CalWORKs and CalFresh Income Exemption Requests for Guaranteed Income Demonstration Projects

Overview

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has implemented a process for reviewing demonstration project income exemption requests from California counties in partnership with cities and other local municipalities seeking to reduce poverty by administering Guaranteed Income (GI) pilots and projects in their jurisdictions. Under the CalWORKs income exemption request process for GI demonstration projects, participants in GI pilots and projects may be eligible to have their GI income exempted for purposes of CalWORKs and/or CalFresh eligibility. Counties seeking a GI income exemption must make a request to CDSS and comply with statutorily mandated criteria. If an income exemption request is granted, recipients of GI who are also receiving CalWORKs benefits can avoid any negative impacts that GI components of demonstration projects might otherwise have on CalWORKs participation, eligibility, and benefits.

In order for GI payments to be excluded for CalFresh purposes, the payments themselves must be at least partially funded by private dollars regardless of the amount or the source of the private funds. The determination of GI payment excludability for CalFresh will be made by the CDSS and communicated directly through order of the CDSS Director.

Guaranteed Income Exemption Request Process

The CDSS will review all county income exemption requests on a rolling basis. Complete GI income exemption requests must include, but are not limited to:

  • A completed Income Exemption Request Coversheet;
  • A Comprehensive Plan;
    • The comprehensive plan must include a description of the demonstration project, its goal(s), funding, duration, targeted population and how they will be selected, and the research and evaluation components of the project, and anything else the county deems relevant.
  • A Research Plan; and
    • May be detailed in the comprehensive plan and/or described separately.
  • An Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval.

The CDSS accepts income exemption requests directly from county Health and Human Service Agencies. Non-governmental entities interested in requesting an income exemption should first coordinate with their local Health and Human Service Agency.

If you have any questions or would like to submit an income exemption request, please contact: IncomeExemptionRequest@dss.ca.gov.

The CDSS thanks you for seeking innovative solutions to address the needs of California’s most vulnerable populations.