California CalWORKs (TANF)


CalWORKs1 is a California’s welfare program that provides temporary cash assistance to eligible needy families with children.

CalWORKs also provides education, employment, and training programs to help the family move from welfare toward self-sufficiency.

Unless otherwise exempt, work-eligible CalWORKs participants are required to participate in Welfare to Work (WTW) activities as a condition of receiving aid.

If you are a single parent, you must work, or do “job search,” or be enrolled in training for at least 20 hours a week.

How much money do you get on CalWORKS?

If you have no income, and you are a family of three, you will receive a cash assistance of $714 per month but may vary depending on where you live in California.2

Receipt of CalWORKs is limited to no more than 48 countable months. There is, however, no time limit on aid for children up to age 18.

There are welfare offices located in each of the 58 California counties. Needy families may apply for CalWORKs at any office located in the county where they live.

You may apply for CalWORKs online at myBenefits. Often, the CalWORKs application is automatically used to assess the CalFresh eligibility.

For more information, please call

Families that receive CalWORKs may also qualify for Medi-Cal which will pay for most medical costs and be eligible for child care assistance.

There are also special services for pregnant and parenting teens through the Cal-Learn program.

  1. CalWORKS is shorthand for “California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids.”
    CalWORKs is a California’s state version of the TANF program.
  2. Family of three with no other income, living in high cost-of-living areas (Region 1) currently receives a monthly grant of $714 while the same family living in Region 2 receives $680.