Today's Law As Amended

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SB-1232 CalWORKs and CalFresh: eligibility determinations.(2015-2016)



SECTION 1.
 It is the intent of the Legislature to support an increase in CalFresh benefits for low-income working families by simplifying and adding transparency to the verification of wages. It is also the intent of the Legislature to educate applicants and recipients of aid of their federal rights to receive a free report and to correct errors in a report issued by federally regulated consumer reporting agencies when the services of those agencies are used by the state or county to determine CalFresh or CalWORKs eligibility or benefit level.

SEC. 2.

 Section 11023 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11023.
 (a) If a county human services agency elects to use information contained in a consumer credit report for the determination of CalFresh or CalWORKs eligibility or benefit level, the county shall obtain written authorization from an applicant or recipient prior to obtaining the credit report.
(b) If a county takes an adverse action against an applicant or recipient, the determination of which was based, in whole or in part, upon information contained in the consumer credit report, the county shall do all of the following:
(1) Provide the applicant or recipient with the notice required by Section 615 of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681m), indicating that the verification or eligibility determination was based, in whole or in part, upon the information contained in the consumer credit report.
(2) Issue the notice required by paragraph (1) in writing and in accordance with the standards for adequate notice established in federal law.
(3) Make the information available to an applicant or recipient who requests a copy of his or her case file or appeals a negative action based in whole or in part on information the county obtained from the consumer credit report.
(c) For purposes of this section, an “adverse action” means a determination of ineligibility for CalFresh or CalWORKs or a reduction in benefits or services.
(d) The written authorization and notice required by this section may be provided by electronic means.
(e) If the county human services agency elects to use information contained in a consumer credit report for the determination of benefit level, the county shall not require the applicant or recipient to submit hard-copy documentation that is duplicative of the information it will verify using the credit report.
(f) Nothing in this section precludes the use of other forms of verification or prohibits the county from requesting additional documentation when the county establishes, in writing, that the information it has already received is questionable.