BILL NUMBER: AB 3029 AMENDED BILL TEXT AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MAY 26, 2006 AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY APRIL 27, 2006 INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Laird ( Coauthors: Assembly Members Jones and Koretz ) FEBRUARY 24, 2006 An act to add Sections 18927 and 18928 to, to repeal Sections 11265.2 and 11265.3 of, and to repeal and add Section 11265.1 of, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 3029, as amended, Laird Public social services: CalWORKs and the Food Stamp Program: redetermination and recertification. Existing law requires each county to provide cash assistance and other social services to needy families through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program using federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, state, and county funds. Under existing law, the county is required to annually redetermine eligibility for CalWORKs benefits. Existing law additionally requires the county to implement a recipient monthly reporting system, consistent with federal law until the Director of Social Services makes a specified declaration, at which time the county would be required to redetermine recipient eligibility and grant amounts on a quarterly basis, using prospective budgeting, and to prospectively determine the grant amount that a recipient is entitled to receive for each month of the quarterly reporting period. Under existing law, a CalWORKs recipient is required to report to the county, orally or in writing, specified changes that could affect the amount of aid to which the recipient is entitled. Existing law requires the quarterly redetermination report form to be signed by the recipient under penalty of perjury. This bill would repeal the quarterly redetermination requirements and instead would impose similar requirements for a semiannual redetermination, operative January 1, 2009. This bill would require the redetermination report form to be signed under penalty of perjury, thus creating a new crime and imposing a state-mandated local program. The bill would also repeal the requirements for prospective determination of a recipient's grant amount, and the requirement that the recipient report the specified changes to the county operative January 1, 2009. Existing law continuously appropriates moneys from the General Fund to defray a portion of county costs under the CalWORKs program. This bill would instead provide that the continuous appropriation would not be made for purposes of implementing the bill. Existing law provides for the Food Stamp Program, under which food stamps are allocated by each county in accordance with federal requirements. Under existing law, the Food Stamp Program is administered at the state level by the State Department of Social Services. Existing law requires a county welfare department, if appropriate, to exempt a household from complying with federal face-to-face interview requirements for purposes of determining eligibility at initial application and recertification, to the extent permitted by federal law. This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to seek a federal waiver or waivers of the federally required face-to-face interview requirement for annual recertifications, as specified. The bill would also require the department to develop a food stamp simplification demonstration project, based on applicant income and other specified criteria, and to seek necessary federal approvals for the demonstration project. 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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason. Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. Section 11265.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, as amended by Section 1 of Chapter 826 of the Statutes of 1999, is repealed. SEC. 2. Section 11265.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, as added by Section 30 of Chapter 1022 of the Statutes of 2002, is repealed. SEC. 3. Section 11265.1 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read: 11265.1. (a) In addition to the requirement for an annual redetermination of eligibility, counties shall redetermine recipient eligibility and grant amounts on a semiannual basis using prospective budgeting. Counties shall use the information reported on a recipient's semiannual report form to prospectively determine eligibility and grant amount for the following semiannual reporting period. (b) A semiannual reporting period shall be six consecutive calendar months. The recipient shall submit one semiannual report form for each reporting period. Counties shall provide a semiannual report form to recipients at the end of the fourth month of the semiannual reporting period, and recipients shall return the completed semiannual report form with required verification to the county by the 11th day of the fifth month of the semiannual reporting period. (c) Counties may establish staggered semiannual reporting cycles based on factors established or approved by the department, including, but not limited to, application date or case number. (d) The semiannual report form shall be signed under penalty of perjury, and shall include only the information necessary to determine CalWORKs and food stamp eligibility and calculate the CalWORKs grant amount and food stamp allotment, as specified by the department. The form shall be as comprehensible as possible for recipients and shall require recipients to provide the following: (1) Information about income received during the fourth month of the semiannual reporting period. (2) Information about income that the recipient anticipates receiving during the following semiannual reporting period. (3) Any other changes to facts required to be reported, together with any changes to those facts that the recipient anticipates will occur. The recipient shall provide verification as specified by the department with the semiannual report form. (e) A semiannual report form shall be considered complete if the following requirements, as specified by the department, are met: (1) The form is signed no earlier than the first day of the fifth month of the semiannual reporting period by the persons specified by the department. (2) All questions and items pertaining to CalWORKs and food stamp eligibility and grant amount are answered. (3) Verification required by the department is provided. (f) If a recipient fails to submit a complete semiannual report form, as defined in subdivision (e), by the 11th day of the fifth month of the semiannual reporting period, the county shall provide the recipient with a notice that the county will terminate benefits at the end of the month. Prior to terminating benefits, the county shall attempt to make personal contact to remind the recipient that a completed report is due, or, if contact is not made, shall send a reminder notice to the recipient no later than five days prior to the end of the month. Any discontinuance notice shall be rescinded if a complete report is received by the first working day of the first month of the following semiannual reporting period. (g) The county may determine, at any time prior to the last day of the calendar month following discontinuance for nonsubmission of a semiannual report form, that a recipient had good cause for failing to submit a complete semiannual report form, as defined in subdivision (e), by the first working day of the month following discontinuance. If the county finds a recipient had good cause, as defined by the department, it shall rescind the discontinuance notice. Good cause exists only when the recipient cannot reasonably be expected to fulfill his or her reporting responsibilities due to factors outside of the recipient's control. (h) Rules and procedures governing reporting for food stamps and CalWORKs shall be consistent with federal food stamp rules and procedures as to the following matters: (1) Mandatory
and voluntaryreporting within the semiannual period. A CalWORKs recipient is required to report only when the recipient's income exceeds the program income eligibility limits for CalWORKs or the Food Stamp Program, or both. A recipient of food stamps who is not also receiving CalWORKs is required to report only when the household's income exceeds 130 percent of the federal poverty level. No other mandatory reporting is required within the semiannual period unless expressly required by federal law or rule. (2) Voluntary reporting within the semiannual period. An administrator shall not act on information resulting in the reduction of benefits within the reporting period unless required by federal law or rule. An administrator shall act on information resulting in the increase of benefits only when verification is obtained, as required by the federal food stamp laws and rules. Information shall be considered verified upon receipt to the extent permitted by federal law. (2)(3) The definition and reporting of anticipated income. (3)(4) Notice and information to families and households of the duty to report, and the consequences for failure to report. SEC. 4. Section 11265.2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is repealed. SEC. 5. Section 11265.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is repealed. SEC. 6. Section 18927 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read: 18927. The department shall seek federal waivers of the federal Food Stamp Program face-to-face interview requirement at a required annual recertification when these waivers are available for the entire state or for substate areas. SEC. 7. Section 18928 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read: 18928. (a) The department shall develop a food stamp simplification demonstration project and seek necessary federal approvals for the demonstration project. The demonstration project shall be designed to reduce the amount of information to be provided by applicants and processed by administrators. The demonstration project shall be designed to identify income as the primary determinant of eligibility and benefit levels, and shall seek to reduce other required application elements, to the extent permitted by federal law. (b) The department shall evaluate the demonstration project to assess the impact of simplification on program participation, administrative costs, recipient benefits, and on other measures required by the federal government. SEC. 8. No appropriation for purposes of Section 15200 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall be made for purposes of implementing this act. SEC. 9. SectionSections 1 to 5, inclusive, of this act shall become operative on January 1, 2009. SEC. 10. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.