2 What is CalFreshFederally, the Food Stamp Program is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP ~~~~~~~~~~~~ CalFresh is the new name in California for the Food Stamp Program
3 A Brief History Food Stamp Act of 1964 – August 31, 1964 -The Food Stamp Program was made permanent by Congress.-The goal of the Act was to strengthen the agricultural economy and provide improved levels of nutrition among low-income households.-The Food Stamp Program was optional to states.-By July 1, 1974, the program began operating nationwide.
4 A Brief History (cont.) Farm Bill of 2008 New Program Name The emphasis was on increasing participation in the program by increasing income deductions, resource limits; by providing more money for nutrition education, outreach activities and other program changes.New Program NameAssembly Bill (AB) 433 (Statutes of 2008) required the State to develop a new name for the Food Stamp Program. CalFresh is California’s new program name.
5 Program OverviewNational eligibility standards and benefit levels are established by Congress and administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).CalFresh benefits are 100% federally funded.
6 Overview (cont.)The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is the designated single state agency responsible for program supervision at the state level with county administration of the program.California currently serves approximately 3.9 million persons and issues approximately $8 billion in CalFresh benefits annually.
7 Overview (cont.)To participate in CalFresh, households must meet certain income eligibility standards.A household is a group of individuals who purchase and prepare meals together.
8 Overview (cont.)Gross income cannot exceed 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) except for households which include at least one elderly or disabled member.Net income cannot exceed 100% of the FPL for all households.
9 Overview (cont.)Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is the method of distribution for CalFresh benefits via a plastic debit card.By using the EBT card, cardholders can access food benefits through point-of-sale (POS) terminals at stores and Farmers’ Markets authorized by the USDA to accept CalFresh benefits.
10 Overview (cont.)Grocers are reimbursed directly by the federal government for the dollar value of CalFresh benefits used by recipients to purchase food items.Benefits cannot be used for purchases of cigarettes, alcohol or any item not authorized by USDA.
11 Application Process Applying for CalFresh Benefits Expedited Service Processing Time FramesInterviewsVerificationCategorical Eligibility
12 Application Process (cont.) Applying for CalFresh BenefitsClients can apply by submitting a CalFresh application to their local county CalFresh office on-line, in person, by phone, fax, , or mail.The application is considered filed if it includes the applicant’s name, address, and signature.An interview is required and the application and required forms must be signed under penalty of perjury.
13 Application Process (cont.) Expedited Service (ES)Emergency CalFresh benefits are issued within 3 days.Applications are screened for ES at the time the application is filed.Monthly gross income cannot exceed $150, and liquid resources cannot exceed $100.Migrant & season farm worker households who are destitute, provided that liquid resources do not exceed $100, orThe combined income and resources cannot exceed the rent and utilities (including entitlement to a Standard Utility Allowance (SUA), as appropriate, in accordance with 273.9(d)).Note: Liquid resources are still counted for determining ES entitlement.
14 Application Process (cont.) Processing Time FramesThe processing time frame for applications for regular CalFresh is 30 calendar days following the date the application is filed.The processing time frame for ES is 3 consecutive calendar days following the date the application is filed (FNS requires 7 calendar days.).
15 Application Process (cont.) InterviewsThere are three ways to interview:Face-to-Face = conducted in personTelephone = conducted by phoneInteractive = paperless interview where Eligibility Worker (EW) enters the information in the system during the interview.
16 Application Process (cont.) Counties have the option to waive the face-to-face interview due to:HardshipsIllness Lack of transportationWork hours Living in a remote or rural areaCare of a household member Prolonged severe weatherIn October 2009, FNS approved a waiver to waive the face-to-face interview for initial and recertification for all households without the need to document a hardship.
17 Application Process (cont.) Verification (Factors of Eligibility)Mandatory verification includes the following:IdentificationCitizenship (if questionable)Immigration Status of NoncitizensResidencySocial Security Number (SSN)Gross IncomeDisabilityHours of Work, etc.
18 Application Process (cont.) Verification (Factors for Eligibility)Exception is for ES. Only identification is required and other verification is postponed.Optional verification is not required unless questionable. These factors are:Shelter costsDependent careHousehold sizeLiquid resources and loans
19 Application Process (cont.) Categorical Eligibility (CE)Households in which all members are authorized to receive or receiving cash aid (CalWORKs or General Assistance/General Relief (GA/GR)).Certain eligibility factors are deferred by other programs; for example, gross and net income, resources, SSN, residency, etc.
20 Two Types of Households Public Assistance CalFresh Household (PACF) – A household in which all of its members receive CalWORKs or a cash benefit.Non-Assistance CalFresh Household (NACF) – A household in which one or less than all members receive CalWORKs or a household that receives GA.
21 Components to Consider Household Size % of FPL$1,211$1,640$2,069$2,498$2,927$3,356$3,785$4,214Each additional member + $429 (Food and Nutrition Act of 2008/Annual Cost-of Living Adjustments for October 1, 2012)
22 Components to Consider (cont.) Implementation provisions were made due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).This provided an additional 13.6 percent temporary increase in CalFresh benefit allotments.The new calculation also increased the minimum monthly benefit from $14 to $16 for households of one and two persons.Other components to consider are the changes made to CalFresh due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which was implemented in (ARRA) This is also known as the Stimulus Act.In addition to the 13.6 percent temporary increase in CalFresh benefits, the ARRA included several other provisions and resultant elements, including an increase in the minimum monthly benefit from $14 to $16 for households of one and two persons.
23 Other CalFresh Programs Restaurant Meals Program (RMP)The RMP enables homeless, disabled and elderly households to use benefits to purchase meals at participating restaurants. Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara, and Tuolumne counties have implemented the RMP.
24 Other CalFresh Programs (cont.) California is one of only four states in the nation that provides counties the option to operate a Restaurant Meals Program.The six participating counties contain over 47% of the state’s CalFresh caseload.Los Angeles county alone has over 1,200 restaurants participating.California is one of only four states in the nation that provides counties the option to operate a Restaurant Meals Program.The six participating counties containing just over 40% of the state CalFresh caseload have implemented this option.Los Angeles county alone has over 2,000 restaurants participating.Examples of some participating restaurants are: Jack in the Box, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Dominoes and Pizza Hut.
25 Other CalFresh Programs (cont.) Transitional CalFresh (TC)Implemented in January 2004.Households that lose their CalWORKs cash aid benefits receive five months of TC benefits. The level of benefits is frozen at the amount received in the last month CalWORKs was received, adjusted for the loss of CalWORKs payments.
26 Other CalFresh Programs (cont.) CalFresh Employment and Training (E&T) ProgramAn employment program for Non-assistance CalFresh households at county option. Individuals participate in a variety of activities designed to improve employability.Participants are reimbursed for transportation and other ancillary costs needed to take part in the E&T program.
27 Other CalFresh Programs (cont.) Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDS)Non-Assistance CalFresh recipient over age 17 and under age 50 are limited to three months of eligibility within a 36-month period unless they satisfy the ABAWD work requirement or qualify for an ABAWD exemption.
28 Other CalFresh Programs (cont.) The California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)A state funded program for legal noncitizen adults who meet all federal SNAP eligibility criteria except that they have resided in the U.S. less than 5 years.
29 Other CalFresh Programs (cont.) Disaster CalFreshAfter a natural or man-made disaster occurs, and the affected area(s) receive a Presidential major disaster declaration for individual assistance, counties can request approval from FNS to operate a Disaster CalFresh program, which provides temporary food assistance to households affected by the disaster.The last disasters were the fires.
30 Other CalFresh Programs (cont.) Comparing CalFresh to Disaster CalFreshDisaster Status N/A One of the following: Damage tohome or self-employment property,disaster related expenses, incomesource disrupted, inaccessible liquidresources, and food loss.Identity of applicant Verified VerifiedResidency Project Area Disaster areaVerified Verified if possibleSocial Security Numbers Failure to provide Failure to provide SSNs of householdSSNs for household members does NOT result in denial.members result indenial.EligibilityCalFreshDisaster CalFresh
31 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) Modified Categorical Eligibility (MCE)Authorized by AB 433 (Statutes of 2008), the program results in resources being excluded for CalFresh eligibility.On July 1, 2009, California implemented an MCE program for applicant/recipient households with members under the age of 18.The program was expanded to all applicants/recipients on February 1, 2011.
32 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies Foster CareIn 2009, California became the first state to offer foster care youths the opportunity to apply for CalFresh prior to their dependency termination.Since California offered this opportunity, the number of emancipating foster youth applying for CalFresh in CA has increased from approximately 5% to 22%.
33 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) These are youths who “age-out” of the foster care system on their 18th birthday, or complete high-school or its equivalent prior to reaching the age of 19. However in 2010, AB 12 was passed which extends foster care in CA from age 18 to age 21.The Department submitted a demonstration project proposal to FNS in If approved, it will provide a simplified eligibility process for these youths. However, as a result of AB 12, the proposal is being revised to more accurately reflect the potentially impacted population.
34 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) Modified Categorical Eligibility (MCE)Authorized by AB 433 (Statutes of 2008), the program results in resources being excluded for CalFresh eligibility.On July 1, 2009, California implemented an MCE program for applicant/recipient households with members under the age of 18.The program was expanded to all applicants/recipients on February 1, 2011.
35 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) E-Notification WaiverReceived FNS waiver approval to send e-notifications to households who choose the option to receive correspondence electronically.Correspondence refers to any and all written communications from the state agency (e.g., Notice of Missed Interview, Notice of Denial, Notice of Eligibility, Notice of Expiration of Certification, Notice of Adverse Action, Notice of Disqualification, Notice of Intentional Program Violations, etc.)..
36 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) E-Notification WaiverHouseholds will not receive actual correspondence as an , but rather an e-notification that they can access the correspondence via their secure personal online account in the county’s automated system.All households will be able to opt in, or out, at any timeAll electronic correspondence will provide the same information as traditional hard copy versions.
37 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) E-Notification WaiverAll households’ fair hearing rights will be preserved.A workgroup is being formed to develop this policy for implementation in Fiscal Year
38 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) ES Interview WaiverSubmitted a federal waiver request in April 2012 to postpone the Expedited Service (ES) interview and issue benefits within the ES timeframe under the following circumstances:1) the identity of the applicant is verified;2) the state agency has sufficient information to determine entitlement to ES; and3) the state agency attempted to conduct an interview.
39 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) On-Demand Interview WaiverSubmitted a federal waiver request in November 2012 to waive the specific date and time of an interview required by federal rules and instead provide an alternative process to allow households to call or come into the office at their convenience for an on-demand interview anytime during normal operating hours within a two-week window.
40 Program Waivers and Developmental Policies (cont.) Recertification Interview WaiverSubmitted a federal waiver request to waive the recertification interview for Non-Assistance CalFresh households in which1) all adult household members are elderly or disabled;2) there is no earned income; and3) there are no changes in household circumstances since last reported by the household and verified by the state agency.