Time limit for CalFresh food benefits Is back after waiver expires

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RIVERSIDE COUNTY — Approximately 20,000 CalFresh customers in Riverside County has a limited amount of time to keep their food benefits. California’s waiver on time limits for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) is set to expire March 31, and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) encourages impacted customers to reevaluate eligibility with their caseworkers.

Starting April 1, ABAWD will be limited to three months of CalFresh benefits in a 36-month time period. If impacted customers have an exemption or satisfy federal work requirements, they can continue receiving CalFresh benefits beyond the 3-month time limit. Customers who are subject to the time limit will be notified.

“We want to make sure eligible individuals and families can continue receiving help to put food on the table,” said Assistant Director Allison Gonzalez with DPSS’ Self Sufficiency Division. “We’re encouraging our CalFresh customers who receive notification that they will be impacted to contact their caseworker to discuss their exemption status and determine how they can continue receiving CalFresh by meeting work participation or volunteer requirements.”

In order to meet reinstated federal requirements, impacted customers can either work, participate in approved job training or volunteer an average of 80 hours per month. Failure to satisfy work requirements will result in a loss of benefits after three months.

Since 1996, adults in this category who have qualified for CalFresh food benefits had the benefits capped at three months within a 36-month time frame. Many states were granted waivers during economic downturns. Due to a federal policy change and low national unemployment, waivers no longer apply in many states.

“We want our customers to take action,” Gonzalez said. “Our trained staff will assist with access to an approved work activity and answering questions about eligibility.”

DPSS caseworkers can be reached at 1-877-410-8827. Customers can also learn more about exemptions and will find an exemption screening form to help determine continued eligibility at KeepYourCalFresh.com.

Submitted by Riverside County Department of Public Social Services