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AB-1452 CalWORKs: temporary homeless assistance.(2013-2014)

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AB1452:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 15, 2014
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 02, 2014

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1452


Introduced by Assembly Member Stone
(CoauthorCoauthors: Assembly Member Members Ammiano and Atkins)

January 08, 2014


An act to amend Sections 11450 and 11453 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1452, as amended, Stone. CalWORKs: temporary homeless assistance.
(1) Existing federal law provides for allocation of federal funds through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant program to eligible states. Existing law provides for the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program under which, through a combination of state and county funds and federal funds received through the TANF program, each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families. Existing law establishes maximum aid grant amounts to be provided under the CalWORKs program, and generally prohibits cost-of-living adjustments to those maximum aid grant amounts.
Under existing law, after a family has used all available liquid resources in excess of $100, the family is entitled to receive an allowance for nonrecurring special needs, including homeless assistance. Under existing law, homeless assistance is provided in the amount of $65 per day for families of up to 4 members, with an additional $15 provided for the 5th and each additional member, up to a daily maximum of $125.
This bill would increase the amount of homeless assistance to $75 per day for families of up to 4 members, and would increase the daily maximum to $135. The bill would require that this amount be adjusted annually to reflect any increases or decreases in the cost of living. The bill would also require the State Department of Social Services to issue an all-county letter or similar instructions by April 1, 2015, and to adopt regulations to implement the provisions of the bill by July 1, 2016. By increasing the amount of cash aid provided by counties, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law continually appropriates money from the General Fund to pay for a share of aid grant costs under the CalWORKs program.
This bill would declare that no appropriation would be made for purposes of the bill pursuant to the provision continuously appropriating funds for the CalWORKs program.
(3) 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 these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 11450 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, as amended by Section 37 of Chapter 21 of the Statutes of 2013, is amended to read:

11450.
 (a) (1) Aid shall be paid for each needy family, which shall include all eligible brothers and sisters of each eligible applicant or recipient child and the parents of the children, but shall not include unborn children, or recipients of aid under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 12000), qualified for aid under this chapter. In determining the amount of aid paid, and notwithstanding the minimum basic standards of adequate care specified in Section 11452, the family’s income, exclusive of any amounts considered exempt as income or paid pursuant to subdivision (e) or Section 11453.1, determined for the prospective semiannual period pursuant to Sections 11265.1, 11265.2, and 11265.3, and then calculated pursuant to Section 11451.5, shall be deducted from the sum specified in the following table, as adjusted for cost-of-living increases pursuant to Section 11453 and paragraph (2). In no case shall the amount of aid paid for each month exceed the sum specified in the following table, as adjusted for cost-of-living increases pursuant to Section 11453 and paragraph (2), plus any special needs, as specified in subdivisions (c), (e), and (f):
Number of
 eligible needy
persons in
the same home
Maximum
aid
 1 ........................
$  326
 2 ........................
   535
 3 ........................
   663
 4 ........................
   788
 5 ........................
   899
 6 ........................
 1,010
 7 ........................
 1,109
 8 ........................
 1,209
 9 ........................
 1,306
10 or more ........................
 1,403
If, when, and during those times that the United States government increases or decreases its contributions in assistance of needy children in this state above or below the amount paid on July 1, 1972, the amounts specified in the above table shall be increased or decreased by an amount equal to that increase or decrease by the United States government, provided that no increase or decrease shall be subject to subsequent adjustment pursuant to Section 11453.
(2) The sums specified in paragraph (1) shall not be adjusted for cost of living for the 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, and 1997–98 fiscal years, and through October 31, 1998, nor shall that amount be included in the base for calculating any cost-of-living increases for any fiscal year thereafter. Elimination of the cost-of-living adjustment pursuant to this paragraph shall satisfy the requirements of former Section 11453.05, and no further reduction shall be made pursuant to that section.
(b) (1) When the family does not include a needy child qualified for aid under this chapter, aid shall be paid to a pregnant mother who is 18 years of age or younger at any time after verification of pregnancy, in the amount that would otherwise be paid to one person, as specified in subdivision (a), if the mother, and child, if born, would have qualified for aid under this chapter. Verification of pregnancy shall be required as a condition of eligibility for aid under this subdivision.
(2)  Notwithstanding paragraph (1), when the family does not include a needy child qualified for aid under this chapter, aid shall be paid to a pregnant mother for the month in which the birth is anticipated and for the three-month period immediately prior to the month in which the birth is anticipated in the amount that would otherwise be paid to one person, as specified in subdivision (a), if the mother and child, if born, would have qualified for aid under this chapter. Verification of pregnancy shall be required as a condition of eligibility for aid under this subdivision.
(3) Paragraph (1) shall apply only when the Cal-Learn Program (Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331)) is operative.
(c) The amount of forty-seven dollars ($47) per month shall be paid to pregnant mothers qualified for aid under subdivision (a) or (b) to meet special needs resulting from pregnancy if the mother, and child, if born, would have qualified for aid under this chapter. County welfare departments shall refer all recipients of aid under this subdivision to a local provider of the Women, Infants and Children program. If that payment to pregnant mothers qualified for aid under subdivision (a) is considered income under federal law in the first five months of pregnancy, payments under this subdivision shall not apply to persons eligible under subdivision (a), except for the month in which birth is anticipated and for the three-month period immediately prior to the month in which delivery is anticipated, if the mother, and the child, if born, would have qualified for aid under this chapter.
(d) For children receiving AFDC-FC under this chapter, there shall be paid, exclusive of any amount considered exempt as income, an amount of aid each month which, when added to the child’s income, is equal to the rate specified in Section 11460, 11461, 11462, 11462.1, or 11463. In addition, the child shall be eligible for special needs, as specified in departmental regulations.
(e) In addition to the amounts payable under subdivision (a) and Section 11453.1, a family shall be entitled to receive an allowance for recurring special needs not common to a majority of recipients. These recurring special needs shall include, but not be limited to, special diets upon the recommendation of a physician for circumstances other than pregnancy, and unusual costs of transportation, laundry, housekeeping services, telephone, and utilities. The recurring special needs allowance for each family per month shall not exceed that amount resulting from multiplying the sum of ten dollars ($10) by the number of recipients in the family who are eligible for assistance.
(f) After a family has used all available liquid resources, both exempt and nonexempt, in excess of one hundred dollars ($100), with the exception of funds deposited in a restricted account described in subdivision (a) of Section 11155.2, the family shall also be entitled to receive an allowance for nonrecurring special needs.
(1) An allowance for nonrecurring special needs shall be granted for replacement of clothing and household equipment and for emergency housing needs other than those needs addressed by paragraph (2). These needs shall be caused by sudden and unusual circumstances beyond the control of the needy family. The department shall establish the allowance for each of the nonrecurring special need items. The sum of all nonrecurring special needs provided by this subdivision shall not exceed six hundred dollars ($600) per event.
(2) Homeless assistance is available to a homeless family seeking shelter when the family is eligible for aid under this chapter. Homeless assistance for temporary shelter is also available to homeless families that are apparently eligible for aid under this chapter. Apparent eligibility exists when evidence presented by the applicant, or which 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. However, an alien applicant who does not provide verification of his or her eligible alien status, or a woman with no eligible children who does not provide medical verification of pregnancy, is not apparently eligible for purposes of this section.
A family is considered homeless, for the purpose of this section, when the family lacks a fixed and regular nighttime residence; or the family has a primary nighttime residence that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; or the family is residing in a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. A family is also considered homeless for the purpose of this section if the family has received a notice to pay rent or quit. The family shall demonstrate that the eviction is the result of a verified financial hardship as a result of extraordinary circumstances beyond their control, and not other lease or rental violations, and that the family is experiencing a financial crisis that could result in homelessness if preventative assistance is not provided.
(A) (i) A nonrecurring special need of seventy-five dollars ($75) per day shall be available to families of up to four members for the costs of temporary shelter, subject to the requirements of this paragraph. The fifth and additional members of the family shall each receive fifteen dollars ($15) per day, up to a daily maximum of one hundred thirty-five dollars ($135). County welfare departments may increase the daily amount available for temporary shelter as necessary to secure the additional bedspace needed by the family.
(ii) This special need shall be granted or denied immediately upon the family’s application for homeless assistance, and benefits shall be available for up to three working days. The county welfare department shall verify the family’s homelessness within the first three working days and if the family meets the criteria of questionable homelessness established by the department, the county welfare department shall refer the family to its early fraud prevention and detection unit, if the county has such a unit, for assistance in the verification of homelessness within this period.
(iii) After homelessness has been verified, the three-day limit shall be extended for a period of time which, when added to the initial benefits provided, does not exceed a total of 16 calendar days. This extension of benefits shall be done in increments of one week and shall be based upon searching for permanent housing which shall be documented on a housing search form; good cause; or other circumstances defined by the department. Documentation of a housing search shall be required for the initial extension of benefits beyond the three-day limit and on a weekly basis thereafter as long as the family is receiving temporary shelter benefits. Good cause shall include, but is not limited to, situations in which the county welfare department has determined that the family, to the extent it is capable, has made a good faith but unsuccessful effort to secure permanent housing while receiving temporary shelter benefits.
(B) A nonrecurring special need for permanent housing assistance is available to pay for last month’s rent and security deposits when these payments are reasonable conditions of securing a residence, or to pay for up to two months of rent arrearages, when these payments are a reasonable condition of preventing eviction.
The last month’s rent or monthly arrearage portion of the payment (i) shall not exceed 80 percent of the family’s total monthly household income without the value of CalFresh benefits or special needs for a family of that size and (ii) shall only be made to families that have found permanent housing costing no more than 80 percent of the family’s total monthly household income without the value of CalFresh benefits or special needs for a family of that size.
However, if the county welfare department determines that a family intends to reside with individuals who will be sharing housing costs, the county welfare department shall, in appropriate circumstances, set aside the condition specified in clause (ii) of the preceding paragraph.
(C) The nonrecurring special need for permanent housing assistance is also available to cover the standard costs of deposits for utilities which are necessary for the health and safety of the family.
(D) A payment for or denial of permanent housing assistance shall be issued no later than one working day from the time that a family presents evidence of the availability of permanent housing. If an applicant family provides evidence of the availability of permanent housing before the county welfare department has established eligibility for aid under this chapter, the county welfare department shall complete the eligibility determination so that the denial of or payment for permanent housing assistance is issued within one working day from the submission of evidence of the availability of permanent housing, unless the family has failed to provide all of the verification necessary to establish eligibility for aid under this chapter.
(E) (i) Except as provided in clauses (ii) and (iii), eligibility for the temporary shelter assistance and the permanent housing assistance pursuant to this paragraph shall be limited to one period of up to 16 consecutive calendar days of temporary assistance and one payment of permanent assistance. Any family that includes a parent or nonparent caretaker relative living in the home who has previously received temporary or permanent homeless assistance at any time on behalf of an eligible child shall not be eligible for further homeless assistance. Any person who applies for homeless assistance benefits shall be informed that the temporary shelter benefit of up to 16 consecutive days is available only once in a lifetime, with certain exceptions, and that a break in the consecutive use of the benefit constitutes permanent exhaustion of the temporary benefit.
(ii) A family that becomes homeless as a direct and primary result of a state or federally declared natural disaster shall be eligible for temporary and permanent homeless assistance.
(iii) A family shall be eligible for temporary and permanent homeless assistance when homelessness is a direct result of domestic violence by a spouse, partner, or roommate; physical or mental illness that is medically verified that shall not include a diagnosis of alcoholism, drug addiction, or psychological stress; or, the uninhabitability of the former residence caused by sudden and unusual circumstances beyond the control of the family including natural catastrophe, fire, or condemnation. These circumstances shall be verified by a third-party governmental or private health and human services agency, except that domestic violence may also be verified by a sworn statement by the victim, as provided under Section 11495.25. Homeless assistance payments based on these specific circumstances may not be received more often than once in any 12-month period. In addition, if the domestic violence is verified by a sworn statement by the victim, the homeless assistance payments shall be limited to two periods of not more than 16 consecutive calendar days of temporary assistance and two payments of permanent assistance. A county may require that a recipient of homeless assistance benefits who qualifies under this paragraph for a second time in a 24-month period participate in a homelessness avoidance case plan as a condition of eligibility for homeless assistance benefits. The county welfare department shall immediately inform recipients who verify domestic violence by a sworn statement pursuant to clause (iii) of the availability of domestic violence counseling and services, and refer those recipients to services upon request.
(iv) If a county requires a recipient who verifies domestic violence by a sworn statement to participate in a homelessness avoidance case plan pursuant to clause (iii), the plan shall include the provision of domestic violence services, if appropriate.
(v) If a recipient seeking homeless assistance based on domestic violence pursuant to clause (iii) has previously received homeless avoidance services based on domestic violence, the county shall review whether services were offered to the recipient and consider what additional services would assist the recipient in leaving the domestic violence situation.
(vi) The county welfare department shall report to the department through a statewide homeless assistance payment indicator system, necessary data, as requested by the department, regarding all recipients of aid under this paragraph.
(F) The county welfare departments, and all other entities participating in the costs of the CalWORKs program, have the right in their share to any refunds resulting from payment of the permanent housing. However, if an emergency requires the family to move within the 12-month period specified in subparagraph (E), the family shall be allowed to use any refunds received from its deposits to meet the costs of moving to another residence.
(G) Payments to providers for temporary shelter and permanent housing and utilities shall be made on behalf of families requesting these payments.
(H) The daily amount for the temporary shelter special need for homeless assistance may be increased if authorized by the current year’s Budget Act by specifying a different daily allowance and appropriating the funds therefor.
(I) No payment shall be made pursuant to this paragraph unless the provider of housing is a commercial establishment, shelter, or person in the business of renting properties who has a history of renting properties.
(g) The department shall establish rules and regulations ensuring the uniform application statewide of this section.
(h) The department shall notify all applicants and recipients of aid through the standardized application form that these benefits are available and shall provide an opportunity for recipients to apply for the funds quickly and efficiently.
(i) Except for the purposes of Section 15200, the amounts payable to recipients pursuant to Section 11453.1 shall not constitute part of the payment schedule set forth in subdivision (a).
The amounts payable to recipients pursuant to Section 11453.1 shall not constitute income to recipients of aid under this section.
(j) For children receiving Kin-GAP pursuant to Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) or Article 4.7 (commencing with Section 11385) there shall be paid, exclusive of any amount considered exempt as income, an amount of aid each month, which, when added to the child’s income, is equal to the rate specified in Sections 11364 and 11387.
(k) (1) This section shall become operative on April 1, 2013. A county shall implement the semiannual reporting requirements in accordance with the act that added this section no later than October 1, 2013.
(2) Upon implementation described in paragraph (1), each county shall provide a certificate to the director certifying that semiannual reporting has been implemented in the county.
(3) Upon filing the certificate described in paragraph (2), a county shall comply with the semiannual reporting provisions of this section.

SEC. 2.

 Section 11453 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11453.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (c), the amounts set forth in Section 11452 and subdivision (a) and clause (i) of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 11450 shall be adjusted annually by the department to reflect any increases or decreases in the cost of living. These adjustments shall become effective July 1 of each year, unless otherwise specified by the Legislature. For the 2000–01 fiscal year to the 2003–04 fiscal year, inclusive, these adjustments shall become effective October 1 of each year. The cost-of-living adjustment shall be calculated by the Department of Finance based on the changes in the California Necessities Index, which as used in this section means the weighted average changes for food, clothing, fuel, utilities, rent, and transportation for low-income consumers. The computation of annual adjustments in the California Necessities Index shall be made in accordance with the following steps:
(1) The base period expenditure amounts for each expenditure category within the California Necessities Index used to compute the annual grant adjustment are:
Food ........................
$ 3,027
Clothing (apparel and upkeep) ........................
406
Fuel and other utilities ........................
529
Rent, residential ........................
4,883
Transportation ........................
1,757
Total ........................
$10,602
(2) Based on the appropriate components of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, as published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage change shall be determined for the 12-month period ending with the December preceding the year for which the cost-of-living adjustment will take effect, for each expenditure category specified in subdivision (a) within the following geographical areas: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, San Francisco-Oakland, San Diego, and, to the extent statistically valid information is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, additional geographical areas within the state which include not less than 80 percent of recipients of aid under this chapter.
(3) Calculate a weighted percentage change for each of the expenditure categories specified in subdivision (a) using the applicable weighting factors for each area used by the State Department of Industrial Relations to calculate the California Consumer Price Index (CCPI).
(4) Calculate a category adjustment factor for each expenditure category in subdivision (a) by (1) adding 100 to the applicable weighted percentage change as determined in paragraph (2) and (2) dividing the sum by 100.
(5) Determine the expenditure amounts for the current year by multiplying each expenditure amount determined for the prior year by the applicable category adjustment factor determined in paragraph (4).
(6) Determine the overall adjustment factor by dividing (1) the sum of the expenditure amounts as determined in paragraph (4) for the current year by (2) the sum of the expenditure amounts as determined in subdivision (d) for the prior year.
(b) The overall adjustment factor determined by the preceding computation steps shall be multiplied by the schedules established pursuant to Section 11452 and subdivision (a) of Section 11450 as are in effect during the month of June preceding the fiscal year in which the adjustments are to occur and the product rounded to the nearest dollar. The resultant amounts shall constitute the new schedules which shall be filed with the Secretary of State.
(c) (1) No adjustment to the maximum aid payment set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 11450 shall be made under this section for the purpose of increasing the benefits under this chapter for the 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, and 1997–98 fiscal years, and through October 31, 1998, to reflect any change in the cost of living. For the 1998–99 fiscal year, the cost-of-living adjustment that would have been provided on July 1, 1998, pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be made on November 1, 1998. No adjustment to the maximum aid payment set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 11450 shall be made under this section for the purpose of increasing the benefits under this chapter for the 2005–06 and 2006–07 fiscal years to reflect any change in the cost of living. Elimination of the cost-of-living adjustment pursuant to this paragraph shall satisfy the requirements of former Section 11453.05, and no further reduction shall be made pursuant to that section.
(2) No adjustment to the minimum basic standard of adequate care set forth in Section 11452 shall be made under this section for the purpose of increasing the benefits under this chapter for the 1990–91 and 1991–92 fiscal years to reflect any change in the cost of living.
(3) In any fiscal year commencing with the 2000–01 fiscal year to the 2003–04 fiscal year, inclusive, when there is any increase in tax relief pursuant to the applicable paragraph of subdivision (a) of Section 10754 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, then the increase pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section shall occur. In any fiscal year commencing with the 2000–01 fiscal year to the 2003–04 fiscal year, inclusive, when there is no increase in tax relief pursuant to the applicable paragraph of subdivision (a) of Section 10754 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, then any increase pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section shall be suspended.
(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), an adjustment to the maximum aid payments set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 11450 shall be made under this section for the 2002–03 fiscal year, but the adjustment shall become effective June 1, 2003.
(5) No adjustment to the maximum aid payment set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 11450 shall be made under this section for the purpose of increasing benefits under this chapter for the 2007–08, 2008–09, and 2009–10 fiscal years.
(6) For the 2010–11 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, no adjustment to the maximum aid payment set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 11450 shall be made under this section unless otherwise specified by statute.
(d) Adjustments for subsequent fiscal years pursuant to this section shall not include any adjustments for any fiscal year in which the cost of living was suspended pursuant to subdivision (c).

SEC. 3.

 (a) Notwithstanding the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), the State Department of Social Services shall implement this act through an all-county letter or similar instructions from the director no later than April 1, 2015.
(b) The department shall adopt regulations as necessary to implement this act no later than July 1, 2016.

SEC. 3.SEC. 4.

 No appropriation shall be made pursuant to Section 15200 of the Welfare and Institutions Code for purposes of this act.

SEC. 4.SEC. 5.

 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.