California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) helps families with children and pregnant individuals to meet basic needs.
CalWORKs provides time limited cash assistance, childcare and health care coverage. This program also helps you find and keep a job, pay for education, and provides other services that will support your family, even after leaving the program.
Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) provides short-term cash assistance for newly arrived refugees and certain other immigrants, who are not eligible for other cash benefits.
Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program (TCVAP) provides short-term cash assistance to certain immigrant survivors of human trafficking and other serious crimes.
Are You Eligible?
If you are a parent or caretaker of children under age 19, or a pregnant individual, you may be eligible for CalWORKs.
You can use the online tool See if I'm Eligible before completing an actual application to estimate your CalWORKs eligibility.
Once you apply a County Eligibility Worker will decide if you qualify.
If you have very limited cash and need housing, food, utilities, clothing, or medical care, you may be eligible to receive immediate short-term help. If your family needs this help, let us know right away.
- Complete & Submit Application
- Get an Interview – A phone or in person interview will be scheduled with a County Eligibility Worker.
- Paper documents may be needed if income, citizenship or other information cannot be verified electronically or is questionable. For a list of paper documents that could be needed view Commonly Used Verification Documents.
- Within 45 Days of the day you apply, you will get a Notice of Action (NOA) in mail. This will let you know if your CalWORKs application was approved or denied.
- If approved, you will receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card in mail. You may arrange through your County Eligibility Worker to pick up your EBT card at a County office.
Using Your Benefits
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card
To use your CalWORKs benefits you will get a plastic EBT card, also known as the Golden State Advantage card. You can use it just like a debit or ATM card by entering a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). For security the PIN will be sent in a separate mailing, follow instructions to change PIN.
How to check your EBT card balance, buying history and places to use your EBT card;
Beware of EBT Theft and Scams
Protect yourself against scams, always keep your EBT card and PIN safe and secret. If you receive a text, email or phone call asking for your EBT card number or PIN, DO NOT provide your information, this is a SCAM!
If you have been a victim of stolen benefits: Report the theft to your county worker or 408-758-3800 within 10 days.
Places Where You Can Use Your EBT Card
You can use your EBT card at any store or ATM that displays the Quest mark, to find locations visit: CA EBT Locator
Some locations charge a fee for using your EBT card, find out how to Get Your Cash Benefits at NO Cost!
Keeping Your Benefits
The County will send you a form in the mail every 6 months to report changes. These may be changes in your income, property or other factors that may affect your benefits. If you don't return the form your benefits will be stopped.
The County will schedule a phone or in-person interview once a year.
If your mailing address or phone number change, please update your contact information through your County Eligibility Worker.
CalWORKs Employment Services
CalWORKs Employment Services (CWES) is a free program that helps you gain skills, tools and training to find a living wage job. With certain exceptions, all those over 18 on CalWORKs must participate in the CWES program.
Your County Eligibility Worker will let you know if you must participate in the CWES program. Your County Employment Counselor will work with you on an employment plan. Even after you have found a job, you may be able to get services. Such as paying for childcare that will help you stay employed and move to better paying work
Things to Know
The County must process CalWORKs applications within 45 days. However, many applications can be processed in less time depending on the family’s circumstances.
The amount is determined by a County Eligibility Worker after taking into consideration your income, the number of eligible family members in your home, and income limits and available payment amount.
Resources, such as money in the bank does count when determining your CalWORKs eligibility. But certain resources are not counted, such as the home you live in. If you're in need of financial aid it is best to submit an application and let the County Worker determine if you are eligible for CalWORKs.
Yes. To qualify for CalWORKs you must be a California resident and a US Citizen or a Qualified Non-Citizen.
Employment of CalWORKs participants is a major objective of the CalWORKs Program. Able-bodied adults are expected to find employment or participate in approved activities; employment-related education, training and/or job-search preparation through the CalWORKs Employment Services (CWES) program.
CalWORKs generally gives cash aid to adults for 60 months. Children continue to receive cash aid after the 60-month limit.
Here are some reasons you may qualify to get CalWORKs benefits for more than 60 months:
- Have a disability and do not get SSI.
- Care for an ill or disabled person.
- Are pregnant and unable to work.
- Are 60 years old or older.
- Are a child up to 19 years old, even if your parent(s) stop getting CalWORKs because they are over the 60-month limit.
- Are a victim of domestic violence, or Live in Indian Country where at least 50% of the adults are unemployed.
There are programs to help homeless families. Your County Eligibility Worker can tell you if qualify for homeless assistance.
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.
Contact the County Worker that is handling your case. You will find their contact information of the top right corner of the last County Notice of Action (NOA).
If you are not satisfied with the response from your County Worker, ask to speak to a Supervisor.
If you are not satisfied with the response from a Supervisor;
You may request a free confidential case review from our County Ombudsman Office by emailing [email protected].
You have a right to ask for Hearing. To request a Hearing, follow the instructions on the back side of the County NOA you received.
Fill out the back of the NOA and send or take page to;
County of Santa Clara Social Services
333 W Julian St.
San Jose, CA 95110-2335
TDD for hearing or speech impaired 1-800-952-8349
Connect with Us
Manage Benefits Online
Santa Clara County Employment ConnectionCalifornia Work Opportunity and Responsibility for Kids (CalWORKs) Child CareFirst Five of Santa Clara CountyCommunity Resource Guide2-1-1 United Way Bay AreaSanta Clara County’s CalWORKs Policy HandbookSanta Clara County’s CalWORKs Employment Services Policy Handbook