CalWorks Application: How long can you stay on welfare in California?

The maximum wealth for California residents to qualify for welfare support increased in 2021 and the time limit was extended, meaning now more low-income families can benefit for longer from the cash assistance provided in the program.

Since 1998, the CalWorks program has provided assistance to Californians in all 58 counties across the state.

Who qualifies for CalWorks?

The program is open to any lawful US resident, legal alien or qualified alien living in California, that includes residents granted refugee or asylum status, conditional entrants, people granted withholding of deportation or removal, Cuban/Haitian entrants and certain victims of domestic violence.

Victims of human trafficking – i.e. applicants for and holders of a T-visa, and those who have applied for or hold a U-visa may also be eligible.

Those applying for CalWORKs don’t need to worry about reported to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department either.

As of July 2021, households are eligible if they have less than $10,211 in cash, bank, accounts and other resources, or less than $15,317 if someone in the household is disabled or age 60 or older – however, the first $600 of income is exempt from that.

If you meet that requirement, you must also either have a child 18 years of age or younger or be pregnant, or be the head of your household aged 18 years old or younger.

There are other minor parameters too, such as having proof of immunizations for all children under six and minimum levels of participation in Welfare-to-Work schemes.

How long can you stay on welfare?

As of the start of 2022, the limit is now 60 countable months regardless of when you started receiving assistance.

However, it can extend long that if in any of those months you:

  • Are disabled for at least 30 days;
  • Are taking care of a child that was cared for by the court or in danger of going
  • into foster care;
  • Received no cash aid;
  • Are a victim of domestic violence;
  • Are 60 years or older; and
  • Received cash aid that was fully paid back by Child Support collection.

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