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CalWORKs - The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is the California version of the Federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF). CalWORKs provides time limited cash benefits to families with children when one or both parents is absent, disabled, deceased or unemployed.

CalWORKs Frequently Asked Questions

The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is the California version of the Federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF.) CalWORKs provides time limited cash benefits to families with children when one or both parents are absent, disabled, deceased or unemployed. If eligible for CalWORKs you automatically qualify for Medi-Cal and may also qualify for CalFresh.

You may apply by calling Community Service Agency (CSA) at 1-877-652-0734 for an application to be mailed to you, online at, or in person at any CSA office (Please refer to office locations listed below). For CalWORKs, you must (both parents if a two-parent family) have a face-to-face interview with a case manager before benefits can be approved. If you are disabled and cannot come into the office, we may do a home visit or phone interview.

Apply online at: C4Yourself

For information and screen shots on completing the application through C4Yourself, see the C4Yourself External Users Guide.

Community Services Agency (CSA)
251 E. Hackett Road
Modesto, CA 95358

CSA Turlock
1310 W Main St
Turlock, CA 95380

Hughson Collaborative
2413 3rd Street
Hughson, CA 95326

West Modesto Community Center
401 Paradise Road, Bldg. E
Modesto, CA 95351

East County Service Center
1405 West F Street, Suite I
Oakdale, CA 95361

West County Service Center
101 W. Las Palmas Ave
Patterson, CA 95363

The only way to know for sure if you are eligible is to apply for CalWORKs. However, some basic eligibility factors are listed below in Question 6. If these are met, cash benefits may be available to the family for the care of a needy child or children.

Yes. You must have a child under the age of 18 or a child age 18 who is expected to graduate high school prior to their 19th birthday residing with you. In addition you may be eligible if you are in your third trimester of pregnancy.

  • One or both parents are deceased
  • One or both parents are physically or mentally incapacitated
  • The principal wage earner parent is unemployed or working less than 100 hours per month
  • One or both parents are continually absent from the home where the child is living

You should bring the following with you when you apply for CalWORKs if applicable:

  • Identificationi (Driver's License or California Identification Card)
  • Birth Certificates for all family members
  • Social Security cards or verification that all the family members have applied for a Social Security number
  • Verification of rent and utilities
  • Statements of bank accounts, trust funds, and any other resources
  • Proof of citizenship status from US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) of permanent resident alien status
  • Pregnancy verification if an unborn is the only eligible child
  • Verification of all income, wages and Social Security benefits, etc. Pay stubs for all persons working now or who got paid this month for a job that ended.

There may be additional facts or verifications that the case manager may need to find out to ensure that all the rules are met. The case manager will give the applicant time to provide these. If the applicant needs help getting verification or needs help paying for verification, the case manager may help.

No, CalWORKs recipients must be either U.S. citizens or have legal alien status.

You must be very low income to qualify for CalWORKs as an applicant. Your monthly income must be below the Minimum Basic Standard for Adequate Care (MBSAC). The chart below gives you the MBSAC amount for your family size. A $90 deduction is given to each persons earned income.

Family Size Income Limit
1 $572
2 $940
3 $1,164
4 $1,384
5 $1,581
6 $1,777
7 $1,948
8 $2,127
9 $2,298
10 $2,502

The size of your household and your family’s monthly income determine how much cash aid you will receive each month. This chart reflects the maximum aid before any applicable deductions are applied.

Family Size Maximum Aid Amount
1 $331
2 $541
3 $670
4 $799
5 $909
6 $1,021
7 $1,120
8 $1,222
9 $1,321
10 $1,418

The property of a child and the parent(s) must be under the following limits:

  • Families without elderly members (over 60 years of age) may have $2,250 combined personal and real property per family (Real property is undeveloped land or a house that is in addition to the family’s current home)
  • Families with elderly members may have $3,250 combined personal and real property per family
  • Furniture, clothing, and appliances are exempt. The family home is exempt provided the family lives in the home
  • Up to $9,500 is exempt for each automobile

No. If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP), you are already receive a cash form of public assistance and are not eligible for CalWORKs. You may apply for other family members who do not receive SSI/SSP.

Yes. You will be asked to provide a contact address/phone number or you may use the Community Services Agency’s address if you cannot provide an alternate contact.

If you have a cash emergency, you may apply for an Immediate Need payment when you apply for CalWORKs. Tell your case manager you have an emergency. Immediate Need payments may be available to families in emergency situations while the CalWORKs application is being processed. The maximum immediate need payment is $200. If you are apparently eligible to the CalWORKs program you may be eligible for an Immediate Need Payment, within 24 hours, based on an emergency situation that may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Lack of housing
  • Pending eviction
  • Lack of food
  • Utility shut-off notice
  • Transportation
  • Clothing needs
  • Other immediate health and safety issues

You may choose to have your payments issued either on a plastic debit card or directly to your bank account each month. Most families have their benefits automatically deposited during the first three days of each month on a plastic debit card called an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Your EBT card lets you access your benefits at Point of Sale (POS) devices in stores or at Automated Teller Machines (ATM). If you select Direct Deposit your monthly benefits are placed directly in your checking or savings account at your own bank each month.

EBT cards do not work for various reasons, such as the card may not be active, or there are no remaining benefits. Call 1-877-328-9677 for assistance.

Call 1-877-328-9677 to report your lost or stolen card immediately. At this time you may also request a new card be mailed to you, or if you need a new card right away, go to your local Community Services Agency office.

Call our automated system at 1-877-652-0734 for benefit information or to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

Call our automated system at 1-877-652-0734 to speak to a Customer Service Representative.

This information is not a substitute for State CalWORKs regulations. You may contact your county or go the State of California Department of Services website at: