The California Department of Social Services issued this letter to clarify and transmit current state and federal rules about CalFresh Expedited Service (ES). Counties must screen all CalFresh applications for ES. Applicants have the right to file a CalFresh application on the day they contact the county during business hours. The application is considered complete if it contains the applicant’s name, address and signature. Counties cannot refuse or deter submission of a CalFresh application during normal business hours.
Counties must verbally inform each CalFresh applicant of ES availability. ES information must be added to at or near the beginning of each online CalFresh application. The CalFresh application asks ES screening questions but county review for ES cannot be limited to the screening questions on the application.
Applicants are eligible for ES if:
- Household has both less than $150 in gross monthly income and less than $100 liquid resources
- Household combined gross monthly income and resources is less than household’s monthly rent or mortgage and utilities.
- Migrant or seasonal farmworker who is destitute and has less than $100 resources.
- Household is destitute, meaning the household’s only income was received before the application date and has terminated, the household has income from a new source but no more than $25 will be received within 10 calendar days of the application, or a combination of those.
Counties are not required to notify applicants that ES has been denied. However, counties must offer an agency conference for ES denials. Counties must provide information about the agency conference at the same time the household is informed of ES.
ES must be granted within 3 business days of the application, which means EBT cards must be available within the 3 business day timeframe. The only verification required for ES is identity, which can be verified using MEDS or any other information known to the county including a prior application. If identity cannot be verified, the county can accept attestation of identity from a collateral contact who confirms the applicant’s identity. All other verification is postponed until processing of the application, which is up to 30 days. If ES eligibility is discovered at a subsequent interview or any later time during the application process, the 3 business day ES time clock begins when the county discovered ES entitlement.
If a household missed their ES interview, the county will send a notice to the applicant to reschedule the interview prior to 30 days after application. Counties should route the application for normal processing if the applicant misses the ES interview. If the applicant does not contact the county to reschedule the interview within 30 days, the application is denied.
Based on input from a workgroup, CDSS has recommendations for ES, including that the county assign a lobby greeter, the county attach a half-sheet to the application explaining ES, and the county post signs in welfare department lobbies about ES. ACL 16-14 (February 29, 2016).