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CalWORKs – Most Asked Questions and Useful Links

Most Asked Questions

1. What is CalWORKs?

The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is California’s version of the federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. CalWORKs provides time-limited cash benefits to families with children when one or both parents are absent, disabled, deceased or unemployed. If eligible for CalWORKs, you automatically qualify for Medi-Cal and may also qualify for CalFresh.

2. How do I apply?

An in-person interview is required with all parents and/or caretakers in the home.  Learn more here

3. Where are the CalWORKs offices located? 

Our Oxnard, Ventura, and East County offices are open to mainly serve customers who do not have a phone or Internet access.

The Community Service Centers take applications from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call 888-472-4463

  • East County Community Services Center 2900 N. Madera Road, Simi Valley, CA 93065
  • Fillmore Community Service Center 828 Ventura Street, Fillmore, CA 93015
  • Moorpark Community Service Center 612B (building B) Spring Road, Suite 301, Moorpark, CA 93021
  • Oxnard America’s Job Center 2901 N. Ventura Road, 3rd floor, Oxnard, CA 93036
  • Santa Clara Valley Community Service Center 725 E. Main Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060
  • Ventura Community Service Center 4651 Telephone Road, Ventura, CA 93003
  • Thousand Oaks Service Center 80 E. Hillcrest Drive, Suite 200, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

4.  What are some of the eligibility requirements for CalWORKs?

The only way to know for sure if you are eligible is to apply for CalWORKs. However, some basic eligibility factors are:

  • One or both parents are deceased, or
  • One or both parents are physically or mentally incapacitated, or
  • The principal wage earner parent is unemployed or working less than 100 hours per month, or
  • One or both parents are continually absent from the home where the child is living

If these are met, cash benefits may be available to the family for the care of a needy child or children.

5.  Do I have to have children to be eligible for CalWORKs?

Yes. You must have care and control of a child living with you under the age of 18 or a child age 18 who is expected to graduate high school prior to their 19th birthday. If you are pregnant with no other children, you must be in your second trimester of pregnancy with verification of pregnancy.

6. What verifications are necessary to provide when applying for CalWORKs?

You should bring the following with you when you apply for CalWORKs if applicable:

  • Identification (driver’s license or California Identification Card)
  • Birth certificates for all family members
  • Social Security cards or verification that all the family members have applied for a Social Security number for those requesting aid
  • Verification of rent and utilities
  • Most recent statements of bank accounts, trust funds, and any other resources
  • Proof of citizenship or permanent resident alien status for those requesting aid from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
  • Pregnancy verification if an unborn is the only eligible child
  • Verification of all income, wages and Social Security benefits, etc., including pay stubs for all persons working now or who got paid this month for a job that ended

When you apply, your worker may request additional facts or verifications to ensure that all eligibility rules are met.

7.  Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for CalWORKs?

CalWORKs participants must be either U.S. citizens or have legal alien status in order to receive aid

8.  What are the income standards for CalWORKs?

You must have a low income with dependent children living at home to qualify for CalWORKs. Because there are many kinds of deductions, you are encouraged to apply even if your income is close the countable amount.  See if you are eligible here.

9.  What are the property standards for CalWORKs?

The property of a child and the parent(s) must be under the following limits:

  • Families without elderly members (over 60 years of age) may have up to $2,250 in combined personal and real property per family (not counting the family’s current home)
  • Families with elderly members may have up to $3,250 in combined personal and real property per family (not counting the family’s current home)
  • Furniture, clothing, and appliances are exempt, and up to $9,500 of the vehicle’s equity value is exempt for each automobile

10. If I receive SSI/SSP, am I eligible for CalWORKs?

No. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP), you are already receive a cash form of public assistance and are not eligible for CalWORKs. You may apply for other family members who do not receive SSI/SSP.

11. If I am homeless, could I still be eligible for CalWORKs benefits?

Yes, if you meet all the other criteria for CalWORKs benefits. You will be asked to provide a contact address/phone number, but you may use the Community Service Center address if you cannot provide an alternate contact.

12.  What if I have a cash emergency?

If you have a cash emergency, you may apply for an Immediate Need payment when you apply for CalWORKs. Tell your case worker you have an emergency. Immediate Need payments may be available to families in emergency situations while the CalWORKs application is being processed. The maximum immediate need payment is $200. Emergency situations may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Lack of housing
  • Pending eviction
  • Lack of food
  • Utility shut-off notice
  • Transportation
  • Clothing needs
  • Other immediate health and safety issues

13. If I am approved to receive CalWORKs benefits, how do I access them?

You may choose to have your payments issued either on a plastic debit card or directly to your bank account each month. Most families have their benefits automatically deposited during the first three days of each month on a plastic debit card called an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Your EBT card lets you access your benefits at Point of Sale devices in stores or at Automated Teller Machines (ATM). If you select direct deposit, your monthly benefits are placed directly in your checking or savings account at your own bank each month.   Locations of Point of Sale devices and ATMs can be found here.

14. What happens if my EBT card does not work?

EBT cards do not work for various reasons – the card may not be active, or there are no remaining benefits. You may log on to the California EBT Client Website  or call 1-877-328-9677 to learn more.

15. What if I lose my EBT card?

Learn more here.

16. How do I find out information about my benefits?

Learn more here.

17. If I have questions about CalWORKs eligibility, who do I contact?

Call our automated system at 1-888-472-4463 to speak with a Client Benefit Specialist. For more information on State CalWORKs regulations, you may visit the State of California Department of Services website at: www.cdss.ca.gov/CalWORKS

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