For people that read the original report, released in March 2014, about ATM fees charged to CalWORKs recipients, there is a new update for you, plus a request to help address this issue:
CRC’s $19.4 Million ATM Fee report, released in March 2014, exposed how Californians that participate in CalWorks, the state’s welfare program for families and children, and other public assistance programs lose about $19 million a year to fees charged when they use their state issued EBT cards at most ATMs. Click here to read the report updating you on our progress: No More $19 Million ATM Fees: Ending the Waste of Public Assistance on ATM Fees: A Progress Report
You can help. AB 1614, The EBT Protection and Empowerment Act is being considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill would direct counties to use information provided by the state to inform benefits recipients of the ways they can avoid fees, including by opting for direct deposit and using the state’s contracted ATM network. Appropriations is the last hurdle before a final vote.
Please send a letter of support asking that AB 1614 be voted out of committee and onto the Senate floor. The bill has received full support from every committee since it has been introduced, has received no opposition or “no” votes, and has been vetted by California Department of Social Services and the California Welfare Directors Association (which represents county welfare administrators).
You can use this linked sample letter of support: AB 1614 Support Letter
Please also consider joining the EBT Contract Work Group. CRC is working to make sure that the state’s next EBT contract has more free ATM access and helps recipients sign up for direct deposit more easily. The state’s current EBT contract with Xerox is set to expire next year. The California Department of Social Services is beginning the process of identifying the components of a new contract that will be bid out for proposals.
Please join CRC’s EBT Contract Work Group to support this effort. By joining, you will receive our analysis of the current contract and be invited to help us prioritize features that should be included in the new contract and be part of developing a strategy to make these a reality. To join, please sign up here: EBT Contract Work Group.
Thank you for working with us to make sure that CalWorks funds go to help families make ends meet.