Amended in Senate July 16, 2015

Amended in Assembly June 1, 2015

Amended in Assembly April 9, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 743


Introduced by Assembly Member Eggman

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Cristina Garcia and Gonzalez)

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 amended, 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 or property, for purposes of determining eligibility or available income or property, education, training, vocation, or rehabilitation benefits provided through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for active dutybegin delete personnel,end deletebegin insert personnel orend insert veterans, andbegin delete dependents,end deletebegin insert dependentsend insert or spouses of those whobegin insert eitherend insert 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 welfare-to-work 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 education and training program from the requirement that the person participate in job search activities. The bill would also exempt hours of participation in a self-initiated program 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 requirebegin delete that child careend deletebegin insert that,end insert for the purpose of determining eligibility forbegin insert child careend insert supportive services, a schedule approved by a college counselor be deemed sufficient verification of necessary child care. 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.  

(a) 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 grants that, under federal or state law, are
11totally exempt from consideration as income for purposes of
12determining eligibility for benefits under this chapter.

13(b) Education, training, vocation, or rehabilitation benefits, and
14related allowances provided through the United States Department
15of Veterans Affairs for active dutybegin delete personnel,end deletebegin insert personnel orend insert
16 veterans, andbegin delete dependents,end deletebegin insert dependentsend insert or spouses of those who
17begin insert eitherend insert died in the line of duty or have a service-connected disability,
18shall be totally exempt from consideration as income or property
19for purposes of determining eligibility or available income or
20property for purposes of this chapter.

21

SEC. 3.  

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

23

11322.87.  

(a) A recipient subject to the 24-month time
24limitation described in Section 11322.85 may request an extension
25in accordance with Section 11322.86 and may present evidence
P4    1to the county that he or she meets any of the following
2circumstances:

3(1) The recipient is likely to obtain employment within six
4months.

5(2) The recipient has encountered unique labor market barriers
6temporarily preventing employment, and therefore needs additional
7time to obtain employment.

8(3) The recipient has achieved satisfactory progress in an
9educational or treatment program, including adult basic education
10or vocational education, that has a known graduation, transfer, or
11completion date that would meaningfully increase the likelihood
12of his or her employment.

13(4) The recipient needs an additional period of time to complete
14a welfare-to-work activity specified in his or her welfare-to-work
15case plan due to a diagnosed learning or other disability, so as to
16meaningfully increase the likelihood of his or her employment.

17(5) The recipient has submitted an application to receive SSI
18disability benefits, and a hearing date has been established.

19(6) Other circumstances as determined by the department.

20(b) (1) Except for an extension requested in accordance with
21paragraph (5) of subdivision (a), and subject to the limitation
22described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 11322.86,
23a county shall grant an extension to a recipient who presents
24evidence in accordance with subdivision (a) unless the county
25determines that the evidence presented does not support the
26existence of the circumstances described in subdivision (a).

27(2) An extension requested in accordance with paragraph (5)
28of subdivision (a) shall be granted if evidence that a hearing date
29has been established is provided to the county.

30(3) At any hearing disputing a county’s denial of an extension
31in accordance with paragraph (1), the county shall have the burden
32of proof to establish that an extension was not justified unless the
33county demonstrates that the denial was due to the unavailability
34of an extension in accordance with the 20-percent limitation
35described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 11322.86.

36(c) If, as a result of information already available to a county,
37including the recipient’s welfare-to-work plan and verifications
38of participation, the county identifies that a recipient meets a
39circumstance described in subdivision (a), and subject to the
40limitation described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section
P5    111322.86, a county may grant an extension of the 24-month time
2limitation described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section
311322.85 to the recipient.

4(d) An extension granted in accordance with subdivision (b) or
5(c) shall be granted for an initial period of up to six months and
6shall be reevaluated by the county at least every six months.

7

SEC. 4.  

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

9

11325.22.  

(a) (1) Following the appraisal required by Section
1011325.2, all participants except those described in paragraph (4)
11of this subdivision, those who are participating in other activities
12or assessment pursuant to Section 11320.1, or those who are
13participating in a self-initiated program pursuant to Section
1411325.23, shall be assigned to participate for a period of up to four
15consecutive weeks in job search activities. These activities may
16include the use of job clubs to identify the participant’s
17 qualifications. The county shall consider the skills and interests
18of the participants in developing a job search strategy. The period
19of job search activities may be shortened if the participant and the
20county agree that further activities would not be beneficial. Job
21search activities may be shortened for a recipient if the county
22determines that the recipient will not benefit because he or she
23may suffer from an emotional or mental disability that will limit
24or preclude the recipient’s participation under this article.

25(2) Nothing in this section shall require participation in job
26search activities, the schedule for which interferes with
27unsubsidized employment or participation pursuant to Section
2811325.23.

29(3) Job search activities may be required in excess of the limits
30specified in paragraph (1) on the basis of a review by the county
31of the recipient’s performance during job search activities to
32determine whether extending the job search period would result
33in unsubsidized employment.

34(4) A person subject to Article 3.5 (commencing with Section
3511331) or subdivision (d) of Section 11320.3 shall not be required,
36but may be permitted, to participate in job search activities as his
37or her first program assignment following appraisal upon earning
38a high school diploma or its equivalent, if she or he has not already
39taken the option to complete these activities as the first program
40assignment following appraisal.

P6    1(b) (1) Upon the completion of job search activities, or a
2determination that those activities are not required, the participant
3shall be assigned to one or more of the activities described in
4Section 11322.6 as needed to attain employment.

5(2) (A) The assignment to one or more of the program activities
6as required in paragraph (1) of this subdivision shall be based on
7the welfare-to-work plan developed pursuant to an assessment as
8described in Section 11325.4. The plan shall be based, at a
9minimum, on consideration of the individual’s existing education
10level, employment experience and relevant employment skills,
11available program resources, and local labor market opportunities.

12(B) An assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4 shall be
13performed upon completion of job search activities or at such time
14as it is determined that job search will not be beneficial.

15(C) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), an assessment
16shall not be required to develop a welfare-to-work plan for a person
17who is participating in an approved self-initiated program pursuant
18to Section 11325.23 unless the county determines that an
19 assessment is necessary to meet the hours specified in Section
2011325.23. If an assessment is determined to be necessary, the
21county shall schedule the assessment at a time that does not
22interfere in any way with the person’s self-initiated program,
23employment, or child care obligations, and the person shall
24continue to receive supportive services until this assessment has
25been completed.

26(3) A participant who lacks basic literacy or mathematics skills,
27a high school diploma or general educational development
28certificate, or English language skills, shall be assigned to
29participate in adult basic education as described in subdivision (k)
30of Section 11322.6, as appropriate and necessary for removal of
31the individual’s barriers to employment.

32(4) Participation in activities assigned pursuant to this section
33may be sequential or concurrent. The county may require
34concurrent participation in the assigned activities if it is appropriate
35to the participant’s abilities, consistent with the participant’s
36welfare-to-work plan, and the activities can be concurrently
37scheduled.

38(5) The participant has 30 days from the beginning of the initial
39training or education assignment in which to request a change or
40reassignment to another component. The county shall grant the
P7    1participant’s request for reassignment if another assignment is
2available that is consistent with the participant’s welfare-to-work
3plan and the county determines the other assignment will readily
4lead to employment. This grace period shall be available only once
5to each participant.

6(c) Any assignment or change in assignment to a program
7activity pursuant to this section shall be included in the
8 welfare-to-work plan, or an amendment to the plan, as required in
9Section 11325.21.

10(d) A participant who has not obtained unsubsidized employment
11upon completion of the activities in a welfare-to-work plan
12developed pursuant to the job search activities required by
13subdivision (a) and an assessment required by subdivision (b) shall
14be referred to reappraisal as described in Section 11326.

15(e) The criteria for successful completion of an assigned
16education or training activity shall include regular attendance,
17satisfactory progress, as defined by the institution, and completion
18of the assignment. A person who fails or refuses to comply with
19program requirements for participation in the activities assigned
20pursuant to this section shall be subject to Sections 11327.4 and
21 11327.5.

22(f) Except as provided in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a), this
23section shall not apply to individuals subject to Article 3.5
24(commencing with Section 11331) during the time that article is
25operative.

26

SEC. 5.  

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

28

11325.23.  

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person
29who is required to, or volunteers to, participate under this article
30and who is enrolled in any undergraduate degree or certificate
31program that leads to employment may continue in that program
32if he or she is making satisfactory progress in that program, as
33defined by the educational institution, and the county determines
34that continuing in the program is likely to lead to self-supporting
35employment for that person.

36(1) A person enrolled in a postsecondary school pursuant to this
37section shall be exempt from the job club and job search
38requirements of Section 11325.22.

39(2) Any individual who possesses a baccalaureate degree shall
40not be eligible to participate under this section unless the individual
P8    1is pursuing a California regular classroom teaching credential in
2a college or university with an approved teacher credential
3preparation program.

4(3) (A) Subject to the limitation provided in subdivision (f), a
5program shall be determined to lead to employment if it is on a
6list of programs that the county welfare department or local
7education agency or provider has identified as leading to
8employment. The list shall be approved by the county annually,
9with the first list completed no later than January 31, 1998. By
10January 1, 2000, all educational providers shall report data
11regarding programs on the list for the purposes of the workforce
12metrics dashboard established under Section 14013 of the
13Unemployment Insurance Code for the programs to remain on the
14list.

15(B) For students not in a program on the list prepared under
16subparagraph (A), the county shall determine if the program leads
17to employment. The recipient shall be allowed to continue in the
18program if the recipient demonstrates to the county that the
19program will lead to self-supporting employment for that recipient
20and the documentation is included in the welfare-to-work plan.

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

29(b) Participation in the self-initiated education or vocational
30training program shall be reflected in the welfare-to-work plan
31required by Section 11325.21. When a welfare-to-work plan is
32developed, it shall provide that whenever an individual ceases to
33participate in, refuses to attend regularly, or does not maintain
34satisfactory progress in the self-initiated program, the individual
35shall participate under this article in accordance with Section
3611325.22.

37(c) Any person whose previously approved self-initiated
38education or training program is interrupted for reasons that meet
39the good cause criteria specified in subdivision (f) of Section
4011320.3 may resume participation in the same program if the
P9    1participant maintained good standing in the program while
2participating and the self-initiated program continues to meet the
3approval criteria.

4(d) Supportive services reimbursement shall be provided for
5any participant in a self-initiated training or education program
6approved under this subdivision. Any offset to supportive services
7 payments shall be made in accordance with subdivision (e) of
8Section 11323.4. For the purpose of determining eligibility for
9child care supportive services, a schedule approved by a college
10counselor shall be deemed sufficient verification of necessary child
11care.

12(e) Any student who, at the time he or she is required to
13participate under this article pursuant to Section 11320.3, has been
14enrolled and is making satisfactory progress in a degree or
15certificate program, but does not meet the criteria set forth in
16subdivision (a), shall have until the beginning of the next
17educational semester or quarter break to continue his or her
18educational program if he or she continues to make satisfactory
19progress. At the time the educational break occurs, the individual
20is required to participate pursuant to Section 11320.1. A recipient
21not expected to complete the program by the next break may
22continue his or her education, provided he or she transfers at the
23end of the current quarter or semester to a program that qualifies
24under that subdivision, the county determines that participation is
25likely to lead to self-supporting employment of the recipient, and
26the welfare-to-work plan reflects that determination.

27(f) Any degree, certificate, or vocational program offered by a
28private postsecondary training provider shall not be approved under
29this section unless the program is either approved or exempted by
30the appropriate state regulatory agency and the program is in
31compliance with all other provisions of law.

32(g) Hours of participation in a self-initiated education or training
33program pursuant to this section are not subject to the limitations
34on work activities described in Section 11322.85.

35

SEC. 6.  

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

37

11327.4.  

(a) (1) Whenever an individual has failed or refused
38to comply with program requirements without good cause in a
39program component to which he or she is assigned and refuses to
40agree to or fails, without good cause, to comply with a compliance
P10   1plan agreed to between the county and the participant, the
2individual shall be subject to sanctions specified in Section
311327.5.

4(2) (A) For the purposes of this article, the phrase “failed or
5refused to comply with program requirements” shall be limited to:
6failing or refusing to sign a welfare-to-work plan, or to participate
7or provide required proof of satisfactory progress in any assigned
8program activity, pursuant to this article, or accept employment;
9terminating employment; or reducing earnings.

10(B) An individual who is currently participating in a
11self-initiated program that is reflected in a welfare-to-work plan
12shall not be subject to sanctions on the basis of failure or refusal
13to sign a new welfare-to-work plan if the individual is making
14satisfactory progress in that program, as described in subdivision
15(a) of Section 11325.23.

16(b) (1) Upon determination that an individual has failed or
17refused to comply with program requirements, the county shall
18issue a notice of action effective no earlier than 30 calendar days
19from the date of issuance informing the individual that a sanction
20will be imposed if the individual fails to either attend an
21appointment scheduled by the county to be held within 20 calendar
22days of the notice, or contact the county by phone, within 20
23calendar days of the notice, and fails to do either of the following:

24(A) Provide information to the county that he or she had good
25cause for the refusal or failure that has led the county to make a
26finding of good cause for nonparticipation.

27(B) Agree to a compliance plan to correct the failure or refusal
28to comply.

29(2) The county shall schedule a time during which each
30individual who has failed or refused to comply with program
31requirements has an opportunity to demonstrate that he or she had
32good cause for that refusal or failure. The county shall schedule
33an appointment within 20 calendar days of the notice of action.
34The individual shall be allowed to reschedule the cause
35determination appointment once within the 20-calendar-day period.

36(3) The written notice of action sent by the county shall do all
37of the following:

38(A) Inform the individual of the specific act or acts that have
39caused the individual to be out of compliance with participation
40requirements.

P11   1(B) Inform the individual of his or her right to assert good cause
2for his or her refusal or failure.

3(C) Inform the individual of the date and time of the scheduled
4appointment.

5(D) Provide a general definition of good cause and examples
6of reasons that constitute good cause for not participating in the
7program.

8(E) Inform the individual of the right to contact the county
9welfare department by telephone to establish good cause over the
10telephone in lieu of attending the appointment scheduled by the
11county.

12(F) Inform the individual of the right to reschedule the
13appointment once within the 20-calendar-day period.

14(G) Inform the individual that if good cause is not found, a
15compliance plan will be developed and the individual will be
16expected to agree to the plan or face a sanction.

17(H) Inform the individual of the name, telephone number, and
18address of state and local legal aid and welfare rights organizations
19that may assist the individual with the good cause and compliance
20plan process.

21(I) Describe the transportation and child care services that a
22person is entitled to, as needed in order to attend the appointment.

23(c) If the individual fails to attend the appointment, the county
24shall attempt to contact the individual by telephone at the time of
25or after the appointment in order to establish a finding of good
26cause or no good cause, and, if a finding of no good cause is made,
27develop a compliance plan to correct the instance of
28nonparticipation.

29(d) If the individual fails to attend the meeting and the county
30is not able to contact the individual in accordance with subdivision
31(c), and the individual fails to contact the county within the
3220-calendar-day period, a sanction shall be imposed in accordance
33with Section 11327.5.

34(e) If the individual attends the appointment or contacts the
35county by telephone within the 20-calendar-day period and is either
36found by the county to have had good cause for his or her refusal
37or failure, or agrees to a compliance plan to correct the failure or
38refusal, the county shall rescind the notice of action issued pursuant
39to subdivision (b). If the individual agrees to a compliance plan at
40the appointment, the individual shall be provided a copy of the
P12   1plan. If the individual agrees to a compliance plan over the
2telephone, a copy of the plan shall be mailed to the client.

3(f) If the individual is found by the county to have had good
4cause for his or her refusal or failure, an instance of noncompliance
5shall not be considered to have occurred.

6(g) If the individual is found by the county not to have had good
7cause, but agrees to a compliance plan and then fulfills the terms
8of the compliance plan, an instance of noncompliance shall not be
9considered to have occurred.

10(h) If the individual enters into a written compliance plan, but
11does not fulfill the terms of the plan, and the county determines,
12based on available information, that the individual did not have
13good cause for failure to meet the terms of the plan, the county
14shall send a notice of action to impose a sanction. The procedures
15specified in subdivision (b) shall not be applicable to a sanction
16imposed under this subdivision.

17

SEC. 7.  

No appropriation pursuant to Section 15200 of the
18Welfare and Institutions Code shall be made for purposes of
19implementing this act.

20

SEC. 8.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
21this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
22local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
23pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
244 of Title 2 of the Government Code.



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