CalWORKs Benefits

CalWORKs provides temporary financial assistance, employment and educational services, and a variety of other supports to eligible families with (or expecting) children.

Financial Support

  • Financial support for up to 60 months:  Use the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to get cash at ATMs. Some ATMs do not charge a fee for EBT use (see ATM list).
  • One-time cash and non-cash assistance: Choose to get a one-time, lump-sum payment instead of on-going CalWORKs payments. You will still have access to other non-cash assistance, such as childcare. Note for immigrants: This aid option does not trigger public charge or require contacting a sponsor.

Child Care and Parenting

  • Families Rising (FaR) CalWORKs Home Visiting Program: Focuses on parent education in early childhood development, and provides connections to resources to support overall family well-being. Learn more.
  • Child care: Free or subsidized child care services.
  • Free diapers: For children under age three. Learn more
  • Teen parenting program: Cal-Learn program supports positive parenting and school attendance for parenting or pregnant teens.

Employment and Education

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 that includes the training, education, or employment activities you choose. Even after you have found a job, you may still be able to receive supportive services, such as child care and transportation, to help you keep your job and advance in your career.

  • Employment services: Job placement, training, career counseling services, and more through the JobsNOW! program.
  • Education: Support for GED, ESL, High School Diploma, and postsecondary education.
  • Supportive services: Money for uniforms, work tools, books and supplies, transportation, and other work and school supports.

Food and Health

  • Food assistance: Through CalFresh, California’s food stamp program that helps individuals and families buy food at retail food outlets, grocery stores, farmers markets, and some restaurants.  
  • Health insurance: Through Medi-Cal, which provides free or low-cost health insurance to eligible individuals.
  • Counseling: For domestic violence, mental health needs, and substance use.

Housing Assistance

  • Temporary shelter: Time-limited help with the cost of emergency shelter.
  • Permanent housing: Help with move-in costs to a new residence for families experiencing homelessness. 
  • Eviction prevention: Assistance to help prevent eviction.

To access housing assistance, call (415) 557-5100 or visit the 170 Otis Street Service Center if you do not have a phone. If you are already receiving benefits, contact your CalWORKs Case Manager.

Free or steeply discounted services: Includes museum admissions, utilities, transportation, recreation activities, groceries, meals, and legal services.

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