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SB-490 CalFresh: benefit overissuance.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/05/2019 09:00 PM
SB490:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  July 05, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 25, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  March 27, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 490


Introduced by Senator Hurtado
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Mathis)

February 21, 2019


An act to amend Section 18927 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalFresh.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 490, as amended, Hurtado. CalFresh: benefit overissuance.
Existing law provides for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), administered in California as CalFresh, under which each county distributes nutrition assistance benefits provided by the federal government to eligible households. Existing law requires each county human services agency to carry out the local administrative responsibilities of this program, subject to the supervision of the State Department of Social Services and to rules and regulations adopted by the department. Existing law requires current and future CalFresh benefits to be reduced, as specified, to recover a benefit overissuance caused by administrative error. If a household is no longer receiving CalFresh benefits, existing law prohibits the establishment or collection of a CalFresh overissuance caused by administrative error if the overissuance is less than $125 or the minimum statewide cost-effective threshold established by the state, whichever is greater, and existing law requires collection if the overissuance is caused by inadvertent household error and the overissuance is $35 or more.
This bill would increase those threshold overissuance claim amounts to $400 for a household that is no longer receiving CalFresh benefits. This bill would, to the extent permitted by federal law, prohibit a benefit overissuance caused by administrative error from being collected from a current CalFresh recipient who is elderly or disabled and recipient household that is receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits. The bill would also, to the extent permitted by federal law, prohibit an overissuance caused by administrative error from being established, and collection thereof from being attempted, from a former CalFresh recipient who is elderly or disabled and household that was receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits at the time they the household stopped receiving CalFresh benefits. The bill would authorize its provisions to be implemented through an all-county letter or similar instructions no later than March 1, 2020.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 It is the intent of the Legislature to prevent the harm of hunger experienced by low-income elderly or disabled Californians that would result if they were forced to repay CalFresh benefits that were overissued as the result of an administrative error or an inadvertent household error.

SEC. 2.

 Section 18927 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

18927.
 (a) Current and future CalFresh benefits shall be reduced in accordance with subdivisions (c) and (d) to recover an overissuance caused by intentional program violation, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 273.16 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, fraud, or inadvertent household error.
(b) Current and future CalFresh benefits shall be reduced in accordance with subdivisions (c) and (d) to recover an overissuance caused by administrative error if required by federal law or if the overissuance exceeds one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) or the threshold established pursuant to subdivision (h), whichever is greater.
(c) A household’s CalFresh benefits shall not be reduced to recover an overissuance as required or authorized by subdivision (a) or (b) unless the household receives adequate and timely notice of the overissuance, including, but not limited to, the budget worksheet that includes the amount and calculation of the overissuance and the reason for the overissuance.
(d) (1) In recovering an overissuance caused by administrative error, a recipient household’s monthly CalFresh benefits shall not be reduced by more than 5 percent of the household’s monthly CalFresh benefits or ten dollars ($10), whichever is greater, unless the recipient elects for the benefits to be reduced at a higher rate. To the extent permitted by federal law, an overissuance caused by administrative error shall not be collected from a household that is receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits.
(2) In recovering an overissuance caused by inadvertent household error, a recipient household’s monthly CalFresh benefits shall not be reduced by more than 10 percent of the household’s monthly CalFresh benefits or ten dollars ($10), whichever is greater.
(3) In recovering an overissuance caused by intentional program violation, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 273.16 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or fraud, a recipient household’s monthly CalFresh benefits shall be reduced by 20 percent of the household’s monthly CalFresh benefit or twenty dollars ($20), whichever is greater.
(e) If a household is no longer receiving CalFresh benefits, a CalFresh overissuance caused by administrative error shall not be established, and collection shall not be attempted, if either of the following applies:
(1) The overissuance is less than four hundred dollars ($400) or the threshold established pursuant to subdivision (h), whichever is greater.
(2) To the extent permitted by federal law, the former recipient is elderly or disabled, and the former recipient household was receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits at the time they the household stopped receiving CalFresh benefits.
(f) If a household is no longer receiving CalFresh benefits, collection shall be attempted if the overissuance is caused by inadvertent household error and the overissuance is equal to or greater than the amount established for overissuances caused by administrative error, as specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e). All overissuances caused by intentional program violation, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 273.16 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or fraud shall be collected as required by federal law.
(g) When an overissuance collection is attempted, reasonable cost-effective methods of collection shall be implemented. The department shall define reasonable cost-effective collection methods, which shall include adequate and timely notice of the overissuance, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The amount and calculation of, and reason for, the overissuance.
(2) A statement of the monetary threshold described in this subdivision.
(3) Information about how to appeal the overissuance.
(4) Instructions for timely commencement of repayment.
(5) Consequences of delinquent payment.
(h) (1) No later than January 1, 2019, the department shall finalize an analysis and make a determination as to whether it has adequate information to set a minimum statewide cost-effective threshold for collecting CalFresh overissuances from former CalFresh recipients that are caused by administrative error that is higher than the threshold established by subdivision (e).
(2) Notwithstanding Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, if, upon finalization of the analysis, the department determines that it does not have adequate information to set a minimum statewide cost-effective threshold for collecting CalFresh overissuances, the department shall submit a report to the Legislature within three months of finalizing the analysis detailing the results of the analysis, as well as the data, methodology, and criteria used to reach the conclusions of the analysis. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(3) If, at any time, the department determines that there is adequate information to set a statewide minimum cost-effective threshold greater than the threshold set in subdivision (e), that greater threshold shall be included in the state’s claims management plan submitted for approval by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
(4) The department shall establish a minimum statewide cost-effective threshold for collecting CalFresh overissuances from former CalFresh recipients that are caused by administrative error that is higher than the threshold set in subdivision (e), if a higher minimum cost-effective threshold has been included in the state’s claims management plan and that plan has been approved by the USDA FNS.
(i) Nothing in this section shall prevent a county from writing off or terminating an overissuance claim when it meets the provisions of paragraph (8) of subdivision (e) of Section 273.18 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(j) Nothing in this section shall prevent a county or the state from collecting all overissuances that are identified during a quality control review, as required by Section 275.12 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(k) 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 department may implement this section through all-county letters or similar instructions from the director no later than January 1, 2014, to allow for automation updates required by this section to be made in coordination with other scheduled updates.

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 department may implement this act through all-county letters or similar instructions from the director no later than March 1, 2020.