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The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is the state implementation of the Federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF). It provides time-limited cash assistance to families with children. CalWORKs recipients are automatically eligible to Medi-Cal, and may qualify for CalFresh benefits. Cash benefits are based upon the number of individuals in the family, with any other sources of income taken into consideration. Additionally, cash benefits for the entire month are deposited to an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card during the first 3 days of each month depending on the last number of your case.
Adults in the program are required to participate in a work activity unless determined exempt. Employment services are available to work activity participants including counseling, job preparedness, job development, training, and supportive services such as childcare, transportation, work clothing and tools. Services are also available to address barriers to employment including substance abuse, domestic violence, mental health and legal issues. For more information see Welfare To Work.
CalWORKs applicants must attend a mandatory face to face CalWORKs interview to complete forms and to listen to an explanation of rights and responsibilities. Also, applicants will be advised of work requirements and the time limits for receiving cash aid. The interview may last one to two hours. Applicants must bring their appointment letter to their scheduled interview.
Adults under the CalWORKs program are limited to receiving cash benefits for a lifetime cumulative period of 48 months. After 48 months of assistance, the adult will be ineligible for cash assistance and a family's grant will be reduced by the adult's portion of the grant. Fresno County has chosen to provide continuing aid for children after a parent has exhausted their 48-month limit.
For single parents, CalWORKs requires at least 32 hours/week of work activity. For two parent families, at least 35 hours/week. Both parents can meet this requirement if one is in a work activity at least 20 hours per week. However, no federal child care assistance may be paid unless both parents are in work activities for at least 55 hours per week total.
The adult's portion of a family grant will be sanctioned for failure to participate in a work activity without good cause.
CalWORKs Resource Limits
CalWORKs applicants are allowed a maximum of $2,000 in combined personal and real property, not including the value of an exempt primary residence. The property limit is $3,250 if a family member is over the age of 60 or disabled as defined by Social Security rules. The value of an automobile is exempt up to a maximum value of $9,500. Any amount in excess of $9,500 is counted in the personal property limit.
CalWORKs recipients have the same property limitations as applicants, but are allowed to accrue up to $5,000 in a restricted account to be used expressly for the purchase of a home, a college education for a member of the assistance unit, or business start up costs.