BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       AB 371


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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING


          AB  
          371 (Mullin)


          As Introduced  February 17, 2015


          Majority vote


           ------------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |Committee       |Votes |Ayes                |Noes                  |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |----------------+------+--------------------+----------------------|
          |Human Services  |7-0   |Chu, Mayes,         |                      |
          |                |      |Calderon, Lopez,    |                      |
          |                |      |Maienschein,        |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |Mark Stone,         |                      |
          |                |      |Thurmond            |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |----------------+------+--------------------+----------------------|
          |Appropriations  |17-0  |Gomez, Bigelow,     |                      |
          |                |      |Bonta, Calderon,    |                      |
          |                |      |Chang, Daly,        |                      |
          |                |      |Eggman, Gallagher,  |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |
          |                |      |Eduardo Garcia,     |                      |
          |                |      |Gordon, Holden,     |                      |
          |                |      |Jones, Quirk,       |                      |
          |                |      |Rendon, Wagner,     |                      |
          |                |      |Weber, Wood         |                      |
          |                |      |                    |                      |








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          SUMMARY:  Streamlines California Work Opportunity and  
          Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) eligibility standards for  
          two-parent families.  Specifically, this bill:
          1)Deletes the deprivation standard used to determine CalWORKs  
            eligibility for needy two-parent families by deleting the  
            following eligibility requirements for CalWORKs benefits:  
               a)    That either parent be unemployed;  
               b)    That a child be considered deprived of parental support  
                due to the unemployment of his or her parent or parents; and  


               c)    That a parent work less than 100 hours per month.  


           2)Removes consideration of the state deprivation standard for  
            determining a minor dependent or nonminor dependent's  
            eligibility for Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster  
            Care funds, and instead ties eligibility to standards in federal  
            regulations, as specified.
          3)Defines parent as a natural or adoptive parent with whom an  
            eligible child is living.


          4)Deletes the eligibility requirement that a child must be  
            deprived of parental support or care due to the death, physical  
            or mental incapacity or incarceration of a parent, the  
            unemployment of one or both parents or the continued absence of  
            a parent from the home due to divorce, separation, desertion, or  
            any other reason, as specified. 


          5)Requires that CalWORKs aid, services, or both be granted,  
            subject to the regulations of the Department of Social Services,  
            to families with related children under 18 years of age, with  
            exemptions already stated in statute, if the family meets the  








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            eligibility requirements specified in this chapter, which  
            include income and work requirements.


          6)Requires a parent to be excluded from the assistance unit if he  
            or she is absent from the home due to divorce, separation,  
            desertion, or any other reason, if his or her absence interrupts  
            or terminates the parent's functioning as a provider of  
            maintenance, physical care, or guidance for the child, and the  
            known or indefinite duration of the absence precludes counting  
            on the parent's performance of the function of planning for the  
            present support or care of the child.  Provides that, if these  
            conditions exist, the parent may be absent for any reason, and  
            may have left only recently or some time previously.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Establishes under federal law the Temporary Assistance for Needy  
            Families (TANF) program to provide aid and welfare-to-work  
            services to eligible families and, in California, provides that  
            TANF funds for welfare-to-work services are administered through  
            the CalWORKs program.  (42 United States Code 601 et seq.,  
            Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 11200 et seq.) 


          2)Establishes income, asset and real property limits used to  
            determine eligibility for the program, including net income  
            below the Maximum Aid Payment (MAP), based on family size and  
            county of residence, which is around 40% of the Federal Poverty  
            Level.  (WIC Section 11450 and 11150 et seq.)


          3)Provides that a child whose parent is applying for CalWORKs  
            assistance shall be considered deprived of parental support or  
            care due to the unemployment of his or her parent when the  
            parent has worked less than 100 hours in the preceding four  
            weeks, as specified.  (WIC Section 11201)








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          4)Grants CalWORKs aid, services, or both to families with related  
            children under 18 years of age, except as specified, if they are  
            deemed needy and deprived of parental support or care due to the  
            death, physical or mental incapacity or incarceration of a  
            parent; the unemployment of a parent or parents; or the  
            continued absence of a parent from the home due to divorce,  
            separation, desertion, or any other reason, except occasional  
            absence due solely to the parent's active duty with the United  
            States armed services.  (WIC Section 11250)


          5)Establishes a 48-month lifetime limit of CalWORKs benefits for  
            eligible adults, including 24 months during which a recipient  
            must meet federal work requirements in order to retain  
            eligibility.  (WIC Sections 11454 and 11322.85)


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          committee, ongoing increase in CalWORKs grant, services, and  
          administrative costs in the range of $1million to $2 million  
          (General Fund) to the extent this bill results in additional  
          eligible cases and fewer cases discontinued from the CalWORKs  
          program.  This will be partially offset to the extent the newly  
          eligible cases will no longer receive a CalFresh stipend available  
          only to non-assistance households.


          COMMENTS:


          CalWORKs:  The CalWORKs program provides monthly income assistance  
          and employment-related services aimed at moving children out of  
          poverty and helping families meet basic needs.  Federal funding  
          for CalWORKs comes from the TANF block grant.  The average 2015 to  
          2016 monthly cash grant for a family of three on CalWORKs (one  
          parent and two children) is $506.55, and the maximum monthly grant  
          amount for a family of three, if the family has no other income  








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          and lives in a high-cost county, is $704.  According to recent  
          data from the California Department of Social Services, over  
          540,000 families rely on CalWORKs, including over one million  
          children.  Nearly 80% of the children are under age twelve and  
          almost 40% are under age five.


          Maximum grant amounts in high-cost counties of $704 per month for  
          a family of three with no other income means $23.46 per day, per  
          family, or $7.82 per family member, per day to meet basic needs,  
          including rent, clothing, utility bills, food, and anything else a  
          family needs to ensure children can be cared for at home and  
          safely remain with their families.  This grant amount puts the  
          annual household income at $8,448 per year, or 42% of poverty.   
          Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2015 show that 100% of poverty for  
          a family of three is $20,090 per year. 


          Welfare-to-Work requirements:  Welfare-to-work activities within  
          the CalWORKs program include public or private sector subsidized  
          or unsubsidized employment; on-the-job training; community  
          service; secondary school, adult basic education and vocational  
          education and training when the education is needed for the  
          recipient to become employed; specific mental health, substance  
          abuse, or domestic violence services if they are necessary to  
          obtain or retain employment; and a number of other activities  
          necessary to assist a recipient in obtaining unsubsidized  
          employment.  


          Unless they are exempt, single parent adults must participate for  
          at least 30 hours per week in welfare-to-work activities, whereas  
          the minimum participation requirement for two-parent families is  
          35 hours per week.  After receiving aid for up to a maximum of 24  
          months, adults without an exemption must work in unsubsidized  
          employment or participate in community services activities for the  
          minimum number of hours listed above.  If a CalWORKs recipient who  
          is not exempt from participation does not meet his or her  
          welfare-to-work requirements, the recipient is sanctioned for  








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          noncompliance, and that recipient's portion of the family's grant  
          subtracted from the amount provided to the family to meet basic  
          needs.


          Need for this bill:  The Personal Responsibility and Work  
          Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which was the  
          final piece of federal welfare reform legislation, repealed the  
          Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and created  
          the block-granted TANF program.  The new approach emphasized  
          integrating parents into the workforce, and one of the resulting  
          four core purposes of the federal TANF program is to encourage the  
          formation and maintenance of two-parent families.  However,  
          current state law prevents a poor two-parent family from receiving  
          aid if the primary wage earner has worked more than 100 hours in a  
          month.  This policy mirrors AFDC provisions included in the Code  
          of Federal Regulations, which haven't been updated since before  
          PRWORA was implemented, making California one of only eight states  
          that still implements this standard.  


          While the 100-hour policy is based on the assumption that an  
          average of 25 hours of work per week can generate enough income  
          for a parent to provide for his or her family and set the family's  
          income above the eligibility threshold for CalWORKs, this is often  
          not the case.  In direct conflict with the TANF goal of two-parent  
          family maintenance, this policy encourages parents to split, as  
          the same family would be eligible for aid if the primary wage  
          earner left the home.  This bill repeals the 100-hour standard  
          while maintaining all resource and income eligibility  
          requirements, all of which reveal a CalWORKs applicant family's  
          need for assistance.


          According to the author, "The CalWORKs Family Unity Act of 2015 is  
          a modest effort to strengthen the safety net for low-income  
          working families of California, who today endure the highest  
          poverty rate in the Nation.  By improving economic opportunities  
          for low-income two-parent homes, we will also strengthen family  








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          unit. "




          Analysis Prepared by:                                               
                          Myesha Jackson / HUM. S. / (916) 319-2089  FN:  
          0000602