- Listed: December 16, 2018 4:47 am
- Expires: 998955 days
The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility for Kids (CalWORKs) is a public assistance program that gives cash assistance and services to eligible needy California 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.
Cash assistance and services may be available for:
- 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 primary earner is unemployed.
- Needy caretaker relatives of a foster child(ren).
Other eligibility requirements include an applicant’s citizenship, age, income, resources, assets and other factors.
The monthly amount of cash assistance a family can receive depends on a number of reasons, including the number of people who are eligible, any special needs of those eligible people, the amount of income they receive, and the value of their property (vehicles, checking accounts, etc.).
What is the CalWORKs Program?
California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is a cash aid program for low income families to meet their basic needs. It also provides education, employment, and training programs to help families get jobs and move towards self-sufficiency. Child care, transportation, work expenses and counseling are available for families in work activities. There is a forty-eight month time limit for adults but the children can remain on aid if otherwise eligible under the Safety Net program. There are special services for pregnant and parenting teens through the CalLearn program.
CalWORKs program is for pregnant women, or Adults or Teen Parent(s) with dependent children (minors under the age of 19) who are deprived of parental support or care, see ‘Who is Eligible for CalWORKs?’ question below.
Refugee families with children may qualify for cash aid, medical assistance, employment services and other support services through the CalWORKs program.
What is the CalLearn Program?
Cal-Learn is a statewide program for pregnant and parenting teens in the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program. It is designed to encourage pregnant and parenting teens to graduate from high school or its equivalent, become independent, and form healthy families. Three coordinated services help teens become self-sufficient adults and responsible parents:
- Intensive case management assists teen parents to obtain education, health and social services.
- Supportive services such as child care, transportation, educational expenses, to enable pregnant/parenting to attend school.
- Bonuses and sanctions to encourage school attendance and good grades. Four $100 bonuses per year may be earned based on report card results, and a one-time $500 bonus for graduating or attaining an equivalent high school diploma. Sanctions are applied if satisfactory grades are not maintained, and/or timely report cards are not submitted.
Pregnant/parenting teens who are receiving CalWORKs are required to participate in Cal-Learn if:
- They are under the age of 19.
- They live in the same household as their child,
- They have not graduated from high school or its equivalent,
- They are not in foster care.
Is CalWORKs known by another name?
Yes. CalWORKs may also be referred to as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is the name for the federal program that funds CalWORKs. Some people may simply call CalWORKs “Welfare”.
How do I apply for CalWORKs?
You may apply for CalWORKs by completing an online application on this website (link to home page). You can also apply by going to the local county office during business hours. View Contact Usto find the office near you.
What does CalWORKs provide and how long will it last?
CalWORKs provides cash aid and employment services benefits. Generally, adults are eligible for CalWORKs for 48 months. There is no time limit for children; they may continue to receive cash aid until they turn 18 or are no longer eligible.
How can I use my CalWORKs benefits?
CalWORKs cash aid is intended to be used for your family’s basic needs, such as housing, food, and utilities.
Who is eligible for CalWORKs?
To be eligible for CalWORKs, there must be a child in the home who is deprived of parental support and care because one or both of their parents are:
- Unemployed, or
- Continuously Absent from the home
The definition of a child is: Persons under age 18 (or under age 19 if the child is currently attending high school and will graduate before their 19th birthday)
- In addition, a CalWORKs applicant must meet the residency, income, and resource requirements of the program (see the program description for details).
- CalWORKs benefits may be available to the following persons in a family:
- An eligible child (described above)
- Parents or caretakers of the eligible child
- Pregnant women in their last trimester
- Certain pregnant or parenting teens
- Certain non-parent relatives who are caring for the child(ren)
CalWORKs and MEDI-CAL
Medi-Cal is automatically issued to everyone receiving CalWORKs. Doctor, hospital and dental bills, as well as, medicine, glasses and other medical needs may be paid for within the limitations of the Medi-Cal program.
What will I have to do when participating in CalWORKs Program?
All family members must work or participate in an activity through the CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work program, in order to get CalWORKs except:
- Child(ren) under 16.
- Persons over 59 years of age.
- Child(ren) 16 through 18 years of age who are in school full time.
- Mother or caretaker of a child under 6 months of age.
Certain people are exempt from this requirement due to specific reasons, like a medical condition.
To receive cash aid in CalWORKs, you will be required to participate in the Welfare-to-Work Program, unless you are exempt.
If a woman is pregnant, she may be eligible to a pregnancy special needs allowance.
Report My Changes
Once you’re CalWORKs or CalFresh Program benefits have been approved, you may have to report your income and living situation every six months. In addition, there are certain changes you must report within 10 calendar days. The County will explain your reporting responsibilities during your interview.
Once a year all households must attend an interview to determine continued eligibility. The purpose of the interview is to report changes of address, family size, children’s school attendance, employment, income, property and expenses.
What is CalWORKs Diversion?
The CalWORKs program also offers a Diversion program that may be able to help with a onetime payment to help you get or keep a job so that you do not need to go on the CalWORKs program. Talk with an eligibility worker if you think you may qualify for CalWORKs Diversion.
If you reapply after receiving a Diversion payment, depending on when you reapply, some or all of the Diversion payment may be counted as part of your 48 months or be considered an overpayment.
If I am on SSI can I also get CalWORKs?
No. People who receive SSI are not eligible for CalWORKs or CalFresh (Food Stamps) but the other members of your family who are not getting SSI may be eligible for CalWORKs or CalFresh benefits.
Can I qualify for CalWORKs while I am eligible for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program?
Yes. You may qualify for CalWORKs while you are eligible for SSDI, but your SSDI benefit will be counted as income when determining the amount of cash aid you will receive.
How do I stay enrolled/eligible in CalWORKs?
To stay enrolled/eligible for CalWORKs, you need to continue to be eligible by:
- Having an Eligible Child in the home;
- Being under the income limits for your family size;
- Being under the Resource limit;
- Participating with Welfare-to Work requirements (unless exempt);
- Providing proof your child(ren) have satisfactory school attendance;
- Providing proof your child(ren) under six years old are up to date with their Immunizations when asked; and
- Being within the Time limits for adult
- Completing and submitting all reporting requirements when you receive the reporting form in the mail by the due date
- Completing the Annual renewal process when the county notifies you of your renewal appointment and the due date of your renewal.
Are there rules for immigrants to qualify for CalWORKs?
Yes. To qualify for CalWORKs you must be a California resident and either a U.S. citizen, or a certain Qualified Aliens.
What is the difference between CalWORKs and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program?
CalWORKs is a California’s state version of the TANF program
Does working have any effect on my CalWORKs benefits?
Yes. There are deductions for both earned and unearned income in the CalWORKs program up to a certain limit, depending on your family size. If your family’s countable income exceeds the limit for your family size, you are no longer eligible for cash aid. You may be eligible for other benefits after your cash aid ends.
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