BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 743


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          Date of Hearing:  May 6, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          AB  
          743 (Eggman) - As Amended April 9, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          Yes


          SUMMARY:  This bill makes a number of changes to the California  
          Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program  
          regarding GI Bill educational benefits and other vocational  
          education and higher education components of the CalWORKs  
          Welfare-to-Work program. Among its provisions, this bill:  









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          1)Expands the types of benefits exempt from consideration as  
            income or property for purposes of determining CalWORKs  
            eligibility, to include all veterans' education, training,  
            vocation, or rehabilitation benefits, and related allowances,  
            paid through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. (This  
            ensures that the new benefits provided under the Post-9/11 GI  
            Bill, specifically the Monthly Living Allowances (MLAs) and/or  
            Basic Allowances for Housing (BAH), are not counted as income  
            or property for CalWORKs eligibility purposes.)


          2)Requires child care supportive services under CalWORKs to be  
            continued, for a period not to exceed six weeks, when hours of  
            educational or vocational training are reduced due to a break  
            in instruction at an institution (e.g. semester break) and an  
            individual is eligible to continue in the educational or  
            vocational program following the break in instruction.





          3)Makes clarifying changes related to CalWORKs college  
            participation regarding job search, study time and assessment  
            requirements for recipients enrolled in an education program  
            through the CalWORKs Community College program or a  
            Self-Initiated Program leading to employment.
          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)On-going costs in the range of $60,786 to $300,900 (Federal  
            funds/GF) for CalWORKs caseload increases and increased grant  
            amounts for those already receiving aid, due to the expanded  
            exemption of veterans' benefits from consideration as income  
            for CalWORKs eligibility purposes. The average grant amount  
            for a family of three is $6,078 per year.  A portion of new  
            recipients will likely qualify for additional services as  
            well, such as child care, which will increase these costs  








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            further.


          2)On-going annual costs in the range of $275,000 to $650,000  
            (Federal funds/GF) for additional child care supportive  
            services to cover breaks at school. There are an estimated  
            1,200 students in CalWORKs receiving childcare at an average  
            monthly cost of $680. Many students will already qualify for  
            childcare assistance during school breaks (by meeting other  
            welfare-to-work requirements) so only a fraction will need the  
            service offered in this bill.


          3)Minor administrative costs to the Department of Social  
            Services (DSS) resulting from other provisions in the bill.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose. This bill seeks to encourage educational options for  
            low-income parents by removing unnecessary disruptions and  
            barriers to continuing in an education or training program in  
            which a CalWORKs applicant or recipient is making satisfactory  
            progress.



            According to the author, "This bill seeks to help some of our  
            most hard-working students that are fighting to improve their  
            lives as well as their families. There are over 30,000 parents  
            who are improving their future earning potential and the life  
            opportunities of their children by seeking a certificate or  
            degree while participating in welfare-to-work.  Research shows  
            that securing post-secondary degree will improve the  
            likelihood of exiting poverty and reduce reliance on safety  
            net programs.  Supporting the success of low-income parents in  
            their academic and employment and training goals not only  
            improves the economic opportunities, but research has shown  








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            that it makes their children more likely to finish high school  
            and to seek college opportunities for themselves.  This  
            two-generation approach to poverty reduction is being  
            recognized nationally as a strategy that works."





          2)Background. 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; and a number of other  
            activities necessary to assist a recipient in obtaining  
            unsubsidized employment.  
            


            Unless they are exempt, single parent adults need at least 30  
            hours per week in welfare-to-work activities, and two-parent  
            families need 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 does not meet his or her  
            welfare-to-work requirements, the recipient is sanctioned for  
            noncompliance, and that recipient's portion of the family's  
            grant is subtracted from the amount provided to the family to  
            meet basic needs. 





            Self-initiated Programs. Under current law, a person applying  
            for CalWORKs aid who is already enrolled in an undergraduate  
            or certificate program that will lead to self-sustaining  








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            employment can remain in that program provided he or she is  
            making satisfactory progress in the program.  Such programs  
            are referred to as "self-initiated programs" because the  
            applicant or recipient is engaging in an education or training  
            program without first needing to go through a CalWORKs  
            assessment in order to gauge his or her employment skills and  
            abilities.  





            This bill seeks to ensure that CalWORKs recipients making  
            satisfactory progress in education programs can continue to  
            meet welfare-to-work requirements and ultimately become  
            successfully employed.





          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Swenson / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081