California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 743


Introduced by Assembly Member Eggman

February 25, 2015


An act to amend Sections 11250.8, 11322.87, 11325.22, 11325.23, and 11327.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 743, as introduced, Eggman. CalWORKs: eligibility: work activities.

Existing law establishes the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, under which each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families using federal, state, and county funds. Existing law imposes limits on the amount of income and personal and real property an individual or family may possess in order to be eligible for CalWORKs aid.

This bill would exempt from consideration as income, for purposes of determining eligibility or available income, education, training, vocation, or rehabilitation benefits provided through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for active duty personnel, veterans, and dependents, or spouses of those who died in the line of duty or have a service connected disability. By expanding eligibility for CalWORKs, which is administered by counties, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law requires a recipient of CalWORKs to participate in welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility. Under existing law, a person may meet his or her welfare-to-work requirements by taking part in a self-initiated education or training program if he or she is making satisfactory progress in that program, the county determines that continuing in the program is likely to lead to self-supporting employment for that recipient, and the welfare-to-work plan reflects that determination. Existing law requires the county and local educational agencies to annually agree to a list of educational programs that lead to employment.

Existing law limits the time period in which a participant may engage in certain educational activities, in satisfaction of welfare-to-work requirements, to 24 cumulative months during a participant’s lifetime, and requires the participant to engage in federally defined work activities after that period expires. Existing law requires that necessary supportive services be available to every participant in order to participate in the program activity to which he or she is assigned.

This bill would exempt a person who is participating in a self-initiated program from the requirement that the person participate in job search activities or enter into a welfare-to-work plan. The bill would also exempt these persons from the 24-month time limitation described above and would make related, conforming changes. The bill would authorize study time, as defined by the educational institution, to be counted toward the participant’s minimum work participation hours requirements. The bill would require that supportive services be provided to a person participating in a self-initiated program until an assessment has been completed, if an assessment is found to be necessary. The bill would require that childcare supportive services be continued during a period in which a participant’s hours of participation in educational or vocational training are reduced due to a break in instruction at the institution lasting no more than 6 weeks, if the person is eligible to continue in the educational or vocational program following the break in instruction. The bill would also require the county to annually approve a list of programs identified by the county or local educational agencies or providers as leading to employment. By imposing these duties on counties, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law continuously appropriates moneys from the General Fund to defray a portion of county costs under the CalWORKs program.

This bill would instead provide that the continuous appropriation would not be made for purposes of implementing the bill.

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:

P3    1

SECTION 1.  

This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the
2CalWORKs Self-Sufficiency through Education and GI Bill
3Exemption Act of 2015.

4

SEC. 2.  

Section 11250.8 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
5 is amended to read:

6

11250.8.  

begin insert(a)end insertbegin insertend insert If an applicant for, or recipient of, benefits
7pursuant to this chapter receives one or more educational loans or
8grants, for purposes of determining availability of income, that
9person’s educational expenses shall not be applied to any
10educational loans or grantsbegin delete which,end deletebegin insert that,end insert under federal or state law,
11are totally exempt from consideration as income for purposes of
12determining eligibility for benefits under this chapter.

begin insert

13(b) Education, training, vocation, or rehabilitation benefits,
14and related allowances provided through the United States
15Department of Veterans Affairs for active duty personnel, veterans,
16and dependents, or spouses of those who died in the line of duty
17or have a service connected disability, shall be totally exempt from
18consideration as income for purposes of determining eligibility or
19available income for purposes of this chapter.

end insert
20

SEC. 3.  

Section 11322.87 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
21 is amended to read:

22

11322.87.  

(a) A recipient subject to the 24-month time
23limitation described in Section 11322.85 may request an extension
24in accordance with Section 11322.86 and may present evidence
25to the county that he or she meets any of the following
26circumstances:

27(1) The recipient is likely to obtain employment within six
28months.

29(2) The recipient has encountered unique labor market barriers
30temporarily preventing employment, and therefore needs additional
31time to obtain employment.

P4    1(3) The recipient has achieved satisfactory progress in an
2educational or treatment program, including adult basicbegin delete education,end delete
3begin insert education orend insert vocational education,begin delete or a self-initiated programend delete that
4has a known graduation, transfer, or completion date that would
5meaningfully increase the likelihood of his or her employment.

6(4) The recipient needs an additional period of time to complete
7a welfare-to-work activity specified in his or her welfare-to-work
8case plan due to a diagnosed learning or other disability, so as to
9meaningfully increase the likelihood of his or her employment.

10(5) The recipient has submitted an application to receive SSI
11disability benefits, and a hearing date has been established.

12(6) Other circumstances as determined by the department.

13(b) (1) Except for an extension requested in accordance with
14paragraph (5) of subdivision (a), and subject to the limitation
15described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 11322.86,
16a county shall grant an extension to a recipient who presents
17evidence in accordance with subdivision (a) unless the county
18determines that the evidence presented does not support the
19existence of the circumstances described in subdivision (a).

20(2) An extension requested in accordance with paragraph (5)
21of subdivision (a) shall be granted if evidence that a hearing date
22has been established is provided to the county.

23(3) At any hearing disputing a county’s denial of an extension
24in accordance with paragraph (1), the county shall have the burden
25of proof to establish that an extension was not justified unless the
26county demonstrates that the denial was due to the unavailability
27of an extension in accordance with the 20-percent limitation
28described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 11322.86.

29(c) If, as a result of information already available to a county,
30including the recipient’s welfare-to-work plan and verifications
31of participation, the county identifies that a recipient meets a
32circumstance described in subdivision (a), and subject to the
33limitation described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section
3411322.86, a county may grant an extension of the 24-month time
35limitation described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section
3611322.85 to the recipient.

37(d) An extension granted in accordance with subdivision (b) or
38(c) shall be granted for an initial period of up to six months and
39shall be reevaluated by the county at least every six months.

begin delete

40(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.

end delete
P5    1

SEC. 4.  

Section 11325.22 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
2 is amended to read:

3

11325.22.  

(a) (1) Following the appraisal required by Section
411325.2, all participants except those described in paragraph (4)
5of this subdivisionbegin delete orend deletebegin insert,end insert those who are participating in other activities
6or assessment pursuant to Section 11320.1,begin insert or those who are
7participating in a self-initiated program pursuant to Section
811325.23,end insert
shall be assigned to participate for a period of up to four
9consecutive weeks in job search activities. These activities may
10include the use of job clubs to identify the participant’s
11 qualifications. The county shall consider the skills and interests
12of the participants in developing a job search strategy. The period
13of job search activities may be shortened if the participant and the
14county agree that further activities would not be beneficial. Job
15search activities may be shortened for a recipient if the county
16determines that the recipient will not benefit because he or she
17may suffer from an emotional or mental disability that will limit
18or preclude the recipient’s participation under this article.

19(2) Nothing in this section shall require participation in job
20search activities, the schedule for which interferes with
21unsubsidized employment or participation pursuant to Section
2211325.23.

23(3) Job search activities may be required in excess of the limits
24specified in paragraph (1) on the basis of a review by the county
25of the recipient’s performance during job search to determine
26whether extending the job search period would result in
27unsubsidized employment.

28(4) A person subject to Article 3.5 (commencing with Section
2911331) or subdivision (d) of Section 11320.3 shall not be required,
30but may be permitted, to participate in job search activities as his
31or her first program assignment following appraisal upon earning
32a high school diploma or its equivalent, if she or he has not already
33taken the option to complete these activities as the first program
34assignment following appraisal.

35(b) (1) Upon the completion of job search activities, or a
36determination that those activities are not required, the participant
37shall be assigned to one or more of the activities described in
38Section 11322.6 as needed to attain employment.

39(2) (A) The assignment to one or more of the program activities
40as required in paragraph (1) of this subdivision shall be based on
P6    1the welfare-to-work plan developed pursuant to an assessment as
2described in Section 11325.4. The plan shall be based, at a
3minimum, on consideration of the individual’s existing education
4level, employment experience and relevant employment skills,
5available program resources, and local labor market opportunities.

6(B) An assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4 shall be
7performed upon completion of job search activities or at such time
8as it is determined that job search will not be beneficial.

9(C) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), an assessment
10shall not be required to develop a welfare-to-work plan for a person
11who is participating in an approved self-initiated program pursuant
12to Section 11325.23 unless the county determines that an
13 assessment is necessary to meet the hours specified in Section
1411325.23.begin insert If an assessment is determined to be necessary, the
15county shall schedule the assessment at a time that does not
16interfere in any way with the person’s self-initiated program,
17employment, or childcare obligations, and the person shall
18continue to receive supportive services until this assessment has
19been completed.end insert

20(3) A participant who lacks basic literacy or mathematics skills,
21a high school diploma or general educational development
22certificate, or English language skills, shall be assigned to
23participate in adult basic education as described in subdivision (k)
24of Section 11322.6, as appropriate and necessary for removal of
25the individual’s barriers to employment.

26(4) Participation in activities assigned pursuant to this section
27may be sequential or concurrent. The county may require
28concurrent participation in the assigned activities if it is appropriate
29to the participant’s abilities, consistent with the participant’s
30welfare-to-work plan, and the activities can be concurrently
31scheduled.

32(5) The participant has 30 days from the beginning of the initial
33training or education assignment in which to request a change or
34reassignment to another component. The county shall grant the
35participant’s request for reassignment if another assignment is
36available that is consistent with the participant’s welfare-to-work
37plan and the county determines the other assignment will readily
38lead to employment. This grace period shall be available only once
39to each participant.

P7    1(c) Any assignment or change in assignment to a program
2activity pursuant to this section shall be included in the
3 welfare-to-work plan, or an amendment to the plan, as required in
4Section 11325.21.

5(d) A participant who has not obtained unsubsidized employment
6upon completion of the activities in a welfare-to-work plan
7developed pursuant to the job search activities required by
8subdivision (a) and an assessment required by subdivision (b) shall
9be referred to reappraisal as described in Section 11326.

10(e) The criteria for successful completion of an assigned
11education or training activity shall include regular attendance,
12satisfactory progressbegin insert, as defined by the institutionend insert, and completion
13of the assignment. A person who fails or refuses to comply with
14program requirements for participation in the activities assigned
15pursuant to this section shall be subject to Sections 11327.4 and
16 11327.5.

17(f) Except as provided in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), this
18section shall not apply to individuals subject to Article 3.5
19(commencing with Section 11331) during the time that article is
20operative.

begin delete

21(g) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.

end delete
22

SEC. 5.  

Section 11325.23 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
23 is amended to read:

24

11325.23.  

(a) begin delete(1)end deletebegin deleteend deleteExcept as provided in paragraph (2),begin delete any
25student who, at the time he or sheend delete
begin insert a person whoend insert is required tobegin insert, or
26volunteers to,end insert
participate under this articlebegin delete pursuant to Section
2711320.3,end delete
begin insert and whoend insert is enrolled in any undergraduate degree or
28certificate program that leads to employment may continue in that
29program if he or she is making satisfactory progress in that
30program,begin insert as defined by the educational institution, andend insert the county
31determines that continuing in the program is likely to lead to
32self-supporting employment for thatbegin delete recipient, and the
33welfare-to-work plan reflects that determination.end delete
begin insert person.end insert

begin insert

34(1) A person enrolled in a postsecondary school pursuant to
35this section shall be exempt from the job club and job search
36requirements of Section 11325.22.

end insert

37(2) Any individual who possesses a baccalaureate degree shall
38not be eligible to participate under this section unless the individual
39is pursuing a California regular classroom teaching credential in
P8    1a college or university with an approved teacher credential
2preparation program.

3(3) (A) Subject to the limitation provided in subdivision (f), a
4program shall be determined to lead to employment if it is on a
5list of programs that the county welfare departmentbegin delete andend deletebegin insert orend insert local
6educationbegin delete agencies or providers agree leadend deletebegin insert agency or provider has
7identified as leadingend insert
to employment. The list shall bebegin delete agreed toend delete
8begin insert approved by the countyend insert annually, with the first list completed no
9later than January 31, 1998. By January 1, 2000, all educational
10providers shall report data regarding programs on the list for the
11purposes of the report card established under Section 15037.1 of
12the Unemployment Insurance Code for the programs to remain on
13the list.

14(B) For students not in a program on the list prepared under
15subparagraph (A), the county shall determine if the program leads
16to employment. The recipient shall be allowed to continue in the
17program if the recipient demonstrates to the county that the
18program will lead to self-supporting employment for that recipient
19and the documentation is included in the welfare-to-work plan.

20(C) If participation in educational or vocational training, as
21determined by the number of hours required for classroom,
22laboratory,begin delete orend delete internship activities,begin insert or study time, as defined by the
23educational institution the person is attending,end insert
is not at least 30
24hours, or if subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a)
25of Section 11322.8 applies, 20 hours, the county shall require
26concurrent participation in work activities pursuant to subdivisions
27(a) to (j), inclusive, of Section 11322.6 and Section 11325.22.

28(b) Participation in the self-initiated education or vocational
29training programbegin delete shallend deletebegin insert mayend insert be reflected in the welfare-to-work
30plan required by Section 11325.21.begin delete Theend deletebegin insert If aend insert welfare-to-work plan
31begin insert is developed, itend insert shall provide that whenever an individual ceases
32to participate in, refuses to attend regularly, or does not maintain
33satisfactory progress in the self-initiated program, the individual
34shall participate under this article in accordance with Section
3511325.22.

36(c) Any person whose previously approved self-initiated
37education or training program is interrupted for reasons that meet
38the good cause criteria specified in subdivision (f) of Section
3911320.3 may resume participation in the same program if the
40participant maintained good standing in the program while
P9    1participating and the self-initiated program continues to meet the
2approval criteria.

3(d) Supportive services reimbursement shall be provided for
4any participant in a self-initiated training or education program
5approved under this subdivision. begin delete This reimbursement shall be
6provided if no other source of funding for those costs is available.end delete

7 Any offset to supportive services payments shall be made in
8accordance with subdivision (e) of Section 11323.4.begin insert If hours of
9participation in educational or vocational training are reduced
10due to a break in instruction at the institution lasting no more than
11six weeks and the person is eligible to continue in the educational
12or vocational program following the break in instruction, child
13care supportive services shall be continued during the break
14period.end insert

15(e) Any student who, at the time he or she is required to
16participate under this article pursuant to Section 11320.3, has been
17enrolled and is making satisfactory progress in a degree or
18certificate program, but does not meet the criteria set forth in
19subdivision (a), shall have until the beginning of the next
20educational semester or quarter break to continue his or her
21educational program if he or she continues to make satisfactory
22progress. At the time the educational break occurs, the individual
23is required to participate pursuant to Section 11320.1. A recipient
24not expected to complete the program by the next break may
25continue his or her education, provided he or she transfers at the
26end of the current quarter or semester to a program that qualifies
27under that subdivision, the county determines that participation is
28likely to lead to self-supporting employment of the recipient, and
29the welfare-to-work plan reflects that determination.

30(f) Any degree, certificate, or vocational program offered by a
31private postsecondary training provider shall not be approved under
32this section unless the program is either approved or exempted by
33the appropriate state regulatory agency and the program is in
34compliance with all other provisions of law.

begin insert

35(g) A person participating in a self-initiated education or
36training program pursuant to this section is not subject to the
37limitations on work activities described in Section 11322.85.

end insert
38

SEC. 6.  

Section 11327.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
39 is amended to read:

P10   1

11327.4.  

(a) (1) Whenever an individual has failed or refused
2to comply with program requirements without good cause in a
3program component to which he or she is assigned and refuses to
4agree to or fails, without good cause, to comply with a compliance
5plan agreed to between the county and the participant, the
6individual shall be subject to sanctions specified in Section
711327.5.

8(2) begin insert(A)end insertbegin insertend insert For the purposes of this article, the phrase “failed or
9refused to comply with program requirements” shall be limited to:
10failing or refusing to sign a welfare-to-work plan,begin insert or toend insert participate
11or provide required proof of satisfactory progress in any assigned
12program activity, pursuant to this article, begin delete including self-initiated
13programs described in Section 11325.23end delete
or accept employment;
14terminating employment; or reducing earnings.

begin insert

15(B) An individual participating in a self-initiated program shall
16not be subject to sanctions on the basis of failure or refusal to sign
17a welfare-to-work plan if the individual is making satisfactory
18progress in that program, as described in subdivision (a) of Section
1911325.23.

end insert

20(b) (1) Upon determination that an individual has failed or
21refused to comply with program requirements, the county shall
22issue a notice of action effective no earlier than 30 calendar days
23from the date of issuance informing the individual that a sanction
24will be imposed if the individual fails to either attend an
25appointment scheduled by the county to be held within 20 calendar
26days of the notice, or contact the county by phone, within 20
27calendar days of the notice, and fails to do either of the following:

28(A) Provide information to the county that he or she had good
29cause for the refusal or failure that has led the county to make a
30finding of good cause for nonparticipation.

31(B) Agree to a compliance plan to correct the failure or refusal
32to comply.

33(2) The county shall schedule a time during which each
34individual who has failed or refused to comply with program
35requirements has an opportunity to demonstrate that he or she had
36good cause for that refusal or failure. The county shall schedule
37an appointment within 20 calendar days of the notice of action.
38The individual shall be allowed to reschedule the cause
39determination appointment once within the 20-calendar-day period.

P11   1(3) The written notice of action sent by the county shall do all
2of the following:

3(A) Inform the individual of the specific act or acts that have
4caused the individual to be out of compliance with participation
5requirements.

6(B) Inform the individual of his or her right to assert good cause
7for his or her refusal or failure.

8(C) Inform the individual of the date and time of the scheduled
9appointment.

10(D) Provide a general definition of good cause and examples
11of reasons that constitute good cause for not participating in the
12program.

13(E) Inform the individual of the right to contact the county
14welfare department by telephone to establish good cause over the
15telephone in lieu of attending the appointment scheduled by the
16county.

17(F) Inform the individual of the right to reschedule the
18appointment once within the 20-calendar-day period.

19(G) Inform the individual that if good cause is not found, a
20compliance plan will be developed and the individual will be
21expected to agree to the plan or face a sanction.

22(H) Inform the individual of the name, telephone number, and
23address of state and local legal aid and welfare rights organizations
24that may assist the individual with the good cause and compliance
25plan process.

26(I) Describe the transportation and child care services that a
27person is entitled to, as needed in order to attend the appointment.

28(c) If the individual fails to attend the appointment, the county
29shall attempt to contact the individual by telephone at the time of
30or after the appointment in order to establish a finding of good
31cause or no good cause, and, if a finding of no good cause is made,
32develop a compliance plan to correct the instance of
33nonparticipation.

34(d) If the individual fails to attend the meeting and the county
35is not able to contact the individual in accordance with subdivision
36(c), and the individual fails to contact the county within the
3720-calendar-day period, a sanction shall be imposed in accordance
38with Section 11327.5.

39(e) If the individual attends the appointment or contacts the
40county by phone within the 20-calendar-day period and is either
P12   1found by the county to have had good cause for his or her refusal
2or failure, or agrees to a compliance plan to correct the failure or
3refusal, the county shall rescind the notice of action issued pursuant
4to subdivision (b). If the individual agrees to a compliance plan at
5the appointment, the individual shall be provided a copy of the
6plan. If the individual agrees to a compliance plan over the
7telephone, a copy of the plan shall be mailed to the client.

8(f) If the individual is found by the county to have had good
9cause for his or her refusal or failure, an instance of noncompliance
10shall not be considered to have occurred.

11(g) If the individual is found by the county not to have had good
12cause, but agrees to a compliance plan and then fulfills the terms
13of the compliance plan, an instance of noncompliance shall not be
14considered to have occurred.

15(h) If the individual enters into a written compliance plan, but
16does not fulfill the terms of the plan, and the county determines,
17based on available information, that the individual did not have
18good cause for failure to meet the terms of the plan, the county
19shall send a notice of action to impose a sanction. The procedures
20specified in subdivision (b) shall not be applicable to a sanction
21imposed under this subdivision.

22

SEC. 7.  

No appropriation pursuant to Section 15200 of the
23Welfare and Institutions Code shall be made for purposes of
24implementing this act.

25

SEC. 8.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
26this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
27local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
28pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
294 of Title 2 of the Government Code.



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