The People's Guide

35th Edition 2013-2014

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The People's Guide 2013-2014 28 General Relief 4. Time Limits If you are able to work, DPSS will classify you as "employable." If you are "em- ployable," you can only receive GR for 9 months in any 12 month period. The 9 month time period begins with your first scheduled orientation date for GROW, or the date your aid is approved, whichever is first. Participation in and compliance with GROW (General Relief Opportunities for Work), the county's welfare to work program, is required if you are deemed "employable." If you are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability, DPSS will refer you to be evaluated by a county doctor. If the doctor determines that you are disabled, DPSS will classify you as "unemployable" and you will not be subjected to a time limit as long as your classification remains "unem- ployable." You may be required to attend another evaluation when your "unemploy- able" classification period expires. If you have questions about time limits, call the DPSS Central Helpline, (877) 481-1044. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS 1. Basic Benefits The maximum monthly cash aid is $221. In addition to the cash aid, you can get: • Automatic enrollment in Healthy Way LA and/or Medical, a free health insurance program for low-income LA County residents. (see section on Healthy Way LA.) • Free health care from any county hospi- tal or clinic - (800)-427-8700 • Bus tokens to all required appointments related to keeping benefits including, scheduled medical appointments, vendor lodging and meal voucher locations (when the one-way distance is one mile or more or you are unable to walk a mile), and EDD offices • A personal care kit (DPSS will deduct $5 from your GR benefit) • Sanitary napkins • Housing repairs if there is a lien on your house (Homeowner's Special Needs) • Supplements for medically required diets • A referral to a county-paid drug or alcohol recovery program 2. Emergency Benefits When you apply for GR, you may be eli- gible to receive the following emergency benefits: • Emergency Housing - If you are home- less, tell the eligibility worker who interviews you at the DPSS office. If you are eligible for GR and homeless, DPSS will issue you up to two weeks of hotel vouchers. However, $4.53 will be deducted from your first GR benefit for each night DPSS issues you a hotel voucher. If you accept the vouchers but do not use them, DPSS will still deduct the money unless you make a written request to cancel the voucher. You can request that DPSS change the location of your voucher. You can also refuse to accept a hotel voucher. You can complain about conditions at the hotels by calling (800) 255-0905. • Emergency Food - You may be entitled to CalFresh (formerly known as Food Stamps) or food vouchers the day you apply (see page 32 CalFresh/Food Stamps.). If you do not receive Cal- Fresh/Food Stamps, and no voucher restaurant is open or in your area, you should get cash ($2.17 per meal). Ask for as many meals (up to 3 a day) as you will need. Remember, any meal vouchers or cash issued to you will be deducted from your first GR benefit. • Aid to Prevent Eviction - You can receive up to $272 if you can prove, with a letter from the landlord, that you failed to pay last month's and this month's rent and the money will prevent your eviction. This payment will be issued directly to your landlord. • Aid for Utilities- You can receive aid to restore or to prevent having your utilities shut-off. 3. Earned Income Disregard Any earnings in the 30 days before your application will reduce how much you can get in GR that month. But once you start receiving GR benefits, you can earn up to $200 per month with no reduction in benefits. If you earn between $201 and $620, the amount of your cash aid will be proportionally reduced. You will also be able to save up to $1,500 once your case is approved. Report your earned income to your worker, and tell him or her that you know about the Earned Income Disregard. HOW DO I APPLY 1. Regular Application Go to the DPSS (Department of Public Social Services) office to apply for GR. Not all DPSS offices take GR applications. (see page 70 Welfare Offices). Be prepared for a long day, but remember that you have the right to apply. Tell the worker at DPSS that you need GR. You will have to fill out a "screening" sheet and an application. Bring with you identification and papers that prove your income and resources. Every GR applicant has a right to request "Expedited CalFresh/Food Stamps" (see page 32 Emergency CalFresh/Food Stamps). In general, expedited service is available to individuals who have less than $150/month in gross income and less than $100 in available resources. . Also, an authorized representative (such as a friend or relative) can apply for ex- pedited CalFresh/Food Stamps on behalf of another person. If you are eligible, DPSS can issue you CalFresh/Food Stamps the same day you apply. DPSS must issue you CalFresh/ Food Stamps within three days of your application if you are eligible to receive expedited benefits. You will be fingerprinted and photographed when you apply. If your fingerprints match those of any other welfare recipient in the state, you will be denied GR pending investigation. You can appeal this decision. Your fingerprints cannot be shared with any other agency; but if a law-enforcement agency requests information about some- one wanted on an arrest warrant, DPSS must give them their name, address, and physical description. Also, DPSS may inform law-enforcement officials of your presence in the DPSS office if you are a fleeing felon. If you are denied GR because you are a fleeing felon, contact the Public Defender's Office: (213)974-7075. If you don't have identification when you apply, you may be aided on GR and given 60 days to get the needed identification. Make sure that your worker has a reliable address for you; otherwise, you may miss important notices from DPSS. Your home address and mailing address do not have to be the same. If you are homeless, you can use the DPSS address to pick up your mail, but if you do, you must check for your mail at least once a week. Some community organizations and shelters provide free mail service. You must be helped if you are in the office before it closes. If you need help imme-

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