California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
CalWORKs is a program that provides cash assistance and services to eligible needy California families. The program serves all 58 counties in the state and is operated locally by the Department of Employment and Social Services in the Butte Community Employment Centers. Eligible families in need of immediate short term help and those who qualify for ongoing assistance receive money to help pay for housing, food, utilities and other necessary expenses.
CalWORKs payments are issued in the form of a check. The amount of a family's monthly assistance payment depends on a number of factors, including the number of people who are eligible and the special needs of any of those family members. The income of the family is considered in calculating the amount of cash aid they may receive.
There are other programs and benefits for which they may qualify by being on CalWORKs. See Other Programs and Services below for a listing of these services.
Who May Be Eligible
Specific eligibility requirements take into account an applicant's citizenship, age, income, resources, assets and other factors. Generally, services are available to:
Families 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 either parent.
Families with a child(ren) when both parents are in the home but the principal earner is unemployed.
Needy caretaker relatives of a foster child(ren).
How To Get Help
Families requesting assistance must complete an application. The family can ask for immediate help if it has little or no cash and needs emergency housing, food, utilities, clothing or medical care.
An interview with a worker will be scheduled to obtain facts and verify eligibility. Applicants must provide proof of income and property, citizenship status, age, social security number, residence, shelter costs, work or school status and other information. Similar information may be requested for all of the people in the home. Additionally, adult family members must also be fingerprinted and photographed.
At the interview, applicants are advised of the rules of eligibility for CalWORKs. If the applicant(s) are determined to be eligible for CalWORKs, the family will receive monthly checks through the mail.
If an interpreter is needed please ask at the time an appointment is made so one can be made available for the interview. There is no cost to you for the services of an interpreter.
Other Programs and Services
There are many other programs and benefits for which a CalWORKs family may qualify:
In most cases, eligible CalWORKs families qualify for food stamps to help meet their food needs. Often, the CalWORKs application is automatically used by the County to assess the family's food stamp eligibility.
In most cases, each member of the family receiving CalWORKs will also qualify for Medi-Cal which will pay for most medical costs. The County will explain this benefit to the applicant.
Child Support: If the family includes a child aided by CalWORKs whose parent is not living with the caretaker, the County will automatically notify the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS). DCSS will provide all necessary child support services, including establishing paternity, establishing and enforcing a support obligation and collecting support payments. If the child's paternity has not been previously established, the adult caretaker is required to help DCSS do so. This may mean participating in an interview and submitting the child to blood testing if the alleged parent, once contacted, refuses to acknowledge paternity.
The Welfare-to-Work Program helps family members acquire the skills needed to get a job. The County will determine if a family must participate in Welfare-to-Work activities as a requirement for CalWORKs. Families may also volunteer to participate.
Family Planning: Any member of the family can get information about methods for planning family size, deciding when to have children and preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP): Regular, preventative medical check-ups are available to help protect those members of the CalWORKs family who are under the age of 21. The County will provide the family with information about this benefit.
Social Services: If the family needs help with a family problem, such as drug abuse or legal issues, assistance may be available.
Families that receive CalWORKs may also be eligible for child care services, such as help paying child care costs. The County will explain to the family what services are available.