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The 2020-21 May Revision: CalWORKs Caseload-Driven Costs in the 2020-21 May Revision


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[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: CalWORKs Fiscal Outlook

December 8, 2020 - In this post, we describe our most recent forecast for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program costs and discuss recent caseload trends. With this post we intend to provide information but do not include any explicit recommendations to the Legislature. This post is part of our 2021-2022 Fiscal Outlook series of publications.

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Estimating the CalWORKs Take-Up Rate

February 2, 2021 - This is the first in a series of several posts estimating the percentage of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)-eligible individuals who actually enroll in the program—otherwise known as the CalWORKs take-up rate. In this post, we introduce our methodology for estimating the number of families eligible for CalWORKs since 2005 and compare this to the number who actually enrolled. In future posts, we plan to examine how this take-up rate varies between different regions in the state, as well as possible reasons why it varies regionally and has changed over time.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Analysis of the Governor’s CalWORKs Proposals

February 3, 2021 - In this post, we provide important background on California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), updates on how caseload has been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and analyze the Governor’s proposed CalWORKs budget. In short, caseload has declined precipitously in the most recent data, reaching a new all-time low in November 2020 (the most recent month for which there are data). This runs contrary to both the Governor’s budget (which assumes a fairly rapid rate of caseload growth from 2020 through 2022) and the historic relationship between caseload and economic data (which suggests caseload should increase following increased unemployment). In line with other efforts the administration is proposing to support low-income individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic, we suggest the Legislature work with the administration to understand the factors leading to the lower than expected caseload and explore options for ensuring CalWORKs assistance reaches eligible families.

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Broad-Based Cash Assistance in COVID-19 Recovery Actions

April 3, 2020 - This post summarizes the broad-based cash assistance provided under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We briefly describe the historical and policy context for this assistance and discuss its likely impact on Californians.

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[PDF] Overview of Employment Development Department Response to COVID-19

July 30, 2020 - Presented to: Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration Hon. Jim Cooper, Chair

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[PDF] The 2021-22 Budget: Interest Payment on Federal Unemployment Insurance Loan

February 10, 2021 - The 2021-22 Governor’s Budget proposes $555 million General Fund to make the first interest payment on federal loans the state received to pay unemployment insurance (UI) benefits after the UI fund became insolvent during the pandemic. Our office’s estimate of the upcoming interest payment is much lower—about $260 million. This lower estimate reflects (1) more plausible, up-to-date economic projections and (2) recent federal action to waive a portion of accrued interest for 2021. We recommend the Legislature adopt this lower placeholder amount. In addition, we recommend the Legislature take advantage of a provision of federal law that allows states to defer 75 percent of their UI loan interest payments during economic downturns. If the state chooses to partially defer its interest payment, we estimate the 2021-22 UI loan interest payment would total roughly $65 million.

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COVID-19: Unemployment Insurance for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

March 23, 2020 - This post summarizes recent federal relief actions in the unemployment insurance program, discusses how these federal actions interact with current state programs, and highlight options the Legislature may want to pursue in responding to the ongoing crisis.

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How Has COVID-19 Affected Renters and Homeowners?

January 19, 2021 - In this brief we assess how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected renters and homeowners. We also provide an updated estimate of the total unpaid rental debt in California that has accumulated due to COVID-19.

Correction 1/19/21: Legend on Figure 3 corrected to match data.

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State Budget Effects of Recent Federal Actions to Address COVID-19

April 5, 2020 - In recent weeks Congress has passed legislation that has directed funding to respond to the coronavirus emergency. This post discusses how some of the major pieces of funding could affect the state budget’s overall condition. In particular, we focus on how funding could help the state address some of the sources of a budget problem that could emerge as a result of the coronavirus emergency.

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The 2022-23 Budget: Analysis of the Governor’s CalWORKs Proposals

February 11, 2022 - In this post, we provide some basic background on the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, an update on recent program changes and caseload trends, and an overview of the Governor’s CalWORKs budget proposals.

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State Options to Expand Unemployment Benefits

April 9, 2020 - The COVID-19 outbreak has pushed state unemployment to record highs. Alongside recent federal actions, the state may want to explore options to expand assistance to unemployed workers. Expanding assistance to unemployed workers could mitigate financial hardship for unemployed workers and, in some cases, provide statewide economic stimulus. In this post, we describe four options to expand unemployment benefits: (1) change state formulas to increase underlying benefit levels, (2) add state dollars on top of the federal $600 weekly add-on, (3) build a state-funded UI program for workers who currently are not eligible for benefits, and (4) temporarily allow ineligible workers to access State Disability Insurance benefits.