CalWORKs is a welfare program that gives cash aid and services to eligible needy families. If a family has little or no cash and needs housing, food, utilities, clothing or medical care, they may be eligible to receive immediate short-term help. Families that apply and qualify for ongoing assistance receive money each month to help pay for housing, food and other necessary expenses. The amount of a family's monthly assistance payment depends on a number of factors, including the number of people who are eligible and the special needs of any of those family members. The income of the family is considered in calculating the amount of cash aid the family receives.
Specific eligibility requirements take into account an applicant's citizenship, age, income, resources, assets and other factors. Generally, services are available to:
- Families that have a child(ren) in the home who has been deprived of parental support or care because of the absence, disability or death of either parent.
- Families with a child(ren) when both parents are in the home but the principal earner is unemployed.
- Needy caretaker relatives of a foster child(ren).
See Quick Facts and Eligibility for More Details.
There are other programs and benefits for which a family may qualify by being on CalWORKs. See Other programs and Services for a listing of these services.
Where To Get Help
Click here for DPSS Office locations. Families requesting assistance must complete application forms. The family can ask for immediate help if it has little or no cash and needs emergency housing, food, utilities, clothing or medical care.
Next, the DPSS office will set up an interview with a CalWORKs worker to obtain facts and verify eligibility. Applicants must provide the CalWORKs worker with proof of income and property, citizenship status, age, social security number, residence, shelter costs, work or school status and other information. Click on Most Commonly Requested Documents for help on where to get some of the informationSimilar information may be requested for all of the people in the home. Additionally, adult family members must also be fingerprinted and photo imaged.
At the interview, the CalWORKs worker will advise applicants of the rules that must be met to be eligible for CalWORKs. If the CalWORKs worker determines that the applicants are eligible for CalWORKs, the family will receive monthly payments until determined ineligible.
Other Programs and Services
There are many other programs and benefits for which a CalWORKs family may qualify:
- Medical Coverage: In most cases, each member of the family getting CalWORKs will also qualify for Medi-Cal which will pay for most medical costs. The County will explain this benefit to the applicant.
- Welfare-To-Work Program: The Welfare- To-Work Program helps family members acquire the skills needed to get a job. The County will determine if a family must participate in Welfare-To-Work activities as a requirement for CalWORKs. Families may also volunteer to participate.
- Child Care : Families that receive CalWORKs may also be eligible for child care services, such as help paying child care costs. The County will explain to the family what services are available.
- CalFresh Program (formerly Food Stamp Program): In most cases, eligible CalWORKs families qualify for food stamps to help meet their food needs. Often, the CalWORKs application is automatically used by the County to assess the family's food stamp eligibility.
- Child Support: If the family includes a child aided by CalWORKs whose parent is not living with the caretaker, the County will automatically notify the local Child Support Agency (LCSA). The LCSA will provide all necessary child support services, including establishing paternity, establishing and enforcing a support obligation and collecting support payments. If the child's paternity has not been previously established, the adult caretaker is required to help the local child support agency do so. This may mean participating in an interview and submitting the child to blood testing if the alleged parent, once contacted, refuses to acknowledge paternity.