Financial Assistance for California Families

Financial Assistance for California Families

Kim Pinnelli

by Kim Pinnelli
Senior Contributing Writer

March 14, 2020
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Financial Assistance for California Families

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The CalWORKs assistance program helps families with children get the cash assistance they require.

CalWORKs assists needy families with children at home. It helps families with all aspects of daily living, including housing, food, clothing, medical care, and utilities; money received from CalWORKs helps cover all these essential expenses.

Most eligible families may receive cash benefits for 48 months, but children may receive it longer. The 48-month limit is for a lifetime. If you use the benefits for 12 months, for example, you have 36 months left should you need the benefits again in the future.

Who is Eligible?

In order to be eligible, families must have at least one child that is under the age of 18 years old. A child can be as old as 19-years old if he/she is still in high school or attends a vocational school. The child must also be considered ‘deprived’ because the parents are one or more of the following:

  • Unemployed
  • Disabled
  • Not around (in jail or deceased)

Your family must also meet the income requirements and have proof of residency in a California county.

How do you Apply?

You must apply for the California financial assistance program in person or online. Click here to see which intake office is closest to you. Only CalWORKs Eligibility workers can determine your eligibility.

How Much can you Receive?

These factors will determine the amount of assistance you are eligible for:

  • Who the program considers your ‘family’
  • Your family size
  • Your family’s living situation
  • Your location
  • Your family’s income

Can you Extend How Long you Receive the California Financial Assistance?

If you meet any of the following factors, you may extend your benefit period beyond 48 months:

  • You are disabled and don’t receive Social Security income
  • Your responsibilities as a caregiver for a disabled or pregnant person prevent you from working
  • You are over 60-years old
  • You are an eligible child whose parents don’t receive benefits any longer
  • You are a domestic violence victim

How Can You Use the Money?

CalWORKs funds are to help families pay for the daily cost of living. It can help pay for rent, utilities, food, clothing, and medical care.

Keep in mind in order to receive cash aid, you must participate in the Welfare-to-Work Program. You must put in 20 hours of ‘core activities,’ which may vary by county but include:

  • Employment either subsidized or unsubsidized
  • Training (on the job)
  • Working for yourself
  • Community service
  • School training
  • Obtaining job search or job readiness training

You may also include other ‘non-core’ activities, such as:

  • Basic education
  • Job skill training (not on the job)
  • Attendance at a secondary school
  • Receive services for mental health or substance abuse

The CalWORKs assistance program helps families get back on their feet. It’s available throughout the entire state of California. If you need assistance, contact your local intake office to see what steps you must take to get assistance quickly.