September 30, 2011

 

 

   Program Guide Letter #564

 

Subject

CALFRESH COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS (COLA) FOR FFY 2012 EFFECTIVE 10/01/11

 

Effective Date

October 1, 2011

 

Reference

All County Information Notice I-62-11

 

Purpose

The purpose of this letter is to:

·         Inform staff that the CalFresh COLA mass update process ran the weekend of September 3, 2011 for CalFresh including Public Assistance CalFresh (PACF), Non-Assistance CalFresh (NACF) and Transitional CalFresh (TCF);

·         Inform staff that the CalFresh Program Guide (CFPG) 63-1100 Handbook Section, has been updated and will be posted on the internet shortly;

·         Provide staff with instructions for COLA implementation; and

·         Provide staff with CalWIN Mass Update Reports.

 

Background

The Food Stamp Act of 1977 provides annual COLA adjustments to allotments, certain deductions, and eligibility standards.  The adjustments are effective every year on the first day of October.  If October falls mid-quarter in a QR household, the COLA is effective October 1st and is treated as a county-initiated mid-quarter change. 

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the maximum and minimum allotments for household size remain unchanged for FFY 2012.  ARRA raised the maximum allotments by 13.6 percent of the June 2008 value and provided that benefits could not decline below this level.

 

 

 

Summary of Changes

CHAPTER/ SECTION #

SECTION TITLE

REVISIONS/UPDATES

63-1101.3

Income and Eligibility Standards

Updated Gross and Net Income Limits

63-1102.1

Income Deductions Table

Updated Deductions and CalWORKs and CalFresh Assistance Standards Table

63-1104.3

165%FPL Gross Income Chart

Updated Gross Income Chart

63-1104.4

Examples of Determination for Elderly/Disabled Separate Household Status

Updated 165% FPL in the examples

Changes to the CalFresh Program Guide are noted with highlighted text.

 

Summary of Changes

The following changes are part of the FFY 2012 COLA:

·   The Excess Shelter Deduction* has been increased to $459;

·   The Standard Deduction Amount changes according to the Eligible CalFresh Household size as follows:

o  1-3 Eligible household members = $147 (increase)

o  4 Eligible household members = $155 (increase)

o  5 Eligible household members = $181 (increase)

o  6 or more Eligible household members = $208 (increase)

*NOTE:  There was no change in the Homeless Household Shelter Allowance, currently $143.

Standard Utility Allowance (SUA)

As a result of a waiver allowed by the USDA. Food and Nutrition Service, the SUA amount increased from $320 to $329 for FFY 2012, effective October 1, 2011. 

Limited Utility Allowance (LUA)

The LUA amount increased from $94 to $99 for FFY 2012, effective October 1, 2011.  A household that is not eligible for the SUA but incurs expenses for at least two separate utilities, other than heating and cooling, is eligible for a LUA.

Telephone Utility Allowance (TUA)

The TUA amount is unchanged and remains at $20 for FFY 2012.  A household that is not eligible for the SUA or LUA, but incurs a telephone expense or in its absence an equivalent form of communication, is eligible to receive a telephone deduction (TUA).

 

 

Informing Notice

State regulations do not require timely notice when processing a mass change.  However, we are required to inform clients that a change will or has occurred in their CalFresh allotment.  This informing requirement can be met by displaying posters containing the information, in places accessible to clients.  Households must be informed by October 1, 2011.

Samples of the COLA informing posters (Attachments A and B) are attached to this letter.  Family Resource Centers (FRC’s) will need to post the notification in their lobbies and other areas frequented by clients.  These posters must be posted no later than October 1, 2011 and must remain on display until November 30, 2011.

Attachment C, FS 11 ENG/SP (9/11) “Notice To All CalFresh Recipients” has been uploaded to iWAY for staff use if a household has additional questions regarding the COLA.

 

Transitional CalFresh

As maximum allotments were not increased, TCF cases will not be affected by the COLA.

 

Automation Impact

The COLA mass update process ran the weekend of September 3, 2011.  Cases containing CalFresh were included in the run.  The batch AU Exception indicators listed below were lifted during the COLA process.  Once the COLA was completed, the Batch AU indicators were restored.

Type of Special Indicator

 

CA – (CAPI)

Batch AU Exception-CA

CW – (CalWORKs)

Batch AU Exception-CW

FS – (Food Stamps)

Batch AU Exception-FS

GA – (General Relief)

Batch AU Exception-GA

MC – (Medi-Cal)

Batch AU Exception-MC

RC – (RCA)

Batch AU Exception-RC

The Standard Deduction, Maximum Excess Shelter Cost Standard Deduction, and Utility Allowance Reference Tables were updated in CalWIN Production September 3, 2011.  The October 2011 budget calculations for the impacted cases will reflect these updates.

COLA SUPPLEMENTAL REPORTS

The reports below required action by FRC staff and can be accessed by clicking the links:

 

·         List of Cases Income Ineligible This list requires Family Resource Center staff to validate CalFresh case or individual discontinuance due to excess income.  If the case/individual discontinuance effective 9/30/2011 is correct, leave in discontinued status and ensure that appropriate NOA is mailed to client.  If discontinuance is determined to be incorrect then case/individual will need to be reopened and reinstate benefits and send appropriate NOA.

 

·         Exception Report MU0007R (Error Worker Detail) Is the COLA exception EDBC and Authorization report.  This report lists and describes errors encountered during the batch run process and details corresponding case number, case name, case status and worker detail.  The cases on this list have not been auto-authorized by CalWIN and will require review and appropriate actions by staff to ensure benefits are authorized as appropriate.

 

·         Client Correspondence Details Report This report lists all the Client Correspondence that was triggered during the 9/3/2011 of Cola run CalFresh COLA run for each case.  Some Correspondence was deleted, some was mailed in batch and some was held in the print queue for review. 

Worker Action Required: 

1.  Review all correspondence that is held in the “Print Queue.”

2.  Delete any redundant or unnecessary correspondence.

3.  Print and mail any necessary correspondence to the client.

 

Forms Impact and Scratch Budget

The Assistance Standards Chart has been updated to reflect the CalFresh COLA adjustments.

The Scratch Budget located in the S:\ENTERPRISE\QR Excel Spreadsheet folder has been updated to reflect the October 1, 2011 COLA.

 

Medi-Cal, GR, CAPI, and CalWORKs Impact

Workers shall continue to review their Medi-Cal, General Relief (GR), Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), and CalWORKs with CalFresh associated program’s alerts and communications for impacts.

When EDBC is run on a case, CalWIN re-evaluates for all eligible programs participants and generates denials and/or approvals for all the evaluated programs. Workers shall review the Correspondence Details report and evaluate the correspondence held in the print queue for appropriateness and print any necessary correspondence held in the print queue and mail it to participants.

 

ACCESS Call Center Impact

ACCESS staff may receive phone calls on correspondence resulting from the COLA.  If they do, they should review the NOA’s that were generated from Client Correspondence to determine if they were issued appropriately.

 

Quality Assurance (QA) Impact

No Impact

 

Manager Approval

 

 

 

SYLVIA MELENA, Assistant Deputy Director

Self-Sufficiency Programs

Strategic Planning & Operational Support

TG