CA Welf & Inst Code Section 18901.2


There is hereby created the State Utility Assistance Subsidy (SUAS), a state-funded energy assistance program that shall provide energy assistance benefits to eligible CalFresh households so that the households may receive a standard utility allowance to be used to help meet their energy costs, receive information about energy efficiency, and so that some households may experience an increase in federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, as well as benefit from paperwork reduction.


To the extent required by federal law, the Department of Community Services and Development shall delegate authority to the State Department of Social Services to design, implement, and maintain SUAS as a program created exclusively for purposes of this section, similar to the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 8621 et seq.).


In designing, implementing, and maintaining the SUAS program, the State Department of Social Services shall do all of the following:


Provide households that do not currently qualify for, nor receive, a standard utility allowance, with a SUAS benefit in an amount and frequency sufficient to meet federal requirements specified in Section 2014(e)(6)(C)(iv) of Title 7 of the United States Code if the household meets either of the following requirements:


The household would become eligible for CalFresh benefits if the standard utility allowance was provided.


The household would receive increased benefits if the standard utility allowance was provided.


Provide the SUAS benefit without requiring the applicant or recipient to provide additional paperwork or verification.


Deliver the SUAS benefit using the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system.


Notwithstanding any other law, notification of a recipient’s impending EBT dormant account status shall not be required when the remaining balance in a recipient’s account at the time the account becomes inactive is equal to or less than the value of one year of SUAS benefits.


Ensure that receipt of the SUAS benefit pursuant to this section does not adversely affect a CalFresh recipient household’s eligibility, reduce a household’s CalFresh benefits, or disqualify the applicant or recipient of CalFresh benefits from receiving other public benefits, including other utility benefits, for which it may qualify.


(1)To the extent permitted by federal law, a CalFresh household that receives SUAS benefits in the month of application for new cases or in the previous 12 months for existing cases is entitled to use the full standard utility allowance for the purposes of calculating CalFresh benefits. A CalFresh household shall be entitled to use the full standard utility allowance regardless of whether the SUAS benefit actually is expended by the household.


If use of the full standard utility allowance, instead of the homeless shelter deduction, results in a lower amount of CalFresh benefits for a homeless household, the homeless household shall be entitled to use the homeless shelter deduction instead of the full standard utility allowance.


This section shall not be implemented until funds are appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act or related legislation.


This section shall become operative on July 1, 2014.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 18901.2’s source at ca​.gov