18. Applicants for food stamps and CalWORKs diversion
Sometimes welfare offices keep people from applying for CalWORKs benefits, either by giving them a one-time payment to help meet immediate needs or by providing various services. This is called “diversion”. Sometimes diversion efforts have the unintended effect of deterring the household from applying for food stamps. Even if someone has been diverted from applying for CalWORKs, they must be allowed to file a food stamp application. USDA sent a memo to states outlining this right to file.
Existing application protections also apply to diversion recipients, including:
- they must be permitted to file a food stamp application the first day they contact the food stamp office.
- the application need only have a name, address, and signature.
- the food stamp application must be processed within 30 days of the date of the initial application even if CalWORKS application is withdrawn or delayed [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(j); MPP § 63-402.611(a).], unless applying for emergency (expedited) food stamps.
- the household must specifically withdraw the food stamp application for the application to be terminated. [7 C.F.R. § 273.2(c)(6).]