WCLP and PILP eliminate $40 medical deduction from GA grants for most of California
September 25, 2014 – General Assistance/Relief (GA or GR) is a public benefit of “last resort” for people who cannot qualify for any other cash aid. This is a state-mandated, county-funded program designed to “relieve and support” all indigent County residents “when such persons are not supported and relieved by their relatives or friends, by their own means, or by state hospitals or other state or private institutions.” Welf. & Inst. Code § 17000.
Welfare & Institutions Code § 17000.5(a) authorizes counties to deduct up to $40 dollars for the monthly actuarial value of medical care. Prior to January 1, 2014, approximately 21 counties reduced GA/GR recipients’ grants by this amount, based on the fact that most GA/GR residents received health care through their county indigent health programs. However, beginning January 1, 2014, many GA recipients became newly eligible for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
We are pleased to announce that after sending a demand letter and negotiating with counties, all except one have agreed to cease reducing GA grants for those receiving Medi-Cal. This means that the $40 medical deduction has essentially been eradicated from California, resulting in about 14,200 recipients receiving more money, amounting to approximately $570,000 each month. The minimum benefit amount is extremely low, but this $40 makes a huge difference for the poorest Californians.
It is important to note that the ACA did not obviate Counties’ responsibility to provide indigent health care.
Many thanks to Western Center on Law & Poverty, an essential partner in nearly completely eliminating these harmful medical deductions.