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Published on: 4/26/2017 8:44 AM

Frequently Asked Questions

faqGroupLookupString: Financial Assistance: CalWORKs
Financial Assistance: CalWORKs
What is CalWORKs?
​CalWORKs stands for the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program.  It is California’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program and provides temporary cash aid and assistance in finding and keeping a job. A major goal of the program is to transition CalWORKs recipients to employment and eventual self-sufficiency through upward mobility. When receiving CalWORKs cash aid, the family also receives Medi-Cal and may be eligible for Food Stamp benefits.
Who is eligible for CalWORKs?
​Families with parents or caretaker relatives taking care of children who are considered to be deprived. For CalWORKs purposes, deprived means children who are without parental support because one or both parents are absent from the home, disabled, deceased, or unemployed. Pregnant women in their last 3 months of pregnancy may also be eligible provided they meet all applicable eligibility requirements. Other basic requirements relate to income and property limits, age of children, citizenship and/or legal immigrant status, and so on.
What if I own a home? Does that mean I’m not eligible?
​No. The house you own and live in is exempt and not counted as property.
How do they decide how much money a family will receive?
​The amount is determined by an Eligibility Worker after taking into consideration your income, the number of eligible family members in your home, and income limits and payment amounts set by the state.
Do I have to work when I’m receiving CalWORKs money?
​Employment of CalWORKs participants is a major objective of the CalWORKs Program. Able-bodied adults are expected to find employment or participate in approved activities that will prepare them to find employment. Activities include approved employment-related education/training and/or job-search preparation.
faqGroupLookupString: Financial Assistance: Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)
Financial Assistance: Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)
Do I have to repay the CAPI payments for which I qualify?
​No. If you qualify to receive CAPI payments, you do not have to pay them back.
Would my application for US citizenship be affected if I receive CAPI payments?
​No. Receipt of CAPI payments does not affect your immigration/citizenship status.
Can I apply for medical insurance at the same time that I apply for the CAPI program?
​Yes. You are welcome to apply for the Medi-Cal program (medical insurance) at the same time that you apply for the CAPI program.
faqGroupLookupString: Financial Assistance: Employment Assistance
Financial Assistance: Employment Assistance
Why do I have to participate in CalWORKs Employment Services?
​Unless exempt, all CalWORKs recipients are required by state regulations to participate in Employment Services activities.
Can I get help with child care services if I’m working?
​Yes.  If you are working you may be eligible to receive child care cost assistance. You may also receive child care services while participating in other Employment Services activities such as job-related education or job-search preparation.
If I start work and my job requires that I wear a uniform, can CalWORKs help?
​Yes. An individual who is employed may receive money to by uniforms.
faqGroupLookupString: Financial Assistance: General Assistance (GA)
Financial Assistance: General Assistance (GA)
What is General Assistance?
​General Assistance(GA) is a County-funded cash assistance program that provides cash loans to eligible individuals and couples who have no other means of adequate support.
Can anyone who applies receive a GA loan?
​Only individuals or couples who meet the eligibility requirements will receive a GA loan.  Applicants must be low income, legally residing in Santa Clara County, and unemployed or unable to work because of a physical, mental, or functional disability. In addition, applicants must meet strict eligibility requirements concerning limits on income and property.
Do I have to repay the money?
​Yes. Anyone who receives GA money must pay it back to the County. Unemployed GA recipients who are able to work are assigned to perform work at GA work projects. In order to receive GA, all participants must sign a reimbursement agreement which is recorded and places a lien against any current or future real property holdings.
If I have to work at a GA work project, do I get credit for the hours I work that goes toward repayment?
​If I have to work at a GA work project, do I get credit for the hours I work that goes toward repayment?
faqGroupLookupString: Financial Assistance: Refugee Cash Assistance Program (RCA)
Financial Assistance: Refugee Cash Assistance Program (RCA)
Who is eligible for the Refugee Cash Assistance Program (RCA)?
People admitted to the United States as refugees who are within their first eight (8) months of residency in the United States. Refugees must also be in at least one of the following categories: individuals and couples with no minor children; families with minor children that are not CalWORKs eligible; women who are within the first 6 months of pregnancy; human trafficking victims; and persons granted asylum.
If we are a low-income family with children and not eligible for RCA, is there another program that may provide us with financial assistance?
California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Program may be eligible to receive cash assistance from that program.  They may also be eligible for medical services, Food Stamps, and other benefits. To find out if you are eligible for CalWORKs, you may phone or visit one of our Social Services Agency Intake Offices.
What documents will I need to provide if I apply for RCA benefits?
​At minimum, you will need to provide documentation of refugee status from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). If you decide to apply, your Eligibility Worker will tell you exactly what other documents you will need to provide.
Is there a phone number I can call to get more information about RCA?
​If you need more information before you decide if you should apply, you may call (408) 271-5600.
faqGroupLookupString: Food Assistance: Food Stamps
Food Assistance: Food Stamps
Can single people living alone receive food stamp benefits?
​Yes. Being married and/or having children is NOT a requirement.
Can a homeless person receive food stamp benefits?
Yes. A person must reside in the county in which an application is filed. However, residence in a permanent dwelling or a fixed mailing address is NOT required.
What foods can you purchase with your food stamp benefits?
​Food stamps can be used to buy any food or food product that is produced for human consumption except hot foods or lunch counter items prepared or heated in the store; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; vitamins or medicines; or pet food. Seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food can also be purchased with food stamps. Food stamps cannot be used to buy nonfood items.
faqGroupLookupString: Health Coverage for Children
Health Coverage for Children
Who is eligible for health insurance under the Children's Health Initiative?

​Children who:

  • Live in Santa Clara County 
  • Are under 19 years of age
  • Have family income at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
How much is 300% of the Federal Poverty Level?

​300% of the Federal Poverty Level is based on family size. See the chart below to determine 300% of the Federal Poverty Level for your family.

Effective 4/1/12 to 3/31/13


Family Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Gross Monthly Income $2,793 $3,783 $4,773 $5,763 $6,753 $7,783 $8,783 $9,723


My children have received emergency-only Medi-Cal in the past. Can they get full medical, dental, and vision coverage too?
​Yes. If your children live in Santa Clara County and meet the required income limits, the Healthy Kids program can provide full medical, dental and vision coverage to children who do not qualify for full coverage under the Medi-Cal or Healthy Families programs.
What documents do I need to provide when I apply for health insurance for my children?

You will need to provide: 
1.  Proof that you live in Santa Clara County – one of the following: 

  • A utility bill; rental agreement; a pay check or voided personal check with your address; or driver’s license. 

2.   Proof of Income – one of the following: 

  • Copy of recent pay stub; last year’s federal income tax return; written statement from employer stating gross monthly income and when it was earned; proof of unearned income such as Social Security, unemployment, disability or child support; or
  • Day laborers may use a letter from a charitable organization stating income and when it was earned, or
  • Self-employed persons may use a federal income tax return with Schedule C. 

3.    Other information: 

  • If your child is a U.S. citizen, you will need a birth certificate and Social Security card.
  • If your child is a legal immigrant, you will need an INS card and a Social Security card.
  • If your child does not have these documents, you can still apply and get full health coverage for your child.  
faqGroupLookupString: Health Coverage: Medi-Cal
Health Coverage: Medi-Cal
If I received Medi-Cal benefits, will the State file a claim against my property after I die?
​Yes, the State may file a claim against the deceased individual’s properties for the amount of Medi-Cal paid services received on or after the person’s 55th birthday if there is no surviving spouse, child under 21, or child (regardless of age) who is blind or disabled. Otherwise, the State may only file a lien against the deceased individual’s properties.
I am currently employed and have a health insurance from my employer. Can I still qualify for Medi-Cal benefits?
​Yes if other eligibility requirements are met. Medi-Cal may pay for health services that are not covered by the other health insurance.
Does Medi-Cal pay for dental services?
​Yes, Medi-Cal pays for some dental services. However, all dental services require pre-authorization.

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