October 4, 2007              

 

                       

CalWORKs PROGRAM GUIDE                                                                                   FOOD STAMPS PROGRAM GUIDE

       SPECIAL NOTICE                                                                                                         SPECIAL NOTICE

                  07-21                                                                                                                                           07-23

                                                                           

                        CASH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR IMMIGRANTS (CAPI)

                                                            SPECIAL NOTICE

                                                                        07-04

 

 

Subject

SENATE BILL (SB) 1569 POST IMPLEMENTATION QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE   

 

 

Reference

All County Information Notice I-47-07 and All County Letter (ACL) 06-60. 

 

 

Effective Date

Upon Receipt

 

 

Purpose

The purpose of this joint Program Guide Special Notice is to provide staff with “Question and Answer” formatted material that provides further policy clarification and responses to questions regarding some of the issues pertaining to SB 1569.

 

 

Background

SB 1569 became effective January 1, 2007 and created a new state program providing eligible, non-citizen victims of human trafficking and domestic violence or other serious crimes the same benefits and social services available to refugees. ACL 06-60 (issued as CalWORKs Special Notice 07-03 on March 5, 2007), contained detailed information about the new law and provided implementation instructions.         

 

http://hhsa-pg.sdcounty.ca.gov/CalWORKS/SpecialNotices/CalWORKs_Joint_SN_07-03.htm

 

 

 

   

Resource Tools

The circumstances and experiences of non-citizen victims of human trafficking and serious crimes present a special challenge in assisting them.  Contained in the Special Notice, are suggested screening tools and resources from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children (AFC) for use in determining if an applicant is a potential victim of human trafficking.

 

Additional resources and information on victims of trafficking can also be accessed at:

 

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/campaign_kits/index.html#social

 

  

Sworn Statement – Trafficking Victim
A sworn statement by a non-citizen victim pursuant to SB 1569 is sufficient to verify trafficking status if at least one additional item of evidence is provided. (See CalWORKs SN 07-03 accessed from the link below “Trafficking Victims (T-Visa) -Eligibility for Services and Benefits under SB 1569” for a listing of additional items)

  

http://hhsa-pg.sdcounty.ca.gov/CalWORKS/SpecialNotices/CalWORKs_Joint_SN_07-03.htm

 

In the absence of additional evidence, a sworn statement by a victim will be sufficient if the county makes a determination documented in the case file that the applicant is credible.

 

Q1. How do we determine that an applicant is “credible” for the purposes of establishing trafficking status?

 

 A1.  A sworn statement is acceptable unless there is an independent, reasonable basis for finding the applicant is not credible.  The finding of credibility (or lack thereof) must be documented in the case record.

 

Q2.   Is a sworn statement sufficient to establish the status of a victim of other serious crime applying for benefits under U Visa provisions?

 

A2.   No.  For purposes of aiding an individual under SB 1569, a victim of other serious crimes (including domestic abuse) must have filed for or have been granted a U Visa or U Visa Interim relief in order to be eligible. Refer to page 7 of SN 07-03 for examples of acceptable documentation.

     

 

 

 

U Visa Interim Relief Approval (Form 1-797) – Crime Victim

Q1.  For purposes of verifying that an applicant has filed for a U Visa Interim Relief, he/she has presented a Federal Notice of Action (Form I-797), approving his/her request.  The I-797 indicates a “Deferred Action Validity Period” of one year, with an end date.  What does “Deferred Action Validity Period” on the I-797 mean?

 

A1. Approval of a request for a U Visa Interim relief provides two things:

 

·  Deferral from removal (from the country) and

·   Eligibility to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD)

 

Deferred action is a means for non-citizen victims of crimes to stay in the U.S. legally and work.  Once an individual obtains his/her EAD, he/she may apply for a restricted SSN, which allows his/her to be employed.  The I-797 approving U Visa Interim Relief will usually indicate a “Deferred Action Validity Period” with an end date (typically one year).         

 

Q2. Once an applicant receives approval of U Visa Interim relief, is he/she required to apply for an EAD and SSN?

 

A2.  Yes.  As a condition of eligibility, a nonexempt applicant/recipient with an opportunity to obtain an SSN/EAD is required to do so in order to comply with registration, employment, and employment-directed education and training requirements.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registration, Employment, and Employment –Directed Education/

Training (TCVAP and CalWORKs)

 

Some recipients of the new State program will not have authorization to work in the United States.

 

Q.1 Please clarify whether employment and/or employment preparation services are mandatory or voluntary for each visa type (T Visa and U Visa Interim relief), including sanction requirements.

 

 A.1  SB 1569 specifies that this population be subject to the same work requirements and exemptions as federally eligible refugees program recipients, provided that compliance with these requirements is authorized by law, regardless of visa type.  It does not apply to Food Stamps, as no comparable work registration/activity requirements have been established for the Food Stamp program.   

    

     The level of participation may be curtailed due to employment barriers (i.e. no SSN, and certain employment services will not be appropriate, (e.g. referrals to employment interviews, job search, etc.)  If a recipient is legally unable to participate in an employment preparation or service activity, it cannot be required.

    

Q.2 What registration, employment, and employment-directed education and training activities are appropriate for a recipient with no SSN and no authorization to work?        

 

A.2   A recipient in TCVAP or state-only CalWORKs with no SSN or no   authorization to work, should not be:

 

·   Referred to employment interviews,

·   Required to search for a job, or

·   Required to engage in any other activity that would be essentially futile due to his/her inability to secure legal employment.      

  

Rather, activities should be identified that help prepare the recipient for future employment, such as English language training, job skills development and preparation, job-specific training, etc.         

                                                                   

   

 

 

 

 

Registration, Employment, and Employment –Directed Education/
Training (TCVAP and CalWORKs), Continued

Q.3 An employment/educational services agency is resisting sending SB 1569 recipients, stating these individuals should not be referred to them because their contract funding source is entirely federal.  If these individuals are eligible for services “equivalent” to RCA participants, shouldn’t they be referred to the same employment/educational services?

 

A.3  Where a service provider’s contract is funded with federal monies,   the provider is correct in saying they “cannot serve” the SB 1569 population under that existing contract.  This is because the SB 1569 population is not federally eligible. However, under SB 1569, non-citizen victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes are eligible for services to the same extent as refugees, and counties are to ensure such services are available to eligible participants, whether the same contract is amended to include this population, or a new contract is procured.

 

Q.4  Are there any specific exemptions from registration, employment, and employment-directed education/training requirements for SB 1569 recipients?

 

A.4  SB 1569 specifies that an exemption from work requirements must be available to these recipients if physical or psychological trauma related to or arising from the victimization impedes their ability to comply.          

 

Q.5 Do current regulatory exemptions from employment registration and activity requirements cover a non-citizen victim of human trafficking or other serious crimes?

 

A.5 The same exemptions available to refugees and CalWORKs recipients are available to this population (SB 1569 recipients).  These regulatory exemptions include conditions that could be a result of trafficking or serious crime.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Services Funding

Q.1  Applicants who have been granted U Visa/U Visa Interim relief are granted temporary immigration status and may be authorized to work, but there is no federal benefits program for these individuals.  As such, this population will not be eligible for employment services which are federally-funded (e.g. Refugee Social Services and Targeted Assistance).  What will the funding source for this group be? 

 

 A.1 The purpose of SB 1569 is to provide benefits and services to non-citizen trafficking and crime victims to the same extent as refugees.  This includes both case assistance and services which will be state-funded under the provisions of the law.  Fiscal instructions for these provisions will be issued at a later date.      

 

Q.2  We do not have aid codes for this population.  How should they be coded?

 

A.2 Until codes are available, they should be flagged so they are identifiable when aid codes become available and/or fiscal policy is established for each program.   

 

Note:  Staff should refer to CalWORKs SN 07-03 for instructions on how to track these cases.  Staff must flag both RCA and State-Only CalWORKs cases and email the case information to Dennis Mirabelli

 Dennis.Mirabelli@sdcounty.ca.gov with Strategic Planning and Operational Support (SPOS) for centralized tracking.  Case information should include the Case Number and Client Name.   

 

  

Notices of Action

Q.1  ACL 06-60 states that eligibility for benefits and services under SB 1569 is to be terminated if the recipient’s application for a visa has been finally administratively denied.  When should the case be terminated, and do we need to send a timely notice?

 

A.1  Upon notification that the visa has been denied, the county must send a NOA terminating the case, effective as soon as possible with 10 days notice.

 

Q.2  Will NOAs be developed for these State only programs?

 

A.2  NOAs for TCVAP are currently under consideration.  Until NOAS are developed, appropriate general NOAS should be used.

  

 

 

Beginning Date of Aid

Q.1 How are the beginning dates of aid determined for eligible SB 1569 applicants for TCVAP, California Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) state-only CalWORKs, and state-only Food Stamps?

 

A.1 When an applicant is approved for state only benefits and services under SB 1569, respective regulations will apply for beginning Dates of Aid for each program.  Upon approval for a federal program, an SB 1569 trafficking case receiving aid under the state program may need to be converted, and a new beginning date of aid for the federal program determined. 

          

 

Program Specifics/ TCVAP (State Program Equivalent to RCA)

Program-specific clarification is needed regarding the duration of benefits, the one-year eligibility period, case conversion from state-only to federal rates, etc.

 

Q.1 ACL 06-60 states “Non-citizens determined eligible under the provisions of SB 1569, if otherwise eligible, will receive state-funded benefits and services equivalent to RCA pursuant to MPP Division 69”. There is some confusion about the use of the phrase”…equivalent to RCA…”  Are these benefits intended to be identical to RCA, and is the period 8 months?

 

A.1 Yes.  The benefits are the same as the current maximum of 8 months in RCA, but the funding sources are different. RCA is federally funded and the state program, TCVAP, is state funded.  Please note that the 8-month maximum currently available in RCA is set by federal regulations and may change.

 

Q.2 If a client has applied for the appropriate visa and has received 8 months of TCVAP, do we discontinue after 8 months or wait the full year?

 

A.2 An eligible TCVAP recipient may receive cash aid up to a maximum of 8 months at which time he/she will be discontinued from cash TCVAP aid.  The one-year period pertains to the time frame allowed for the recipient to apply for a T Visa and is not connected to the 8-month eligibility period for cash aid.  Employment Services, such as English language training and job preparation, may continue for the duration of the year.

       

 

 

 

Program Specifics/ TCVAP (State Program Equivalent to RCA) Continued

Q.1 How is the beginning date of aid determined?

 

A.1 Regular beginning date of aid rules apply.

 

Q.2 ACL 06-60 states that when/if the recipient is certified by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), claiming for the case must be switched from state-only to federal.  Do we need to send a NOA? How is the beginning date of aid determined for conversion to the federal program?

 

A.2 Upon notification that a TCVAP trafficking recipient has received ORR certification, the county must make a determination that the recipient is eligible for RCA and maintain a copy of the ORR certification letter in the case file.  If the original application is still current, a new application is not required, and the beginning date of aid for RCA is the date of ORR certification.  A NOA must be sent informing the recipient that he/she is being taken out of the state program and placed in the federal program, with a new end date if applicable. (e.g. for RCA, 8 months from ORR certification.)  See example below.

            

 

May 10th

 

TCVAP approved

 

(beginning date of aid regulations apply)

July 10

 

Recipient receives notification he/she has been certified by ORR effective July 1.

 

July 13

 

Recipient notifies county of ORR certification

July 17

 

County sends timely NOA informing recipient that he/she will receive RCA, with a new end month, 8 months from the date of ORR certification, if there are no changes affecting eligibility. 

 

If no appeal, the county converts the case from state-only to federal for claiming purposes effective July 1  

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Program Specifics/
CalWORKs TANF

Q.1 Will these individuals, who may be undocumented and may not have authorization to work, be automatically exempt from CalWORKs welfare-to-work?

 

A.1  Non-citizens determined eligible for state-only CalWORKs under provisions of SB 1569 are not automatically exempt from the CalWORKs welfare-to-work requirements.  These individuals are subject to the CalWORKs program requirements and exemptions including welfare-to work participation. However, some welfare-to-work activities, such as employment and job search, may not be appropriate for these individuals since they may not have authorization.

 

Q.2 How will counties’ work participation rates be affected by the welfare-to-work requirements for this population?

 

A.2 Services provided to SB 1569 eligible individuals are provided solely with state general fund monies that are not TANF Maintenance of Effort funds; therefore, these individuals are not subject to TANF work participation requirements.  SB 1569 individuals will have no effect on the counties’ federal work participation rate.

         

 

Welfare-to-Work Child Care

Q.1  Are SB 1569 recipients in state-only CalWORKs program eligible to receive child care services?

 

A.1  Yes.  Per regulations, If child care eligibility requirements are met, current state-only CalWORKs recipients are eligible to receive CalWORKs Child Care because the participant receives cash assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Stamps

Q.1 If a recipient receiving state-fund Food Stamps pursuant to SB 1569 becomes federally eligible, do we need to send a NOA?

 

A.1 If there are case changes in addition to the funding source (e.g. the Food Stamp certification period changes), a timely NOA is required.  If the only change to the case is the claiming, a NOA is not necessary.

 

Q.2 The Able-Bodied Adult Without dependents (ABAWD) work requirement is usually met through 20 hours per week of work or workfare.  Maybe counties should at least be encouraged to use the 15% ABAWD exemption on them.

 

 A.2 This population is not subject to any food stamp work rules at this time, including the ABAWD work requirement, work registration requirements, and/or penalties for voluntary quit or reduction of hours.  Consequently, no sanctions are applicable, either.

    

Q.3   How is the beginning date of aid determined for this population?

 

A.3 Food Stamp Program beginning date of aid rules remain unchanged.  Counties must act promptly on all applications and provide food stamp benefits retroactive to the month of application to those households  that have completed the application process and have been determined eligible.

 

 

CAPI

Q.1  When should an SB 1569 recipient who becomes eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) be discontinued from CAPI?

 

A.1  The beginning date of SSI would be determined by the Social Security Administration. As soon as possible, following the SSI award date, a timely NOA should be sent discontinuing the SB 1569 CAPI case effective with the date of SSI eligibility.

 

Q.2  How is the beginning date of aid determined for this population?

 

A.2  Regular beginning date of aid rules apply. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quality Control

Q.1 Will there be quality control and/or monitoring of these cases?

 

A.1 At this time there are no plans for formal quality control of the state-only program, although these cases may be included in case review/monitoring activities as appropriate.

 

 

BENDS 4317

Included is BENDS 4317 “Eligibility for aid and services for non-citizen victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and other serious crimes”.  Until the state assigns specific state-only aid codes and CalWIN has been modified to accept these aid codes, it will be necessary to enter specific entries in order for CalWIN to determine eligibility correctly for this specific population.

 

http://cosda428p/calwin/CalWORKs/BENDS/tabid/109/Default.aspx

 

 

Automation Impact

None

               

Assistant Deputy Director

 

 

JAYE YOSHONIS, Assistant Deputy Director  Signed 9/27/07

CalWORKs Program

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

 

 

DANN CRAWFORD, Assistant Deputy Director  Signed 9/27/07

Food Stamps, Medi-Cal, CAPI and GR Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support