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SB-365 CalWORKs: immediate needs assistance.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/11/2019 04:00 AM
SB365:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 10, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 01, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 365


Introduced by Senator Durazo

February 20, 2019


An act to amend Section 11266 of, and to add Section 11266.1 to, add Section 11266.1 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 365, as amended, Durazo. CalWORKs: immediate needs assistance.
Existing law provides for the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, under which each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families and individuals. Existing law provides for an immediate assistance payment of $200 or the maximum amount for which an applicant is eligible, whichever is less, if a county determines at the time of application that the applicant is apparently eligible for CalWORKs aid, and the applicant needs immediate assistance because the family’s total available liquid resources are less than $100 and there is an emergency situation, including, but not limited to, lack of housing. Existing law provides that an applicant’s receipt of a notice of eviction, including a 3-day notice to pay or quit, constitutes an emergency situation, irrespective of the $100 resource test, if the applicant has insufficient income or resources to pay the rent owing. as specified.
This bill would additionally provide that a situation in which an applicant’s housing costs are due within 5 calendar days, and the applicant’s liquid resources on hand and any income that is reasonably anticipated by the applicant before the housing costs are due is less than the amount of the housing costs constitutes an emergency situation, irrespective of the $100 resource test. The bill would require a county to provide an applicant with immediate childcare assistance for their child, as specified, if the county determines at the time of application that the applicant is apparently eligible for CalWORKs aid, and (1) the applicant has verification of a job or a job offer and needs childcare assistance in order to maintain or obtain employment or (2) the applicant needs childcare assistance in order to attend an educational or training activity. By imposing additional duties on counties, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.Section 11266 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
11266.

(a)(1)At the time of application, the county shall determine whether the applicant needs immediate assistance because the applicant does not have sufficient resources to meet their emergency needs, and shall determine whether the applicant is apparently eligible for aid under this chapter.

(2)The county shall determine that the applicant needs immediate assistance if the family’s total available liquid resources, both nonexempt and exempt, are less than one hundred dollars ($100), and there is an emergency situation, whether foreseeable or not. Examples of emergency situations include, but are not limited to, lack of housing, lack of food, notice of termination of or loss of utility service, lack of essential clothing, including diapers, and inability to meet essential transportation needs.

(3)Apparent eligibility exists if evidence presented by the applicant, or that is otherwise available to the county welfare department, and the information provided on the application documents indicate that there would be eligibility for aid under this chapter if the evidence and information were verified. An alien applicant who does not provide verification of their eligible alien status, or a woman with no eligible children who does not provide medical verification of pregnancy, shall not be considered to be apparently eligible under this subdivision.

(b)If an applicant needs immediate assistance, and is apparently eligible for aid, as specified in subdivision (a), the county shall pay the applicant two hundred dollars ($200) or the maximum amount for which that applicant is eligible, whichever is less. The advance payment shall be made by the end of the first working day following the request for that aid. The county shall verify the applicant’s eligibility for aid within 15 working days of the date that immediate need is requested, and advance payments made under this section shall be offset against the first grant payment made to the recipient.

(c)An applicant’s receipt of a notice of eviction, including a three-day notice to pay or quit, shall constitute an emergency situation under subdivision (a), irrespective of the one hundred dollar ($100) resource test, if the applicant has insufficient income or resources to pay the rent owing. A situation in which an applicant’s housing costs are due within five calendar days, and the applicant’s liquid resources on hand and any income that is reasonably anticipated by the applicant before the housing costs are due is less than the amount of the housing costs shall also constitute an emergency situation under subdivision (a), irrespective of the one-hundred-dollar ($100) resource test. In those cases, the county shall give the applicant the option of receiving an immediate advance on the grant, as described in subdivision (b), or an expedited determination of eligibility for aid. Before an applicant decides between these two options, the county shall fully apprise the applicant, in writing, of all information necessary to establish eligibility for aid. If an applicant requests expedited determination of eligibility for aid, the county shall complete the determination of eligibility for aid under this chapter, and, if the applicant is determined to be eligible, issue payment of the full prorated grant no more than three working days from the request for immediate need. If the eligibility determination is not made within this three-day period, the county shall immediately pay the applicant two hundred dollars ($200) or the maximum amount for which the applicant is eligible, whichever is less, as specified in subdivisions (a) and (b). The county shall verify the applicant’s eligibility within 15 working days of the date of the request for immediate assistance, and advance payments made under this subdivision shall be offset against the first grant payment made to the recipient.

(d)(1)The county may deny an immediate advance payment if the applicant’s only immediate need is homelessness and this need will be met by issuance of nonrecurring special needs payment in accordance with subdivision (f) of Section 11450, or if the applicant’s only immediate need is lack of food and this need will be met by issuance of CalFresh benefits within one working day of the request therefor. With regard to all other immediate needs, an advance payment may be denied and the applicant referred to another public or private program or resource, if all of the following conditions are met:

(A)Not more than one referral is made, and the referral, when made, is to meet no more than one need.

(B)The county has verified in advance that the specific need can be satisfactorily addressed by the other program or resource immediately.

(C)Travel to the other program or resource will not impose a hardship on the applicant.

(2)If, for any reason, the other program or resource does not satisfactorily meet the applicant’s need, the applicant shall be immediately issued an advance payment, as specified in subdivision (b).

(3)Except in the case of an applicant whose only need is lack of food, and the need is met with the issuance of CalFresh benefits within one working day of the request, if an applicant’s immediate need is met by an alternative program or resource authorized in this subdivision, the county shall verify the applicant’s eligibility for aid within 15 working days of the date of request.

(e)A denial of an immediate need application shall not constitute a denial of the application for aid unless it is based upon the failure to meet relevant eligibility requirements.

SEC. 2.SECTION 1.

 Section 11266.1 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11266.1.
 (a) (1) At the time of application, the county shall determine whether the applicant needs immediate childcare assistance, and whether the applicant is apparently eligible for aid under this chapter.
(2) The county shall determine that the applicant needs immediate childcare assistance if either of the following circumstances exist:
(A) The applicant has verification of a job or a job offer and needs childcare assistance for their child in order to maintain or obtain employment.
(B) The applicant needs childcare assistance for their child in order to attend an educational or training activity, as described Section 11322.6.
(3) Apparent eligibility exists if evidence presented by the applicant, or that is otherwise available to the county welfare department, and the information provided on the application documents indicate that there would be eligibility for aid under this chapter if the evidence and information were verified.
(b) If an applicant needs immediate childcare assistance and is apparently eligible for aid, as specified in subdivision (a), the county shall provide the applicant with immediate childcare assistance starting on the date of the application, but no later than the next working day. The county shall verify the applicant’s eligibility for aid within 15 working days of the date that immediate need is requested. The immediate childcare assistance shall be provided to the applicant for as long as the participant remains eligible for aid.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.