Basic Eligibility Requirements
- Deprivation – A parent or caretaker relative may be eligible for CalWORKs assistance if he/she cares for an eligible child who is without parental support because one or both parents are either absent from the home, disabled, deceased, or unemployed.
- Age – Eligibility requirements that relate to age include the following:
- Children are eligible until their 18th birthday. Eighteen-year-olds may continue to be eligible if they are full-time students, regularly attending high school or the equivalent, and expected to graduate before their 19th birthday.
- Pregnant or parenting teens (under the age of 18) must live with their parent(s) or other appropriate relative in order to receive CalWORKs.
- Children age 6 and older must regularly attend school. Proof that children under the age of six have had age-appropriate immunizations is also required.
- Children age 19 or older are NOT eligible for CalWORKs, but may continue to be eligible for other programs, such as CalFresh or Medi-Cal.
- Citizenship – The applicant and his/her family must be United States citizens or have satisfactory immigration status. The immigration status of all noncitizens is verified with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), formerly Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). If an immigrant entered this county as a sponsored noncitizen, the income and resources of the sponsor will be considered in determining CalWORKs eligibility.
- Employment – Once it is determined that you meet the CalWORKs eligibility requirements, another determination is made based on whether the adults are employable or unemployable. All parents or caretaker relatives must participate in CalWORKs Employment Services activities unless they are exempt. Employment Services participants are assigned to activities meant to lead to a job and eventual self-sufficiency. Necessary supportive services, such as child care and transportation assistance, will be provided.
CalWORKs parents or caretaker relatives are limited to a total of 48-months of cash assistance. This also applies to any months (from January 1998 on) in which the parent(s) received cash aid from any state. There are, however, certain exemptions to the 48-month lifetime limit which can be explained by your Eligibility Worker. Once the CalWORKs 48-month lifetime limit is reached, unless an exemption is authorized, the adult will no longer be eligible for CalWORKs. However, the children may remain eligible.
Statewide Fingerprint Imaging System (SFIS)
Fingerprinting and photo imaging is a requirement for adults applying for CalWORKs assistance. To receive CalWORKs benefits, applicants must agree to have their fingerprints and photo images compared with the images of other welfare recipients in the Statewide Fingerprint Imaging System (SFIS) database.
This is a statewide eligibility requirement that is meant to prevent fraud by NOT paying cash aid for the same person in more than one case. SFIS information is highly confidential and WILL NOT be shared with other agencies.
Direct Deposit and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)
CalWORKs benefits are provided to eligible persons using one of the following two methods:
- Persons eligible for CalWORKs cash benefits have the option to have benefits “directly deposited” into their checking or savings account.
- If Direct Deposit is NOT selected, cash benefits are received through a plastic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card at automated teller (ATM) and point-of-sale (POS) machines.