AB 2062 positively impacts CalWORKs families
On September 29, 2016, the Governor signed AB 2062, amending two sections of the California Welfare and Institutions code to prohibit counties from assessing an overpayment for the month following a change in income for a recipient of CalWORKs if the recipient reported the change timely and the County was unable to provide ten days’ notice of the termination or reduction in benefits. The California Dept. of Social Services must issue instructions by July 2017 for implementation by counties no later than July 2018.
This change in policy can be traced back to Tulare County Health & Human Service Agency (HHSA) staff, who realized that there was a way to improve the existing policy. The previous CalWORKs policy stated that a client must report when their income exceeded a certain level in a particular month, which usually occurred toward the end of the month. Often, even when a client reported the change on time there was not enough time to affect the change in the upcoming month. This resulted in an overpayment that the family had to pay back – thereby acting as a type of penalty – just when the family was getting back on its feet.
Staff collaborated to write up the proposed change to the existing legislation. The proposal was submitted to a California Welfare Rights Advocacy Organization, and they brought it forward to California Assembly Member Lopez. Additionally, policy staff sought support from the California Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) Legislative Committee which plays an important role in the process by accepting suggestions and evaluating the effects the change would have on families applying for or receiving public assistance.
CalWORKs families are positively impacted by AB 2062 and it is clear that staff are committed to HHSA’s mission of protecting and strengthening the well-being of the community through development of effective policies and practices.