Children and the adult relatives who care for them can get cash aid.

    • If you are convicted of a drug-related felony after December 31, 1997, you cannot get CalWORKs aid or other GAIN supportive services for yourself.

    • Both one parent and two- parent families can get cash aid (In two-parent families, one of the parents must be disabled or have worked less than 100 hours in the last four weeks before applying for cash aid). 

    • Children must live with a related adult and be 18 years old or under.

Income Limits


Maximum Aid Payments


You apply for CalWORKs at the nearest DPSS (Department of Public Social Services) office.  When you apply you have the right to be treated with courtesy and without discrimination for any reason.

1. Domestic Violence

If you are a victim of domestic violence, or suffering effects of past domestic violence tell the worker right away because there are specially trained workers available to assist you with the problems you or your children may have.  Also, you may have eligibility rules waived.

2. Special Help for the Disabled

If you have a physical or mental disability that makes it hard for you to go through the regular application process, DPSS must give you special help.

3. Application

You have the right to turn in a written application on the day you go in.  You will only get benefits as of the date you turn in the application.  If someone tells you to come back without submitting the application, you may insist on filing an application.

4. Interview

You may bring someone along to help you.  You will go over the form you filled out and will be asked for additional information.  You should be given a list of documents that you will need to complete the application process.  You may be given a "return appointment" to turn in papers.

5. Fingerprints

All adults (age 18 and over) and teen parents must be fingerprinted in order to apply for and get CalWORKs.

6. Next Steps

Keep in touch with your DPSS eligibility worker and write down his or her name, phone number, and phone hours.  If you are asked to mail additional papers to the welfare office, ask the worker for a stamped envelope addressed to him or her.  If you take in papers, get a receipt.  Keep your own copy of all the paperwork.

7. Home Visits

A "home visit" is conducted when people apply for aid.  DPSS should do this within 5 days of your return appointment.  If you do not agree to the home visit, your application for CalWorks will be denied.

8. Electronic Benefits "EBT"

DPSS will give you an EBT "electronic benefits card" to use at banks, ATM machines, and stores.  If the last digit of your case number is 1 to 3, the money goes on your card on the first day of the month.  If the last digit of your case number is 4 to 7, the money goes on your card the second day of the month.  If the last digit of your case number is 8 to 0 the money goes on your card the third day of the month.   There is no charge for the first four "swipes" of the card each month, then an 85 cent charge for each use.  Some ATM machines will charge a $1 or $2 fee to use the card.  Ask your worker for a list of banks and ATMs near you that will not charge you a fee.  Call (877) 328-9677 right away if the card is stolen, lost, or destroyed.

9.Getting Benefits by Check

If you have a bank account, you can choose to have your cash aid direct deposited automatically.  Otherwise, you must use an EBT card.  If you are disabled or have a hardship that will keep you from participating in EBT, you can ask that DPSS mail you a check.



1. Report on a "QR-7"

Every quarter (every three months) you must report changes in income, property or the number of people in your household.  DPSS will mail you a QR-7 report form for you to do this.

2. Report All Your Income and Gifts

You should be careful to report all the income you get or changes in your family.  The welfare department will check bank, employer, and tax records to check your income, and accepts tips of suspected "welfare fraud" from the public.

3. Participate in Welfare to Work Programs

Unless excused, all CalWORKs participants must be working, looking for work, or going to training or school. You will have to participate in a program called GAIN.

4. Cooperate with Child Support Collection

Unless it could put you or your children in danger to do so, parents on cash aid must help ("cooperate with") the Child Support Agency ("CSA") to collect child support from an absent parent.

5. Get Immunizations ("Shots") For Your Children

When you apply for CalWORKs or at your annual redetermination, you must show proof that your children under age 6 have had their shots.  Failure to do so will result in cash aid being cut off.

6. Keep School-Age Children in School

If your child is under 16 and not attending school regularly without good cause, the adult's cash aid will be cut