CalWORKS Application Instructions


If going directly to your county of residence to apply it can take up to 7 days to schedule an interview appointment and up to 45 days to approve or deny your application. You can find your local county benefits office listed here. You can also find your county welfare department listed under the County Government Section in the telephone book.

If the applicant needs expedited services it may be possible to get assistance quicker. If you need assistance quicker you will need to be in one of the following categories:

  • If you need to pay for basic needs, have less than $100.00 and it appears that you qualify for CalWORKS the county must provide you with $200.00 and process your application within 15 days
  • If you are facing an eviction your application should be processed within three (3) days
  • If you need assistance for a special circumstance you may be given a payment so that you do not need to go onto the program. If you end-up on the program that payment will count as one of your months payments.

There are two steps that will need to be completed in order to apply for CalWORKS assistance. This site will help guide you to download the needed forms and we recommend that you fill them out prior to bringing them to your county office. You can find your local county benefits office listed here. You can also find your county welfare department listed under the County Government Section in the telephone book.

To complete the initial step you will need to download and complete the following forms. If you are having difficulty with accessing these forms you can get them from your local County Human Services office.

Once you complete these four forms you will have to bring them to your local County Human Services office. At the CHS office you will be given an appointment for your interview. In addition to the interview appointment you will also receive two (2) more documents.

  • CalWIN Appointment Letter (Lists your interview Date and Time)
  • CalWIN Interview Checklist (Lists additional documents you will for the interview)

You can also download an example of the Interview Checklist here.

Step two (2) is the scheduled CalWORKS intake appointment. To complete the interview step you will need to download and complete the following forms. DO NOT SIGN OR DATE the forms prior to your interview. If you are having difficulty with these forms you can get them from your local CHS office.

Step two (2) is the scheduled CalWORKS intake appointment. To complete the interview step you will need to download and complete the following forms. DO NOT SIGN OR DATE the forms prior to your interview. If you are having difficulty with these forms you can get them from your local CHS office.

CalWORKs recipients may request that their cash aid be automatically deposited into their bank account. Information and Applications for this program are available at each county office.

Please click here for a CalWORKS general program fact sheet.


Eligibility Requirements

Income Requirements

The income of the family is considered in calculating the amount of cash aid the family receives. CalWORKs regulations have an income limit. This income limit is determined by subtracting $90 from the earned income of each employed person. After which all other earned and unearned income is added to determine the gross income for the family.

That amount is then compared to the Minimum Basic Standard of Adequate Care (MBSAC) level for the family size. If this calculation of a family's total gross income exceeds the family size MBSAC level they are not eligible.

Household Resource Limit Requirements

A household can only have a certain level of resources to be eligible for CalWORKS. Something is considered a resource when it can be drawn upon (or sold) to provide financial assistance. The limit for resources for CalWORKS is $2,000 for the household. Households that contain a member that is elderly (over 60) can have resources up to $3,000.

What is allowed?

  • One House
  • One Car (Value less than or equal to $4,650

Reporting Requirements

Because changes can affect eligibility, recipients of CalWORKS must notify their County's Welfare Department about changes to their circumstances (such as a change to your income).

Quarterly Reporting

Every 3 months these households will be required to complete a QR 7 each quarter (each 3 months). A QR 7 form addresses the following.

  • The QR 7 form will ask for the household income.
  • You MAY report any change that will increase your benefits during the quarter. This may include things like a job loss or an increase in certain expenses.
  • Report changes of address.

10 Day Reporting

Some other things must be reported within 10 days of occurrence:

  • Household member becomes a fleeing felon
  • Household member is convicted of a drug related felony
  • Household member violates parole or probation
  • Household income exceeds the Income Reporting Threshold (IRT) for the household size

Work Requirements

Unless exempt, all CalWORKS recipients are required to participate in Welfar-to-Work (WTW) services in order to maintain eligibility. California's WTW program is designed to help families prepare for and obtain gainful employment. This program is available in, and run locally in all 58 counties.

All participants will receive a program orientation, which includes an evaluation of their education and work background. Most will also receive assistance in searching for a job.

Based on an individual's capabilities they may be assigned to vocational training, unpaid work preparation or an adult education program. Participants who find a job may continue to receive help with their medical and child care expenses.

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