BILL NUMBER: SB 480	INTRODUCED
	BILL TEXT


INTRODUCED BY   Senator Vargas

                        FEBRUARY 17, 2011

   An act to amend Sections 10544, 11450.12, and 11495.15 of, and to
add Section 11495.45 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating
to public social services.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   SB 480, as introduced, Vargas. Public social services: domestic
violence.
   (1) Existing federal law provides for the federal Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program,
under which nutrition assistance benefits, formerly referred to as
food stamps, allocated to the state by the federal government are
distributed to eligible individuals by each county. Under existing
law, the State Department of Social Services has renamed the Food
Stamp program in California as CalFresh.
   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) block grant
program, state, and county funds.
   Existing law provides that if the state does not achieve specified
outcomes required by federal law, including welfare-to-work
outcomes, and as a result is subject to a fiscal penalty, the penalty
will be shared equally by the state and the counties after
exhaustion of all reasonable and available federal administrative
remedies. Existing law provides that only those counties that have
failed to meet the federal requirements are required to share in the
fiscal penalty, as prescribed.
   This bill would provide that in determining whether a county has
failed to meet the federal work requirements, the number of cases
subject to the federal work participation requirements is not to
include specified cases granted a federally recognized good cause
domestic violence waiver.
   (2) Existing law requires a county to redetermine CalWORKs and
CalFresh recipient eligibility and grant amounts on a quarterly
basis, using prospective budgeting, and to prospectively determine
the benefits 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. Under existing law, the CalWORKs quarterly
reporting system is also implemented by the State Department of
Social Services in administering SNAP.
   This bill would prohibit the consideration of the income and
resources used to flee the abuser or that are controlled in whole or
in part by the abuser if an applicant or recipient family is a victim
of abuse, as defined, to the extent permitted by federal law. This
bill would provide that sworn statements by a victim of past or
present abuse are sufficient to establish this abuse.
   (3) Existing law authorizes a county to waive a program
requirement for a recipient who has been identified as a past or
present victim of abuse when it has been determined that good cause
exists.
   This bill would instead require a county to waive a condition of
eligibility, program requirement, or time limit for good cause for an
applicant or recipient who has been identified as a past or present
victim of abuse upon a specified determination by the county. This
bill would also require a county to proactively seek information to
determine at the time of application or redetermination for aid
whether or not an applicant or recipient is or has been a victim of
domestic violence.
   (4) By imposing new duties on counties, this bill would impose a
state-mandated local program.
   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, if the Commission on State Mandates
determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these
statutory provisions.
   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.  In enacting this act, the Legislature recognizes that
some individuals who may need public assistance have been or are
victims of abuse. It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that
applicants and recipients who are past or present victims of abuse
are not placed at further risk or unfairly penalized by CalWORKs or
CalFresh requirements or procedures. The Legislature intends that, in
implementing this act, program requirements are not created or
applied in such a way as to encourage a victim to remain with an
abuser, or to prevent the victim from successfully leaving the
abuser. It is also the intent of the Legislature that the resources
of the CalWORKs program and CalFresh be leveraged to best assist
recipients leaving an abuser to move towards self-sufficiency.
  SEC. 2.  Section 10544 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
   10544.  (a) If the department finds that a county is experiencing
significantly worsened outcomes, it shall report this finding to the
Chairs of the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the
Assembly Committee on Budget, the Senate Committee on Health and
Human Services, and the Assembly Committee on Human Services.
   (b) If the state does not achieve the outcomes required by federal
law and, as a result, is subject to a fiscal penalty, the penalty
shall be shared equally by the state and the counties after
exhaustion of all reasonable and available federal administrative
remedies. If a county's single allocation pursuant to Section 15204.2
is reduced by the state to offset the county's share of any federal
penalty imposed pursuant to this section, the county shall be
required to utilize county general funds to replace the offset
amount, so that total funding remains equal to the county's single
allocation. These funds shall be in addition to the funds required to
meet the maintenance-of-effort requirement pursuant to Section
15204.4. Only those counties that have failed to meet the federal
requirements shall be required to share in the fiscal penalty imposed
on the state. Those counties' share of the penalty imposed on the
state shall equal 50 percent of that penalty. Each county's share of
the penalty shall be based, in consultation with the County Welfare
Directors Association, on the county's degree of performance that
contributes to the failure to meet the federal requirement.
   (c) A county may be provided relief, in whole or in part, from a
penalty imposed pursuant to subdivision (b) if the department
determines that there were circumstances beyond the control of the
county. A county may also be provided relief based on the degree of
success or progress in meeting federal requirements, and, to the
extent that there are differences between state and federal program
requirements, the degree of success in meeting state participation
requirements. Any adjustment made pursuant to this subdivision shall
be reported to the Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
If a county is granted relief, that portion of the total penalty
shall not be imposed on the other counties that failed to meet the
federal requirements. 
   (d) In determining whether a county has failed to meet federal
work requirements pursuant to subdivision (b), the number of county
cases subject to the federal work participation requirements shall
not include the following:  
   (1) Cases granted a waiver of work requirements pursuant to
paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 11320.3.  
   (2) Cases granted a waiver to the time limit pursuant to Section
11495.15.  
   (3) Cases where the time limits on aid set forth in Section 11454
shall not be counted as a month of receipt of aid pursuant to Section
11495.15.  
    (e) A county shall only disregard cases pursuant to subdivision
(d) if the waivers are federally recognized good cause domestic
violence waivers, within the meaning of Sections 260.52(c) and 260.55
of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Notwithstanding
subdivision (d), a case shall be included in the number of county
cases if the case has met federal work requirements.  
   (d) 
    (f)  A county that fails, without good cause, to submit
accurate and timely data used to measure work participation, as
required by the department, shall be deemed to have failed to meet
applicable federal requirements. For purposes of this subdivision,
good cause shall include, but shall not be limited to, the lack of
accurate, timely, and complete instructions from the department.

   (e) 
    (g)  The amendments made to subdivision (b) by the
amendment of this section in 2006 by Chapter 75 of the Statutes of
2006, clarify existing law, as enacted by Assembly Bill 1542 (Ch.
270, Stats. 1997).
  SEC. 3.  Section 11450.12 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, as
amended by Section 39 of Chapter 1022 of the Statutes of 2002, is
amended to read:
   11450.12.  (a) An applicant family shall not be eligible for aid
under this chapter unless the family's income, exclusive of the first
ninety dollars ($90) of earned income for each employed person, is
less than the minimum basic standard of adequate care, as specified
in Section 11452.
   (b) A recipient family shall not be eligible for further aid under
this chapter if reasonably anticipated income, less exempt income,
averaged over the quarter pursuant to Sections 11265.2 and 11265.3,
and exclusive of amounts exempt under Section 11451.5, equals or
exceeds the maximum aid payment specified in Section 11450. 
   (c) To the extent permitted by federal law, if an applicant or
recipient family is a victim of abuse, as defined in Section
11495.12, the income and resources used to flee the abuser or
controlled in whole or in part by the abuser shall not be considered
available to the family and shall not be used for the purposes of
determining eligibility or the amount of aid. The county may consider
these resources if it documents, in writing, an independent,
reasonable basis for believing that the income or resources are
available and that considering the income or resources would not put
the victim of past or present abuse at further risk of harm,
encourage the victim to remain with the abuser, or unfairly penalize
the victim. Sworn statements by a victim of past or present abuse
shall be sufficient to establish abuse in accordance with Section
11495.25. The county shall assess each applicant to determine if the
waiver under this subdivision is appropriate and shall advise each
applicant of the availability of the waiver. 
  SEC. 4.  Section 11495.15 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
   11495.15.   (a)    A county  may
  shall  waive a  condition of eligibility,
 program requirement  , or time limit for good cause
for  an applicant or  a recipient who has been identified as
a past or present victim of abuse when  it has been
determined that good cause exists pursuant to paragraph (2) of
subdivision (f) of Section 11320.3. Until implementation of the
regulations required pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 11495.1,
a county may utilize standards, procedures, and protocols currently
available, and shall identify them in its county plan  
the county determines that the condition, requirement, or time limit
is detrimental to or unfairly penalizes the individual or his or her
family, or encourages the individual or his or her family to remain
with the abuser  . Waivers shall be reevaluated in accordance
with other routine periodic reevaluations by the county. 
   (b) Any month in which good cause exists for excusing participants
from welfare to work activities pursuant to this section shall not
be counted as a month of receipt of aid for the purposes of Section
11454.  
   (c) Waivers shall not be granted pursuant to subdivision (a) if
either event in subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 11495.1 occurs.

  SEC. 5.  Section 11495.45 is added to the Welfare and Institutions
Code, to read:
   11495.45.  The county shall proactively seek information at the
time of application or redetermination for aid to determine whether
or not the applicant or recipient is or has been a victim of domestic
violence.
  SEC. 6.  If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this
act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local
agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant
to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of
the Government Code.