February 24, 2011

Calfresh logo Program Guide Letter #555

 

Subject

EXPANSION OF MODIFIED CATEGORICAL ELIGIBILITY TO ALL NON-ASSISTANCE CALFRESH HOUSEHOLDS

 

Reference

All County Letters Nos. 11-11 and 09-24.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this letter is to notify staff about the expansion of Modified Categorical Eligibility (MCE) for CalFresh to all Non-assistance CalFresh (NACF) households.

 

Effective Date

February 1, 2011

 

Background

CalFresh Program Guide Letter #545 instructed staff to confer MCE for NACF households exceeding the CalFresh resource limit, but otherwise eligible, when the household includes a child under 18, by providing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Maintenance of Effort (MOE)-funded service “Family Planning – PUB 275” brochure.

MCE was implemented July 1, 2009 for ongoing NACF households and December 1, 2009 for new NACF applicants.

 

Expansion of MCE to All NACF Households-General Rule

Effective February 1, 2011, Human Service Specialists (HSSs) will confer MCE to all eligible NACF households that have received TANF/MOA-funded services in the form of the Family Planning – PUB 275 brochure.  The HSSs will not be required to evaluate resources to determine eligibility to CalFresh and will not request verification of resources from NACF households after the household receives PUB 275.

 

Family Planning PUB 275 Brochure

Effective with the receipt of this letter, Family Resource Centers (FRCs) and ACCESS will include the Family Planning PUB 275 brochure in all NACF application and recertification packets.

·  For applications received via Benefits CalWIN or One-e-App, ACCESS will mail the PUB 275 along with other CalFresh forms as explained in Section 63-104.3, Roles and Responsibilities (Role of the External Referral Application HSS).

The HSS will provide PUB 275 to:

·  NACF households submitting applications and reporting resources between February 1st and the date of receipt of this letter;

·  NACF recipients reporting resources on the QR 7 between February 1, 2011 and next recertification; and

·  CalWORKs/Public Assistance CalFresh (PACF) applicants being determined ineligible to CalWORKs, but otherwise eligible to NACF. 

NOTE: PUB 275 will be included in the recertification packets for the next 12 months, or 24 months for households currently certified for 24 months.

 

HSS Action

The HSS will not evaluate, collect or request verification of resources from NACF applicants or recipients after the household has received PUB 275.

·  Since PUB 275 is being included in all application, recertification and Benefits CalWIN/One-e-App application packets, the HSS is not required to explain in CalWIN case comments that the household has been provided PUB 275.   Until CalWIN is updated with MCE regulations, the HSS will include in CalWIN case comments that the household has been determined MCE.

Exception: the HSS will provide the PUB 275 and narrate that the household has received PUB 275 when granting MCE status for:

-     NACF applications received between February 1st and the date of receipt of this letter;

-     NACF recipients reporting resources on the QR 7 between February 1, 2011 and next recertification; and

-     CalWORKs/PACF applicants being determined ineligible to CalWORKs assistance, but otherwise eligible to NACF.

·  Reporting requirements are not changing with expanded MCE.  The household must declare resources on the application and answer question #6 on the QR 7.  However, the household will not be required to provide verification of resources; the HSS will not request or evaluate verification of resources.

·  MCE regulations do not change CalFresh regulations regarding Expedited Services.  Resources of MCE households will be used to evaluate eligibility to Expedited Services.  The HSS will accept the household’s statement to verify these resources.

·  When a CalWORKs/PACF application is denied, the HSS will evaluate NACF without requesting or evaluating resources after giving PUB 275 to the applicant.

HSS Action: January 2011 Applications Denied in February for Excess Resources

Applications dated January 2011 that have been determined ineligible in February 2011 to CalFresh due to excess resources, will be denied for the application month, but granted MCE status effective February 2011, if otherwise eligible, without requiring a new application as long as the household receives the PUB 275 brochure. 

FRC and ERA staff will review the “CalFresh Case-denials – February 2011” report to determine if the case was denied for excess resources.  If the denial reason is excess resources, the HSS will reevaluate eligibility.

If the application date was:

·  February 2011, reevaluate eligibility, rescind the denial and grant the case as MCE, if otherwise eligible, after providing PUB 275 and documenting in CalWIN;

·  January 2011, uphold the January denial, reevaluate eligibility and approve the application as MCE effective February 1st, if otherwise eligible, without requiring a new application, after providing PUB 275 and documenting in CalWIN.

 

Forms / Client Correspondence Impact

The Family Planning PUB 275 brochure, English and Spanish language versions, can be ordered free of charge from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). To order, follow the instructions in CDSS Forms Catalog (PUB 69).

The following translations of the PUB 275 have been uploaded in Xerox:

·      Cambodian

·      Hmong

·      Chinese

·      Lao

·      Russian

·      Vietnamese

PUB 275 in the above languages can also be located in the S:\ENTERPISE\Food Stamp State Forms\Other Languages Food Stamp State Forms.

 

CalFresh Program Guide Updates

The CalFresh Program Guide has been updated as follows:

Section

Updates

103.3

·      Added the PUB 275 brochure to the list of forms required for application and recertification packets, and

·      Updated the CalFresh Application Coversheet with PUB 275.

104.3

Added the PUB 275 brochure to the list of forms (attachment B) the ERA worker must send to households requesting CalFresh via Benefits CalWIN.

105.6

Added statement explaining that liquid resources will be used to evaluate eligibility to Expedited Services, and under MCE regulations, the household will not be required to provide verification of liquid resources to be evaluated for regular NACF.

117.20

Added statement the HSS will not verify or evaluate resources under MCE and reference to Section 63-203.19.

119.4

Updated MCE definition.

119.9

Deleted section “Modified Categorical Eligibility (MCE)” from this chapter.

201.1

Updated MCE information.

203.19

Updated MCE definition and added MCE regulations.

206.5

Added MCE information and deleted requirement for the sponsor to submit verification of resources.

206.7

Added MCE information and deleted requirement to request verification or evaluate resources when the household report resources on the QR 7.

224.11

Added statement clarifying resources of MCE NACF households will not be evaluated since lump-sum payments are considered resources in the month received.

274.2

Added the HSS will not consider the QR 7 incomplete if the household does not provide verification of resources with the QR 7.

275.7

Added the HSS will not consider or evaluate the resources of NACF households.

302.4

Updated MCE definition.

119.6, 119.8, 121.4, 157.1, 157.2, 1101.1, 201.2-5, 202.1-6, 203.1-18, 206.1-4, 206.6, 8, 9, 251.1, 261.2, 273.4, 650.3

Added the following statement:

Effective February 1, 2011, all Non-assistance CalFresh (NACF) households will be considered modified categorically eligible (MCE) to CalFresh after receiving TANF/MOE-funded services in the form of the “Family Planning – PUB 275” brochure. 

Workers will not verify or evaluate resources to determine eligibility to CalFresh after the household receives PUB 275.

 Refer to CalFresh Program Guide Section 63-203.19 for additional information.

 

Automation (CalWIN) Impact

Currently, CalWIN excludes resources of NACF households that include a child under 18 years of age.

Until CalWIN is updated with expanded MCE regulations, a workaround is necessary to disregard resources of all NACF households without children under 18. 

Until the Project issues BENDS 5558, the HSS will apply the following workaround to NACF cases exceeding resources:

Quarterly Reporting (QR) NACF Households

The HSS must enter the resource information reported by the applicant/recipient in CalWIN.  If the household  exceeds the resource limits, the HSS will:

·  Set a Use Effective Month (UEM) that extends beyond the certification period to allow the resources to be excluded for the certification period after running EDBC (example, if the certification period is 10/2010 to 9/2011, enter UEM date of 10/2011);

·  Enter special indicator “Modified CE NAFS” on the Collect Case Special Indicators window to flag the case to remove the UEM once the change is implemented in CalWIN.

Change Reporting (CR) NACF Households

The HSS must enter the resource information reported by the applicant/recipient in CalWIN.  If the household  exceeds the resource limit, the HSS will:

·  Enter special indicator “Modified CE NAFS” on the Collect Case Special Indicators window to flag the case to remove the UEM once the change is implemented in CalWIN;

·  Run EDBC; and

·  Before authorizing the case, call the Help Desk to request an Override.

NOTE: The Help Desk will not be able to Override after the case has been authorized.

NACF/Medi-Cal Households

Apply the workaround above if the NACF household exceeds the resource limits.

CalWORKs/PACF Households

The HSS will continue to collect and record in CalWIN resources of CalWORKs applicant/recipient households and grant PACF as categorically eligible.  When the CalWORKs case is discontinued, the PACF case will be transferred to Transitional CalFresh (TCF).

“CALFRESH CASE-DENIALS – FEBRUARY 2011” REPORT

The HSS must review this report to evaluate cases that have been denied for excess resources in February 2011.

If the application was dated:

·  February 2011, reevaluate eligibility, rescind the denial, and re-open the case as MCE if otherwise eligible.

·  January 2011, uphold the January denial, reevaluate eligibility and approve the application as MCE effective February 1st, if otherwise eligible, without requiring a new application.

 

CalWORKs Impact

No impact to CalWORKs Program.

 

Medi-Cal Impact

No impact to Medi-Cal Program.

 

ACCESS Impact

·  ACCESS supervisors will share with staff to make sure agents are aware of the new regulations, workarounds and verification requirements regarding MCE and NACF households.

·  ACCESS will add the Family Planning – PUB 25 brochure to all intake packets sent out for ERA.

·  ERA supervisors will share with staff to make sure staff is aware of the new regulations, workarounds and verification requirements regarding MCE and NACF households.

·  ERA staff will review the “CalFresh Case-Denials – February 2011” report to determine if the case was denied for excess resources and re-evaluate.

 

Operational Impact

No impact.

 

Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) Impact

No special procedures are required for these cases.  QC and QA staff will continue reviewing cases using standard review procedures and will cite the appropriate error when the regulations cited in this material has not been followed.

Manager Approval

SYLVIA MELENA, Assistant Deputy Director

Self-Sufficiency Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

OA