Financial Assistance for Adults Without Dependent Children (General Assistance)

General Assistance (GA) is a program that is run and funded by the County of Santa Clara. GA provides cash assistance and employment services to Santa Clara County adults with no dependent children who have no other means of support.

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 needy adult without dependent children, you may be eligible for GA. This is based on income, residency, property, and citizenship.

Once you apply a County Eligibility Worker will decide if you qualify.

  1. Complete & Submit Application
  2. Get an Interview – A phone or in person interview will be scheduled with a County Eligibility Worker.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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Using Your Benefits

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card

To use your General Assistance 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.

Watch EBT Scam Video

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!

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Keeping Your Benefits

Regular Reporting

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.

Account Maintenance

If your mailing address or phone number change, please contact your County Eligibility Worker.

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Vocational Services

Vocational Services (VS) is a free program that helps you gain skills, tools and training to find a living wage job. With certain exceptions, all those getting GA must participate in the VS program.

Your County Eligibility Worker will let you know if you must participate in the VS program. County Employment Counselor will work with you on an employment plan.

Things to Know

Frequently Asked Questions

    No. You do not have to pay back your GA cash assistance.

    If cash assistance is issued to you while your application for Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) is being processed, the county may recover money from your initial retroactive SSI/SSP payment once approved​.

    The amount is determined by a County Eligibility Worker after taking into consideration your income, number of people; payment amounts range from $150 to $343 a month​.

    To be eligible for GA, you cannot have more than $500 in resources. Certain resources are not counted therefore an individual may own them and still get GA, such as a home you live in​.

    Yes. To qualify for GA, you must be a Santa Clara County resident and a US Citizen or a Qualified Non-Citizen​.​

    There is no time limit on how long you may receive GA cash assistance, if you continue to meet all the GA eligibility requirements.

    Employment of GA participants is a major objective of the GA program. Able-bodied individuals are expected to find employment or participate in approved activities; employment-related education, training and/or job-search preparation through the Vocational Services (VS) program​.

    You will not be expected to participate in the Vocational Services (VS) program if you provide your County Eligibility Worker with a medical verification of your disability. You will be expected to apply for other available income such as Social Security Disability, Social Security Income (SSI) and/or State Disability (SDI or DIB)​.

    Yes. You must reside in Santa Clara County but residing in permanent housing or having a fixed address is not required.

    • 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;
      Appeals Unit
      County of Santa Clara Social Services
      333 W Julian St.
      San Jose, CA 95110-2335


      Call 1-800-952-5253
      TDD for hearing or speech impaired 1-800-952-8349

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