Applying for CalWORKs

CalWORKs provides temporary financial assistance and support to eligible families with (or expecting) children. Benefits include cash assistance, food, child care, and health care coverage. CalWORKs also provides job and education assistance and other services, even after leaving the program.


  • Households with children: Your family may be eligible for CalWORKs if there is one or more children under age 19 in the home, or if you are pregnant.
  • Financial criteria: Eligibility is also based on several factors, including family size, income, property and other resources, and special needs. 
  • Immigrants and their families: You may be eligible for CalWORKs and other benefit programs. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply. Learn more.
  • Welfare-to-Work participation: In most cases, all family members on CalWORKs who are 18 or older participate in the Welfare-to-Work employment services program. We will help you create an individualized plan with the support you need to be successful in work, training, school, or other activities. 

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Ways to apply 

After you apply

  • An Eligibility Worker will interview you by phone or in-person.
  • If your family has urgent housing, food, utilities, clothing, or medical needs, let us know right away. You may qualify for immediate emergency help while your application is being processed. 
  • It can take up to 45 days to determine your CalWORKs eligibility. During this time, you may be asked to provide:
    • Proof of income and property
    • Information regarding citizenship status and residence. You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to apply. Learn more.
    • Social Security number
    • Work or school status
  • Once your eligibility is determined, you will get an approval or denial notice.
  • If you disagree with the decision or benefit amount, you can file an appeal by calling (800) 952-5253, or by mailing the HSA Appeals Unit at S600, P.O. Box 7988, San Francisco, CA 94120-7988.


Please note: Masks are recommended but not required when visiting our Service Centers to protect our staff, clients, and community.

Have a disability and need help applying? Call (415) 557-5100 to request special assistance. If you are already receiving benefits and would like to request special assistance, please contact your CalWORKs Case Manager. 


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