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CalWORKs: The California program providing a boost for struggling families

The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program offers short-term financial aid and employment-focused resources to families with minor children who have low income and assets, according to a report by Marca on December 28, 2022.

Based on the state’s released guidelines, most eligible adults in California, including those who have received aid from other states, are limited to a five-year lifetime maximum for monetary assistance. However, qualified children can still receive aid through CalWORKs.

To be eligible for CalWORKs, individuals must reside in California, have a social security number, be a U.S. citizen or immigrant with permission to live in the country, and have one or more eligible children, according to state officials.

Eligibility is based on monthly earnings being less than the maximum aid payment for the family’s size. Families with one or both parents not living in the home, no longer living, or disabled may also be eligible for CalWORKs.

Individuals who are working but have a high income may still be eligible for CalFresh benefits, Medi-Cal coverage, child care, and transportation services. The Maximum Aid Payment (MAP) is based on family size and is divided into two levels: one for households with adult caregivers able to work and one for those unable to work, based on the same Marca report.

On June 1, 2022, the CalWORKs Earned Income Disregard increased from $550 to $600, meaning that $600 of a family’s earnings or disability-based income will not be used to determine the CalWORKs grant.


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