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Cash Assistance (CalWORKs)


CalWORKs is designed to give families with children a way to meet their basic living needs. We want to help families in times of hardship enter or re-enter the workforce and become self-sufficient.  Important note:  Non-citizen individuals with children may also be eligible to receive CalWORKs, if otherwise eligible.  


For working families, the CalWORKs program provides:

  • Temporary cash assistance to eligible families with low or no income
  • Education
  • Employment and job training programs
  • Childcare
  • Transportation
  • Work expenses
  • Counseling

You may be eligible to receive cash assistance if:

  • You have a child in the home who has a parent that is:
  • Deceased
  • Unemployed
  • Not living in the home
  • Disabled
  • You are a relative taking care of a child
  • You are a pregnant woman with no other children

The amount of cash assistance a family can receive depends on the number of people who are eligible and the amount of income they receive. After you apply, your Eligibility Technician (ET) will go over all of the eligibility requirements with you during the interview.

    Easy Application

    There are multiple ways to apply for CalWORKs. Choose the one that works best for you.
    You may be eligible for expedited application processing if you are facing one of the following challenges.
    • Eviction
    • Utility shut-off
    • Medical Emergency
    • Lack of food

    Proof of these situations may be required in order to speed up your application process.

    Welfare-to-Work Program (WTW)

    Employment Services

    If you are receiving CalWORKs, you may qualify or be required to participate in the Welfare-to-Work (WTW) program. This program helps recipients acquire the skills and training needed to obtain employment. With some exceptions, able-bodied adults who receive CalWORKs must participate in employment activities.

    Child Care

    Families participating in the Welfare-to-Work (WTW) program are invited to take advantage of the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) Child Care program. Eligible families are provided payments for child care. From working CalWORKs recipients to parents of children receiving protective services, the Child Care program offers the customer prompt and accurate access to help with child care expenses.

    All child care funds are paid on behalf of the customer directly to the provider of their choice. The State of California sets the maximum rate paid for child care. The amount is based on the age of the child, the type of care used, whether the provider is licensed or un-licensed, and the amount of time the child care is needed. In some cases, the child care provider may charge more than the maximum amount DPSS can pay. In this case, the customer pays the difference. In addition, some families may have to pay a part of the cost of child care because their gross income is over a certain amount for their family size.

    Homeless Assistance

    Once every 12 months, eligible families qualify for sixteen non-consecutive days of temporary homeless assistance and a one-time payment for permanent housing assistance. Speak to your ET for more information. If you are homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness and need housing assistance click here.

    Refugee Cash Assistance

    Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) is a federally-funded program that provides cash aid to certain refugees who are not eligible for CalWORKs or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  It applies to non citizens who have lived in the United States no longer than the eligibility time period outlined by federal regulations. That time period is current 12 months from the date of entry into the U.S.

    Applicants must meet all income, resource, and other program eligibility requirements and documentation issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) This must be provided to determine eligibility. Note:  You may be eligible to receive RCA even if you do not have children in the home.

    The different non-citizen categories that are potentially eligible to RCA are:

    •   Refugees
    •   Asylees
    •   Certain Humanitarian Parolees admitted under the United for Ukraine (U4U) program
    •   Cuban/Haitian Entrants
    •   Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Holders from Afghanistan and Afghanistan nationals admitted under the Operation Allies Refuge program
    •   Amerasians
    •   Battered non-citizens (also known as the Violence Against Women’s Act [VAWA])

    Please visit the USCIS website for full descriptions on each of the categories above or the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) website more information.

    While there is no official RCA application, customers can apply by selecting the CalWORKs program at, by calling 877-410-8827, or by visiting a DPSS office near youAn Eligibility Technician will determine the appropriate program eligibility.


    Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program

    The Trafficking and Crime Victims Assistance Program (TCVAP) provides cash assistance to non-citizen victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes.  TCVAP is equivalent to the Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) program and applicants must meet all income, resource, and other program eligibility requirements.  Documentation issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) must be provided to determine eligibility to TCVAP.

    Note:  You may be eligible to receive TCVAP even if you do not have children in the home.

    Please visit the USCIS website or the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) website more information on TCVAP.

    While there is no official TCVAP application, customers can apply by selecting the CalWORKs program at, by calling 877-410-8827, or by visiting a DPSS office near youAn Eligibility Technician will determine the appropriate program eligibility.


    Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants

    The Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) is state-funded and provides monthly cash benefits to older, blind, or disabled non-citizens who are ineligible for SSI/SSP solely due to their immigration status.

    To be eligible for CAPI you must:

    • Be ineligible for Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) solely due to immigration status
    • Be aged, blind, or disabled
    • Be a California resident
    • Have resources below the allowable limits of $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple,
    • Have income that is less than the CAPI payment standards
    • Be a non-citizen and meet the immigration status criteria.

    To apply for CAPI, call (888) 960-4477 or visit a DPSS office nearest you.


    Crisis Services

    Crisis Services are available to families receiving CalWORKs who may be struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, or mental health issues. Most of these services are available in the CalWORKs office as well as in clinics and outreach centers across the county.

    For Family Stabilization Services, email [email protected].

    Home Visiting Program

    CalWORKs offers a voluntary Home Visiting Program that pairs new parents with a nurse or trained professional who makes regular home visits to provide guidance, coaching, and access to prenatal and postnatal care. Visits may also be done by phone.

    Families may be eligible to receive Home Visiting Program services for up to 24 months. The program is designed to:

    • Support and train pregnant and parenting individuals
    • Begin healthy development for infants
    • Expand future educational, economic, and financial opportunities for families
    • Help the families we serve out of poverty


    What is an EBT CARD?

    An EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card is the benefit delivery system that allows CalFresh and cash assistance recipients to access their food and cash benefits, much like a debit card.  Find out more about EBT.



    All cardholders may use their EBT card at participating retailers with a Point-of-Sale (POS) device and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) for cash withdrawals displaying the Quest® logo throughout California and across the country.  Click here for a list of locations that accept EBT cards.

     You can use your EBT card to buy food items at:

    • grocery stores
    • Farmer’s Markets (click on the following links for a list of Riverside Country farmers markets that accept CalFresh benefits: EnglishSpanish), and
    • online at stores such as Safeway, Amazon and Walmart. For additional information regarding online purchasing, visit the EBT Online webpage.



     For information on how and where to use your EBT card, click on the following links:

    How to Use Your EBT Card, California Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card Brochure, How to Use Your EBT Card to Make a Purchase, How to Use Your EBT Card to Buy Food, Enjoy Surcharge-Free ATMs Nationwide




    The County and State will never text or call and ask for your EBT card and/or PIN.  Your EBT card and/or PIN are never needed to determine eligibility for any service.

    Examples of SCAMS to be aware of:

    • Offer of a “free government cell phone” or “free gift cards” and you are asked for your personal information, card number and/or PIN.
    • New benefit recipients are contacted by a “protection plan” company that says they are part of the state program. They ask for personal information from cardholders, getting enough to steal benefits from the cardholders’ accounts.
    • People who say they are “concerned citizens” posting warnings about EBT card security.  They give a telephone number that is close to a real customer service helpline telephone number (maybe one number is different).  A cardholder calls the number, and then is asked for personal information, account number and a PIN.
    • Text message or email asking for your personal EBT information.

    Third-Party Applications are phone applications (apps) that allow the cardholder to obtain access to account information, such as the account balance and transaction history.  Using these apps comes with the risk of allowing the app access to steal your CalFresh and/or cash assistance benefits.


    EBT customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Call the Customer Service Automated Response Unit (ARU) at (877) 328-9677 to:

    • initiate a claim for stolen benefits
    • report lost, stolen or damaged EBT cards
    • report unauthorized use
    • report an ATM mis-dispense
    • verify the account balance, and/or
    • change the PIN.

    Visit to:

    • check account balances
    • view account history
    • check the status of a claim, and
    • locate retailers and ATMs that accept the EBT card.