SB 641 – Establishes The CalFresh For College Students Act That Provides Qualifying Students With Benefits. The Act Requires The State Department Of Social Services To Comply With Specified Reporting Requirements

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Oct 28, 2022

Under existing federal law, students enrolled in college or other institutions of higher education at least half-time are not eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits unless they meet one of several specified exemptions, including participating in specified employment and training programs.

California law requires for the purposes of determining eligibility for CalFresh that certain educational programs be considered employment and training programs, thereby qualifying a student participating in one of those programs for an exception. Existing law requires the State Department of Social Services (the department) to maintain and regularly update a list of programs that meet the employment and training exemption set forth in federal regulations. Existing law also requires the department to issue and maintain instructions for county human services agencies to verify exemptions to the CalFresh student eligibility rule for specified students.

SB 641 requires that the department post on its website a program list as well as the instructions provided to counties. The instructions must include specific guidance for processing applications, reporting, and recertification for additional students who are exempt from the CalFresh student eligibility rule.

The bill also requires the department to convene a workgroup to identify the steps necessary to establish a CalFresh application submission process that accommodates the large influx of CalFresh applications during the beginning of a school term. The bill requires the department to submit a report on or before April 1, 2023, to the Legislature on the necessary steps identified by the workgroup and any cost estimate associated with the implementation of the steps.

(SB 641 amends Section 18901.1 of, and adds Section 18901.14 to, the Welfare and Institutional Code.)

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