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AB-2326 CalWORKs: welfare-to-work: exemption.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/19/2018 04:00 AM
AB2326:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 18, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2326


Introduced by Assembly Member Rubio

February 13, 2018


An act to amend Sections 11320.3 and 11454.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2326, as amended, Rubio. CalWORKs: welfare-to-work: exemption.
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.
As part of the CalWORKs program, participants, unless specifically exempted, are required to participate in welfare-to-work activities. Existing law provides a one-time exemption from the welfare-to-work requirements to a parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to a child 6 months of age or under, as specified. Under existing law, an individual receiving that exemption is exempt for a period of 12 weeks, upon the birth or adoption of any subsequent children, which may be extended on a case-by-case basis to 6 months, based on criteria developed by the county. Existing law also provide a one-time exemption to a parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to one child from birth to 23 months, inclusive.
This bill would replace the above-described exemptions with an exemption that is offered to a parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to a child 24 months of age or under, without limiting the exemption to one child or one instance. By
Existing law provides an exemption to a woman who is pregnant and for whom it has been medically verified that the pregnancy impairs her ability to be regularly employed or participate in welfare-to-work activities or the county has determined that, at that time, participation will not readily lead to employment or that a training activity is not appropriate.
This bill would also provide an exemption to a pregnant woman who is the sole member of her assistance unit. The bill would make conforming changes to related provisions.
By expanding the scope of the exemption, exemptions to include the above-described individuals, the bill would increase the duties of county employees, thereby imposing a state-mandated local program.
The bill would require the county to provide that exempt individual with a notice of action human services agency, upon a determination that an individual is exempt from welfare-to-work activities, to provide that individual with a notice informing him or her of the exemption and that he or she has the right to volunteer to participate in welfare-to-work activities of his or her choice. The bill would require that the notice include specified contact information and a volunteer form for a welfare-to-work plan activity assignment, as specified, and would provide that the plan is deemed approved if the county fails to act on the plan within 30 days. be accompanied by a form for the written welfare-to-work plan, with specified requirements on the county human services agency to assist the individual in participating in the activities and to approve the plan within 30 days of the individual indicating his or her wish to volunteer. By increasing the duties of county employees, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Under existing law, a parent or caretaker relative is not eligible for CalWORKs aid when he or she has received aid for a cumulative total of 48 months. Existing law further provides that any month in which specified conditions exist is not counted toward that 48-month time limit. limit, including when a recipient is exempt from participation in welfare-to-work activities because he or she has primary responsibility for personally providing care to a child 24 months of age or younger.
This bill would make conforming changes to that provision to prohibit the counting of a month for an individual who has the above-described exemption. condition and would limit application of the condition to an eligible individual for a cumulative total of 24 months.
The bill would authorize the State Department of Social Services to implement these provisions through an all-county letter or similar instruction, to be issued no later than April 1, 2019.
Existing law continuously appropriates moneys from the General Fund to defray a portion of county costs under the CalWORKs program.
This bill would provide that the continuous appropriation would not be made for purposes of implementing the bill.
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 11320.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11320.3.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b) or if otherwise exempt, every individual, as a condition of eligibility for aid under this chapter, shall participate in welfare-to-work activities under this article.
(2) Individuals eligible under Section 11331.5 shall be required to participate in the Cal-Learn Program under Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331) during the time that article is operative, in lieu of the welfare-to-work requirements, and subdivision (b) shall not apply to that individual.
(b) The following individuals shall not be required to participate for so long as the condition continues to exist:
(1) An individual under 16 years of age.
(2) (A) A child attending an elementary, secondary, vocational, or technical school on a full-time basis.
(B) A person who is 16 or 17 years of age, or a person described in subdivision (d) who loses this exemption, shall not requalify for the exemption by attending school as a required activity under this article.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), a person who is 16 or 17 years of age who has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent and is enrolled or is planning to enroll in a postsecondary education, vocational, or technical school training program shall also not be required to participate for so long as the condition continues to exist.
(D) For purposes of subparagraph (C), a person shall be deemed to be planning to enroll in a postsecondary education, vocational, or technical school training program if he or she, or his or her parent, acting on his or her behalf, submits a written statement expressing his or her intent to enroll in such a program for the following term. The exemption from participation shall not continue beyond the beginning of the term, unless verification of enrollment is provided or obtained by the county.
(3) An individual who meets either of the following conditions:
(A) The individual is disabled as determined by a doctor’s verification that the disability is expected to last at least 30 days and that it significantly impairs the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed or participate in welfare-to-work activities, provided that the individual is actively seeking appropriate medical treatment.
(B) The individual is of advanced age.
(4) A nonparent caretaker relative who has primary responsibility for providing care for a child and is either caring for a child who is a dependent or ward of the court or caring for a child in a case in which a county determines the child is at risk of placement in foster care, and the county determines that the caretaking responsibilities are beyond those considered normal day-to-day parenting responsibilities such that they impair the caretaker relative’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in welfare-to-work activities.
(5) An individual whose presence in the home is required because of illness or incapacity of another member of the household and whose caretaking responsibilities impair the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in welfare-to-work activities.
(6) A parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to a child 24 months of age or under.
(7) A parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to one child who is from 12 to 23 months of age, inclusive, or two or more children who are under six years of age.
(8) A woman who is pregnant and for whom it has been medically verified that the pregnancy impairs her ability to be regularly employed or participate in welfare-to-work activities or the county has determined that, at that time, participation will not readily lead to employment or that a training activity is not appropriate. If a pregnant woman is unable to secure this medical verification, but is otherwise eligible for an exemption from welfare-to-work requirements under this section, including good cause for temporary illness related to the pregnancy, she shall be exempt from participation.
(9) A pregnant woman who is the sole member of her assistance unit.
(c) Any individual not required to participate may choose to participate voluntarily under this article, and end that participation at any time without loss of eligibility for aid under this chapter, if his or her status has not changed in a way that would require participation.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a custodial parent who is under 20 years of age and who has not earned a high school diploma or its equivalent, and who is not exempt or whose only basis for exemption is paragraph (1), (2), (5), (6), (7), or (8) (8), or (9) of subdivision (b), shall be required to participate solely for the purpose of earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. During the time that Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331) is operative, this subdivision shall only apply to a custodial parent who is 19 years of age.
(2) Section 11325.25 shall apply to a custodial parent who is 18 or 19 years of age and who is required to participate under this article.
(e) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (d), the county may determine that participation in education activities for the purpose of earning a high school diploma or equivalent is inappropriate for an 18 or 19 year old a custodial parent 18 or 19 years of age only if that parent is reassigned pursuant to an evaluation under Section 11325.25, or, at appraisal is already in an educational or vocational training program that is approvable as a self-initiated program as specified in Section 11325.23. If that determination is made, the parent shall be allowed to continue participation in the self-initiated program subject to Section 11325.23. During the time that Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331) is operative, this subdivision shall only apply to a custodial parent who is 19 years of age.
(f) A recipient shall be excused from participation for good cause when the county has determined there is a condition or other circumstance that temporarily prevents or significantly impairs the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in welfare-to-work activities. The county welfare department shall review the good cause determination for its continuing appropriateness in accordance with the projected length of the condition, or circumstance, but not less than every three months. The recipient shall cooperate with the county welfare department and provide information, including written documentation, as required to complete the review. Conditions that may be considered good cause include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Lack of necessary supportive services.
(2) In accordance with Article 7.5 (commencing with Section 11495), the applicant or recipient is a victim of domestic violence, but only if participation under this article is detrimental to or unfairly penalizes that individual or his or her family.
(3) Licensed or license-exempt child care for a child 10 years of age or younger is not reasonably available during the individual’s hours of training or employment including commuting time, or arrangements for child care have broken down or have been interrupted, or child care is needed for a child who meets the criteria of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 11323.2, but who is not included in the assistance unit. For purposes of this paragraph, “reasonable availability” means child care that is commonly available in the recipient’s community to a person who is not receiving aid and that is in conformity with the requirements of Public Law 104-193. The choices of child care shall meet either licensing requirements or the requirements of Section 11324. This good cause criterion shall include the unavailability of suitable special needs child care for children with identified special needs, including, but not limited to, disabilities or chronic illnesses.
(g) (1) Paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) shall be implemented notwithstanding Sections 11322.4, 11322.7, 11325.6, and 11327, and shall become inoperative on January 1, 2013.
(2) The State Department of Social Services, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association of California, and advocates, shall develop a process to assist clients with reengagement in welfare-to-work activities, pursuant to subdivision (h). Reengagement activities may include notifying clients of the expiration of exemptions, reassessments, and identifying necessary supportive services.
(h) (1) A recipient who was not required to participate in welfare-to-work activities on December 31, 2012, because, in accordance with paragraph (7) of subdivision (b), he or she is a parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to one child who is from 12 to 23 months of age, inclusive, or two or more children who are under six years of age shall not be required to participate until the county welfare department reengages the recipient in welfare-to-work activities.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, reengagement in welfare-to-work activities shall include the development of a welfare-to-work plan in accordance with Section 11325.21 and the provision of necessary supportive services pursuant to Section 11323.2.
(3) County welfare departments shall reengage all recipients described in paragraph (1) by January 1, 2015, unless the recipient is otherwise eligible for an exemption under subdivision (b).
(4) A recipient reengaged in accordance with this subdivision who has received assistance under this chapter, or from any state pursuant to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (Part A (commencing with Section 401) of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 601 et seq.)), may continue in a welfare-to-work plan that meets the requirements of Section 11322.6 for a cumulative period of 24 months commencing the first day of the first month after he or she is reengaged, unless or until he or she exceeds the 48-month time limitation described in Section 11454.
(5) All months of assistance described in paragraph (4) prior to the reengagement of the recipient shall not be applied to the 24-month limitation described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 11322.85.

The

(i) (l) The county shall provide an individual exempt from participation in welfare-to-work activities pursuant to paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) with a notice of action human services agency shall, upon a determination that an individual is exempt from welfare-to-work activities in accordance with subdivision (b), provide that individual with a notice informing the individual of the exemption under paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) and that the individual has the right to volunteer to participate in welfare-to-work activities of his or her choice.

The notice of action shall include a volunteer form for a welfare-to-work plan activity assignment with instructions on how to complete the form, if the individual chooses to volunteer, including the activities in which the individual wants to participate and the supportive services necessary to participate. The plan shall be deemed approved if the county fails to act on the plan within 30 days.

The notice of action shall include the name, address, and phone number of a local legal aid office and of the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations.

(2) The notice shall be accompanied by a form for the written welfare-to-work plan described in Section 11325.21, along with instructions on how to complete the form. The county human services agency shall, upon request, assist any individual choosing to volunteer in selecting and participating in the activities in which the individual chooses to participate, and the county human services agency shall assist the individual in accessing the supportive services necessary to participate. The county human services agency shall assist the individual in completing the plan, if requested, and shall approve the plan within 30 days of the individual indicating that he or she wishes to volunteer for welfare-to-work activities.

SEC. 2.

 Section 11454.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11454.5.
 (a) Any month in which the following conditions exist shall not be counted as a month of receipt of aid for the purposes of subdivision (a) of, and paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of, Section 11454:
(1) The recipient is exempt from participation under Article 3.2 (commencing with Section 11320) due to disability, or advanced age in accordance with paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3, or due to caretaking responsibilities that impair the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed, in accordance with paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3.
(2) The recipient is eligible for, participating in, or exempt from, the Cal-Learn Program provided for pursuant to Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331), for any period during which the Cal-Learn Program is operative, is participating in another teen parent program approved by the department, or, on or after January 1, 2012, is a nonminor dependent under the supervision of the county welfare or probation department who is placed in an approved relative’s home and is eligible for aid under this section because he or she satisfies the conditions described in Section 11403.
(3) The cost of the cash aid provided to the recipient for the month is fully reimbursed by child support, whether collected in that month or any subsequent month.
(4) The family is a former recipient of cash aid under this chapter and currently receives only child care, case management, or supportive services pursuant to Section 11323.2 or Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) of Chapter 2 of Part 6 of the Education Code.
(5) To the extent provided by federal law, the recipient lived in Indian country, as defined by federal law, or an Alaskan native village in which at least 50 percent of the adults living in the Indian country or in the village are not employed.
(6) The recipient was exempt from participation under paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3 and has not been reengaged in accordance with subdivision (h) of Section 11320.3.
(7) (A) The recipient is exempt from participating in welfare-to-work activities because he or she has primary responsibility for personally providing care to a child 24 months of age or under pursuant to paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3.
(B) Subparagraph (A) applies to an eligible individual only for a cumulative total of 24 months.
(b) When a lump-sum diversion payment is provided in lieu of cash aid under Section 11266.5, the month in which the payment is made or the months calculated pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 11266.5 shall count against the limits specified in Section 11454.
(c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.

SEC. 3.

 Notwithstanding the rulemaking provisions of 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 may implement this act through an all-county letter or similar instruction from the Director of Social Services. The all-county letter or similar instruction shall be issued no later than April 1, 2019.

SEC. 4.

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

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.