August 12, 2009

 

CalWORKs Program Guide (CPG) Letter No. 191 - ERRATA

 

Subject

CORRECTION TO CPG LETTER No. 191 - CALWORKS INFORMATION REGARDING CALIFORNIA REGISTERED DOMESTIC PARTNERS AND SAME-SEX SPOUSES

 

Reference

All County Letter (ACL) No. 09-05E, CPG Letter No. 191,

All County Letter (ACL) No. 09-05, Assembly Bill (AB) 205

 

Effective Date

Upon receipt

 

Purpose

The purpose of this letter is to:

· Provide policy direction regarding eligibility of same-sex married spouses to the CalWORKs , Food Stamp (FS), and Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) programs, and

· Inform Family Resource Center (FRC) staff of updates to the CalWORKs Program Guide (CPG) related to the changes made by AB 205.

 

As many similarities are found with the eligibility criteria for Registered Domestic Partners (RDPs), this CPG letter also provides a clarifying reminder of the regulatory changes associated with AB 205.

 

This letter also contains comprehensive instructions regarding eligibility for Medi-Cal, which requires a separate determination of eligibility and a separate aid code for a RDP or same-sex married spouse.

 

DHCS has issued ACWDLs 09-03 and 09-04 under separate covers with additional instructions regarding this Medi-Cal eligibility determination process.

 

Background

On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court, in the court case In re Marriage Cases, determined that it is not permissible under the California Constitution to limit marriage only to opposite-sex couples.

 

However, voters passed Proposition 8 in November 2008, a constitutional amendment which states that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”  The passage of Proposition 8 took effect on November 5, 2008.  Subsequently, same-sex marriages are no longer allowed in California.  In addition, Proposition 8 no longer allows California to recognize same-sex marriages that were entered into outside of California subsequent to that date.

 

All same-sex marriage that occurred in California between June 16, 2008 (when the In re Marriage Cases became final) and November 4, 2008 are deemed to be valid on the basis of marriage for the purposes of CalWORKs eligibility.  Massachusetts and Connecticut also permit same-sex marriages.  Same-sex marriages that occurred in Massachusetts and Connecticut during that time period are also valid.

 

The California Department of Social Services (DCSS) will issue further policy instructions should any future legal challenges to Proposition 8 affect CDSS policy.

 

Summary of Modifications
 

The following sections have been modified and loaded to the CPG online.  http://hhsa-pg.sdcounty.ca.gov/:

 

CPG Section

Title

Program Updates/Changes

40-100.E

Application Process

This section amended to add the term “California domestic partner” to the list:

 

·  Of relatives who must be included in the filing unit of a SSI/SSP child.

 

·  Of relatives who can be sanctioned by the WTW program.

 

·  Which provides that the spouse of a person mandatorily included in the filing unit must be included on the Statement of Facts.

41-500.A

Assistance Unit

This section amended to add:

 

·  The term “California domestic partner” as a caretaker relative to the CalWORKs filing unit.

 

·  The term “California domestic partner” as a spouse even after the marriage or domestic partnership has been terminated.

41-500.B

Caretaker Relative Requirements

This section amended to add the Declaration of Domestic Partnership certificate and Termination of Domestic Partnership certificate to the list of acceptable evidence necessary for verifying a caretaker relative relationship to a CalWORKs child.

41-500.G

Identification of Persons for Claiming Financial Participation

This section amended to add the term “California domestic partner” as an essential person for purposes of claiming federal participation.

43-100.A

 

Relationship Definitions for the Purposes of Child Support Responsibility

This section amended to establish a definition for:

 

·  A California registered domestic partner.

 

·  An individual who has a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the California Secretary of State.

 

·  A legal union, other than marriage validly formed in another jurisdiction, and substantially equivalent to a California registered domestic partner.

 

Changes to the CPG are noted with highlighted text.

 

Eligibility of RDPS/Same-Sex Married Spouses to CalWORKs

The California RDP is an individual who has a declaration of domestic partnership registered with the California Secretary of State.

 

AB 205 broadens the legal definition of RDPs to extend to RDPs the same rights and responsibilities that are granted and imposed upon civil marriages.  AB 205 also extends these rights and responsibilities to a member of a legal union validly formed in another jurisdiction that is equivalent to a California RDP.

 

For CalWORKs program purposes:

· RDPs have the same rights and responsibilities as stepparents of the children of their partners if they are not the natural or adoptive parents of the children of their partners, and shall be treated as such for the purposes of determining eligibility and grant amount.

· Same-sex spouses shall be treated as stepparents if they are not the natural or adoptive parents of the children of their partners, and all the following rules included in this CPG letter shall apply to same-sex couples who were married between June 16, 2008 and November 4, 2008.

 

Welfare to Work Impact

 

The CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work (WTW) program requirements were not changed as a result of AB 205.

 

If the RDP/same-sex spouse has not adopted the child(ren) or is not the natural parent of the child(ren), he or she is treated as a stepparent and the family would be considered a single-parent Assistance Unit (AU) with a 32-hour-per-week participation requirement.  These hours may not be shared, but either adult can fulfill the work participation requirement.

 

If both adults are nondisabled, and if the RDP/same-sex spouse has adopted the child(ren), the family is considered a two-parent AU with a 35-hour-per-week participation requirement.  These hours may be shared between the two aided adults pursuant to the Hours of Participation (CPG 10-001.A) section.

 

Child Care Impact

Eligibility for CalWORKs Stage One child care services does not change as a result of AB 205.

 

Eligibility requirements for Stage One are based on a client’s participation in required WTW activities and the availability of care.  Child care is considered available and the client is not eligible for subsidized child care when there is an able and available parent, legal guardian, or adult member of the AU in the home.

 

The same rules that are applied to stepparents in determining membership in the AU will be applied to RDPs/same-sex spouses who do not adopt the eligible child(ren) or who are not the natural parents of the eligible children.  In these cases, the CalWORKs parent will have the option, as they do with stepparents, to include or exclude the RDP/same-sex spouse in the AU, which could impact the availability of child care in the home.

 

If a RDP/same-sex spouse adopts the eligible child(ren), the RDP/same-sex spouse will be considered a parent and a member of the AU, so the same eligibility requirements for two-parent families will be applied.

 

For the Alternative Payment Programs the definition of a parent includes the RDP/same-sex spouse of the parent.  The size of the family or the composition of the family size is initially determined by the number of adults and children that the applicant parent presents to the agency and who are identified on the application as having responsibility for the care and welfare of the child.  (Example:  For domestic partners with one child, the family size is three).  Each parent must meet the need criteria as established by the California Department of Education.

 

Food Stamp Impact

The FS Program eligibility and household concept does not change as a result of AU members being RDPs/same-sex spouses.

 

Individuals who customarily purchase and prepare meals together continue to define a food stamp household.  A “household” can be defined as one person who lives alone or a group of persons related or unrelated, who live together, provided that meals are purchased and prepared together (FSPG 63-101).

 

Categorical Eligibility (CE) rules continue to require that households in which all members receive or are authorized to receive CalWORKs or General Relief (GR) benefits are considered CE eligible for FS (FSPG 63-119.4).

 

Refugee Cash Assistance Impact

 

RCA program eligibility does not change as a result of AU members being RDPs/same-sex spouses.

 

For eligibility purposes, the RCA program has the same requirements as CalWORKs.  Individuals that have an immigration status of refugee, asylee, Cuban/Haitian Entrant, Amerasian, or Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holder, are eligible to receive RCA program benefits.

 

Individuals certified as a victim of a severe form of trafficking by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, and eligible family members of a certified trafficking victim that have a Derivative T Visa are eligible to receive RCA program benefits.

 

Eligibility for RCA benefits is limited to a maximum of eight months, with the exception of SIV holders from Afghanistan whose eligibility is limited to a maximum of six months.

 

Medi-Cal Impact

Medi-Cal has both state-only funded programs and state-federally funded programs.

 

RDPs/same-sex spouses are not eligible for federal Medi-Cal benefits unless they are a natural or adoptive parent of a child in the AU/Medi-Cal Family Budget Unit (MFBU), the name of both RDPs/same-sex spouse appear on the child’s birth certificate, or they can establish eligibility on their own behalf (e.g. by being aged, blind, disabled, pregnant, etc.).

 

The RDP/same-sex spouse may be eligible for specific state funded Medi-Cal programs because he/she is treated as a spouse under state law.  See the Sample Budgets Using Aid Code 3S section.

 

When the RDP/same-sex spouse is not the natural or adoptive parent of a child in the AU/MFBU, but he/she is eligible for CalWORKs, a separate Medi-Cal determination must be made for that RDP/same-sex spouse and in some instances for the rest of the family, as explained in the Sample Budgets Using Aid Code 3S section.

 

Aid code 3S has been established for those who are eligible for CalWORKs but who will not receive automatic CalWORKs-based Medi-Cal.  Use of aid code 3S ensures that RDPs/same-sex spouses are not inappropriately considered or claimed as cash-linked Medi-Cal recipients.

 

Since Medi-Cal is no longer categorical to CalWORKs, there are times when a separate Medi-Cal determination must be made for the entire AU/MFBU.

 

Sample Budgets Using Aid Code 3S

Following are examples of the use of aid code 3S when the RDP/same-sex spouse requests to be in the AU/MFBU or opts out.  In all three examples the family consists of mom, two children, and a RDP/same-sex spouse, which is an AU/MFBU of four.  The RDP/same-sex spouse wants to be included in the AU/MFBU in the first two examples.  Two preliminary budgets must be completed.

 

Example One:

The first budget would include mom and the two children. The AU/MFBU is CalWORKs eligible and eligible for CalWORKs-based Medi-Cal as aid code 30.

 

Under the second budget, the RDP/same-sex spouse is added, and the AU/MFBU is still eligible for CalWORKs.  However, the RDP/same-sex spouse is not eligible under federal rules for CalWORKs-based Medi-Cal and would be designated as aid code 3S.  The rest of the AU/MFBU would be coded with the Medi-Cal aid code of 30 and the RDP/same-sex spouse must be referred for a separate determination for Medi-Cal eligibility.

 

Example Two:

The first budget includes mom and two children.  The budget computation indicates no eligibility for CalWORKs based on excess income for mom and the two children.

 

The second budget adds the RDP/same-sex spouse who has little or no income.  By including the RDP/same-sex spouse, the AU/MFBU is now increased to four which results in the mom and two children becoming eligible for CalWORKs.  Mom and the two children can be immediately put into aid code 3N, the Section 1931 (b) only aid code, as long as the sole reason for CalWORKs ineligibility was due to excess income.  The RDP/same-sex spouse must be coded under aid code 3S.  The RDP/same-sex spouse will receive CalWORKs but not automatic CalWORKs-based Medi-Cal, and must be referred for a separate determination of Medi-Cal eligibility.

 

The following is the rationale for the instruction to place adoptive or natural parent and children (referred to in this explanation as the federal family) immediately into aid code 3N when:  (1) they are not eligible for CalWORKs due to income, but (2) are eligible for CalWORKs when the RDP/same-sex spouse is added as a family member. 

 

The CalWORKs income standard is based on the Minimum Basic Standard of Adequate Care (MBSAC) that varies according to family size.  The income test for Section 1931(b)-only applicants is based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the size of the MFBU.  The FPL increases by family size.  Medi-Cal also uses the poverty level test, or may use a test based on the highest MBSAC used in CalWORKs with income deductions similar to but slightly higher than those of CalWORKs if earned income exists. 

 

The amounts established for the MBSAC levels used in CalWORKs are less than the 100 percent of poverty level used for the same family size used in determining Medi-Cal eligibility.  Furthermore, the MBSAC amount for a family size is always less than the poverty level for a MFBU family one individual smaller. 

 

Consider the above scenario where a federal family of three is ineligible for CalWORKs due to excess income, but is eligible for CalWORKs when it includes the RDP/same-sex spouse because it becomes a family size of four.  The federal family is income eligible for Section 1931(b)-only when its countable income is less than 100 percent of the poverty level for three.  The scenario states that the federal family plus the RDP/same-sex spouse are eligible for CalWORKs.  This means that their income must be less than the MBSAC for a family of four.  The MBSAC level for a family of four is always less than the poverty level for a family of three so that the federal family meets the income test for Section 1931(b).  If they are otherwise eligible for CalWORKs, they would be eligible for Section 1931(b)-only. 

 

This methodology is consistent through increases in family size.

 

Example Three:

The first budget includes mom and two children.  The RDP/same-sex spouse declines to be in the AU/MFBU.  A preliminary budget indicates that the AU/MFBU will not be income eligible without the other RDP/same-sex spouse being included in the AU/MFBU.  In this situation, the county will discuss the option of adding the RDP/same-sex spouse to the AU/MFBU.  If the RDP/same-sex spouse still declines to be included, the AU/MFBU will be denied CalWORKs for being financially ineligible.  As with any case that applies for CalWORKs and is denied, the case must be referred to Medi-Cal for a separate Medi-Cal determination.  Until that determination is completed the aid code 3S would be used for the entire family.

 

CalWORKs Budgeting for Domestic Partner/Same-Sex Spouse AU

For CalWORKs budgeting purposes, a RDPs/same-sex spouse’s income and needs are treated in the same manner as those of a stepparent.  The RDP/same-sex spouse is considered an optional person in the determination of the number of the persons in the AU.

 

Should the RDP/same-sex spouse choose to be included in the AU, his or her income and needs are counted as a member of the AU in accordance with CPG 44-100.M.  If a RDP/same-sex spouse chooses not to be included in the AU, his/her income and needs are considered when that person is living in the home in accordance with regulations in CPG 44-100.M.

 

The following examples illustrate these two scenarios:

 

Example One:

A nonexempt family of five (mom, her three children and a RDP/same-sex spouse).  Mom has earned income of $200 a month.  The RDP/same-sex spouse has earned income of $475 per month with no other income and chooses to be included in the AU.

 

$675

Earned Income for the family ($200 + $475 = $675)

-225

$225 Income Disregard

$450

Subtotal

-225

50% Earned Income Disregard

$225

Total Net Nonexempt Income

$980

Nonexempt AU MAP for Five

-225

Net Nonexempt Income

$755

Potential Grant Amount

 

Example Two:

RDP/same-sex spouse chooses not to be in the AU:  A nonexempt family of 5 (mom, her three children and RDP/same-sex spouse).  Mom has earned income of $200 a month.  The RDP/same-sex spouse has earned income of $475 per month with no other income and chooses not to be included in the AU.

 

$675

Earned Income for the family ($200 + $475 = $675)

-225

$225 Income Disregard

$450

Subtotal

-225

50% Earned Income Disregard

$225

Total Net Nonexempt Income

$980

Nonexempt AU MAP for Five

-225

Net Nonexempt Income

$755

Potential Grant Amount

$862

Nonexempt AU MAP for Four

$755

Actual Grant Amount (lesser of potential grant amount or AU MAP)

 

 

 

Automation Impact

CalWORKs

CalWIN functionality for CalWORKs

The RDP/same sex spouse shall be entered in CalWIN like any other individual in the household.  Deprivation must be identified in CalWIN if appropriate as well, i.e., if an absent parent to the children exists, all absent parent information must be entered in CalWIN.

1.      On the Collect Household Relationship Detail window, identify the RDP Relationship to the other Domestic Partner as a “Domestic Partner”.

2.      On the Collect Household Relationship Detail window, identify the Same Sex Spouse as the spouse of the other Same Sex Spouse.

3.      You must then identify the children/s relationship with the RDP/same sex spouse as a Step child.

 

 

Automation Impact
Medi-Cal

CalWIN functionality for Medi-Cal

Because the RDP/same sex spouse is not eligible for Federal Medi-Cal (Medi-Cal is no longer categorical to CalWORKs), a separate Medi-Cal determination must be made for the RDP/same sex spouse; and in some instances for the entire AU.

 

However, currently CalWIN will aid the RDP/same sex spouse under the same aid code as the other AU members.  This policy change is still under review at the CalWIN Project level and will require a Change Request to establish the 3S aid code.

 

Further Medi-Cal instructions will be provided in an upcoming Medi-Cal Program Guide Letter.

 

Forms Impact

The following CalWORKs forms will be revised to add the term “registered domestic partner” where “spouse” is used and to add “domestic partnership” as a marital status when asked on a form.

 

These changes will be made when stock is depleted, when other changes are made, or if the form is a master only.

 

CW 2.1Q

Support Questionnaire

CW 5

Veterans Benefits Verification and Referral

CW 8

Statement of Facts For An Additional Person

CW 8A

Statement Of Facts To Add A Child Under 16

CW 81

Lien Agreement

CW 82

Coversheet - Agreement To Sell Property

CW 88

Diversion Services Agreement CalWORKs Program

QR 3

Mid-Quarter Status Report For Cash Aid And Food Stamps

QR 7

Eligibility/Status Report - Quarterly For Cash Aid and Food Stamps

QR 7A

How To Fill Out Your QR 7 Quarterly Eligibility/Status Report

QR 22

Sponsored Noncitizens Applying For Or Receiving Cash Aid And/Or Food Stamps

QR 72

Sponsor’s Quarterly Income And Resources Report

SAWS 2

Statement Of Facts For Cash Aid, Food Stamps, And Medi-Cal/34- County Medical Services Program (CMSP)

 

 

 

QA Impact

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

 

Assistant Deputy Director

 

Original CPG Letter No. 191 signed June 24, 2009

 

 

 

JAYE YOSHONIS

Assistant Deputy Director

Self-Sufficiency Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

 

RG:rp

 

CC:      Jaye Yoshonis

Appeals/QC

Regional Support

Central Files