CalWORKs

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CalWORKs is California's welfare program for people who have children under 19 years old. CalWORKs provides money for children and the relatives caring for them. Work and training is required of most parents. Adults can only get CalWORKs cash aid for five years in a lifetime. If you qualify under the rules, you are entitled to cash aid from the county.

Contents

Eligibility

Who is eligible?

Families with children

  • Children and the adult relatives who care for them
  • Both single parent and two-parent families can get aid
  • Pregnant women can get help
  • One parent must be:
    • Absent, dead or disabled
      or
      • Unemployed, or working less than 100 hours per month at the time they apply
        and
        • Related to the child (you must document the relationship),
          or
        • A Guardian, or foster parent who are poor enough

Children must:

  • Live with a related adult
  • Be 18 years old or under (if 18, be able to finish high school or vocational training on or before their 19th birthday.)

Income Limits

There are two separate "income tests" in CalWORKs. Applicants have to pass both tests to get help, but participants only have to meet the second one.

For applicants (people who are not yet on aid): Your gross family income per month (your earnings before taxes and other deductions, minus $90 for each employed person, plus any other income) must be below the need standard.

For applicants and participants (people who are already getting aid): your countable income (your income after disregards for earned income and disability based income) must be below the maximum aid payment (MAP) for your family size.

Some money you get does not count against your grant. The most common examples are:

  • SSI payments
  • Loans, even from friends, as long as you agree to repay
  • Most student loans and grants
  • Tax refunds and EITC
  • Free food, Clothing, Housing (if they are from a nonprofit agency)
  • Your child's student income (for six months)
  • Money or gifts for food, shelter or clothing paid for you, as long as you pay part of the cost Regular Social Security checks, pensions, and unemployment insurance will be counted and may lessen your grant.

Limits on property and resources

What counts?

  • Cash on hand
  • Savings
  • Stocks, bonds
  • Other property
  • Property limits
    $2000
    $3000 if someone in the house hold is 60 years or older

Resources that do not count:

  • A car that is worth less than $1500 after deduction what you still owe, repairs and damages:
  • A car or motorcycle worth less than $4650. If worth more, the extra amount counts against the $2000 or $3000 resource limit. A car that you live in or use to produce income (like making deliveries) or to transport a disabled household member does not count, even if it's worth more than $4650
  • Each household member under age 18 can have one licensed vehicle exempt if used to drive to work, school or training
  • A home, if you live in it
  • Personal items like furniture and appliances
  • The tools of your trade
  • Federal relocation or disaster benefits

After you receive benefits, you can have a special restricted savings account up to $5000 for education, training, starting a business or buying a house, if the county agrees.

If you own property with someone else, only your share counts.

If you give away or sell any asset for less than its than its fair market value while you are a participant, you will lose cash aid for several months. For example, if your family of three sells a car worth $3000 for $1000, the county would cut off your aid for 3 months.

Time limits

Five-year lifetime

Beginning January 1, 1998, most adults can only receive 60 months (5 years) of cash aid from CalWORKs for their whole life. This does not have to be 60 months in a row. Children will continue to be aided.

Any month in which you receive cash aid (even one dollar) counts toward the 60 month time limit.

Months before January 1998 do not count against the 5 years. In addition, these months don't count against the 5 year

Any month which:

  • You are under 18 or over 60
  • The cash aid is fully repaid through child support
  • You do not get CalWORKs benefits for yourself
  • You are disabled (receiving SSI, Temporary Disability Insurance, or Worker's Comp)
  • You are caring for a disabled or ill family member, if it prevents you from working
  • You are caring for someone else's child who is at risk of dependency or a ward of the count, if it prevents you from working
  • You are a domestic abuse survivor who has gotten a waiver
  • The county has deiced you are not capable of working

The 18 to 24 month time limit

There is also a time limit of 18 to 24 months by which you must be working 32 hours a week (if you're a single parent) or 35 hours a week (two parents together). When this time limit is up, if you are not working full time, you will have to do a community service assignment to make up any hours short of 32 or 35. You can count any part time work plus school hours for this requirement. If you don't meet this requirement, the parent's portion of the cash aid will be cut off.

For income eligibility guidelines, please contact the Korean Resource Center at 323. 937. 3718.

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