June 24, 2009

 

CalWORKs PROGRAM GUIDE

SPECIAL NOTICE

09-06

 

 

Subject

CALWORKS IMPACTS OF THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT (ARRA) OF 2009

 

Effective Date

Upon Receipt.

 

Reference

· American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009

· All County Letters (ACL) 09-12 and 09-22

 

Purpose

The purpose of this CalWORKs Program Guide (CPG) Special Notice is to provide instructions regarding the effect of specific provisions of the ARRA on CalWORKs benefits and clients.

 

This special notice focuses on the impact to the CalWORKs program of four sections of the ARRA:

 

1.      An increase in Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) by $25 per week;

 

2.      A one-time payment of $250 to Social Security, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP), Railroad Retirement, and Veteran Disability Compensation or Pension recipients;

 

3.      A temporary increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and

 

4.      The Making Work Pay Credit (MWPC).

 

Background

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the ARRA into law.  The effective date of these provisions was April 1, 2009.  The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Food Stamp Bureau has issued instructions in a separate letter (ACL 09-12), relating to the effects of the ARRA on that program.

 

Also see Food Stamp Program Guide Letter #541, for instructions relating to the effects of the ARRA on the Food Stamp program.

 

Income and Benefits Provided by the ARRA

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Any UIB received by an assistance unit (AU) as a result of the ARRA is considered income.  The amount of the ARRA increase is $25 per week above the recipient’s current benefit amount.  The $25 is included with the regular UIB payment.

 

If an AU receives back payments in a single UIB payment, the payment will not be treated as property, unless the AU still has a remaining balance of the payment in the next quarter.

 

Social Security, SSI/SSP, Railroad Retirement Benefits, and Veterans Disability Compensation or Pension Benefits

A one-time payment in the amount of $250 will be issued to these recipients as a result of the passage of the ARRA.

 

The ARRA states that these payments shall not be regarded as income or as a resource for the month of receipt and the following nine months, for purposes of determining the eligibility of the recipient (or the recipient’s spouse or family) for benefits or assistance, or the amount of benefits or assistance.

 

After the exemption period has passed, any remaining funds will be considered in determining eligibility in the next quarter.

 

Tax Credits

The ARRA includes a temporary five percent increase in the EITC for certain eligible recipients with three or more children.  CalWORKs exempts EITC refunds from consideration as income for the month of receipt and the following month.

 

The ARRA also includes a new MWPC for eligible working individuals.  The ARRA states that the MWPC shall not be considered as income or as a resource for the month of receipt and for the following two months.  After the exemption period has passed, any remaining funds from either tax credit will be considered in determining eligibility in the next quarter.

 

Any additional information or clarification provided by CDSS relating to these credits or any other section of the ARRA will be transmitted to staff under separate cover.

       

Food Stamp Impact

Food Stamp instructions have been provided under Food Stamp Program Guide Letter #541, relating to the effects of the ARRA on that program.

    

Automation Impact

Attached to this special notice is a desk aid with instructions on how to treat and enter in CalWIN the additional $25 weekly increase in UIB payments.

 

Quality Assurance (QA) Impact

QA will cite the appropriate error when program regulations are not applied correctly.

                 

Assistant Deputy Director

 

Original signed June 24, 2009

 

 

 

JAYE YOSHONIS

Assistant Deputy Director

Self-Sufficiency Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

 


UIB STIMULUS (ARRA) INCREASE UPDATE

AND CalWIN ENTRIES

 

BACKGROUND

Effective March 2009, the State Employment Development Department (EDD) began issuing an additional $25 a week in Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) payments to all UIB recipients.

The $25 increase does not show on the UIB pay stub or award letter and is not included in the WBA amount.  The $50 bi-weekly increase will show only on the total of the actual UIB pay check with the following statement: “The attached check includes a Federal Stimulus payment 

Note that the UIB increase will not appear on the IEVS/PVS reports.

Since all UIB recipients are receiving the extra $25, workers must treat the $50 bi-weekly UIB benefits increases according to the program policies below.  

 

PROGRAMS POLICY

PROGRAM

TREATMENT of the $25 UIB Stimulus Weekly Increase

Medi-Cal

Exempt.

Disregard for purposes of determining Medi-Cal eligibility and share-of-cost.

CalWORKs

Include as unearned income.  Add $50 bi-weekly UIB to the budget as instructed below.

Food Stamps

Include as unearned income.  Add $50 bi-weekly UIB to the budget as instructed below.  (Refer to FSPG Letter #541)

General Relief

Include as unearned income.

CAPI

Include as unearned income.

 

 

MANAGING THE STIMULUS UIB INCREASE ON CalWORKs/PAFS & NAFS CASES

·   New/Pending Applications

The additional stimulus UIB benefits will be anticipated as unearned income.

 

·   Ongoing Cases

 

o Quarterly Reporting Households

Include the UIB stimulus increase effective the first benefit payment quarter, beginning May 2009 (cycle 2 cases), June 2009 (cycle 3 cases) and July 2009 (cycle 1 cases). 

 

o Change Reporting Households

Include the UIB stimulus increase in the May 2009 computation. 

 

CalWIN

Since there is a variation among the programs, a separate income type will be entered into CalWIN for all Food Stamp and CalWORKs cases that include an individual receiving UIB.  The additional $25 weekly benefit amount will be recorded in CalWIN by adding an additional income type of “Net Countable Income for Food Stamps” and/or “Net Countable Income for CalWORKs” and recording the amount as $50 Bi-Weekly (screen shots attached).


CalWIN ENTRIES

The following CalWIN entries demonstrate the method to record the UIB stimulus increase for a Quarterly Reporting Food Stamp recipient on QR Cycle 2. 
 
All UIB payments are recorded in the Display Unearned Income Summary window.

 

Regular UIB payment (without the stimulus portion) recorded in CalWIN for Food Stamps, CalWORKs and Medi-Cal.

 

Add an additional record to document the UIB stimulus increase as “Net Countable Income for Food Stamps.”

 


 

Record the UIB stimulus income to reflect $50 bi-weekly ($25 weekly).

 

 


 

Two entries in CalWIN, Stimulus UIB and Regular UIB.

 

 


Regular UIB payment (without the Stimulus portion).
Stimulus UIB recorded and budgeted only for FS program.

 

FOR CalWORKs, repeat the same steps, but when adding the record, select “Net Countable Income for CalWORKs” to document the UIB stimulus increase.  CalWIN will have three records:  One for regular UIB, one Stimulus UIB for Food Stamps (PAFS), and one Stimulus UIB for CalWORKs.

 

For CalWORKs and Food Stamps, remember to evaluate any overpayment/overissuance based on QR/PB regulations as explained in

·  CPG 44-250-I; CPG 44-350-F and

·  FSPG 63-451; FSPG 63-452.

 

For Medi-Cal only cases enter the regular UIB amount without the $50 Stimulus as the “UIB: regular payment gross”.  If the client provides the actual pay check as verification, remember to subtract the $50 from the total UIB amount.

 

For General Relief, repeat the same steps, but when adding the record, select “Net Countable Income for General Assistance” to document the UIB stimulus increase.  CalWIN will have one record for regular UIB, one record for General Relief, and possibly a record for Food Stamps (if receiving).

 

For CAPI, repeat the same steps, but when adding the record, select “Net Countable Income for CAPI” to document the UIB stimulus increase.  CalWIN will have one record for regular UIB, one record for CAPI, and possibly a record for Food Stamps (if receiving).