this letter.

 

QA Impact

Quality Assurance will cite the appropriate error when the regulations cited in the material have not been followed.

 

Manger Approval

 

Sylvia Melena

Assistant Deputy Director

Self-Sufficiency Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

 

Manager Contact

CalWORKs Program

 

RP