Tag Archives: CalFresh

CalFresh “households” & shared living

Q: I’m working with a non-minor dependent who lives in a Supervised Independent Living Placement with two roommates. She would like to apply for CalFresh, however one of her roommates already receives CalFresh benefits. I understand you apply for CalFresh as a household, so how does this work? Can she apply by herself?

A: You are correct that CalFresh benefits are awarded to eligible “households,” however it is possible to have a household of one. Rule of thumb is, in shared living arrangements where meals are purchased and prepared together, the head of household would apply for CalFresh benefits on behalf of the household. In shared living arrangements where meals are purchased and prepared separately, each individual may apply for CalFresh benefits as a separate household.

So, if this NMD purchases and prepares her meals separately from her two roommates, then she could submit a CalFresh application as a household of one.

To learn more about current and former foster youth applying for CalFresh, join a webinar today at 11:00.

Citation: California Department of Social Services. All County Information Notice I-68-17 (October 2, 2017).

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How are gift cards counted when applying for CalFresh?

Q: I understand that when applying for CalFresh, youth in my THP+FC program are to indicate the monthly stipend we provide them as their ‘unearned income’ on the application. What if we provide them gift cards in lieu of cash, such as gift cards for the grocery store or gas cards? Should they be counting the gift cards as unearned income?

A: No, gift cards that are specific to the grocery store or gas station would not be counted as income. A gift card is only counted as income when determining a household’s eligibility or benefit level if it is a credit card company prepaid gift card (i.e. American Express, MasterCard, Visa, etc.), and the gift card can be reasonably anticipated by the youth. Establishment-specific gift cards (i.e. Target, Walmart, Safeway, Chevron, etc.) are always excluded as income when determining a household’s eligibility or benefit level.

Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture. Memorandum: Revised Treatment of Gift Cards in Determining SNAP. https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/snap/Revised_Gift_Card_Policy_Memo.pdf. California Department of Social Services. All County Information Notice I-68-17 (October 2, 2017). http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACIN/2017/I-68-17.pdf?ver=2017-10-02-151226-987

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Documentation of unearned income for youth in THP+FC applying for CalFresh

Q: I’m a non-minor dependent, and I recently went to apply for food stamps. As instructed by my case manager for the THP+FC program I live in, I put down $500 for my unearned monthly income because that is what the program provides to me monthly.

However, the eligibility worker was under the impression that the entire foster care payment the THP+FC provider receives from the county ($3,007) should be put down as my unearned income. What should I do?

A: You are correct. Your unearned income is the $500 you receive directly from the THP+FC program. The best thing to do is to bring a printed copy of the CalFresh Program Request for Policy/Regulation Interpretation (CF24) posted by the California Department of Social Services’ CalFresh Policy Unit on June 28, 2016, that describes how to count unearned income for youth participating in THP+FC.

As described in the CF24 and in a previous Q of the W blog post, “The actual amount of THP monies made available to the youth whether spent, held or put into personal savings shall be considered unearned income in the month received for the CalFresh budget whether disbursed as part of THP+FC or THP-Plus programs.”

Additionally, I would suggest bringing a letter on letterhead from your THP+FC program stating how much your monthly stipend, is as you will likely be asked for verification of the amount.

Citation: CalFresh Program Request for Policy/Regulation Interpretation (June 28, 2016)

 

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Expanded exemptions for student restrictions on CalFresh eligibility

 Q: I’m participating in extended foster care and attending college full-time. I heard that youth in extended foster care are now exempt from the food stamp eligibility restrictions on college students. However when I went to apply for CalFresh, the eligibility worker said I did not qualify. What can I do?

A: You are correct. College students participating in Extended Foster Care are exempt from the CalFresh eligibility restrictions on college students.

College students who do not qualify for an exemption must work at least 20 hours per week to be eligible to participate in CalFresh. However as of February 14, 2017, the student eligibility exemptions were expanded as described in All County Letter 17-05. As a college student participating in extended foster care,  you are exempt from these work requirements.

These expanded exemptions are still very new, and it is likely that the eligibility worker you spoke with is not aware of these new exemptions. The best thing to do is to bring a printed copy of All County Letter 17-05 when you go to meet with the eligibility worker.

Citation: All County Letter 17-05 (February 14, 2017)

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Counting Income for CalFresh in THP+FC

Q: I’m helping a Non-Minor Dependent (NMD) who is placed in our THP+FC program apply for CalFresh (food stamps). Does she include the monthly stipend our program gives her as unearned income, or the entire monthly foster care payment (THP+FC rate) we receive on her behalf?

A: When completing the unearned income portion of the application for CalFresh, a NMD in THP+FC should list the amount of money made available to the them directly, including any portion that is being put into a savings. They should not list the whole foster care payment the provider receives on the NMD’s behalf.

The California Department of Social Services clarified this in a recent CF24, stating “the actual amount of THP monies made available to the youth whether spent, held or put into personal savings shall be considered unearned income in the month receive for the CalFresh budget.”

THP+FC providers who utilize the single or remote site housing model currently receive $3,090 per youth per month (host family rate is $2,459). Providers pass a portion of this foster care payment to the youth, but this amount ranges across the state from roughly $400 to $1,200.

Citation: MPP Section 63-502.14, CF24 revised 6/29/16

 

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