California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is an assistance program that provides monetary assistance and family services to those needy households that qualify, according to the established requirements. This is the name given in California to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally funded program that is available in all 50 states of the U.S., as well as in Washington, D.C.
Each state or territory covered has its own rules on the eligibility of TANF beneficiaries, and the transfer of funds to families is strictly monitored to ensure that this important money reaches those who need it most. In California, the program is active in all 58 counties and is operated locally by the welfare departments of each locality. If your family has little or no cash reserves and needs help to get decent housing, food, and utilities, as well as clothes or medical care, you can apply for TANF benefits.
Applying for the TANF benefits in California
Your family can apply to get for TANF benefits, first of all, by proving that they reside in the state of California and that the applicant is a U.S. citizen, legal immigrant, or qualified immigrant. You must be unemployed or underemployed and have a low or very low income. Those families who have at least one minor child can also qualify, or if the applicant is a pregnant person.
Specific eligibility requirements also include the applicant’s citizenship, age, income, resources, assets and other factors. Generally, services are available to:
- Families that have a child or children in the home who has been deprived of parental support or care because of the absence, disability, or death of either parent.
- Families with a child or children when both parents are in the home, but the principal earner is unemployed.
- Needy caretaker relatives of a foster child or children.
The Maximum amounts of TANF benefits you could get in California
As I said before, the amount to receive in CalWORKs benefits depends on the situation of each household, but let’s put a couple of scenarios so that you have a reference of how much money you could count on if you are an approved beneficiary. For example, if you have no income and your family lives in a high-cost county, you can expect to receive cash benefits of up to $1,130 per month, but that amount may vary depending on the circumstances.
Here’s another example: A family of four, in which one member receives SSI benefits, and they live in an urban area such as Alameda County (region 1), can get up to $1,363 per month. The actual benefit is calculated by subtracting the family’s countable income from the maximum possible benefit.
The site tanfassistance.org explains that families indicates that families with more members tend to receive larger financial supports, since they need more essential items. Families without a source of income or those with special needs, such as pregnancy or disabilities, may also receive more cash assistance.