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SLO County Health Access Update
Connecting Children Ages 0-5 to Health Care
January 2021
Information and articles from these newsletters are housed on the San Luis Obispo County Health Access website. The website is updated frequently and is intended as a resource for professionals working with children ages 0-5 and their families. Please visit: www.slohealthaccess.org

Updates about pandemic resources are located on pages listed under the Coronavirus tab: www.slohealthaccess.org/coronavirus.html
February Provider Discussion
We're pleased to announce our virtual 2021 Provider Discussion Series. Join us in for February to expand your knowledge about eviction prevention and housing resources for SLO County families.

Thursday February 25, 2021
11am - noon
Live on Zoom
Questions? Contact Becca Carsel, First 5 SLO County Health Access,
(805) 674-0776, becca@carselgroup.com
Two New Public Benefit Programs
Two new programs to help some families with members who do not have Social Security Numbers
The first program is the new federal stimulus payments which allow for payments if at least one adult in a family has a social security number (SSN). The second program is a new California law that extends the Earned Income Tax Credit to persons with Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN). Both are programs based on tax filing, so clients should file taxes to receive benefits.
Second Round of Federal Stimulus Payments

The rules for the second round of federal stimulus payments contain some differences from the rules for the first round. Families with members who do not have social security numbers can now get federal stimulus payments.

As long as there is one adult in the household who has a Social Security number, the adult and the children who have Social Security numbers can receive the second round of stimulus payments, even if there are also undocumented family members. Payments under the new act are in an amount of up to $600 per adult and per child under 17, depending on the family income.

Retroactive payments: Families where one adult has a Social Security number but the spouse is undocumented were not eligible for the first stimulus payment. These families might be eligible to receive that first stimulus payment retroactively when they file their taxes in 2021 for tax year 2020. 

Additional information:
No Impact on Government Benefits
As a tax refund, stimulus payments will not be counted as income toward eligibility for means-tested government benefit programs such as Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWORKs, SSI, and public housing assistance. These programs will not consider the funds as a resource either as long as the payment is spent within twelve months of receipt.

Public Charge: No Negative Impact
Since these payments are considered tax credits which are not to be considered for the public charge test, stimulus payments have no negative impact.
New Restriction Against the Federal Government Reducing the Check to Pay Off Debts
Unlike the original round of payments, the second round of stimulus payments cannot be intercepted to pay directly any past-due taxes, student loans, Unemployment Insurance over-payments, or child support that is owed.

Filing a Tax Form to Receive Stimulus Payments
If your clients were eligible for the second stimulus payment but did not receive it by January 15th, they can claim it when they file their taxes for tax year 2020 in 2021. The 2020 IRS form will include a section for filers to claim the stimulus payment by requesting a Recovery Rebate Credit. The IRS may provide a form for persons without taxable income. Lower-income residents can use the IRS Free File Program.
California Earned Income Tax Credit Now Covers Families Who File With ITINS

Legislation in 2020 expanded access to the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to ensure all California tax filers, specifically undocumented filers who file using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and are otherwise eligible, may qualify for the CalEITC and the Young Child Tax Credit. The new legislation also removes the requirement for an ITIN tax filer to have at least one child under the age of six to qualify for the CalEITC.

The amount of the refundable tax credit depends on a household’s income and its size:
  • Individuals with no children can receive up to $243.
  • Families with one child can receive up to $1,626. Larger families qualify for more.
Also, families with children younger than 6 years old may get up to an additional $1,000 from the Young Child Tax Credit.

Note: Tax credits, like the CalEITC and EITC, are not considered public benefits under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services public charge rule. More information is at: https://www.caleitc4me.org
Mental Health Resource
Finding the right mental health therapist for a young child can be challenging. It can be difficult to know who is best qualified to treat children under six and how to ensure that the fit is right. 

To assist parents in finding the treatment that is right for them, the Health Access Training Project provides the handout Finding the Right Mental Health Therapist Guide for San Luis Obispo County. Please feel free to download and distribute to parents and guardians. Note that it has contact information for San Luis Obispo County. And remember that parents can contact SLO County Help Me Grow for help in finding a mental health therapist.
Health Access Information at SLOHealthAccess.org
SLOHealthAccess.org has a wealth of information to help you help families, with local resources related to:
  • Coronavirus Resources    
  • Special Needs    
  • Behavioral Health
  • Immigration: safety and service access  
  • Dental
  • Prescriptions
  • Medi-Cal & Covered CA
  • Transportation
  • Parental Substance Use, and 
  • Resources to help parents advocate for services

General needs and system navigation:
Send families in need of help to their local Family Resource Center. Download the Family Resource Center Directory here

Can't find an answer? 
Let us know and we will find you the information you are looking for. For general questions about health access and health care reform, contact:
Becca Carsel, Health Access Project Director, 
at (805) 674-0776 or becca@carselgroup.com