CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) is an employment-based program that requires employable adults to participate in work-related activities to receive aid. CalWORKs provides temporary cash assistance to meet basic family needs. It also provides education, employment, and training programs to assist the family’s move toward self sufficiency.
A family can ask for immediate assistance if they have little or no cash and there is a need for emergency housing, food, utilities, clothing or medical care. Please bring proof of income, property, citizenship status, age, social security number, residence, shelter costs, work or school status, as well as any other information pertinent to determining eligibility.
Diversion payments and services are available, for CalWORKs eligible families who would prefer a one-time payment to accept or keep a job.
The CalWORKs program has special rules to address the needs of victims of domestic abuse. All adults applying for or receiving CalWORKs assistance for themselves or their children shall be provided information about the availability of counseling and safety planning services provided through community resources for domestic abuse.
Although grant levels are based on family size, the same eligibility criteria apply to all families. Specific eligibility requirements take into account an applicant's citizenship, age, income, resources, assets and other factors. In general, services are available to:
- Parents or caretaker relatives 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 a parent.
- Families with a child(ren) when both parents are in the home, but the primary wage earner is unemployed.
Welfare Reform in California assures that welfare is a temporary support in times of crisis, rather than a way of life; encourages and rewards personal responsibility and accountability by recipients; and fosters a "Work First" attitude. The law has changed the amount of time to receive cash assistance from 5-years (60 month) to 4-years (48-months) effective July 1, 2011.