April 24, 2008

CalWORKs PROGRAM GUIDE

Special Notice

08-05

 

Subject

REQUEST FOR BENEFIT VERIFICATION

 

Reference

CalWORKs Program Guide Section 19-000, Confidentiality of Information and Records, Section B - Release of Information; Strategic Planning and Operational Support Housing Benefit Verification Requests; Work Participation Rate Forum Input

 

Effective

Upon receipt

 

Purpose

The purpose of this Special Notice (SN) is to:

 

·         Rename and modify form 07-69 HHSA Request for Payment Information to include grant status and Welfare to Work (WtoW) sanction information for housing benefit verification requests; and

·         Enhance communication with housing authorities to ensure that WtoW sanctioned clients do not benefit from an increased housing subsidy when a CalWORKs (CW) grant decrease is due to a WtoW sanction; and

·         Improve WtoW participation rates by eliminating the potential for increased housing subsidy benefits for sanctioned clients, which provides an additional deterrent to WtoW sanctions.

 

Background

When a client is requesting benefit verification from the Human Services Specialist (HSS) for housing purposes, the reason for a grant decrease may not be stated on the last Notice of Action (NOA) generated in CalWIN or on other requests for benefit verification.  As such, when determining housing benefits, housing authorities may incorrectly increase a client’s housing subsidy to offset a grant decrease, because the reason for the grant decrease is not stated on the verification submitted. 

 

Housing authorities will not increase a client’s housing subsidy to offset a grant decrease if the decrease is due to a WtoW sanction.

 

SPOS Sanction Housing Liaison

Strategic Planning and Operational Support (SPOS) has an established line of communication, via a designated sanction housing liaison, for housing authorities to contact to verify a client’s WtoW sanctioned status.  Housing authorities can contact the SPOS Sanction Reviewer at (619) 685-2339 to verify a client’s WtoW sanction status at any time.  Although this line of communication is beneficial, it is not mandatory for housing authorities to initiate contact. Additionally, some of the housing authorities have access to CalWIN; however the access is limited and does not always provide clear information for housing benefit determination. 

 

In order to fully ensure that housing authorities are aware of a client’s WtoW sanction status when determining housing benefits, changes have been made to the current benefit verification process as described in this SN.

 

Housing Authority Verification Forms

If available, HSS staff must first use the housing verification form provided by the housing authority, when verifying benefit information. 

 

As housing verification forms can vary, HSS staff must specify the WtoW  sanctioned clients’ status on the form by either:

 

1.      Marking an area on the form which has been pre-designated for indicating that the grant reduction is due to a WtoW sanction or failure to participate in WtoW/Work Activity Requirements or

2.      Indicating the grant reduction is due to a WtoW sanction in the “Other” or “Comments” section of the form. 

 

Request for Benefit Verification Form

If a housing verification form is not available, HSS staff must use manual form 07-69 HHSA Request for Benefit Verification when there is a request for verification of benefits for housing purposes.  Form 07-69 HHSA has been renamed from Request for Payment Information to Request for Benefit Verification.  This form has also been modified in order to enhance communication with housing authorities and ensure that sanctioned clients do not benefit from an increased housing subsidy when a grant decrease is due to a WtoW sanction. 

Form 07-69 HHSA has been modified to include the following checkboxes and other information related to the client’s current grant status:

 

·        “There is no current decrease in the CalWORKs grant.”

·        “The current decrease in the CalWORKs grant is due to a Welfare-to-Work sanction being served by ___________ (client). The sanction is effective ________ (date) and will remain in effect until ___________ (client) meets the requirements to cure the sanction.  The CalWORKs grant was reduced from $________ to $________ due to the Welfare to Work sanction.”

·        “The current decrease in the CalWORKs grant is not due to a Welfare-to-Work sanction.”

 

“Current Household Composition”:

 

“Number of aided adults”: _____ “Number of aided children”: _____

 

HSS staff must ensure that all information, including sanction status and household composition, is filled out accurately on form 07-69 HHSA, when providing information for clients requesting grant verification for housing benefits.  If a client is WtoW sanctioned, the HSS must also fill in client’s name, sanction effective date and grant amounts where indicated.

                                                                                                                                                                         

HSS Action Summary

HSS staff are reminded of the following procedures regarding WtoW sanctions and housing verification. 

The HSS must:

·         Use the housing verification forms provided by the housing authorities first if available when providing benefit verification for clients for housing benefits.

·         Use form 07-69 HHSA when providing benefit verification for clients for housing benefits, if housing verification forms are not available.

·         Ensure that all information, including sanction status and household composition, is filled out as appropriate on either the housing authority form or form 07-69 HHSA.

 

Forms Impact

Form 07-69 HHSA Request for Benefit Verification, has been renamed and modified as described in this SN.  This form is available on both iWay and the CalWIN intranet, for immediate use. 

 

Please recycle and discontinue use of previous versions of the 07-69 Request for Payment Information and replace with the updated version, 07-69 HHSA Request for Benefit Verification.

 

Automation Impact

HSS staff must complete benefit verification requests manually, due to the need for including WtoW sanction status information on requests for benefit verification.  HSS staff must use either actual housing authority forms, specifying sanction status or use form 07-69 HHSA Request for Benefit Verification, which includes sanction status information.

Food Stamp Impact

HSS staff are reminded to verify CalWIN entries to ensure sanctioned clients are evaluated correctly for a Food Stamp Employment and Training (FSET) Work Exemption. 

 

Please refer to the Food Stamp Program Guide for:

·        PA Grant amount to be included in the FS budget due to the non-compliance:  FSPG 63-252.3b , FSPG 63-259.13 and/or

 

·        FSET sanction and/or exemption criteria: FSPG 63-158

 

Childcare Impact

None

 

QC/QA Impact

None

 

Assistant Deputy Director

Original signed on 4/24/08

 

Jaye Yoshonis, ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR

Self Sufficiency Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

 

Manager Contact

CalWORKs Section