BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó

          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                        AB 433|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |
          |(916) 651-1520    Fax: (916)      |                              |
          |327-4478                          |                              |

                                   THIRD READING 

          Bill No:  AB 433
          Author:   Chu (D)
          Amended:  3/26/15 in Assembly
          Vote:     21  

           SENATE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE:  5-0, 7/14/15
           AYES:  McGuire, Berryhill, Hancock, Liu, Nguyen

           AYES:  Lara, Bates, Beall, Hill, Leyva, Mendoza, Nielsen

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  74-0, 5/22/15 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Public social services:  CalWORKs

          SOURCE:    Western Center on Law and Poverty

          DIGEST:   This bill requires that CalWORKs benefits be continued  
          for a child who dies until the end of the month following the  
          death, and prohibits sanctions from being applied in that time  
          period for a grieving parent's failure to comply with program  
          requirements. This bill also requires a county to assist a  
          grieving parent in accessing appropriate services and to provide  
          information to the grieving parent about mental health services,  
          as specified.

          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, administers TANF funds through the CalWORKs  


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            program (program). (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq., WIC 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 percent of the federal  
            poverty level (FPL). (WIC 11450, 11150 et seq.)

          3)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 11454, 11322.85)

          4)Requires all individuals over 16 years of age, unless they are  
            otherwise exempt, to participate in welfare-to-work activities  
            as a condition of eligibility for CalWORKs. (WIC 11320.3,  

          5)Establishes the number of weekly hours of welfare-to-work  
            participation necessary to remain eligible for aid, including  
            requirements for an unemployed parent in a two-parent  
            assistance unit, as specified. (WIC 11322.8) 

          6)Subjects an individual receiving CalWORKs benefits to a  
            financial sanction, as specified, when he or she does not meet  
            the program requirements without good cause, and establishes a  
            corrective action process, which includes communication  
            between the county and the individual. (WIC 11327.4, 11327.5)

          7)Requires a county to excuse a CalWORKs recipient from  
            welfare-to-work participation for good cause when the county  
            has determined the recipient has a condition or is faced with  
            a circumstance that temporarily prevents or significantly  
            impairs the recipient's ability to be regularly employed or to  
            participate in welfare-to-work activities. Requires a county  
            welfare department to review a good cause determination to  
            establish its continuing appropriateness, as specified, no  
            less than every three months, and requires a recipient that  
            has been granted good cause to provide information to the  
            county, including written documentation, as required, to  
            complete the review. (WIC 11320.3(f))


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          8)Requires a family's aid be calculated based on the number of  
            needy of family members, as specified, including aid for a  
            pregnant, childless woman. (WIC 11450 et seq.)

          This bill:

          1)Prohibits the levying of sanctions for a grieving parent's  
            failure or refusal to comply with the program requirements  
            during the month in which a child in the assistance unit died,  
            or the following month.

          2)Requires a county upon receiving notification of the death of  
            a child in a CalWORKs assistance unit to do the following: 

             a)   Assist a grieving parent in accessing services for which  
               the parent may be eligible. These services may include, but  
               are not limited to, nutrition supplement programs, housing  
               assistance, and other cash aid programs.

             b)   Provide information to the grieving parent about mental  
               health services, including, but not limited to, information  
               about, and a referral to, services provided by the county  
               human services agency, if appropriate.

          3)Defines "grieving parent" to mean an aided adult who is  
            required to participate in welfare-to-work activities and who  
            experiences the death of a child in his or her assistance  

          4)Requires that, for purposes of determining a family's MAP, the  
            number of needy persons in the same family shall not be  
            decreased because of the death of a child in the assistance  
            unit for the month in which the death occurred, or the  
            following month.

          5)Requires that any aid paid to a family experiencing a death of  
            a child shall not be deemed an overpayment unless the county  
            determines, as specified, that the assistance unit would have  
            been subject to overpayment recovery, and the county would  
            have sought recovery, even if the child had not died.

          6)Requires the state to reimburse local agencies if the  


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            Commission on State Mandates determines this bill contains  
            state-mandated costs, as defined.

          TANF and CalWORKs. California has the highest poverty rate in  
          the nation - just under one-quarter of residents are living at  
          or below FPL. These families earn no more than $20,090 per year  
          for a family of three. One of California's most essential  
          anti-poverty strategies is the CalWORKs program, which provided  
          cash assistance to approximately 540,000 families in 2014,  
          including more than one million children. Nearly 80 percent of  
          the children are under age 12 and almost 40 percent are under  
          age five. Federal funding for CalWORKs comes from the TANF block  

          A grant to a family of three in a high-cost California county is  
          $704 per month, or $8,448 per year, which is approximately 42  
          percent of FPL. This grant translates to $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. 

          In 1989, a similar CalWORKs grant was worth about 81 percent of  
          FPL, and 55 percent in 1997. Part of the reason for this decline  
          has been a series of changes over the past five years including  
          significant grant cuts, the elimination of a Cost of Living  
          Adjustment, and a major restructuring of the welfare-to-work  
          activities, requirements and time limits. At the same time the  
          value of the grant has decreased, the program has changed adult  
          eligibility from a 60-month lifetime limit to a 48-month limit,  
          with strict requirements on work participation to remain in the  
          program after 24 months.

          Assistance calculation. Benefits for the CalWORKs program are  
          established in statute, and calculated based on the number of  
          needy family members, special needs of any family members,  
          income and assets. Statute requires that benefits be paid to a  
          pregnant woman, who qualifies for aid and prohibits benefits be  
          paid for a child who was born within 10 months of a family's  
          commencement of benefits, per the Maximum Family Grant rule.


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          Sanctions and good cause exemptions. Sanctions can be imposed if  
          a participant fails or refuses to comply with a CalWORKs  
          requirement, to agree to a welfare-to-work plan, show proof of  
          satisfactory progress in an agreed-upon activity, or to quit or  
          refuse a job without a good reason for doing so. If efforts at  
          conciliation are unsuccessful, one or both parents can be  
          excluded from the assistance budget for a specified time.

          Counties are required to excuse CalWORKs recipients from  
          participation in a welfare-to-work activity if the county  
          determines that a condition or other circumstance exists that  
          temporarily prevents or significantly impairs a recipient's  
          ability to be regularly employed or to participate in  
          welfare-to-work activities. Counties may grant good cause  
          exemption for a number of reasons, including a lack of necessary  
          supportive services, a lack of access to child care or that the  
          recipient is a victim of domestic violence. Because statute does  
          not limit the reasons for an exemption, counties could grant a  
          good cause exemption for a parent who has suffered the loss of a  

          Child deaths. The California Department of Social Services does  
          not have data on the number of children who die each year while  
          participating in the CalWORKs program. However, the Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee projected an estimate based on  
          California's child mortality rate of 14/100,000, and studies  
          that indicate that low-income children die at higher rates than  
          other children. Assuming a mortality rate of up to twice the  
          state rate, up to 280 children would die each year. 

          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, this bill will  
          result in ongoing increase in CalWORKs grant costs, potentially  
          in the range of $60,000 to $110,000 (General Fund) annually, to  
          provide grant aid to affected families in the month of the  
          child's death and one month thereafter, that otherwise would not  
          have been provided and/or recovered through the overpayment  
          collection process.  There are likely minor, if any, increased  
          CalWORKs grant costs (General Fund) due to the prohibition on  


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          sanctioning a grieving parent in the month of the child's death  
          and the month thereafter. As counties can currently provide a  
          good cause exemption to avoid imposing sanctions, it is  
          estimated that sanctions occur infrequently under existing law.  
          This bill also will result in one-time minor, absorbable costs  
          (General Fund) associated with any automation changes necessary  
          to effectuate the provisions of this bill, and potentially state  
          reimbursable, but likely minor, administration and services  
          costs (General Fund) to counties associated with assisting these  
          families as prescribed in this bill.

          SUPPORT:   (Verified  8/28/15)

          Western Center on Law and Poverty (source) 

          California Alternative Payment Program Association
          California Black Health Network
          California Catholic Conference of Bishops
          California Communities United
          California Immigrant Policy Center
          Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations
          Courage Campaign 
          Friends Committee on Legislation in California 
          March of Dimes Foundation
          National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter
          St. Anthony Foundation

          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/28/15)

          Department of Finance

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:     The bill's sponsor, Western Center on  
          Law and Poverty, writes in support that "when a parent lacks  
          time to grieve or to care for the deceased child's sibling(s),  


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          it can be destabilizing and lead to long-term mental health and  
          behavioral health challenges for those children. ? There may be  
          nothing more difficult than losing a child. AB 433 aims to make  
          CalWORKs more responsive, accommodating and accountable to  
          families experiencing the profound grief of having lost a child  
          by automatically exempting the adult in the household from the  
          work requirement for a short period and extending their CalWORKs  
          grant at the prior level for one month."

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:     The Department of Finance opposes  
          this bill because "it unnecessarily imposes a new state mandate  
          on counties. Counties currently have the ability to provide  
          CalWORKs recipients a good cause exemption from welfare-to-work  
          activities and information to various supportive services when a  
          child in an assistance unit dies. In addition, this bill results  
          in increased CalWORKs grant costs to provide families an  
          additional month of benefits in the event the household  
          experiences a child death. Because the budget fully allocates  
          available federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block  
          grant funds, all costs resulting from this bill will be borne by  
          the General Fund."

          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  74-0, 5/22/15
          AYES:  Achadjian, Travis Allen, Baker, Bigelow, Bloom, Bonilla,  
            Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos, Chang, Chau,  
            Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh, Dahle, Daly,  
            Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Beth Gaines, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gonzalez,  
            Gordon, Gray, Grove, Hadley, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden,  
            Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Melendez, Mullin,  
            Nazarian, Obernolte, Patterson, Perea, Quirk, Rendon,  
            Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark  
            Stone, Thurmond, Ting, Wagner, Wilk, Williams, Wood, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Alejo, Jones, O'Donnell, Olsen, Waldron,  

          Prepared by:Mareva Brown / HUMAN S. / (916) 651-1524
          8/30/15 19:42:12


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