In what may be the first state in the nation to do so, California has just approved Medi-Cal benefits for same-sex couples and Registered Domestic Partners  ( “RDP’s”).  Acting at the invitation of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”)  and  pursuant to  state Assembly Bill 641 (Feuer), the California Department Healthcare Services just released a directive to all California County Medi-Cal Directors, requiring that an applicant in a same-sex couple or RDP relationship be, for most purposes, treated as a spouse. The order  is retroactive to January 1, 2012.  This directive will now extend much-needed Medi-Cal benefits to the elderly and disabled who would otherwise be obliged to impoverish themselves or their partner in order to qualify.  The directive is contained in All-County Welfare Directors Letter 12-36 issued December 10, 2012.