We are a statewide policy and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and well being of low income Californians by increasing their access to nutritious, affordable food.

State Budget & the CalFresh Gross Income Test

by

6.23.2014 Beginning July 1, 2014 the gross income test for the TANF-funded service that confers modified categorical eligibility will be raised to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Practically speaking, this change will raise the CalFresh gross income test from the current 130% FPL to 200% FPL.

The 2014-15 state budget, signed by the Governor on Friday, June 20, includes several changes that will positively impact CalFresh households – this is one of those changes!

The state budget raised the gross income test to 200% of the FPL for the TANF-funded service that confers modified categorical eligibility for all CalFresh households. Instead of only those households that receive or are eligible to receive Medi-Cal as was the case under AB 191. This change will essentially raise the gross income test from the current 130% FPL to 200% FPL for the purposes of calculating CalFresh benefits. Households must still meet the net income test of 100% FPL and, as is current policy, there is no gross income test for households that include an elderly or disabled member.

The budget change will result in a significant number of Californians becoming newly eligible for CalFresh. This will allow households with high need and high expenses, such as child care costs, to access nutrition benefits. Raising the gross income test to 200% FPL is estimated to increase the CalFresh caseload by a total of 92,000 households during fiscal year 2014-15.

California now joins the 40+ other states that have implemented this federal option.

CFPA applauds the Governor for taking this important step toward increasing CalFresh access and participation!

Next Steps
The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) will soon issue an All County Letter (ACL) providing implementation guidance. Counties will adjust their county-level practices to reflect the new 200% gross income test. Outreach professionals across the state should also adjust their outreach activities, materials, application assistance procedures, etc. to reflect the change.

Background
As a result of AB 191 (Bocanegra -2013), modified categorical eligibility was expanded to include CalFresh households with at least one member receiving or eligible to receive Medi-Cal. This policy change aligned gross income eligibility for CalFresh with Medi-Cal by increasing the CalFresh gross income limit to 200% for those specific households. The state budget takes the policy further to include all CalFresh households.

The change simplifies implementation of modified categorical eligibility by eliminating the need to identify those households that are categorically eligible for CalFresh under AB 191 from other CalFresh households. Additionally, the expansion to all CalFresh households extends the reach of modified categorical eligibility to a significant number of newly CalFresh eligible Californians.

Learn more about AB 191. link

Take a look at the summary of the enacted stated budget. link

Questions? Contact Alexis Fernández at 510.433.1122 ext. 111 or alexis@cfpa.net