April 21, 2011

Specialized Programs Program Guide (SPPG) Letter #1






ACIN I-88-04 and Recent Guidance from CDSS Refugee Programs Bureau


Effective Date

April 21, 2011



The purpose of this letter is to provide Eligibility staff with instructions regarding the Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) Program which is being implemented countywide.



Previously, all newly-arriving refugees in San Diego County were referred for services to the Wilson/Fish Alternative Project, operated by Catholic Charities under direct contract with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Newly-arriving refugee families received up to 8 months of services and then were referred to the county to apply for CalWORKs, if more services were needed.


Based on recent clarification from CDSS, Refugee Programs Bureau, the Wilson/Fish Alternative Project now serves only single refugee adults or families without children. Eligible refugee families with children shall be served by San Diego County. The county shall determine if refugee families are eligible for CalWORKs aid or are eligible to receive RCA. In addition, the county shall ensure that refugee families that are granted RCA after being determined to be ineligible to CalWORKs are transferred back to CalWORKs assistance as soon as all eligibility factors are met.


Summary of Modifications

The following section has been loaded to the SPPG online.


SPPG Section


Program Updates/Changes

69-205 A.

Refugee Cash Assistance Program

New section




Operations Impact

Effective with receipt of this notice, RCA application processing will occur in all FRCs.  The U.S. Postal Zip Code Eligibility Operations Guide document will be updated to reflect this change in the future.


To ensure that refugee families are appropriately transferred from RCA to CalWORKs assistance (when all eligibility factors are met), FRC Management shall ensure that Designated RCA Human Services Specialists (HSS):


·         Monitor RCA cases.

·         Obtain any additional documentation needed to establish CalWORKs eligibility.

·         Transfer the CalWORKs case to the appropriate task group.


Designated RCA HSS

Due to the increased monitoring required for this process, FRC Management shall designate a minimum of two staff members to serve as RCA HSS, subject matter experts and FRC liaisons. Responsibilities for the designated RCA HSS shall include:


·         Evaluation of refugee families for RCA benefits, using Automation-issued ‘How To’ instructions,

·         Evaluating refugee family for CalFresh benefits.

·         Monitoring cases to ensure RCA cash assistance and RCA Medi-Cal assistance is issued.

·         Obtaining necessary verifications to evaluate the refugee family for CalWORKs eligibility.

·         Transferring the CalWORKs case to the appropriate task group.

·         Appropriately entering and end dating RCA-related Special Indicators.



ACCESS Customer Service Agents shall refer callers inquiring about the RCA Program to apply at the appropriate FRC.


Cal Fresh Impact

Refugee households applying for RCA, and not already receiving CalFresh, shall be informed that they can also apply for CalFresh benefits at the same time and will be required to complete only a single application for both programs (Section 63-119.1).


·         CalFresh eligibility and benefit amount shall be evaluated according to CalFresh regulations as explained in Sections 63-119.2, 3.

·         Refugee Cash Assistance is considered an assistance payment and shall be counted as unearned income to CalFresh (Section 63-232.2).

·         Reception and Placement (R&P) Income/Voluntary Agency (VOLAG0 funds shall be treated as instructed in Section 63-223.12.  


Medi-Cal Program Impact

Refugee applicants who are not eligible to either CalWORKs or RCA must be referred to Medi-Cal for a determination of Medi-Cal eligibility.  Recipients who lose their eligibility to RCA due to the time limits must also be referred to Medi-Cal for an eligibility determination.


Treatment of Refugee Reception and Placement Grant


Reception and Placement funds are considered other public assistance and exempt for the purpose of determining Medi-Cal share of cost.




If the refugee is not eligible to Medi-Cal through RCA or CalWORKs they must be evaluated for Medi-Cal.  If they are determined ineligible to Medi-Cal through any other program, they must be evaluated for RMA and EMA.  See MPG section 05.08.07 for details.




Recipients who lose their eligibility to Medi-Cal due to RCA or RMA/EMA time limits must be re-evaluated for Medi-Cal eligibility.


Imaging Impact

All case documents shall be imaged into DoReS within 24 hours of receipt.


Forms Impact

HSS shall use the following notices of actions in CalWIN:


·         Approval notice M40-171D.

·         Denial Notice M44-207.

·         Discontinuance Notice M44207-K.


Automation Impact

The following “How To’s” have been developed for are located at the CalWIN Intranet:


·         How To #/Title: HT900 - Process a RCA Case with Reception & Placement (R&P) Income.

o   Issue monies NSDI, aid code (01), follow current business processes,

o   Special Indicator: “RCA Participant” –  with an end date as appropriate (not to exceed 8 months),

o   Case Comment Type: RCA,

o   On the “Maintain Employment Services Participation” window, “Registration” tab, “Targeted Group” drop down: RCA Participant.


Child Care Impact

·         Refugee families receiving RCA are referred to employment services and are entitled to all supportive services including child care.

·         The refugee families receiving RCA should transition to CalWORKs after 1-2 months.


QA Impact

Quality Assurance will cite case accuracy errors should the procedures in this notice be incorrectly/not applied.  Quality Assurance will cite benefit errors should participants be incorrectly sanctioned or incorrectly aided based on the erroneous interpretations of this SPPG Letter.


Assistant Deputy Director


Sylvia Melena

Assistant Deputy Director                  

CalWORKs Program

Strategic Planning & Operational Support


Manager Contact

Specialized Programs