Cut to Maximum Grant: An 8% benefit cut to all CalWORKs households, the largest grant cut in at least 25 years. This will reduce the maximum grant for a household of three from $694 to $638. This cut brings the Maximum Grant to below 1984 levels. This will reduce the average grant from $509 to $468 a month.
Shorten Lifetime Limit: AB 96 shortens the CalWORKs eligibility for adult household members from 60 months to 48 months. For a household of three with one parent, this new limit will result in an additional cut in the maximum benefit of $122 per month after the 48th month. The months are counted retroactively starting with January 1, 1998.
Additional Cuts to Child Grants: In addition to these cuts, AB 96 makes additional cuts on Safety-Net and Child-Only Families as follows:
• 5% when they reach the 61st cumulative month on aid.
• 10% when they reach the 73st cumulative month on aid.
• 15% when they reach the 85st cumulative month on aid.
The months are counted retroactively starting with January 1, 1998.
Grants for two-children cases will be cut by 8%, reducing the maximum grant from $565 a month to $520. The additional grant cuts outlined above are taken from the lower amount. Cases at month 85 will have their grants reduced to $442.
Reduction in Earned Income Disregard: AB 96 also reduces the CalWORKs earned income disregard from $225 to $112.
Reduction in County Administrative Funding: County Single Allocation cut by $426 million for fiscal year 2011-12.
Partial Suspension of CalLearn: AB 96 suspends for one year supportive services for teenage parents but keeps in place bonuses and incentives for graduation and academic achievement.
Cut to SSI Grants for Blind, Aged and Disabled: AB 96 includes a cut in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) income for single adults by $15, bringing their monthly allocation to the federal minimum of $830 a month.
Child Care Cut: Although Stage 3 Child Care was restored, all subsidized child care for 11 to 12-year-olds was “de-prioiritized.”
Some Bright Spots
Though the bulk of the changes to social services enacted by AB 96 were severely detrimental, there were a few small but positive changes included in the budget trailer bill. These include changes made in Sections 11-13, which makes changes to the CalWORKs subsidized work program by allowing counties to use TANF funds to cover subsidies and enable them to extend this program to adults who reside in a CalWORKs Safety-Net household. Additionally, AB 96 fully repealed the long-term changes enacted by AB4X 8 and extended the sunset of the welfare-to-work exemptions for families with young children enacted by AB4X 4 to July 1, 2014. It also allows counties to offer the exemptions to families with children under three years of age, or two or more children who are under six years of age. Stage 3 Child Care was restored, as expected.